I don't even remember what I did yesterday.
So trying to remember all of the things I've learned over the past 7 years might be a litlle difficult for me.
So I'll try to focus on 7 things here.
Are those the 7 most important things I learned?
No, not really. Those are just the things I can think of right away...
In case you want to read the whole story, I wrote an entire book about it. You can download it for free here.
# IT DOESN'T MATTER
It doesn't really matter where you live.
Over the past seven years I've lived in cities and apartments all over the world. I'm not saying this to brag about it. There's nothing to brag about living in an apartment in Bangkok for $100 a month without aircon. Even though it was quite memorable and probably one of the best times I ever had in my life.
Look. I've lived in all kinds of apartments. Huge apartments. Tiny apartments. Apartments with windows. Apartments without windows. Apartments I've shared with up to five other people. Apartments I've lived in alone. Apartments that range from $100 a month to more than $3000 a month (which I luckily didn't have to pay for).
And you know what?
It didn't make any difference at all. None of it. It didn't make me feel any better to live in a big apartment. Just like it didn't make me feel worse to live in a small apartment. Just like it didn't matter whether I lived in a big city or a small town.
As a matter of fact, probably the best apartment I've ever lived in was the one where I didn't have any stuff in it. Where all I had was just a cheap mattrace on the floor, an old desk and a broken chair. I didn't even have a wardrobe. All of my stuff was just in a backpack on the floor.
The only thing that really matters is that you do your thing. That you work on being able to live the life you want to live. One step at a time. One day at a time.
If you live in one of the most amazing cities in the world but you don't really like what you're doing then you'll never be happy. Or satisfied. It'll always wear off . Sooner or later.
On the other hand, when you live in a place you might not like that much but you're able to keep working on the things you really enjoy doing without having to starve yourself to death then you'll always be happy.
Of course this is highly simplified. And romantic. And cheesy. And maybe I'm wrong. But it's true. At least for me...
# OPPORTUNIIES ARE EVERYWHERE
I make exactly zero dollars a month working for clients or corporations. And zero of the things I do today have anything to do with anything I learned in school or university. I didn't have a job for the past four years. I don't know how to write a single line of code. All I have is a laptop and internet access. Opportunities are everywhere. No matter where you live. As long as you're willing to seize them. As long as you're willing to invest the time and energy...
# $5 A DAY
Can you live on $5 a day?
Maybe. Maybe not.
We don't really need a lot to survive. And when I say "we", I'm really talking about myself. Sometimes I feel like a cockroach. I can adapt to pretty much any circumstance. We all can. If we want to...
Sure, I never lived in poverty. I always had a place to stay and enough money to pay for rent and food. A privilege that not all of us have...
Some periods I lived with just $5 a day. Some days I spent more. Some days I spent less. Even those last couple of weeks I tried to spend as little as $5 a day. But not because I had to. But because I decided to.
And again, it didn't really make any difference. I didn't feel any happier when I spent more. As a matter of fact, the less I tried to spend, the more I appreciated everything. And when I say everything, I really mean everything.
Trying to get by with $5 a day is possible. Even in most countries in Europe it's possible. Unless you want to live in Paris. But who really wants to live in Paris, right?
But then again, I've never really been to Paris. So I don't really know..
And yes, it's a whole different story if all you have to live is just $5 a day or if you just decide to just spend $5 a day even though you could easily spend more.
Still, these simple experiments helped me to learn a lot about myself.
I learned that no matter what I do, no matter what risks I take and no matter what happens, I'll probably always be able to somehow make those $5 a day. Even if that means that I'd have to collect trash. Which I actually did. Just to see how much I could make....
# COLLECTING TRASH
So a couple of years ago I decided to collect plastic and glass bottles. Just to see how much I could make. In Germany you get between 8 -25 cents a bottle. Sure, it's a lot less in other countries. But then again in other countries you can walk other people's dogs for $30+ an hour.
Either way. So I took my bicycle and rode around my hometown Munich and collected bottles out of trash cans. And in something like 5 hours I made around $8. That's not a whole lot of money. But still enough to pay for my daily expenses. And it was the first time I did it. So I assume that you could probably get more if you know where to go...
And yes, it's just a thought experiment. And nothing I had to go through was real. But the thing about thought experiments is that they're never real. They should just change your thoughts. And that's exactly what they did.
I realized that no matter what happens, I might probably still be able to get by and make enough for food and things like that. Because no matter where you live, you can probably make $5 a day. Even if you have to collect trash for a while. So from then on I knew that even in the worst case scenario I'd still be ok.
And from there pretty much everything is possible...
Can you live on $5 a day?
Is this even realistic?
Well, it probably isn't.
But we live in a time where realistic and unrealistic are basically the same thing.
Where insane and sane are the same thing.
And where the only realistic thing you can do is to be unrealistic...
I spent most of 2016 and 2017 living out of a carry on backpack. I had three outfits. And two of them included shorts and a tank top. The third one was my running outfit.
I never needed a lot of things in life. Simply because I was always just too afraid that the things I'd buy would get damaged or I'd lose them or they'd lose a lot of value and on and on and on.
Here's the thing...
Owning things is a struggle.
First you work really, really hard to be able to afford them. Maybe you're even working a job you don't really enjoy that much. And once you can afford them you have to work really, really hard to make sure you don't lose what you've built up. So the struggle continues. And never ends...
And whatever you do, you won't be able to do anything about it.
If you buy an iPhone it'll probably lose 50% of its value within a year. Heck, it'll probably even lose 50% of its value when you unbox it. Same thing with a new car. The moment you buy it and it touches the ground you've just lost 50% of your money.
I hate it when I make an investment and I immediately lose 50% of my investment with zero chances of making more money back than I initially invested.
To me that's a really bad investment. An investment that takes away all of my liquidity in exchange for zero upside. It's probably safer to invest in Bitcoin than buying a new car, an iPhone or whatever.
I prefer to invest in myself. It pays the best dividend by far....
Same thing with a house. Or an apartment. Not only will it force you to allocate a huge amount of your money that you might never ever see again, but it also robs your freedom and flexibility.
The freedom of being able to move wherever you want to. The freedom of living wherever you want to.
Sure, maybe you don't want to move anywhere else. But what if you're forced to live somewhere else because of your job, your this and your that?
You're probably going to have to sell it at a loss. Whenever you're forced to sell anything, you'll always sell at a loss. I've never seen anyone who was forced to sell to get out of the whole thing with a profit.
It's just like they say in that movie...
Here's the thing...
I don't want to be owned by anyone or anything.
All I want is to be free.
And we live in a time where it's possible.
Where you can create your own freedom.
But not with some B.S. kind of lifestyle product you buy.
But with really, really hard and smart work, some hedged risk taking and staying on top of your game.
Sure, you don't get there over night.
It'll take a lot of effort to live and create your own life.
But the more you buy and the more things you own, the harder it'll get to be able to create your own life.
The things you own end up owning you...
# LESS WORRIES
The more I own, the more I worry. The less I own, the less I worry...
# FIXED COSTS
I have practically zero fixed costs.
Most of the people I know have almost all of what they make already allocated to fixed costs. I'm not saying it's their fault. But then again, most of the time it is...
The truth is that it doesn't really matter how much you make as long as you don't control your fixed costs. Fixed costs are really all that matters. Fixed costs are what usually kills people. Or businesses. Or anything as a matter of fact.
Because you can't change your fixed costs. That's why they're called fixed costs.
And that's why I personally try to avoid them at all cost.
So I can easily scale everything I do, buy or consume up or down in just a matter of days. Maybe even hours.
Fixed costs kill flexibility.
And zero flexibility means zero freedom.
And zero freedom means zero creativity and zero innovation.
And zero creativity means zero ideas.
And zero ideas mean zero new income streams.
And zero new income streams mean zero flexibility....
# LESS DECISIONS
Less decisions mean less friction.
And less friction means more time and energy to focus on your thing.
To focus on the things that really matter.
So how do you eliminate decision making?
By trying to avoid friction as much as possible.
By eliminating decision making as much as possible.
So for example I basically wear the same clothes every single day.
I own close to zero things.
When I cook, I usually cook for 3-4 meals.
I don't meet people I don't want to meet.
I don't go to events I don't want to go.
I try to live at the most convenient places possible.
So that I have to make close to zero decisions about anything.
Food. Coffee. Supermarket....
And a lot of other things.
I basically try to avoid decision making as much as I can.
Especially when it comes to small things.
Because the smallest things can have the biggest negative impact.
Sure, this won't happen over night.
But you have to start somewhere....
# CREATION IS FREEDOM
The more you create and the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you create for yourself.
It's simple math. The more you create, the higher the probability that people will find out about you.
And maybe some of these people might turn into customers, friends, business partners, life partners and on and on and on.
The only way I'm able to live the life I live right now is because I create stuff. Every single day. For more than two years now.
The more often and the longer you create, the more opportunities you will create for yourself. And the more your freedom will increase over time. But again, there's no guarantee.
On the other hand, the less you create, the more you'll depend on someone who creates. And then that person, entity or corporation can crush you whenever they want to.
They can fire you whenever they want to. And you have to show up when they want you to show up. You need to do what they want you to do. And if you don't, you'll get punished. No freedom. Or just about enough freedom to make you think you're free. When you're actually not.
Creation is freedom...
If you want to know more about what I've learned living out of a backpack for the past 7 years, you can download a free copy of my book "I’m Everywhere And Nowhere. And I Own Nothing And Everything."