The Best Things I Discovered in 2020

Tim Denning

Use these things as your inspiration.

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What a year. Some got rich. Some discovered what ignorance can do. Some learned harsh lessons and retreated to the golf course to lick their wounds and find their ego again.

2020 was a tough year. I’ve never worked in a business environment quite like it, where nobody wants to spend any money.

It wasn’t all bad. 2020 was a year that taught us resilience and love. We survived together in isolation via Zoom calls. Here are the best things I discovered in 2020.

20. A book called “Your Music and People”

Derek Sivers is Tony Robbins for weird people. I like weird. Derek’s books are simple to read and the wisdom is powerful. You can read all of his books in a few hours. He ruthlessly edits tangents to leave you with pure gold.

19. The Last Time I Had Sex With My Wife

Greyson Ferguson wrote a story with this title. I read every word and felt all of his pain. Writing that moves me emotionally is a rare find.

This story is inspiration for anyone who wants to write with emotion and make people feel something.

18. Local walks

I spent most of the year not being allowed to go beyond 5 kms from my home. Melbourne had one of the harshest lockdowns anywhere in the world. I basically couldn’t do anything. So I had to get used to finding things to do with my girlfriend. We took a walk around our neighborhood every day.

My neighborhood looks and feels like a new suburb. Sometimes we ignore what’s right in front of our eyes. We get sold lies by travel agents that we need to be in Hawaii to be happy. 2020 showed us travel won’t make you happy.

17. Bose noise-canceling headphones

When you live next to a train line in a student apartment, things get noisy. Bose headphones pump white noise into your ear so your brain can concentrate. I used these headphones to crank up movie soundtracks and write lots of content online.

16. My Octopus

The movie, My Octopus Teacher, was so powerful. You go into the film thinking it’s going to be a documentary. Then you get taken down the rabbit hole of how a single octopus lives. It’s hard to believe the relationship between a man and an octopus was captured on camera.

After watching this film you will question everything you know. You will learn to notice the small things and get lost in your curiosity.

15. Whole food plant-based eating

Cutting out meat, seafood, dairy, oil and sugar has lifted my energy levels. Energy is life. It allows me to perform at my best and focus on writing for hours on end. The closure of restaurants helped me stay disciplined. Now I don’t want to go back to fried food life.

If you want more energy, do what my 104 year old grandma used to say: eat plants.

14. Giving up SMS

Not sure why this communication channel exists. Who trades phone numbers anymore? SMS is a brain drain for me. Trying to write on a tiny phone keyboard is my definition of hell. Audio messages, video messages and messenger apps on a desktop/laptop work better.

The best mode for your phone is aeroplane mode. It helps you think.

13. “Earth Deluxe” for reminders of beauty

The instagram account “Earth Deluxe” is just what I needed when I couldn’t leave my home for most of the year. You can travel with your mind, rather than on a plane, with these gorgeous images.

When you feel like you have nothing, you always have a sunset.

12. Creative communities

I’ve always tried to do everything creative, alone. Creative loneliness is a bad idea. I learned in 2020 that creative communities are incredibly powerful.

Many of my new virtual friends this year have come from a couple of writing communities. I made it a habit to do video calls with people from the community every week. It helped me feel connected to this crazy, shutdown world — where everything you try to do is canceled.

What if the answer to “what do I do next” is found in a creative community of people just like you, trying to achieve the same goals as you?

11. The Atlantic

Their long-form essays are the bomb. They taught me what real writing is, although their extremely long paragraphs do my head in and make it hard to follow the words along the page.

10. Twitter Threads

Nicolas Cole got me onto these. Twitter threads are a better way to use twitter. They turn twitter into a blogging platform. Twitter threads force you to be concise and cut out all the extra words and sentences readers don’t need. On twitter, you can say whatever you want. I found that liberating in 2020.

9. Family

When the world turns into an apocalypse you miss your parents. They remind you of where you came from. I was separated from my family for most of 2020 due to lockdown and covid restrictions.

This made me appreciate family even more. Phone calls became more important. Thankfully they are all okay.

Family acts as a reset when chaos temporarily takes over the world.

8. iPhone 12

Okay, calm down. I got a new iphone and fell in love with photography again. Most cameras on phones suck.

Try taking a picture at night with your phone and you’ll see what I mean. The iPhone 12’s camera is unbelievable and makes the upgrade worth it. The lightning-fast 5G network opens new possibilities for apps, too.

7. Free email courses

I’d never heard of this concept. A free email course helped me engage with readers this year. I realized how much people appreciate when you go deep on a subject and don’t force them to pay money for it.

6. Teaching

2020 was the year I launched an online course. I’ve wanted to do it for years. I’d tried before and failed lots of times. The best part was unexpected.

Watching all the students flock into the private online community was a deeply emotional moment.

Within a few days the community was buzzing with activity and people were taking everything I’d learned as a writer and applying it. To see what you’ve learned be reused in real-time is a ridiculously cool feeling.

Teach others what you know to feel fulfilled.

5. Loom

This handy tool allows you to record your screen and send links to the videos you capture. You can use this tool to help you create your own online course.

4. Proper Finance Gurus

The world of money completely changed forever in 2020. This was the year I took the time to understand finance at an even deeper level. These financial gurus taught me a lot:

  • #1 by a mile: Raoul Pal
  • Ray Dalio
  • Alex Saunders
  • Ivan Liljeqvist
  • Paul Tudor Jones
  • Anthony Pompliano
  • Daniela Cambone, Stansberry Research
  • Michael Saylor, Microstrategy

3. Todd Brison

You can’t have him. He’s all mine (Okay, I’ll share him with you.)

Todd writes the best emails I have ever seen. Those on my email list get to read them. Every time Todd drops one people go crazy and my inbox lights up. People love personality fused with helpful content. Todd is the hipster yoda of writing. Plus, we taught a writing course together.

2. Blockchain investing

People said I was stupid for investing in Ethereum and Bitcoin.

My original investment has gone up 17,900%. Bitcoin is the best performing asset of the last decade and was up 170% in 2020.

It pays to ignore the critics and do your own research. You can make enough money to retire early and never work a normal job again if you get yourself a basic financial education.

1. Humanity

The secret to 2020 was forcing myself to see the positive. Watching humanity endure one of the toughest times in history made me emotional. I spent a lot of time looking for how people stayed positive.

The fitness instructors, musicians, and everyday people in Europe using their balconies to spread hope, love, positivity and support were incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. While a virus stormed the world and killed a lot of people, everyday folks found it in their hearts to help complete strangers.

Thinking about the beauty of humanity in 2020 is enough to bring a grown man like me to tears.

2020 showed us what we’re capable of. 2021 and beyond will show us our ability to recover and make a tremendous comeback.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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