February 7, 2024

Why Hard Work Doesn’t Matter and How to Choose the Right Vehicle for Your Success (DF#135)

Why Hard Work Doesn’t Matter and How to Choose the Right Vehicle for Your Success

Working Hard vs. Being in the Right Boat 

In this episode, we explore the crucial distinction between working hard and being in the right opportunity.

We dive into personal stories and experiences to underscore the significance of aligning our actions with our goals.

Additionally, we discuss alternative ways to achieve objectives and the importance of intentional decision-making.

Tune in as we inspire you to think outside the box and make intentional choices to pursue your dreams.

What You’ll Learn:

- Learn the steps to retiring early, including making money, saving money, and investing wisely.
- Discover the limitations of solely focusing on saving money and the importance of expanding income opportunities.
- Find inspiration from real-life examples such as starting a taco cart business and focusing on one venture for outsized returns.
- Reflect on the impact of being in the right career or business and working on the right things for long-term success.
- Five essential questions to align your actions with your goals and explore new paths.

We hope this episode has provided valuable insights and inspired you to seize opportunities that align with your dreams.

We encourage you to take action, set goals, and witness the transformation in your life. Share your thoughts and feedback on YouTube or Spotify.

We appreciate your reviews and value your support on this journey.

Join us again next week as we continue to deliver meaningful content catered to our incredible audience. Let's create a conversation together!

Enjoy the episode!

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Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Ryan Maruyama discusses the importance of aligning decisions with goals and living intentionally. He emphasizes the need for the right opportunity or vehicle to achieve financial success, highlighting the limitations of solely focusing on saving money. He shares personal stories and reflects on his own journey towards early retirement. He dives into his goal of retiring at 40 and the three key areas they focused on: making money, saving money, and investing.

Ryan discusses the excessive obsession with saving money and warns against becoming too consumed by it. He invites parents to share their thoughts on young adults' saving habits. He emphasizes the significance of increasing income potential and finding ways to earn more money. Reflecting on his experience in the service industry, Ryan emphasizes the importance of aligning actions and opportunities with desired outcomes. He explains how pursuing the right "vehicle" is crucial for financial success, sharing anecdotes of his own transition from server to business owner.

Ryan challenges the notion of diversification and highlights the importance of strategic choices and finding the right opportunities. He presents five thought-provoking questions for individuals to reflect on, encouraging them to live intentionally and make necessary changes. Ryan also expresses his desire to create content that caters to the audience's preferences and welcomes feedback on the episode.

Connect with Ryan:

Action Steps & Recommendations:

  • Reflect on your long-term goals and ensure that your actions align with them.
  • Live intentionally by making decisions that support your goals and values.
  • Focus on the right tasks and projects that will have the most significant impact on reaching your goals.
  • Optimize the areas that will have the greatest potential for financial growth, such as increasing your income potential.
  • Do not become overly obsessed with saving money to the point where it hinders your overall financial well-being.
  • Be open to exploring new opportunities and paths that may help you achieve your goals more effectively.
  • Continuously evaluate and make changes in your life as necessary to ensure you are on track to reach your desired outcomes.


  • 00:00:00 - The power of thinking about different opportunities
  • 00:00:34 - Bringing valuable information to listeners
  • 00:03:30 - The concept of hard work in relation to the right opportunities
  • 00:12:43 - The importance of setting goals
  • 00:13:07 - The three things needed for early retirement
  • 00:15:02 - The first step: making more money
  • 00:23:51 - The importance of saving money
  • 00:24:14 - The need to invest your savings
  • 00:25:26 - Understanding the difference between traditional and Roth IRA
  • 00:47:48 - The importance of going all in on one thing
  • 00:49:47 - Examples of successful individuals who focused on one thing
  • 00:55:30 - The significance of being in the right vehicle or opportunity
  • 00:57:28 - The importance of having long-term goals
  • 00:58:06 - Living intentionally and making intentional decisions
  • 00:58:33 - The need to prioritize tasks and activities to reach goals

References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:00]:
That's the power of this stuff. That's the power of thinking about these things. And instead of just, oh, okay. Well, I'm just gonna work as hard as I can and just pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. That's the power of just getting off for a second. Get off the bike. Get off the unicycle for a second and actually look and be like, is this what I need to be doing right now? Is there a better way to do this? Is there a better opportunity for me to get to where I'm going quicker, easier. Alright, everybody.

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:34]:
Welcome back to degree free. I am done making promises about when I'll be out of the temporary studio, AKA my office. I'm done. I'm not sure if it's gonna be the next week. I'm not sure if it's gonna be a week after that, but I am back again because I'm trying to get this information out to you every single week like we've been doing for over 2 years now. Actually, coming close to the two and a half years now, which is wild to think about. Before I get into today's topic, which I really think is going to have a lot of value for everybody that's listening to us. I think every single person that's listening to us, whether you are 16 years old, 20 years old, in college, thinking about breaking out of college, whether you've been degree free for a long time and you think about changing careers or you wanna get that promotion, whatever it is in your life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:01:24]:
I think that every single person listening to this is gonna get some value out of this or at least I hope so. But before I get into that one housekeeping, there is some construction going on outside. It's not super major, but I can hear it right now. And I'm gonna do my best to get it out of the audio for you, but give me a little bit of leeway. Like I said, we don't have a big team doing this thing. Just a few people that do this whole thing. So we're gonna do our best to get it out, but I wanted to record this because I wanna bring this information to you. Secondly, if you haven't already and you have questions to ask us, go to ask.degreefree.coforward/question, and that is question, not questions.

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:11]:
It's a singular question. Ask .degreefree.coforward/question, and ask us a question. Like I said before, we are trying this out. This is v one of it, and I want you to know what to expect when you go there. When you are going to ask doctor grieffree.c0forward/question, you're going to be met with a web page where you can ask your question, and you're gonna ask your question in either audio format or video format, kinda similar to what I'm doing right now if you're watching this on YouTube. The reason why we're doing it that way is so that we can play the audio and we can play the video. It's a little bit easier and it's a little bit better. I can actually see your face and know who I'm answering.

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:51]:
And then also, I don't have to be like, Jake from Minnesota says. This is how, like, actually, Jake from Minnesota is actually asking the question and we actually answer it. I want to get right into what we are talking about today. I have been thinking about this concept for a really, really long time. I have been thinking about this for years years years. And what I'm gonna be talking about today, I don't know any other way of putting it. It doesn't matter how hard you roll if you are in the wrong boat. That's what we're going to be talking about today.

Ryan Maruyama [00:03:30]:
And then we're gonna be talking about hard work, but really how hard work doesn't really matter if you are pedaling on a unicycle, you would rather be in a car. It doesn't matter if you're in a small little rowboat and you're rolling as hard as you can. You would rather be in the steamboat. I don't know where this concept came from, but I'm pretty sure I got it from Warren Buffett. And I went to go find a quote, and this isn't what it was, but this was a close I could find. And should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks. K, so I'll I'll say it again. Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Ryan Maruyama [00:04:24]:
And that's everything that we're gonna be talking about this week. I have lots of stories for you. I have made this mistake many times in my life and how I continue to make this mistake or how I continue to work hard and row in the wrong vessel. But I remember this story a little bit different. What I remember about this story from Warren Buffett's perspective was he would talk about this guy that he was friends with in college, and he would talk about how the guy was actually smarter than he was. He actually worked harder than Warren Buffett did, but Warren Buffett went on to Berkshire Hathaway and got the outcome that he did. When the other person who was smarter and more hardworking than him went to go work in something like newspaper. He went to go work in a dying industry.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:18]:
I don't remember if it's exactly newspapers, but let's just say that it was newspapers. Something that was a dying industry. So it doesn't matter how hard that person worked. He was in a dying industry. His vehicle that he was in. He was in a rowboat. He was in a small opportunity, and he was rowing really, really hard. And he worked harder.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:41]:
He was smarter than Warren Buffett, but it didn't matter. Warren Buffett was in the steamboat. That's how I remember this story being told. I'm not sure if that was true or not, but we're just gonna attribute this to Warren Buffett. The point that I wanna make here is the basis of what we do at Degree Free. We do all this stuff. Is it a movement? Absolutely. Are we against bias and discrimination based on college degree status in the hiring system? Yes, definitely.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:10]:
Definitely. Definitely. Do we teach you how to get the work you want without a college degree? Yeah. I mean, I hope so. I hope that's why you're listening to this. We try to execute on that every single week. When it boils down to its tiniest parts, what does degree free mean to you, you listening to this, to me, to your kid that you're trying to help? Like, what does being degree free really, really mean when you boil it down, it's all about living intentionally. Living your life and making decisions with intention to get you where you want to go.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:46]:
And so what we're talking about today is making decisions and then continuing to make decisions. So I want to talk about this concept of how hard work isn't as important as being in the right vehicle or in the right opportunity, however you wanna think about it. So once again, just to get this visual in everybody's mind, it doesn't matter how hard we pedal on our bicycle, on our unicycle, whatever it is, we would much rather be in a car. We would much rather be lazy sitting back in a train going across the country. That's better. We are not working nearly as hard. We're actually quite lazy compared to the people that are pedaling on a bicycle, but the results that we get are much, much larger, and we get there much, much quicker. And I'm gonna give you 1 big story and then probably a bunch of different stories all throughout this whole thing to kind of really drive this home.

Ryan Maruyama [00:07:48]:
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've been thinking about this a lot over the last few years. This is really the culmination of my whole working life, and I'm hoping that you can take this for your child and help them execute on being in the right vehicle. Or I'm hoping that you can hear this for yourself, take this for yourself, and have you execute on the right things to get you where you wanna go. The last thing I'll say before I get into the stories and talk about, you know, how we can learn from my mistakes really is I don't know what you're going through right now. And so I can't really give you an actionable play by play of you topple this domino first, then you topple this domino first, and then this one and this one and this one. I can't really do that for you. At the very end, I am going to give you a bunch of questions to ask yourself to help put this into practice. But if you're listening to this and you hear these stories, I promise you that you are gonna think of something in your own mind.

Ryan Maruyama [00:08:54]:
You're gonna think of something in your own life where it's like, yeah. I'm trying really hard at this one thing, but I think there's another way to get there. And if we can just think, quote, outside of the box for a little bit, if we can think about how to get there quicker and how to be lazier really because we get into a different vehicle, and we sit in a car or we sit on a train or we sit on a boat instead of pedaling or instead of rowing. That's really the goal of all of this. I will start at the beginning because I wanna give you context, and we'll then we'll dissect the story in many different ways. Now I'm pretty sure I've told you guys before that I've always wanted to retire early. And if you haven't heard this before, don't worry. I'll walk you through it right now.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:36]:
So I'm 16, and I get my 1st job as a dishwasher at a local fast casual place. I think that's what they call it now. It's like a fast food place where, actually, if you've ever been to Hawaii, where I'm from. That's like a plate lunch place. That's what they call it. I do the interview. I get my ugly uniform Aloha shirt. You gotta remember wearing Hawaii.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:59]:
I gotta go buy the uniform black slacks. I gotta do the whole nonslip shoes, the the whole 9 yards. Right? I go to work, and at the end of my shift, my dad picked me up. I don't drive yet. I'm 16. I get in the car. I'm beat. Lots of stuff going through my head when he picks me up.

Ryan Maruyama [00:10:16]:
I gotta remember where to put the plates, the bowls, and so on once they're clean. Where do we take the trash out to? Where do they store the chemicals for the dishwasher, and which chemical goes in which machine? My hands are beyond pruney from being in a dirty dish pit all day. My back is really sore because these are, like, commercial basins. They're, like, really deep. They're super deep, and they're really high up to the chest because looking for a lot of people, the pots are, like, huge. I don't have to, like, hand wash these pots. Anyway, it's a whole thing. But at the top of my mind was, I gotta do this for another 50 years.

Ryan Maruyama [00:10:59]:
There's just no way. There's no way. So I made the decision pretty much right then to retire early. I had no idea what work it's gonna take to get there. I had no idea how much money I needed, but I knew that I didn't want to do that or anything kind of like it for the next 50 years. And to tell you how strong the life goal became for me, it was literally the only goal that I've had for a really long time. Sure. I have some other small little goals that mostly service that goal.

Ryan Maruyama [00:11:37]:
So it's like, make a certain amount of money this year or whatever whatever. But, really, it's all in service of that one goal. And prior to that time, I had all of these other different life goals, and all of those just fell away. I wanna retire early. Specifically, I wanted to retire at 40 years old because I didn't wanna do it for until 65, until 67 and a half now. I just didn't wanna do it. I was like, there's just no way I'm not gonna make it. I wanted to retire at 40.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:08]:
And this is pivotal to understanding the whole story. Today, we're gonna be talking about making decisions to get to our goals. I'm just telling you the goal that I had and the goal that I have, but I won't walk you through about how to set goals because that's an entirely different podcast, which I think is very useful. And if that's something that you wanted to hear about, perfect. Let's do that. Let me know in the comments. Or actually better yet, go to ask .degreefree.c04/question and ask me the question. I'm talking about goals or whatever is going on in your life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:43]:
Leave your question there. So remember intentional living. We have to have a goal. And so that was my goal. And I wanna talk about everything and all the decisions that we have to make to get to whatever goal that we have. But my goal was to retire at 40. Now to get to early retirement, I thought of 3 things that I had to focus on. The first was making money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:07]:
The second was saving money, and the third was making my money that I saved work for me. In other words, investing. Now if you're listening to this and you're thinking, well, that's a great plan. You'd be right. I'll tell you where I got it wrong, though, because, obviously, I got it wrong because I'm making this episode for you. So in preparation for this episode, I thought of, like, 17 different ways that I could explain and get this point across to you. But the way that I found or I think is gonna make the most sense is I'll break down each one of those things, and I'll tell you what I worked really hard at. And then I'll also tell you why no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't have gotten me to my goal of early retirement at 40.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:59]:
I want you to listen all the way to the end because I'll give you the lessons at the end. I have another story for you at the end too. I have some questions that you can use in your life. But like I said, I can't tell you, like, this is step 1. This is step 2. This is step 3. We have to do a little bit of deep thinking, but I'm hoping that these stories and my 15 plus years, it took me to learn this stuff. It took me forever to learn this stuff, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I'm hoping that I can fast forward you through all of that through some of these stories.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:33]:
Here we go. So if you remember, I had to do 3 things. 1st was make more money. So to retire early, I knew that I had to make more money than minimum wage. At the time, I think it was 6.75 or five seventy five, something like that that I was making as a dishwasher. It wasn't a lot. So I set my sights on the highest paying job in that place. The place I worked at had a dine inside and the servers made the most money as is the case in a lot of restaurants.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:02]:
And if you've worked in the restaurant environment, you know that a lot of times the servers even make more money than the managers. The servers are usually, or a lot of times the highest paid people in the entire place. I noticed that. And immediately I notified management that I wanted to be a server. They said, okay, that's nice. You have to remember that I was 16 and the dine inside served beer. So at least in Hawaii, you had to be 18 to be a server at a place that serves alcohol. You have to be 18 to serve alcohol, basically.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:36]:
So I had 2 years to wait, but that was fine because the line to become a server was really long. They told me if I wanted to be a server, I have to get front of the house experience first and work as a cashier for a while. I have to learn how to talk to customers, handle cash, deal with and escalate conflict, learn the menu, all of this restaurant stuff. I was like, alright. Perfect. I will go, and I will try to learn all this stuff. So, you know, I'm a dishwasher in the back. I become a cook because it pays more in the interim, and then I so I became a cook.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:12]:
Then I became a cashier, learned that. Eventually, I went and I became a server. So long story short, for the next 2 years, I jumped through the hoops to become a server. I ended up doing basically every job in that place. At the end of it, I became a server. A story for another time, as I think is just as interesting is how I ended up passing everyone that was in line to become a server. Like, the line was literally super long. It was, like, 15 people in line, and I jumped every single one of them.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:45]:
That's a story for another time. And if you wanna hear about that, let me know. YouTube comments, Spotify, you know what to do. Ask out to Groofy dot c o, forward slash question. But once I was in the position to make the most money, I now had to get on the money shifts. Right? And so now for everyone that works in the ref front of the house or restaurant or any tip position, you know, that there are certain shifts that make the most money. For this restaurant, it was Friday, Saturday nights, and then Sunday breakfast. That's where we made our money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:13]:
I had to serve the weekend drunks on Friday and Saturday night. Because we were open late. We're actually 247. And then I had to wake up early and serve the churchgoers on Sunday morning as well. At 18 years old, I was one of the top earners in that restaurant because I did end up getting on all those shifts. And a lot of hard work, a lot of being yes, man, just going after it. A lot of not calling in sick. I never called in sick ever.

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:42]:
In fact, I picked up everybody's shifts, and I was the guy that you count on. And so they were like, yeah. Sure. Here. Take it. If you worked in the restaurant industry, you know how difficult it is to find reliable people, because typically the people that work those types of jobs, they aren't the most dependable. It was a godsend for management, and I ended up quickly within the 1st few months of me being a server. Not only did I skip all these 15 people in line, but then I also did all this hard work within the next few months to then get on all the money shifts and make the most money in that restaurant.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:15]:
Pretty impressive. Right? And when you package it neatly like that, it was. But did it help me get closer to my goal? Maybe. And we'll talk about it in a little bit. I wanna give you the whole story. So I had point number 1 down, make money or at least make more money or make the most money that I could. Now the 2nd point and I told you I was gonna go through the story and dissect it from multiple points of view and interject us in multiple places. I wanted to back up a little bit and talk about saving money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:45]:
So one of the things that I thought was absolutely critical all the time was saving money, and it is absolutely critical. And I'm talking about saving money with what I had, pinching pennies and trying to save every single dollar, every single penny that I had. I wanna back up a little bit even more than this. I was always a saver. Always. Always. Always. When I would get lunch money when I was a kid, when I was, like, literally, like, a dollar bill, I just wouldn't eat, and I would save that money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:19:17]:
If I would get envelopes for Christmas. I didn't realize that this is kind of an insane thing to do at least for, like, a 5, 6, 7 year old to do until I met Hannah, and then we talked about it. But when I would get, like, Christmas or birthday cards, I figured that there was either like a check-in there or cash in there. I would just assume it was money. And so to not tempt myself to spend it, I just wouldn't open it. And then a year later or so, I would open it, and it was far removed enough from coming into my position that I knew I wasn't going to spend it. What's funny is that, like, I would get my grandfather would write us a check or, like, you know, when I say ask my sister and I on, like, birthdays and Christmas and stuff, I did this. And he so many times, he would call me or when he would see me when when he pick me up from school or something like that, he'd be like, hey.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:10]:
I was in my checkbook. It's not balancing, and the the money that's missing is the money that I gave you for your birthday. That was, like, 5 months ago. Can you cash that check? Because my books aren't balancing now. And, you know, you gotta remember. Like, I'm, like, 6, 7 at the time. And it's all I'm not even doing it. Right? My parents are are doing it, but I just didn't open it to give it to them.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:29]:
That's remained a problem until I was a teenager. Anyway, I've always been a saver. But now I knew it was really important to be an ultra saver because I need to retire by 40. And in order to retire by 40, I like I said, I didn't know how much money I needed at the time, but I just figured I needed a lot of it. And the only way to do that is to save my money. So when I finally got a job and made the goal to retire early, it was clear to me that I needed to become more of a saver. And now I wanna interject just a little bit to take a little bit of our tangent are one of many I'm sure that we're gonna take. If you're listening to this and, like, yeah, you do have to be a saver to retire early because you have to spend less than you make.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:14]:
You're absolutely right. That's the base skill. But if you remember early in the story, like, that's not really the problem that I had. I was already a saver. I've always been a saver. I always like to have money in my bank account. I had that skill in spades, but I started reading books like The Automatic Millionaire or The Millionaire Next Door or other personal finance books. And I'll interject here again.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:37]:
If you are struggling with personal finance, then these books are great to give you a basis. These books are fantastic. But for someone like me, it just made me more focused on pinching pennies. It's kinda like telling a doomsday prepper that the world is going to end next year or telling someone that's afraid of flying on a plane, the statistics of airline or airplane fatalities and not giving anything to compare it to. If you do that, they're going to be more focused on prepping or more focused on finding different bus routes or car routes they can take to get to their destination. So I became hyper obsessed with saving money. I wouldn't eat wouldn't eat lunch. I wouldn't buy toiletries, smoothies or Starbucks.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:23]:
Absolutely not. Those were absolute no go. Every 2 weeks, I would get a paycheck, and I would pretty much save all of it. Now I get that I was still a child while going through most of this, and I didn't have bills. But I also know from the young adults and parents that we work with that some young adults that have jobs don't save any money even though they don't have any bills. They'll go and blow their whole paycheck on Fortnite skins or jelly belly. I don't know what kids buy these days. If you're a parent of a child that is working right now, living with you and you're supporting them.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:56]:
I'd love to hear your philosophy on this. You can go to the YouTube comments there, Spotify, or go to, you know, ask ask dot degree free.c0forward/question. It's open form, so you can just leave your thoughts there. I'm not really judging anyone on this. I just find this stuff fascinating of what you allow your children to do with their money and the reasoning behind building whatever habits you're trying to build. And some people listen to this. You might not have any idea of it. You might not be very good with money yourself, and so you're just, yeah, just spend it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:28]:
You don't have any bills yet. Whatever your thought processes. I'd love to know what it is. But for me, my parents didn't force me to do any of it. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to retire early, and I wanted to save money. But getting back to the story, saving is definitely a skill, and I worked really, really, really hard at being good at it. I would say for that period of my life, I mastered it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:51]:
I was the best at it. Where are we in the story? So I'm 18 years old. I now make the most money out of everybody in the restaurant or not out of the servers, but I am in the elite class of people at the place that I work. And I basically don't spend any money, so I save it all. Number 1, down. Easy. Done. Number 2, down.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:14]:
Make money, save money. Done. Moving on to the 3rd thing, which is investing. Now that I was in the highest paid job in the restaurant and mastered the skill of saving, I had leftover money, so I had to figure out what to do with it. Do I just keep it in a savings account, or do I keep it in a checking account? I knew from those personal finance books that I had to make my money work for me. I was working so hard for my money that I wanted my money to work hard for me. So I needed to start investing. So the automatic millionaire and the millionaire next door and those other personal finance books touched on investing, but I had to go do a deeper dive into investing.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:55]:
So I went down the rabbit hole of Warren Buffett, Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard. Warren Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. I read books like a random walk down Wall Street or the little book of common sense investing or the intelligent investor or reminisces of a stock operator. You name it. I read it. I opened a Roth IRA when I was 16 years old and maxed it out. I had to ask my dad like, hey, dad. You gotta open 1 up with me in order to do this.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:26]:
Let's do it. And for those that don't know what a Roth IRA is, it's a retirement account that you put after tax money in. And then in the future, you don't get taxed on the gains. So traditional IRAs or individual retirement accounts, you are going to put in let's say that you put in $5,000 for the year 2024, this year. You are going to take that $5,000 and deduct that from your taxable income. So let's just say for easy math that that you make $100,000 a year pretax. If you put it into a traditional IRA, then you are going to make $95,000 on paper, and then you will get taxed on $95,000. Eventually, when you take that money out and that money grows, hopefully, you don't lose it all.

Ryan Maruyama [00:26:24]:
Hopefully, you don't just go to casino and bet on black. When you take it out, you are going to have to pay taxes on the gains from that money. So the Roth IRA is something that's different. You have $100,000 in taxable income. When you put in $5,000 for 2024, they're going to tax you on all $100,000 of your money. So they're gonna tax you on that $5,000 even though you put that into a Roth IRA. But the benefit of it is is that you're hoping that that $5,000 turns into a good $1,000,000,000. And then when you take it out later, you don't get taxed on it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:01]:
So, anyway, that was a long rabbit hole. If you wanna know more about personal finance, that stuff, and things like that, let me know. As you can see, I've spent all my life, learning this stuff. At one point, I thought that I was gonna be a financial adviser, and I just decided that that life wasn't for me and for a lot of reasons and things we can talk about if that's interesting to you. But, anyway, sorry. I I went down a rabbit hole. I'll try to get it back on track now. So I put my money into this Roth IRA, and I I put my money into some index funds.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:30]:
I did a lot of research, and I put my money into some individual stocks that I bought. Right. So long story short, I did a lot of work to put my money to work. And I did by the time that I had a serving job. I had a good little system going. Now this is all 3 things that I have. By the time I'm 18 years old, I make the most amount of money in the place that I work. I save money every single month, and then now I'm making my money work for me.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:56]:
Make money, save money, invest money, and watch it grow. Perfect. You're thinking about this, and you're just like, I don't see the problem here. Perfect. I didn't see the problem for, like, 15 years. I wanna highlight what the problem is, and that's where I'm about to head. I have to remind you of my goal. Once again, intentional living, my goal was to retire by 40.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:17]:
All the actions that I've taken so far are objectively great. And if I maintained doing it, I would retire eventually, but it wasn't good for my largest constraint of that problem. The largest constraint of the problem is my age, 40 years old. All the actions I was taking was the actions of someone who wanted to retire comfortably in 40 to 50 years. I wanted to retire in half that time. So I had to take different actions. And this is why it doesn't matter if you row super hard. It's better to be lazy and in a steamboat, or doesn't matter how fast you can cycle.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:59]:
It's better to be lazy and you just sit in a car. So let's go through these 1 by 1. And once again, I'm packaging this up as nicely as I can for you, but this has taken me 15 years of my life to figure out. And I'm hoping that there's some one little nugget in here that you can take away, that you can start executing on some of these things and hopefully change your life as thinking about these types of things and then solving the problems and making the actions in order to solve those problems has changed my life. As a refresher, the 3 things, make money, save money, invest money. I'm gonna take it a little bit different. I'm gonna go save money, make money, invest money. I'll start with saving money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:36]:
What's wrong with me optimizing for saving money? The problem is that your expenses, my expenses can only go to 0. You can't ever get your expenses so low that you start to make money from your savings. No matter how much hard work you put in to lower your expenses, the lowest you can go is 0. Hey there. I hope you're enjoying this episode of the degree free podcast. At degree free, we wanna help everyone thrive and succeed without needing a college degree. And the only way to truly reach everyone is with your help. If you're getting value out of this episode or if this is your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th episode that you're tuning into, if you could just ship this to a friend, just click that 1 button and share it with someone in your contacts or on your stories.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:21]:
It would mean the world to us. And more importantly, get our message out to more people who need help getting out of their current situation. If you could do that right now, that would mean a whole lot. Let's say that you are a parent and you have a child who doesn't have any bills, you pay for everything. Their expenses are zero. It will never be that way ever again, but that is the lowest that you can go. And it's not like they can do something else to save more money. And if they save more money, then they make more money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:54]:
No. This doesn't work that way. It's an expense. So to illustrate this, let's take an example of a lemonade stand. Imagine you have a lemonade stand where you sell lemonade to earn money. You notice that you're spending money on lemons, sugar cups, so you decide to cut costs to maximize your profit, your savings. You start by finding cheaper lemons and sugar, and buy cups in bulk to save money. These are fantastic, and this is awesome.

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:24]:
And this will all help you increase your profits or your savings because saving is different between our income and what we spend. However, there's a limit to how much you can save. Even if you get the best deals possible, you still have to spend some money to make the lemonade, your costs can only go down to a certain point and you can't earn more money by reducing your costs. So once again, the lowest that your expenses could go is 0, but you can't get below 0. And 0 doesn't make any sense because you still have to have, like, fixed cost you stuff to, like, rent for your lemonade stand or at least the cost of lemons, water, sugar, cups, ice, those types of things. You still have those expenses, so it can't be 0. But let's just say that you have, like, a benevolent person that's just like, oh, free money, free money, free money. 0 is the lowest that you can make it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:19]:
On the other hand, if you focus on increasing sales, the potential is much, much greater because expenses can only go to 0. We've defined that. But on the other side, your income can go to infinity. So you might decide to improve your lemonade recipe or just get more customers. First, you can sell an infinite amount of lemonade cups and an infinite amount of lemonade, but you can only make your expenses go down to 0. To make it relevant to the story, really, what I should have done is I should have just left well enough alone. I was already a good saver. I already kept my expenses really low every single month, and I made more money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:58]:
Okay. That's done. I don't need to do the what they call, like, the latte factor. And one of those books, I think, is automatic millionaire. Might have been a million next next door. I don't know. I've read so many of them at this point. I'm not sure.

Ryan Maruyama [00:33:09]:
One of these books. It's the the Latte Factor, and it's just like, you can't buy Starbucks every single day because that's $5 a day, and that adds up. And $5 times 265. What if you bought coffee and you made it at home and whatever? Yes. Sure. Is that a lot of money? Absolutely. Public math. Right? It's not good.

Ryan Maruyama [00:33:27]:
15, I don't know, $1500 a year or something like that. Let's just say you spend $1500 on coffee every single year. If you slam that expense down to 0, guess what? You've only saved $1500 a year instead, what if you drank the coffee that you like to drink every single day, assuming that you can pay for your bills? Like, you drank the coffee that you like to drink, but then you just focus on making $1500 extra a year to pay for that coffee. Or better, that coffee fuels you so that you can make even more money. Right? So that $1500 worth of coffee every single year, whatever it is that can fuel you to make $45100 a year, something like that. Then it's an investment. Anyway, that's where I'm going right now. That was the problem with saving the money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:19]:
Now to jump back into my story, at 18 years old, I was already in the highest paid position in the restaurant that I worked at. I had spent 2 years to get to the point that I was at 2 years of really, really hard work. I never called in sick. I was a person people depended on. I picked up shifts because I wanted to show them that I was ready to take on the responsibility of a server, and it all paid off. And people that work in the service industry, they know this. Like, I worked every holiday. I worked on my birthdays.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:48]:
I worked on other people's birthdays. Didn't matter. I always worked. I worked really, really, really hard, but what was the problem? I was pedaling really hard on a unicycle. The vehicle I was in was wrong. The opportunity that I was in was wrong. Was I making the most money out of the people that work there? Yes. Absolutely I was.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:11]:
I was one of the most highest paid people, and they're 18 years old. Impressive? Sure. Absolutely. But was I making the most amount of money possible in general? Absolutely not. I was making what a server makes. I just didn't know it because I got a bone to chew on, which was I'm going to become a server. I'm going to be the most highest paid person in there. And I never stop to think on whether or not this is the bone that I need to be chewing on, whether or not this is the work that I need to be doing to get to where I want to go, because I felt like I was working so hard.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:48]:
Oh, man. Hard work. Hard work. Hard work. Hard work. And and I was working hard. Did the fruits of my labor pay off? Absolutely. It did.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:55]:
It got me to become a server, got me to become the highest paid person in that room or in that place. But did it get me that much closer to my goal? Not really. Difficult to see when you're doing it, though. Difficult to see when you decide that this is the bone that you're gonna chew on, and you just chew on that bone. You'd never stop to think. Is this really the actions that I need to be taking day in and day out? Is this really what's going to help me get me to my goal? Whatever your goal is. If your goal is to help your kid become an x. Your goal is to you yourself become a y, or it's to teach your kids how to become financially independent.

Ryan Maruyama [00:36:33]:
Whatever your goal is is, like, are the actions that you're doing right now in service of those things, or are there other things that you can be doing that don't require as much work that's going to get you the result that much quicker. So here's what I should have done, and maybe I hope that you can maybe think about this because this literally took years of my life. To fast forward the story, I ended up being in restaurant work for a decade. I didn't get out till I was, like, 27 or something like that or whatever. It doesn't matter. It was a decade. On and off, mostly on. I work jobs in between there, but nothing really paid as much as the serving.

Ryan Maruyama [00:37:10]:
So what should I have done? What I should have done is all the effort that I took to become a server is I should have taken that effort, taken a step back, and try to see where the money was flowing in other industries and get obsessed and try to make a path out of it, which is the reason why Hannah's in here because that's what we're doing with younger people now. We're trying to help them save the 15 years of attending this school of hard knocks like how we did. Right, because Hannah did the same thing a decade pretty much. I think she spent a little bit less time. She's a little younger than I am in the industry. But if you round it up, it's to the decade. Trying to give, you know, the 16 to 20 year old an actionable career road map they can execute to achieve their dreams. I mean, our goal is to teach them the lesson without the scar thinking about for myself.

Ryan Maruyama [00:38:00]:
I was obsessed with video games at the time. I maybe could have been a video game designer or a video game tester, or even right now, possibly a streamer, which is a job now, and that they make a lot of money depending on who you are and depending on the brand deals that you get. This is gonna sound bad. I was obsessed with gambling. I think of, like, trading stocks as gambling as well. For people that have kids or they are obsessed themselves with, like, sports gambling, poker, blackjack, stock trading, those types of things. I think that those are the early precursors a lot of times to entrepreneurship. It is being okay with risk, saying, okay.

Ryan Maruyama [00:38:45]:
I understand that this is risky. I understand that I have to put money and effort and time into this, and I know that there's no expected return on the other side of it. And for myself, I know that to be true. And so I was obsessed with gambling, sports gambling, whatever, cards. I would bet on cockroaches if it paid out. I don't care. Maybe I could have been a handicapper somewhere or I could have worked for a casino somewhere and learn how that side of the industry works. In my early twenties, I actually met a handicapper.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:13]:
He works for one of the big casinos or worked at the time, and he handicapped baseball. It's actually, man, did we just sit there? We're, like, supposed to be playing darts, and we did play darts. Well, he was playing darts. I was getting drunk. And we all I did was I just chewed this guy's ear up for, like, for the entire night. We spent, like, 6 hours in there, and I just couldn't stop talking because I thought it was endlessly fascinating, but, you know, that's a job, but I just didn't know. Right. How do you know what you don't know.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:42]:
And how do you make a plan to get that job if you don't know that that job exists? And even if you did know where that job exists, how do you know to get that job if you don't have the skills of finding it out, which is all what we're trying to do here? I was obsessed with working with computers, and maybe I could have done anything with computers, which at the time probably would have made a lot of sense. Still makes sense to this day to do that. And I say, like, with computers because I did it all with computers, played video games on my computers. I tried to code, like, 7 different times on my computers, networking things around my house with my computers. Obsessed with all of it. I loved it. The only thing I didn't really do was I didn't really do any of the hardware stuff until, like, later in my life. But in during teenage years, I think a lot of it was just like, I didn't have the money to do it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:29]:
Well, actually, we've established that I did have the money to do it. Too cheap to do it. Once again, these are all easy for me to say this. Now hindsight is 2020, but you don't know what you don't know. And this is such a key element is I didn't even pause to think about whether or not there was a better way to get to my goal. I just saw how do I make the most money with where I'm at while be a server, not just like how do I make the most money. And that's where we talk about setting goals. We talk about living intentionally.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:01]:
Our goals, depending on what they are, they dictate our actions. That's a story for another time. But even if I did know there was a better way to get to my goal, I probably wouldn't have known how to get there. But I would've known that whatever I was doing, that working my way up to being a server, wasn't the way to get there. And that's what we try to help people with now is to help them to shine a little bit of light on the things that they don't know and how to create a path to those things, whatever your goal is. That's what we try to help with now. But to continue the example of the lemonades now we've established, we can only bring our expenses to 0. Right.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:41]:
But our income can go to the moon. Right? Your income, it could be w two, whatever it is. Like, whatever our earning, our making money is at this point, but I'm just gonna use the lemonade stand just to make it a little bit easier. Or, actually, let's change the TACoS because the reason why I wanna change the TACoS is because I'm now thinking of a friend of mine who was a server at one of the restaurants that I worked at later in my life, and he ended up doing this. And so instead of lemonades, let's talk about tacos. He ended up opening a taco stand. It was actually a taco cart. His name is Alex.

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:16]:
We call him Alex. Alex can only bring his taco expenses to 0, but the amount of money that he can make from selling tacos is infinite. How many tacos can Alex really sell. He sold out pretty much every night, especially on the weekends. You know, people like me, just general derelicts like I've talked about before, just going to bars. And he quit being a server at the restaurant that we were at to open this taco cart. And he pretty much only operated the cart in, like, Thursday, Friday, Saturday because that was when, you know, the drunk people were out. And he put his cart right in front of a Starbucks and right outside the 3 most busiest bars in the area.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:02]:
And so when the bars let out, he was the only deal in town, like, literally, the only person there. And so he had a line literally around the block for this dude who his taco cart was literally smaller than the desk that I'm sitting at right now, and he sold out pretty much every single night that he was out there. That's awesome. That's amazing. He can do that infinitely. The problem is is that he can't. What are the constraints that he's dealing with. Well, the constraints that he's dealing with is he can't do it every single night of his life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:30]:
The constraints is I just said that he sold out. So it's obviously the inventory that he has. I said that his cart is no bigger than the desk that I'm sitting at now, so he really only has what he can fit in the cart. And then eventually, a few months later, a year later, he had to get, like, big 6 day coolers, and he had, like, 3 of them around him because then he saw sold drinks too. But, mostly, it was just to fit the inventory of tacos so he could sell more tacos. Another constraint would just be the busyness of the bars. Like I said, he was only there Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, and then eventually he got out there Sunday night as well. He wasn't out there on the slow nights because really his busyness of his business was predicated on how slow or how slammed the bars were that were around him.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:27]:
If they were slammed, he would be slammed. If they were empty, he would be empty as well. If we wanna take this into infinity, Alex is also in the wrong vehicle. If he really wanted to scale his taco empire to infinity and beyond, he would eventually need to change his business model. He would either need to open up more taco stands, taco trucks, restaurants, prepackage them and sell them in stores in, like, the frozen section or in the premade section, license the name, open a taco making academy because the vehicle he was in was not the right one to reach INFINITI. Just to put a bow on Alex real quick. He ended up opening restaurants because he's very entrepreneurial, and he was very smart. He has 2 restaurants now.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:18]:
I think he still has the truck, and he's crushing it. So that's amazing. But that just literally shows you he had the constraint. He himself was also in the self was also in the wrong vehicle of the Taco Cart. But that vehicle was much better than being a server. He wasn't making enough money as a server or he wasn't fulfilled. Whatever his life goal was at the time, server wasn't doing it. And he saw that that vehicle, no matter how hard he worked, wasn't going to get him where he wanted to go.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:45]:
So then he went into the taco cart business. Okay. Perfect. That vehicle, much better. He made a lot more money. Then he ran into the problems that taco carts have. He has to be there all the time. He had to hire employees, whatever whatever.

Ryan Maruyama [00:46:01]:
Now after taco cart problems, he had bigger problems. You know? Now he's got restaurant problems, but all the way up, he's getting into a different vehicle to get him to where he wants to be. The 3rd and last thing that I wanna talk about is about the investing mistakes. This is gonna be a little controversial, and it should be. But this is the way that I'm gonna live my life, and I think that this could hold a lot of value for some people here. So the conventional wisdom to amassing a fortune is to diversify. You'll go to a financial adviser or you'll read personal finance books, and they'll all tell you to diversify your money. And that's a great strategy.

Ryan Maruyama [00:46:40]:
And this isn't financial advice, but those are great strategies for average people. My goal was to be above average. That's not a slam on anyone. I'm not saying I'm some great guy, and this is, amazing goal or anything like that. Let me ask you. How many people do you know that are 40 years old and retired? My guess is probably 0. 1, maybe. So de facto, my goal was not average because you can't even think of anybody, or you can only think of 1 person or 2 people or 3 people, 10 people.

Ryan Maruyama [00:47:13]:
It doesn't matter. But I was reading material, and I was learning material aimed at average people. I was taking advice from people who were making learning materials 4 average people to be just a little bit more than average. As we established, my goal was to be exceptional. So and this took me years years years of learning to do. And this actually took me years years years of unlearning to do. Because, like I said, I steeped myself in all of these personal finance books. And one of the reasons why I'm making this video for you right now is so that you don't have to go through what I went through.

Ryan Maruyama [00:47:48]:
You don't have to go through, like, oh, okay. You learn all of this stuff, and then you get to the other side. And you're like, wait a minute. You're gonna have to unlearn it all. Instead of listening to what these people said, I looked at the actions they took. Let me explain. If you look at rich people, let's say Warren Buffett, he talks about diversifying a lot. That's literally all he talks about is diversifying.

Ryan Maruyama [00:48:10]:
Make some money, get a good job, save some money, invest in the S&P 500. That's literally his entire investment strategy for the average person. You don't have to read any books. Tap dancing to work, whatever biographies of Warren Buffett, don't read it. You're done. If you're thinking about learning his investment strategy that he tells other people to do, I just gave it to you, saves you years years years, because this is what I've done. Look at all the companies that Berkshire Hathaway owns. They own a little bit of everything.

Ryan Maruyama [00:48:37]:
They're incredibly, incredibly diversified. But look at how the man Warren Buffett got rich. He did it by going all in on one thing. While he's telling us to diversify, he himself is completely all in on Berkshire Hathaway. If Berkshire Hathaway went to 0, his net worth would plummet, but he's telling you to diversify. So I realize that's how you get outsized returns. You find one thing that you can go all in on and you go all in. And once you learn that the glass shatters for you, the glass absolutely shatters.

Ryan Maruyama [00:49:14]:
You'll start to see that everywhere. Look at Bezos, look at Musk, look at Zuckerberg, look at the wealthiest person, you know, I'll bet they got rich off of doing one thing. Now they might own 27 rentals. They might have a cattle farm. They own a software company. They have all of these other different revenue streams, but I'm willing to bet that the way that they started and the way that they originally got rich was with one thing. They identified one thing and they went all in. Let's take Musk.

Ryan Maruyama [00:49:47]:
Everybody knows who he is. Richest man in the world. He went all in on PayPal. He got rich. He took that winnings. He went all in on Tesla. He's even richer now that he's all in on Tesla or he was all in. Now he's diversified.

Ryan Maruyama [00:50:00]:
He's got Twitter. He's got SpaceX. He's got this. He's got that. He invests in all different types of things. He's diversified now. But the way that he got rich and the way that he is rich is through one thing. As a side note, I personally have thought a lot more about this recently.

Ryan Maruyama [00:50:17]:
I suggest everyone go and listen to my interview with the Chin brothers, Brandon and Christian Chin, and listen to how they got rich during that NFT mania. You know, I've gotten some pushback from that episode having them on because people are like, they promote pump and dump schemes, whatever whatever. If that's your mindset about it, just try to separate yourself from that and just listen to the story and listen to what you can get out of it. If it's gonna trigger you, then don't listen to it. Whatever. Don't listen to it. But for me, it helped me remember that about going all in on one thing, identifying one thing, and then going all in, knowing this all in mentality, I spent my resources too thin. I was focused on saving money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:51:06]:
I was focused on making money. And then I was focused on investing that money to make more money. I was in the wrong vehicles. I was working really, really hard, but I was in the wrong opportunities. Yeah, I should have been investing in the skills necessary to build a successful career or a successful business. I've already gone way over time that I allotted for this. I hope that you can tell that this was really important to me, and I hope that this little thing can hopefully change your life. And we can talk another day about the economics of business ownership employment later, if you guys wanna talk about that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:51:38]:
If you guys want me to break that down, I have a lot of opinions there. Let me know in the comments, YouTube, Spotify, or once again, just go to ask.degreefree. C o four slash question, and let me know what you're thinking about and what you wanna hear. Before I give you some questions to ask yourself of how you can apply this in your own life. I wanted to give you 1 more story, a little bit more recent. This stuff still is impactful to this day for me, and I think that this will be impactful for you for the rest of your life. I think it was in 2020 or so. I was a firefighter.

Ryan Maruyama [00:52:06]:
I mean, I'm literally for those watching, I'm literally wearing my old sweatshirt uniform right now on the YouTube video, the last 6 months of the year, I had the opportunity to work overtime. And the opportunity to work overtime was a lot. Let me back up all the way. The firefighter schedule, the way that it works is that, at least in the department that I was in, is that you work 10 days out of the month, 24 hour shifts for 10 days. So, effectively, 1 third of your life is spent in the station. I had the opportunity from June of 2020. I'm pretty sure that's the year. And December 2020 to work overtime.

Ryan Maruyama [00:52:49]:
How much overtime? A lot of overtime. During that time of year, June 2020 and December 2020, I worked 50% of the times. I worked my normal 10 days out of the month, out of a 30 day month. But every single month, I then worked 5 extra days. So I worked 15 out of every 30 days, that's a lot of hard work. I was not home for 3 months out of 6 months. I was not at home. I was at the station.

Ryan Maruyama [00:53:22]:
I was in this sweatshirt for 3 months out of 6 months. I worked extremely, extremely hard. The beginning of 2021 rolls around and I get my w two. And I'm thinking, wow, I'm getting these paychecks. And I'm thinking to myself well, I'm gonna make a lot of money. I mean, it doesn't matter what it says on it, but I just think like, oh, I'm gonna break 6 figures. No problem. And the w two comes and I look at it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:53:47]:
As the w two says, for me working 3 months out of 6 months and then 6 months regularly before that with a little bit of overtime sprinkled in in the beginning of 2020, I made $98,000. I'm not complaining about it. That was very good for me at the time. Very happy with it. And I know that's a lot more than a lot of people make. I worked really hard. My personal life took a massive, massive toll because you gotta think I was at the station for 3 months. And then for the other 3 months, I was at home.

Ryan Maruyama [00:54:28]:
But, really, how much of your home life is really spending and interacting with your wife? You know, if you have kids, your kids. If you have friends, your friends. Hopefully, you have friends. Well, it's really only 16 hours out of the day that you have the opportunity to to, because 8 hours of that time you're sleeping. So another 3rd. So a month of that is spent sleeping. So, really, I had 2 months out of 6 months to spend with Hannah and do other things. But at the time, I was running a business on the side.

Ryan Maruyama [00:55:00]:
So that's where I spent the other rest of my time as well. So I worked super hard that year. What if I done more overtime? Well, the max that I might be able to make if I just work the maximum, maximum, maximum overtime is $150,000 a year if I'm lucky, but I'm working really, really hard. I'm working really, really hard, but I'm in the wrong vehicle. So 2021 comes around January. Whenever I get my w two $98,000 for 2020. Let's fast forward to last year. I'm a business owner.

Ryan Maruyama [00:55:30]:
I'm I'm no longer a firefighter. I no longer run into burning buildings. I no pound chest. I'm in a different vehicle. You know, Hannah and I, we're fortunate enough. We don't really talk about numbers too much if it says a little side note. If you want me to talk a little bit more about business, please let me know. Ask more business questions.

Ryan Maruyama [00:55:44]:
Something that I think a lot about because I run a business. And unlike popular opinion, like, this isn't all we do. We actually run a business. We don't just create content. Fast forward into 2023 last year in 1 month. Hannah and I made more in 1 month last year than I did working overtime for 3 months, not being at home sitting here because we're in a different vehicle. Like, I don't work as hard. I don't work nearly as much.

Ryan Maruyama [00:56:08]:
I was working literally half of my life. I don't work half of my life. I got stuff to do, but I'm in a different vehicle. And because I'm in a different vehicle, I can be lazy and get to where I need to go quicker because of it. That's the power of this stuff. That's the power of thinking about these things. And instead of just, oh, okay. Well, I'm just gonna work as hard as I can and just pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal.

Ryan Maruyama [00:56:32]:
That's the power of just getting off for a second. Get off the bike. Get off the unicycle for a second and actually look and be like, is this what I need to be doing right now? Is there a better way to do this? Is there a better opportunity for me to get to where I'm going quicker, easier. I don't wanna bring up income to talk about how much money I make or anything like that, but I wanna show you how powerful it is to think about the vehicle that you're appear in. Think about the opportunity that you're doing, what it is that you're doing. And even though you know that you're working so hard, are you working hard on the right things? Hard work doesn't matter. Hard work on the right things absolutely matters. So I'm gonna go over 5 questions that you can use in your own life, whether or not you're a career changer, whether or not you're trying to change careers, whether or not you're trying to start a business, whether you're trying to retire early like me, whether you're trying to help your child retire early, whether you're trying to help your child pick the right career path.

Ryan Maruyama [00:57:28]:
I don't want your child to do what I did and spend 10 years of their life in restaurant work when you probably could be doing something else and working towards something that really is going to help elevate you and get you and get your child to where they wanna go. So here are the 5 questions. One, what are your long term goals? We talked about this before. This wasn't about goal setting, and I I will make an episode if this is something that you want to learn more about doing the goals. Sure. Let's talk about it. You have to have a goal. The goal is what's going to come before all of the actions.

Ryan Maruyama [00:58:06]:
You're gonna take actions to get to that goal. So take a moment to think about what you want to to achieve in the future and how it aligns with your current actions and decisions. Number 2, are you living intentionally? Consider whether your choices and decisions are aligned with your desired outcome. I absolutely was living intentionally. I focus on making money. I focus on saving money. I focus on investing money. Okay.

Ryan Maruyama [00:58:33]:
Perfect. I was living intentionally. Are you making intentional decisions that will lead you towards your goal? Like I was, I was, but here's where I wasn't. So number 3, are you focusing on the right things? Reflect on whether you are prioritizing the tasks and activities that will have the most significant impact on reaching your goals. Are you working on the right projects or putting your efforts into areas that will yield the best results? Now this is probably the hardest because, once again, you don't know what you don't know. You have to take a second to get off of the bike, stop rowing, stop pedaling, stop working. Put it down for a second, step back, and really analyze this and think outside the box. The only way that I've seen to increase the size of my box.

Ryan Maruyama [00:59:22]:
And the thinking that goes into it is to read a lot of books, consume a lot of content on it. And then 3rd is hire a coach, is to get coaching about it. If you need help with this kind of stuff, degree free.c04/launch, you can sign up to and apply to be in our degree free launch program. 4, are you optimizing the right areas? Evaluate whether you are optimizing for the right outcomes. Are you solely focused on saving money, or are you also considering opportunities to increase your income or invest in skills that can lead to higher earning potential. Those are my issues. Those are my problems. Those are the questions I had to ask myself that I didn't.

Ryan Maruyama [01:00:03]:
A number 5 and the final one, are you open to exploring new paths? I mean, you have to be. You have to be open to exploring new paths, which to be completely frank with you and to be completely honest, I probably wasn't at the time because I was like, I'm gonna become a server. If somebody said, oh, well, why don't you become a coder or something like that. I probably be like, no. And I'm gonna be a server. I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna do this.

Ryan Maruyama [01:00:25]:
Right? But I wasn't open to exploring new paths. Consider whether you are willing to explore alternative paths or industries that may align better with your goals. And the future that you have in your mind might look completely different. Like, so to get to the goal of early retirement, you might think I'm gonna be a server for the rest of my life. I didn't think that, but let's just go down that road. You're gonna be a server for the rest of your life. If you want that goal, maybe being a server is not the best thing for you. Maybe it's doing anything else.

Ryan Maruyama [01:00:57]:
Are you open to learning new skills or taking risks that could potentially lead to greater success? That was this week's episode. Once again, if you have questions, go to ask.degreefree.c04/question and ask me your questions. Ask Hannah your questions. This one's much longer than I planned on being. And I really, really hope that you got a lot of value out of this. I enjoyed doing this episode. It's something that I personally have thought a lot about, and I really think that if you do these exercises, you ask yourself these questions, learn from my mistakes. If you do that, I think that you're gonna be able to see that there's a few things in your life that you could change almost immediately.

Ryan Maruyama [01:01:41]:
It's gonna be hard. It's gonna be difficult, but it's gonna be simple. You're gonna be like, I just need a new job. I need to go do this. I need to make more money. Blah blah blah blah. Whatever it is, you figure that out, and then you go and execute on that. I promise you in a few years, your life is gonna be completely, completely different.

Ryan Maruyama [01:01:58]:
Please please please please give me feedback on this type of episode. Go to the YouTube comments. Let me know what you thought about it, Spotify comments. Let me know, ask .degreefree.c04/question, and then also leave me a review. Especially with these episodes being 1 on 1 or me to you, I like it. It's actually pretty unnerving because I'm basically just naked in front of you, and I'm telling you everything that I've been through in in the hopes that you don't do the same thing. It's tough to just be in this room by myself and just giving all my energy to a camera and to a mic. The reason why I'm asking for so much more feedback now than ever before is because I want this to be more of a conversation.

Ryan Maruyama [01:02:34]:
I don't do this for myself. I do this all for myself already. I don't need to do this for myself anymore. I wanna do this for you, and I wanna make content that you want to know about. So please please please give me feedback. Until next week, guys.

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