And why failing to meet my goal can motivate you in 2021.

Image of a measuring tape
Image of a measuring tape
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

In the Fall of 2019, I gained 18 pounds in 3 weeks. I went from ab definition to rotund in 21 days.

I looked like a completely different person.

My diet didn’t change. I didn’t exercise less. I didn’t recklessly consume alcohol and snack on extra-large pizzas at 2 am.

What did change is that I started to experience intense anxiety at night. I still managed 7–8 hours of sleep, but this was my only clue for the weight gain at the time.

After this sudden and pronounced change, I fought to regain my fitness and appearance, but so far…


You can start right now

Image of someone holding out flowers.
Image of someone holding out flowers.
Photo by Riz Mooney on Unsplash

“Would you take $10 for the fire truck? I lost my job because of the pandemic, and my 5-year-old son loves fire trucks.”

This is a real message I received on Facebook Marketplace after listing a piece of my childhood for sale:


It’s not as daunting as you think

Image of people networking.
Image of people networking.
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

In the spring of 2009, on the heels of an economic crisis, I sat down to lunch with a start-up founder offering the most promising internship opportunity I had seen in over a year.

What I couldn’t get over in that meeting is how a 28-year-old with a tongue-ring had a roster of clients that included Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway. Even though the internship was unpaid, I knew I had to jump at the chance to follow him along as he tried to grow a social media company.

I’m glad I did because 1 year after our initial meeting, I…


And how you can do it, too.

Image of a key and an open padlock.
Image of a key and an open padlock.
Photo by Basil James on Unsplash

During my twenties, there were two things I wasn’t very good at:

  1. Having self-awareness about my spending habits.
  2. Following through on ideas, side projects, and side hustles.

As I entered my thirties, I put more of a focus on these two things and I went from averaging $2,500 in my savings account to $35,000 in 24 months. I didn’t do it through extreme measures, like showering with my clothes on to save on laundry costs, but rather through a concerted, practical effort.

These are the lessons and mindsets that helped me grow my savings by over ten times, and it…


HOW I DID IT

Just in time for the holidays

Picture of gag gift featuring a hammer and a packet of ketchup behind glass with “emergency break glass” written on it.
Picture of gag gift featuring a hammer and a packet of ketchup behind glass with “emergency break glass” written on it.
Source: Author

Out of pure boredom, I decided to make two TikTok videos featuring a going away gift my former roommate had left behind after moving across the country.

I hadn’t seen anything like it before and I couldn’t get over how perfect of a gift it was for a ketchup lover.

In the first video, I tried using the attached hammer to break the glass to access the emergency ketchup. It took me about 60 seconds to film it, add some text and sound, and publish it.

After the video was uploaded, I put my phone down and didn’t think twice…


Don’t just write to hit a quota.

Image of a person writing in a notebook on a desk.
Image of a person writing in a notebook on a desk.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I’ve been dormant on Medium for nearly a month now, right on the heels of becoming a top writer in multiple categories and earning in the top 5% of Medium writers.

Why?

Because life got busy, I didn’t have time to write, and I didn’t want to manufacture articles to hit a self-imposed quota. That wouldn’t be fair to my readers.

When I first started writing on Medium, I had plenty of article ideas from years of execution in other areas. …


It’s the best way to deal with the haters

Image of a Lego Knight under the heel of a shoe.
Image of a Lego Knight under the heel of a shoe.
Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

I’m not shy to admit that I’m a sensitive person. Whenever I publish content on the internet, regardless of the channel, I have a tough time dealing with the inevitability of a hater showing up to rain on my parade. For such a long time, I gave those (mostly) anonymous voices too much influence over my perception of self-worth. Sometimes I would give in and stop producing content on a particular subject, topic, or channel because of it.

The reality is that anyone who posts content on the internet, whether it’s for personal or professional aspirations, will have to deal…


It’s not a life sentence.

Image of a sign that says “You Got This”
Image of a sign that says “You Got This”
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Throughout most of my life, if I experienced a failure, I thought it wasn’t something I was meant to be doing. I believed that I just didn’t have the “it” factor that some other people innately had.

I couldn’t have been more wrong in my thinking, but it couldn’t have been more difficult to change my perspective.

I had to turn this:

I got rejected from a publication: I’m not a good writer.

My product isn’t hitting its adoption numbers: I’m not a good product manager.

After I had an awkward conversation: I’m anti-social and not with people.

Into this:


If you aren’t having these conversations, you aren’t innovating.

Image of a broken computer monitor.
Image of a broken computer monitor.
Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

People don’t like change and customers are no different. But if your business aims to be truly innovative, it means that your customers will have to do things differently than what they are used to.

Different doesn’t always mean harder or worse off, but customers might not see it that way.

Just a few years ago, our clients pushed back hard, some even threatening to cancel, when we tried to help them adopt a more transparent pricing strategy. …


You can’t out-think an algorithm.

Photo by 🇻🇪 Jose G. Ortega Castro 🇲🇽 on Unsplash

In 2018, the average professional baseball player had a .248 batting average. That means that a player being paid a lot of money to play a sport was successful less than 25% of the time.

It’s no surprise then, that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in any sport, but the players don’t give up because of their low chances of success.

And if you are a writer, you shouldn’t be afraid to step up to the plate with a low success rate, either.

At-bats > Overthinking

I’m humbled to be a top writer in a few categories…

Jon Torrey

I am a Senior Product Manager at a tech company. I host two podcasts and invest in sports cards. For more info — https://medium.com/@jonathan-torrey

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