A LITTLE LUCK IN EVERYTHING
Recently a good friend of mine and I were discussing a mutual friends new successful business venture.
I suggested that there is more often than not a degree of arrogance that arises in successful people after their success, because they fail to see the luck in their success, that when a person creates a great product or service, and other people also see the greatness in it and to want to buy it, the luck that goes unseen is the line of business that they just happened to be in, the timing of their product or service, and the overall market where they sold their product or service that was ready to accept it.
The good fortune for the successful is that the successful people just happened to be working in a particular line of business, in the right geographical location, and amongst a market of consumers that was ripe for innovation. The error in missing the luck component is the arrogant thought that the successful person would have attained their success no matter the line of business they were in, no matter where they geographically tried it, and no matter who they tried selling their product or service to, that their success was entirely a result of their efforts and in no way also included some amount of happenstance, of luck, that they were not fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and with the right customer base.
From an outside observer it's more obvious, it's easier see things as an independent third party disinterested observer. From the successful persons point of view, an arrogance tends to take hold and the conclusion is that they alone generated their success, that the market would love their product or service no matter what it was, that if they wanted they could recreate their success in any line of business, anywhere in the world, at anytime they wanted, because they are geniuses and everyone -everyone - loves any and everything they do. Lol.
AVOIDING THE ARROGANCE
And we see this hubris, or this arrogance, whatever it might be, we see it all the time, from all lines of business.
Focusing on the monetary line of business, from a bitcoiners perspective for example, we see all types of businesses opine on the monetary business. Well known successful rocket makers, successful politicians, successful academics, and successful actors, to name a few, and you know who they are, all thinking that their non monetary business lines successes would somehow translate into the monetary business line, that they, somehow without putting in the work, without spending thousands of hours studying monetary businesses and finding success in it, could also find success through some other monetary innovation. That a dog coin, a proof of stake coin, a monetary board coin, or a central bank currency coin for a few examples, could somehow improve upon decentralized digital scarcity.
My good friend agreed with this observation of mine and said that it makes a lot of sense, that obviously there is some amount, perhaps an equal dose of luck, that allows for an entrepreneurs success and that missing this is often the path to arrogance and opining on other things that they would do well to leave to the experts in those lines of business, or at least put in the homework before offering a dumb take that your followers might think is good advice.
I agreed and provided further support for this view by sharing stories of prominent entrepreneurs whom had failed early in their careers and that because of this, who then ultimately found success, shared this same insight, that regardless of what you might deem to be great and act upon, that unless the marketplace also sees it to be great, you won't find success, that there is a certain amount of good fortune, or luck, in hitting the right market, at the right time, in the right location, with the right service or product. That success is one part trying out an idea, and one part the rest of the market accepting it by chance.
Having agreed upon this, rather obvious insight, I thought it useful to apply it to bitcoin, because (A) it seems that this luck was obviously universal, and I wanted to prove that out by looking at another example, and because (B) I literally can't stop thinking about bitcoin and wanted to apply it to my precious coin, and maybe most importantly, because (C) I don't want to be an arrogant conceited asshole and lose sight of the luck component of my success.
So that's what I did.
However, in doing so, the conversation unexpectedly turned in a way that I almost could not have ever foreseen, nor believed, and it compelled me to share it with all of you because I think we've all gone through this to some extent, and it's really quite amazing when it happens.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
I used my observation about luck being a component of success and applied it to my own good fortune with bitcoin.
I explained that buying bitcoin and attaining my monetary wealth (a measure of success by any means) from the price appreciation of bitcoin was no different than our mutual friends successful business venture. That just because I think bitcoin is a great product doesn't mean that my idea of it would be successful, that other people need to also see it's greatness and to want to buy it, and that the world in general needs to be ready for this new paradigm, that to some extent there was a component of luck in the timing of Bitcoins launch and the subsequent price appreciation was not a guarantee.
How do you think my good friend responded to what seemed to be a rather obviously agreeable conclusion, especially in light of our previous conclusion?
Do you think there was a disagreement about the certainty of adoption, that bitcoin was inevitable, that obviously this was the right time for launching it, that the world needed bitcoin now more than ever and there was obviously no luck involved because we studied it and logically deduced the outcome?!
Oh no no no.
My good friend said something that I still cannot believe.
And allow me to set the stage.
I've been advocating bitcoin to this person, with religious fervor mind you, since 2017. I have even convinced this person to reallocate most of their retirement to bitcoin. I’ve discussed with him ideas from Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, Hoppe, and Ammous, to name a few, and all the prominent bitcoiners. This person has even assisted from time to time with proof reading some of my bitcoin articles and offering useful opinions on the content since as long ago as 2018.
This person knows I have traveled across the United States to setup miners and dealings with purchasing miners from multiple countries. This person has seen me have children and buy a home because of bitcoin.
This person, as far as I presumed at least, has seen bitcoin completely change my life for the better over the past five years.
In light of all of that, this good friend of mine had this to say about my comparison with my success of bitcoin and with our mutual friends success with their business…
Are you ready?
I hope you are sitting down.
I was told the following, more or less:
But you didn't do anything, all you did was buy bitcoin, satoshi created it, you didn't create anything, you didn't do anything, our mutual friend actually built something, he created a product, you didn't create anything, you didn't build anything, so how can you compare yourself and your wealth that you got for nothing, to someone else who actually built something to create their wealth!?
It was an incredible moment for me. I stared back with some hidden astonishment at my good friend while looking for a punchline, like it was just a fun poke at me, that obviously I had spent thousands of hours trying to understand bitcoin, the technical aspects of it, the monetary aspects of it, the social aspects of it, and on and on.
But there was no punchline except for the cold realization that what I thought my good friend understood of me, that I had worked so very hard at making sure I understand bitcoin well enough to dump my life savings into it, to continue to dump every paycheck into it, to responsibly convince my friend to start saving with it, that I had never worked so hard at anything ever in my life, was, in my good friends eyes, a thoughtless bet, that cost me nothing, that I didn't do anything to generate the wealth I now have in bitcoin.
It was a truly incredible moment for me. I was legitimately flabbergasted.
What came to mind in that moment upon hearing my good friend say this to me was the weeks in late 2018 and early 2019 when I was down bad. I had gone all in by late 2017 at the top around $20k, with ten years worth of my life savings from a well paying office job, only to see it all evaporate away with a crushing blow in the bitcoin price from $6k to $3k. My then girlfriend was pleading with me to sell everything that I was so stupid for buying into the scam. Everyone I spoke to about it said I made a huge mistake. The television and newspapers and radio told me to sell. Everything in the universe was screaming at me to sell.
But I didn't buckle.
I didn't sell a single sat.
I fortified my position by reading everything I could find in bitcoin and listening to every podcast I could find on bitcoin. Had I made a fatal error with my life savings? I learned the answer was no, and I continued to buy more with every paycheck. In the depths of that bear market, a new bitcoiner was forged, armed with Austrian economics, and the understanding that the creation of bitcoin was a one time digital scarcity event that would fundamentally change all of society as the new global monetary base layer.
From that point forward, I doubled down, every paycheck would go all in to Bitcoin. And from that point forward I devoured all things bitcoin from new technical upgrades in the protocol, to learning how to securely download and run my own node, from kyc purchases to non kyc purchases and key self custody and verification with tor and vpns and air gapped wallets.
Over the course of the next five years I learned how to operate computers with command line, how the electrical grid works and how to install and operate bitcoin miners, the pros and cons of various electricity generation, why trading bitcoin is a losing battle, and many other things but most importantly, that holding bitcoin is the simplest thing and the hardest thing in the world to do in these early years. That to be successful in bitcoin you need to literally just buy it and do nothing. It couldn't be more easy, but unless you are fully immersed in political, social, and economic history as well as have a very strong grasp of computer software and hardware, digital security including cryptographic security with applied cryptography and all of the nuances around it, your gonna have a hard time holding on to that bitcoin, and not sell it when the price goes from $20k to $3k or from $69k to $15k or from $100k plus back down another 70% like it will likely do this next 2025/2026 cycle.
What came to mind in that moment when my good friend told me I didn’t do anything was the blood sweat and tears I spent in the past five plus years of the most fulfilling self improvement work of my entire life, and I am so god damned thankful to Bitcoin and to everyone in it, for every single second of it.
BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE
As the old saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down. It’s so true. Every jab or attack or difficulty is an opportunity to the good man to make himself that much more unassailable, just like the Bitcoin protocol, and it’s army of undying, never selling legends.
I suppose what my good friend seemed to be referring to, when he said that all I did was buy bitcoin and that I didn't do anything was in fact true. In all honesty, I didn't do anything with the bitcoin. But that’s the point. Doing nothing is doing something. It is incredibly difficult to keep still when the entire world is telling you to move. It’s that unseen part that goes unnoticed.
What goes unseen in the not doing anything was the thousand and thousands of hours learning about what bitcoin is and why the best move is to buy it and do nothing with it.
In fact, my good friends cavalier response was somewhat of a blessing in disguise. It helped me see what the nocoiner sees, which is nothing!
They see bitcoin as something that people just buy and happen to get lucky because the price went up. What they don't see is why the price didn't go below $3k in 2018/2019 or why the price didn't go below $15k in 2022/2023. What they don’t see is the hodlers of last resort, that group of bitcoiners who are not doing nothing because of laziness, but are doing nothing because of discipline, because they are steeped in the fundamental necessity of sound money for a prosperous society, that they are willing to lose nearly all of their life's savings because their life savings is less important than the bright future they know sound money will create for their children and their children’s children.
Nocoiners only see bitcoiners as lazy shadowy super coders sitting in a chair doing nothing all day. What they don’t see is the mountain of knowledge and learning they climbed through their own sheer determination and will before they arrived at their chair. What they don’t see is that their chair sits atop the tallest mountain of all mankind, the mountain of monetary history, that all war have been fought over since the beginning of time.
What the nocoiners don't see is the good work bitcoiners do in our fiat jobs, that we are top performers for fiat, for the sole purpose of buying more bitcoin to bring about that bright orange future as soon as possible.
So I responded to my good friends comment in a surprisingly relaxed tone, no doubt because I wasn't offended or provoked by his comments since I have already steeled myself to the complete utter ignorance of the nocoiners brain and am always expectant of the most ridiculous low energy takes from them, particularly given the abundance of clown world viewpoints over the past three years when the asylum inmates were driving the ship with lockdowns, forced medical procedures, and outdoor (indoor dining) to name a few.
My response was yeah, I suppose you're right, I'm not satoshi, I didn't write the code, I didn't do anything except buy it. But I also didn't sell it, and not selling it takes a lot of work that goes unseen. It's easy to see our mutual friends success was from his efforts because it's easy to see his efforts. A large part of his efforts show up in the finished physical product he sells. But also some of his work that is accomplished occurs in his head. He needs to decide which parts to buy, which suppliers to work with, and how to construct the product in the best way. This is the same for me when I buy bitcoin. I could have bought other coins or I could have kept my bitcoin with BlockFi or Celsius or FTX and lost it all. I could have not studied bitcoin more closely and been one of the sellers at $3k in 2018 or $15k in 2022. But I wasn't. I didn't sell because all of my work was done in my head, reading and writing and listening to others discuss bitcoin.
In other words, I didn't just buy bitcoin, do nothing, get lucky and have great success. I bought bitcoin, informed myself through difficult work and therefore did nothing (kept it off an exchange and self custody), had some luck, and found success. Similarly our mutual friend didn't just have an idea, do nothing and get lucky and find success. Our friend had an idea, acted on it, had some luck, and found success.
DOING NOTHING AINT EASY
In the end my good friend begrudgingly agreed with me, although it was quite obvious he still thought to himself that, compared to our mutual friend, I hadn't done much work.
What bitcoin detractors don't see is that everyone of us that "does nothing" with our bitcoin is actually carrying out a critical monetary function. It is in fact the most important function anyone can do with their bitcoin. Every sat that goes unmoved is an increase in value to the overall network of sats around the globe including places in the world with hyper-inflated currencies and tyrannical oppressive governments with no access to a banking solution other than bitcoin. For every sat we keep frozen, we act as a conduit of counterfeit ill gotten fiat currency purchasing power right back into the purchasing power of a new bitcoiner in the developing world reliant on bitcoin to feed them and their family.
Bitcoin detractors don't like bitcoin and don't see bitcoiners deservant of the wealth they've acquired because they haven't done the work themselves to understand why they should buy it and do nothing with it, and to fully grasp and appreciate how incredibly difficult it is do nothing with our bitcoin. It’s why we spend so much time in our echo chamber, keeping ourselves encouraged to stay the path while the entire world is trying to keep us from it. But we wont falter. We built different.
It's ironically tragic how many of the bitcoin detractors are the most vocal proponents of human rights and equality and that the best solution mankind has ever devised is the thing that they ridicule and denounce, and not because they understand it, but because they didn't do anything to understand it.
Sure their was some luck in your bitcoin wealth, just as there is with any wealth generating endeavor, but just be sure you never ever let anyone try to tell you that your wealth was attained simply because you didn't do anything.
So true and relatable!
All true. Bitcoiners are the embodiment of “proof of work” and sure there’s a bit of luck there too. Wouldn’t have it any other way.