Lessons from the bear
I joined Steem and the greater crypto and blockchain industry on the 29th of January 2017. Before that I had close to zero knowledge about these things at all other than a near call where I would have bought Bitcoin at about 30 dollars, if I could have easily worked out how to - which I didn't - and likely drank the earmarked income instead. That would have been about 20 Bitcoin.
In a retarded "what if" hypothetical, if I had bought that 20 BTC, held it and converted it to Steem when joining; it would have amounted to approximately 115,000 Steem as Steem was 16 cents. A few weeks later, Steem was 7 cents. While what ifs are senseless, they should be used as an illustration of behaviour that can affect future actions. Rarely do they, people never learn.
One of the reasons they don't learn in crypto is that there is a trust factor involved. Every price climb people wish they had bought low and say, next dip I will buy because they are confident. the next inevitable dip comes however and, they have lost their confidence and no longer trust that it will rise again. This means that some people never bite the bullet and buy while others take risks, many because they have the excess to risk.
When I joined though, things went pretty well all up, I grinded along posting, I earned some Steem, I took some liquids and started randomly trading and earned some more Steem, diversified a little, started interacting more, got some support.
My first year of Steem Price looked pretty good. Meteoric in fact. 16 cents to 8.30 in less than 12 months.
With the retarded hypothetical above, the 400 odd euros on the 20 BTC, converted to steem on entry would have had a peak value of 956,000 dollars. There is no denying it, this industry is insane.
However, entry into my second year was when I started to actually understand. While I had started learning about Steem ecosystem in the last half of 2017, it was during the second year that I actually learned about Steem, the community, the tech, the possibility, the hopes and dreams, the loss. Not my loss, but the loss of spirit that so many people faced, the kind of emotions that affect everyone to some degree, like it or not.
I watched people break in real time. And while I might come across as somewhat unforgiving on those who quit at times, it is not because I do not understand their plights enough or want to inflict more pain. It is that whatever problems we face in this world, all bear markets end. The challenge is to keep our shit together in adversity enough to e able to benefit when there is abundance. Giving up means that the future that may have been already fought for over such a long period, may no longer be within reach, no matter what we do.
For me, 2018 was a reflective year and while I put a lot of it on the chain, much of it stayed off. I had to question my sanity, insanity and resolve on whether I will continue pushing or give in. In my past I have done both - on which side would Steem fall? If I spent my time buying into the spreading FUD I wouldn't be here, if I spent my time in only the shill - I wouldn't be here. This is the reflection I tried to develop, a view of the ecosystem that kept me somewhat grounded yet, hopeful. Sane, yet willing to risk life in uncertainty.
It wasn't easy. My Steem experience is far from easy and I am not talking about the volume of work, or even the fact that I have a highly erratic and hectic life that limits my every movement and decision. It hasn't been easy because processing all of the things I do at the speed I do takes a toll on me as a person, it takes a massive amount of energy to stay my course while the ecosystem spins around, people I once respected start whinging, people who are obviously intelligent, fall apart.
The bear market on Steem was a grindstone that people pressed their nose against and it took off their face, to reveal who they truly are. Many I found were lacking but, so many became demi-gods. It is only in the face of adversity and under stress do we actually find what we are capable of and all the pretty words amount for nothing if when push comes to shove, there is no action to back them up. All theories amount to nothing until they are applied and tested.
Over the space of 11 months, the 2018 bear drove the value of Steem from the ATH of 8.30 all the way down to 19 cents, 2017 lived in reverse. For me it was not an easy time IRL and with all the things that were going on in real life, I questioned and was questioned why I keep putting so much of my energy into Steem. It was pretty simple really. Control.
I have no interest in controlling others but with a spinning world, Steemoffered me a space where I had control, I had ownership and while prices are what they are, I had the agency to do as I choose, to write, explore, learn, help and expand future possibility even while the immediate world crumbled. It may be folly, it may amount to nothing in the end but in my opinion, for a life to be good, a sense of control needs to be established, at least from time to time.
Control doesn't mean security however as security does not exist, *everything is uncertain. Control for me is the ability to act with intention without being forced to act. This is Steem for me, a place where I am not forced to act, not forced to show, not forced to hide - I can do as I please.
The bear taught me that I can have control over my behavior without being forced by price, by support levels, by people who disagree, by people who agree - I can act independently and still be part of the community as I choose. The people who's behavior is affected by price of Steem are always going to be slaves, just like they are likely slaves to the dollar, advertising, entertainment or happiness itself. Always chasing, regardless of where they are being led.
The bear led many into its den, and devoured them. Most will be revived as prices climb of course yet, they are likely to be crushed again at the next fall, and again, and again - over and over. Slavery at the hand of their inability to detach their emotional states from their behavior. Slaves to the price, slave to themselves. Uncontrolled, drifting at the mercy of the currents while wanting to feel the control of feet on land.
The Steem holders are defined in classes, redfish, minnows, dolphins, orcas and whales. All of these are comfortable in the water, at home swimming the currents, in their element. I see it as illustrative of life on Steem where in order to navigate, we have to be able to deal with the changing states of the platform, sometimes swimming in schools, sometimes in pods, sometimes completely alone in the depths. But always in uncertainty and as a result, always moving.
We are however human, we crave security, we desire and want even if we are unable or willing to make the actions toward fulfillment of them. We suffer from stress and due to our imagination, the stress and the importance we place upon it may not even be real at all. We tell ourselves stories about how bright the future could be and some will say we are crazy. But these are no different to the stories about how bleak it could be. The narrative of opportunity for one is a nightmare of risk for another, even when looking at the same state. The price of Steem, is it high or low?
You likely have an idea based on experience yet, why does that affect your ability to create, your ability to express yourself, why is it that when price drops, your quality of content drops along with it? I thought you were free but to me, it seems that you are oppressed and your action is dictated by the environment. From that position, it is hard to have a sense of control.
I can't control the prices, I can't control the banks or investment institutions, I can't control the bears or the bulls or anyone else - I can control myself. I have proven it to myself in the bull, I have proven it in the bear. While my investments might be in a different opinion, it doesn't matter what the price - I know I will be okay.
What did the bear teach you?
[ a Steem original ]