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.)
- 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.
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.
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.
, 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.