The popular thing to do in 2020 is talk about what a horrible year it was. I think that's bullshit. All things considered, 2020 was an awesome year.
Sure, plenty of bad things happened (as they do every year) and it may have actually been bad for some people, but for the vast majority: 2020 should be considered nothing short of a great year.
I have a feeling that a lot of the people who say 2020 was a horrible year did not pay attention in history class. Societies all over the world have been through horrible things. Ever heard of the holocaust? Slave trade? You know stuff like that is still happening today in some places on the Earth? If someone thinks 2020 was a bad year because they lost their job or because of some turbulence in the economy or because they can't travel... they should really count their blessings and look at things from a wider perspective.
There were a lot of great things that happened in 2020. Here's a summary of what the good and the "bad" that happened to me:
In the beginning of the year I was living in my car (still)
As I mentioned in my summary of 2019, towards the end of 2019 I started living in my car. It was awesome. I got up every morning 6:30 to hit the gym and shower... living in my car was overall a very positive experience.
When lockdowns hit Poland, I spent a few months with my parents on our family farm
In the middle of March, the first Covid-19-spurred lockdown took place in Poland. A lot of retail stores, malls, gyms, etc. were closed by order of the Polish government. My girlfriend Wera and I took this as an opportunity to spend some time in the countryside where things were calmer (and where I could shower regularly, considering the gym i used showered at closed 😆).
I lost a few clients because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but not many. While I was on the family farm I continued working with my remaining clients online (if I wasn't already working online with them).
I invested heavily in stocks
Around the same time of the first lockdown in Poland (March/April), The COVID-19 pandemic caused a pretty big decline across the vast majority of the US stock market. At around that time, I put just about all my savings into stocks. It paid off. As of January 2021, I more than tripled my net worth thanks to that move. But do not misunderstand: it was a risky move and I do not think that I'm any kind of stock market genius. I just had a strong feeling stocks would bounce back quickly and I decided the risk was worth the reward given my circumstances.
I started the Jacob Space Program
It's not a joke, but I admit it doesn't look like much right now. Space, rockets, satellites, airplanes, aerodynamics, etc. have fascinated me since I could walk and talk and I decided to take a step in the direction of learning and doing more around this area of science by starting the Jacob Space Program. The Jacob Space Program will grow and evolve into greater things in the future... for now it's just going to me messing around with some low-cost aerospace engineering projects (the first mission was literally me throwing a rock as high as I could).
I moved in with Wera and her mom
After a few months in the countryside with my family, Wera's super nice mom was kind enough to let me live with her and Wera back in Poznań.
I continue to help Polish people learn and work with English
The majority of my income still comes from teaching Polish people English in private lessons, translating text from Polish to English, and interpreting business meetings between Polish and English speakers. I have a website building project every now and then as well as other odd jobs and tiny amounts of income from things like stock dividends, not to mention how I am trying to build my wealth by investing my savings... but the primary income I use to cover living expenses comes from English/Polish related things.
Reflection on 2020 and Outlook for 2021
As I always say: I'm not into year's resolutions. I believe you should be constantly making, changing, testing, adjusting and most importantly: EXECUTING plans for the short, medium and long term — not only once a year and not at any special time.
That said, now's a good time to share my current plans and state of mind. So here I go:
Looking back on how I spent every minute of every day in 2020 (as best as I can), I want to briefly think about what I did well and what I need to improve on moving forward. I'm going to answer the following questions (which were shamelessly stolen from Ryan Serhant's newsletter in 2019 — Ryan is a top-ranking real estate broker in NYC).
Time Audit: What shouldn’t you be spending time on?
Honestly, I don't think I regret a single second of how I spent 2020. It wasn't my most productive year and it certainly foresee doing much more business-wise in the coming years, but 2020 was an awesome year to just chill, remind myself how lucky I am to be alive and enjoy life. Straight talk.
What did you do wrong in 2020 that you need to change for 2021?
- I stopped working out. When I lived in my car, I hit the gym every single day at 6:30 sharp (that's when the gym opened)... but when Covid-19 lockdowns caused gyms in Poland to close and I moved into my parents' place in the countryside with Wera, I completely stopped doing any organized, regular physical activity. Now the only time I do any real physical activity is when I'm running to my car (which sometimes is parked as much as 1 km away) to make it on time for a meeting with a client or when Wera drags me outside for a walk. Despite the lack of physical activity, I feel great. ... But this is definitely not good for my health and not sustainable in the long term. I need to get back into regular work outs.
- I did not get enough high-quality sleep. I always knew sleep was important, but I never took it very seriously... and many nights I have a problem falling asleep because I always seem to get my best ideas and feel like exploring the hell out of them in vivid detail as I'm laying in bed to go to sleep. But recently I have really been convinced of the importance of sleep, especially thanks to this TED talk. I'm getting in the habit of clearing my mind for the night and just going to sleep. When I want to, I really get a great night's sleep... so I do most nights now. But sometimes I still just can't help but think about how to take better advantage of the power of the sun to run a household, or the best way to design a desk so that is it rock solid, strong enough to dance on, yet easy to take apart and transport (I actually did that for a few nights towards the end of 2020, then I made 2 small-scale tables based on my ideas, I'll be releasing a video and blog post about it soon).
What went well in 2020 that you want to go even better in 2021?
- Just like last year, I'm kicking ass scheduling my life with my calendar (currently Google Calendar). I also see this as an important tool for documenting my life, so I'm slowly filling my calendar with more and more of the stuff I do (apposed to just very important things).
- I put out more content on social media. I'm still no where near where I should be (I want to be putting out multiple posts/videos a day, across almost every popular platform), but regardless I'm very proud of myself for putting out more than any other recent year.
What’s the first thing you’re doing in 2021 to move yourself forward?
It's not the first thing, but I'm finishing up a video and blog post about a little side project I did (making a couple small tables from solid wood). Looking forward to posting it soon!
Putting out content and actually something I love doing. I really want to grow my content output dramatically in the coming years, ideally to the point where sponsors/ads/affiliate links can cover all my living expenses and I can stop teaching/translating/etc. English (I love doing English stuff and I love my clients even more, but it's just not what I want to be known for or do for much longer).
Thank you for reading this post about my life! I hope your 2020 was twice as good as mine and I hope your 2021 willl be (or was, depeneding on when you're reading this) even better! But regardless of when you are reading thing, have a great freaking year! 💪🥳