“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
This was the year I’ve finally put my thoughts (weekly newsletter) and studies online. I’ve realized there’s no value hoarding the knowledge you’re getting from books, courses, movies without taking an action. I’ve heard somewhere the knowledge is not power but potential power (“I think it was on one of Joe Rogan’s podcast episodes).
1. What went well this year?
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
3. What did I learn?
1. What went well
Systems - As someone who spent years wasting time on video games and watching mindless movies, the introduction of systems was one of the best things to keep me accountable. I (was) am of the self-proclaimed laziest persons and if you live in an environment where most of the people are just fine with “living with the flow”, it didn’t help at all.
I’ve started the personal scoreboard where I track daily routines. It didn’t matter if I was way at the times. I wanted to feel that sting of failures if I wasn’t on track with my daily habits. Not only I have an outside view on how I’m performing I’ve also used it as a minimal journal of my actions.
Writing tracker — this was godsend and I’ll tell more about it in the next paragraph.
Writing - I’m very happy with my writing. During the process, I’ve beat myself up and told myself how shitty the grammar and structure is. However, the value of growth studies was there. At least according to email signups.
The writing course was one of the best investments I’ve made this year.
Business/Career — At the end of August 2017 I’ve parted ways with virtual reality startup and joined the digital out-of-home marketplace company. My salary increased by 180% during the first 6 months. I received another raise and brought the income to 248%.
This allowed me to spend more money on personal development and tools. The best courses I’ve taken this year were Tiago Forte’s Build Your Second Brain and Getting Things Done, Primoz Bozic’ Writing More Every Day and Chris Von Wilpert's Content Mavericks.
The result of writing growth studies:
- I’ve received one paid contract for growth study (coming out in January 2019)
- The personal walkthrough of Landyachtz Longboards HQ by Ryan Theobald (VP of Marketing and Sales)
- ~1000 unique visitors per month
- I’ve written and published 4 growth studies, three of them were on top weekly posts on GrowthHackers.
- I’ve done a couple of side jobs that resulted in healthy income from commission. At the end that income was about 15% of my total revenue.
- Finally did LASIK surgery - I’m still in recovery and my sight isn’t 100% there yet, but it feels amazing waking up or going to sleep without lenses.
- I’ve re-started longboarding. It was my childhood dream to skateboard but living in a rural countryside that wasn’t a realistic nor rational wish. But this year I’ve started longboarding again. Right now I have 3 different longboards in my trunk and I go cruise around the city with two of my co-workers at least once a week. If it’s not cold/rainy I also longboard to work daily.
- Took the trip to Vancouver for 16 days. I’ve loved spending time longboarding around Stanley Park, living out of the rural house in Upper Squamish Valley and tasting expensive hipster coffee on a daily basis. The trip put a lot of things into perspective.
- I’ve visited 6 countries this year (Croatia, Austria, Netherlands, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and Germany). One of the dopest things was longboarding the downtown cities in three different continents within 45 days. Cool!
- I stopped playing video games entirely. Switch from PC to Macbook was one of the best career movies since there’s not a lot of options in terms of games for Apple users. But I still played Hearthstone (Blizzard’s card game) about every other day. This stopped early this year.
- I've bombed the Half-Nelson in BC on a downhill bike. Pure Adrenaline! (Not my video!)
Listening to incredible music has been a necessity and constant companion since the early teens (thanks to an older brother who introduced me to the Zepps, Pearl Jam and Hendrix). Contrary to the popular belief there’s more good music than ever. You just need to dig for it (or follow trusted sources).
I live for moments for discoveries such as Elder’s Lore, Jon Hopkins’ Open Eye Signal, Grimes' Genesis or even Godspeed You!Black Emperors' Storm — those ones that give you a dose of something new and amazing.
These are my favorite discoveries in 2018 (in no particular order):
- Khruangbin - Oh my goodness. If there’s something I love is finding something completely new. This trio is a perfect slow funk groove that will make your head bob for daysssssssss
- Matthew Chaim - Homemade — just chillin' back and enjoying some vocals
- Georgia Ann Muldrow - Overload — dayuuuuuummm, I’m a sucker for those vocals and beats.
- Against All Logic (A.A.L) - 1997 - 2002 — Nicolas Jaar is a prodigy in the electronic world. Everything he touches is pure gold and this collection that was released this year is mind-bogglingly good. Perfect intro to some melodic house stuff.
- Jon Hopkins - Singularity — I’m envious to people who haven’t heard the Open Eye Signal track. You can expect something similar on Singularity as well (Emerald Rush is ridonculous). The second full-length album carries the epic soundscapes of a majestic universal flick as well.
- Chrome Sparks - S/T — Still Think clip will blow your mind.
- Bishop Gunn - Natchez — the feel-good country rock. What’s not to love?
2. What didn’t go so well
Health/Fitness - the year 2018 was the year of injuries.
- I’ve torn a hamstring playing squash.
- Sprained my right wrist during heavy clean.
- Sprained my hammy couple more times with unintentional splits after falling from a longboard.
- Problems with my left shoulder
- I’ve had a couple of problems with my skin, one resulted in a hospital visit.
- The eye surgery requires me to rest and abstain of exercise for the whole month. Since I value my eyesight I grudgingly have to concur with doctor’s orders
Because of that, my training was inconsistent and I haven’t seen progress in strength. I’ve recorded a PR lift at merely 84 kg snatch, while I haven’t maxed up my clean and jerk. Same goes with squat, deadlift and bench.
The total strict pull-ups went down from 11 in 2017 to 6.
The cardio portion was even worse. I never was a good runner and when I started training for it, the injury happened and pushed me back to the blank page.
Personal — I work a lot and tend to neglect other important things like relationships with my family, friends and love life. On one end I’m ok with it since I’m (still) far away from my personal goals that will require a lot more focus, but on the other, I’m tired of having my life “on hold”.
The schedule doesn’t allow much time to pursue endeavors that aren’t directly tied to my Northstar goal. Maybe I should put more things into “balance” but as soon as I saw this word I puked a little in my mouth.
"Whatever dude, cry me a river, right?"
Yeah, I know.
Investing — after reading Money, Master the Game and talking to my US friends I realized the importance of saving and investing money. I have a small investment in crypto (which is tanking). I also started participating in lending clubs (Mintos is my choice) which is great, however, the portfolio is too diversified to bring those sweet compounding gains.
I’m trying to find a European version of Roth IRA/401k or reliable index funds like 500 S & P. If anyone knows about a financial game in Europe, please let me know.
What I’ve learned
More money gives you access to more opportunity and potential power — in 2016/17 I’ve slept on the ground, ate one chipotle meal per day and saved wherever I could. In 2018, I’ve spent more around 30 - 40% of my income on learning.
The classes don’t just allow you some sort of shortcut to distilled and proven strategies, but access to people who are levels above you and have similar mentality towards personal growth. When you’re buying a course you’re also investing in a relationship channel between the course host. It may sound cheesy, but this connection is invaluable if you respect them.
By respect I mean sticking to the program, giving the best possible feedback and being a good student in general. The course program hosts aren’t just there to earn, but they genuinely want for their students to succeed.
Change — My happiness is correlated with the number of options I have in life and one thing I hate more than anything in my life is being stuck. Mostly is being stuck in one place for too long, or being stuck on a business problem, work. A friend of mine noticed that I don’t even park my car in the same spot. I like diversity and I like change (for the better). In my regular business, there wasn’t much progress in the first part. It drove me insane. I’ve produced countless documents, spreadsheets, experiments explaining the process and expected results, but they never reached the key person to receive the green light.
I felt this as a personal defeat (and I still do). As a consequence, this drove me to start the blog and put free time into different challenges than work-related ones. I’m happy with the blog and I’ve started being more demanding at work about the priorities. After some internal reorganization and better communication, we’ve seen more positive changes in the last two months than the entire year. Change is good.
- Getting my health and fitness back on track. Start swimming once a week, yoga 2/w, lifts 2/w and cardio in daily walk/runs or longboarding sessions.
- Pull-up goal: 15.
- Snatch goal: 90 kg
- Clean & Jerk: 115 kg
- B. Squat: 155 kg
- Deadlift: 220 kg
- Body fat under 13%
- Redesign my website (Q1) - it’s uglier and slower than Frankenstein’s grandma. I’m switching to Webflow in January 2019.
- Keep the daily writing habit going. I’m planning to write 6 growth studies and land at least 5 guest posting gigs.
- Launch a personal productivity course. If there’s something I’m good at is that I can finish a lot of simple tasks quickly. As a “one-man-growth-team” I’ve learned to be efficient. After telling a couple of friends about the hints and tricks, they were amazed. So this year I’m testing and opening up a course. Let me know if you would like to take a peak.
- Attend a wedding in Taiwan. One of my dear friends is getting married in June. I’m already excited as this is going to be my first trip to “real” Asia (East Turkey doesn’t count).
- Move with the company to N. American market.
Btw… I’ve made this useful Trello board. Feel free to use it if you feel it will help.