One Thing Well, Internally
I'm proposing a different approach to success – one that focuses on developing internal skills rather than external rewards. Through timeless crafts such as woodworking or glassworking but the tech equivalents, you can acquire the skills necessary to achieve economic freedom and satisfaction. With patience and self-discipline, you can develop these skills and gain the satisfaction of a job well done. Unlock the power of compounding returns through timeless internal skills.
Discovering the Power of Internal Skills to Achieve Freedom and Fulfillment.
By Michael Levin
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Don’t let yourself get gamified. The algorithm redistributes money from your account to theirs. Every interaction with digital media is to this end, period.
There are paths leading to your best life, but what is that best life, precisely? Is it a bill of goods sold to you by those very same algorithms and social programs luring you into the quick-fix cycle of dopamine addiction? Introspection is required.
Most easily found paths lead you onto the hamster wheel, chasing external goals like accumulating money or owning a house. But what if the exchange rate for internal skills you carry around inside of you always works to your advantage, beating inflation and removing the ties that typically bind you to place and role?
What if these skills go with you wherever you go, apply to any situation in which you might find yourself, and give you the satisfaction of a job well done and the security of knowing you can always convert it into newly acquired resources in your pocket?
The book I’ve started writing over the past few posts requires me to practice what I preach. I have built these internal skills over a decade or more at this point, having taken up the “wrong ones” initially, but having orchestrated my own recovery and continued relevance each time.
Part of the challenge is that the solution seems boring at first. It is not the sexy path to riches and fame. It is not the most celebrated technology trends you will be exposed to by YouTube and social media. It is rather boring at first, until you get over the initial hump and start feeling the love.
I need to demonstrate this in practice. Show how something that’s boring and automatic, something that’s become automatic and internalized like a spontaneous habit, can be a source of great satisfaction. I should expose the folks to my daily journaling.
I should start to be a content creator unlike few others. Share the folks into my journaling in vim daily, using a single text-file for life. Give people something strong to visualize and imagine. Bop back and forth between journaling and coding in Python. Go from concept to code to content.
The extreme differentness of it all and empowerment of it all should allow me to turn it into a source of revenue though subscriptions and gifts. Support your creators. Show how getting over that hump and breaking your dependency on vendor tools for writing and coding will change your life in countless unexpected ways.
Decouple these tech skills from nearly all vendor products. Make it a completely free and open source stack. Show them how to get there from here. Don’t just tell them. Show them. And make the transition smooth from Windows (Mac people are not the target audience) to Linux. Show how it’s an AI and algorithm resistant sandbox that you can carry with you from host to host. Allow the physical tech of OSes and programming languages to be easily associated with the internal skills they’re developing.
You will find plenty of advice on making yourself rich through the magic of compounding interest. I propose that compounding interest be an internal part of your being.
There are not many skills that work this way, unless you find your way to a timeless craft for which you can always trade for economic products.
Craftsmanship feeds of the soul. Crafts such as glass or woodworking capture my meaning. Watch practitioners of either and notice the relationship of internal skills and external product.
There are two problems with developing internal skills where craft is expandable for economic means in the modern age.
The first is the selection of which particular skills can you practice for years and internalize, yet will resist obsolescence and catastrophic loss of your investment. The result of this path being the complete opposite of the internal compounding returns of which you seek. I have to focus on this quite a bit, because almost anything with a graphical user interface is perishable. That stuff has value but is not the foundation of what I propose.
The second is having sufficient patience and self-discipline to stick with a skill one selected to get over demoralizing initial failures. We can often start out on the right path with good intentions, and then become derailed for countless reasons. The fact that the foundational tech doesn’t have a graphical user interface can be a big hurdle for some. I must focus on how to get over this hump. And that’s the daily journaling connection.
The desire to become proficient in tech can become colored by visions of wanting to become an entrepreneurial billionaire, or to building something large and lasting. Both are the opposite of the timeless internal skills I propose.
Not making the pursuit of the big material prizes the goal might feel less satisfying at first, but focusing on timeless, always relevant skills provides a safety net and can be ultimately more satisfying and freeing. How often are builders both defined by and a captive to what they’ve built?
That’s not to say these paths are shut to you by developing craftsmanship with the timeless tools of tech. They are even more open to you, because you will not rely upon other people nor the illusion that AI will eliminate the need.
I propose increased general and generic capabilities that you will actually stop thinking about once you develop them. It is like reading and writing without thinking about the alphabet or grammar and syntax. Spoken languages are a perfect example of a tool you’re not born with, but through exposure, the necessity to use and practice becomes internalized.