So on January 1, 2022 — I started journaling every day. Nothing crazy, sometimes it’s just a sentence or two about how I’m feeling, or things I’m thinking about.
Sometimes though, I’ll write a few long paragraphs. But so far those days have been pretty rare.
I still love the process though. I used to be into Moleskine journals, but now those just seem less practical. Now I just use the notes app on my phone and my computer. I’ve written just over 17,000 words in 2022.
Why Do I Journal?
I think journaling is valuable for clearing up my thoughts. If I have something going through my head, I can write it down and kind of work through it on paper.
If I have something that I don’t feel like telling anyone else, I can just jot it down in my journal to help sort of get it off my chest.
I also like to reframe my thinking through journaling. For example, if I’m feeling frustrated on a particular day, I can write down things I’m grateful for or people I love. It can do a lot for putting me in a better mood.
That’s all. If you have a journaling practice, I’d love to hear what works for you and how you’ve evolved your journaling over time.
Reading: This is incredibly important for acquiring new knowledge. Now you can learn a lot without reading, from places like podcasts, YouTube videos, and documentaries. However, the ability to comprehend the things you read quickly and completely is a valuable skill in business. Because much of the communication today has moved away from face-to-face and towards asynchronous text-based chat, reading comprehension is important.
Writing: Being able to clearly and succinctly translate something from your head to words is essential. To communicate with others on Slack or in emails, you need to be an effective writer. In school I think people are sort of corralled into thinking that writing is a creative endeavor (and it certainly can be), but writing is actually very formulaic and structured. Also, people are often tricked into thinking that to write something, they need to use different language than if they were speaking that same thing. Don’t do this. Use the exact same words as when you speak, and your writing will be more relatable and easier to understand.
Persuasion: This ties back to writing — but you need to be able to present your case for why you think the way you do. You need to be able to share your justification for the conclusions that you’ve come to. Persuasion can also be thought about as marketing. You’re either marketing yourself or you’re marketing your thoughts. If you’re able to show the value of your thinking and the conclusions you draw from the information you have — you will be rewarded for that skill.
Arithmetic: Basic math skills are necessary so that you can understand numbers. If your goal is to become rich, basic arithmetic can go a long way. For example, if you’re trying to make an investment decision, you need to be able to understand the potential upside and the risk that you’re taking. At some point, managing money becomes simply managing percentages and trying to find something that improves your return from 5% to 7%. If you can create some models and projections to understand the results of your efforts right now, you will be better equipped to make financial decisions. In everyday life, having math skills just means that you can understand information that involves numbers.
Computer Programming: If everyone is using computers constantly, having the ability to manipulate the output of these devices gives you a ton of leverage. The ability to automate time consuming tasks that a computer could do in a matter of seconds means that you can focus on more difficult questions and problems. Computer programming doesn’t even have to be coding ability, but as long as you have some technical skill that makes you valuable in today’s internet based economy will put you ahead of a large percentage of the population. There a plenty of no-code solutions available that allow you to make websites, edit videos, or build apps to reach more people. All of these just let you to share your writing, persuade more people and ultimately have more leverage.
Wait, doesn’t everybody hate Jake Paul. Well, maybe. But there is one group of people who absolutely can’t stand the guy: fighters.
So why do fighters hate him more than regular people? Because he has essentially hacked the system to become the most well-known fighter in the world.
However, he hasn’t had to go through the early, extremely-difficult stages of a traditional career in fighting. Jake Paul never had to live out of his car to be able to train full-time as a boxer. He never had to move away from his family to be able to train at a gym far away from his home.
He had access to resources from the early stages of his career — something that most professional fighters don’t have. Because of these resources, he had the ability to pick and choose his opponents. He had the ability to optimize his training camp (nutrition, recovery, PEDs?, and coaches) in a way that only the top 1% of athletes can afford.
So I think Jake Paul has shown that fighters don’t have to take the traditional route to finding success in the fight game. A lot of fighters have taken note and are using their social media accounts and other platforms to raise their notoriety, increasing their value for the promotion they represent, and as a result, getting paid more to fight.
This approach won’t work for everyone. It can work well, if you’re Conor McGregor and you’re an amazing shit talker. If you aren’t and this doesn’t come naturally, it can be incredibly awkward — and people can tell it isn’t genuine.
So my point is. If you want to be a professional fighter, or even a successful Internet personality, take the shortcut. Build your following and leverage it to help you accomplish your goals. If it requires you to be the heel and have people hate you…it just might be worth it?
The majority of your views come from just a small portion of the content you create. I know what you’re thinking — duh! If you’ve posted on social media a lot, or published blog posts, you’ve probably had one post that stands out from every other one of your posts.
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts, created hundreds of YouTube videos, and posted on Instagram/TikTok thousands of times. 95% of my views and engagement comes from just a few posts.
The point is I never knew that these would be the content that got the most attention. And if you can figure out what will do well and what won’t, you’ll become very rich — because even the best creators in the world struggle with this.
Focus on Being Consistent
My most successful content marketing efforts have been the result of consistency far more than focusing on creating absolutely perfect content. Each piece of content plays an important role in my overall strategy. On a blog, for example, every post is targeting a specific keyword and is providing internal links back to other pages on the site. Over time, this compounds into a well developed blog that delivers traffic for tons of different keywords.
I‘ve committed to a life of learning. Books are one of my favorite ways to learn. They make me a more interesting person. They allow me to perform better. They allow me to talk to smarter people. I love them. They will enrich my life, so I spend freely on books.
My great-grandmother lived to be 98 years old. She taught me many valuable lessons. One thing I remember her telling me was, “Make sure you have good shoes. Take care of your feet.” Ok, maybe it’s not 100% accurate that I will spend unlimited money on shoes, but I always opt for higher quality shoes. This is mainly because they last longer, so I actually get my money’s worth.
I don’t travel to stay at a luxury hotel and sit on a beach and drink daiquiris. I want to travel to places I’ve never been and explore the place on foot, and see the people who live there. Travel enriches my life by introducing me to new experiences and new ways of living.
If you are what you eat, it’s crucial that you eat high quality food. I know that I could eat much more cheaply than I currently do, but I prioritize buying high-quality food. If an organic option is available, I almost always opt for that. If I can buy 100% grass-fed beef, I will spend the extra money to get it.
I also am willing to spend a lot more on a meal if I am in the company of good friends or family. I love eating at nice restaurants with close friends or members of my family. These meals are priceless in my eyes.
This one ties back to unlimited spending on books, but there are plenty of other ways that I can learn. This could mean spending unlimited time learning a new skill, purchasing a course online, or even just spending money on new experiences.
If I’m going to dedicate myself to being a life long learner, I have to be willing to dedicate resources to acquiring new and interesting knowledge.
Early on in the COVID pandemic, I had some extra time to spend at home. I decided to work my way through a physics lecture series I found on YouTube.
I decided to start working my way through these lessons from Jeff Hanson. I started with the Statics course, and then I moved on to the solids and dynamics courses.
Why Did I Do This?
I think engineering is the coolest. My mom’s boyfriend is an engineer and I was fascinated with how he could fix almost anything in his house. Like many other people did during the pandemic, I was seriously considering a career change to engineering. I actually applied for a couple engineering schools and got in to one of them. I thought I would brush up on my physics and math by running through Jeff Hanson’s courses on YouTube.
What Did I Learn?
Well, obviously I learned a lot about engineering concepts. But what I was surprised by is how easy I found it to learn from this format. I love being in a classroom setting, but this gave me access to the same information at any hour of the day, and allowed me to work at my own pace.
Some people who want to learn these subjects assume that the only way to find this information is to spend thousands of dollars on college courses, hundreds of dollars on text books and hours in a classroom. People know that they can learn about social media marketing or fitness on YouTube, but I think the part that gets overlooked is the legitimate, valuable information you can find on YouTube on ANY SUBJECT.
Would I Still Become an Engineer?
After completing these courses, I think I scratched the itch that I had. I still love learning new math and science concepts but I’m not interested in working as an engineer. I love applying the concepts I learn, but I don’t think the work that engineers do would stimulate me in the same way.
This little foray into a new subject really showed me one thing. Being a lifelong learner is a personal choice that you have to make. If you want to perpetually improve and expand your knowledge, you have to make the choice to take action.
If you’ve always wanted to learn about something, but never had the chance to take an actual class — just look for something on YouTube or elsewhere online. The resources are available for you to learn whatever you want: GO FIND THEM!
I’ve started playing guitar quite a bit recently. This is nothing new, I’ve been playing guitar since I was a teenager. I took a few guitar lessons when I was in like 2nd grade, and then again when I was in middle school. Then, when I was in high school I picked it up and played a lot. I spent hours and hours in my room annoying my brother by playing the same chords over and over again.
Recently I’ve been really enjoying learning new songs on the guitar. I think I’ve followed a somewhat typical path in learning and playing guitar. Obviously at first I made progress really quickly, but then I felt like my progress really stalled for the past few years. I wasn’t playing as much, and when I did I just played the same songs over and over again.
In the past few months I’ve been learning new songs from artists that I didn’t really listen to much before. I watched this video of John Mayer performing at NAMM 2021, and have really enjoyed learning some John Mayer songs.
I’ve read that guitar players typically progress quickly at first before reaching a stagnant period and then after awhile they start making progress again. I hope that I can continue to grow as a player over the next year.
I hit a couple of milestones this month that I thought would be interesting to share here. These weren’t really goals that I was working towards, but I’m still happy with the progress I’ve made over the past year or so.
900 Subscribers on YouTube
A couple of days ago, I reached 900 subscribers on YouTube. I’m actually really happy with the growth I’ve seen on YouTube in 2020 and so far in 2021. I got on a pretty good publishing schedule in 2020 and have ramped it up further in 2021.
I’m consistently gaining around 10 subscribers per day on my YouTube channel, so if I can maintain this trajectory I should reach 1000 subs (and eligibility for monetization) fairly soon.
300 Pound Back Squat
In mid-2020 I started the Smolov squat training program. I made a lot of progress fairly quickly, while taking on this squatting program in addition to CrossFit workouts. One of the biggest changes that CrossFit helped me make was getting more depth in my squat. I went from doing mostly “powerlifting-style” low bar, parallel squats to doing high bar, ass-to-grass squats. I took a slight step backwards as far as the weight I was lifting, but my range of motion has increased a lot.
In 2020, I went from a 255 pound max to a 285 pound max in the first couple months of the squat program. I wanted to get to 300 pounds but hadn’t really had a chance to test my one rep max. One day this week we worked up to a one rep max back squat at CrossFit, and I was able to hit a 300 pound lift.
I’m not done achieving my goals for 2021. I still have a long way to go. Stay tuned for my journey.
Honestly, I haven’t done much in the way of actually looking for a mentor. I’d love to have one, though. Someone I can bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, and learn from. But mentors aren’t on LinkedIn just reaching out to every young person in their field.
But I understand why. For someone with 10+ years of experience in a given field, what incentive is there to mentor someone?
For many people that find themselves in stressful careers (and careers that get more stressful and demanding as they progress) they simply “don’t have time” to mentor someone. If someone is driven by making money, there isn’t an incentive to help a younger person in their field.
I think one way to get many of the results of a mentor is to turn to “Mastermind” programs and online courses. Once someone in a given field reaches a certain level of expertise they can put together a course about how to get started in their field, how to grow and develop, and certain roadblocks they ran into that you can avoid.
There are many programs like this, but I think they will make their way into new industries in the next 5 years.
Yesterday at work I got to do some awesome work. When you do similar things every day, work can start to feel monotonous. However, yesterday I got a message from a co-worker asking for help on a project and I jumped at the opportunity.
We put together a “guest post” or “sponsored post” for a popular tech site. I was involved from start to finish and I felt like I had really contributed to my company’s goal of promoting its product. I studied the other sponsored posts on the site and emulated what I saw as the good parts of them. I wrote a 500 word article that 1.) would provide value to the site’s readers and 2.) promote our product in a way that would make people want to buy it.
I also did some graphic design work for the article, because the post includes a header image and a in-article graphic. I really enjoyed this process because it allowed me to showcase a range of my skills while also collaborating with a few other team members.
I’m excited for the post to go live and I’m optimistic that it will deliver good results for my company. (Stay tuned for my post about how the article went viral and I got a huge bonus 😜🤞)
I really enjoyed writing this post. Typically I’m writing informative articles for the sole purpose of attracting organic search traffic from Google. When writing for SEO, I feel like my writing is kind of formulaic and boring. I’m not focused on telling a story to readers, I’m interested in showing Google that I’m an expert on a given topic. I plan on writing more posts like this one over the next month or so. Thanks for reading.