The Process

The most important thing I’ve learned about reaching goals in life is just how unimportant the actual goal is.

It represents something we want to achieve, something we don’t have, or a milestone we’d like to hit. But it says nothing about the underlying lifestyle changes that would make that goal achievable. And once we hit it? What then?

Sure, there are goals that are one time things. A sprint to get a project done, graduate from university, finals week, things like that. But for things like health, eating well, mastering a craft, the moment we stop practicing the things that got us there, we begin to lose them.

The process of getting there is 99% of the point—the process is how we live our lives day in and day out. The process is the goal.

So why wait until we accomplish what we set out to do to enjoy it? To celebrate it? A life that only celebrates the achievement of a goal is a life with little celebration.

3 Steps of Successful Investing

After the recent explosive growth in cryptocurrency, I can’t help but reflect back on my experience mining altcoins back in 2013. Bitcoin had become somewhat well known and was floating in the $500-$1,200 range and many alternate coins (altcoins for short) started popping up all over the place.

The concept seemed interesting, so I built a few computers that were designed to “mine” some of those currencies started learning as much as I could.

I sold much of the currency that I acquired through mining to cashflow the operation. It ended up being several bitcoins worth of currency at the time, but was sold off mostly in the $600-700 range in 2013. At a certain point, the mining I was doing was no longer profitable, as my computers used more energy than new technology that was constantly being developed.

So we turned off the machines and on one of my computers kept some bitcoin and dogecoin (one of the currencies we mined at the time).

Four years later, we see bitcoin rocketing from $1,300/BTC to over $17,000. I can’t help but think about what I might have done differently knowing bitcoin’s potential for growth. Realistically, there are three steps to any hugely profitable investment:

1 / Have A Great Idea or Think of Something Interesting

To start out, you have to have the idea that others might not have yet. A piece of information, some intel, or perhaps just a thought while comes to you while showering that makes you think getting into something might be a good idea.

Once you have the idea, you can research it a bit, find out as much as possible and then move on to the next step.

2 / Execute On Great Idea

This is a critical stage of the process, where you actually have to execute the great idea. 99.9% of people fail here when it comes to investing—they never take action on an interesting idea they had. Perhaps they don’t have the funds to invest or fear losing money on such a thing.

In this step, you have to actually buy the stock/coin, make the bet, or figure out a way to leverage a potential outcome over a period of time. Doing this, moves you on to the final step.

3 / Have Patience

This step is the difference between making 10% on a decent trade or investment and making 2,500%—having patience enough to let your idea fully play out and see where it could take you.

A big part of this is being financially stable enough to not need the money you may make in the short term and to just keep on holding. Part of the reason I kept my own bitcoin for so long was that it was inaccessible—on a computer in the basement, disconnected, for almost four years.

When bitcoin started rising rapidly, I figured I should at least figure out how to control the money I had stored.

If the idea was great, and you executed on it, and you have patience enough to wait for it to potentially come true, you will be a successful investor.

If you only have two of these things, it’s likely that you won’t get very far at all.

Do Not Be Afraid Of Work That Has No End

While attending World Domination Summit today, Scott Harrison, the ceo and founder of charity: water, said this quote. Originally stated by Avot de Rabbi Natan, it struck me as an important message across the board.

In his context, he was talking about doing charity work that works on a problem that may never be fully eradicated. If he’s able to bring water to every person on earth, there will always be another problem to solve after that.

“Once everyone has fresh drinking water, it’s not like I’m going to go get a job at a bank.” – Scott Harrison

I think too often we focus on the next stage of life or imagining ourselves after the work is done. Seeing ourselves as having been changed or somehow different once we’ve reached the end of the work. Our life’s work really has no end, at least until we die. That’s the only true end I know.

While we’ll complete various things over our lifetimes, really the growth can continue onward forever.

In addition, I think there is a general fear around attempting to tackle a problem with no end. We want to strive for completion, for impact, and to finish the work that we do in a substantial way.

The truth is, the most impactful work likely has no end. According to Scott, 662 million people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Over the last 10 years, his organization has helped about 7 million people gain access to fresh water through community wells and other strategies.

So in 10 years, his organization has raised over a quarter of a billion dollars and helped 1/100th of the people in need across the globe. It seems like such a small dent, but the impact is significant for so many people.

This situation reminds me of the story of the young boy walking down the beach, digging up starfish as he went. There were thousands of them, stranded all over the beach but he’d pick up one at a time and throw them back into the water.

Eventually, someone noticed what the boy was doing, looked over, and said, “Don’t you realize that you can’t help all of these starfish? You’re not really making much difference, there are thousands of them stranded here!” and as the boy throws yet another starfish into the ocean he responds, “It made a difference to that one.”

This is why we need people to step up and do work that potentially has no end, as intimidating as it can be. We can make a difference in the lives of individuals across the globe by doing important work.

I’m feeling particularly inspired, seeing the link between The Hope Effect and Charity:Water and the opportunity  to create change through those organizations. As Break the Twitch grows, I’d like to explore my own giving opportunities to see what causes I want to work on bettering the world with.

I would greatly regret living my life without seizing the opportunity to make a meaningful impact when I’ve been given so much in this life already.

One Simple Trick To Achieve Overnight Success In Just Three Years

Success, or at least the way we perceive it, is quite a tricky phenomenon these days. Media consumption is part of daily life for most of us, whether it’s through a television, smartphone, tablet, or at a gas pump. It seems like everyday there is a new pop star or starlet gracing these screens, with their screaming fans in tow.

It’s really easy to think that these people came out of nowhere, rocketed to stardom, and were made into an overnight success.

But this situation rarely exists, for a multitude of reasons–but yes–every now and then someone that hasn’t done much does get famous overnight, but that’s usually about as long as it lasts.

There are several thoughts I have around this and what is actually happening when it comes to fame and fortune.

Fame that is quickly attained most often disappears equally fast.

Imagine you go from living a relatively normal life to suddenly having the attention of millions of people. Getting a lot of attention for a moment isn’t actually all that hard–it’s keeping it that’s the trick. It’s nearly impossible to maintain a momentum you never had to begin with.

People often wish for big jumps in “success” but aren’t ready for it.

For example, if you are terrible at managing your money while making $50,000 per year, why on earth would you think that life would get easier making $500,000? It’s likely that you’ll simply buy things that are 10x as expensive and make 10x more expensive of mistakes. Much of life is setup to foster mistakes and learning experiences as we grow into higher incomes, allowing us to make mistakes.

The same goes for things like an email list–if you have 100 people on your list and it makes you anxious to have a few people unsubscribe every time you send out an email, but wish you were able to suddenly get 100,000 people on your email list, what do you think would actually happen? It’s likely that you’d be so anxious about losing potentially thousands of people that you’d never even send an email out. The big numbers don’t come until we’re truly ready for it.

Lots of people had leaked sex tapes–but Kim Kardashian turned hers into a global empire over the following years. Very few people can do what she did, whether it was through the people she surrounded herself with or under her own merit. I’d say it’s a sign of great business sense to surround yourself with capable people, rather than just try to be capable yourself.

It is daily practice and growth that prepares us for lasting success.

Opportunities are often not easy to come by, but they are there. The key, is being able to deliver as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Having the tools to be able to say, “Yes” and then figure it out later based on your knowledge of past experiences. It is this ability that allows you to excel to higher levels than you’ve ever been at before.

If you’re not practiced, or if you haven’t put in your hours, you likely won’t be able to deliver when those opportunities arise. It’s as simple as that. A slow burning rise will last much longer than one that happens seemingly overnight.

Instagram and Homogenization Of Culture

I’ve been sitting in a cafe looking out onto a downtown Chicago street, watching people pass by and trying to think what to write about for the last hour and a half. As I watch hundreds of people walk by, I can’t help but notice something–almost everybody looks similar, within their chosen “performance of self” categories as they do in Minneapolis.

I’ve noticed the same thing during recent trips to Los Angeles and New York.

Now, I’m certainly no sartorialist myself, but I can’t help but think about why this might be. With the age of the internet and mobile devices, specifically apps like Instagram, we’re seeing a broader perspective than we ever have before. We’re getting a direct feed from people all over the world as to what they think is cool and interesting.

Location is no longer a consideration when it comes to fashion, as you could see a really interesting outfit worn by a guy in Japan while scrolling through Instagram on your lunch break. If it is deemed worthy by Instagram’s algorithms, then tens of thousands of people will see that same image all over the world.

While inspiration likely previously came from traveling, or perhaps just walking down your own block and seeing what your friends were wearing, we’ve centralized a place where the coolest trends can exist. Where around the world, if something is cool, it can instantly be picked up in New York, Los Angeles, or wherever.

It seems to me that this would kill the phenomenon of regionalized style–Los Angeles having a “look” that is different from New York, or even Japan.

But as our feeds become filled with references from around the world, we become influenced by all of the same things. It becomes like one giant neighborhood where people get to experience and see what they like and want to imitate.

I would imagine that this substantially reduces the number of different styles in different regional areas as everyone has access to every different region now, and instead of dressing a certain way because our friends, neighbors, or community dresses that way, we can reflect what we see at much higher level.

In terms of business, I find this interesting because it provides a marketplace where companies could potentially tap into a global market instead of being more of a niche market–the trends will change as time goes along, just as fashion always has. But now the market for that type of fashion is massive, created by the centralized model of Instagram.

This also means that in terms of a broader market, more companies have to compete within the broader categories, looking for ways to stand out from other labels, etc. I find this particularly interesting with the trend towards no/low branding on apparel. The giant Abercrombie logo on t-shirts is generally found to be tacky now and most modern clothing only subtly features branding of that type.

Perhaps a small pelican logo or something like that. In a way, this might drive fast fashion, cheaply made clothing that costs less than competitors, as people try to find a way to stand out while still buying clothing that generally looks like this centralized, world-wide style.

I have to question whether this will have the same affect on culture in general, I imagine that it will. As we’re all able to see and access aspects of world culture through our phones, we naturally will adapt certain aspects of those cultures.

In 100 years will this mean that we are a global culture, as we become more connected across the continents and eventually unify as a single species? I’m not sure, but I can tell you that there are a whole lot of people that look a lot alike walking past this window I’m looking out of.