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Create More Than You Consume

Travis

Travis

Front End Engineer

I failed. It's been almost a month since my previous post and my adventure to dive into stand up comedy. I made excuses again. I did do my research. I know where to go, who to talk to, how to sign up. I just never actually went.

The first Tuesday I was supposed to go, my wife wasn't feeling well. Whatever she came down with, she slept basically the entire day. This prompted me to stay home to take care of her rather than go out. The following Tuesday was pure laziness. I have a bad habit of organizing my days and schedules around my wife's. Whatever days she is off, I tend to not do much work-wise..or personal enjoyment wise, to be honest. It's a crutch that I need to break away from. We both work from home, so we spend our days together. When we aren't working, we tend to just be lounging around. She's got a bad addiction to TikTok that I can be quite critical of, but I'm no better. I tend to browse Reddit more than read books. We've gotten quite lazy and lethargic and will make any excuse to do literally nothing. We have become terribly addicted consumers, which brings me to this posts' topic.

Create More Than You Consume#

Travis, why is Jeff Bezos in your tags for this? He's evil, he's a controversial topic, why bring him up, you say. Or maybe you don't. I don't know. While I don't agree with Bezos as a person, he brings up interesting points in his interviews. One more recent one related to his success, the amount of money Amazon makes and how non-existent his tax payments are, was simple in theory: "To be successful, create more than you consume."

He goes on to explain what he means, and how he achieves that through Amazon, with plenty of affordable products most of society can afford, to the number of jobs it's created directly, to the income it's created indirectly for small businesses/3rd party services using Amazon to sell goods or to host sites and applications. Do I believe this justifies his poor treatment of employees, lack of tax payments, and being more concerned with going to space than to helping his own people out? No. I stand firm on that. He has been successful and certainly it's no small feat. Some say he was lucky to be blessed with rich parents who fronted the cost of his business. He was to an extent, but it takes skill and a lot of effort in order to turn that large amount into an even larger amount.

I don't admire the guy particularly, but his point is valid to some extent. We can apply this line of thought to anything. If we spend more money than we make, we're destined to go broke. If we eat more calories than we burn, we're probably going to be over weight and unhealthy. If we take more than we give, we're probably not going to have many friends or long lasting relationships.

Using Myself as a Case Study#

Let's take a quick trip back to my high school blunder years up until now to paint a clear picture of what has put me where I am today.

2007 -#

My family moved from podunk Clovis, NM to Las Cruces, NM. At the time, in both places, I was probably the most eccentric little gothic oddball. I stuck out like a sore thumb. But back then, I was invested heavily in playing my guitar, drawing, writing and skateboarding. I made quite a few friends after we moved. I met a lot of great people and learned a ton. 2007-2009 I lost a ton of chubby weight from skateboarding daily and eating less. I wasn't fit by any means, but I wasn't quite unhealthy either. It was also around this time I found my entrepreneurial spirit. I always had it growing up. I had to, especially as a child, to help my family in whatever way I could. It really clicked by high school age though.

By this time, I started giving guitar lessons, finding cheap things on Craigslist and in thrift stores and flipping them. At one point I even sold a few tumbleweeds on Ebay! We had tons every where, and for whatever reason people wanted to buy them, so why not. I did all this primarily for my main addiction, World of Warcraft. That was bad. I have played WoW since launch, which was around 7th grade for me. It became my main drive for finding other ways to make money.

2010 -#

Graduation year. I could have finished a year earlier but my principal was...odd. While I went through a rough breakup on the day of graduation, it opened up a window of opportunity to focus on myself. My childhood best friend flew in from Germany to stay with us for a few months. He had become quite skilled in martial arts and started to train me while I started to teach him guitar. We planned different ways to make money together. Things happened though and he had to leave a few months in. It was another heartbreaking moment. It was around this time I started blogging. I don't quite recall the site I blogged on. I couldn't wrap my head around Wordpress for whatever reason, but this site was okay. I got pretty popular pretty quickly, rankings boosted and I made a couple small paychecks from Adsense and Amazon Affiliate marketing. It was pennies, but it was the first time I got paid for writing, which was exciting at the time.

I didn't jump into college, though I regret not doing so now to some extent. On the other hand it's nice not being tied down to student loans like most of my peers. I was spending less time drawing and playing guitar and making music by this point. I hit a downward slump and became quite inactive. Environmental reasons initiated this spiral, but I'll spare the details on that.

2011 - 2012#

By this point I jumped into school. A place named Vista College, on recommendation of a close friend at the time who meant well. I was originally destined to go to Los Angeles and begin my career in the music industry. I let her fear push me towards at least getting my CMA (certified medical assistant) before taking that dive. That coupled with a dumb clinginess to the girl I was dating at the time, who lived 3 hours away mind you, that happens to be my wife now. Starting to notice an early sign? Hah.

Anyway, I graduated top of my class, didn't get full honors because an unfortunate incident put me in the ER for a few nights. Not party or dumb college kid accident related. Just an unfortunate surgery that I happily learned I shared with none other than Gabriel Iglesias, who shared his story with me after finding I was in recovery yet waiting hours in line to meet him. Such a cool dude. I also got married. Wack. Dumb kids making dumb decisions but I love her.

2012 - 2013#

Family fall outs prompted moves across the state, and back. It was a weird time. I ended up never using my CMA, but worked in mental health for some time. From 2013-2015 I worked with a company that assisted people with special needs. I was a Job Coach and a Mentor. It was an interesting position that taught me quite a bit. The contract the company had with the site I was over ended and I needed a new gig. 2015, I began working for a mental health hospital. I was only there for a few months, but I made a great friend of the nurse I worked under. We still chat today. He's a cool guy and someone I look up to.

2015#

The hustle comes back this year. We moved from New Mexico to the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Major culture shock. My wife was determined to get a job before anyone else, and she did. It was a graveyard gas station gig, but she was proud of it. Not long into that, she got asked to work at one of the casinos by a manager that liked how she worked at the gas station. She was so excited. Hell, I was excited for her. How often do you get offered a better job while you're on the job, in person? I struggled to find work. It took 3 months before I got a job, which ended up being Ulta: The Beauty Store. Hah! I got it because my wife ALSO worked there and put in a good word for me. I worked at a separate store from her though. I was there for 3 months before landing 2 jobs at 2 casinos. One was a day shift at a spa and the other was graveyard as security. Wild differences, schedules never lined up to a point I could have a day off. It was rough but the money was good (compared to what I had ever made before.) I couldn't keep it up for long though, and my big goal of getting a job on a boat or at the docks came up. It might have been silly, but being from a desert and having never seen the ocean, it was a goal to get to work on the water.

2016-2017#

By this time I was working the spa, the docks, and I started my first personal Wordpress blog: The Online Viking. The goal was to take the idea and the history of Vikings and apply the concepts to working online and blogging. There was a lot more to it than that of course, but that was the general idea. During this time I was at my peak adulthood creation. I was writing and blogging, crafting (I built a forge!), bringing in clients to the boat club I worked for and pushing to move up in my career. I took on a job as Assistant Store Manager to a local gas station that didn't want to be called a gas station. The more I look back at it and what they do and what they claimed to be, the more silly it is. It was a decent paying job though. It consumed my soul and tore me away from my blog, but it was the first time in my life I was pulling in around $45,000 a year pay. At some point I got tired of it and said "this is a dead end" and left. I quit outright and went full time to Lambda School for full stack web development.

2017 - 2019#

Lambda was new back then and nothing was structured well. I loved it because the community was tiny at the time, so there was plenty of 1:1 time with teachers and with Austin himself. I was mediocre in school here. I got the general idea and could complete the tests for the most part, but I was lightyears behind my peers. I compared myself to them and never felt good enough, but I finished. I jumped from school right into working on congressional campaigns as a "Technical Consultant" of sorts. First job paying a high level salary. But during this time I quit creating. I wasn't creating near as much content or art as I used to. I wasn't working out extensively. I got fat and lazy. Personal life happened in my transition between the manager gig and attending Lambda School. Mentality shot down and I just let go of it all.

It's been difficult to get back on track. A few years ago I was highly active, spending 3+ hours a day at the gym, 6 days a week, working 55-60 hours a week and creating some form of content. I tried my hand at starting an influencer Instagram account which started going surprisingly well and probably would have grown more had I maintained consistency to it. I got lean and fit. I was highly confident. Life happened and I let it kick me down. I started eating more and more and moving less and less. I stopped writing. I stopped working on the influencer account. I stop trying to innovate and do new things.

With the DigiDems gig, we moved from Mississippi to Pennsylvania. It was a nice change of pace. I loved the area. I miss it. We also lost our boxer up there. She passed away from cancer and I still beat myself up over it, feeling like I could have done more.

Present Day#

We stayed in PA for a solid year. I think we both sort of gave up on pushing. Our other dog had major anxiety, and still does to an extent, which drove us to trying to get remote jobs. He would quite literally eat the walls and window sills. Our landlord was so kind to us and helpful. I appreciate that man. Anyway, we moved back to MS in part due to fear of not affording the living up there, but also to be here to help my mom. She was scheduled to have surgery for carpal tunnel, which would put her hands out of commission for months. My dad was a truck driver at the time and would not be able to be home enough to help her.

Fast forward to now and we feel stuck here. She ended up not getting the surgery, but is set to have it done here very soon as the shots they trialed on her didn't work out. While we were hoping to move soon, we have had to renew our lease for a year while I'm still inbetween jobs. This is the longest unemployment streak I've ever had, and it's not like I'm not trying. I apply to 20+ jobs a day, 5 to 6 days a week. I have done this every day since my last contract ended in November last year. It's been rough. It hurts even more when you see on the news companies claiming no one wants to work, yet all you get is rejection when applying. I've gone as far as applying to the jobs "no one wants." I get rejected on "Sorry, but you're a bit over qualified." Like, what? Didn't you just complain that no one wants to work?

Anyway, all this has also piled onto my excuse mentality, increasing my inactivity and habit of consumption over creation.

TL;DR#

This was a long one. If you skim through the sections, you'll notice a bit of a theme. During my most fruitful times, I was highly active. I was physically active as well as creatively. I created a fair amount of content, pushed boundaries in various areas and pushed to do better. Not that I don't still push to do better. I definitely do. The piling anxiety of unemployment (and not collecting unemployment. For whatever reason, I'm stubborn on applying for the assistance.) The massive amounts of rejections, and the various forms they come in, everything adds up and becomes a pile of excuses to say "it's easier to just sit here and consume."

So What's The Point?#

Looking through myself as an example of "create more than you consume to succeed", I'm quite the human experiment on display. During my young adult life, I created a fair amount and my success was slowly going up. At some point I hit a wall and spiralled down, quit creating and my success rate is down. I've been trying to push back into it by writing these blog posts, as irregular as they are, and by getting my hands in as much side work as possible while continuously applying to more jobs.

I start a gig next week at a work-from-home call center. 100% transparent the work is deadly toxic and they've made that clear in the contracts and employment process. It's not going to be fun and it probably won't last long. If any lucky comes out, it'll be a job offer to get me the hell out of there! Otherwise, I have some next steps planned.

I am going to commit to creating more. That means more blog posts, at least 1 a week, with a goal of 2. I am going to add on video content in the near future. I am going to step out into the scary world for stand up comedy. I've connected with a local artist to get back into music. It's going to be a big flip around, but I have to make changes and get out of this slump if I want to hit my goals before I turn 30. I'll be 29 near the end of next month. Fuck.

Til next time my dudes, cheers.