Bright Side of 2020

Just like everyone, the pandemic has been weighing on me. I’m ready to see friends and travel again.

While life has stalled in some ways, we’ve pushed through and adapted. We’re creative and resilient. As a species, we’ve survived a lot worse than this.

As we enter into an increasingly uncertain future, I’m bullish on humans.

In the media this past week, there were several articles about how the world, the economy, our work, and our habits won’t look like they did before the pandemic. But this isn’t surprising.

The world is always changing. Every moment has its friction. But one thing that’s different is the change has accelerated this year.

While 2020 has certainly presented its share of challenges, it’s all relative. Historically we live in a moment in time where it’s still never been easier to make, save, and grow your money.

There are more opportunities to make money, more high quality, low cost investing opportunities, and an increasing number of books and blueprints about building a life you love with less.

There’s an immense amount of creativity and innovation happening at all income levels right now. The number of new businesses launching has exploded in 2020 to all-time highs.

Number of business establishments less than 1-year-old in the US, 1994 to 2020

 

number of new businesses 2020

The silver lining for many of this moment is that they’re saving money at all-time highs, starting new businesses, and questioning whether they are willing to make the sacrifices for money they once did.

 

Whether out of necessity, pure drive, or through pandemic induced self-awareness, a record number of people are reclaiming control of their income, time, and lives.

 

Unfortunately, you rarely read or hear about these stories in the media. But they’re out there, and they’re multiplying exponentially. The pandemic has only accelerated these life transitions.

 

I get emails all the time, from all over the world, from people who have created beautiful lives where they’re in control of their time, all for a lot less money than they could have imagined.

 

I don’t want to diminish all of the pain, suffering, struggle, and immense hurt in the world today. But this suffering is always present. Always a part of life.

 

I’d rather live in this moment than 100 years ago when opportunities were scarcer and disease more rampant.

 

We have a remarkable opportunity to accelerate change and push forward both humanity and ourselves through this moment. I’d rather be forced to change than be stuck.

 

When we’re stuck, there’s no space for anything new to show up. There’s simply no room. It’s an illusion of control. None of us know how long we will be here. There’s no time to waste. There is no better time than this.

 

While there are many paths to financial independence, starting your own company and building a business is the fastest.

 

After launching three companies, scaling two, and selling one, I can say that owning and monetizing my own time helped me build the life I wanted.

 

While I’m not advocating everyone become an entrepreneur, and if you’ve read my book, you’ll know that entrepreneurship is just one of many paths, I encourage you to consider it.

 

Test it out like so many other people are today. The barrier to entry to create and scale your own company has never been lower.

 

Every decision you make is a ripple into the universe. Sometimes we see the impact of our choices in the future, but most of the time, we don’t. This is why tradeoffs are so hard to make. We can’t predict the future.

 

In 2015 I started MillennialMoney.com and knew nothing about blogging, writing, or building an online business. Nothing.

 

On top of that everyone, I knew either didn’t read blogs or said blogging was dead. But I was curious enough to give it a shot and passionate about the topic to keep writing.

 

The great thing about starting with nothing is you have nothing to lose.

 

Of all the hundreds of bloggers, I knew who started when I did, 99.9% of them gave up. Only 3 of us are still doing it. It often takes five or more years to see real returns on building a business.

 

This is because, like money, everything compounds over time. Often the most successful people are simply the last one’s standing. Most people either never start or they give up too soon.

 

It’s been six weeks since The Motley Fool acquired Millennial Money, and I still have many emotions. But mostly, I’m grateful I didn’t give up on this mission. I’m still not giving up. I’m also thankful that I realized my limits, and I took the site as far as I could on my own.

 

We live in a world where we’re always moving, always doing, always busy, always chasing, always running after something – whether it’s the next raise, promotion, a million dollars, or some retirement in the distant future.

 

Or we’re running away from something, like our credit card debt, a hurtful memory from childhood or a stirring inside that’s wondering if we’re making the most of our life. No wonder we don’t feel free.

 

But at this moment, when we’re all stuck at home, many of us have accelerated that work we’ve been putting off. We’ve slowed down a bit and started focusing on what’s important.

 

I’m scaling back significantly these next few months. It’s been so long since I’ve genuinely rested.

 

In 2021, while the world will undoubtedly look different, with the vaccine, we’ll all leave our houses and get back to being busy.

 

The stock market will likely reach all-time highs. Things will change as they always have. We’ll keep going.

 

But the older I get, the more I see the rhythms in life. For some, this is the perfect time to take bigger risks and for others to scale back.

 

This is a remarkable moment, one that we’ll never get back. What are you doing with it?

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