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Feeling ‘meh’? Reality check: What our success really looks like (& privilege!)

Feeling ‘meh’? Reality check: What our success really looks like (& privilege!)

Hey readers, this started as an informal post / update to let you know where we are in our journey, but also share a bit of reality. Especially to anyone who is feeling a bit ‘meh’ on their journey…whatever that journey may be (then it all went a bit ‘Fight Club').

Your journey could be financial… vanlife… something else…

Our journey and our overarching view of success is ‘freedom’ and our route, ie. the process we chose to get there, is ‘vanlife’ and developing remote/passive income streams that we can use to both fund travel/freeomd and help others.

It’s September and almost two years since we started this journey – longer if you count the ‘savings period' prior to deciding on ‘vanlife’ as out medium. And it’s not all been smooth sailing…

Meh moments 

Meh moments happen to everyone. It’s how you deal with them that matters.

Our latest ‘meh’ moment (there have been many!) is being stuck without a van in a bear market when we thought we’d be travelling Europe living the dream. More on that here.

It’s not all bad though 😉

And it’s the reason I decided to write this post…for others who might find themselves in a moment of ‘meh'!

You may find yourself looking at Twitter / Insta / Youtube or whatever and feel like you're not worthy, assuming all these influencers have “made it” and have done so quickly and easily.

(Note that these days, there’s a fair chance that these epic presentations of life, wins etc are fake and not a true representation of reality.)

If these people are “successful”, it is highly unlikely their success came fast and easy. Unless they were very lucky…or very rich and privileged to begin with.

Overnight success. Not.

Many people are successful, however the thing you need to understand is it most-likely did not happen overnight. They worked hard, they struggled, they failed and were disappointed many times on their journey.

Yes; those who you see as successful, likely did not have it as fast or easy as you may think.

Their journey probably looked like the squiggly lines you often see, or, more accurately as BeingABeing on Reddit shared 10 years ago, a bit more like squiggles and plateaus…

And it probably took much longer than you imagine.

The reality is that ‘success’ is rarely the smooth ride you have visualised.

You’ll find lots of images similar to these online…


And, if you look closely at the image, you’ll see the road to success never really ends.

Yes, you will be successful, but the road (and the trials and tribulations that go with it) will continue…

If you're into the history of tech startups, I'm sure you've heard of ‘Crossing the Chasm' or the pit of despair and know many ‘success' stories that could easily have been failures.

Here's Angry Birds journey to ‘overnight' success…

via Funders and Founders

The illusion of success

The ‘illusion of success’ iceberg illustration is another popular graphic that builds upon the squiggly journeys above.

I’m sure you have seen them before – there are many variations, most trying to illustrate that success does not usually come easy, despite what others might see and assume.

My favourite is by educator and sketchnote author, Sylvia Duckworth (@SylviaDuckworth or on instagram). It started out like this…

Via @sylviaduckworth

Regardless if you see yourself as already being successful or not, I’m sure a lot of that resonates with you.

However, it gets better and much more realistic.

Sylvia made an updated ‘reality’ version that includes ‘privilege’.

And it turns out, ‘privilege’ makes up most of the iceberg.

Via @sylviaduckworth

Privilege is the thing that is omitted from nearly every success illustration or graphic….icebergs included!

Privilege is overlooked when people say ‘just do it’ or something similar.

Privilege is not considered when people talk about their financial success on Twitter or their exotic adventures on Insta.

In terms of money, the bottom line is that it is much easier to make money &/or become financially free if you already have money; no matter what people tell you.

This is one reason I never (rarely) share dollar values of the opportunities I try / test. Your decisions need to be relative to your situation and your disposable income or ‘can afford to lose’ cash…influencers bragging about earning $XX,XXX per month does not help anyone. It's certainly not inspirational to someone scraping monthly overheads together.

To understand our successes and the successes of others, it is  important we understand privilege — and yes; if you are reading this, you are very likely privileged in some way.

Privilege & why it matters

You’re reading this probably because you stumbled across it and are seeking some form of freedom; A means of living life on your own terms, whatever your terms or values might be.

You’ve been on Twitter, Insta, Youtube or wherever. You see ‘success’ everywhere and read about how you can have it too.

From pumped up muscle men to lean sexy women and people talking about becoming millionaires within X years (sometimes months!) or travelling the world, these are often followed up with a ‘work hard’, ‘just do it’, ‘dedication’ narrative that says anyone can be successful and if you’re not,  it’s because you’re not trying hard enough.

Whilst there is some truth in that, all is not equal.

Anyone can be successful and if you’re not,  it’s because you’re not trying hard enough.

🤔 hmmm…

For those of us with significant privilege, the ‘work hard', ‘discipline' etc is probably true; if you’re willing to sacrifice and persevere, there’s a very good chance you will succeed. Luck and timing of course, also play their parts.

But not everyone has significant privilege…

Below is another awesome graphic from Sylvia Duckworth (@SylviaDuckworth); The Wheel of Power / Privilege.

Via @sylviaduckworth

How you define ‘significant privilege’ is up to you….there are 12 segments in The Wheel of Power / Privilege. I’d say if your majority is in the central segment, it’s fairly certain you have ‘significant privilege’. If you have only 2-3 in the outermost ring, then you too probably have  ‘significant privilege’.

Nearly every person reading this post will have ‘significant privilege’.

In most cases we did not earn our privilege; most of it comes from birth and/or being brought up well or by being given support. The opposite is also true.

Below is a video of the $100 white privilege race. If you haven't seen it, it's well-worth 4 minutes of your life…

Yep; most white folks are unaware of their privilege nor their unconscious bias that has developed and been passed down over generations 🙁

There are now lots of similar videos. The ones with young school kids are touching…


As you seen above, in Sylvia's updated Iceberg of Success illustration, it is privilege that makes up the largest portion; much more than sacrifice, hard work, discipline or any of the other elements.

And yes, in this commercially driven world, money plays a big part in what that makes people ‘successful’. Sad but true.

It's one of the reasons people strive to earn money; they may not have the privilege of being born rich or born ‘middle class'…but they do have the potential to become rich.

And being rich, makes life easier. Generally.

The good news is that there are exceptions and money does not equate to happiness.

Damn I love Fight Club!

So many awesome quotes in that movie… I’ll add more at the end!

Fight Club quotes

Nope; let’s do it now! Here are some of my favourite Fight Club quotes…

  • “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.”
  • “This is your life and it’s ending one moment at a time.”
  • “I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more.”
  • “The things you used to own, now they own you.”
  • “At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.”
  • “If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”
  • “We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
  • “If you don't know what you want,” the doorman said, “you end up with a lot you don't.”
  • “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken!”
  • “Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
  • “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
  • “We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”

I know what I'm watching tonight!

Our current situation

I’m not going to whine about our situation and this post has went well beyond what it was ever meant to be, but seeing it was the reason I started writing, I guess I should really share…

We have had ups and downs, wins and losses over our journey which is now almost 2 years. 

The most recent rut is being stuck without a van in a ‘bear’ market (for those who don’t understand the ‘bear’ thing and it’s relevance – it’s because a lot of our assets and income are impacted by the ‘markets’; mainly crypto, forex etc…ie also stuck with no van and less money).

Not exactly the dream of touring Europe we’d hoped for!

But we’re very lucky to have rented a room by the sea, so I really cannot complain 🙂

For a while, I was spending far too much time searching for vans and campervans and options for xyz — not constructive, especially in August; the most popular holiday period in Portugal – no vans for sale, no matter how many times you refresh!

I gave myself a boot up the arse and got stuck in to ‘life admin’, researching new income opportunities, writing new posts, switching money around and other things I hadn’t really found time to do.

During that time, I found two passive income opportunities that have amazing potential. One is Automated Capital (still very high risk IMO) and the other is private – you’d need to message me directly about it. I probably would not have found these had we been on the road. 

Whilst this isn’t the first ‘meh’ moment, it is one of the biggest; we were sooooo close to our first major lifestyle goal of touring Europe!

However, after a bit of moping around (and a few days wasted refreshing ‘campervans’ on Facebook Marketplace) we gave ourselves a shake and  to take advantage of the situation we were in.

Reliable internet. No travel decisions to make. No ‘find a place to park’ stresses. As much coffee as we could drink. Hot showers. A flushing toilet. Lots of space….not what we'd envisaged, but a great situation to ‘get shit done’ and invest further in our future.

Ironically, our lives are in much better shape now than if we had had zero van troubles. (although I'd still like a van!!!!)


If you find yourself in a bit of a rut, feeling ’meh’ step back and look at what you do have. Make the most of it and take action; you might be pleasantly surprised by what happens!

Or maybe just ask yourself, “What would Tyler Durden do?”

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Disclaimer: As with everything on this site, this article is for informational purposes only and is not advice of any kind. I simply share my experiences and my opinions for information. I am not a financial adviser and I am not providing investment advice or financial or legal advice of any kind. Cryptocurrencies (and most business opportunities) are very high risk. Many of the opportunities I discuss exist in new, high risk and unregulated markets. Some methods require significant investment of time and/or relevant skills. Please do your own research (DYOR) and due diligence; do not blindly follow anyone!

My #1 performer since 2020 – monthly updates always added!

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