Target Nonlinear Opportunities to Accelerate Wealth
Use your mind, not time to maximize outputs
One unit of work that produces a unit of output will not make you wealthy. Renting out your time only makes someone else rich who knows how to play the game. The wealthy understand that you must productize yourself and then scale unique knowledge non-linearly via the Internet to create the exponential curve that delivers wealth. Wage work may be required to learn unique knowledge, but the owner has the upside to getting rich. Apply your time, energy, and knowledge to a portfolio of targets that produce non-linear outputs such as wealth and happiness.
This strategy builds off the ideas of Naval Ravikant in his book The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. A few important ideas will shape your decision process for your chosen work. You have limited time, energy, and knowledge to apply yourself to something you love and maximize the returns you seek. Ideally, you want opportunities with the highest return for the least time and energy. These are non-linear outputs, as there is a multiplier between the input and output. Trading your time for an hourly wage produces linear outputs. You need to put in more hours to deliver more income. Traditionally, society reinforced this idea that you work at a job to provide value in exchange for a wage. While this is technically true, you will not get wealthy or experience the freedom you desire.
The box below represents the infinite space to apply yourself at work. The “time” box represents jobs with an hourly rate or salary. The output – in the case of money – can grow over time but slowly and linearly as your skill becomes more valuable. The “mind” box represents those jobs or opportunities where you apply your knowledge and capabilities that deliver an exponential rate of return. Think of the expert software engineer who quickly knows the one line of code that resolves the bug. Think of the creator who produces content easily consumed by millions across the global internet. Many other examples produce non-linear returns.
Your job, from a long-term viewpoint, is to identify multiple work opportunities that deliver non-linear outputs. This is achieved through ownership and doing work that leverages your mind in a way where the impact or delivery is scalable. You must also inspect your time allocation each day to decide what work produces the most value given your time, energy, and knowledge inputs. That will then provide more freedom to do what you want and freedom “from” what you don’t want to do. Use jobs that have linear outputs to learn the foundational skills and expertise needed to work on projects that deliver non-linear returns.
1. View your work as a diversified portfolio.
Embrace the power and freedom to apply yourself to anything you want.
The only thing that limits you is your creativity and mind.
Resist the trap of getting locked into work that constrains your freedom to build a portfolio of income-producing assets.
Strategically use wage jobs to acquire knowledge.
Use new knowledge to work on projects that leverage your mind.
Eventually, eliminate “time” jobs.
2. Think long term, execute short-term.
Embrace the fact and be at peace that significant outcomes generally require many years.
The work you choose is more important than how hard you work in the short term.
Inspect your daily schedule to be conscious of how much of your day is working on time vs. mind jobs.
Experiment With This
Analyze your work and income streams to determine your propensity to build wealth. What parts of my work portfolio are linear – an hour of work produces a direct output of compensation? What parts of my work portfolio are non-linear, such as commissions or self-serve subscription products?
Everything in life is negotiable. Is there a way for you to adjust your current work agreement to incorporate a variable component to your compensation?
How to be Successful by Sam Altman (1. Compound Yourself)
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant (Part I: Building Wealth)
Thanks for reading Graymatter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.