Who am I? Well, my name is Giovanni Sasso. Friends call me Gio. I’m a guy trying to create the life that I’ve always wanted but the road to live life on my own terms has been littered with obstacles. This site is my attempt to share my experiences with you, but more than that, it will be my online diary that will continue for many years to come. I have big plans for this site but it will take time to fully realize.
Why “Pivot or Die?”
I debated whether to call my site “Pivot or Die” or try to find another name that was more friendly. Let’s be honest, Pivot or Die sounds harsh upon first reading, but I have very sound reasons for sticking with this name.
First of all, this is my personal site — it represents me fully and completely. From my experience of life I knew I have to change my life or I would die. It’s that simple. There was no option. I reached a point where I could no longer continue to keep walking the path I was on. I had to change because I hated my life so much. Initially I was going to call it “Change or Die” but that was taken, thankfully, “Pivot or Die” was available — which I happen to like better than the former anyway.
On my journey of life (so far) I’ve come to realize that in order to live a fulfilling life I must continually adapt, change, learn and grow. Standing still is not the way to a contented life. I’m happiest when I’m pushing myself and taking on challenges that genuinely interest me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I need to continually be learning 24 hours a day. I’m not saying that I’m unable to relax. In fact the opposite.
My point is that, on average, I need to evolve and push myself beyond my comfort zone. The term Pivot or Die is a succinct way for me to express my need for growth, but I feel this applies to all of us. As human beings we need to move out of our comfort zone in order to test our talents and potential. The absolute worst thing we can do is settle in and remain stuck in a life of complacency. I’ve been there and I know that over time, complacency will destroy your soul and ultimately, your motivation.
My Story | The Short Version
From a young age I always felt a certainty that I had the potential to do something great with my life. It felt inevitable that I would create the wonderful life that I imagined — even though I didn’t consciously know how I would go about it. It was just a feeling.
When I was 26 (1996) I thought I won the lottery when I landed a job as an artist at Electronic Arts, if you don’t know, it’s a major video game company. When I was a kid I absolutely loved video games so landing this job was the thrill of a lifetime, it truly was at that time in my life.
Fast forward about 3 years and I started to see the error in my thinking; and the thing that I once loved so much became something that I was beginning to hate. I pursued a career in the video game industry for the art of making games, because I wanted to create games that mattered; more akin to art. It took about 3 years to realize that it was just a business and I was merely a pawn for executives to manipulate and command.
I should probably mention that I never enjoyed work. Even when I was 16, I didn’t like being told what to do. It went against my instincts. So when the luster of “hey, I’m making video games” wore off, I was left with the harsh reality of having a job. Sure, it paid well, but I wasn’t using my talents so from my perspective, I was a job. I aspired to have a rewarding life, not a job. Sorry, but that’s just the way I’m wired.
Sure, I was naïve, but the bottom line was that the career I once loved became something I hated — all within about 3 years. Any delusions I had about creating art were quickly beginning to dissolve right before my eyes.
In May of 2003 I was laid off and that was the beginning of a spiral downward; one that forced me to question my identity and come face to face with my own fate. Who was I? What did I want now? How would I make a living?
I fumbled in the dark for 3 years, unemployed, eventually broke and to make matters worse, in 2006, I filed for bankruptcy. It was a disaster of epic portions. How did someone who felt so optimistic about the world and his future wind up in a hell like this? And it was hell, believe me. My greatest fear in life has always been poverty. I watched my parents struggle and complain about money my whole life growing up, and here I was, a complete disaster. Everything fell apart.
In June of 2006 I managed to land another job in the video game industry, and I slowly began to crawl my way back into a career — or so I thought. In April of 2007 I was laid off again. Despair started to settle in during this time of unemployment. I was broke and money was running out.
Four months later I landed another position in a video game company, thanks to a friend, and although I enjoyed some of the work I knew that this career was over. I couldn’t work in the video game industry. Sitting in a cubicle all day, staring at a screen just didn’t interest me anymore. Something had to change. I changed. I outgrew the life I had.
In 2013 I was laid off once again, but this time it was different. I felt the chill of uncertainty deep in my bones. I hated this career that I had. My passion was completely gone. Now what?
A few months later I landed a well-paying contract position and when that ended the company offered me a full-time position. I didn’t want to take it because I knew I couldn’t do the work anymore. What choice did I have? I needed the money.
So, I took it. I lasted one week, then I quit. I knew that was it. Everything that I had known before had to change. There was no going back. For another 1.5 years I floundered. I stumbled through the streets of the city, going round in circles, wasting time, going slowly insane from the despair of knowing I was wasting my life — not to mention that I didn’t know how I would support myself. My girlfriend was keeping me alive. This wasn’t how I wanted to live.
To put it bluntly – I was screwed — or so I thought.
In July of 2014 I was at the absolute end of my rope. Nothing was getting accomplished. I was going nowhere, moving around in circles, and not only was I bored out of my mind, I was done with it all. I knew I had so much more to give and do in the world, but yet here I was, feeling like an absolute failure and couldn’t stand to continue rotting away. Words cannot express the absolute anger and despair I felt from wanting so much to live and experience life to the fullest, but I couldn’t, because I was broke financially – as well as spiritually. It was a living hell.
There was no hope. I was 44 years old and this is what my life became. How pathetic! Honestly, I just wanted to kill myself – day in and day out. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t the life I dreamed of as a child. I was so much better that what my life showed, and I didn’t see a way to a better life. I was still spiraling down, with no direction.
But something happened in July 2014. I started doing something. It was small but significant. I stumbled upon online business podcasts and just started listening. I started with Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn and also, Niche Pursuits with Spencer Haws. I would say that these two podcasts did something that nothing else did — they gave me hope. By hearing the stories of other people’s success, it made me believe that maybe I could have an online business as well. Maybe this was my ticket to living life on my terms. I thought that maybe there is a way to a better life that didn’t involve working for somebody else. There was a shift in my consciousness when I started listening and learning — all day, every day. I was relentless in my pursuit of knowledge. Essentially, I was trying to rewire my brain by filling it with new ideas of possibilities.
I remember thinking to myself “it’s time to dig deep one last time an pull everything left inside of me to get out of this mess.” I decided to focus all of my energy in solving this problem of poverty. Looking back on my life, all of my misery was when I wasn’t in control of my life, primarily when I had no money. Money matters in this world, and I committed to figuring out how to make money on my terms. I didn’t want a job, I wanted a life.
In August 2014 I started my first Amazon affiliate site and about 5 months later I created a fitness brand.
It’s been a very long decade for me. Beaten up and battered by the turbulence of life. I stood face to face with death, shook its hand and watched my life flash before my eyes every single day. But, somehow I found a way back to a better life. I’m still evolving, learning and trying to rebuild my life but I feel the need to share what I’ve learned in the hope that I can help someone else find their way home.
I’m 45 at the time of this writing. Reinvention can happen at any age. In my case, I genuinely had to pivot or I would die, but the term “Pivot or Die” also refers to a spiritual death. If you find yourself resigning to a mediocre life even though deep down you know you deserve a much better existence, well, in my book that’s the death of spirit. Not in a religious sense, but the death of the core of who you are.
I decided to challenge myself and find out what I could accomplish with the life that remains for me. I don’t know how long I will live. Nobody knows. But you have to turn fate around and rather than play the victim and accept a life of mediocrity or misery, you have to ask yourself “What can I do with the life I have left? What can I accomplish? What’s inside of me that has to be put forward?” Ultimately, it’s a choice and it’s up to you.
My hope is that what I’ve learned in life can help you get out of a rut and turn your life towards a shoreline that excites you.
For me, one of my goals is to live in Hawaii someday. I’m a Canadian so it’s going to require a lot of money to be an American citizen. Follow me on this journey and let’s see what we can accomplish with the life we have left. I have many other aspirations, but living in Hawaii is one that I wanted to share here.
I’m not afraid of dying, but rather, I’m afraid of not living while I’m alive.
This About page is the first thing I wrote for Pivot or Die and I know that it will change countless times over the upcoming years. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. I’ll revise and update it over time. This is an important reminder to myself and to you, the reader — just begin. Whatever you want to do in life requires one simple thing — for you to begin. Don’t try to be perfect, perfection is an illusion. Begin, revise, recalculate and iterate over time. It’s the only way you’ll get anywhere in this crazy world.
This is a new beginning for me. I don’t have a plan for what this site will become but I know it will be a true reflection of who I am and it will document the journey of my life. Whether or not this site becomes of value to anyone else can only be determined by my audience. My job is to tell my truth — it’s all I know.
Change is inevitable, but I believe that in order for you to live your best life you must consciously choose to keep evolving, growing and learning so you can avoid the spiritual death that occurs when you settle into a life that stops challenging you as a human being.