Oscillate Until You Resonate

2 min read

A few months ago, I stumbled across this tweet from investor Ash Fontana:


Such a simple phrase – “oscillate until you resonate” – encompasses such an important idea. Work hard and move fast until you find what the world needs from you.

Looking back on the past decade, I can attest that this approach has been effective for me.

When I was a junior in high school, I thought I wanted to be an architect. So I took an architecture class. I was terrible at it. I didn’t enjoy it much either. 

Fast forward to graduation. A family friend recommended I pursue actuarial sciences since I was good with numbers. So, going into my freshman year of college I declared my major to be actuarial sciences. 

Then, as I read about the grueling exams and the long hours associated with actuary jobs, I switched majors to statistics. My goal was to become a data scientist.

Fast forward a few years. I had both my bachelor and master’s degree in applied statistics. I landed my first job as a data analyst. The work was interesting but I quickly discovered that I hated most aspects of Corporate America.

The daily commute. The pointless meetings. The subtle office politics. The performance reviews. The dreary cubicles. Would this be my life for the next 30 – 40 years?

So, I began to explore my interests outside of work. I looked for other lines of work, different ways to earn money, new avenues to pursue my creative itch.

Over the past two years, I’m happy to say that I have found success cultivating skills and experience in areas that actually pique my interest. I have done so by trial and error. In other words, by oscillating until I resonate.

Specifically, I have:

1. Found out how to tutor people in statistics for $40 – 50 per hour.

2. Started this site, developed a daily writing habit, and recently earned over $1,000 in a single month from blogging.

3. Cultivated a huge interest and a growing skillset in data visualization.

These successes did not come quickly or easily.

I used to sit in the back of classes and take online surveys for $1 or $2 each. This was my first side hustle attempt. It took many more failed side hustles until I discovered tutoring.

This is not my first site either. I started and quit at least 10 sites before this one. One was a music blog, another was a stats educational site, and the list goes on. It took many failed attempts until I discovered my love of personal finance and turned it into this blog.

The road to developing data viz skills has been long as well. It started with PowerPoint. Then Excel. Then Power BI. Then R. And most recently I discovered D3.js, a JavaScript library for creating interactive data visualizations. This has been by far the most complex and powerful programming language I have used so far, but it’s one I plan on continuing to utilize.

In short, I have bounced around from one idea to the next, trying out many different paths until I have found a few things I’m good at that add value to others and result in income.

I still hold a day job as a data scientist, but working at a 9-5 for the next 40 years is not in the cards for me. I plan on continuing to grow my net worth and monthly side hustle income until I no longer need a day job.

My advice for anyone looking to earn money through doing things they enjoy:

Identify areas you naturally spend time reading or exploring outside of your day job.

Cultivate skills in those areas. Start a blog, a small business, or consulting service. Try a lot of different shit.

Accept that failures and missteps will occur. Keep following your curiosity.

Eventually you’ll hit upon ways to earn income through creating value for others by doing things you naturally enjoy.

Oscillate until you resonate.

Latest posts by Zach (see all)

Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

4 Replies to “Oscillate Until You Resonate”

  1. This is really great advice. You’re making me wonder if I oscillate enough 🙂 . My career has included every role/responsibility in my field (marketing) and I enjoy reading about many different topics (finance, econ, history, watercolor, endocrinology etc) but I haven’t figured out how to cultivate those skills past learning about them really. I give free financial advice to friends/family and teach them how to retire early (if they ask). I’ve also just made my blog public just in case my story can help someone else, but I’m not planning on monetizing it. Hmm basically I feel like I have a lot of interests, but am not sure where to go from here. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks for another great post!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Glad you found this post so helpful. It definitely takes time to hit upon ways to make money from your interests, but I have found that the more I try, fail, and experiment, the faster I learn what does and doesn’t work. It sounds like you’ve done some serious oscillating yourself based on your history of roles/responsibilities. Keep trying new things and be patient 🙂

  2. I’ve always been a believer that failures are the stepping stones to success. It’s all the knowledge you learn in the process that eventually leads to fulfillment and something you can monetize. You just have to embrace failure and dead ends as part of the process.

    1. Failures are a huge part of the process. Just recognizing that makes you more likely to succeed. Thanks for the feedback Dom 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *