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Each night before I go to sleep I type out a note to myself on my phone about any thoughts going through my head. Sometimes these notes are one sentence recaps of the day and other times they turn into lengthy multi-paragraph rants. It’s fascinating to look back on these notes months and years later to see what I was thinking at the time.
I shared a similar post around this time last year that recapped my life from August 2016 to June 2017.
This post recaps my life over the most recent 12 months from July 2017 to June 2018.
Fair warning: All of these notes are unedited and written right before going to bed each night so they may seem a bit sporadic.
July 8, 2017: I really think patience is underrated. Anything that’s worth having takes patience. Business, relationships, blogging, money, life in general. It all requires patience. This doesn’t mean not hustling. It means hustling in the day-to-day but being patient in the decade-to-decade. Laying low, building a foundation quietly while everyone else flaunts their minor victories. This realization is hitting me like a pile of bricks today. The people who win BIG in the long-term are just the most patient people. They don’t rush. They just quietly and methodically build an empire.
July 20, 2017: Just came home extremely cranky today. I think the 45-minute commute is putting me in these miserable moods. It’s making me sad and I hate it. Luckily I move into the new apartment in two weeks which will give me a 15-minute commute. Note to self: do not forget how much I hate long commutes and traffic. I need to make sure I have short commutes to every future job.
August 5, 2017: Today I got a check in the mail for $300 from Flex Offers for affiliate link earnings. This is so insane to me. This is real money that I can hold in my hand directly as a result of blogging. I just got paid for sitting at my desk and typing out my thoughts. I can’t get over how crazy this is.
August 14, 2017: Realization: All I wanna do at this stage in life is just lift heavy weights, make cool shit on the internet, and stack a ton of money.
August 19, 2017: It’s my first day ever living away from home. It feels strange, like I’m just sleeping at a friends house for the night and returning home tomorrow. I wonder how long it will take for this apartment and city and job and everything to start feeling normal.
September 14, 2017: I’m starting to see that the people who are winning in life are the ones who have the ability to just do what they want every single day. And I’m not sure if this requires complete financial independence. There are some people who genuinely love their job and wouldn’t quit even if they had a ton of money. Maybe my fastest path to freedom is to find enjoyable income streams that just let me quit a dumb corporate job.
September 19, 2017: Applied to ______ today for a data visualization role. Fingers crossed I get a response.
September 29, 2017: Got a rejection email from ______ today. That sucks. Oh well, I went for it. I’m still in the same position as before.
October 11, 2017: I’m starting to think life is really simple and most people just overcomplicate it by buying too much shit and owning too much stuff. If I can just have a good amount of money, projects I like working on, a small place to live, and a solid social circle, what else do I even need?
October 21, 2017: Some days I think I’m writing really good shit on the blog and other days I think it’s just a disaster. I have this theory that there’s just a three-year period of shit that every writer has to go through before they can write decent stuff and I think I’m in the trenches of that period right now.
October 30, 2017: Found out today that ______ started his blog in 2010!!!! That’s SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING to get to where he is today. He can now live off his blog basically just because he has stuck with it for so long. I looked at his early blog reports and he was literally getting 10,000 views per month during his first year just like me! Damn that makes me feel so encouraged and relieved. I have drastically underestimated how long-term of a game blogging actually is. I gotta practice patience.
November 5, 2017: Played basketball today for the first time in months. I forgot how much I love it. I gotta start doing shit I used to love growing up more often.
November 17, 2017: I’m realizing more and more that I really don’t want to own like any stuff. I just want to have the money to do whatever I want in life. I don’t care about impressing anyone. I just wanna build cool shit and explore the world. Freedom is my number one goal.
December 8, 2017: Just invested in bitcoin and ethereum. I have zero clue if this thing will go to zero or to the moon.
December 15, 2017: Slowly realizing that I don’t think I could ever find meaning working at a corporate job for someone else.
December 27, 2017: I got a shout out from Barry Ritholtz today on Twitter for a data viz I published a few weeks ago. That was insane. He’s a legend. I need to make more data viz.
January 6, 2018: The concept of consistency is finally sinking in for me. The secret to winning is not doing extraordinary things but rather doing a few things right every day for many years. Very few people are consistent for long stretches of time with any activity. The greats just show up every day and do their thing. They do the same thing for decades. And that’s the only secret. Naval Ravikant, Todd Combs, and Charlie Munger all say the same thing: “just get a little better each day” and “the real magic is compound interest” – over the long haul, the little victories create enormous success. I just need to learn a little, read a little, write a little every day. This COMPOUNDS over time.
January 13, 2018: Whenever I get overly concerned with marketing and spreading my blog, my writing suffers. Writing comes first above all else. I can’t forget that.
February 3, 2018: I can’t wait to quit my damn job. The amount of time I spent today stuck in traffic and stuck in dumb meetings I didn’t need to be in makes me feel like I’m wasting my precious time on earth doing pointless shit. This is why I care about personal finance so much, so I can have the financial means to stop doing dumb shit.
March 4, 2018: I spoke to a journalist on the phone today who is working on a piece about financial freedom for a magazine in California. I was a bit nervous to talk to him, which is why I said yes. I want to say yes to more things that make me nervous.
April 4, 2018: The whole concept of retirement is starting to seem like a bad idea to me. Why resign to doing nothing at any age? I still want to be financially independent, but I don’t ever want to just do nothing with my life. I love learning and pushing myself and creating stuff. I definitely want patches of slow leisure and travel, but I really just want to do stuff I enjoy right up to the day I die.
April 28, 2018: I’m convinced that I can have whatever I want in life with enough work and enough patience.
April 29, 2018: I MADE OVER $1,000 THIS MONTH FROM BLOGGING AND IT DOESN’T FEEL REAL. I’m pretty sure I made $0 this time last year from the blog. This is so insane to me. I paid for almost all my expenses this month purely from sitting down each day and putting my thoughts out on the internet. Amazing.
May 8, 2018: Index funds are an easy path to wealth and yet most people don’t take advantage of them because they lack PATIENCE. Lack of patience kills so many dreams. This is becoming so clear to me.
June 3, 2018: Today at work ______ said that our team produces $10 for every $1 we get paid and everyone was proud of that stat…but I just sat there thinking, don’t you guys realize that the code you’re writing is providing MASSIVE value to the company and yet you’re being compensated for only one tenth of that?? This is just another reason I find a corporate job to be so fucking dumb. If you’re REALLY good at your work, you will always be providing more value than you’re being paid. Contrast that with earning money from blogging where every dollar I produce in value goes directly to me. I can’t wait to just work for myself.
June 5, 2018: Crazy important realization: I DON’T HAVE TO FIND MEANING IN MY DAY JOB. I have always thought it was pointless and that the projects are dumb. But this job is helping me improve my coding skills and paying me a salary that I’m using to buy financial freedom. I have been thinking about a 9-5 job wrong for so long. It’s not about using it to find meaning in life. It’s about using it to gain freedom in life. It does serve a purpose.
June 6, 2018: Stumbled upon a great tweet from Ash Fontana: “Oscillate until your resonate.” It means to try a bunch of different stuff until you find work that resonates deeply with you. I love this idea. I think I have started doing that more with writing and creating data viz. It took some time, but these two types of work really resonate with me.
June 16, 2018: Life is not about “getting” or “achieving” anything. It’s merely about falling in love with the everyday process of living. This means helping others, doing good work, and enjoying life as much as possible with people you love.
June 29, 2018: The people who spend their 20s traveling and partying and obsessing over their social media accounts probably aren’t getting much out of it. If you’re traveling solely because you want to post pictures on Instagram to impress people, what the hell is the point in that? Or if you’re buying a new car as soon as you land your first job just to brag about it on Facebook, what’s the point? It’s cool for a few weeks until the new car euphoria fades and the monthly payments remain. I think too many young people are in a rush to “prove” they have made it to their peer group. But most people don’t give a shit about your accomplishments. I see far more value in spending my 20s learning, growing, saving money, and building a foundation that can support me for the next 70 years. I think my 20s is more about becoming a better human instead of partying nonstop and using travel as an excuse to “find myself.”
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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