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Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 7:01 pm
by RoamingFrancis
Haha, love your BJJ insights. I'm looking for a gym to start myself. Any recommendations for finding a good instructor? Also, any tips on how to avoid breaking the bank?

Edit: Just went back to read about your ayahuasca experience; glad you found it so transformative. I've had similar experiences in my life with Vipassana and acid :D You're on a great path and I look forward to learning from you.

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 4:41 pm
by RFS
DECEMBER 2021 UPDATE
NET WORTH: $287K (liquidated a vacant property)
- I'm 49% equities, 21% gold, 21% cash, 7% crypto, and 4% short-term t-bonds.

2021 Expenses: $22k
- $5k of this went to a surgery and ayahausca. Without these 2 items, my average monthly spend came out to $1.4k.

I just moved to a new city, with cheaper rents than Atlanta. I'm now within 3.5 miles of the library, grocery store, gym, and the city's downtown area. Plus, I can walk around outside at night! It's marvelous.

Here's my current recurring expenses (the rent includes utilities, which I don't think will be $75.)

Image

BOOKS READ

Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity, by Michael Lewis
- Once again, I think Michael Lewis is the greatest author of all time. But the entire book isn't by him- it's actually a collection of newspaper articles and op-eds that detail all financial panics since 1987 (Black Monday, the Asian financial crisis, Dot-com bubble, and the 2008 housing bubble.) It was fascinating.


The Mastery of Love
, by Don Miguel Ruiz
- This is the most important book I've ever read. Seriously, people! My relationship with my family (and pretty much everyone) is much better now.

The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday
- See the post at the bottom of page 4. This book sits on my desk now, right above The Daily Stoic. I often take it out and read random passages.

Happy City, by Charles Montgomery.
- Jesus Christ almighty. This book is one of the most intellectually stimulating works of nonfiction I've ever read. I repeatedly found myself thinking "how long did it take to write this?" The depth of the reporting, the scope of the ideas presented, and the sheer quality of the writing is magnificent.

I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Atlanta, which is featured in the book as one of the worst urban design disasters in history.

As I read about the effects of the dispersed/suburban environment- where people buy SFHs 90 minutes from the city, commute 2-4 hours a day, and then experience loneliness, health issues and a negative savings rate- it made me tremendously sad. This was the life of so many adults I grew up around.

Also, there's a ton of overlap with the FI and ERE worlds. Much of the reporting details urban design projects that help people become richer and happier. But not in the conventional way. Let me share a passage with you:
A decade ago Conrad Schmidt lived unremarkably. The South African expatriate drove his Jeep YJ to work every weekday morning in the suburbs of his adopted city of Vancouver. That took an hour. He spent most of his day in front of a computer, writing software to control the robots that made cars, toys, and cigarettes in American factories. At the end of his workday Schmidt drove home again. Another hour. Sometimes, when traffic got really bad, he would grip the steering wheel as tightly as Randy Strausser [this guy was profiled at the beginning of the book] had, and fight the overwhelming urge to scream.

That sense of panic, of being trapped, stayed with him even after he parked his car. But drive he did, year after year, for the sake of that job. A layer of fat spread across his stomach and buttocks. Sometimes he would drive to a gym in order to work off the pounds and the frustration. Most days he just had no time for that.

Schmidt survived until, at the age of thirty-four, he realized that his decision to fit his days to the demands of sprawl shaped most everything about him. It dictated how he got around, how much stuff he bought, the shape of his body, even the amount of carbon dioxide he pushed into the atmosphere. Carbon—that was the one that stung him. He had studied the science, and he couldn’t stand the thought that he was helping fuel the climate crisis. One day he’d have kids. He felt like he was stealing from them.

Schmidt reengineered his life in stages. First he followed his fancy to a neighborhood with a reputation for street culture, a place where he could walk to buy his milk and newspaper, and enjoy the journey, to boot. He may not have considered the dynamics of population density, average lot size, or zoning regulations when he moved. He did not realize that he was enjoying the benefits of a century-old calculus, or that a long-gone streetcar line had shaped his new neighborhood. He knew only that the place felt good. It felt easy. There were people out on the main street all the time. He got to know some of them.

I know how Schmidt felt, because he had landed in my own accidental neighborhood. Like every truly great community, Commercial Drive functions much like the places people in sprawl pay to visit on their vacations. It is not at all elegant, but because the architecture, the street, and life itself have assumed a human speed, it is a place where you feel good walking, grocery shopping, or just hanging out.

The next step: One day Schmidt left his car at home. He walked to the SkyTrain, the elevated rapid transit line that crossed Commercial Drive a few blocks from his apartment. As the train carried him above the city and then the suburbs, Schmidt gazed down at the stop-and-go traffic. After twenty minutes he stepped off the train and made another life-changing decision. He did not wait for a bus. He took a deep breath and started to run.

Schmidt ran over a bridge and along a river. He ran along the road where he had once gripped his steering wheel in frustration. He ran all the way to work. When he got there, Schmidt could not stop laughing. He felt like a hero. He felt free. He decided to run to work again the next day.

After a few of these trips Schmidt realized that he didn’t need his Jeep anymore, so he sold it. Now he had a few hundred extra dollars in his pocket every month.

This emboldened him. One workday morning, still feeling his runner’s high, Schmidt walked into his boss’s office.

“I’d rather not come in on Fridays,” he said.
“Fine,” replied his boss. “But I will have to cut your salary by twenty percent.”
“Fine,” said Schmidt.

It really was fine. With no car, Schmidt didn’t need the money.

He got stronger every day, and he felt younger. He gave up his trips to the gym—why bother with a treadmill when your commute is your workout? He walked up and down the Drive, and he made friends there. They were a lot like him. Many of them had traded their life in dispersal for more time.

When the economy tanked, Schmidt didn’t feel the pain. He didn’t have a big house to lose. He had already sold his home and squeezed into a one-bedroom apartment along with a pretty woman he had met in the neighborhood. After their first baby arrived, they moved to a humble bungalow nearby. These places weren’t fancy, but his life on the Drive was rich with experiences.

It dawned on Schmidt that the less money he made, the better his life was becoming. He had time to pursue the dreams he had never managed to get around to in his old life. For one thing, he began staging costume parties where hundreds of his neighbors would come and dance. He started a new political party based in part on the economics of his own experience, and he called it, naturally, the Work Less Party.

Conrad Schmidt’s new life did not come for free. He earned it by trading away stuff as well as square footage. It was a deliberate journey. But here is the thing: the geometry of our neighborhood set the stage for that new life. The density andmix of buildings and jobs, the scale of streets and parks, the frequency of buses, the speed of roads, and the relationship of the Drive to the rest of the city, especially the nearby downtown, constituted a life-shaping system.

That system did not just make his days easier, healthier, more connected. It did not just make Schmidt stronger and give him more control over his days. It shrunk his footprint on the city, and on the earth. At the same time, by consciously embracing a local life on the Drive, Schmidt gave right back to it. He gave the neighborhood his money, his time, and, it would not be an exaggeration to add, his love. In so doing, he made it stronger. He became a part of it.

Some people, like me, arrive in the happy city by accident. Some seek it in desperation. Some build it. Some fight for it. Some, like my neighbor Conrad Schmidt, experience a conversion moment. They realize that their place in the city, and the ways in which they move, have tremendous power to shape their own lives, the life of their city, and the future of their world. They realize that the happy city, the low carbon city, and the city that will save us are the same place, and that they have the wherewithal to create it.
@RF- my man, I'm so glad to hear that :D As for not breaking the bank, buy your gis on Ebay. Otherwise, I think the only way to lower the cost is to leverage alternative forms of capital- doing something for the instructor/gym, or getting good enough to teach classes in exchange for tuition and/or pay. I can't wait to see how it works out for you! And thank you for the kind words, brotha!

Edit: I forgot to answer your question about finding a good instructor! My apologies. Online reviews are where it's at. Plus, if the instructor is not a good fit for you, you will know within one class. I can't imagine this being the case, though- almost everyone in the BJJ world is down to earth (especially those who can make it to the brown and black belt levels.)

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:37 pm
by RFS
JANUARY 2022 UPDATE
NET WORTH: $277k
- 50% equities, 20% gold, 20% cash, 6% crypto, 4% bonds.

JANUARY SPENDING: $1.2k
- Housing: $500
- Transport: $140
- Food: $270
- Misc: $300 (BJJ, contact lenses, cell phone, substacks, bike equipment, and a coffee)

INCOME: $1K

En route to the Wind River Range last year, we got pulled over for speeding somewhere in Utah.

Our vehicle was a beat-up 2005 Scion coupe with a spoiler. When the policeman walked up, he saw 3 young males with tattoos, long hair, mustaches, and hiking clothes. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

He asked for the driver's license and registration, then the VIN (vehicle identification number) on a piece of paper. The driver only had an electronic copy, and when he politely told the officer this, his mood turned on a dime.

He gritted his teeth and squinted his eyes, like we'd slighted him.

"What?! WHY is there no paper copy?!"

There was a brief pause, since we were all taken aback by this. The driver explained, with politeness, that his DMV only issues electronic copies.

The officer whipped out a notepad. "FINE! Read it out to me."

He wrote it down, then he leaned into the window and pointed at the driver and myself.

At the top of his lungs, he screamed:

"YOU, AND YOU! HANDS ON THE DASH! YOU IN THE BACK, HANDS UP!"

When he got back from running our information, he took a minute to stare at everyone.

“Let me ask you a question: Are there any drugs in this car?”

No sir.

There was a pause. “Look, I'm going to ask you one more time. What kind of drugs do you have in this car?”

We don't have any drugs with us, sir.

“Listen.." his voice changed from stern to soothing. "If you have dope in the car, and you tell me where it is, I'll just confiscate it. You won't get arrested.”

We don't have any drugs with us sir.

"Really?" He raised his eyebrows, as if to imply that we were lying. "You don't have any dope in here?"

No sir.

He took a long pause.

“Where are you going?”

I'm going a hiking trip.

“What's that supposed to mean?”

It... It doesn't mean anything, sir.

There was another long pause.

“Sure. Have you ever been arrested before?”

No sir.

“Do you have any alcohol in the car with you?”

No sir.

"Alright, this is the last time I'm going to ask: Do you have any drugs in this car?"

No sir.

“Would you allow me to search the car?”

Yes.

He paused again. “OK.” Then he wrote the ticket, explained how to pay the fine, and left.

The thing was, there was 0 probable cause to search the car. He just quickly profiled us and assumed we had drugs. I suppose the screaming was to scare us into a confession.

If he'd pulled over a 45 year-old woman driving a Honda CRV, do you think she would have received this kind of treatment? Exactly. This got me interested in the research of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. It posits that there's 2 types of thinking:

Type 1: fast, intuitive, and emotional
Type 2: slower, deliberate, and rational.

They're not independent. Type 2 thinking often happens within a schema crafted by Type 1. As Kahneman himself says:
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.
This is the basis for the principles in Never Split The Difference, Chris Voss' negotiation book. It's not about negotiation tactics, per se, but principles for manipulating your partner's type 1 thinking system. This way, you can influence the type 2 thinking that comes moments later.

That police encounter made me realize how important unconscious thinking is. And in the realm of the human experience, a lot contributes to it- posture, clothes, hair, facial expressions, the type of energy you're exuding, how well you speak and articulate your thoughts, etc. I pay a lot more attention to these things now, because they're doing 90% of the "speaking" to the other person about you.

In particular, I have been working on speaking with greater precision. I moved to Greenville on January 6th, and I had an interview the day after. The interviewer said "I'm impressed with the way you speak. I think you'd kill it in sales. If you want to transition into that after a few months of teaching, email me, and I will personally promote you."

This company solves a big problem for many schools, and exists within a general growth industry. I think a person with good systems could make some serious money.

I don't feel like money is a 100% solved problem yet, so I am thinking of teaching for a few months, then transitioning into sales to buy more assets.

Anyway, I moved forward to the next step of the interview process. I was also settling into my new house quite well! Then my roommate came home, 9 days after I moved in, to inform me that he was getting back together with his former spouse. He would thus need my room, which meant I had 30 days to find somewhere else to go (as per our rental agreement.)

Around this time, I realized that I can live and work anywhere with a good Wi-Fi connection. My roommate lived in Mexico for 10 years, and his stories sounded fascinating. I first thought "is some kind of divine intervention? Perhaps I should go to Mexico. Honestly, I can go anywhere."

This lead to periods of euphoria, where I would envision many possibilities. I thought of places for a Spanish ultralearning project. I even thought about leaving Greenville entirely and heading for a cheaper city (housing-wise.)

While this was nice, I had also been in Greenville for less than 2 weeks. I found a for-sale-by owner property that needed a considerable rehab, and I was thinking of buying it. I was also in the middle of preparing for the next interview, which would determine whether or not I got the remote teaching gig from earlier. I was also having trouble finding somewhere to live.

The euphoria quickly became destabilizing. It felt like too much chaos, and not enough order. Plus, I did not want to move in with my Mom or sister, who live 90 minutes away by car. I knew that the worst-case scenario was not that bad, but still, it was stressful.

On the 25th, I got the job, decided not to buy the house, and secured a new room. The owner quoted me for $650/mo, but I used principles from Never Split The Difference to negotiate down to $600/mo (including utilities!) Even better, the room and location are way nicer.

My energy is much better now. I'm going on a four-night backpacking trip with friends in late March. Also, I am going back to ayahausca this summer. On my first & previous retreat, I only took the medicine once (I had to leave early due to a situation outside my control), so my retreat center graciously offered me a free trip if I ever wanted to come back.

Life in Greenville is good. I joined Breathe and Flow's Patreon, which has given me access to 60+ minute classes. I've been doing a class every morning, and it has been a game-changer. You just go way deeper than a 30-50 minute class.

After one class, during the period where everything in my life felt unstable, I felt a flood of negative energy leaving my body. I burst into tears, and I felt the most immense gratitude for my life. My heart opened, and I felt the love of the universe pour into me. I called some people just to say that I loved them.

I also read Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Western Red Cedar, thank you so much for that recommendation. It really helped me become aware of my ego's sneakier manifestations. This quote, about the ego wanting to shun proper incubation for personal growth, hit me hard:
Ego doesn’t allow for proper incubation either. To become what we ultimately hope to become often takes long periods of obscurity, of sitting and wrestling with some topic or paradox. Humility is what keeps us there, concerned that we don’t know enough and that we must continue to study. Ego rushes to the end, rationalizes that patience is for losers (wrongly seeing it as a weakness), and assumes we’re good enough to give our talents a go in the world.
BOOKS READ

Be Here Now, by Ram Dass
- By his mid-20s, Richard Alpert was a psychology professor at Harvard. He had luxury cars, boats, vacations in the Carribean, and that sweet sense that something was wrong. Then he took psilocybin and eventually became Ram Dass. Need I say more? This book is epic.

When, by Daniel Pink
- I respect Daniel Pink so much. All of his books restructure my thinking. I think much differently about time now. Because of this book, I no longer schedule interviews, doctor's appointments, or anything important at certain times.


Star Wars: Dark Force Rising
, by Timothy Zahn
- Still some of the best literary crack in the business.

Lives of The Stoics, by Ryan Holiday
- Incredible. This book helped me understand the history of Stoicism, and it further cemented the philosophy into my subconcious (I have yet to encounter a situation where Stoicism did not help.)

Juliet's School of Possibilities: A Story About the Power of Priorities, by Laura Vanderkam
- I loved this. It's a short story, and it can be read in about an hour. It's extremely powerful. I find myself reciting many of the quotes still. Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.

Ego Is The Enemy, by Ryan Holiday

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2022 6:51 pm
by Kriegsspiel
I wouldn't sweat the police stop that much, he was probably nervous dealing with 3 young males. There was a big uptick in people shooting police in Utah last year.

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 11:48 am
by RFS
FEBRUARY 2022 UPDATE
NW: $280k
- 49% equities, 21% gold, 19% cash, 6% crypto, 4% bonds.

Spending: $2.4k
- Housing: $600
- Transportation: $141 (car insurance + gas)
- Food: $273 (all groceries)
- Misc: $1.3k ($625 plane ticket, $550 online teaching laptop, $140 for BJJ, cell phone bill, and health insurance premium.)

Income: $1k

I resigned from the online teaching gig. My last day is approaching- praise God!

When I taught in-person school, I enjoyed making lessons with my students' interests in mind. They analyzed a ton of music, wrote about relationships in the modern age, and read from texts like A Fighter's Heart and Dear Martin (I figured these would be more interesting to teenagers than Silas Marner.)

Boredom is the norm in school, so even the smallest acts of creative goodwill are insanely well-received by students, parents, and administrators. I remember one student grinning at me: “Mr. RFS, I can't believe it! I'm actually having fun! At school!” Many have contacted me, sometimes years later, to say thanks.

With this gig, I had 0 creative freedom. I wasn't even a teacher as much as I was a facilitator. All you had to do was show up and “teach” the lesson that was prepared for you. You couldn't change anything, either, and any outside materials (ie anything interesting) was forbidden.

It was also difficult to meaningfully connect with students. I got live-streamed into a classroom, and my only vantage point was a single camera placed in front of the room. All I could see were blurry bodies hunched over laptops.

By day 2, a feeling of dread began to accompany all job-related duties. The whole thing seemed completely pointless- because it was. Whatever a true "educator" is, I felt like the opposite of that. I was wasting both mine and my students' time. I knew I couldn't go on. So I quit.

30 minutes after sending the 2-week notice, my Uncle (who is also my business partner) called me.

“Hey buddy,” he began. “Let me see what you think about this: I think it's time to sell all this shit.”

I raised an eyebrow. We had previously concluded that the US dollar is losing value rapidly, most investments are severely overvalued, and that inflation-adjusted income was the way to go. “Really? Why?”

“Well, I've been thinking. I'm not sure how much you've been paying attention, but the market is crazy right now. People are paying outrageous prices for complete shitboxes here in town.”

He then proceeded to tell me what someone recently paid for, as he so eloquently put it, a shitbox house in a shitbox neighborhood. I literally gasped when he told me.

“Exactly. They're not worth that. Interest rates are going up, too. This can't go on for much longer. If we decide later that we want to sell, we won't be able to get anything during the bust.”

“Plus,” he continued, “all our properties are extremely old, and the major repairs are a-comin'. If and when something happens to me, and someone else will have to manage all of this, it will be an absolute clusterfuck. And I'm just not happy managing it.”

Fair enough. We agreed to call our realtor and see about selling.

I walked in the woods the next morning. Both of my income streams were about to be gone, and I was ruminating on what to do. Near the end of the walk, a lightbulb moment hit.

My roommate/landlord, who is a Mom, has 3 kids in private school. She's not happy with their education- particularly for her oldest son- and has been asking me about public school options for them.

I stopped dead in my tracks. “Wait a second,” I said aloud. “What if I could homeschool her kids?”

I approached her about it the next day. She wants to do it! As does her husband and oldest son. We have yet to establish anything solid, but I asked her today if my compensation could include them covering my rent. She said yes!

Rent comprises 60% of my recurring monthly expenses, and eliminating it would lower recurring monthly expenses to $400/mo. This would be huge!

I really enjoy helping kids learn. It's just that 99.9% of public and private schools don't educate. They only school- that is, they help condition habits and attitudes to create nonthinking consumers. Homeschooling, in my opinion, is the most direct path to meaningful learning experiences. The industry is blowing up, too! I think this could be a great outlet for me.

I am also becoming very interested in decentralized finance (DeFi.) I think the technology is revolutionary- just as The Sovereign Individual foretold, technology is decentralizing everything. Someone with a laptop can be their own TV/radio station, book publisher, music producer and distributor, and now their own financial institution. On DeFi protocols people can trade currencies, provide liquidity, and lend out money, all without intermediaries! And consequently capture the rewards for providing value. There are a lot of new opportunities in the space, too.

BOOKS READ

The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabrielle Bernstein
- I found a ton of value in this book. It provides a schema for aligning with the loving energy of the universe. I use many of the prayers and mantras she included in the book now.

The 5 AM Club, by Robin Sharma
- Since I started prioritizing reading in 2018, I have read around 150 books. If I had to go back and read only one book, it would be this one. It is beautifully written and is an amalgamation of insights gleaned from decades of deep work.

The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
- I read this several years ago, and it blew my mind. It still blew my mind. The hardest part of integrating the whole FI & ERE ecosystems, for me, is deprogramming roughly 2 decades of societal conditioning. Become a millionaire! Flex on the peoples. Busy good! This book refreshed my mental lexicon about what it actually means to be rich.

My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open, by Tanya Goodin
- Yet another book I enjoyed from the Punkt library (if you have read a lot of books about healthy technology habits, I would skip this one. But it's good for beginners.)

@Kriegsspiel- good point! I try to always give police officers the benefit of the doubt, since it is such an unbelievably high-stress job.

That was still one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me, though. When he pulled away, I saw "Protect and Serve" inscribed on the side of the car. "Listen... If you have dope in the car, and you tell me, I'll just confiscate it. You won't get arrested." lol.

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 1:51 pm
by mountainFrugal
RFS wrote:
Wed Mar 09, 2022 11:48 am
I stopped dead in my tracks. “Wait a second,” I said aloud. “What if I could homeschool her kids?” ...She said yes! ...

The industry is blowing up, too!
This is a very creative solution! Some of my friends (non-overlapping social circles) are considering education homeschooling coops or similar that are guided by a person such as yourself. They have all at least had the conversation. Your qualifications and willingness to do something like this are the limiting factor, not the desire from the parents/kids side. I think the opportunity there is a big one especially if you can work with them for more than a year and then they move on. It would allow a more expansive/custom education for making thoughtful humans. Good luck!

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:26 am
by RFS
MARCH 2022 UPDATE

Net worth: $286k
- 51% equities, 21% gold, 18% cash, 8% crypto, 4% bonds.

Income: $1.5k ($1k from business, $500 from a teaching gig.)

Expenses: $1.4k
- Rent: $600
- Food: $250
- Transportation: $190 (car insurance + gas)
- Misc: $345 (health insurance, BJJ, cell phone, 2 substacks, and the Waking Up app's annual $100 payment. I also popped a tire on my roommate's bike while inflating it, so I got her a new set of tires and tubes.)

Savings rate: 3%

Mountainfrugal, thanks for your comment! You have smart friends. That arrangement sounds infinitely better than standardized tests, sitting for 8 hours, and the teacher's attention split amongst 30+ kids.

Late this month, my homeschooling agreement fell through. My landlord told me that she just can't afford it right now.

This stung, since I've been struggling to find purpose.

I'm in a weird spot: I currently spend $1.3-$1.5k each month. I make $1k from a business, have some cash at the moment, and could withdraw $400-$450/mo from my equities portfolio (at least for the next 30 years, assuming the 4% model holds up.)

Thus, I'm somewhat FI at the moment. This still feels very new to me. From ages 5-26, my life was all about “the plan.” I made good grades, did all the extracurriculars, went to college, and then jumped into W2 world.

When you step away from that, freedom is like a new sport. Except you've never trained before, and almost nobody in your town plays it.

I quit full-time work last May. Then I went hiking, drank ayahausca, and moved to a new city. I got a part-time teaching gig, but it was terrible, and I resigned. I'm wondering how to move forward now.

Since my father died, suddenly and unexpectedly, I have become wary of the “deferred life strategy.” Old me knew that I could be disabled, diagnosed with a terminal illness, or killed. But simply knowing that didn't affect the way I spent my time.

I unconsciously thought that it happened to other people, but not me. When death came for him, it brought about a major change in perspective.
I know what it's like to lose, do you, do you?
Have you ever loved someone, then lost that one?
You can't even call their phone, you can't even ask them how their day was
Nothing in life's guaranteed, you'll see.

I'm not being difficult, I just see things differently
When I say I wanna see you, it means something different to me.
Now, all I want is to spend time with people I love & do things I care about. I also want to boost the passively-generated income, so that employment truly does become optional.

The day after the homeschooling news, I woke up and started my morning routine. I biked to the library for exercise, meditated and journaled on the lawn outside, then went inside for a longer journaling session.

When I sat down to write, I realized I forgot my laptop. A book caught my eye as I left:

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Gullibeaux.

“Finding the quest that will bring purpose to your life,” read the tagline. That sounded perfect for me, so I grabbed it and plopped down outside to read. The book's scope is large, but someone at his publishing house wrote a perfect description:

“When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal-seeker Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would be how many people like himself exist—each pursuing a challenging quest.

These quests are as diverse as humanity itself, involving exploration, the pursuit of athletic or artistic excellence, or battling against injustice and poverty. Everywhere that Chris visited he found ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals, making daily down payments on their dreams. These “questers” included a suburban mom pursuing a wildly ambitious culinary project, a DJ producing the world’s largest symphony, a young widower completing the tasks his wife would never accomplish—and scores of others writing themselves into the record books.

The more Chris spoke with these strivers, the more he began to appreciate the direct link between questing and long-term happiness, and he was compelled to complete a comprehensive study of the phenomenon. In The Happiness of Pursuit, he draws on interviews with hundreds of questers [note from RFS: Mark Boyle, an ERE ChadGod, is profiled in the book], revealing their secret motivations, their selection criteria, the role played by friends and family, their tricks for solving logistics, and the importance of documentation. Equally fascinating is Chris’s examination of questing’s other side. What happens after the summit is climbed, the painting hung, the endurance record broken, the at-risk community saved?

A book that challenges each of us to take control—to make our lives be about something while at the same time remaining clear-eyed about the commitment—The Happiness of Pursuit will inspire readers of every age and aspiration. It’s a playbook for making your life count. “

By the time I finished it, I had internalized an idea that Ultralearning and Flow echoed: That I need a damn quest!

I thought about how I'm not fully financially independent yet, that I would like to be, and that I'm interested in decentralized finance. “I wonder if I could make $10k using a DeFi protocol in 90 days? That would be a sweet quest”, I thought to myself.

After some soul searching, which helped me realize that I'm truly after passive income, it transformed into “make $1k/mo passively using DeFi in 90 days.” I concluded that I'd need to allocate a significant portion of my net worth for this goal. Since I'm not maintaining a positive savings rate right now, that didn't seem prudent.

The next iteration was “I wonder if I can just work with a company in this space? I'm a complete novice. This could be a great way to learn and get paid.”

I used to be an SDR (sales development rep), so I went to Indeed.com and typed in “SDR Defi.” One posting stood out to me- a small company with a unique product that solves a huge problem in this space. The position is fully remote, too.

I submitted an application. Then I searched for the head of sales, figured out his email, and reached out. He wanted to talk!

We had a nice chat. Near the end I asked how big the sales team is, and he dropped this bomb:

“It's just me and one other SDR right now,” he said. “She was hired Monday.”

“Oh shit,” I thought to myself. “This is a small company, with an extremely valuable product, and they're growing rapidly within an exploding industry. This is a huge opportunity!”

It was time to bring out the big guns. I wrote him the following morning:

“Hey again, [name]! Thank you for chatting with me yesterday. It confirmed my view that [company] is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

To show you how serious I am, I'd like to make this offer:

If you hire me, you can withhold all compensation for the first 90 days- base and commission. If you don't want to keep me after this period, you can keep the money.

I'd be happy to discuss other high upside/low downside options for hiring me, too.

Thank you!"

I followed up with him a few days later. He said they were still going through some interviews and would circle back. He also mentioned that he liked the creativity, but that they'll likely pursue a typical hire for the role.

Hopefully it will work out! But if it doesn't, though, it's all good. I feel like I have many resources at my disposal. I just need to be disciplined and clear-headed.

In other news, my daily meditation habit turned 2 years old this month.

To my brothers and sisters reading this, I implore you to take up this practice.

Nothing will provide you with clarity like meditation. Especially if you have a journaling habit. You can notice what's going on in your head, then dissect it with the pen.

BOOKS READ

The Happiness of Pursuit, by Chris Gullibeaux

Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
- I believe this is essential reading. Gatto is one of my favorite authors. His writing is stunningly beautiful, and you'll come away pondering how schooling has shaped your own mind.

Pandemia, by Alex Berenson
- Journalism is this man's domain of mastery. I learned so much from this book, and I'm glad his courage to report what's actually happening is garnering him rewards in the decentralized age. To prevent any policy/political discussions from occurring, no comments about this book please.

Stillness Is The Key, by Ryan Holiday
- This was my second time reading this book. I know I will come back to it again.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor
- I got a nice schema for understanding breathing, techniques that are already benefiting my life, and was exposed to some genuinely crazy shit (crazy in the good way.)

At the end of the book, you learn about what he calls “Breath+.” This section profiles guys like Wim Hof and Indian yogis that can melt snow around them, rapidly lower and increase their heart rate, and make their brain scans show deep sleep waves on an EKG machine, all using their breath.


Star Wars: The Last Command
, by Timothy Zahn
- This concludes the Thrawn trilogy, which takes place right after Return of The Jedi. Reading this book will literally make you hallucinate an epic Star Wars movie.

I've noticed that reading Timothy Zahn's fiction makes me a better speaker, too. He emphasizes tone, facial expressions, body languages, pauses, and all the nuances of communication during the dialogue. It helps me be mindful of that in my own conversations.

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:36 pm
by RFS
SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE
NET WORTH: $245K

Hi friends! I've got some exciting news for you!

I tried a semi-FI approach earlier this year. It revealed my true desire: 100% optional employment.

I thought about how I could:

- Raise my income
- Work remotely
- Contribute to interesting projects

… without high costs and years of schooling.

Learning to code checked all these boxes. I signed up for the Python Techdegree at Treehouse, which has been a wonderful experience!

I'm on the final project. My plan is to niche down into Cybersecurity. I like back-end work more than front-end, the supply/demand ratio in that sector seems more out-of-balance than most areas of tech, and the barriers to entry are low. One of my friends delivered pizzas until age 28, with 0 college, and cybersecurity was his way out.

I'm going to complete BowTiedCyber's roadmap, get my certs, make a killer portfolio, and apply to many postings!

The coding started in April. I returned to Mexico in May for a full Ayahausca retreat. It was the best week of my life. If you feel called to the medicine, I highly recommend it. I detailed my first experience here, and how it has helped me make tremendous leaps in my consciousness.

During the retreat, my landlord informed me that he was selling my residence. I could either buy it or move out within 60 days.

I regretted not learning Spanish via immersion last year, so I went back to Mexico. I lived in a city on the Carribean coast named Playa Del Carmen. I rented an apartment outside the tourist area, trained BJJ every day, went on dates with local women, and tried to speak as much Spanish as possible.

The amount I learned was unbelievable. I used Benny Lewis' Language Hacking Spanish book, which was immeasurably helpful. Now I have the confidence to travel anywhere in South America, except Brazil, and know that I can get around!

I returned last week. Mexico is a beautiful country, and it will take me a long time to digest everything I learned there. But for now, I'm enjoying the richness of the USA (mainly the abundance of healthy food and people I love!)

I used to think “the good life” was all about doing more, but I don't think that anymore. Life is better with less. The more I exclude the non-essential, the better I feel. And the more I actually achieve!

BOOKS READ

Hindsight, by Justin Timberlake
- I love JT's music. It was cool to see that he genuinely enjoys his life, due to discipline and integrity.

The Empathy Diaries, by Sherry Turkle
- If you like Sherry Turkle's work, I highly recommend this book. It's beautifully written (of course!)

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman
- This is the most important book I read this year. Its philosophy has helped me relax, achieve more, and ultimately enjoy my life!

100 Things We've Lost to the Internet, Pamela Paul
- A funny little book. How the world has changed!

Beijing Payback, Daniel Nieh
- I got this book from walking down a random aisle at the library. I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW GOOD IT WAS. This is a legit 10/10 thriller! I looked forward to reading it every day!

The Mastery of Love, Don Miguel Ruiz
- Simply too important not to re-read!

1984, George Orwell
- I was genuinely disturbed by this book. I wish everyone would read it. Orwell is a genius.

Animal Farm, George Orwell
- This is also a must-read.

Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl
- As is this!

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:42 pm
by AxelHeyst
I love these updates after a long silence and people have been off doing cool stuff.
RFS wrote:
Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:36 pm
I used to think “the good life” was all about doing more, but I don't think that anymore. Life is better with less. The more I exclude the non-essential, the better I feel. And the more I actually achieve!
What non-essential stuff have you been excluding recently that has you feeling this way?

Re: RFS' Journal

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:22 am
by fiby41
RFS wrote:
Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:37 pm
If he'd pulled over a 45 year-old woman driving a Honda CRV, do you think she would have received this kind of treatment? Exactly.
You will love listening to 'Talking to Strangers' by Malcolm Gladwell.