2022 was an absurd year of personal and professional growth.
Over the last 12 months:
And honestly, quite a bit more that we'll dig into in this post.
But this growth happened so quickly that I needed some extended time to process it.
So in the beginning of December, I headed off to Sedona, Arizona for 7 days completely off the grid.
Just my journals, nature, and a list of questions I wanted to reflect on.
And this post is my attempt to distill that entire process, broken down into 4 sections:
After spending dozens of hours putting all the pieces together, this post ended up being quite long.
In fact, at over 13,000 words, it's by far the longest thing I've ever written.
So feel free to skip around, find the parts that interest you, and ignore the parts that don't.
Normally, this is the type of writing I would keep in the back of my notebook and never publish publicly. But committing to putting it out there forced me to give it much more attention than I would have. And this added attention helped me emerge with clarity on where I've been, where I am, and where I'm headed in the next year and beyond.
So with that, let's talk about the year.
Also, I published a long-form YouTube video breaking down all the different parts of this review if you'd prefer to watch & listen, rather than read.
Before we dive into the wins, I'll give a quick run down of the way I think about my life.
I group things broadly into 6 areas:
So throughout this review, you'll see things in roughly this order. And when breaking down my life and gauging my progress, I use these areas as a lens.
Now let's get into it.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve been on quite a health & fitness journey. I played center at Princeton, weighing in at 280 pounds my senior season. Today, I’m 185 pounds and have spent the last 5 years basically overhauling my approach to health. And while I came into this year in fairly good shape (around 195 pounds at 13% body fat), I took things up a notch after spending the prior 4 years exploring, experimenting, & learning.
This included hiring a coach to do my running & strength training programming, immersing myself into the educational worlds of hypertrophy training, cardiovascular training, yoga, mobility, nutrition—basically every pillar of health & fitness. I spent hundreds of hours listening and reading up on these topics, applying them and working them into my daily and weekly routines, and experimenting with different training methods. And I diligently tracked each of these areas, bringing a level of attention to detail to my lifts, runs, mobility, and nutrition that I had never brought before.
And as we head into the new year, I’m quite happy with the results. For the first time in years, I can project forward a sustainable path of growth if I just stick to the basics that I’m doing now—and that feels great.
Some health & fitness highlights from the year:
All in all, I head into 2023 with the most consistent and sustainable health & fitness routine I’ve ever had. And I know if I just stick to this routine for the next 5 years, the results I’m looking for are inevitable.
Like most 20-somethings, I drank a lot in college and during my first few years in the real world. It was just part of the culture, especially in New York City. But towards the end of 2019, I started to realize the negative effects alcohol was having on me, whether it was having 1 or 2 drinks after work or spending entire nights drinking on the weekend. Then, when COVID hit in 2020 and I moved back home to Tampa, I basically stopped drinking entirely except for the occasional glass of wine. By cutting it down so significantly, I became even more aware of the negative effects it would have on me the next day.
So around this time last year, I committed to going 12 months without it, mainly because after reflecting on my relationship with alcohol, I realized it had probably been 10 years (since I was 15 years old) that I had gone a month or more without a drink.
I’ll save the full reflection & lessons learned from these 12 months for another post, but here are a few 1-line realizations:
I’ll be writing plenty on this topic in the year ahead, so stay tuned for that!
I’ve been journaling consistently for the past 5 years, but this year I made it a priority to spend even more time capturing, distilling, and reflecting on everything that was happening in my life. And that habit allowed me to put together a comprehensive review like this, simply because of the pure amount of raw material I had to draw from.
Now, was some of that reflection a bit overkill? Potentially. And do I foresee myself filling up 6 more handwritten journals in the year ahead? Maybe, but probably not. However, I’m glad I did as much reflecting as I did this year because I have a feeling I’ll look back on 2022 as one of the more pivotal years of my life (and rereading through these journals in 50 years will be awesome).
For my first 4 years out of college, I worked as a hedge fund trader at BlackRock. As a math & computer science major in college, it was my absolute dream job—and the only job I’ve ever had. In fact, now that I think about it, it was even the only job interview I’ve ever had because I interned there going into both my junior and senior year.
And it’s still crazy to think about that I’ve only been out of the corporate world for 8 months because it feels like I’ve crammed 10 years of growth into that time.
I haven’t written or shared too much about my time there or about my transition to writing & building on my own, but I plan to over the next few months.
The quick backstory is during my first year or two working there, I loved every second of it. Markets, economies, politics, risk, uncertainty, probability—I loved the intersection of it all. But towards the end of 2019, I started to look around at some of the older guys at the firm and realized I couldn’t see myself being happy or fulfilled on that path for the long haul. I had the itch to build or create something on my own and knew over the long run that was the path I wanted to pursue.
But rather than take the leap immediately, I started to look for ways to passively explore different areas & opportunities while I continued to work that full-time job. That exploration led me to start writing online in January 2020, and that writing led me to start writing on Twitter in July 2020, which led to starting Ship 30 in November 2020 as nothing more than an accountability Slack channel for my personal 30-day writing challenge.
My writing and building Ship 30 started as a side hustle that I worked on in the mornings and evenings (and periodically throughout the day given we were all working from home during 2020 and 2021).
But as Ship 30 grew throughout 2021, so did the time demands it required to keep growing (and so did the opportunity cost of splitting my attention between Ship 30 and BlackRock, given the exponential upside that Ship 30 had versus the capped upside of a corporate salary).
Then, at the end of 2021, Ship 30 hit an inflection point into the January 2022 cohort. And at that point, it no longer made financial sense for me to continue working for BlackRock given the opportunity Ship 30 presented. But still, the decision to leave was hard! And it took me months of back-and-forth reflection, weighing the pros and cons of the different paths and trying to project forward the next 5-10 years on each of those paths.
But eventually, I used a simple lens to make my decision:
What decision would the type of person I’m trying to become make?
And I knew the type of person I was trying to become took risks & built things under their own name while investing their time, energy, and attention into businesses they owned.
So in March of this year, I officially left BlackRock to write & build on my own. And 8 months in, I can confidently say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Luckily, my team was super supportive, I left on great terms, and I continue to keep in touch with many of them.
And since giving my writing & Ship 30 my full attention, both have continued to accelerate (which further validated my decision).
My relationship with money has always been a challenging one. Growing up, my family faced significant financial hardship, which felt even worse given I was surrounded by wealthier friends and constantly felt sympathy from other parents.
Because of that situation, I developed a scarcity mindset toward money. And this mindset reared its head on both sides of the financial equation: earning & spending.
I found ways to earn money throughout high school and college by tutoring on the side, which allowed me to be financially independent of my parents from the age of 16 onwards. But as soon as I unlocked a new level of earning, I had this feeling that it wouldn’t last. So instead of trying to grow it further, I would do whatever I could to maintain it while turning my attention back to the spending side (and trying to ruthlessly cut everything I could on that side of the equation).
And this is the definition of a scarcity mindset. I saw my earning potential as capped or uncertain, which meant I needed to do everything I could to protect and preserve it. And while this behavior served me well in the very beginning, it lingered for too long (and still lingers a bit today).
When I started to earn income on the side from Ship 30, my relationship with money began to change. I had already done just about everything possible to lower my recurring spending, so there was no upside from giving that side of the equation any more attention. Meanwhile, I experienced the rush of making money on something I had created that had unlimited upside (versus something like a corporate salary).
And so slowly but surely, I began shifting from scarcity to abundance. And leaving BlackRock to continue building on my own was a strong move in that direction because 18-year-old me would have thought that was an absurd choice. Over the past year, I’ve started to spend more freely, prioritizing investing in my health, convenience, and travel experiences that I neglected for years. And I’ve reallocated the attention I used to put towards spending less and pointed it towards earning more, which turns out is much easier than trying to cut costs (and much more fun!).
During my first 4 years out of college, I did relatively little travel. Something about being the youngest person on the team + just starting out made me hesitant to plan any kind of extended vacation. But with my newfound personal freedom this year, I made it a priority to visit new cities, soak in new experiences, and do some exploration.
I ended up taking 10 trips this year, easily the most I’ve ever traveled in a year. Here’s a recap of each place I visited (with my favorite parts of each):
And today, I write this from an epic 1-bedroom apartment in Midtown Miami where I’ve lived for the past 6 months on my own.
Working & living in Miami has been awesome. My co-founder Nicolas Cole moved here from LA at the same time I did after we spent the first 18 months working together remotely. And these past 6 months are the first time I’ve ever lived alone (since I had two roommates during my time in NYC and lived with my mom when working remotely during 2020 and 2021), which means I’ve gotten to be in full control over my time & space after years of living with others.
I plan on writing more about the ins and outs of living in Miami, and I see myself continuing to live here for the foreseeable future. Finding an apartment I can call my own will be a priority in the year ahead, given I’ve bounced around 3 different neighborhoods and 4 different Airbnbs in my time here. And so will building out a wider group of friends, given how many talented & interesting people are working & living here.
For my first 9 months of writing online (starting in January 2020), I wrote solely on my Substack and on my old blog (which barely anyone knew existed). But towards the end of 2020, I switched over entirely to writing on Twitter, more or less abandoning my blog in favor of writing threads and Atomic Essays on social platforms.
And this was 100% the right choice. I can point everything good that has happened in my relationships & business back to writing & publishing consistently on Twitter. And here are some of the highlights from this year:
All in all, I’m extremely happy with my growth on these platforms this year. I explored dozens of different topics, posted consistently every single day and every week, learned new mediums and platforms, and feel as though my posts & threads struck the right mix of entertainment and education that turned initial readers into lifelong supporters.
However, there is one downside of writing on these social platforms—the content doesn’t last. Sure, the following compounds over time. But some of my best writing is buried in the depths of my Twitter feed, which means my new followers aren’t able to easily find it (and I have to consistently find creative ways to resurface it and show it to them).
This is why in the year ahead, I’m going to get back to building up my library of content on my blog and YouTube channel while I continue to write on Twitter & LinkedIn. That way, when someone stumbles across a piece of my writing on those platforms, they can easily go down the rabbit hole of my library without me having to creatively resurface it to them.
I also want to get back to writing a periodic personal newsletter, likely on a monthly basis rather than the weekly basis on which I used to publish it. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!
In December 2020, Ship 30 for 30 started as nothing more than an accountability Slack channel. And for the first 9 months of 2021, it was merely a side project, something I worked on in the morning and evenings while I continued to work full-time at BlackRock. But like I said in the earlier section about leaving BlackRock, Ship 30 accelerated last November into the new year, hitting a growth trajectory that allowed me to leave my full-time job and give Ship 30 my full attention.
And things continued to accelerate in 2022. At the highest level, the business tripled this year despite headwinds to the digital education industry from people returning to offices & the economic environment leading to lower spending in general.
But business metrics aside, this year Ship 30 grew & matured into an immersive community-powered learning experience. We upgraded every detail of the student journey at various points throughout the year: better live sessions, better templates, better onboarding, better curriculum, better customer support, you name it, we improved it.
And yet, it feels like we’re only scratching the surface of what Ship 30 can become. Every time we improve something, it shows us another area we can improve. And that’s what’s fun about running a community-powered business: the continuous feedback from students along with the ever-changing and evolving digital writing world means there is always something we could work on.
We have big plans for Ship 30 in the year ahead and it excites me to wake up every day to work on them.
Here are some of the business & community highlights from the year:
Phew! A lot can happen in a year. And putting these highlights down on paper fills me with a sense of accomplishment and excitement for the year ahead. Like I said earlier, I feel like we are just starting to scratch the surface of what Ship 30 can become, and in 2023 we plan on taking it to the next level.
Alrighty, that about does it on the wins & accomplishment section. Across my different areas of health, wealth, relationships, and experiences, & business, quite a few things went well. I found this to be the most fun part of the review because it shows just how much can happen in a year, despite feeling like I was making little progress at the moment.
But, this year was by no means perfect—which takes us to the next section of the review: my mistakes, failures, and anti-accomplishments.
While doing my reflection on the year, I debated what to call this section. Mistakes? Failures? Areas I came up short? Anti-accomplishments?
So I decided to combine all of them. This section is a collection of:
Let’s get to it:
Dealing with nagging injuries was the only thing that hurt my progress on the health & fitness front this year. And my biggest injury was to my calf which came from overuse at the beginning of the year. That injury nagged me for much longer than it should have. because right when it would start to heal, I’d return to my old running volume and reaggravate it.
In July it got so bad I couldn't walk for a handful of days. And this forced me to completely reevaluate my relationship with running.
I cut my volume to zero and did a deep dive on lower body injuries, mobility, and strengthening. This sent me down the rabbit hole of proper footwear, ankle flexibility, and running form. And after applying what I learned about injury prevention to my entire lower body, I went the last 4 months of the year injury free.
This included added emphasis on my morning and evening mobility, stretching, ice baths, and sleep. And so in the year ahead, I want to continue to keep injury prevention as the priority of my fitness training. The results will take care of themselves if I stick to my current training protocol.
I spent a lot of this year on autopilot. I executed the things I knew I needed to do to progress in the areas I was looking to progress. And this served its role and led to leaps of progress in several areas. But it felt like the year flew by and I missed out on some of the small joys of everyday life because of that lack of awareness.
So in the year ahead, I want to make it a priority to go about my day with more mindfulness. I'll start with figuring out when and where to build a formal meditation practice into my day. And I'll also work on finding small moments throughout the day to check in to the present moment.
I would deem this year a success. But I feel like these accomplishments came despite a severe lack of focus. Directionally speaking, my efforts were aligned (with my priorities being building my physical foundation and growing all aspects of the business). But within those areas, I fell victim to distraction and shiny objects on multiple time horizons. On the micro level, I checked Twitter, Slack, email, & Stripe notifications more than I should have. This prevented me from dropping into states of deep work on a consistent basis. And on the macro level, I failed to do the hard work of prioritizing and saying no to many of the opportunities I pursued.
So I pointed my efforts in the right direction but split them among too many things in that direction. Shiny objects, minor distractions, and annoyances all contributed to this. So in the year ahead, I will better prioritize states of uninterrupted deep work every day and better prioritize the opportunities we pursue as a business.
Losing money sucks. Losing money in markets where you have no control over the outcome sucks even more. And everyone invested in broad financial markets got a taste of that this year.
Now with the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to look back and say I overinvested at the beginning of the year. But the truth is, I thought the trend of markets going up and to the right was going to continue this year. And I continued to invest throughout the year. I saw each "dip" as an opportunity to add more after years of “buy the dip” being the common advice and winning strategy.
So as we sit here at the end of the year, I’ve done a lot of thinking about where I want to invest my money over the next 5-10 years. I still don't have the perfect framework, but I know one thing for sure. We'll look back on the prior 15 years (from 2008 to 2022) as one of the more “outlier” regimes in history. This means it's important to “unlearn” some of the common investment advice from that period (i.e. that cash is trash & that you should invest every dollar into the stock market). I’ll talk a little more about my approach in the “lessons & realizations” section of the review.
I spent this year tightening my inner circle and the number of people I talked to on a weekly basis. And for the most part, I deprioritized meeting new people. But this wasn't because I didn't want to meet them. It's because after meeting them I’d find myself extremely interested in learning more about what they were working on. And this curiosity made it harder for me to maintain focus on my current thing. In other words, meeting other people worsened my shiny object syndrome.
Even within my tightened inner circle, I went a considerable amount of time without catching up with many of them. I set the intention many times throughout the year to catch up with them on a recurring basis, but never stuck to it. Luckily, these relationships are built on a strong foundation that can weather extended periods of time without catching up.
So in the year ahead, I want to build intentional time into my calendar to foster relationships. This includes both deepening connections with my inner circle and meeting new people who are doing interesting things. I’ll look to do this through periodic catch-up calls, organizing occasional dinners with other smart people in Miami, and coordinating/participating in group travel events that bring my closest friends together to explore a new place.
It’s hard to lose 100 pounds without developing a set of compulsive and controlling behaviors around food. And so a byproduct of this weight loss journey has been developing a set of habits that served their role in getting me here but won’t serve me in the long run.
(And as I write this, I realize how true that is for many of my current behaviors. The saying “what got you here won’t get you there” rings more and more true every day).
So in the year ahead, I want to slowly transition away from some of these behaviors (mainly overly-obsessive calorie & macro tracking). I don’t expect this to happen overnight, but my goal is to sit here next year with a more sustainable nutrition structure that still moves me closer to my goals, but with fewer of the negative tradeoffs that come with it. The goal here will be to find the “80/20” foundation I can stick to forever.
I spend a lot of time immersed in things I’m building—occasionally too much time. And again, that served its role in getting me here and I will continue to operate with that high level of obsession & focus. However, I want to find some outlets (i.e. hobbies) that allow me to channel that obsession & focus on something totally new.
Even better, I want those new hobbies to be the foundation of some of my writing & videos over the next 5, 10, & 20 years. For example, if I get super into playing golf & mixing my own house music (the two hobbies I have my eye on for the year ahead), I want to write about them. This will help me 1) learn the skill faster and 2) attract others interested in that hobby as well.
My 6 months in Miami have felt like a bit of an extended vacation. I’ve bounced around 4 different neighborhoods and 4 different Airbnbs, constantly changing routines, gyms, etc. It’s been a good way to explore the city, but living out of a suitcase and having no say in the design aesthetic of the apartment environment can be draining over time. Of course, this is the price you pay for convenience & flexibility.
So I’m not in a huge rush here, but I do want to find an unfurnished apartment I love in the upcoming year and start to build out a better foundation. The reason I’ve put it off for so long is it feels like a big “lift” and “commitment” (mainly the idea of getting furniture and furnishing an entire apartment). But even if I don’t intend to live in Miami forever (a topic that deserves its own post), I do plan on purchasing some real estate here in the upcoming year. So worst case, I can move the furniture there as a way to furnish that rental property. Best case, I craft an environment that is 100% my own, rather than inheriting the furnishing of someone else.
There are huge benefits to writing on social platforms in the beginning—mainly instant distribution & tight feedback loops. However, the downside is things you wrote last week are basically “unfindable” for anyone new who comes to your profile. That means you have to get creative in resurfacing your best work and get comfortable repeating yourself.
Both of these are fine and I’ll continue doing them, but in the year ahead I want to transition to more long-form writing on my blog. Without distribution, blogs are useless (because no one knows they exist & you are basically writing into the void). But given I have reach & the ability to drive traffic to my new posts, my blog will serve the perfect role as my “library.”
Currently, when someone sees an interesting tweet or thread of mine (and it’s the first thing they’ve ever seen), they have to scroll my Twitter feed, and (hopefully) they find something interesting from a few days earlier. But with a blog, I can keep all of my writing easily findable in one place, so if someone wants, they can easily go down the rabbit hole of all of my ideas.
I’m not quite sure what the cadence is going to be for posting on this blog (and Twitter & LinkedIn will still be my primary writing platforms). But if we’re sitting here at the end of 2023 with 10+ long-form pieces, I’ll be happy with that foundation.
This topic deserves its own 5,000-word blog post, but I’ll touch quickly on some points I’m thinking about for Ship 30 in the year ahead.
As it stands now, Ship 30 operates with a cohort-launch model. At 5 different points throughout the year, a cohort cycle kicks off. And these are roughly 10-week cycles:
And to be 100% honest, working through this flow 5 different times in a year is challenging! Especially given the small team we have, there are many hats to wear and ways of thinking that hit back to back to back.
We’ve stuck to this model because it’s exactly what we’re used to (and it’s working quite well!). But as I sat down to reflect on the next 5-10 years of Ship 30, I don't see a future where we maintain this type of “roller coaster” business operating model. Instead, I want to pursue something that looks more like a “digital writing gym membership.”
Instead of Ship 30 being something you join and “finish” 30 days later, I want Ship 30 to be something you join and stay a part of forever, just like someone who joins a gym they love. This will unlock a few new benefits relative to the course launch model:
This transition is still in its early stages, and there’s a good chance we stick with the cohort model for a handful more cohorts as we continue to think through this long-term foundation. But we plan on taking steps in this direction over the coming months, mainly:
Lots here and without a doubt something that will receive more thinking & planning in the year ahead.
But I’m excited to continue thinking and building the long-term foundation of Ship 30 in 2023 and beyond.
And that feels pretty good!
At this point in my review, I began to study the wins and accomplishments in each area of my life through a simple lens:
What are the 20% of people, behaviors, beliefs, or environments that led to 80% of the good results?
And what are the 20% of people, behaviors, beliefs, or environments that led to 80% of the bad results?
Based on that 80/20 analysis, I attempted to distill my lessons and realizations about myself and the world into a list of guiding frameworks I could take into the next year.
And that takes us to the next part of the review.
This section is broken down in 9 different lessons & realizations I had this year.
Within each of them, I first talk about how I learned the lesson or came to the realization. Then, I look at each area of my life and talk about how I plan on applying it in the year ahead. And finally, at the end of each section, I distill the lesson down into a few short words that I can use to guide my actions & decisions in the new year.
There were seasons of my life where scarcity played its role. Budgeting. Tight schedules. Obsessive tracking. Latching on & saying yes to every opportunity.
But this year I realized ascending to the next level requires a shift from scarcity to abundance. I need to embrace the fact there are unlimited problems to solve, ways to improve, places to travel, relationships to build, topics to explore, and hobbies to dive into. Because of all of these opportunities, it's my responsibility to prioritize being highly energized.
And more importantly, I need to embrace this abundance tactically: understanding I can do anything I want, but not everything, and never more than 1 thing at a time.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Operate with abundance.
On one end of the wealth spectrum, you have the person who can't plan past their next meal. And on another end of the spectrum, you have the billionaires who are thinking about their legacy for centuries into the future.
So to ascend levels of wealth, I need to progressively expand the time horizon of my thinking. Each year, I want to think and plan and patiently execute over a longer time horizon. But I know I don't become wealthy, then start thinking long term. It's a constant and iterative cycle of zooming in and out, executing short-term, and planning in the long term.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Extend the time horizon.
"Power is the speed at which you can go from idea in your head to finished execution in the real world." — Alex Hormozi.
This means a position with the most power would be going from idea to outcome instantly with 100% certainty it gets done. And a position with the least power would be having an idea but having no way to make it happen and no way to guarantee the outcome.
During my reflection, I realized every negative result I had this year came from allocating towards areas in 2 places.
For me to continue leveling up, I need to invest my time, energy, and attention into areas where I already have power or in accumulating more of it.
And said in reverse, I want to avoid investing resources in areas I am powerless or cannot accumulate more of it.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Accumulate power.
You can cram 10 years of growth into 6 months when you give it 100% of your attention and focus. And I've experienced this across dozens of different areas of my life (elite level Runescape player in 4th grade, becoming a speedcuber in 5th grade, professional Call of Duty 4 player in 7th grade, becoming a D1 football player in high school, majoring in math & computer science in college, getting up to speed quickly at BlackRock, and now writing and building an internet business).
Growing up, I thought this was a bug in my personality because of the way other people would react to that level of intensity. But as I've matured, I've realized it's 100% a superpower—if I yield it correctly.
With this comes a delicate balance of dialing things up during that period of obsession, then figuring out how to dial it back 20% to a more sustainable pace.
And when you pair this idea with operating from abundance, long-term thinking, and accumulating more power, there's an important realization.
Over the next 50 years, there will be no shortage of opportunities to pursue that will make me more powerful. And when I choose to obsess over them, I can accumulate that power quickly (and then move on to the next thing).
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Lean into obsession.
I spent too much time chasing too many things this year, which means I wasted a lot of effort doing things halfway. And so in the year ahead, I want to avoid operating in this "middle" ground.
At any time, I want to have a small number of things that I am actively trying to grow, giving them my full effort & applying a high level of volume and intensity. Everything else I want to actively maintain.
This means 1) not starting new things unless I can apply the amount of force necessary to do them well, 2) identifying the things I want to maintain and figuring the minimum amount necessary to do so, and 3) being selective about the things I do try to grow and ramping up my efforts accordingly.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Minimize for maintenance, maximize for growth.
I have a unique ability to execute any system I put myself into with unwavering discipline. This means creating the necessary urgency, stress, and diligence to stick with the structured cadence I design, no matter how arbitrary.
The reverse is also true: when left without guidelines, routine, and structure, I can melt into a cycle of suboptimal behavior and continue it for a while before I snap myself out of it.
So this behavior is a blessing & a curse.
Wielded correctly and applied to the right container, it's a superpower. But applied to the wrong container (or when left without a container at all), it's a crippling bottleneck.
The big takeaways here are to 1) carefully choose my containers before I put myself in them and 2) be mindful of areas where I'm lacking containers, finding small ways to add some helpful guardrails.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Choose your containers wisely
I realized this year that the difference between giving something 90% of your attention and 100% of your attention is not 10%—it's 10x.
So my best results come from maximizing the amount of time where I have the fewest number of open loops.
And this has implications across every time horizon.
On the micro level, it means focusing on 1 task at a time, on a timer, with distractions blocked. On a weekly level, it means 1) selectively choosing what to work on, keeping everything else on a later list, and 2) systematizing things you're repeatedly doing to minimize the mental bandwidth required. And on a macro level, it means being mindful of unfinished projects or looming uncertainties that eat up mental bandwidth in the background, periodically finding time to list them out and slam them shut.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Hone your attention.
I realized this year that the sheer amount of repetition, minor iteration, and execution of the dead-simple basics that comes with achieving anything great is enough to keep 99% of people from ever reaching it.
In my experience, I’ve found success is rarely about figuring out what to do.
It's about learning how to execute the things you know you should be doing, day in and day out for an uncomfortably long period of time despite every bone in your body trying to convince you to chase something new, add complexity, or give up entirely.
And so in the year ahead, I want to lean into this. I want to keep the mantra of “basic, boring, better” top of mind with everything I do. I want to show up every day and execute the few fundamental things that move the needle forward, obsessively improving my technique and skill in the process.
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Basic, boring, better.
The food I eat. The space I live & work in. The gym I go to. The group chats I’m in. The people I follow. The writers I read. The podcasts I listen to. All of it shapes me and my behavior 24/7/365. This means I need to mindfully and carefully craft it, audit it often, and invest resources in improving it.
And because, like a fish in water, I can get so used to it, I must periodically remove myself from it, explore somewhere completely new, and return with a refreshed perspective.
Lastly, I need to recognize my environment is a game of constant, iterative improvement and will never be "complete."
Ways I’m applying this:
How I’m remembering this: Craft your environment.
To help me remember these lessons and realizations, I've combined them into a shortened list that I revisit every morning.
1. Operate with abundance
2. Accumulate power
3. Extend the time horizon
4. Lean into obsession
5. Minimize for maintenance, maximize for growth
6. Carefully choose your containers
7. Hone your attention
8. Basic, boring, better
9. Craft your environment
Throughout the year, I plan on collecting examples of things I do that put these lessons & realizations into practice. And I want to write deep dive posts into each these, how I'm applying it to my life, and the tradeoffs that come with operating this way. Stay tuned for those!
Speaking of the year ahead, I ended my review brainstorming all of the things that I'm excited to build in the 2023.
So let's wrap it up there.
This year I’m staying away from setting formal goals, opting instead to set the “directions” in which I’m applying my resources (time, energy, attention, and capital).
In no particular order, here’s what I’m excited about for the year ahead.
Lifting, running, & mobility—three areas I want to double down on doing “better” in the year ahead.
Specifically, I want to continue increasing my lean body mass, aerobic capacity, and lower body squat mobility. I can accomplish this by sticking to the daily & weekly basics with my exercise, sleep, nutrition, & sunlight while avoiding any unnecessary complexity or shiny objects. And for the first time in 5 years, I can go into a new year without having to “rewrite” anything I’m doing here, instead knowing the results will take care of themselves if I just stick to how I’m currently operating.
My physical health received plenty of attention this year. And in the year ahead I want to apply that same level of interest & effort to my mental and spiritual health. There is no shortage of habits to build or protocols to try in this area, but I want to keep it simple to start—building a foundation with just 2-3 minutes of mindfulness completed every day. If at the end of the year this was the only thing I developed in this area, then the year was a success.
This is more than just a level of income or level of net worth. I want to continue improving my relationship with money—how I value it, how I spend it, how I invest it, and how I contribute it. The foundation here is continuing to work towards abundance over scarcity with all of my financial decisions.
This is a new one for me on the personal development side. I want to create a few short, memorable phrases I repeat to myself that set an intention or remind me of the way I’m trying to operate across different areas of life. I plan on writing plenty about these in the year ahead, so stay tuned.
Friends, family, & romantic relationships—I want to give all of these more attention in the year ahead after giving them less attention in 2021 and 2022. This starts with blocking intentional, non-negotiable time into my days, weeks, and months, then using that time to nurture my current relationships or build new ones.
2022 was my biggest year of travel—but almost all of it was within the United States. So in the year ahead, I’m excited to continue traveling with an added emphasis on exploring other countries & cultures. Cape Town, Europe, and Argentina are all on my list for the year ahead. If I can hit all 3, that would be incredible.
This will kick off the process of building out a longer-term foundation in Miami. Finding an unfurnished apartment in South Beach that I can slowly build out over time. And who knows, if the real estate market unfolds the way I see it unfolding by the end of the year, I may own a place here.
Right now, I’m leaning towards playing more golf and learning to mix my own house music. But I’m not dead set on these and not in a rush to start them. If by the end of the year I’ve at least started to explore one or two hobbies, that’s enough progress for me.
I am always operating at my best when I am consistently writing & publishing something every single day. And so I want to push myself to stick with it the entire year—all 365 days in 2023 publishing an Atomic Essay. I plan on using this creative vehicle to explore tons of different topics & ideas in a lightweight way, with the 250-word daily creative constraint making it easy and sustainable. These Atomic Essays (and the market feedback to them) will serve as the foundation for my long-form writing while also serving the role of marketing Ship 30 and the Ship Daily mindset.
I know the bottleneck to Ship 30’s continued growth is the quality of the student experience. And the bottleneck to providing a better student experience is 1) the amount of high-touch support we can offer and 2) the amount of attention directed toward the improvement of the student experience. Hiring and training more team members on the community and operations side will solve this bottleneck—and the bottleneck to solving that bottleneck is me! More specifically, the bottleneck is my ability to attract, hire, incentivize, and train team members, a skill which I will give my full attention to building this year.
Last but not least, I’m looking forward to the intellectual challenge of continuing to grow & scale an internet-based community business. Two years into running Ship 30 and I feel like we’re only scratching the surface of what it can become.
Aaaand that's it!
If you made it this far, I greatly appreciate you reading.
2022 was the biggest year of growth I've experienced in my 26 years here.
And because of all that growth, I knew I'd look back in 50 years and be extremely grateful that I took the time to distill everything that happened.
If any parts of the review stuck out to you or you have any questions about the things I talked about, please hit me up via Twitter DM, I'd love to hear from you.
That's it for 2022, and here's to making 2023 even better.