Thanks for your welcome comments. It's good to see that this forum is active and welcoming.
@rehoot and Ryan: Unfortunately it's very true that personal development blogging, science fiction writing, or life coaching usually won't suffice for making a living. Even in the most optimistic case there are only a few hundred science fiction authors world-wide who can live from their writing. Personal development blogging is even worse. Life coaching might be a bit better, but I don't feel like I'm talented enough to focus on that option.
In general, I find it interesting that it almost never gets mentioned that you could earn a lot of money with entrepreneurial activities. Sure, it's very hard, but in the case that it works out fine you might get very rich. Are there any expectation value calculations available?
Granted, it's easier to create a successful company if you already had some experience as employee in your field.
There's an important reason why I don't think a job as actuary would be a good fit for me. That job doesn't seem to be emotionally fulfilling or meaningful. The idea that I could use the money for some higher purpose is probably not enough to motivate me to go through work of opaque societal value. In that light, consulting looks more like a meaningful option. At least I would see that my work improves other companies visibly (unless something goes wrong). Of course, the societal value of consulting can be questioned, too, but at least companies like the Boston Consulting Group (they got my attention, because they are also looking for mathematicians here in Germany) make a rather positive impression. The problems of a consulting job are rather whether I'm good enough to get one and stay in the business and whether I'm able to endure the stress such an occupation comes with.
Perhaps it's good to mention that there are two kinds of consulting jobs. Either you do it on your own or you join an already existing company that offers consulting. My idea was to do the latter, because I think even with extensive studying I would hardly be qualified to do the first without any experience in the field.
Looking for job offers for mathematicians felt a bit frustrating to me. What you get is mostly this:
2. Insurances (actuarial work)
3. Academic positions
4. Consulting (rarely)
5. Some other job outside of Academia (very rarely)
I don't really desire to stay in Academia if that means that I need to do more crazy mathematics. It all feels too far detached from what I'm really interested in.
It's a good question what skills studying mathematics gave me. Because I don't feel like I've learned a lot of useful skills. What comes to mind is maybe the ability to solve ridiculously hard abstract problems and dealing with massive frustration without committing suicide (sometimes it's really that bad) - or alternatively learning when to surrender on a task that's just too hard (a really vital skill)! Also, some mathematical concepts are generally useful and enable clearer thinking. Oh, and understanding really advanced mathematics makes it easier to understand almost everything else (except maybe physics, because that lies in an uncanny valley between strict mathematics and unjustified optimistic simplifications and lacking clarity). Anyway, it looks like a lot of companies pay rather well for people with such skills.
Apart from all that, I have a rough concept for a new economical system that could be implemented as online service, or just for internal use in certain groups. If that worked out fine, it would solve a lot of problems of the current economic system and provide a significant source of income. It's basically a system in which every user can distribute reputation to other users. Every user gets a regular income in a digital currency which depends on the reputation of that user. I've been reluctant to work a lot on this idea, because it's often met with possibly justified skepticism. But now feels like a time where people really desire alternative economic approaches. The real reason why I haven't tested my system is that I'm not sure where to test it first. I would need a group that is eager and ready to try it.
But retiring in 15 years really looks like the most likely way to success. It's probably not too late to start working on really interesting problems in 2026.
Btw: I'm already using Stayfocusd. It's a really useful tool.
Alan wrote:"Hedonist" may be a better term if you have time to explain yourself, though outside of our circles, "hedonism" generally has a negative connotation.
I guess that depends on the age of the target audience. A lot of young people don't think there's anything wrong with hedonism.
My spiritual experience happened to me when I was 18. At that time I loved listening to trance music (yes, it really helps). And I played the tactical online shooter Counter-Strike with my own clan. It happened on a day when I was a bit frustrated about our loss in an online match. I decided to lay down on my bed and listen to my favorite trance song (Deep Down Below by RMB) and suddenly I had these visions of alien planets, beings, galaxies, civilization. The diversity and scope was so large that it absolutely dwarfed all problems on this tiny little speck of dust. So far, so great. I felt absolutely relieved, but it got better: For a short moment I felt connected with an intergalactic network of pure unconditional and incredibly intense love. This created a feeling of happiness that was absolutely amazing. But it got even better: I suddenly had the ability to increase the amplitude of my happiness just by deciding to do so. Soon I reached a level of ecstasy that was very far above of every "normal" emotional experience I ever had. Yes, it was really so intense that I feared my body wouldn't be able to deal with it. I actually felt that only my body set a limit to the intensity of that feeling - like if I had reached an absolute limit of happiness possible for humans.
Ok, so I decided to stay in that state of incredible bliss for about 15 minutes. Then I started to think about what to do next. I decided to look for a purpose in life that reached beyond personal happiness. For that task, I found it appropriate to turn off my insanely intense feeling of happiness. Anyway, in the months after that experience I had the ability to reach similar states of ecstasy quite easily. (It looks like I've lost that ability by now, but I'm not too sad about that.)
After an intermezzo in which I settled on a highly questionable philosophical belief system (due to some more or less subtle factors positive and negative emotions balance out each other almost perfectly), I found back to utilitarianism (after about 2 years). After all, a lot of other sentient beings are considerable less lucky than I was.
Btw: I don't believe my visions were "real", but rather feel they were exceptionally vivid creations of my unconscious creativity which reacted to my own long held wishes and desires.
This exceptional experience might explain why I am a bit not normal in my mind. I mean that in the most positive sense possible.