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Ashish Nathu | What Did You Learn Today?

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On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike interviews Ashish Nathu. Mike and Ashish discuss a multitude of important topics including thinking of yourself as an asset to invest in, not being afraid to fail, how to learn from your mistakes, and much more.

“No matter how much you think you’re doing, somebody’s doing 100 x more than you, and so I think that’s what motivates me.”


After earning my finance degree from Boston University Questrom School of Management, I entered the world to explore my passions as an entrepreneur. As 2008 was a terrible time to graduate and “find a job,” I was forced to start one. I jumped blindly into many things that I found interesting and kept my head down for many years and worked really hard with simple truths; learn every day, do good things and good things will happen, and always focus on creating value. I found myself with a unique opportunity to create and head a hospitality furniture manufacturing company. Creating one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in the industry, I was able to learn manufacturing, build a great team, source factories globally, and work with some of the largest clients in the hospitality space. When I am not busy trying to create an impact in my work life, I am found being a triathlete, optimizing my personal performance, or spending time with my family. I am blessed with a beautiful wife and two baby girls.


0:00 – Intro
1:22 – Ashish gives us a rundown of who he is and what he does
2:15 – Ashish tells us how his dad has had the biggest impact on his life, his dad taught him how important work ethic is
6:21 – Ashish’s ability to learn fast is one thing that has had the greatest impact on his success. Ashish used to ask “what did you learn today” around his company every day
7:38 – Mike asks Ashish if he is the type of person who sees what he wants and goes all in learning about it or taking action on it
11:14 – Ashish claims that “fear is a learned skill,” and speaks about the impact it has on people
15:35 – If you figure out how to say yes as often as possible you will have more opportunities, the words yes and no are like momentum
19:54 – Ashish discuss the importance of having the right lessons from the right people when starting your own business
21:21 – Ashish says that he is his best investment and that he would bet on himself any day of the week
31:18 – Mike tells us about a conversation he had where his friend said “happiness is a skill” and further explains this point
36:25 – Ashish discusses his greatest setback being a phase in his business where he was failing and wasn’t profitable
39:30 – Mike asks Ashish what is the piece of advice he finds himself sharing the most is
43:45 – The world has so much to offer and no matter how much you think you’re doing, someone is doing 100 times more than you
44:50 – Ashish tells us the story of his relationship with his wife
48:21 – Ashish talks about philanthropy


Instagram: @ashishnathu
Facebook:  Ashish Nathu


Mike Ayala: Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today I have a special guest Ashish, with me. It’s kind of interesting the way that life, you know, twists, turns and brings us you know, people in our paths. And I just recently met Ashish within the last probably 45 days. And it’s just going to be an amazing conversation today. Ashish and his wife, we met, they’ve been following us for a while, and they were interested in the couple’s mastermind. I’m not going to get too far into that right now. But our paths crossed. And I’m just so excited for the future because we jelled, we connected, and I just love the path that Ashish is on. And I just you know, I’m so inspired by his story and where he’s been and where he’s come from, and where he’s going that I just thought, Man, you know what? Our audience needs to hear this. And so Ashish, welcome to the show. I appreciate you being on.

Ashish Nathu: Thank you, sir. Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it. Really honored to be here.

Mike Ayala: It’s going to be a ton of fun, man. Yeah, I’ve just been so inspired by just being in your presence and with you. Our audience is going to love you. So Ashish Nathu, right?

Ashish Nathu: Yes.

Mike Ayala: Cool. So why don’t you just give us the 30-second, 60-second, three-minute overview, whatever that looks like.

Ashish Nathu: All right. Well, I guess the Who are you kind of question right. So I’m born in Southern California, I grew up here in Southern California my whole life, went to school out east and in Boston, and came right back. Started in the family business in general contracting for a couple years right out of school, wouldn’t get a little bit more into detail in my career life, but started a furniture company back in 2010. And grew that, and have had some relative success there. And, you know, continuing to be expired, and focus on personal development and kind of how I got connected with you.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, I love it.

Ashish Nathu: So it’s been really great.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, it’s cool. We’re obviously going to, you know, take a deeper dive into all that. But let’s shift and let’s talk about the four questions. So who’s had the greatest impact on your life?

Ashish Nathu: I think my dad. My dad is a really humble guy. He’s the hardest working guy I know. I’m almost to a fault. And I think really early on in my life, I saw that work ethic mattered. And one thing that my dad always taught me and said to me was, we have this word in our language called, like, barn, which means basically go learn, go figure it out. And he used that word, FIL, go figure it out. And he always kind of supported me unconditionally, to go keep learning and take risk, and follow your gut and try things and just keep learning. And so I think, really early on, I had that sort of deeply ingrained in me that like, I didn’t have to know everything, I didn’t have to have all the answers. Although sometimes I wanted to have all the answers. But to always feel like, you know, one step at a time, one day at a time, one lesson at a time, keep climbing and stay humble while you’re doing it, which is really what my dad is all about.

Mike Ayala: That’s awesome.

Ashish Nathu: So, yeah, and he is a really simple guy. Like I wouldn’t even say he’s super ambitious or like, wants to take over the world. But he knows what he wants, he stays within that lane. And I think it’s nice to touch that once in a while and stay focused on you know, what got you here.

Mike Ayala: That’s so important. You know, you and I were kind of talking about this leading up to the show, but you know, just really, I think the most important thing in life is just as you just said, with your dad, knowing what you want. And that’s the thing that I think is so important and why I love bringing on a variety of guests is because there’s no right answer, right? It’s like it’s so different for everyone. And it isn’t a monetary figure. It isn’t necessarily a certain lifestyle. You can’t put anyone in a box, it’s so individual and that’s why I really love digging into not only what did you do, which we’re going to get into to earn your freedom, but what does freedom mean to you? Like, what are you even chasing after and I love the way that you brought that back with your dad. Like he knows exactly what he wants, he stays in his lane, and he’s super happy with it right. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, and I think there’s no doubt that we both want different things. And we both want to achieve different things. And like you said, That’s okay. But it’s also really nice to have somebody in your life that’s that close to keep you kind of balanced as you’re being the entrepreneur and running around and trying to change the world. But to have somebody who kind of like, stabilizes you and asks you those humbling questions and reminds you of like, the basics. Okay, well, what don’t you know, what are you going to go learn? And what are you going to go figure out? What’s your path to get there? And so that’s really fun.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, I love that, you know, that’s been something that I’ve been really cognizant of, recently. And I think we, this is just such a powerful point. You know whether it’s coaching or whether it’s like you as a, you know, you’ve got a lot of employees and just trying, we want certain things for other people in life. And we have to be so careful, even, you know, having clients coaching clients and stuff that we’re not, like, you know, putting our biases in there. And so I love, I love that perspective that you just brought out with your dad, because we’re all so individual. And we have to be really careful putting our biases on other people. So that’s powerful, man, I love it.

Ashish Nathu: And I’m preaching to the choir because I definitely fall in that, like, projecting our desires and wants and energy on everybody else. I think there’s a certain group of people who can accept it and take it and there’s some people who reject it. But yeah, my dad’s just never been that guy. He’s never been like, Oh, I want you to have or want what I want. To each their own. He says all the time. So which I think is a really a nice way of looking at the world.

Mike Ayala: Wow, love it. If you could narrow it down to one thing that has had the greatest impact on your success, what would that be?

Ashish Nathu: Well, I really do think that it’s my ability to learn fast. And I think that, you know, I don’t feel like I’m special in that in any way. But I feel like I learned that really early on how important it is to take learning into sort of a tactical strategy of like, day to day, what am I learning on, you know, on a daily basis. And so I used to have this phrase we used to ask around the company super early on, like, what did you learn today? And we used to have like a conversation, but like, something would happen, inevitably, everybody has this problem. When you’re starting a company, you don’t know anything. There’s so many problems. And so like, every day, the goal was what did we learn today? Because I was not going to make the same mistake twice or the same issue twice. And so it was really fun to kind of make that part of our culture about, you know, what did you learn? And what did you learn today? So that was fine.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good. So I have a question for you on that. Because, you know, just having, again, we haven’t even known each other that long, but I’m kind of watching you from afar, just in a short period of time. Do you think that, so the big thing for you is like you learn quickly, but I have a question on that. So are you the type of person that sees what you want, and you go all in learning about it and then go do it? Or are you an action taker? And that’s why you really learn.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, I definitely jump before I look. And I definitely am not one who’s over-calculating. And I think my closest friends would probably be the first one to say that, like, he needs to slow down. And he’s a little bit crazy because he just wants to go do shit. But I think that it’s also like a gift. So there’s got to be a balance. You know, you can’t be analyzing everything. And then like, take forever to make decisions. So you have to take action, and movement, and then learn from it. Knowing that you’re going to fail, you’re going to make mistakes, and you just have to keep correcting, keep correcting. But if you like wait for all your answers and ask 50 people before you like know everything, you’ll just never do it. And or somebody will beat you to it. And so I kind of have that same philosophy with our team is that like, Look, everyone’s going to fail. Well, you all are going to fail. And so it’s okay. Like, that’s just part of life. It was actually I shouldn’t again, like, I can’t take credit for this because I was surrounded with people very early on in my career, that I kind of saw that models for me. And like, I was able to understand it and observe that and then impart that on other people. And I think everyone has that, again, it’s not something that’s special to me, it’s just you have to identify like, wow, this person is like giving me space to learn, giving me space to fail, and how to appreciate, understand that and then by Feel free to take risk.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, whenever so when I heard that, and I love the way that you, you know, pull that together. But when I hear somebody say like, you have the ability to learn fast, you know, just diving down in that a little bit, usually when somebody is a quick learner, it’s because they’re not scared of you know, getting their elbows bruised or, you know, taking a little risk and, you know, for our listeners out there too. And this has probably been the number one attribute that I think has really set me and Kara apart. And Kara and I are on opposite spectrums like I’m a 100% all in, let’s go for it kind of guy, Kara is, like, you know, she’s balanced, right. And I we talked about this at the couples mastermind, you know, whether it’s business or as a couple or whatever, if two partners have the same strength, one of them is not needed. And so I think there’s a good balance there. But the reality is, I’ve had so many opportunities in my life that I just said yes to, and we figured it out later. And so usually, when I hear somebody say that they have the ability to learn fast, or they make quick decisions, or whatever, that’s a skill set, that’s a muscle that’s been exercised. But for our listeners that are a little bit risk-averse, I believe, and I would love your thoughts on this. We’re actually programmed as a society, we’re trained from the time we’re little to not take risks. You know, even the education system and the way that everything teaches us like, Oh, no, you know, it’s like, we’re trained to be employees, we’re trained to not even our parents are like, Oh, you don’t do that you’re going to get hurt. Don’t do that, you know, fear is put in us literally. And that teaches us so many things in life. And I think it’s the people that really say, you know, what, I’m going to take a little bit of risk, I’m going to be risk-averse, I’m going to go for it. That’s the people that, as you said, learn fast. That’s a muscle that you learn. So what’s your thoughts on that?

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, there’s a lot of things that are showing up on that question. I mean, you know, I just had two little young babies. And it’s really fun to just watch that truth. Like what you’re saying, it’s like fear is a learned skill. And like, you know, there’s a lot of people when they raise kids, like, Oh, don’t do that, or be careful of that, or don’t jump there or, like, don’t touch that. And I think that like, it’s literally layers of training that we add on to the human psyche of like, I can’t do this, I can’t do that. There’ll be consequences if I do this, consequences if I do that. And so I think early on, we all learn that that’s exactly how we should operate like, stay in your box. Only do this. And then you go farther in your life. And this is where I think I learned. My lesson was like,  in high education and college, you learn to be in a box, right? So you study marketing, you’re a marketing guy, you study finance, you’re a finance guy, you study communications, you are a communication sky, or whatever that means. And I think like, that’s what the system is building us to be, right. And so for whatever reason, I was fortunate enough to graduate at a time when the world was falling apart. So there was no choice but to think outside the box. And because there was nothing in the box, right? In 2008 when I graduated, there was nothing in the box. And so you had to kind of build something. And when I, you know, long story short, when I got into furniture, the person who kind of pulled me into furniture. I was like completely resistant to it. cause I’m like, Well, what are you talking about? I have a four-year degree, I am this, I am that I am a finance guy, I want to study I want to be in New York, like all the programming of the box thinking sets in. But then I learned something, I did something that I like, I recommend to everybody is like, don’t think and just do it. And I didn’t ask for money I didn’t like I really just literally jumped, and I said, Okay, and I’ll do it. I showed up and I just started working. And I think that our school systems, the work environment trains us not to do that. Well, if I work, how much money will I make? Or if I go work over there, like how much is he going to pay me? Or what’s the upside, like, just working and just putting your head down and getting stuff done and adding value and learning, adding value, and learning even if that business failed, your next one will be more successful. But like if we get lost in Oh, that’s not the perfect opportunity or that’s not the perfect pay or that’s not, I think it’s decapitating. And so I think that if you can set yourself up and be aware of those behaviors, then you have a higher probability of kind of getting out of that prison that we create for ourselves. It happened for me but like I also I mean, when I look back, and I’m like, what was so special? Like there was nothing special. I just didn’t look up. I didn’t like think about well, what am I doing and Is this the right choice? You just look down, you keep working on providing value. You keep working on learning every day. And then like, oh, wow, something cool was built.

Mike Ayala: It is such a good point. I love it. And you know, I’m not in any way saying that you have to be a rebel to be successful. But when so many people look at the top 1% or 5%, or 10%, there’s a reason why a small percentage of people actually end up being successful. And it’s not because they were born wealthy, or because they’re anything special. It’s because they said yes, and figured it out later, they took the risks that you’re talking about. Kara and I often say this with our kids in parenting, but I think this applies to just a personality type as well. We’ve always said with our children, we’re going to say yes, as often as we possibly can. And that’s exercising that yes, muscle for them, letting them figure it out. And so Kara and I, we might have even talked about this at the couples mastermind, but there’s been times where, you know, you’re I think our automatic answer is no, and not just as parents, I mean, even, you know, as employers as successful entrepreneurs, even as couples, like looking to invest in, like, our default answer is no, we want to go to No, because it’s a protection mechanism. And that’s not just with parenting, it’s with everything. But if we can take that phrase and just say, and I love the theme that you’ve kind of, you know, cultivated here. If we can figure out how to say yes, as often as possible, we’re going to have more opportunities to number one, make mistakes and fail and learn. That’s where you become, you know, the ability to learn fast, the only way you can learn is by making mistakes, or, you know…

Ashish Nathu: It is the only way. That’s the only way.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, so I love it and saying yes, and figuring it out later or saying yes as often as possible is kind of been, we challenge each other all the time too, like if you know, even on an investment. No, why? Like, why? There’s nothing wrong with, you know, whether it’s a team, whether it’s a business partnership, whether it’s a marriage, whether it’s children, you know, I’m just thinking about this, man…

Ashish Nathu: I think about, yeah, sorry to interrupt, but I think about the word no and yes, like momentum, right. And somebody did this to me in an exercise once and like, I was saying something, but like, just go on and say a sentence, and then I’m just going to interrupt you with no, like, 20 times, and like how disruptive that was, right? And I think that like progress, and momentum happens when you say yes, and you just like say, yes, you learn you tweak, say yes again, you learn, you tweak, you say yes again, but if you just keep saying no, you never even have the shot to a tweak. And, you know, I think there’s also a bad stigma of like, people thinking like, Oh, well, you’re just being reactive, Mike, like, you’re just jumping on the first transaction, you saw whatever. Like, why does being reactive have to be a negative thing? I think that’s really interesting that, like, a lot of people think that being reactive is negative. And I’m criticized for that all the time. Even my wife criticizes me for that. But like, I’m okay with being reactive, because I can learn quickly, right? Don’t judge the carrot. Like, just do it. If you don’t like it, get out.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, well, and I don’t mean to be cliche. But there’s that old saying, and I don’t even know who said it, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take right? It’s so good. I love it.

Ashish Nathu: And then you’re in rooms with guys like you who are like, yeah, you thought you took a lot of shots, and then you’re not even playing big enough. So it’s always fun to keep up-leveling and, you know, continuing to expand.

Mike Ayala: Well. And I appreciate that. But that’s the whole reason why I started this podcast is like, every single week, I get to get in rooms with people that I mean, just your story. And, you know, when I found out like, I’m like, hey, like, how much business do you do and this and that, and I’m like, you know, it could be somewhere, we’ve never even talked about it. So it could be somewhere between you know, you have one employee and 5 or 10 or no, you have 70 employees and also, I’m like well what kind of revenue do you do? And I’m thinking I don’t know, it could be somewhere between $500,000 although you drive a nice car, I’m assuming it was more than $500,000 a year but you just never know who you’re on the other side of and that’s what I love about this podcast and that’s what I love about people and getting into authentic deep conversations because you never know, we don’t do enough of this. Like we don’t do enough of really pulling the curtain back and who the hell is Ashish’s and the more I’ve gotten to know you, like I knew the minute that I met you I can tell talking to you over zoom but I knew the minute that like we gotten in person together that there was like something and it’s this. It’s the yes factor, it’s the learning fast. You’re like a bullet train in Asia compared to the Amtrak in the US and I just love getting around guys like you. So I appreciate the comment to me, but I throw it back at you. I mean, I’m inspired by you. So what was your greatest setback?

Ashish Nathu: And I will say one thing for the listeners too is like, you know, it was fun for me to experience that interaction with you in the last 45 days because it ignited something in me to like, start the momentum again and start jump, playing offense again, and like, looking at new opportunities and things like that, because you’re right, like being in those rooms, stimulates something right. But I think early on, and what I would recommend a lot of people do, and I was pretty blessed to have this is like I had people in my life early on in my entrepreneurial life that like, supported that dreaming part of being an entrepreneur, of like, don’t worry about failing, don’t worry so much about being profitable, like, stay on your path, you know, keep dreaming big, like protect your enterprise. Like having the right lessons from the right people is so important starting your business early on. It’s so critical. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs like, that’s the hardest part is having the right people to help you through that process. You know, mentally and psychologically, the business stuff everyone can figure out, it’s the other stuff that’s like, Hey, you know, dream bigger, like what you’re thinking is too small, think bigger, think bigger. And there’s a small group of people that think like that, but if you can surround yourself with that ecosystem early on, it’s really motivating.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good, man. There’s a ton of gold right there. That’s the thing that, you know, I get asked all the time, like, what should I invest in? And I’m like, Well, I don’t know. Like, what are you good at investing? Like, how much money do you have, and people will be like, I have about $5,000 saved up, which I’m not downplaying that, I mean, $5,000 saved is actually a lot of money compared to the average American saving. And compared to a lot of places in the world. But if you’ve got $5,000 saved up, my go-to answer is always invest in your education, invest in your knowledge.

Ashish Nathu: Totally agree.

Mike Ayala: Invest in expanding your mindset, because, really, that’s the best thing we can do. And I love what you just said, you know, just being surrounded by the right ecosystem, there’s a lot of power there. So what do you have to say about that?

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, I mean, I definitely, probably invest in myself and spend more time figuring out how to invest in myself than I do invest on my money. I tell this to my dad all the time is like my best investment, I would bet on myself any day of the week. And so I’m an asset, just like you’re an asset. And so you have to invest in the asset in order to provide interest. And so how do you keep building that principal balance, so it builds interest later. And that is through education, through self-development, through meditation, through quality relationships, through getting in tune with yourself, getting in tune with your ego, all those things that kind of take people really successful down really quickly too. And there’s like, so much great content out there about all that kind of stuff. So like, I’m not here to preach about that stuff. But like, there’s a reason why all this stuff is becoming mainstream, right? It’s because it matters. Now that science has caught up to all this stuff. Like, it does matter.  And I know you do a lot of that too. But I think that’s exactly how I met you like the journey if you want to go there, like the journey of interacting with you was that, like, I spent two years of really hardcore, working on me, you know, and having pretty good financial success, and still not being fulfilled. And like, well, what the hell, like, for all intents and purposes, for a young guy, like myself, at the age I was in, I like had pretty good success. And I figured it out, whatever. And yet, like, I’m not fulfilled, like, but that doesn’t make sense. For all intents and purposes, I should be happy. And so I went on this, like, internal journey of self-development and growth, and then I wanted that for my family. But you know, I didn’t want to impart that. I wanted to set an example. And that’s how I found Kara and I introduced Kara to my wife and Kara and my wife have, you know, followed each other or schedules followed with Kara, but and then we got together. And my wife made it a point like we’re doing this because you wanted to invest. And so I think that’s a really important thing that people are not willing to do. There’s something going on right now. And actually, COVID has created a great opportunity, because for people like you, it’s allowed everyday people to get access to you much more easily and less expensively, right? Because if you do like a speaking event, like you may charge more because you’re there physically but like digitally, it’s just more economical for everybody. And so there’s so many great seminars, and coaching events and all this kind of stuff. And I offered that one of these to my entire staff, and it was like $200, or $300 whatever. It was like a four-day thing. And it’s a, you know, world-renowned person, it was like digital, and he never does this digitally. Like it was a self-development thing. And everyone was asking me like, Well, are you going to pay for it? And of course, I get paid for it. But I said, No, I’m not paying for it. It’s $300.  Firstly, you’re all employed during COVID. So you have money. But what I thought was really important for everyone to learn was like, I have to make an investment in myself. And if you’re not going to make a $300 investment in yourself that could potentially give you 100 x return in five years, right. Like, I shouldn’t be paying for that. And so I think about those kinds of things all the time. And like, not always thinking about the return on your investment, because you’re not going to get a return on every investment. But you got to keep investing.  That’s kind of my philosophy.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And I love what you said a little bit ago, you are an asset. And you have to invest in the asset. I love the way you said that, because I don’t think most people look at it that way. And by the way, there’s a part of me that, you know, feels a little bit of grace and sympathy for, because we have our ass handed to us our entire life. But that’s not an excuse. You know, the majority of people that are super successful, I was literally listening to Grant Cardone’s story the other day, which love him or hate him, it doesn’t matter. Here’s the story, you know, his dad died. And then 10 years later, he said when they finally, when the family was finally getting put back together, his brother died. And I’m just like, you know, those moments, Like, we don’t know what people are going through. We don’t know what kind of bullshit you know, has been in their life, any of that. But I’ll tell you the reason why I’m saying all that, some of the most successful people in the world had adversity and really hard lives and all that stuff. I think there’s an assumption that people that are super successful had a silver spoon in their mouth.

Ashish Nathu: That is true.

Mike Ayala: People just feel like, Oh, you know, you’ve been lucky, and everything’s been given to you. Bullshit, when you said, I am an asset, and you have to invest in the asset. I’m like, that was earth-shattering for me, because we spend all this time just thinking about investing in other things. People won’t invest in, just like the story with your employees, like, are you going to pay for it? Well, no, like, why would I buy you a rental? You’re not going to appreciate it. Like, you know, why would I? Why would I invest in your number one asset, your knowledge and abilities and skill set. If it’s specifically to better, you know, their position, which that would, too, but I get that, but people just don’t want to invest in themselves.

Ashish Nathu: I mean, yeah, I kind of using that as a tease, because I invest all these other kinds of things, right to like, help create a space for them to flourish. But like 300 bucks for a world-renowned person that normally would cost $3,000. You know, like, normal, I mean, I shouldn’t say normal, but like, it’s not something that everyone just like jumping out of the seat and like, let me pay four grand to go do that and spend five days away from my family to go do. But this is 300 bucks from the comfort of your living room. And so like, why are you still not willing to do that?

Mike Ayala: You know, looking backward too and just kind of on the same thread. I just heard Kara saying this the other day, we have, I want to go back even a little further. I remember when I was buying our second house, I was scared shitless. And my father-in-law said, I’ve never bought a house that I can afford. And he’s a pretty conservative guy like so, this isn’t like a frivolous guy that’s always just, he was like, Mike, I’ve never bought a house that I can afford. We’ve always, you know, bought up. And I’m not saying that’s great advice or poor advice. But Kara was talking about that. And then also, like, we’ve never invested in a mastermind, or, you know, a course or a group that didn’t stretch us. I remember the first mastermind that I invested in, which was 2016. It was $25,000 a year, it was a two-year commitment. Plus, I had to travel once a quarter Plus, I had to pay for airfare and a motel. And I was just, I was scared shitless to make that investment. That was like five years ago. But I’ve never when you know that you know that you know that you need to make an investment, whether it’s $300, or whether it’s $30,000 or whether it’s $100,000. You know, you were saying this with sage, you said, you know, she was like we’re doing this right? Because she knew that you guys needed to, I don’t want to put words in your mouth. But the reality is when you’re talking about being alike, you’re the asset and you have to invest in an asset. That’s so, so valuable. Probably the most valuable thing that has been said on this podcast for a long time.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a lot there.

Mike Ayala: I mean if you have something we can go there.

Ashish Nathu: No, I think that everybody is looking for something. And I think if you’re not looking for something, you’re just lying to yourself. Like everybody’s like Looking for something right? It’s more of something, more love, more money, more attention, more self-reflection, more self-love, more physical health, like more something. If you’re not really looking for more of something, you’re just bullshitting yourself like, it’s not fucking true. It’s not possible for you to live on this planet and just be like, completely satisfied with everything aspect of your life. And so you know, stretching yourself, and like trying to find these tools that allow you to address those things. Like you have to be intentional about it, it doesn’t just fall into your lap, and like there’s a lot of people talking about, like, no one’s coming to save you. That’s true. But you got to spend the money, you got to read, you got to do the work, you got to wake up early, you got to do you know, do the work and in whatever aspect of your life that is, whether it’s in your relationship, or whether it’s, you know, growing your wealth, or whether it’s growing your business or growing yourself for taking care of your body. And so, you know, investing in the asset just allows you to be more productive to do those things and do it a little bit easier. Yeah. But it doesn’t just happen. No, no,

Mike Ayala: It’s a lot of hard work. And I think that’s the thing that people have to understand is like, you don’t just wake up one day. And just because you decided to start doing the work, everything changes. I was having this conversation with a guy last, and it’s your this whole thread conversation is reminding me of this, but I’m reading a book right now called the Almanac of I think it’s a Next, I can’t remember the almanac of, I’ll put it in the show notes. But he’s talking in there about happiness. And so this guy and I were having a conversation right before I read this chapter, and the guy was like, what’s the name of that book. But as we’re having this conversation, he says to me, I think happiness is a skill. And I said, well, I you know, I don’t know that I would disagree with that, because and what I said to him, as I said, I think happiness is being present. I’ve been thinking about this for the last few weeks. Because anytime that I’m unhappy, or I’m experiencing anxiety, and yes, I experience anxiety, like, sometimes I’ll be having this feeling. And I’m like, literally, I have, like, something has me stressed out, I’m so in tune with. And this doesn’t happen overnight. This is the point that I’m, as you said that, like I’m so in tune with, you know, being happy and not being stressed out. Because I’ve worked really hard to get here over the last couple years, that when I’m experiencing anxiety, sometimes I’ll feel it. And I’m like, Whoa, what has me anxious. And I’ll think back to 30 minutes ago, and I literally go looking for the thought, that has me anxious. And so here’s my point of this. I do agree with him that being happy is a skill. But I also think it’s being present. Because anytime that I’m unhappy, I’m thinking about the past, I’m thinking about something that pissed me off, I’m thinking about someone that pissed me off, or I’m thinking forward about some projects that I have to work on or something that is out of line, or I need to raise a million dollars for a project or whatever. And so the thing that I want to come back to you know, as far as you being the asset and investing in yourself, I think the single thing that people can do is try to just be a little more present. Because if you’re present right here right now, like I can’t be here, right here right now with you and not be happy. Yeah, unless we’re fighting

Ashish Nathu: If are thinking about all these different things, right? Like, yeah, exactly.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. So I love that, just investing the asset. But I think the single easiest that the single easiest thing that people could start to do, and you talked about all this meditation, and in growing and just reading and learning and all of the above, you’re a quick leaner, any of that stuff. But the reality is, if you can just anytime you’re out of line, or you’re unhappy or whatever, just think about it, you’re in the future, or you’re in the past, just learn to be present. And just find your happy play. That’s the easiest, simplest thing that I think people could do.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, I mean, I love that and, and that is so true, and so, so underrated. And it’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen without the work. I think most of the people who are listening are like doers, right on your podcasts. They’re action people, they get stuff done. They’re producers like I use that word a lot like we are producers. But being able to produce at that high level and not be in touch with yourself in the present moment, can create a lot of problems, right? You know, like every moment you have with your wife, when you’re upset, it is never a good one. It never ends up awesome when you’re upset, right? And so like getting in tune with yourself and understanding the emotions and what are happening, and why those emotions are coming up and addressing those kinds of root causes and working on that gets you better at becoming more present, and then you up-level it, then you learn something new. And like, Oh, well that pushed a button with me. And that triggered me or that guy, you know, said something that triggered me. And so you just keep working on these things. Which helps us all become like better decision-makers and better friends and better spouses and all of that. And I think like for my for me, like I had a really high expectation for myself. And I think like a lot of people around me had a high expectation, I kind of fed into that. It was like codependency almost. But once I like learned to almost, like trust myself and stop judging myself, which was the biggest thing. I think you can like, Okay, well, I made a mistake. Like, I can learn from that. And I cannot do it again. Yeah, like, oh, man, I was an asshole. Like, you know what, I’m not going to judge myself for being an asshole. Like, why did I act like that? Like, what caused it? Because that’s not what I want to do. Why did I do that? And then you can work backwards. And then like, oh, that guy, you know, Mike was enabled to me, like, I’m not going to judge him for that. That’s who he wants to be. And why did that trigger me? And so all of that kind of self-awareness stuff, I think is so important. But like you said, it’s not easy. You got to work on it. Yeah. And, but it makes you enjoy the ride more, right? It makes you enjoy the journey more because you’re aware while you’re doing it. I was like, Well, why am I doing what I’m doing? And is this fulfilling or not? And do I need to change the past?

Mike Ayala: I just love I’m going to say it 100 times, but I just love like I said about you’re the asset. Like all this just comes back to you. You can make the largest investments, you can put millions of dollars into businesses, if you’re not working on your main asset, which is you, man, none of that matters. Okay, yeah. What was your greatest setback? And what did you learn from it?

Ashish Nathu: What was my greatest setback. So I mean, obviously, I have a lot of them. But I think that, like, there was a phase in my business that I was failing pretty hard. It was four or five years in, and we were not profitable. And I’ll use an example for now. And like, I think, the, you know, when you’re failing, and you keep digging yourself into a deeper hole, it gets uglier, and uglier and uglier. And like that, it becomes personal. And I’m sure a lot of people have experienced that, or you’re like, you’re, you feel like you’re against a wall. And I think what I learned through that process was that no one was coming to save me. And like, I kept using excuses. And I was like, looking for other people to blame. And I was like, the environment, that guy or this guy, or that company, or that industry, or that shareholder, whatever. And I think that it’s important for us to remind ourselves, like the only person who control of our world is us, right. And so in my, in this example, like I was in control, and I was capable of making the decisions and changing the behaviors that I needed to, to put the company on track. But for whatever reason, I just didn’t do it. And I didn’t like step into the power of that awareness. And so when I did, like, I like to like white paper a lot. And so I just took a white piece of paper out, and I just started writing, like, everything that I thought was the tactical strategy to get there, right. And then I just did it. And I put it, like, I stuck it on a door, there was like five or six really critical moves that we needed to make, and like unrelenting, like just shift this big bass boat really quickly. And you know, you’re either going to fail under those practices, or you’re going to succeed at those practices, there’s only one or two options, right? And so like, we already knew what was not working. So we can either fail doing the same thing. Or we could change and then try something different or fail again. So I think like really, being aware of that, like, Man, I’m just continuing to do the same shit. It’s not helping, it’s not working. And I have to step into the power of making that change. Knock on wood, it works. But it definitely changed the course of our company and changed the course of our culture. And I grew tremendously from that process. And I think failing is part of that process. Like I failed hard, really hard to the point where I had to, like, you know, almost was done. And I think that journey is really healthy. But I don’t discount that. But also like knowing when to pivot and make an aggressive change, and not kind of be slow to make that change. It’s important too.

Mike Ayala: What is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing.

Ashish Nathu: Probably, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. And don’t judge yourself. And I think like, I’m self-projecting that of course, right? But I think like, that’s where I’m hard to sell myself is like, I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid of people judging me, I’m afraid of judging myself, I’m not afraid of thinking What are people going to say? What does it look like, if I fail, I think that is all a story and a framework that doesn’t allow you to thrive, right. And it’s not easy to get away from those statements. But if you can do it, and you can continue to stay in that vibration, it becomes a little easier. And like, you know, surrounding yourself with the right people who can encourage you. And so I try to do that for our team. You know, everyone in our company starts coming from a place where they were in a box, right, and even though they all have their roles, like I always mentioned, like, you know, you can come and work for us, but I will never put you in a box. You’re the only person who’s going to keep you in a box. So, you know, don’t judge yourself for making mistakes, have space to make, have lateral changes or adjustments, keep moving forward, and then don’t judge yourself.

Mike Ayala: Yes, that’s really good. I like that. And, you know, you can see that when you’re talking about projecting, you know, obviously, you’re hard on yourself, but that’s what keeps you going too and even back to the ability to learn fast. You know, there’s something here that I think the audience needs to know about you. I mean, you run a multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple, eight-figure companies like, this is not I mean, this isn’t a guy that, you know, is trying to break his first million. And then so when we start connecting, you’re like, you’re starting to get interested in real estate, you hear a few things like, you know, the ability of building wealth and diversification and tax benefit. And all of a sudden, like you called me last week, and you’re like, Mike, I’m coming to Arizona for six days. And I’m going to meet with everybody. And I’m going to start, like you’re an action taker.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, sometimes to a fault. But yes.

Mike Ayala: Well, I love it. Because I mean, the only way that you’re going to learn what you know, and don’t know, is by taking action, right? I mean, it’s amazing.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah. So I think I think that what I preach also is like, everything is a sum of all circumstances. And I think that what we need to do in life is like, we have to take more action to create circumstances that ultimately sum to a result that we want. But you can’t hope that a result will happen. If you don’t have like meetings, if you don’t have like, do the things like do the work or, you know, make the calls or like set up the meetings or so like, I always talk about circumstances sort of serendipity. People don’t like that word because it’s kind of woo-woo. But you know, you got to have circumstances, and you got to increase the amount of circumstances you have, in whatever you’re wanting to do. And then slowly things connect. Like, I never would have thought that that was in interest to me until I met you. But I didn’t meet you until like 10 other circumstances happened that led me to that. And so I think any successful person would say that, like, they do a lot of things, and they try a lot of things. And not all of them work, but it’s because they just do a lot of things. And they have all these balls. Which can sometimes be scary and non-logical.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Well, and I love the way you said that. Like, you know, people talk about the word serendipity. And they don’t like it, but the reality is, like, you’re never going to meet your next best client, investor, partner, any of that from your couch. Like, you got to get your ass off the couch and make moves. And I love that about you. You’re like, Mike, I’m going to be in Arizona, March 1st through the sixth or whatever. And I’m like, Dude, this guy. That’s why you learn fast. And I love that. I mean, there’s just a that’s your superpower, man. You just go for it. I freakin love it.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, it’s fun. This world is fun, right? Yeah. I mean, the world has so much to offer. And no matter how much you think you’re doing, somebody’s doing 100 x more than you. Yeah. And not meaning more money, but like, experiencing more. And so I think that’s what motivates me is like, by the time I’m gone I want to feel like I’ve experienced everything that I wanted to experience. And the only way to do that is to keep putting yourself in situations that you can have experiences, right? Like people talk about traveling. Isn’t that the same thing? Like I want to travel the world. Why will you want to travel the world to have all these experiences So you can learn and by the time you’re gone, you’re like, I traveled the world that had all these beautiful experiences of culture, nature, whatever. Same thing in business. Yeah, same thing and making money. Same thing. And you know, getting married, like, why do you want to date 10? Girls? Oh, cause I want to experience I want to see I want to like, same thing.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Speaking of travel and experiences, tell us the quick version about when you and sage got married. You guys, your family’s from India. Tell us that. This is hilarious.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, so my wife. Actually, it’s funny. I just use the dating examples, about example. Because Sage was like one of the first was the first girl I ever dated. We got engaged in five months. And we got married one year later. So very quick. That was the decision I made pretty quickly. But we got married in India, it was her idea. She wanted,  she had family over there. And she thought it was really important that that family who couldn’t come to the US was there. And so we decided to take 200 people from the US, mostly from Southern California, my family, you know, white suit, or you know, black suit wearing family of mine all the way over to India, which was really fun. And we got married in the village, like the farm village in the middle of nowhere, where no one was coming to rescue you like, and, yeah, we had a really colorful, beautiful wedding there. And I had seven or eight of my closest white friends from college who showed up and they had quite an experience getting married in India. And it was it was really cool. But that that experience of getting married in India, it’s in it’s really a different place. But you know, you can, you can be very close for a long period of time. And in our as you know, like Indian weddings are really long, they’re like four or five days long. And so we had the opportunity to like, have everybody Stay with us. And everyone lived in the same as four or five houses, and we all slept together, we woke up together. So like that process was so beautiful. To be able to spend that time that was the first and last time our entire family. Five generations of people were in the village where our ancestors were from, that was probably going to be the last time. Yeah, and, and so it was really, it was really fun. Because if we had a merit wedding in America, like, you know, everyone stays in their own hotel rooms, they all stay wherever they are, and you have a few hours every day, or they’re staying at home. So it’s just a different process to keep people together. Yeah. And I think that that’s also that’s really important. And how I grew up is we had people around us all the time. And you know, and I think a lot of cultures have that. But I think that’s underrated, too. Yeah, is creating these relationships and people it’s ecosystems of support. And example, to continue to keep the glue right. And like, why are we doing what we’re doing.

Mike Ayala: Well, I appreciate you sharing that again, I love hearing that at dinner with you and Sage sitting there, it was just such a fun story says a lot of to about you know, you guys and just what’s important to you, I mean, literally bringing 200 people, like I’m just picturing you guys should have just rented like a small cruise ship or something. But anyway, I just that just speaks so much about what matters and your guy’s values and what’s important to you. So one last thing as we wrap this up, and I’ve never actually asked you this, but I remember the first time we got on a zoom call, seeing if it was a fit for the couple’s mastermind. Yeah, I you guys, you really shared with us then that philanthropy was really important to you. But honestly, in all of our communications, which hasn’t actually been a ton of I feel like I’ve known you forever. But when we have communicated it, like even when we’re at the mastermind, it was like three days of nonstop. So I know philanthropy is super important to you. Can you give us the three-minute or five-minute version of what do you guys do?

Ashish Nathu: Yeah, so I actually can’t, I mean, I’m not even going to try to take credit for how this was instilled in us. But we have a family foundation. We have a very large family network here in Southern California. And so our grandfather started a pretty large family foundation, he was very successful, but decided that he really wanted to create a philanthropy, you know, impact on the world in the last phase of his life. And part of that journey, and he’s done a lot and does a lot and his suit in 92 years old or something is super stimulated in that. And he drives that a lot. But he thought it was very important at a young age for us to be educated about that in a formal way. And so, probably for like the last 15 years, me and all our cousins were you know formally like trained of like, Okay, how do you think about giving? How do you think about it from a financial standpoint, a human impact standpoint? A scalability standpoint? And so like that’s, you know, in the beginning, we kind of got those nuggets. I think that everybody wants to give and wants to do something, and they ought to do something. I think everyone has their own seasons in life, like, you know, I’ll admit this, like, I think this is, I think there’s a phase for everybody of like, deep giving, and a lot of giving, right? Some people take the approach of like, well, I’m going to invest my money, or I’m going to invest my time. I think, I don’t judge anyone, I don’t care what it is, as long as you’re doing something. And then I think it’s important to kind of create your focuses because otherwise, you’re going to be just distracted and never do anything, right. And so our foundation focuses on, it’s called The Tresadia Foundation, shout out. But it does have Health and Human Services, it does shelter, and it does education. So those are the three kind of pillars. And in our company, now we’re starting to focus on a few of our own different pillars, and as a furniture company, super in tune with the environment. So starting to work on environmental sustainability initiatives and things like that. And so, yeah, nothing, no rocket science, but you know, I think it’s important to understand the balance of things and the, the giving and the taking of things. And as entrepreneurs, we take a lot, we make a lot. And then like, how do we give? And I think I saw that very early on, in, in, in businesses in my ecosystem of, well, we’ve taken a lot from this space, what are we giving, right? Or we’ve taken a lot from this country, what are we giving or whatever. And then just being in tune with that. And I think like Kara, I’ll give a shout-out to Kara, really quick share, Kara just had a podcast talking about money and energy. And that’s what it is, right? It’s like money and energy. And so if you can understand that, and the giving and the taking of that it will serve you. Yeah. You just may not know how or what. You can’t die with money.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, it’s so good, man. Well, we’re at 52 minutes. So it’s been a good one. You know, I want to give you a few minutes if you got any final last words.

Ashish Nathu: I don’t have any last words.

Mike Ayala: Well, I appreciate you. So where can people find you?

Ashish Nathu: You can find me on my Instagram page. My handle, I’m not very social in that regard yet. I think you may push me to do that more. I’m sort of a much more grassroots type of guy, but I definitely need to increase my social presence. But yeah, you can find me on Instagram @AshishNathu.

Mike Ayala: Awesome. Well, I appreciate your time and all your insight and wisdom. It’s been super amazing. And I think our audience is going to love it. So thanks for your candor. Love it.

Ashish Nathu: Thanks. Thanks so much, Mike, and for being you and everything that you do. Bring your wisdom to the world, man. Thank you.

Mike Ayala: You’re welcome. Cheers.

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Episode 107