2022 review in 8 forms of capital

jasonleow  •  28 Dec 2022   •    

Since 2016, I had been using the 8 forms of capital framework by Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua, to think ahead for what I would like to achieve for the year. For the uninitiated, this framework talks about capital isn’t just financial capital but there’s 8 forms of it:

💵 Financial capital: money, financial instruments, investments

⚒️ Material capital: possessions, natural resources, tools, infrastructure

🌲 Living capital: nature, land, ecosystems, animals, health (my own addition)

💡 Intellectual capital: ideas, knowledge, words, images, intellectual property

💪 Experiential capital: action, embodied experienced, worldly wisdom

👥 Social capital: connections, relationships, influence

🎨 Cultural capital: song, story, ritual, art, theatre, community customs

⛩️ Spiritual capital: prayer, faith, beliefs, spiritual attainment

This annual review framework is uncommon but I love it. It’s captures how I feel about how everything is interdependent and connected. I’ve never had a problem thinking about things in life that I treasure beyond mere money, but this truly forces me think wider and deeper about everything. Think of it as 8 different lenses to view reality and life. Each offers a different but useful viewpoint. Together it forms a good picture.

I set my intentions for 2022 in January, and here are the results:

💵 Financial: Hit $200 MRR from all my products by 31 Dec 2022, through small doggedness.

  • I was under the impression that by downsizing my MRR goal I could hit it. But that didn’t work for me. It didn’t work for the market and product I was in. In fact, what really helped me was reframing my entire relationship with MRR being the one true metric to strive for. Why does it have to be monthly and recurring? If my goal is freedom and lifestyle, it shouldn’t matter how and where the money comes from. That was the biggest epiphany I took away this year. MRR is a simply a mental relic of my SaaS indie hacker beginnings.
  • So I refocused my efforts from one main project to my whole portfolio, and put serious effort back into my consulting again. Now it’s about survival, about staying in the game, about getting revenue from whatever wherever. It’s less “indie hacker/bootstrapped SaaS founder”, more “indie solopreneur”.
  • And the part about small doggedness, 1% compounding? I couldn’t be more wrong. It only makes sense to be patient, dogged and consistent if you’re working on the right product, if the product had shown product-market fit, or if it’s post-revenue. Being dogged on the wrong thing won’t bring results no matter how long you wait.

⚒️ Material: Meaningful materialism for health.

  • The goal was to invest in tools that bring me health. But I didn’t consume much this year. Everything went to family. My biggest purchases were limited to Black Friday where I bought some software subscriptions and sleep biohacking tools. That’s about it. Nothing more than a few hundred dollars.
  • Perhaps that’s the most meaningful form of consumption. That I didn’t consume just for its own sake. That I didn’t consume because other areas of life needed more resources.
  • And if anything, my health needed more attention and practice than consumption.

🌲 Living: Move more, feel fit.

  • I failed this goal last year, and failed this again this year. Utter defeat. I can feel my health spiralling downwards. I think moving and exercising more is the solution, but I didn’t do it. Work was always more pressing. Family matters took more attention.
  • I think if I were to make a dent on my Fit AF goal, I got to start thinking differently about this. How can I achieve this even on my worst days? How do I sustain this habit without a drop of willpower needed? 🤔

💡 Intellectual: Follow my entrepreneur nose.

  • I wanted to follow my intellectual curiosity more and learn to smell opportunity. That’s something I feel I’ve accomplished to some degree this year. I’ve launched new products like Sheet2Bio and many Carrd plugins/tools (about 20!). I’m building new things based on ideas that my customers give me. The time gap from idea to launch is shorter. It’s a start for sure!
  • I want to do more, and deepen skill in this. It’s true. Curiosity, opportunity-sensing – these need practice. They are skills that anyone can learn to get better at, even non-entrepreneurs.

💪 Experiential: Learn about web3 and AI.

  • I wanted to build indie projects in the web3, crypto and GPT-3 space, but didn’t. And in the span of 1 year, the AI space blossomed and moved past those technologies. Dalle, Stable Diffusion, and now ChatGPT. Who’s talking about NFTs and web3 now? Nobody. I realised many of these are fads, and framing my intentions in terms of fads ensures I lose interest pretty fast.
  • A better way to frame what kind of experiential capital I’d like is probably in evergreen experiences/skills. Learn a new programming language. Launch a new type of product I’ve never launched before. Try new marketing hacks, like ads perhaps. Much better to frame this in the how than the what.

👥 Social: Serial 1-on-1 Twitter conversations.

  • I wanted to double down on building relationships on Twitter. I thought Zoom calls were the solution. That didn’t happen haha. I guess as much as I love socialising on Twitter, even calls are too much. Though the format might not have went as intended, the spirit of connecting with more depth and more people did happen. The highlight was meeting some indie friends like Kevon, Greg in real life. So there’s no in-betweens! Either over text replies, or IRL haha.

🎨 Cultural: Pivoting identity to wealth subculture.

  • Learning about wealth and investing was always something I felt I should do more of. Money mindsets were an area I felt I needed to improve on. But I never felt heart aligned to it. It felt like a chore. So nothing much happened in this space. That’s another tip about setting intentions. Sometimes you miss.
  • If there’s one epiphany here, it’s the lesson about doubling down on my strengths instead of weaknesses. From sports I knew working on weaknesses was the key to improvement, but maybe that doesn’t have to be true in entrepreneurship. I’m so past working on my deficits. I’m just going to leverage on my strengths and assets, and go.

⛩️ Spiritual: Mindful familyhood.

  • I wanted to bring more mindfulness and presence to my family. It’s not just about being social, but a spiritual pursuit: To bring a quality of attention, care and being present to these very dear people I love. I want to build fond memories with them, not raw regrets.
  • I don’t know about results, but this was front and centre in every action and decision I took this year. Family family family. Was I more mindful and present? I don’t know how it’s perceived by them, but I know I truly tried. Was there more fond memories than raw regrets? I’m not keeping tabs but I know I truly tried. In the end, with family, with any sort of spiritual practice, I think the salvation is in the attempt. And I did.

That’s 2022 for me through these eight lenses.

How was your 2022?


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