I am rich.
No, I am not talking about rich in love, compassion or any of that jazz (that’d be for another story).
I am talking about cold, hard cash.
There, I’ve said it. Despite growing up in a culture where one does not talk about money. Which I think is wrong. It only serves the rich and disadvantages the less fortunate or even victims of oppression, like women for example. We often wonder why there is not more outrage about the still prevalent gender pay gap, while those affected often don’t even know. But I digress.
I’ll do my part and break the cultural conditioning. I have nothing to hide, which – by the way – brings me to the second reason for writing this article:
As indicated in “Lying, cheating piece of shit”, I’ve become a big proponent of honesty. I don’t want to lie, or present a certain, well-crafted image of myself. I choose to share my perspectives via this blog (which, btw, is not – nor ever will be – monetized), and I want to give you the full picture, otherwise what’s it worth, really.
I am not perfect and don’t claim to be. I am just like everyone else, trying to make sense of this world and my life. I am not afraid to talk about my flaws (yes, to be honest, being wealthy almost does feel like a flaw).
At that point I feel inclined to clarify something about lies, because I’ve mention that quite a bit, especially also in my article about cheating. I am not, neither have been a notorious liar. I’ve “only” ever explicitly lied about 2 things in my life: drugs and fidelity. Latter has been addressed in “Lying, cheating piece of shit”, former is reserved for another article.
Anyway, there are more ways to be untruthful. Eg, omitting certain things, or, – and that’s something I’ve been guilty of a lot – by sugarcoating, or trying to influence others with carefully chosen words.
I was pretty good in crafting my speech and also actions in a way that made me “right” or let me win an argument.
A good friend once said to my then girlfriend:
“If you discuss something with Flo, no matter how convinced you are, at the end you’ll accept his opinion, often later wondering why and how that’d happened.”
There is no doubt I could be very convincing.
I don’t know how it came to that, there certainly wasn’t any malicious intent, it was more like a game to me, a game whose rules I understood well.
I started playing these games as a teenager, on online discussion boards, and – unintentionally – crafted it into an art during my law studies.
It was a convenient way to live. Most who crossed my way would either end up agreeing with what I said, or just shut up and walk away. Hardly anyone ever called my out on my behavior, quite the opposite, it was mostly encouraged, required even, in my professional career at least. It surely played a big part in my successes in that regard.
It made me appear competent at work, or like the sainted one in my private life. It allowed me to live in a bubble of sorts, where my ideals and beliefs ruled. Who wouldn’t like that?
A couple of months ago, however, I hit a wall. I came across someone more sensitive and also outspoken to that sort of conduct. It caused me to second-guess myself, for the first time in my life, really.
Before, I felt pretty much invincible, ready to take on every fight, any challenge, using my words as weapons. So when I was suddenly confronted with the damage I could cause, it put me straight into a crisis.
What was I doing, who else did I hurt, neglect or ignore with what – today – I can only describe as a delusion of grandeur. Was “winning” really worth all that?
Moreover, I realized how I was hurting myself too.
Like most people, with growing age I’d developed rather strong convictions and ideals – which I was always eager to discuss and defend – of course. The problem was that my speech, my words, were – as said – skillfully chosen to succeed, or at least to allow me to maintain my point of view.
Just like the fucking politicians I despise so much.
I grew used to get it my way, either by agreement, but ever more often (surely partly because of my sometimes radical views) by silence from those I addressed. It frustrated me. After all, I was aware of the radicality of my some of concepts and ideas, so how come no one would challenge me, god damn it.
When it suddenly clicked in my head, it all made sense. I wasn’t giving people sufficient space to object. I truly thought that I’d be open to change my views, but partly, probably, only because I knew I wouldn’t have to, because I’d either run them over with my talk, my twisting and turning of words, or I’d just shut them up, when they simply didn’t care enough to engage with someone like me.
As a result, I remained firmly stuck in my bubble, in my belief system. While convenient, deep down it really bothered me, because I never thought of myself as someone who knows it all, I just acted like it, as part of this ridiculous game I was playing.
Acting like that only makes sense if you want to stay stuck in a certain agenda, if you could not bear to be wrong, none of which was true for myself, I’d like to think.
I appreciate that some of those who know me won’t believe that, and I don’t blame them. After all, it was me who vigorously defended my walls of ignorance with the carefully cultivated craft of articulation. Unknowingly, I must add, because I always thought it was fair play, free to all, which is, however, bullshit.
A great example of that was also what prompted me to write this article:
Last year I did a TV interview, about Bitcoin. They cut the interview so as to portray me as someone who became rich with Bitcoin, and I didn’t like that. I wrote the following “clarification”:
“So, I’ve received a couple of messages after my TV appearance yesterday.
Let me clear things up:
I don’t own any Bitcoins.
I did not get rich with my Bitcoin investment, if anything I lost money.
I did and do, however, profit from the growing Crypto space.
Cryptocurrencies are extremely exciting and no, that’s not because they appreciate in value.
Rather, they allow monetary self-responsibility/governance, which is urgently needed in times of
– tightening capital controls,
– quantitative easing (money printing),
– and, generally, an over-regulating state.
The impact this has and will have on our society should not be underestimated. Simply revolutionary.”
So many words, yet so little meaning with regard to my personal situation. Political talk, crafted to distract and serve my agenda.
At that time I was proud when a friend sent me a message, applauding me for this empty disclaimer, Today I am repelled, because it perfectly showcases how I got it wrong all along, what allowed me to stay blissfully ignorant all those years, effectively stifling my growth.
Disclosing my financial situation here is one of many steps I take to be more open, more honest, to show you who I truly am, without any games whatsoever.
Having said that, let me continue with my rags to riches story:
I never really cared about money, if I would have I’d never quit 3 jobs that would have allowed me to live comfortably and likely even become wealthy further down the road. I simply never saw the purpose, money wasn’t something I ran after, it was always there in sufficient quantities, which I believe, had a lot to do with my mindset.
My family wasn’t particularly wealthy, eg, we never went on holiday trips, and I also had to work during my studies. I did get 2 used, cheap cars when I was still at school (I wrecked one pretty soon but needed one for work), but that was pretty much it. When I moved out of the family home I over-drafted my account to buy furniture.
I believe my rather lax relationship with money, my indifference, so to speak, stemmed from something my mum taught me from early on, which was that money comes and goes, that it is in a constant flux, so there really is no point making it a priority in life. Sounds esoteric, I know, but it stuck with me and served me well.
If I needed cash I took up a job or two, but – most importantly – I simply adjusted my spending according to how much money I was making.
When I moved to Australia I had modest savings from working in the legal field for a couple of years (with relatively shit / rookie pay, however).
It was also around that time that I first read about Bitcoin, which fascinated me right away. I’ve always been critical of governments and suspicious of banks and how money is created. Blockchain tech seemed to be the answer, allowing monetary self-responsibility. So I invested a little bit. My intention was never to make money, I just wanted to support it, be part of it. I saw the revolutionary potential, and I was thrilled!
Right after I bought in the price fell about 30 percent, and stayed there for a couple of months. I still believed in the tech, nonetheless, but when the price rose to my initial buy-in price, I sold all of them, just to protect my investment, really. I still kept on tracking its development progress though.
Shortly thereafter it rose about 500 percent. Whatever, I told myself, and bought all the way up. Enthusiastic about the growing ecosystem I joined meetup groups and kept educating myself. It was an incredibly exciting time, the meetups were brimming with bright, forward-thinking people, discussing, giving presentations, talking, about the future of Bitcoin and our society.
In the years to follow, while the price slowly deflated, I used Bitcoin to exchange EUR to BTC to AUD, only that more often than not, I’d just buy BTC and kept them, only exchanging what I needed at that time, that was how much I believed in it.
It was around that time I quit my third legal job, in a law firm in Australia, which I actually only started because it was offered to me and I would have been a fool to not at least try, despite knowing that I did not want to work in the legal field anymore.
The jobs thereafter where less glamorous, I was doing anything to make a buck. Promotion jobs, cleaning out warehouses, topless waiter, you name it. It was all casual and that was what I wanted after having been tied to a computer screen in the prior years. I was also working on a business idea, an ethical fashion label of sorts, and doing some trademark consulting on the side.
During all that time I never stopped following the crypto ecosystem, I was absorbing everything, any news or discussion taking place, in real-time, pretty much. It was the first thing I did in the morning and last at night. The price kept falling but I didn’t really care, there was just so much happening!
At one point however, I noticed troubles in Bitcoin land (I’ll spare you the details) and I sold all I had, perhaps at break-even, perhaps for a loss overall. Truth being told, I don’t know, I never really kept track of my purchases. Shortly thereafter I heard about another Blockchain tech, envisioned by a young Russian genius, whose ideological ideas fascinated me. I did not hesitate and put in all of my money, like, literally everything I had.
Over the course of the next 12 to 18 months I watched my investment fall, which was hard to bear at times, as I knew I would eventually need the money for the business I was working on. During that time I meditated a lot and did yoga and tried to distract myself from the daily fluctuations, which I was forced to watch nonetheless.
And while the price kept on falling, the tech actually developed great, so I stuck to my plan, anticipating that this would eventually become a big deal. As a lawyer I recognized the potential of smart contracts and the possibilities of decentralization in general were mind-blowing.
However, you probably heard “the market can stay irrational longer than you solvent”, and I nearly came to that point. I was about to pull the trigger for the fashion business, the manufacturer was just waiting for me to pay to get the ball rolling. I had worked more than a year for that moment. A few weeks prior I started marketing the brand, and to be honest, it disgusted me. I wanted to do things differently but quickly learned how hard it was to reach people, to be different. It seemed to have a realistic shot I would have had to play the capitalist game, which I absolutely did not want to. Looking back, I was quite naive.
I listened to my gut and dropped the business idea over night. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it did feel right.
In the course of the next couple of months my investment appreciated about 7000 percent. Still not too fussed about money I did not cash out at the height of the bubble, if I would have, I would have been set for life.
Well, I am not complaining, because the reason I could recklessly invest all my money into something I believed in in the first place, was also the reason I did not cash out when it reached its heights. I just never cared too much.
I still profited handsomely and would not have to work for at least a couple of years, while not having to watch my spending at all. And, as a matter of fact, I do make money, enough to live comfortably. The last months I educated myself about trading, stocks, real estate and other investments, and learned how to grow my assets, which works great so far.
I don’t think about retirement or what I will do in old age, if I ever have to work for anyone else again, so be it, I know I can be happy either way.
My life is very much the same it was before I got all that money. Granted I did spend some time in 5* star hotels or flew business class occasionally, but overall I still don’t really pursue materialistic things. I love the 12k motorbike I ride at the moment just as much as the 2k one I had before.
I give away more, instead of coins I try to give paper money to beggars, and while I keep growing my wealth, I’ll think of other ways I can give back and share my fortune with less privileged people.
Florian started Calm and Storm. So, who is this guy, and what the hell does he want from us? A friend once said, Florian is different. Fabulously, unapologetically and sometimes even embarrassingly different. Alright, you know what? You know, and I know you know, so let’s cut the bullshit… [Click to read more]