Be careful how you pay the bills
“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Guilty of 2 out of 3.
Your writing is awesome Nat! I think there is a flip side to this. I pursued my art and have had decent success, but at 34 I’m tired of being constrained by money. Didn’t matter in my 20s but eventually the stress of money just wore me down and seems to have started whittling away at my love for the art. Trying to maintain that love now but I feel a strong pull towards more profitable courses of work. Fascinating essay, thank you for writing it.
Nat, thank you so much for this piece. Your raw vulnerability, wit and writing ability is incredible and much appreciated.
I really like your mental model of you told me at 80 that I never __________________
I wouldn't give a fu**.
if you told me at 80 that I never _____________________
______________________ I would care a lot
Great excersice. Thank you.
Another great one. "Golden handcuffs" are still handcuffs at the end of the day.
Nat, thank you. I always wanted to be a story teller & a film maker it has been my calling right from my childhood but also the fame & charm which you get by being an Entrepeneur & a business owner caught my head and seriously I love that too, there are many challenges & leadership opportunities there but my calling it's different, the line where you wrote "be careful how you pay your bills, because you might be just good at that" this stuck my heart right away, made me sit & question myself. Thanks for giving me an introspective which I've been needing, especially right now. I am reading you for the first time and i promise this won't be my last and I wish i have a chance to visit you at 80 & say that you've been one hell of a writer who made a real impact.
Since I am not all that into crypto, I haven't read a lot of your stuff the last year or so. I'm sure it was great content, but admittedly I just missed the wave on crypto. That being said, I am so pumped to see you writing again. It reminds me that not everyone is regurgitating crap articles.
"That’s what ended up scaring me with crypto. If you’ll forgive the absurdity of this statement: it was too much money. It started to change how I was thinking about finances, lifestyle, work, everything. It was absolutely, totally corrupting. Very fun! But it fucked with my head. I’m glad I took a step back. "
I've been saying this for a while, after I also became obsessed with crypto. How can there be this much money swimming around? How can I be seeing so many of my friends and aquaintances become 'millionnaires'? It seemed off to me.
There was a time not even a year ago where I was mostly sat in various discords all day, waiting for 'alpha' and saying 'gm' to every motherfucker. So glad I'm not there any longer and I managed to escape out of the other side.
I still believe in crypto, but I don't believe in what it's becoming (NFTs etc). I'll always believe in writing and creating though.
It's really a common plight. To do something for money is totally ok, but we can so easily be distracted and forget our original inclination. The key is to define how much money is enough...it's also a dynamci process. Perhaps for each period of life we can only focus on one thing...
Thanks. This idea of getting distracted by the things that make you money reminds me of something Alexis de Tocqueville said in "Democracy in America":
"In America most of the rich men were formerly poor; most of those who now enjoy leisure were absorbed in business during their youth; the consequence of which is, that when they might have had a taste for study they had no time for it, and when time is at their disposal they have no longer the inclination."
I am wondering what your topic will be for your book- the one you are currently aiming at. You have a lot of creativity and ideas. Do you already know; do you already have a framework? Do you have metrics in mind for what constitutes “great”? Not expecting answers, btw. Just thinking with you.
As an atypical audience member (a woman in her 50s-I found you just as I was going back into work in my 40s), just wanted to thank you for helping me avoid going to get a business degree and just start working instead. I am not a creator, but my husband is and I quit my job after a few years to help him build his work, and your advice & teaching has helped me tremendously. Who knew I could do it?!
It is hard to learn to be willing to miss out on money that you could get. And if in a relationship, either person can be the one that wants to maximize every money potential. Such an important conversation for couples to navigate. Reminds me of the parable of the Rich Fool that Jesus tells- we need to be reminded often!
Nat, you've shown the ability to "create" money when you need to ( admirable super power) so perhaps you can continue to follow your words and let them take care of you. On the other hand, having enough feels so elusive (nod to Khe Hy) and my guess is you're already there but don't trust it.
Thank you for sharing.
Excellent post and can strongly relate. For the footnote... David Perell got it from Nik Sharma.
Oh man, this struck a chord. I'm a software engineer earning a decent wage but I've been going on and off the idea (and the execution) of being a writer for over 7 years. Illuminating to hear your thought process on this and I have to say mine is quite similar. Food for thought for me - thanks, Nat!
Love it! Thanks for sharing, Nat.
Really enjoyed that article. I can relate 100%.
Keep with it and keep an open mind about opportunities. If you had a chance to do something that paid the bills, but didn’t preclude writing, it might be a win-win; creativity is enabled by constraints. But I hear you on the temptation for the shadow calling.
Loved this Nat. So much resontated hard with me, as a Bay Area-escapee and wondering where things are going with a Substack of my own.
"If you told me at 80 that I never launched a great course, or never built a great crypto app, or never built a billion dollar business, I would not give a fuck. I would care a lot though if you told me I never wrote anything great." HARD SAME