Five years. One thousand, eight hundred, and twenty-five days, give or take. Although it’s hardly long enough to consider myself a crypto OG, sometimes I feel like I’ve been in this space for an eternity. In those five years I’ve lived through the euphoria of a few massive gains, the despair of significant losses, hacks, lost wallets, made new friends, and lost some old ones. I certainly have the gray hairs/wrinkles and the occasional nervous twitch to prove it.
Seriously, cryptocurrency has transformed my life in a number of ways. It’s afforded me freedom, allowed me to achieve many of my dreams, it’s also allowed me to see through some of the smoke and mirrors of our extremely dysfunctional and unfair society. That last one is a true blessing and, sometimes, a curse. I now realize how severely the deck is stacked against most people who follow the traditional track to success. It’s hard to watch hordes of people in lock step walking towards a cliff but not being able to divert them from their course.
We’ve seen a pretty massive correction in the last twenty-four hours but I think this bull run is far from over. I’ve seen so many “normies” jumping on this crazy train in the past few months. Recently, I’ve been contemplating the ups and downs of my own crypto journey and thinking about what bits of valuable advice I wished someone would have told me back in 2016.
If I had access to a time machine these the things I would want to tell myself in 2016:
Crypto Is A Life-Raft (with a single seat)
When you first start to succeed in cryptocurrency, you’ll want everyone you know to experience the same success. Your first instinct will be to “save” others from their lives of toil and drudgery. Resist this urge.
The hard truth is, you can introduce people to crypto but you just can’t save anyone (but yourself). If you try it will be nothing but a fast track to burn-out and misery. Most people, despite what they are willing to admit, might not be happy with their lives but they feel content. Most people make the choices they do to avoid anything that scares them. If they don’t try anything new or take risks they can easily blame others when their lives don’t meet their expectations.
Paradigm shifts and unpredictable changes that accompany them terrify most people. People, in general, won’t want to learn and will want you to do all the work for them. In turn, you will be their hero when your advice pays off handsomely for them but you’ll just as quickly become the villain when it doesn’t (this happens more often than not). The sooner you learn this, the happier you’ll be. You can still help but it’s best to do so anonymously.
Surviving In The World of Crypto Investing Is Ninety-Five Percentage Psychology (and you are almost always your worst enemy)
Find things that ground you. Always remember, success doesn’t necessarily equal intelligence or superiority. Most often success just means you are luckier than the average person or were in the right place at the right time. Stay humble. Fight every urge to believe yourself to be some kind of an expert with a crystal ball.
Have Interests and Friends Outside Of Crypto
The world of crypto can easily consume you and cannibalize your happiness and your dreams. Take stock in the people and things that brought you joy before you found cryptocurrency and continue those friendships and activities. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in an echo-chamber. Balance is important. Too much of anything is unhealthy.
Experiences > Material Things (every time)
As your portfolio grows, choose experiences over material things, you won’t regret it. The joy of material things fade with time but the joy brought about by experiences will grow exponentially as the years go by.
When you are eighty years old and sitting in that recliner, memories of an overseas trip, an amazing dinner, or breathtaking hike will be better than any material thing you could ever buy.
It’s Even More Difficult To Keep Wealth Than It Is To Make It
Crypto is mercurial. Bull cycles never last forever, remember that. Set aside more than you think you’ll need for tough times. Decide what your Freedom Number is. By Freedom Number, I mean how much money you will need to live the rest of your life without having to work for someone else after all your debt is paid off. Be realistic.
“Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.” - Rick Pitino
Once your number is achieved and debt is paid off, guard that nestegg as though your life depended on it, because it very much will. Learn all the ways in which you can put that nest egg to work for you. Stake coins for passive income, seek out stable and safe traditional investments. Use your imagination. Diversify.
Don’t Ever Try To Time The Market
Don’t let greed get the best of you. Don’t let gains mesmerize you into thinking they’ll never end. The markets are cyclical. Dollar cost average out of the market (sell) during bull runs, selling small portions at regular intervals all the way up.The exact opposite is true during bear markets, cost-average into the market (buy) in small portions as prices are dropping. This is far less anxiety inducing and, in the end, most investors see better returns this way.
There Are Countless Ways To Lose Your Coins
Mt. Gox. Bitgrail. Cryptopia. Need I say more?
Don’t needlessly expose yourself to more risk than you need to. Don’t keep any crypto on exchanges unless you plan on immediately selling them.
Make sure you own your keys. Also, save your seed phrases and passwords somewhere extremely safe. Practice logging into cold storage wallets and exchanges at least once every couple of weeks to make sure everything is fresh in your memory. If you use 2FA on your mobile phone, make sure you understand how to transfer it when you get a new device.
When success comes, fight the urge to broadcast or brag about your success. This will attract unwanted attention from nefarious elements and it will also make those people closest to you resentful.
Don't just learn, experience. Don't just read, absorb. Don't just change, transform. Don't just relate, advocate. Don't just promise, prove. Don't just criticize, encourage. Don't just think, ponder. Don't just take, give. Don't just see, feel. Don’t just dream, do. Don't just hear, listen. Don't just talk, act. Don't just tell, show. Don't just exist, live.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Crypto's True Gift
What’s even more scarce than Bitcoin? Your time. When you no longer have to trade your time for money you will quickly realize that time, and the newfound freedom it affords, are the most valuable commodities there are. Without a doubt, this is cryptocurrency’s greatest gift to us all.
Freedom can be very disorienting at first. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned to believe what we do for a living defines who we are. Survival monopolizes so much of our time most of us don’t really have the chance to realize who we really are. Once you become accustomed to freedom, you realize it affords you the greatest luxury, the opportunity to explore your inner and outer world. You can discover who it is you really are.
You can only watch so much television. Travel, learn new skills, new languages. Be grateful. Make a list of all the things you’ve ever wanted to do and check them off, one by one. Eventually all of this exploration will lead you to find your greater purpose. Each of us has our own unique way we can give back to humanity, discovering this is the best legacy anyone can leave.
Enjoy your week, your lives, and, most importantly, your freedom.
(Gif sourced from Giphy.com)
Eric Vance Walton
The opinions expressed in the Blog are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.
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