Freelancing, monkey pong, & Batman

By: Michael Blankenship |

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think”
~Marcus Aurelius

Greetings from LA and Hawaii.

This week we told the story of how Mike grew his freelancing business to $20,000 per month, learned how to breathe, watched a monkey play pong with only its brain, got inspiration from some simple graphics, and saw the game-changing solar mobile. Our challenge is for you to try out Wim Hof’s breathing exercise.

$20k Per Year to $20k Per Month

Last week I (Mike) published an article on The Tonic’s website titled, How I Went from $24,000 Per Year to $240,000 Per Year as a Freelancer. My intent was not to brag about how much money I make and it also wasn’t to create a “how to” guide to making loads of money as a freelancer. My goal was simply to tell the story of how I went from $0 per year as a pastor to $240,000 per year as a freelance writer in hopes that readers might be able to pull some indirect practical advice from my own experiences.

In the article, I discuss how I stumbled into content writing, how I negotiated my first full-time position, how I gained the confidence to become a full-time freelancer, what I charge, the type of content I write, and how I grew my income to over $200,000 per year.

You can read it over here.

Wim Hof Breathing

Wim Hof — AKA “The Iceman — is just as crazy as he looks. The Dutch extreme athlete is most noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He has set Guinness World Records for swimming under ice, prolonged full-body contact with ice, and he once held the record for running a barefoot half marathon on ice and snow.

But the world needs crazy people. We’ve found his breathing exercise to be particularly beneficial. It seems to reduce stress, induce a more meditative and calm state, help to manage pain, and clear the mind. You can try the Wim Hof breathing method for yourself over here — it consists of just 4 steps. We also recommend What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney, a fascinating book that explores how humans can control their autonomic nervous system more than previously assumed through breathing exercises and exposure to cold temperatures.

Monkey Pong

Elon Musk and his team of Neuralink scientists implanted their brain-chip in Pager, a 9-year-old macaque in an effort to determine the “potential capabilities of the N1 Link”. Pager can be seen playing “MindPong” — yes, he’s playing Pong just with his brain — in a video that’s now gone viral on social media.

The scientists taught Pager to play Pong with a joystick. Meanwhile, they monitored his brain activity during each movement via the N1 Link. After a few minutes, their software was calibrated to the relationship between his neural activity and the movements he was making on the joystick. The scientists unplugged the joystick and Pager continued to play unknowingly with only his brain activity.

Then they took away the joystick altogether… and Pager kept playing.

Musk then tweeted about the possibilities of this technology…

You can read more about this over on CNET.

Graphical Wisdom

Liz + Mollie provide “an affectionate look at the emotions of work” on Twitter. We’ve enjoyed the simple graphics they create and found many of them to hold a surprising amount of wisdom. Here are some of our favorites.

On resilience…

On success…

And on working to impress yourself…

Batman’s Solar Mobile

Aptera just created its Paradigm, the “first electric/solar vehicle that requires no charging for most daily use.” The futuristic trike has a 1,000-mile range and 32 square feet of solar panels. Both the Paradigm ($29,900) and the Paradigm Plus ($46,900) sold out within 24 hours of launch.

This is an exciting step toward creating solar-powered vehicles. And plus, the Paradigm looks like a mini bat-mobile… no wonder it sold out so quickly!

You can read more about Aptera and its Paradigm over here.

Extra Stuff

Here are some other articles that caught our attention this week.

Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Flight by Vanity Fair

Your Childhood Memories Are Probably Fake by Elemental

Why Making Eye Contact Could Kill Your Next Great Idea by Inc.

Craving a Good Night’s Sleep? This 5-Minute, Science-Based Routine Will Help You Doze Off Faster by Inc.

The 25 Best Things You Can Do for Your Body by Men’s Journal

The Weekly Challenge

This week we want you to “breathe, motherfucker” — as Wim Hof is famous for saying to his students. Try out the breathing exercise we mentioned above and see how you feel. If you want to add breathing exercises to your daily routine, check out Breathwrk, a free app that guides you through various breathing exercises.

Until next week!

Mike & Alec

Join the movement below and challenge yourself to be better every week!