Without doubt, one of the biggest challenges for me so far since beginning my journey into the world of web3 and cryptocurrencies has been keeping up with the pace, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying true to myself. This is an article about how I got burnt out, what I learned from that experience and what I am doing to avoid this situation happening again.
It's scary to think at the beginning of last year, NFT's were not really a thing. Web3 was not a phrase that was used widely outside of the crypto community. Now it seems that a lot of people (even my mother-in-law for shit sake!) have a vague idea of what they are. For me, they have become everyday life - part of the furniture.
Anyone who has been present for the crypto roller coaster ride, will know that eventually it takes its toll on your mental health. Constant and drastic changes happen so regularly that it is easy to chase every new shiny thing like a over enthusiastic puppy. The trouble with this, as I found, is that really it is unsustainable.
From July onwards of last year, I started putting a lot of money into NFTs. I made a lot of money back, granted, but taking such big gambles required from my side a lot of research. I doubled down in 2022, vowed to make X amount of profits throughout the year - but not even a few months into the year I burned out. Hard.
I was not looking after myself. I was pulling all-nighters. I was skipping important habits like exercise and I was pressuring myself to get less sleep to spend more time researching. All of this whilst balancing a busy job and working on my 2022 goals to write and read more. The pressure to keep up with the quickening pace, make the whitelists of the hot new project and keep everything else in life afloat was too much for me to handle. All in the sake of chasing more money, because 'other people' were doing it too and I didn't want to feel as though I had missed out.
This last month or so, I disappeared into myself. I spent a lot of time journalling and posted very little online, finding solace in not being part of the Discord groups or the Twitter pages. I spent the time finding a better balance at my day job and getting myself into a bit of a better mental state.
One of the main things that came to me in this time was that I had lost myself a bit and veered off track of what was important in life, and that was scary to me. I had become obsessed and driven by profits and returns, which is not what interested me in the space to begin with - it was the technical advancement and innovation that cryptocurrency offers to the world. Money is great, but it is not everything - it seems as though this slipped from my mind amongst the chaos and adrenaline filled few months I had spent.
During my month hiatus, I did a lot of reading. One article I read during this time was Hyperstructures by Zora's Jacob.eth. It's something I find myself regularly coming back to, re-reading, pulling apart and just pondering.
"Hyperstructure - Crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries."
This essay perfectly summarises what I found exciting about the fresh new technologies in the first place - the fact we are in such a paradigm shift. (If you get 5 minutes, read it!) The code we are each writing now has the potential to be the foundational architecture of many key infrastructures in the future. It’s fascinating and exciting to be even a small part of this innovation.
This was a really refreshing and comforting read at the time, when I was regathering myself and picking myself back up from a bit of a messy heap. I spent a lot of time thinking about 'Hyperstructures' as a concept - and I felt a spark again - the same spark I had felt when I first looked at Bitcoin however many years ago. Sure, the world of Web3 is relentless and brutal, but I do think that if you learn to shut away from the noise and ignore the dopamine rush and FOMO, there still lies what many consider to be one of the most exciting technical innovations of our time.
I have significantly lowered my exposure to most of the PFP NFT projects that I had been following and a part of. NFTs as a technical topic interest me massively, especially NFTs for the gaming industry and music industry, but for now I am taking a step back from purchasing and selling to make profit. It is not good for me, it is not good for my mindset and it is not helping me towards my personal and career goals.
I still am following a few projects, art and artists that I am genuinely excited about and would support regardless of the payout at the end of it all. But my focus is to be doubled down on the things I feel super passionate about - technical innovation, building strong/diverse engineering teams, coaching engineers and reading/writing. Prioritising my mental and physical health is of the upmost importance to me right now.