When friends ask me how things are, I feel I’m always complaining about something. What comes out of my mouth is often something along the lines of: “I’m not achieving my goals fast enough”, or “I’m too far away from my next milestone”, or “I’m not yet where I want to be”. There’s always something wrong I need to fix about my current situation.
That discomfort fuels me. It may look like I’m complaining on the outside, but in reality it’s what keeps me going. I believe the frivolous advice of “stop chasing the carrot and be happy with what you have” is not only wrong but very harmful when you want to make real progress and deep changes – and often comes from people that, as Rick Sanchez would describe, are just agents of averageness.
But today I want to take the completely opposite approach.Shameless plug
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I was reviewing old notes the other day, and came across a list of long-term goals I wrote sometime in 2017:
• I want to live off my own ideas, not by selling my time. • I don't want a job to define my waking hours. I want to define how I spend my waking hours myself, and then reverse engineer that schedule to make it work money wise. • I want to own a company that's profitable enough so I can live full-time off it.
I was shocked when I read those. I was freelancing back then, using most my time to do things I didn’t really want to do, and these goals probably felt completely unattainable when I wrote them down. I’ve come a long way since 2017. It’s only been a few years, but I can already cross all items on that list.
It made me reflect. I’m always thinking of the next step, but I never take time to stop and take a look at the road so far. Put into perspective, life is really good right now:
- I’m spending my time exactly how I want to
- The ideas I make pay my rent, my bills, and my food
- I’m independent, autonomous and self-sustainable
- I’m living in a nice apartment that instills me with energy and provides me a stable and safe environment to create quality work
- I’m in a really stimulating environment, surrounded by interesting, inspiring, thought-provoking friends that genuinely want the best for me
- I’m not stressed or anxious
- I’m finally no longer in Spain (these past few years I came to the point of becoming sick and tired of it, and I’ve been wanting out for a long time)
- I’m a digital nomad, and can work anywhere. In fact, I live in paradise now
- I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve been weightlifting for almost 2 years now, and I’ve never felt this strong and healthy. My body works like a well-oiled machine, nothing hurts, and I don’t have any serious illness. I’ve only had to go see the doctor once in the past two years, and only because I got Covid and wanted to get tested.
- I eat really good. I have a really clean diet full of real, healthy food. I cook myself the vast majority of the times. I consciously and continuously avoid what’s processed and hyper-palatable. No sugar either.
- I’m likely in the most creative years of my life, and I feel like I’m doing what I need to do to make the most out of them
Life is objectively good. This is probably the best I’ve ever been so far. But it’s not good enough yet. Contentment leads to no improvement. Complacency is creative death. When I think of myself 15 years from now, I don’t see my current state. There’s so much more potential to realize, there’s so much more I can do.
This is what I need to improve:
- Ramen profitability is not change-making profitability. Being able to pay my rent, food and bills is absolutely great, but it’s not the end goal. My current revenue is not enough to make any impact in the world. Lifestyle businesses are not world-changing startups. This most likely means I need to start new ventures, probably considering becoming VC-scale somewhere down the road – trading off independence for impact at some point. Another way of thinking about this is that I’m already trading impact for independence right now, so I only need to find the right balance between the two variables.
- I need to settle somewhere. Nomading is great, but temporary. USA has always been my long-term goal, but how to get there (and how to stay there) are not trivial questions. Getting there may require sacrifices I might not be ready to make, like getting a job and giving up of the control of my time in return for a visa and a higher and predictable income stream to pay for a higher cost of living. Or I may find another way to work around these problems. But sacrifices will need to be made.