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by • April 21, 2014 • FoundersComments (1)585

Look at the worst bit and find a way to make it better

I’m using location as an example in this post, but I think the same principles apply to improving the rest of your life and business.

Given how extreme the lifestyle of digital nomadism is, I’m always surprised by how many people cite it as a goal. You can earn enough food and board to travel indefinitely through any major European city by working 4 hours a day at the local hostel. And if you’ve got a marketable skill (programming, design, etc), then you can do so without the hit to your standard-of-living. The higher your fixed expenses, the less wiggle room you have, but really, the option is there; you just have some stuff at home you don’t want to leave. And that should not be over-looked!

I passed through a very particular point in my life where freedom was everything; the most important quality in an apartment was that I could leave it. If I bought a new shirt, I did so knowing that I’d go home and give away one of the ones I already had. After all, there was only so much room in my bag. I was wholly “free” and my quality-of-life was, to be honest, a bit shit.

Being tethered to something is not innately bad; only being tethered to the wrong thing. Strapping yourself to a boss you hate and a house you don’t have time to enjoy is obviously a raw deal. But that’s a pretty different proposition from putting down roots with the people and places you love.

I’m pretty happy with my current lifestyle. But it’s built up in response to what I want and what I have to work with. The mistake is to take someone else’s solution verbatim. Odds are high that it was designed to solve different problems and achieve different goals than your own.

As far as I can tell, the processes for designing a life and building a startup are basically the same:

  1. Look at the bit that’s currently the worst
  2. Lay out the resources and constraints you’re working with
  3. Shuffle them until the worst part gets better

Then keep doing that. And if there’s one common mistake, it’s people under-valuing the resources at their disposal. Your skills, friends, and professional network are a unique asset. When’s the last time you really leaned on one of them to help you?

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