When I was a child, I felt alone. I was a rebel.
I questioned almost everything that I was told to do whether it be going to church, after-school sports, or a 4-year college.
I am grateful for my programming, because it allowed me to get a leg up on my peers who listened and obeyed without question.
Formal education has its place, but people are losing trust in its ability to secure their future.
I would argue that they never had trust in its ability to secure a fulfilling future… But the option of ‘forging your own path’ seems even more uncertain. Why? Because it requires you to create certainty, not wait for someone else’s creation to be laid in front of you.
People inherently know that life enjoyment is a personal choice, but nobody wants to face that reality, so they outsource their quality of life to the exaggerated promises of schools and jobs.
It’s all too common for someone to spend 4-12 years and tens of thousands of dollars just to be placed in low-salary jobs that require a fraction of what they were taught in school.
It doesn’t stop there. Students often have to self-educate on the side if they want to advance in their career – so why not do that from the start?
The education system has its benefits, as all things do, but for those that want fulfilling work and an open schedule, a glorified piece of paper called a “degree” isn’t going to get you there.
It will be a stepping stone at best or a financial chain at worst.
After 5 years and 20 thousand dollars down the drain (with 2 more years to complete my degree), I was fed up.
There was a lot on the line, and the thought of getting a job was the bane of my existence.
I knew I could acquire the skill to avoid that reality.
I’m exaggerating here, of course.
Jobs are often a necessary step – but my conceptual survival was at stake.
I identified as someone who would never get a job, and my obsessive work reflected that. (I ended up getting a job, didn’t like that. It made me work 10x harder to get out).
In my final year, I took a class on basic computer programming.
This was the first class I was genuinely interested in after 4 years of trial and error.
It interested me so much that I spent 3-4 hours a day studying outside of class with online courses.
This is when the reality of formal education slapped me in the face.
Within 2 weeks, I learned the entirety of the college course curriculum through self-study on the internet.
I stopped going to class but still aced the tests.
The New Rich
We are in the middle of a massive shift.
But, this shift is not limited to money.
The New Rich isn’t about billions, mansions, and cars.
(I’m not saying these are bad. They can be useful goals for exposing yourself to life experience and developing a sense of mastery behind the skills used to get there).
The New Rich is about leveraging technology for fulfilling work, empty schedules, and individual choice.
Let’s break each down for the sake of awareness.
This section isn’t “hyper-actionable” and for good reason. You have to have the awareness of an idea before you can actualize it.
Hold each of these in your mind and correct your daily actions in alignment with them:
The internet has democratized wealth generation for the self-educated and self-reliant.
The internet allows you to learn skills that schools don’t teach, which are often the skills that lead to an irreplaceable income. If everyone is learning it, it’s replaceable. (But, don’t let a small internet echo chamber make you think that everyone is learning these modern skills, they aren’t.)
You need to invest time / money into education that won’t lead to a static salary.
Learn skills like marketing, sales, writing, and social media. Use those skills to build a one-person business.
Use no-code tools to create a service with your skill set, get results, and productize as you build an audience.
Invest time to get results. Use results as leverage.
Anyone can be happy, even the sheep, but fulfillment is a different story.
You need a purpose, or else you will be assigned one.
Life is not kind to those that don’t know what they want out of it.
But, this doesn’t happen in an instant.
Observe the masses and realize what you don’t want.
This will help you gain clarity on what you do want.
You need something to work towards, that will influence your daily decisions. The other option is to work towards someone else’s dreams for the sake of survival via paycheck.
With 1-2 years of fulfillment-directed effort by leveraging the internet, you will have control over your time, income, location, and lifestyle.
You won’t have a boss maintaining order in your daily schedule.
You will have to do that yourself.
8-hour workdays, endless screen time, and little movement are antagonists to human psychology and physiology.
You may not notice its ramifications if it is your normalized state of being. Control over your lifestyle allows you to realign with nature and feel superhuman.
Without autonomy, your choices are automatic for the sake of survival.
They stem from following the “secure” path that has been laid out for you.
Living in a constant state of survival is the cause of unnecessary stress.
Stress keeps your mind narrow.
It is difficult to make time for development, spirituality, and creativity if your choices are chained to a paycheck.
It’s not instant, as all good things aren’t, but creating an independent source of income is a necessity for those that want full control over their life.
Become A Digital Renaissance Man
The state of work has seen big changes since the pandemic.
Specialists are out, but so are generalists.
Now, they aren’t “out” entirely, of course.
You will be considered a specialist at times, a generalist at others. This is what the normal world runs on, but we aren’t here to be normal.
Specialist freelancers still have a cap on their income due to a lack of productization. Generalist agencies that can’t get above-average results for 95% of their clients.
We live in a time of specialized generalism.
That is to say, the highest-paid individuals are the ones that use the creative ability of their mind to focus on a specific, profitable problem to deliver above-average results.
The more skills you acquire and the more interests you research, the more awareness you have of the intersections of those domains.
You can pull from that experience to laser in on a problem related to any of those skills, interests, or combinations of both.
This has only become a possibility over the last decade thanks to the development of the internet.
History repeats itself, and we are cycling through a time where creatives, visionaries, and strategists have the resources available to them to thrive.
Acquire Evergreen Skills
We’ve already discussed the $1 Million Dollar Skill Stack in previous letters.
So, to keep this brief, make it your purpose to obsess over marketing, sales, writing, and speaking.
If you have no idea what skills to commit your time to, make it these. Writing in a real-world setting to gain experience will teach you more than reading endless books.
They all intersect, but they are necessary for any form of independent income generation.
To become a Digital Renaissance Man (or Woman), you will be learning a variety of skills and interests that pique your curiosity.
The evergreen skills allow you to package up and distribute those skills in a profitable manner.
A few YouTube videos will suffice in learning the fundamentals of these skills (don’t ask for recommendations, just go learn).
After, you must learn to apply those skills to whatever path you choose.
Courses aren’t necessary if you make the time to study, experiment, and fail. But, they are obviously helpful for those that want to streamline their efforts from somebody who has already done it.
What seems to be the only difference between the successful and mediocre in this age is choice of consumption.
In one camp we have the distracted.
They scroll without intention. No goals to focus their efforts.
In the other camp, we have the obsessed.
They research the interests that align with their future goals.
Those that are committed to building a physique of vitality and strength keep their finger on the pulse of the health industry.
Similar to those on their path to financial freedom. They are constantly experimenting with new methods – without attachment – to grow their brand.
The obsessed allow the roots of their mind to dig into the specific crevice of reality they cannot stop researching.
When this process is repeated over the years with new skills and interests, they open room for creative problem-solving.
Creative Problem Solving
1% of 50 years is 6 months, and most people can’t commit to the uncertain path for more than 2 weeks.
All of this takes time, a lot of time, and anyone that says otherwise isn’t looking out for your best interest. Only you can do that.
As you are pushing the boundaries of the known, finding fulfillment in the challenging problems that present themselves, and shining the light of awareness in the unknown, you increase the volume of your domain of mastery.
Here’s a thought experiment.
There are 4 small circles that form the outline of a square, each of them in four corners. These circles represent health, wealth, relationships, and happiness; the four eternal markets.
These are where all burning, and profitable, problems exist.
As you develop yourself within these domains, the circles increase in diameter until they begin to overlap like a venn diagram.
Each of these circles can be considered a field of awareness. You are aware of the problems within each domain and are able to piece together a creative solution from your experience.
Let’s set those aside for a minute and create a new set of circles.
This time, they represent the evergreen skills: writing, speaking, marketing, and sales.
The same thing happens. As you cultivate these skills, awareness overlaps and you can solve problems at the intersections while specialists are focused on one small circle.
Next, apply the same thing to results-oriented skills like social media, email marketing, graphic design, or programming.
As you learn one, two, three, or four applicable skills, because improvement never ends since entropy never sleeps, you begin to compound your creative problem-solving abilities.
We now have 3 sets of overlapping circles.
The last piece of this puzzle is personal interests.
Most people never have the thought of making a living doing what they love because they are missing awareness of the eternal markets, evergreen skills, and results-oriented skills that allow you to navigate the business landscape.
Now, any of the above can be considered personal interests of yours. Curiosity is powerful, and I would be disappointed if those skills did not excite you for a potential future. But, we can create one last square of circles that represents your personal interests.
In my case, I gravitated toward spirituality, philosophy, metaphysics, and human potential.
When I connect this last piece to the other 3 sets of squares we’ve created, it forms a three-dimensional cube, like a forcefield of connection.
We can place a problem in the middle of that cube, navigate the outer edges for creative firepower, and piece together a unique solution that may one day be worth millions of dollars.
Money, of course, is a byproduct of your life’s work.
Money matters, but there is a way to find meaning in this fabricated resource.
Your personal interests can be anything. Do not outsource your curiosity to me. The antagonist to your story is distraction and you must guard your mind.
Nothing happens, then everything happens.
When the outer edges of your multi-dimensional fields of awareness touch, it’s like the missing piece of an infinite puzzle.
At first, you can’t tell what the image is, but once the right piece clicks into place, you solidify a leap in understanding.
When the image of the puzzle is clear, you can observe the story of others, identify their missing piece, and help them fill the gap.
This is the path of the Digital Renaissance man.
They replace distraction with education, and while sustaining that habit, make focused effort toward helping others as you develop those skills.
Free, paid, in public, or in private. Freelancing, coaching, content creation, or whatever method you want to use to get your abilities in front of the world.
Skill must be tested with challenge.
If you do not make an effort to create with your skills as you acquire them, you are not acquiring skills.
Learn, act, repeat, and don’t let your mind get trapped in a thought loop of things that don’t matter.
When you’re ready, here’s how I can help you.
2-Hour Writer gives you a real-world approach to creative writing. One that allows you to attract an audience, write with impact, and set yourself up for monetization. Enroll here.
Modern Mastery is a community and strategy library. If you want to meet the people that will push you into a better life, learn marketing, sales, social media, health, and performance, this is for you. Readers can join for $5.
Digital Economics is a masterclass for people that want to productize themselves. Learn and use my brand, content, product, and marketing systems to thrive in the future of work. Enroll here.