Nothing Starts Big

Nothing that is big today in the world started that way. Everything starts smaller.

It’s a myth to believe that things pop into existence fully formed, that there is no transition or journey. That something can only exist in its final form. Likewise, it is a fallacy to believe that just because something is not big right now that it will never be big.

Bigness comes in many forms. A professional athlete is big, Google is big, a musician at peak of their performance is big. A successful company is big. Big in this context simply means that they’re further down the pathway towards something than someone who is just beginning.

The bigness trap is a comparison trap.

It is comparing your proto-idea. The merest seed that has barely begun to germinate with the fully formed product of your competitor. It is the junior athlete who looks at the professional and then gives us because “they’ll never be that good”. It’s the young programmer who never tries because he never worked for Google (hint, the guys who started Google didn’t work for Google before it came into existence either). It’s the people who think that because they didn’t go to the right school or have the right friends that their life is over.

If you believe that just because you ain’t big you ain’t shit you are wrong. Utterly utterly wrong. You can only become big by being small. By starting with the smallest hint of an idea and continuing to work at it. By putting in the work.

Every hour you spend practicing a musical instrument will get you closer to the goal of being on stage. Every shitty venue you perform in is one step closer to the sold out arena. Every song you produce is one song closer to the break out hit. The only wrong solution here is to not act. To give up because “you’re not big”. Yet.

We live in a socially manicured world surrounded by perfection. As a society we celebrate the pinnacle of performance, and so we should. Excellence is something that should be celebrated in all of its forms. But along the way we often lose sight of what is hiding beneath the surface. We only celebrate the end result and not the work it took to get there. We celebrate being big as opposed to celebrating the process of becoming big.

So this is a rant and a refrain. This is a plea.

Stop looking at the big and instead look at the small. Look at the little ideas that have potential and look at the hours of practice that are required. Look at what you can do today that will get you a little bit closer towards being big. Look at what fits within your control and look at how you can use that.

Don’t look at Google. Google is big, what Google does has almost no relevance to what you, who are small, are trying to do.

Don’t look at Taylor Swift. Swift is big, her life has no relevance to you.

Don’t look at the top runner, bodybuilder, athlete, writer, musician or whatever¬† in your field. They’re big already. If you’re going to look at them then study their early life. Study them when they were small.

Be small. Be the dude fucking around in their garage at 2am because they cannot get an idea out of their head and they want to bring it into the world. Be the girl who is practicing violin for four hours a day to follow her dream. Be the kid at the gym putting in the work to build his body.

Don’t be afraid to be small. Don’t be embarrassed. Everything worthwhile in this world started with someone small who had an idea. It didn’t pop into the world as if designed by a committee, fully fledged in its awesomeness. Communal planning and five year plans sound great in theory but they don’t work. They crush the small. They stagnate.

Be small. Fight for what you want.

Separating Performance from Emotional States

This post is a personal essay on how to manage your emotional states. Over the last few years I have battled the ups and the downs of the black dog in my life, this has made me acutely aware of the impact that your mental frame of reference has upon your day to day life. In the title I talk about performance, but to me, this performance can simply be getting out of bed and going about our day.

This post has three primary sections:

  1. An introductory background section
  2. A section covering three theoretical techniques to help manage emotional states
  3. My personal success with applying this in my own life

Your experiences may vary, this is still a new concept that I am introducing into my own life and I’m not an expert on it. I still suffer setbacks and there are definitely areas where I can improve. This article is my attempt to introduce a different way of looking at a world where if you’re not perfect you’re nothing. Instead, I argue that maintaining a continuous slow improvement is the most important element of your longer term success.

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Mastery Pursuits: A Protocol

This is an article about how to get good at things. You may even be able to use this article to get great at something. That’s up to you.

I tend to structure my life around what I term Mastery Pursuits. A mastery pursuit is any activity with a high skill ceiling. Golf, pottery, writing, the violin, gymnastics, bodybuilding, power lifting, cooking and carpentry are all mastery pursuits. Traveling the world, becoming a restaurant or movie buff or any other activity where progress is measured by consumption are not mastery pursuits.

Mastery Pursuits are about excellence. Getting insanely good at something and in the process finding a lot of fulfillment from the act.¬† This article is about how to maximise your progress in that pursuit. You’ll like it if you want a collection of meta strategies to help you get good at something.

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Financial Independence and the Archetypes of Income

With my research into the goal of Financial Independence I have begun to think more and more about the methods through which we earn income. For most of us, the standard protocol that is embedded within us is that of the Salaryman, the individual who earns income by trading labour to someone else and is remunerated accordingly. This archetype is overwhelmingly present in our lives because it provides additional security. But it is not the only way to earn income. Broadening income streams is a key element towards reducing redundancy in our lives.

I see that there are nine different earning archetypes that we may follow as we live our lives:

  1. Salaryman
  2. Rentier
  3. Capitalist/Industrialist
  4. Trader
  5. Craftsman
  6. Artist
  7. Speculator
  8. Farmer
  9. Celebrity

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The Perfection Trap

Sometimes the hardest thing of all is to simply get started. The moments in your life where you want something so badly, but it just doesn’t happen. There is something holding you back. An inner fear. You may want everything to be just right before you start. Or there may be something stopping you at the back of your mind. Something which says, you’re not good enough to do this so what’s the point of even trying?

One of the hardest elements that I’ve personally had to struggle with is the idea that things don’t have to be perfect. Sure, it would be nice if they were but they don’t have to be perfect for them to still be worth doing.

Seeking perfection stops you from even trying

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An Introduction to Financial Independence: Part Five – Building a financially independent life

Overview

  • Discusses how to go about structuring your life to achieve FI through the use of systems
  • Practical focus as opposed to theoretically focused.
  • Illustrates how one element of your life can impact others
  • Approximately 7300 words

Now that we have come to the end of our long journey we need to pull everything together. The previous sections have covered a reasonably thorough introduction to the world of Financial Independence and Early Retirement or FIRE. As you hopefully understand by now, FI is not a fast solution, it is not sacrifice free and it is a little bit different from the rest of the consumption oriented world. I have focused upon the financial elements in this section as opposed to the early retirement as I do not want to put the cart before the horse. Instead, we must focus upon the journey.

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An Introduction to Financial Independence: Part Four – Investing and Tax

Overview

  • A basic introduction to the various types of asset classes that can be used to speed your journey towards financial independence.
  • Covers Shares, Bonds and Real Estate investments and establishes the difference between speculation, investing and hedging.
  • A basic introduction to tax advantaged accounts and why you may or may not want to use them.
  • Approximately 4800 words.

The second most important concept in FI is making your money work for you. Most people reading this will be living in a western capitalist society. Capitalism, is based upon the ability of Capital to earn a return. Your money is a form of Capital, therefore there is no reason why it cannot be making a return for you.

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