The formula for freedom
In 2020 I learned from Jack Butcher about the formula for creating freedom. His 12-month growth on Twitter was remarkable and, more recently, he shared that formula in a post to help anyone get their time back and do the things they love.
Build marketable skills
Earn more than you spend
Don’t depend on a single source of income
Stop trading time for money
Align your work with your curiosity
Work when and where you want
Develop a network of trusted relationships
The beauty and pain of these principles are they can’t bring you success overnight. But in its simplest form requires is working on things that feel like play to you — for a very long time.
An unintuitive yet simple thing about working — particularly on the internet — is that the narrower your focus, the bigger your opportunity. But the sweet irony of it is that finding your focus (and achieving the formula) requires widening it first.
People who have a hard time deciding whether what they’re doing is what they want can benefit the most from this sentiment. That was me once, and I still work every day to narrow my focus further.
Widening your focus first helps you see what you don’t want. And that aligns you with the things at the end that keeps you curious and excited.
For me, the journey is going something like this: I chose digital marketing, which is an extensive branch, and I tried my curiosity on everything under this umbrella. I did unpaid “contracting” jobs and pushed for small paid gigs while creating Joxen. I pivoted a lot and moved my mindset the distance of a mountain in that I think so differently to a few years ago now that recognizing that person would be almost impossible.
Many people struggle to know what drives their curiosity crazy. So, start with everything. Widen your focus, then narrow it down. Pivot early and often until you know what to do. The formula to freedom is living a life in which you know what to say no to — and then you do, to a thousand things.
What I’ve Learned
With patience, water can erode rocks
Naturally, when working on something that will hopefully one day give you more freedom — it can be better health or a business — it’s easy to become too self-critical. It can be the way some of us are wired, to push for more before we even begin to do the actual work. But for others, it settles as a byproduct of wanting to be successful.
Self-reflection is a more organic way to build patience. And it’s imperative to build that; otherwise, you’re never going to get anywhere. An analogy I learned recently was that if you get a bucket of water and throw it on some rocks, nothing will change. Nothing. But, if you throw water on the rocks every few seconds and keep doing that for centuries or more, you’ll gradually erode the rocks. You obviously won’t do that. But the proof is that with patience and perseverance, you can do anything. People fail because they give up too early, not because they’re bad at what they do. So, a lesson to myself is to keep doing the work and do it with consistency. Then, no matter what you’re doing, you’ll succeed.
What’s on My Mind
It’s been easy for me to forget how productive I’ve been when all I’m thinking about is ‘what next?’ On top of a full-time job, I’ve recently written a few scripts, newsletter posts and Twitter threads (which can take longer than I realize). Balancing all that with getting enough rest has been all about efficiency, and it’s something I want to optimise.
One Timeless Quote
“Someone else living a good life does not prevent you from living a good life. There are many ways to win and plenty of space.”
— James Clear
“Let me explain. The shift in how I spend my time rests on a simple realization: productivity is not just software and notebooks and to-do lists and frameworks and calendars and schedules and inboxes. It is all of those things, but it is also brains and bodies, memes and neurotransmitters. It is fingers that click keys, and furrowed brows, and emotions both fantastic and terrible. It is relationships: colleagues, managers, acquaintances, mentors, friends, and family. They push, pull, and undergird all of the work that we do in a much more significant way than any single software tool ever could.”
My Favourite Things This Week
Have an incredible week.