I'd like your feedback, especially if you don't usually comment. (Veteran commentors' opinions are obviously very important to me too! But I'd especially like to hear from a few of the thousand+ people who read here daily and don't comment, if you can spare me a couple minutes.)
Some rough questions (though reply however you like) --
Why do you read here?
What do you try to get out of the site?
What does it mean to you personally?
What would be more valuable to you?
What would you like to see more of?
What else should I know or think about, about you and what's going on with you?
I'd really incredibly appreciate your feedback... thank you so much for reading here, and especially a big super thank-you if you can take the time to reply. I'll read it multiple times, I want to understand why you read here and what's important to you, and I want to do as well as I can for you.
I think I found your blog through Hacker News 2 years ago. Its intriguing title ("We don't get out of bed for less than 10000$ per day") caught my attention right away: http://sebastianmarshall.com/we-dont-get-out-of-bed-for-less-than-10000-per-day
Great post, it really set the tone about what kind of mentality you need to have to achieve abundance.
Since then, I've started reading your blog on a regular basis. I really enjoy the STRAGETIC mindset that you have. So many people are stuck in a tactic mindset, implementing minimal changes and not reaping anything big or satisfying. You indeed do share some great tips, but they are always linked to a bigger strategy in the background.
We had a skype conversation you and I, which was great and had a tremendous positive impact on my life. We talked about quite a few things, such as my desire to leave my dayjob (which I did by the way, last October) and it was during this conversation that I told you about the oh-so-great gmail shortcuts :)
I don't comment often, but I do read everything you post here. Today, I feel compelled to writing you a reply since you asked so kindly.
Here we go! Answering your questions:
Why do you read here? Quality content consistently being shared with us. You post regularly, and at the very least 70% of your articles resonate with me.
What do you try to get out of the site? Strategies, life-changing moments, and some of the best realizations you have come to understand as life goes by!
What does it mean to you personally? It's one of the last few blogs that I read regularly. I've cut down on the amount of material that I consume on the internet dramatically. I have shifted from a consumption mentality to a production mentality. I must create a lot of value in the first place, then I allow myself to consume material of all sorts. I only read your blog, Leo Babauta's zen habits, Steve Pavlina's blog & Pat Flynn's smart passive income.
What would be more valuable to you? When you have those life-changing moments and you share them with us. More strategies. More homework for us to try. Thought-provoking posts. Posts that make us grow. Minor & major tweaks the create an immense output to our quality of life.
What would you like to see more of? See above.
What else should I know or think about, about you and what's going on with you? I've graduated from software engineering in 2008 and I worked 4 years in my field at full-time jobs. With the help of your blog, some mentors in real life and with the help of great books, I've shifted from an employee mindset to an employer mindset. I started a few projects on the side, kept the one that had a lot of potential, and worked real hard on them. In October of 2012, I've finally made the big jump: I left my corporate job and started my own company. It's been 6 months now and man would I NEVER go back to being an employee ever again.
To wrap it up, I want to share with you all the resources that have helped me tremendously:
One final thing Seb. One post you wrote back then had an ENORMOUS impact on me. It was one that discussed the strategies shared in Ray Dalio's document, which is pretty much a bullet-proof METHOD to achieving big projects, goals or dreams.
TO EVERYONE who's mentally stuck or physically stuck trying to get past those inner fears and barriers preventing you from realizing or starting your big dream project, this is a MUST. It is a step-by-step method to achieving anything worthwhile. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the bomb.
In a nutshell, Ray Dalio's method for achieving anything (the "5-step process" as he calls it) is summed at page 36. However, I recommend you start reading this pdf at page 26 if you're in a hurry. The pages following page 26 are pure gold.
The 5-step process is:
1) Setting Goals.
Why is this the first step? Because: "You can have virtually anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want." Choose what it is that you would like to accomplish. You can't have it all. So many people are stuck chasing opportunities here and there and never truly dedicating themselves to 1 big thing. As he says: "The first most important, and typically most difficult step in the 5-Step Process is setting goals, because it forces you to decide what you really want and therefore what you can possibly get out of life."
2) Identify and don't tolerate problems. Probably one of the most stress-relieving steps. Write down all the problems and fears that you think you will encounter between now and the accomplishment of your big goal. Running out of money, conflict of interest with your wife, lack of self-motivation, you name it. Once you define the problems, you must not tolerate them. No excuses. Assess them, then...
3) Diagnose the problems to root causes. This leads us to asking the question "why" enough times to really find the root cause to each problem. This requires some really creative thinking. Good news: your brain is good at finding solutions. For example, why would you run out of money? Because you wouldn't have enough money aside and because your business will not be profitable in the beginning? (1) Why don't you have some money on the side, and (2) why would your business be running in the negative at its inception?. Keep going with those "whys" until you reach the exact root problem.
4) Design a plan for eliminating the problems. It speaks for itself. Eliminate the REAL problems. Not the minor & irrelevant problems.
5) Do what is set out in the plan. The key to success? DO stuff. There's something magical about DOING the stuff that you know is going to get you there, hence what you've just designed at step 4.
You know what I did with this method? I applied it step by step by filling these 5 questions with my answers in a Word document. It took 2-3 months to write. But then I finally had it: a great plan that troubleshooted every single aspect of being able to leave my dayjob and live from my projects. All the uncertainties and fears that I could encounter doing so we carefully written down and addressed appropriately.
Ok guys, you've read enough. Time for action! If you haven't read Ray Dalio's PDF, do it! Page 26. Gogogogo.
If you have read it already, make sure you read The Millionaire Fastlane or grab a copy of Personal MBA. I can't recommend these 2 books enough...
À la prochaine !
Hey, thanks for this comment!
I put aside The personal mba because I thougth it was a introductory and boring book (I don't know why I got that impression), but since you recently had success on building your own company and you recommend it, I'll take a serious shot.
The Millionaire Fastlane just went up on my reading list.
And I'll get back to Ray's principle too. I started reading and I thought it was waay boring, but I haven't arrived at page 26, so I'll just start from there.
Really thanks for sharing your story here.
Hey Paulo! You're most welcome: thank you for taking some time to tell me this :) Just so you know, I haven't read the personal mba in full just yet. I'm in the 4th section (value delivery) as of today. I can understand the "boring" aspect of it you're mentionning. However, one great way to overcome this is to read a bit, pick one concept that resonates with you, IMPLEMENT it & measure/track the results. Also, one other great way to use it is as a guideline for what work needs to be done in your business. Why? Because, as it states, you must take care of each and every of these 5 business concepts ALL the time in an ONGOING manner.
For example: Is your business currently moving forward in the 5 parts of every business? You might believe you're doing the right things, let's say you realize that you create value, you deliver it well to your customers, you're making sales, you're taking care of your company's finances... but you forget to ever do some tasks related to MARKETING, well, you're totally missing out on the occasion of presenting your products/services to eyes that would have never seen it without you reaching out to new people. That's a critical growth component you're totally missing out on.
As Josh Kaufman says (author of the book), "Take away any one of these five parts, and it’s not a business." Think about this for a moment.
The millionaire fastlane is RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. It's loaded with COMMON sense and it's like a breathe of fresh air.
The 5 commandments of a fastlane business (you'll understand what fastlane is when you read the book). These 5 guidelines help you validate that your business (or business idea) stands a chance at making you a millionaire one day. You must ensure that what you're doing in your business respects the 5 following commandments:
The 5 Fast Lane Commandments
1. Control – you need control over your product and your business
2. Entry – the easier the entry, the more competition
3. Need – this is obvious. The bigger the need, the higher earning potential
4. Time – wealth accumulation needs to be divorced from time
5. Scale – should be able to serve millions
If you're liking this kind of stuff, chances are you will highly enjoy the book and the rest of its content. This is just the tip of the iceberg, these 5 commandments are explained in great detail in the book, just like all the other important concepts he explains.
I can also understand why you got bored with Ray Dalio's PDF, especially if you just started at the very beginning and read through it. Go right into the meat, well to be honest I've pretty much summed it up in my previous comment, but I still strongly suggest you go ahead and read these 10+ pages.
Afterwards, don't just read and do nothing about it, grab a piece of paper and TRY it with something that's on your mind right now. Chances are it will really help you, just like it helped me...
See you around bro! :)
Why do you read here?
To get inspired, mostly. Of all the things you have done, I think inspiring people has been your biggest "win". If more people could get inspired and learn how to think BIG, humanity would reap enormous benefits.
What would be more valuable to you?/What would you like to see more of?
I would love to see more boasting, to be honest. And more uncomfortable truths. I would also like to know what you are doing right now. What are you doing in Berlin, for example? What are you working on? Projects? Latests successes? People you have met?
I think this is important because often, combining the ordinary with the extraordinary is a great way of inspiring people.
I would also like to see more philosophy, partly because I love philosophy and partly because I think your worldview rests on a fragile philosophical foundation.
My personality is made up of two sides: the "common" side which I'm not very proud of and which dominates me most of the time, and an "inspired" side which comes out usually late at night. Your blog (I have read most of the archive) has made my "inspired" side come out much more often - even for weeks at a time, and for that I am incredible grateful. When I have an "inspired" mindset, I am very ambitious, productive, tough on myself, and I live in the moment without any distractions. I feel much more alive and every moment is soaked in meaning.
Thanks again. You are one of very few people today who realize the importance of virtues (strength, excellence, patience...).
I found your blog about two years ago when I was googling "self discipline blogs". At that time, your blog was the only one that talked about self-discipline, something I was trying to increase.
I enjoyed reading your blog because it came across as the diary of an ambitious young 20-something. It's rare to meet people in life who are openly ambitious, and that's the main reason I like reading your articles. Your philosophy is similar to mine, and your posts are a breath of relief from those who keep saying that wanting to get ridiculously rich is bad. Also, we all have those "loser friends" in life. The ones who will spend all their time playing video games and not doing anything good for themselves, and then complain about it and get jealous when you achieve something. You're like a virtual friend who's the opposite of those guys.
I also really like this community - something Shanna pointed out. Everyone here seems to be trying to actively improve their lives, instead of whining about it. I feel comfortable sharing here, even though I don't make that many comments.
I most enjoy your posts about productivity, wealth, tips, observations, etc. I'd like to see more of them. I'd also enjoy reading your tips and observations regarding socializing, especially about making new friends in a new place, which is something you seem to do frequently.
There are quite a few tips I've picked up from you, but many of your posts are just things that I find myself smiling and agreeing with. So for me, your blog is mostly inspiration and validation of my own philosophies.
Of course, that's not to say I haven't learnt anything from your blog - I definitely have. For many things (willpower for instance) it's been a jumping-off point for more research. Your time tracking posts helped me get started with my own time tracking. I've temporarily dropped off that wagon, but despite that, many of the habits I enforced through tracking have stuck.
What does it mean to you personally?
Two years ago, I was struggling to start my own business. Almost a year ago, I got into writing/publishing and that took off with a bang. At the moment, life is amazing. And I've been reading your blog throughout this time. I'm not saying that correlation equals causation, but I'm sure that I've picked up enough self-discipline tips on your blog to have made my own "success" easier.
Edit to add: it just occurred to me that I almost didn't reply because I thought I'd waste too much time typing up my reply. How about doing a quick reader survey using one of those Survey Monkey type things? eg, Interests? And then multiple options. Career - and then multiple options to pick. The one biog thing you want to achieve (lose weight, make more money, etc) Of course, I have to admit that a major reason I'm suggesting this is because I'm quite curious about what the responses would be like :)
Anyone remember the patio11 affair? I still think Seb got an overly rough deal from the Internet crowds on that one.
yeah, he got a lot of hate from hacker news because of that (without deserving it, I'd say), till this day no link from his site gets traction there. and the fact he keeps his business results private too.
As I said in another post, I really think you have some huge insights I can't get anywhere else on the internet. Like, historic ages you study and write about, how you always take lessons on strategy from things like wars, poker games, diplomacy, whatever. Plus, we relate a lot in terms of values and goals in life, that's why I hang around here daily.
Edit: how do choose your business ventures? how do you get freelance clients on business? Any more post on history would be great.
Why have I started reading? - one client mentioned Modafinil and I went online to research.
Why have I kept reading? - love your style, it reminded me somehow of Murakami (can't explain why but it did). I also like your emphasis on looking after yourself physically - this is one of my favourite topics which is very often ignored in therapy work.
What do I try to get out of the site? - probably learn about ways of doing things differently. Being a parent can get you stuck in a rut in no time. Maybe find new ways of doing my work (counselling/psychotherapy).
As I am new to your blog I can't yet say what else would I like to see here - at the moment I am enjoying reading your old posts.
I first stumbled onto your blog after reading Tynan's response to your post titled "The Million Dollar Question" http://tynan.com/isolation.
I enjoy reading posts that go into greater detail about your daily habits and the tests you've done to determine what works best.
I follow writers for different reasons, I don't expect to get it all in one place. So, Sebastian, I follow you because I like to see you you're progressing with your focus on strategy and ideas. So, it's like a beacon, or a marker that makes me feel less solitary. I like the mix and so far I can't think of anything I'd change, but I'll let you know when I do. My apologies for not being helpful :)
I'm visiting your site for years now though never been a commentator but I have sent several emails to you asking for all sorts of stuff and some of them even became posts on this blog.
I come here because obviously I like your writing, aside from that I guess it's more because of me than you. I'm in constant search for guidance in life overall and in daily work - always trying to improve, to set the best goals for me, to be more efficient and so on. Some people have God (don't get me wrong, you're good but I'm not comparing you to God! :P), some have some sorts of creeds I have none of that and that's why I'm constantly on the search for something like that. I do try to create my own creed to live by but I change my mind so often that that just doesn't work, and I wish I could just easily accept God and make him my guide in life but I just can't. I guess that's why I visit here, sometimes to change my direction because I think that your opinion and advice is good, and sometimes to get a little push in that direction.
I've tried to keep this simple and explain in as fewer words as I could, and you know that that is hard but I did my best :)
Kind regards, Mr. Marshall!
Hi Sebastian - one week late, but here goes:
How did I find this site? I can't remember, but I think it was a link from LessWrong, or possibly I saw one of your posts there.
Why do I read here? Mainly for the ideas, suggestions and thought experiments about getting more out of life. Some of these are directly relevant (to me) and others help enrich my mental model of the world. It helps that you write about a successful and extreme lifestyle that is different from most people's, but not too different or extreme that other ambitious people cannot relate to it. There is plenty of information about typical successful lifestyles so this complements it well.
What does it mean personally? I take brief notes occasionally, and try out ideas, such as the time tracking you've posted about on several occasions, which works wonders. (I take notes from other sources too, but this site is a major contributor!)
What would I like to see more of? Definitely more of the same. More specific ideas would be: your approaches to sport and nutrition and other non-business pursuits; any lifestyle/psychology experiments (even small/informal ones) you play with, and more about your experiences living in other countries.
Like many of the readers, I appreciate that you put the time and dedication into this blog, and I'm always impressed that you always have more new insights every week.
Has it only been a few months since we started? It feels like much longer, there's already a strong and vibrant and insightful group of people communicating here at SebastianMarshall.com - I'm really pleased and happy to have a good crew reading, commenting, emailing me, getting into good discussions and thinking.
A tricky thing for most people building a website is to nail down these questions - "Who is this website for? What do I want to do with this?"
It's easy for me. The site is for people like me who wish to do a lot of important things, to communicate, to think more clearly, to become prolific, to grow in strength and virtue. I create on the topics that are important to doing important things.
The people who this resonates with are always welcome to come visit and gain in strength and knowledge here, to build, to hopefully be inspired, to communicate, to do good things. The people who the site appeals to are its audience, and I won't be trying to persuade anyone to join us who these topics do not appeal to at the current stage in their life.
I've got a number of good comments I'd like to share. This was the second half of a comment from yesterday's post, me wondering about technology.
Okay, first of all, THANK YOU for reading Tynan.net. My impulse in every post I write is to express my gratitude to you as a reader, but I don't because I think it would become annoying and probably not seem as genuine is it really is. So here's my yearly thank you.
Whether you've just started reading, you subscribe to every different feed I have, or even if you're one of the very few people who only write nasty comments, I'm really glad to have you as a reader. It's easy to get caught up in subscriber numbers and pageviews and all that, but I never forget that each number represents a real person who cares enough about what I have to say to take time out of their days and visit. I'm flattered and humbled to have every single person read. Thank you.