Feather, Brick, Truck: Your 3 Chances to Solve Any Problem

If you ignore them, life will run you over

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“Everything compounds. Your intuition will guide you in the right direction, but you have to give it a voice. You have to let it talk to you. It tells you what you need, every time.”

Carter Thomas is an inspiring individual. For much of the 2017 crypto craze, he was my sherpa. Every day, I watched his videos on markets, psychology, and money. But then, like the returns, Carter just went away.

In a recent podcast interview, Carter talks about his transition from building apps to being a crypto Youtuber to what he does now: trading futures in all kinds of markets. Just he and his screens, without a care in the world.

At the end of the chat, Carter shares an analogy that captures the whole arc of his journey — and also explains how he learned to trust his gut: “Feather, brick, truck — have you ever heard of this?”

The host declines, and Carter launches into a story.

Once a Feather

The first time a problem occurs in your life, it will feel like a feather.

As Carter says, “It comes down, it brushes your face, and you’re like: ‘Oh, what was that? There was something there!’ But you kind of ignore it. You notice it, but you ignore it.”

When your kid gets detention or a trade goes against you, that’s a feather. When your cheeks look a little puffy in the mirror or your partner is pouting, that’s a feather.

You can ignore these things. In fact, it’s hard to notice them in the first place. You could stop and ask: “Wait, why is this happening?” Most of the time, you won’t. You’ll let it slide. It was just a feather, after all.

And so life has no choice but to throw it right back at you.

Twice a Brick

The second time a problem shows up, it will feel like a brick to the face.

“If you don’t pay attention to the feather, all of a sudden, it turns into a brick. You get a brick that hits you and you’re like: ‘Phew! Man! I can’t ignore this, but it’s not the end of it. I can solve this problem. I can figure this out.’”

This time, the problem will demand serious effort. It’ll speak loud and clear. Bricks hurt. You might break a bone, lose a friend, or go back to square one in your business.

When you have to repeat the school year, that’s a brick. When your spouse mentions the word “divorce,” that’s a brick. When your boss moves you off the project for a big screw-up, that’s a brick. Ignore bricks at your own peril.

Of course, humans being humans, sometimes, that’s exactly what we do. And then nature has only one ace left up her sleeve.

Third Time’s the Alarm

The third time a problem appears, it won’t knock on your door. It will bulldoze your whole house.

On a long enough timeline, if you don’t listen to what life is trying to tell you, it will hit you like a truck — and run you right over. “That’s it,” Carter says. “You don’t ignore that.” You can’t.

When your partner breaks up with you, the truck has arrived. When you’re hospitalized, the truck has arrived. When the debt collector knocks on your door, the truck has arrived.

Life will always try sending feathers and hurling bricks, but if you force it to, it will steamroll you. It’ll push you to the bottom of the river, and by the time you finally yield, you’ll be gasping for air. “Fine! Alright! I see it! I must deal with this.”

Often, by then it’s too late to get off scot-free. There’ll be some permanent, irreversible, and sometimes terminal damage.

Don’t wait for the truck to arrive.

Words to Live By

Four years ago, a virus wiped me out for a week. The statistics still scare me today: I broke every habit I had, slept 70+ hours in 7 days, lost 5 pounds, and ate just one meal per day. It was a real wake-up call.

Of course, instinctively, I always knew what I should have done. I really didn’t need the truck.

“I still feel this need to justify taking the time I need to create what I think will turn out great,” I wrote. “It’s much better to be stressed from something you love doing than losing your grip on your passion just to make an extra 50 bucks.” Words to live by, my friend. If only you had.

Your gut knows what you need. Every time. Even if you’re the only one assigning purpose to something, that purpose is still there.

For Carter, this meant turning his back on indirect ways to capitalize on ideas — building a business, making content — and diving right into the magic triangle of thought, information, and liquidity that is futures trading.

“I realized that was what I’d been looking for for years and years and years,” Carter says. “Human intuition is way smarter than anything else we have.”

Words to live by, my friend. Words to live by.

All You Need to Know

Life gives us three chances to address every problem. First, it will straddle you with a feather. Next, it will hurl a brick in your direction. Finally, if you really refuse to listen, life will run you over like a truck.

Whether it’s your career, your health, or your relationships, pay attention to the feathers. Deflect — and then reflect on — the bricks. Most of all, do your best to avoid the truck. You don’t need it. Your gut will give you every chance.

“If nothing else, write down some answers,” Carter suggests. “What are some things in my life right now that are feathers? What might be bricks?” Get better at noticing. See the feathers falling from the sky. Spot the bricks early.

Listening to your gut won’t always mean getting a new job, going on an extreme diet, or dumping your partner overnight. Often, it means the opposite: Recommit to what matters while letting go of the rest.

“I could see myself being 60 years old and still being stoked about this,” Carter says about futures trading. For you, it might be hand-picking great candidates for businesses, raising a family, or writing books.

Whatever your purpose ends up being, I hope for a long time, like Carter and his screens, it’ll be just you and your thing — without a care in the world.

-Nik

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