Do the Opposite #70

BIG NEWS! Paid Subscriptions Just Got Better, ZERNO App Details Reveal, Creating Life Changing Habits, True Job Security

Good News Everyone!

Welcome to the newest issue of the Do the Opposite newsletter, sent every other Monday!

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🎉 BIG NEWS! Paid Subscriptions Just Got Better!

I’m adding a new monthly benefit for paid subscribers!

Every month, on Monday that falls between the free letters I will be sending out a special resource (the first one is going out next week!), where I will share practical tips, strategies, materials, actionable steps and everything valuable I know on specific topics, like:

  • how to stick to habits

  • how to become a morning person & create a morning routine

  • how to find the time you didn’t know you had

  • how to grow your Twitter audience

  • how to learn new skills

  • how to develop self-reliance & high agency

  • how to get unstuck working on a personal project

  • how to gradually adopt minimalism into your life

  • how to turn your personal finances around

  • how to develop personal rules that will propel you forward into creating a better, healthier life & reduce the number of daily decisions you have to make

  • more! 😉

These are some of the topics that I had to learn (+ still learning) to make forward progress towards my goals. I know that many of you have similar goals and projects in mind that you’re looking to make into reality and I want to help you by sharing what I’ve learnt so far.

Each article will be posted on the Do the Opposite blog 6 months after it’s been sent to the paid subscribers, giving more people access to the information.

Bonus: I will also include resource & book recommendations with each such such letter, as well as exercises & actionable next steps so you can start putting the advice to practice right away.

Thinking of upgrading your subscription? You can do so here:

P.S. Even more benefits coming very soon - already work in progress 😈❤️

🌱 ZERNO Details Reveal!

As promised, you as members of the Do the Opposite community are the first to learn new details about ZERNO!

If you’re new to the newsletter, ZERNO is an app I’ve been developing for quite a while now, making way more progress in the recent little while than before. I want to accelerate the development efforts and sharing the details below is my way of creating more social accountability (to all of you)

FIRST: I’m happy to finally reveal that the purpose of the app is to help you build and stick to habits. That’s the main theme around which I’m building the app and its features.

Habit formation has always been a huge interest of mine, mostly because I’ve struggled so much with building and sticking to them. I’ve learnt a lot over the years, via books, blogs, personal experiments and the unexpected (for me) success & effectiveness of #100DaysOfCode and #100DaysOfX challenges, so you could say the “app theme” chose me instead of me choosing it.

SECOND: I am setting a Beta version release date to October 28, 2020. This is pretty aggressive given that I’ve been slowly working on ZERNO for more than a year now. I am looking to raise the stakes higher and light a fire under my 🍑 and deliver something valuable to all of you in a few months.

Those of you involved in the beta will get a look into what goes into (the internals of building) a web app & get to take an active part in the discussion & new feature development.

If you want to get on the list of the limited few who get to use the app first before it’s open for general public to register on, sign up here!

Do the Opposite First Edition: Throwback

I’ve recently added “Do the Opposite” Newsletter as a product on Indie Hackers. Part of the process is to share the milestones, answering questions like: “when did you start”, “when did you get your first 1000 subscribers”, and such.

I was able to find the first Do the Opposite letter I’ve sent on March 19, 2019. It was so interesting and eye-opening to see what it all started from and how far we’ve come already, how the format has improved over time.

You can read it here :)


“Let Each Task Fill Up Your World” by Leo Babauta

Our attention is hopelessly fractured. We are stuck between apps, emails, tweets, open tabs, friend requests, DMs, and more with no way out. Sometimes we just need to take a pause, clear all distractions and focus on one thing with all we got.

If you’re like me and you keep way too many tabs open for fear of losing important info, take advantage of Bookmarks in your browser or just get the One Tab extension for your browser. It will help you clear the tabs without spending too much time evaluating each one individually.

“Writing Daily, but Posting When Ready” by Derek Sivers

Derek has completed an experiment of writing a blog post every day for 30 days. His conclusion: it’s draining & the quality of content produced deteriorates. That’s kind of self-evident, right?

What makes this article really valuable is the alternative approach Derek suggests: write every day but only post when you have a combination of a good idea and high quality, edited content.

It’s often difficult to stick to habits that don’t need to be performed every day and I used to take an approach of: either I do it every day or I won’t be able to stick to it. That hurt my results.

For example, running. I used to think I will run every day to make it a habit, but my body is not ready for that (yet?). What I could do instead is to run 3 times a week, and fill the other 4 days with other forms of activity, like yoga or biking on a weekend.

There is a lot of unrealized power in this idea of Derek’s: think about your own habits. How can you become more consistent in a habit if you remove the end result (in his case, publishing a blog post) from the activity itself?

“How I Learned My Skills” by Jordan O'Connor

I’ve enjoyed reading the journey Jordan has taken in the past 5 years: from not knowing how to program for the web (using HTML/CSS/JavaScript) to building and growing his own product to $30K per month.

What’s interesting to me is how many different things he tried and how many different subjects he had to study: from SEO to Facebook Ads to dropshipping to getting an idea for a product and running a KickStarter campaign for it (which failed), to finally hitting gold with his latest project.

This goes into our bank of articles that show that success almost never happens over time, and that we need to be willing to experiment and try new things to succeed.


How To Create Life Changing Habits — Interview with Leo Babauta | JayWongTV

What does it take to completely change your life after multiple failed attempts? Watch this interview with Leo to find out!

This Is How You Get True Job Security | Matt D'Avella

In the past, getting good grades, a college degree, and a stable job in a large corporation was a safe bet. Guaranteed to provide a stable income and job security.

Not anymore. The world has moved on, with industries and technologies being born and dying out in a span of a decade.

So is there a way to protect yourself from these fluctuations and changes? Yes, to a degree. It’s done through untying oneself from the comfort and stability of a regular paycheck.

You don’t have to have a profitable business right away and you definitely don’t need to quit your job tomorrow if you haven’t figured out what’s next. What you can do is to start moving into the direction of independence: growing marketable skills, the skills with which you can either freelance, or make something (an e-book, a YouTube channel, a web app, a consulting service for a very specific niche).

That way, over time, you will free yourself from being dependent on a regular paycheck (which kills creativity) and take your future into your own hands.

I am learning how to do this and I want to learn together with you.

The Early Days of id Software — John Romero | WeAreDevelopers

Enjoy this absolutely epic tale of the early days of one of the most successful game development studios in the world! John Romero and John Carmack (now CTO of Oculus) are the co-founders of id Software, a company that created such famous game franchises as DOOM, Quake and Wolfenstein.

This tale is fascinating to me in many aspects. It:

  • explores the history of personal computers and the evolution of PC games

  • shines light on the development principles id Software adopted that we can use in game and app development of our own

  • shares raw, contagious entrepreneurial energy and drive that inspires to start something ourselves!

P.S. I am now listening to the audiobook “Masters of Doom” by David Kushner (read by Wil Wheaton! ;) which provides even more detail about the path “the Johns”, as they are commonly referred to, took to build their empire. I will probably share my thoughts on the book in the next DTO letter.

Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault | Veritasium

What would happen if a natural disaster takes out a plant species? Are they lost to us forever? It’s uncomfortable to think about, but if we don’t, we put ourselves, the plant and animal kingdoms at risk.

This line of thinking has planted the idea (see what I did there) to create seed vaults like the one shown in this video. This facility stores millions of seeds of thousands of different plant varieties.

Also, it looks so cool!

Tweet of the Week



“Don’t just teach your children to read... Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.”
— George Carlin

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.”
— Jodie Foster

“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
— Steven Pressfield

“Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”
— Steven Pressfield


I am building an app called ZERNO to help you build & stick to habits ― if you join the waitlist, you’ll be in the limited few to get early access to the app!

Join the Waitlist


There's also a YouTube channel with weekly videos on the same themes that are covered in this newsletter. Take a look at the channel here and let the ideas influence you into an improved and happier life!

Watch DTO on YouTube


Do the Opposite has a public Telegram channel. The content there is a little different than in the newsletter: faster to consume, a bit more random ― basically anything weird or interesting that catches my eye: articles, tweets, videos, images, etc. Hope to see you there as well! :)

Join Our Telegram Channel!


If you find this newsletter helpful, you can help it grow by spreading the word!

Share Do the Opposite Newsletter

Subscribe to the free version of this newsletter and start getting a letter every other week.

If you want to help Do the Opposite grow & receive a paid subscribers only monthly resource with practical tips, materials and realistic, actionable next steps on topics covered in DTO, you can subscribe to the paid version or upgrade your existing subscription to a paid one:

Keep doing the opposite,
Alex Kallaway