2022 Q1 Update and Q2 Goals


In the beginning of the year I mentioned I’d be openly sharing my normally private life this year, and documenting my goals, the results, and more. (you can find that post here: My 2021 Yearly Review, and 2022 Goals)

Q1 was, well…busy would be an understatement.

My goals for Q1 were:

  • Buy 15 properties
  • 142 hours on the book
  • Hire epic executive assistant or chief of staff

As the saying goes, everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Well, I’m still rocking ice packs from the insanity that was Q1.

I cracked open a bottle of chaos, and before I could even get a sip the whole quarter drowned in it.

I think sometimes people assume being an entrepreneur/investor is all good times and printing money… my Q1 is a good example of some of the not so fun stuff we get to deal with.

It started off hiring an assistant the second week of the quarter. She seemed wildly qualified and would be a great domino to help me knock down the other goals.

I’m sure the person on the resume would have been…

Except that’s not the person who showed up for the job.

Ya.

Really.

Fake resume, fake references, all that fun stuff.

That’s the first time I’ve dealt with anything like that before.

Should have caught it in due diligence but I think I was so excited to finally have someone to help me get some stuff off my plate, that after she crushed the interview combined with such an epic resume, didn’t sniff it out.

After she was failing to accomplish even the smallest of things, figured it out with some post-hiring due diligence.

Her ‘boss’ who gave her an absolutely amazing recommendation turned out not to be her boss…

but her husband.

Not sure what the point of something like that is – the only hunch anyone could come up with was that she tries to get multiple jobs at once and hope people don’t realize how little she’s getting done.

Blah.

Fast forward a couple weeks later, and I’m kind of stumped why my RE business isn’t doing as well as it should.

My spidey sense is going off like wild.

Something isn’t right.

It’s been going off for a while, but it’s only gotten stronger.

And it’s dialed in heavy on one person.

One of the few people(and someone working for me) I’d really shown most of my cards to on my real estate bet and all the in depth strategy behind it.

Unfortunately for him I enjoy due diligence, and once I realized everything he’d been up to, it was worse than expected.

I called my lawyers up and asked for a meeting.

We sat down and I showed them everything he’d been doing and asked for their opinion.

They mentioned fraud, and all sorts of other fancy legal terms that could have him in some serious trouble.

Man, talk about losing faith in humans!

First a fake assistant, and now uncovering this just weeks later.

This one felt much worse both not just because of how much money it cost me, but also because despite knowing him less than a year, I thought we had become friends.

I’d gone out of my way to mentor him since he was wanting help learning wealth building and openly shared much of my playbook with him.

I guess he thought he might get ahead in life faster by trying some extremely unethical things to try and make some short term money instead.

Humans are silly.

Some people have such short term thinking.

You can’t cheat the game.

So many try and skip all the necessary steps and think they’ll magically reach immediate success.

Too many ‘get rich quick’ videos out there these days I guess!

I’ve been in business for a long time now, and this might have been the most unethical thing I’ve had attempted on me.

And you see some stuff in this game!

I can’t wait to talk about this more in depth. I’m going to let my lawyers take him apart first before I openly write too much about it.

The silly thing is since he hadn’t fully grasped some of the fundamentals yet, he didn’t even profit nearly as much as he should have from his unethical activities, he just cost me a bunch.

Oh well.

Q1 really welcoming me to the new year!

After my meeting with my lawyers I didn’t know what I was going to do at first.

I hate spending time dealing with things that aren’t positive and that don’t move things forward.

I didn’t enjoy waking up and my first thought of the day is how to make sure an unethical dude goes down.

That’s not healthy!

At first I wondered if despite getting ripped off badly, I should just let the guy walk.

I had several discussions with friends about it.

It was pretty unanimous across the board that I shouldn’t let him get away with it.

I’m big on just trying to observe and not get attached to things that happen to me, and to still have ‘love’ for others despite whatever their actions are.

My buddy Russo gave some great advice that I can still have ‘love’ for someone from a distance while making sure that a crooked person gets taken off the board.

I definitely didn’t want a guy like this to be able to do unethical things to others in the future.

My friend Kenric reminded me how when we were both starting out in the game of business/investing, people would sometimes try to take advantage of us because we were green, and/or didn’t have much money to do anything about it if they tried stuff.

Now that we do, we almost have a duty to protect the other players in the game from people like this.

I green lit my lawyers, and let’s just say his foreseeable future is not one he’s likely looking forward to.

I think he thought I might just let him walk after what he did, assuming I was too nice to hold him accountable.

I thought he might crap his pants when my lawyers let him know they were coming for him. I really wanted to mail him a box of diapers but was told that might not be a good idea.

Once I discovered the ‘bug’ in my real estate operation, things started turning around quickly.

I had to sacrifice hours on my book to catch up with the damage that’d been done, but despite all the insanity I blew past my Q1 acquisition goal and bought 35 properties.

Besides trying to finish my book, run the real estate business and catching sketchy people doing sketchy stuff, I had a lot of other stuff going on in Q1:

My parents came to visit for a week, shortly after my oldest niece moved in, I’m coaching several students, I hired and started training a non-fake employee, continuing to work on my health stuff, trying to get in my meditations, journaling, nature walks, reading, etc…

So I’m looking forward to my first vacation of the year in Colorado next week(was the 1st week of April).

Real estate business:

I started the quarter off deciding to track down a pilot who could take aerial photos of certain neighborhoods where I could overlay growth patterns and combine them with my calculations on actual values vs. perceived values and find/bet on where I believed to be major discrepancies based on everyone using what I feel is a suboptimal method to determine value.

Luckily just before I went through the aerial photos/overlay headache I was able to get the data I wanted another way.

It’s been interesting coming out of retirement the last year or so to take advantage of an opportunity I saw in a field I didn’t have too much experience in.

When you can approach something knowing you know nothing, it is unbelievable how big of an edge that can give you.

Not knowing how you’re ‘supposed’ to do something doesn’t keep you trapped to what everyone else is doing.

You can search for what is optimal instead.

See, most people operate the same way everyone else does. They do things how you’re ‘supposed to’ do it.

“Oh, you’re doing real estate, this is how you have to do it.”

Like I’ve written about in the past, once everyone knows what the optimal strategy is, that strategy is no longer optimal.

Almost no one has been trained to think logically, so they all do things the same exact way and assume it’s ‘correct’ because ‘that’s how everyone does it’.

The more popular the ‘correct’ strategy gets, the worse it is.

Yet, if every book, podcast, etc… outlines the same ‘best ways to invest in real estate’’, it’s most definitely not the best.

Just the most marketed.

Same as many business niches and strategies.

Just copying others ‘expert’ strategies isn’t usually an optimal path to any sort of wealth.

Try to approach everything with an empty cup. A complete beginner’s mind, no matter what you think you know.

I know right now I’m just referencing an investing/business example, but approaching everything from this perspective can completely change your life in just about every area.

This famous parable explains the concept well:

‘Once upon a time, there was a very wise Zen master. People traveled miles to seek his help and wisdom.

He would teach them and show them the way to true enlightenment and wisdom in life.

One day, a scholar visited the master seeking advice.

“I have come to ask you to teach me about Zen”.

A few minutes later in their conversation, it was very clear that the scholar was completely full and convinced of his own views and ideas.

He interrupted the master continuously with his own stories and failed to listen and be attentive to what the master had to say.

The master suggested that they have a cup of tea together.

Then, began to pour his guest a cup.

The cup soon filled but to the guest’s surprise, the master kept pouring tea even as the cup overflowed onto the table.

The scholar was bewildered and yelled, “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”.

With a smile, the master replied that the scholar was just like that cup – already so full of opinions and convictions that nothing more can fit.

“How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

We do not know as much as we think we know.

Knowing THIS, allows you to access knowledge that is impossible to access if you are trapped under the belief that you already know.

In EVERY area of your life.

In terms of investing/business, what do you think is a better strategy:

Operate like the competition, or create a strategy that specifically defeats the strategy your competitors are using.

One of these will have ‘standard’ results, one of them will obliterate your competition, which will reward you with results that will be unrecognizable to anything your competitors will produce.

Again, with the approach that ‘we know nothing’, you don’t end up with the same strategy as everyone else, so you don’t end up with the same results as everyone else.

Obvious, but rarely practiced.

If there’s no book/blueprint on what you’re trying to do, it’s obviously going to be more difficult to get going, as there’s nothing to copy.

But if you’re creating a blueprint, although it may take more time to figure out, the rewards have the potential to be monumentally larger, and it’s a whole hell of a lot more fun.

It was one of the things that pulled me to this opportunity.

How would I invest if I knew NOTHING at all? What would the OPTIMAL strategy be?

That led me to a route that’s been a lot more profitable, and a whole hell of a lot more exciting than just copying what others are doing.

I’m planning on eventually showing every detail of every aspect of my bet.

Everything from the math I used, to some very strange stories including someone hiring a guy to find out who I was and showing up at my door in March asking if I could help them find/acquire property.

Been a weird ride so far, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get weirder.

Definitely keeps life interesting!

Debating raising money:

I’ve been approached a few times from people wanting to help raise a fund for what I’m doing.

I know almost ZERO about that kind of stuff.

I’m just not from that part of the entrepreneur/investing world.

I’m considering raising some funds from folks, but I’m someone who very much prefers simplicity so am curious if I can raise money to increase the size of my bet while continuing to enjoy the same simplicity of life I have right now.

Would love to learn as I’m a complete newbie in that area.

If you’ve got in depth experience raising money, and/or know someone who invests in alternative styles of investing, I’d love to hear from you.

Book stuff:

My 2nd Q1 priority goal was the book.

I failed on this goal(which was to put in a minimum of 142 hours on the book).

I was ahead of pace until the RE mole was discovered, and then moved my energy to prioritize that business to make up for the damage caused, since time was of the essence.

The good news:

I reached an agreement with an editor and will be turning in my rough draft to them in Q2.

Hiring:

My third Q1 priority goal was to hire an employee.

After hiring/firing the fake employee, I hired a real one. Real references and everything!

Hopefully helps take some of the chaos off my plate.

I may hire for a new position soon’ish.

If you know someone who is extremely organized and detail oriented, loves to learn, can work at an insanely fast pace, and is a self starter, please let me know.

This person would be someone that needs no management and can go run with a project with little to no direction once they understand the objective, and have already had success in roles with limited oversight and complete ownership of the results.

While I don’t have a position available this moment, I likely will in the relatively near future, and/or for the perfect person would consider creating an additional position.

So, despite getting hit in the face all quarter, I still managed to scrape out some decent results, and hit 2 of my 3 quarterly goals.

Q1 Results:

  1. Bought 35 properties (goal was 15)
  2. 68.27 hours on the book (goal was 142)
  3. Made my first full-time hire in a very long time

Q2 Goals:

  1. Complete the rough draft of my book and hand it off to my editor
  2. Buy 50 properties
  3. Be working less than 2 hours per day on any non unique ability activity

Crossing my fingers that I get punched in the face less in Q2.


2021 review/2022 goals


I’m trying to be better this year about sharing my usually relatively private, strange and interesting life, to stay better in touch, connect with others up to similar things in the world and hopefully share some things that may be helpful to you.

I live in a forest now.

I saw more animals than people last year.

The person I see more than anyone is a monk who lived in the Himalayas for 25 years and used to be friends with people like Ram Dass. We go for nightly walks a few times a week. He lives near me in the forest.

You might be wondering, how did I end up living in a forest and what have I been up to…

My 2021 Review:

I started 2021 off on the east coast in a medical clinic. That’s about as fun as it sounds.

I’d had some ongoing health challenges for a while but they got especially bad so I spent months on the East Coast paying some mad scientist doctor an obscene amount of money to try some very outside the box methods.

I left in January and was told to go rest for a couple months.

So, I went out to Sedona to stay with a friend.

If I wasn’t napping or chatting w/my friend, I often spent 12+ hours a day reading, thinking, journaling and meditating.

I didn’t really have the energy to do anything else.

He lived right next to the National Forest so when I wasn’t doing the above and had a little energy, I’d take a short walk out there and go chill on a giant rock.

After a while I started looking at heading back to the Austin area.

I’d let the lease of my downtown place expire when I was back east in the clinic so I needed a new spot.

I wanted to be around nature more both for the peace to read, write and think, but also being around a bunch of cell towers and Wi-Fi signals in a downtown highrise when trying to heal is a pretty horrific strategy. My new doctor wouldn’t even start my new protocol if I wasn’t in a spot without wifi as he said it’d be very unlikely to work.

I couldn’t find anything I liked on the market to rent or buy. I called my realtor and asked if he knew of any off-market nature properties.

He called me back a few days later and FaceTimed me from a new construction build that was set to be finished in a couple months.

He showed me the surrounding nature and I bought it over FaceTime.

Shortly after, I headed back to Texas where I planned on crashing in airbnb’s for a month or two until my house was finished being built.

While I was waiting for it to be finished I found a house I liked even better that had just come on the market. Exactly the type of nature seclusion I was looking for.

So I bought that one, and flipped the other once the build was finished.

The rest of the year was honestly a blur.

I started off the year just hoping to improve my health, work on my book and maybe buy another investment property or two.

I bought an investment property.

I had a decent amount of energy again.

I bought another.

I thought the market was completely mispricing things.

So I bought some more.

I ran all sorts of calculations to try and figure out why prices were much lower than I thought they should have been. “Am I wrong, or is everyone else?, I wondered to myself.

I bought more.

“Why isn’t anyone else scooping these up?”, I questioned myself, debating whether my thought process or analysis was flawed in some way.

I bought some more.

I couldn’t get any math I ran to show that the areas I was looking at weren’t significantly underpriced. 

So I kept buying.

One of my favorite quotes is from Charlie Munger, and it’s something I’ve always tried to follow:

“A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind, loving diagnosis involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past…You should remember that good ideas are rare— when the odds are greatly in your favor, bet heavily.”

So I did.

I ended up buying hundreds of properties before year end.

Probably not the recommended prescription for taking it easy/letting my body rest, but it was a good distraction from my health stuff, and I didn’t know how long the market would stay mispriced, so I wanted to strike while the opportunity was there.

It’s amazing what you can get done if you eliminate all else except what you’re wanting to do.

Living in the forest with no TV, limited use of social media and no phone. Oh yeah…in 2021 I kept my phone turned off 99% of the time.

Kobe Bryant had a concept he called editing your life.

Decide what you want and edit your life so it happens.

Most people are not willing to edit their life, so their life stays relatively the same or at least nowhere near the life they desire because they aren’t willing to edit and cut out the unnecessary to guarantee their desired results/life.

I knew I had to edit hard. So I did.

In 2021 while working nonstop on my health/trying to manage my often limited energy, I bought hundreds of properties, am finally close to completing the rough draft of a giant book I’ve been working on for years, read 84 books, took 500 + nature walks, and helped several coaching students massively grow and/or exit their businesses for a lot of money.

I also spent pretty significant time diving down the spiritual/mystical rabbit hole. Tons of reading, meditation, contemplation, and just practicing stillness/observation.

It’s extremely fascinating to me and several times throughout the year I reached certain states of consciousness that I’m not sure I would have believed could be reached without the use of high doses of psychedelics had I not experienced them myself.

I tried to get as much insight as I could from others who’d been deep down the road already. 

While in Arizona I realized one of my recently read paradigm shifting books that I loved had a foundation that was headquartered an hour from Sedona, and they supposedly would get together and discuss ideas, a study group of sorts. 

I called up the foundation and asked if I could come. 

I tend to read a lot of old, under the radar books and it was a super old website so I didn’t know if they still met. 

Do you still have meetups?

“How did you find out about us?”

I found a website but I didn’t know if it was up to date.

“Oh. Yes, we do still meet.”

Awesome, can I come?

“Well, sure, we’d be happy to have you!”

So the next time they met, I went. And it was me, my buddy and like 8 super old ‘enlightenment seeking’ people in some small cabin in the woods. I guess they’d been meeting for decades.

Anyways…

It was an extremely tough year at times, dealing with the unpredictable ups and downs of energy that comes with the health stuff that can still occasionally wipe me out for days or weeks.

But the business/investing stuff was fun and felt good to be playing that game again.

It kinda felt like real life monopoly.

Overall it was a weird and interesting year. 

I remember being such a combination of focused and tired one day that I went out to grab a morning coffee, paid for the coffee, and drove home. But I never actually waited for them to make my coffee. I just left. Haha.

It was definitely hellish at times trying to deal with health stuff and still try to accomplish some things that I wanted to accomplish, but I got better at just surrendering to taking days off whenever I needed them as much as it bugged the ‘achiever’ in me. I took the first couple months of the year off and most of the last couple, so was able to work about 8 months on the year, when at the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to work 8 days. Still a long ways to go but shit… life!

My 2022 Goals:

I normally don’t share goals publicly, usually with just a few close friends/family, partly because I haven’t wanted to risk some false sense of accomplishment in talking about them vs. doing, but also with my health stuff I sometimes don’t know if/when I’ll have energy so attempting to achieve goals by itself can be frustrating with that variable, but to publicly say I’m going to do X knowing that variable is alive, adds to the fear of it popping it’s head up. Just going to do my best.

I’m trying to do better about sharing more/being open this year so I’m going to share all of my 2022 goals:

  1. Buy at least 50 properties

With prices getting much higher, margins getting smaller and me wanting to spend more time completing my book it seems like a good target despite it being lower than the amount I bought this year.

  1. Have my book publish ready

I brain dumped 400,000 words into a document several years ago. Unfortunately that’s not a typo. Most business/investing books are in the 40K range, I put everything I know about money/decision making down and have been slowly figuring out what to keep for my book.

  1. Accept 4 new coaching clients to help them achieve life-changing goals

I love sharing what I know to help people accomplish life changing goals. This is definitely one of the most fulfilling things I get to do. It’s my version of play.

  1. Break ground on at least 4 new construction builds

I see a gap in the market for a certain kind of build so I’m going to test my theory out and start a small construction business. I’ll either be wrong and learn a lot while having fun or I’ll be right and scale.

  1. Hire an amazing right hand person

I very much need someone awesome to free up my time so I’m only spending it on my unique abilities. This goal is a huge domino to help me achieve other goals this year. 

If you know someone amazing who’s worked in a role such as chief of staff or executive assistant who loves working in a fast paced environment and is the most detail oriented and organized person you know, let me know!

  1. A least 4 singles dinners/parties

Dating is an area I have spent 0 time on the last couple years. And living in the forest isn’t exactly the ideal setting for meeting people. And if you’re looking for a legit match, dating apps are about as inefficient as you can get. Since there isn’t a terrific solution in the dating space yet, I’m going to throw some singles dinners/parties, have my chef come cook for us, bring a bunch of eligible bachelor friends and just help good people meet. So, if you know of some amazing bachelorettes in the Austin area let me know and I’ll try and include them.

  1. Publish quarterly updates on ForeverJobless

I’m going to post short goal tracking updates to keep anyone who wants to follow along up to date and for public accountability.

  1. Vacation for at least 6 weeks

Trying to maintain a balance to help reset/stay fresh.

  1. Publish at least 3 articles

These might be short since my writing time will be focused on my book but I miss writing articles so I’ll publish at least a few.

  1. At least 600 light cardio section sessions
  1. At least 250 days of journaling

Journaling has been a huge cheat code for me, not only helping to talk through ideas with myself, but looking back over it helps you to uncover things about yourself you’d forgotten or discounted. We often forget what we want/what’s important. Journaling can remind us. I did a 3 day silent retreat before the new year and read through all my 2021 journals, which helped me map out what I wanted and set the right goals for myself for this year.

  1. At least 250 days of meditation
  1. 1 unique good deed per month
  1. 3 separate, abnormally kind deeds
  1. At least 50 friend/family hangs
  1. Lock myself in a cabin for at least 2 weeks to write nonstop
  1. Throw a retreat or party of some sort w/some friends
  1. 125 days of caffeine or less
  1. Cheat meals: 6 meals or less
  1. At least 48 weeks of specific goal tracking/weekly planning by Sunday night each week, including uploading to show accountability partners my weekly review and upcoming week commitments.

Here are my three Q1 priority goals:

  1. Buy 15 properties
  1. 142 hours on the book
  1. Hire epic executive assistant or chief of staff

2022, here we go.

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you wanted to do. Do it now.

—Paulo Coelho


How To Think Optimally Right Now With Coronavirus and Your Investments


People have a very deep misunderstanding of logical decision making, and it’s been interesting watching this on full display over the last week or two.

There are a lot of very intelligent people talking about coronavirus and the market. The problem is many of them have very gaping holes in their ability to think/decision making.

So, due to the urging of my friend Corey, I’m making this post to protect those who may blindly follow the advice of their Facebook feed which even if their intentions are good, their ability to think logically does not match their intentions.

There are a lot of smart people saying dumb things.

It reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a friend about intelligence vs. wisdom. My friend is an almost 80 year old vietnamese/buddhist man named Chan. He was talking about how most people in the states are very intelligent, but there are very few that are wise. They read lots of books, know a lot of things and have an incredible amount of intelligence but very little wisdom.

It relates a lot to the current situation where people are reading lots of articles, regurgitating things that they think sound smart, and not doing much actual thinking. Once they decide which side they’re on, they look for more articles that confirm their bias to share, and people on the other side of the argument are doing the same for their side of the argument, so neither ends up doing much thinking or learning, just arguing over who’s smarter/right by sharing ideas of people that aren’t them, and many of those articles are ideas written by people that aren’t from that person.

It’s a professional regurgitation war, and no one’s winning.

“Don’t worry guys since we’re young we’re only going to die .2% of the time instead of 5%”.

As I’m reading things like this, I’m thinking:

‘It’s not just about you being infected, you mathless, selfish goofballs.’

Let’s pretend the death rate was only 1%

It’s not actually a 1% death rate in the way your mind frames it.

The math compounds even more ridiculously than usual in this case if it is true that symptoms sometimes do not show for days, or that some people are asymptomatic.

So, let’s say someone only has a 1% chance of dying, and they’re one of the many that aren’t showing symptoms yet or are asymptomatic. And then they interact and infect 10 people. So now 10 other people have now acquired a 1% chance of dying.

But it’s not just that. Those 10 people who go infect 10 other people with a 1% chance of dying.

So YOU being infected may or may not = 1% chance of dying.

But I think it would be helpful to realize in the above situation if we pretend that the number of people infected would be capped right there(which it obviously wouldn’t), that in the sample size of the infected group caused by you, the expected value of a death in just the group you infected would be 100%.(note: that is expected value, not result of one sample size group)

I think presenting the math in an alternative way like this may help those on one extreme of the argument to at least open up to new considerations, and is worth repeating:

The expected value of a death in just the group you infected would be 100%+.

Or, the expected value of you causing a death(including your own) in just the group you infected would be 100%+.

“So Billy are you saying you are on this side of the argument?”

No.

“I don’t get it, so you’re on the other side?”

No.

What I’m saying is a complete misunderstanding of math has people fully confident in whichever side they picked.

The same math that we applied above would change COMPLETELY if the variables changed.

And the variables have changed, and will change further.

So watching people ‘pick a side’ and then share articles that confirm their bias to the side they picked is so funny, but not funny in a ‘haha’ way because it’s affecting so many people not only health wise but financially.

There is no ‘side’, there is what is expected to happen when the possibilities of each side are considered and the probability of them happening.

People are seeking the ‘answer’ and the only answers they are considering is to one very extreme, or the other.

The ‘answer’ will almost always be in between.

And the ‘answer’ will get closer to what it actually is as more information is gathered.

As more information is gathered, variables will change accordingly, both up and down.

Anyone saying they know the death rate or any other rate has a massive misunderstanding of how math works.

It depends on variables.

And in this specific case there is a very high amount of variables.

And in a case where there is a high amount of variables, to determine what will happen is much more difficult.

Especially when many variables are hidden.

And by hidden I mean people just don’t consider them as part of the equation, but whether or not they understand the variables doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Hidden variables still exist it is just difficult to know what number to plug in.

Just a small amount of the variables would be death rates, infection rates, ability to avoid infection rates, ability to create a vaccine, ability to create a higher quality of care for the infected, etc…

As hidden variables become less hidden, the actual numbers will come into play. And then those numbers will even further change as the variables continue to change.

Again, anyone saying they know the death rate or any other rate has a massive misunderstanding of how math works.

The most important thing to know is those saying they know, don’t know.

For example if we pretend one area has an older average age, their death rate would be higher. If their ability to care for those infected was low, their death rate would be higher. If the area was reactive instead of proactive to containing the spread, the death rate would be higher. If the area decision makers were emotional instead of logical, the death rates would likely be higher. If health care limited support amounts for those with limited financials, the death rates would be higher. etc…

It is important to note that as one of these variables change…

IT WILL AFFECT THE OTHER VARIABLES IN THE EQUATION.

Anyone claiming they know certain rates are only unintentionally claiming they have no idea how math works.

INCLUDING PEOPLE YOU CURRENTLY VIEW AS AUTHORITY.

That includes government and gurus.

Be very careful, there are a lot of people who speak eloquently who think very poorly.

Preparing doesn’t mean you think it’s going to happen.

It means you understand the downside of preparing is not equivalent to the downside of not preparing.

By a very insane margin.

So let’s say you are of the opinion that you think everything will be fine in x amount of weeks or months and that everything is overhyped.

It is still +EV to prepare, because the effort to prepare is minimal and the consequence to not prepare is maximal.

Again, I’m not saying anything will or will not happen.

I’m saying anyone who believes they do know, is only showing on full display that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Besides the ‘coronavirus experts’ who are flooding social media, we now have the always expected ‘financial experts’ that come out every time the market goes up or down, pretending they have the answers to that as well.

Much of the above applies in a similar way, but I thought I would get slightly more specific as several people have messaged asking what to do with the market going wild.

“Should I buy the dip?”

“Is it going to keep going down?”

“Should I take all my money out?”

First of all, no one can accurately predict whether something will go up and down on a very short term basis.

And for everyone ‘buying the dip’, or wondering whether they should, I’d ask them to consider this:

What it is dipping in relation to?

People investing relative to what something was yesterday or what they predict it will be tomorrow are essentially attempting to predict what other people think about the market, and what other people think that other people think about the market.

They forget, or never even realized they’re betting on actual businesses with actual profits and losses.

I’d invite you to reconsider what you relate the dip to.

By that I mean, if you are going to ‘buy a dip’ because you thought it was priced perfectly yesterday, but now that it’s down today it is now underpriced, that would be a fine purchase.

The problem is that’s not what’s happening.

People are buying assets unrelated to what they think the actual asset is worth.

It’s not even a consideration for them.

They’re buying on ‘whether the market is up or down today’.

For the same reasons a market goes down in the short run, it goes up- psychology.

Long term it is based on the actual value and the expected rate of return.

So, many people are thinking they are an investor by playing a trader. And they are a -EV trader, but they don’t know it because of the quantity of variables they aren’t considering much like we talked about way above in relation to the virus, and that they won’t have the sample size to learn they are a -EV trader for quite a while.

They will focus on temporary results vs. the actual thought process that is going into the decisions, that would give them a shot to be +EV on their investments.

Many of the same people that are shorting today because “it’s going down!” are the same people who were buying yesterday because “it’s going up!”.

The decision making doesn’t have anything to do with companies you’re investing in.

A more optimal time to make a bet is before everyone in the world has the same information as you do.

SOMETHING IS NOT ON SALE OR OVERPRICED BASED ON THE PRICE IT WAS YESTERDAY, BUT BASED ON THE ACTUAL VALUE.

THE VALUE IS DETERMINED BY THE EXPECTED LONG TERM PROFITS OF AN ASSET.

THE OVER OR UNDER PRICING OF THAT ASSET CAN AND SHOULD BE APPLIED TO YOUR SPECIFIC DESIRED LONG TERM RETURN.

SO SOMETHING THAT IS UNDERPRICED FOR ONE PERSON, MAY NOT BE UNDERPRICED FOR YOU.

(under or over pricing is not based on ‘Ted’ from Facebook saying it’s low or high today)

Many finally wake up one morning and think, “wait a minute… I don’t actually know anything about the assets I own!”.

And so they ask other people who know nothing about assets they own what they should do.

And social media’s investing experts always have ‘answers!’.

The herd follows the smartest sounding dumb person.

It is worth repeating that value should not be relative to what a price was yesterday or tomorrow, as that’s just attempting to predict what someone else will think it’s worth and/or whether they think it will go up or down.

Over or under priced merely means relative to the rate of return you would like to earn and the rate of return you can be expected to earn based on the price you purchase at.

If you’ve ‘lost a lot of money’ in the last week or so, realize that you didn’t lose the money unless you need it right now. You hold an equity position in companies where the market changed the price in what they view the equity to be worth.

Our equity position didn’t change- we own the same % of the company as we did yesterday.

The market decided it’s worth less today, but if you’re not selling it doesn’t matter much.

You either believe it’s still a good bet or not.

It’s important to realize if your asset was overpriced yesterday, and the price is down today, it doesn’t mean it’s on sale today, it might mean it’s still overpriced.

If you’re wanting to make logical decisions about buying, selling, or holding assets it is not just about the value of the asset and your desired return vs. what you believe the asset will produce over the long term, but in the changes to the economy in the way that they affect the assets that you own.

In other words, if there is a supply change with an asset you own, that is one variable that is affected. So if we pretended that an asset was perfectly priced, and that a very temporary supply change is all that was going to happen, and the market reacted as if the world was crashing, your asset would likely be underpriced.

However, in situations like this where there are an incredibly high amount of variables, it is extremely difficult to determine how profits and losses will be affected for certain assets.

There are absolutely good and bad investments to be made in situations like this, but I would urge you to make these decisions in the right way, by relating it to the right things. And also fully understand that there are too many variables to ‘know’ what will happen. Not knowing what will happen is okay, but make sure you are considering whether or not something is mispriced in a logical way.

I would urge you to be very careful in blindly taking advice from people you think have the answers.

I can promise you that as in most things in life:

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING

It’s easy for a well spoken illogical thinker to convince an answer seeking illogical thinker that ‘they have the answers.’

Everyone’s looking for ‘the answer’ instead of thinking for themselves.

Option #1: Become a logical thinker

Option #2: Learn who the VERY FEW logical thinkers are (a valiant attempt at #1 will help you with #2, if nothing else by at least eliminating those that are very obviously not. hint: almost everyone)

Option #NEVER: Listening to everyone else, no matter how intelligent they may sound or how many books or articles they can regurgitate, if they are unable to think logically avoid them at all costs.

For they know not what they do, and THEY DON’T KNOW THAT THEY DON’T KNOW – THAT IS WHERE THE DANGER LIES.


How I used Millionaire’s Math to get Warren Buffett’s advice


This past weekend I realized there was a stock that was having a Cyber Monday sale. So, I decided to buy. But… before I did, I thought I’d see what Warren Buffett would do…

(Before we dive in: After I made my last post about stocks/investing, I’ve gotten a number of messages from people asking what they should do. I’ve been sitting on this for a few days debating if I should post it here since there’s no one size fits all answer for obvious reasons, and I don’t want people to go buy something just because I bought it(or because Warren Buffett bought it) “Apple stock has a Cyber Monday Sale!” was my original post title but I didn’t release it Sunday/Monday – note: it has gone up several % since I released this on fb which slightly affects the numbers/whether it’s a buy, but not much)

…I asked myself, what would Warren Buffett say to buy if he were your financial advisor right now?

So… I ran some simple numbers and here’s what they said:

He would tell you to buy Apple.

That’s obviously oversimplifying because again, everyone’s situation is different, but with the way Buffett invests that actually matters quite a bit less than if another investor was giving you advice on what to buy. He buys based on what he believes the intrinsic value of the company is, and whether or not the current market price is offering him a deal on that or not.

And ‘the answer’ to what he believes is the best investment in the world at the moment based on his investing criteria, is Apple(note: obviously there are companies w/more upside, or companies with great value that are too small for him to look at – but this is based on everything he sees/fits w/his investing model- margin of safety, etc…)

While everyone was shopping online for Cyber Monday deals, Apple stock was having a giant Cyber Monday sale(and still is) according to the intrinsic value Buffett would place on the company.

So, how do we know that’s the answer he would give? Or am I guessing?

Well, the obvious answer which would have some obvious rebuttals would be that Apple is the company he’s most heavily invested in. But that’d be a really poor answer since this doesn’t factor in when he bought, what price he paid, etc… A stock may have been a deal at a certain price, but may not be anymore.

So, how do we know that right now this is what Warren Buffett would tell us to do?

Well, as of Cyber Monday it opened at 174.24(today it opened at 176.69), so the Cyber Monday sale is still ongoing.

Now, how is this relevant to Buffett? Well, he bought shares in Q1 and Q3. The lowest price the stock reached in Q3 was 190.29(spent most of the quarter in the 200s though). So, he was buying at prices above what it’s currently priced at. Now, he didn’t buy many shares relative to the amount of money he’s investing, so if we looked at Q1 the stock price spent most of its time in the 170s. Let’s just pretend Buffett bought at the absolute bottom, which was 155.15 (which by the way Buffett doesn’t attempt to time the market so there’s a very miniscule chance he bought at the price, but for simplicity/margin of safety we’ll pretend that was the price he paid).

So, you might say- ya but what if in the rare chance he did buy at 155.15, with the price today being in the 170s how do we know this is still what he’d recommend?

Well, Buffett wants to earn around 15% on his money. That doesn’t mean he always gets it, and that number may have changed since the last time he mentioned it, but he’s someone that’s gotten around 20% gains over the last half century. He has an absolutely absurd track record.

So let’s use 15%.

Well, if pretend he bought at the absolute lowest point of the year, that was February 8th. Today is November 28th. We’ll call it 9.5 months ago.

So we could say even if we added 11.875% to the lowest price of the year(again he likely paid higher than that), the price could go up by 18.42 and still be a price Buffett would buy at assuming the fundamentals of the company hadn’t changed. That price would be 173.57. Keep in mind, this is pretending he bought at the absolute bottom, so it’s more likely the similar price would be 180+. And to further prove that again- he bought more shares in Q3 when the lowest price was 190.29.

And keep in mind Buffett is not a stock flipper- he’s a buy and hold investor who prefers to hold for 10+ years(he’ll often hold for many decades). And making the kind of bets he’s making on Apple, it’s unlikely(but not impossible) that something would have drastically changed in the fundamentals of the company to make him want to change his position so soon. There’s a high probability if he doesn’t believe the fundamentals have changed that you’ll see a report sometime in the next few months that he purchased more shares in Q4 – but obviously if someone waited until a public report that Buffett bought, the stock may jump on that news and the price to buy at won’t be the same anymore.

So, cool… Warren Buffett has whispered in your ear the company he thinks you should invest in. So, how much would he say to buy?

This again, is highly dependant on the person, so there’s not as definitive of an answer as the stock he would tell you to buy. However, I’ll give you some things to think about that may help you decide:

If you have an edge, you need wayyyyyyyy less stocks to be diversified than people think. If you have no edge it’s irrelevant and he’d tell you to just buy an index fund. It also depends on the size of your edge – that will change the number of companies for you to be properly diversified. Charlie Munger(Buffett’s partner) says 3 companies is the number that you need to have the diversification you need, but I’m not sure what % edge he’s calculating in to come to that number. So, assuming you have an edge, you could say 5-10 to be on the safe side. But again, if you have no edge it’s irrelevant.

For simplicity sake let’s pretend you do have an edge, either on your own or by understanding the type of bets people like Buffett are making. Well, without writing 10,000+ words on the subject since this is already long, you want to bet heavier on your best bets. You could use something like the Kelly Criterion to calculate your sizing, but you might have difficulty properly sizing your bets if you’re not sure the estimated edge. If you’re not sure, you could use a fractional Kelly bet size to lower risk(which wouldn’t cut the expected gains as much as you’d think). While Buffett has never said he uses this formula for his own investing, he basically uses something close to it because of the way he sizes his investments. He bets very big when he thinks he has the biggest edge, and smaller when his edge isn’t so big, the same way a card counter would properly bet in blackjack.

The fact that Buffett is making his biggest bet on Apple by a very, very large margin is saying that he believes his edge is biggest on this investment(at the prices he was paying). And again we’ve covered the pricing he was betting heavily on it. You could also say that if his desired rate of return is 15%(not sure that it still is), that he believes his expected rate of return to be larger than that since he’s putting such a large % of his capital on it. His desired rate of return would be semi irrelevant to your decision though, because whatever it is all he’s saying with his bets is that he believes it to be significantly more +EV than the avg market return.

So in short, he would tell you to bet heavier on Apple than your other bets, but still to make other bets. If you didn’t know if you had an edge on any other stocks, again, he would tell you to buy an index fund.

He’d also tell you to buy and absolutely forget about the price after that – it will go up and down a lot and will only stress most people out because they think too emotionally. “Omg it’s down today!”… “omg it’s up I’m rich!”… He would tell you to forget all the noise and plan on holding for an extended period of time. Attempting to time the top or bottom of the market is a fool’s game.

When Warren Buffett was leaving this imaginary meeting he tells you this is the only day he’ll be your financial advisor. “Omg what do I do next time I need investing advice Warren, should I ask a financial planner?”.

He would spit out his Coke laughing and say, “F*$k no” (he wouldn’t swear but he’d want to!). He would say, “if you’re not sure what to do, buy an index fund.”

Financial planners are NOT for picking the best investments. That’s one service that they offer, and it’s not one that 99%+ of them have an edge in(they have other services that I believe are valuable, but I’ve never personally used one). And it’s unlikely you stumbled across one of the 1%. If you DID happen to accidentally stumble across the 1%, you’d need to ask yourself if the edge that they have beats the fees you pay. The reality is if you knew the game so well that you were able to identify someone with an edge, you wouldn’t be hiring them to pick your investments for you. 99%+ of people are paying fees to have someone get them average returns, but because of the fees the return they get is obviously below average. Compounding over time this adds up to an enormous amount of money you’re paying to lose to the returns an index fund would get you. This is why Buffett and so many others recommend index funds if you want diversification and have no interest in doing the work to have an edge on the market.

In short:

  • Apple is a very +EV bet
  • Almost everyone should just buy an index fund(even though there’s no edge in doing so, you can still compound really well over time. But if you want to get an edge, it is there to be had).
  • Almost no one should hire a financial advisor for the goal of investment returns
  • The very small % of people that have a chance of beating the market should not diversify past the hedge of doing something like fractional kelly betting, partly because your edge/additional EV is a sort of hedge in its own way over the long term, and the more you diversify the more you cut your edge.

Someone with an edge, and who’s betting using Kelly formula will not only grow their capital at a much faster pace, but risk of ruin will be 0, even though it will seem to the average person to be extremely risky.

(Disclaimers: I’m NOT telling you to go buy Apple. +EV does not mean guaranteed, it just means it’s expected return is better than others. While I’m long on Apple and have been for a lonnnng time(well before Buffett started buying), there’s risk like there is with any investment. Apple could go down a lot, and I’m okay with that for myself personally. If you plan on making any sort of investment on anything you should be comfortable with the potential downside. We’d all be billionaires if there was only risk free investments that compounded quickly! So, don’t do anything just because I do it, or because it’s what Warren Buffett would do. Do you!)

(Note: if you like these types of posts let me know, as sometimes I just send this kind of stuff to family or post on my personal facebook)


How to respond to the potential market crash


I’ve been sharing some of my thoughts on the stock market and investing with family and friends recently, and decided to share here as well. I think there’s a lot of panic and misinformation out there at the moment so I thought it was important to post.

I actually put this on my personal Facebook this morning, and almost immediately received a rebuttal, which I’ve decided to include below the initial post including my response in case you find it useful.

I hope you find this quick piece helpful:

 

Everyone is currently wondering what’s going on with the market(which by the time this is live today will have had another really rough day).

So, will the market crash?

The market can’t continue at the rate it’s been going, but no one can time when it will ‘correct’. And while there has been some correction the last few weeks, that’s not near what an actual correction would be. This has been an appetizer. We just can’t tell when the real one is coming.

It’s impossible to time so who knows when it’ll happen – but something to keep in mind is the businesses that have lots of debt will be much more likely to be hit hard as interest rates rise. So if you take a company like Apple for example, while by no means immune if the market tanks, it’s a company that has increasing profits/revenue and very little debt and tons of cash. So, they’re not an example of a company that would be in trouble based specifically of the cost of loans increasing(because they don’t need them) and they’ll have the funds to buy other businesses when things are on sale, setting them up to do well on those purchases in the long run. Basically when other companies are bleeding, they have the war chest to capitalize. It’s the opposite problem that many companies find themselves in. So overall they’ll be much less affected(assuming all else equal*- which obviously we can’t predict). Because it’s a specific business that’s A. super profitable, B. won’t be in trouble based on price of loans increasing since they don’t need them, C. growing.

(note: while I’m long on Apple and have been for a long time, I’m not saying to buy it, there’s a million things that could make it drop in price short and long term. Just look, it’s gone down almost 10% in just the last 2 trading days – anything can happen to a price short term. Just using as an example of a company that isn’t as directly affected by the coming rise of interest rates that’s putting fear into so many about what will happen to the market)

Who will be in the most direct trouble are companies that are getting cheap loans right now and whose financials will change a lot when they have to start paying real money for that money. Companies not growing/without comfortable profit that have just gone up because the market overall is going up(basically people buying it because “it’s going up, I should buy”)- they’ll be in trouble. You may not know if you own any like that, but many mutual funds will have a ton of these in them. So, if you’re an investor in the fund that does, you’re an investor in companies like that even if you’re not aware. Many people don’t know much about what they actually own/are invested in.

Forget about buying on whether the price of a company or the market is going up or down. If you had the cash available to do so, would you feel comfortable buying the entire company?(which means there would be no public price to go up or down). If not, you should ask yourself why you’re buying a piece of that company when you wouldn’t want to own the company if you could. It’s likely emotions controlling your decision making instead of logic.

Calculate an expected rate of return based on not just P/E ratio but including growth because a company making $1 today at a 50 P/E for example but that is growing fast and will make $5 in 10 years is significantly better than a company making $2 today at a 25 P/E but not growing.

If you’re comfortable with the return you expect and can’t get a better return elsewhere, make your bet and forget about any short term volatility of the market. It doesn’t really matter what the price is once you’re already in if you plan on holding long term. Determine your desired rate of return, look for businesses that you believe can provide that for you based on the price of the stock and what you think the future earnings will be, and place your bet and forget about the daily price changes.

People like Warren Buffett worry less in market corrections for some of the reasons listed. The prices will still be affected but usually less so, and it’s because his companies are actually good investments and less likely to be pumped up in price by speculation, plus more importantly it’s just a company that makes good money consistently, has a moat, and is growing. Those are the companies that are less affected(still affected but often affects them less), as well as recovering in price more quickly than others that don’t have those things.

Remember price is just a reflection of what people think it’s worth, so during corrections/crashes it’s the bad investments that end up getting clobbered long term because logic starts coming into play, but the good companies a few years later will still be a good investment/back above the price they were because the temporary price change did nothing to affect the actual business economics.

If you’re in investments that aren’t making good money/aren’t growing/you don’t know if it’ll still be around in 10 years – those are the investments you wouldn’t want to be in if a crash happens.

But you shouldn’t attempt to time a market. You also shouldn’t attempt to buy into 100+ companies as if this diversification attempt is going to help you. You cap all upside, but you protect no downside in the event of a market crash. Buy into good businesses instead. You only need a few and you are diversified. Most people bet on 100+ random companies that they know nothing about and call it diversification instead of a few good companies. The math is not going to be kind to them long term. It’s mathematically impossible for them to do well over the long run. They might only do as bad as everyone else, but they won’t do well.

If I asked you to tell me about the companies you’re invested in and why they’re good investments, many people would tell me they don’t understand them. But to try and justify their investments/bets, they’d tell me they’re diversified though. All they’re saying is, “I’m in lots of investments I don’t understand” – as if lots of bad bets somehow equates to one good bet.

So you’re dragging down your returns on purpose as if this will somehow protect your gains? It’s not how it works – you’re just mathematically guaranteeing yourself a mediocre return. It’s the ‘I don’t know anything so let me bet on everything’ strategy. If you go to a roulette table and bet on black and red, you still lose when it lands on 0.

When the market goes up very fast or down very fast, it’s often not because something has changed in the value of these companies to make them all go up or down, it’s because people buy because prices are going up, and sell when prices are going down. They don’t know what to do so they just do what they think everyone else is doing. For an extreme example just look at bitcoin – the humongous up and down swings weren’t related to the changes in the technology, but to the excitement and fear of the buyers and sellers.

When stock prices are going up at very fast %s, usually P/E is going up as well, because the growth of the stock price is growing much faster than the actual company is growing. And it’s not that all the sudden the future of stocks got that much rosier, it’s often that the price has outpaced what’s actually happening with the company, and it’s closer to the point where it will regress back to the mean – in other words, the price will likely correct itself back to where it should be sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind not to get distracted by every quarterly earning report. Let’s pretend we were all judged in 90 day increments. I don’t know about you but my stock would swing so wildly it’d be insane. Like…I’ve produced nothing in the last 90 days. That doesn’t mean the future value of what I’ll produce is 0. But my stock would have dropped 90% if I had to report earnings/results, because people freak out and buy/sell based on their emotions. If the next quarter I produced something, people would again freak out with emotion and buy, even though nothing happened other than they judged the price based on an incorrect sample size in both the buy and the sell decisions. Nothing would have changed- would have been the same as yesterday, it’s just that people would be seeing the end result of certain bets.

People are emotional, and the prices of the market show that, both in response to irrelevant things, and then the response to the response to those irrelevant things. “Okay market is going up we must buy!… wait market going down OMG sell!” If you cut out all irrelevant variables you’d be better off in your ability to make optimal bets, since most people are using emotion instead of logic to make decisions, basically guaranteeing that the best they can possibly do is average, and most people pay a fee for that privilege so most are purposely making -EV bets over the long run even if they don’t understand that’s what they’re doing.

There’s plenty of room for logical people to make good bets and do very, very well long term. You don’t have to be some genius. Even if you only beat the people making bad bets by a few percentage points over the long run, because of compounding that would equate to millions of dollars in extra earnings over your lifetime. All from thinking just a little more logically than the next person.

A good quote to remember in these times:

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine. In the long run, it’s a weighing machine.” – Ben Graham

As mentioned after I posted this on my personal Facebook early this morning, almost immediately someone who I don’t really know but seems likely to be a smart person commented saying that the market would crash globally in the next 6-9 months. I had a friend comment in response letting him know that many people had been attempting to predict a crash since 2014, and that they would have lost out on all of the gains since then. He let them know that it might crash and it might not, but that it’s not wise to try and time it. My response was this:

Agree with (friend #2) 1000% here.

Anyone attempting to predict market timing will be correct some % of the time in small sample sizes, but the amount of time they’re incorrect over the long term will be very high, and if making bets to back up their prediction, those bets will not go well. Even the people that predicted the last market crash, many have survivorship bias in thinking that they knew how to time it, which they did not. Many of those same people like (friend #2) mentioned have been sitting on the sideline incorrectly timing the next crash, and missing out on 3x’ing or more their money.

If every year, I claim the market will crash, at some point I’ll be right, but the cumulative result of all my bets if I was betting on that would not do well unless I was martingaling my position- assuming one had the ability to somehow do that, which they wouldn’t(unless backed by someone else who could).

He responded to our responses letting us know that he works with people like hedge funds and asset managers who invest a lot of money and that they’re all liquidating their assets and seemed to be personally offended that we didn’t agree that he could predict the market, and that anyone who was “stupid enough to think they know better will get wiped out.”

Unfortunately Warren Buffett is unable to predict the market, but luckily I’ve found a guy in my Facebook comments who can.

Look there’s a decent percentage chance he could be right, as I mentioned in my post I think the market prices have got way ahead of the actual values of the companies, and I mean he’s making these predictions at a time the market is already going down quite a bit so it’s not some big stretch that the market could be starting it’s tank now. But he’s not understanding that it’s just one possible outcome, it doesn’t mean it will happen 100% of the time. That’s why so many GREAT traders who predict companies failing often get wiped out completely, because while they might have been 100% correct that a company would tank, if they get the timing wrong they still lose the bet, and winning or losing the bet is not based on the value of the company, it’s based on the stock price, and the stock price is based on human emotion.

Could someone attempting to time the market be right? Sure! There’s millions of people always trying to time the market, so lots of them will be right!

But just remember that “a broken clock is right twice a day.”

Keep in mind there was no logic for why the global market would crash(and macroeconomics have a ridiculous number of variables which is why even the smartest most successful people on the planet say they are unable to time it even if they know it’s coming), other than saying that other people he knew were getting out of the market. Which if anything is the perfect example of what I talk about in my post, that most people make their decisions not on logic, but emotion. “Other people are selling, I’ll sell too”. Again, just to clarify I don’t think selling is wrong. I think not making decisions logically is wrong- that’s what gets people into trouble.

If he’s that confident and attempts to time the market and bet the house on shorting it, if he’s wrong on the exact timing, he’s broke.

If he attempts to time it just in terms of not being in the market, even if he’s accidentally right once, he has to be right twice, both when it’s going to go down and then again when it’s going to go up. Talk about some unlikely probabilities.

It’s a fools game, that a lot of fools play.

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” -Richard Feynman

I think one of the biggest edges you can have in investing is knowing enough to know that you don’t know it all.

In knowing that, you can play a simpler game and not try and overcomplicate things. If you buy good companies at good prices for the long term and let compounding take effect, it’s a profitable, non-stressful way to invest and you don’t have to freak out at every change in the market like most people do.

Again remember this quote when considering your investment decisions in the market:

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine. In the long run, it’s a weighing machine.” – Ben Graham


My Q1 update, Warren Buffett strategy, crypto, the ‘make money’ space and more


Since I’m not actively writing articles at the moment, I figured I’d at least post a short update with some things I’m doing or thinking about- that you might find helpful or interesting. Different than my normal articles, but if you’d enjoy this type of update leave a comment on the post and let me know.

What I’ve been up to:

As you probably know from past emails I’ve been focusing on my health lately. Other than that I’ve been working on a new business project that I started experimenting with late last year.

It’d been a while since I started a new business project. A lot of the last few years I was traveling, writing or helping others start businesses. I missed being ‘in the game’ so to speak. So, as I mentioned after the last Incubator I was going to get another project of my own up and running. So, once I was feeling well enough to get something going, I did.

It started off, well… slow. It took longer than I anticipated to ‘solve’. There was a lot of that $0/hr work that I talk about to try and figure out how to make it work.

The reason I share this is I think most people falsely assume everything is an overnight success, and it’s not. That’s lies from info marketers.

I started it 6+ months ago, and only became profitable in the last couple months. But… since I put some time in to figure out what was going on, it started to really gain traction once I ‘got’ it.

I wanted to share this slow start with you because I feel like too many people expect a ‘get rich overnight’ result if their business is going to work.

I saw many what I call ‘quitting points’ during my first 4-6 months that I think most people would have just stopped under the assumption that it ‘wasn’t working’. And since it’s a brand new industry I’ve never been in before I had to kind of figure some things out as I went. Some things worked, some things didn’t, so you take out the things that don’t work, and double down on the things that do, and gain new theories based on the experiences and do tests on those. Rinse, repeat.

Remember if something takes a bit of figuring out- it’s likely why the opportunity is there in the first place.

Anyways, as you can see from the numbers I shared, I was basically producing no results in the beginning. But now that I’m gaining a better understanding I can scale it into a larger business, or get it to the point where I have the option to let it spit out cash as a small, passive cash cow business.

But realize it wouldn’t have gotten to that point if I hadn’t been okay with the $0/hr work and getting past the ‘quitting points’.

I just wanted to share this so that if you’ve got a project that’s not producing results right away, as long as you did the up front work to recognize if it was a decent opportunity, don’t just give up when it’s not an overnight success.

That will help to let you know if it’s worth pushing through the quitting points and doing all the $0/hr work or not.

Remember you can’t just work for a while, or have a good idea to have a successful business, you have to do both.

Each of the following scenarios will be an obvious failure despite doing one thing very well:

  1. Work for a long time on bad ideas (“I think if I keep at it I can make it work” … but if it’s a bad idea why would you want to?)
  2. Work for a short time on good ideas (“It’s not working I’ll just stop” … but if it’s actually a good idea to pursue, stopping when it’s hard is definitely not what you want to do)

What do you think is better:

  1. Working for 2 years on a crappy idea.
  2. Working on great ideas but stopping every few months if they don’t take off super quick.
  3. Just taking a decent idea through the finish line.

#3 by a mile. Even if your ideas are great in #2 but you stop early, a bunch of great ideas taken 75% of the way to the finish line are worth nothing compared to just one decent idea taken 100% of the way. There’s no payday for partly done projects.

 

By ‘take it all the way’ I’m not saying go commit for 5 years to something. You want to get a business to the point where it spits out profit, giving yourself the option of doubling down and scaling it, or just setting it up to run passively as a cashflow business.

But you don’t want to fall into the categories that 95%+ of people fall into – which is working on terrible ideas, or just stopping at the ‘quitting points’ on good ideas before you’ve got far enough.

If you don’t know if an opportunity you’re considering is worth the pursuit, take it through the 4-steps I recommend:

Step 1: Is the product or service you’re offering better than what currently exists on the market?

Step 2: Can you reach the ideal audience for it?

Step 3: Due diligence phase – verification of steps 1+2 as well as in depth research into the market and competition

Step 4: Expected Value phase- what’s the profit potential and would a positive outcome here be worth the pursuit for you?

I’ve always tried to share what’s really up on this newsletter, so realize very few people are getting rich overnight, and even if you’ve started businesses many times, there’s still going to be learning curves, and the same trial and error as anyone else. Remember, no one knows what they’re doing when they try something completely new. So don’t refrain from pursuing an opportunity just because you don’t know all the answers yet. No one does.

Things I’ve been doing to help my quarters:

 

Every year I plan out a few things I want to accomplish for the year. I write down things in categories that I think could lead to accomplishment of whatever it is that I’m trying to do.

Each quarter I set quarterly goals that I think if completed, would put me on a good pace to completing my yearly goals.

Each week, I go through and review my quarterly objectives and see what I need to add to my weekly calendar to stay on track for the quarterly goals.

I also have a list of things I wrote down to keep top of mind at the beginning of the year. It’s 3-4 pages long, and I review it every Sunday- it’s one of several things I have to check off each week on my goals sheet.

Every Sunday I also map out my week so that I make sure the important things will get done the next week. A lot doesn’t get done and that’s okay, as long as the important things do. The things that didn’t get completed either go onto next week, or they get moved to a big list that I’ll get to when I can. The interesting thing is the ‘I’ll get to when I can’ list- if I look at it months later, 90% of the stuff never really needed to get done.

Make sure you’re not using your time on things that won’t be relevant to accomplishing what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

Few things I notice/on my mind that could be helpful to you

 

Cigar butt Warren Buffett strategy vs. grown up Warren Buffett strategy

As many of you may know when Warren Buffett was getting started he bought what’s referred to as “cigar butts”, companies that had a few good puffs left on them, and then they’d be pretty much done. Meaning they could make him short term profit, but probably wouldn’t continue to make him money over time.

He realized that wasn’t a very good long term strategy and started investing in businesses that had a chance to produce income for a very, very long time.

I talked about a similar concept in this post: https://foreverjobless.com/arnold-schwarzenegger-infrastructures-of-wealth/ and asked if you were creating a product or service that is likely to be used just 10 years in the future?

Most people are not. They’re all targeting short term cigar butts in their business endeavors, and will pay the price long term.

Many who called their business an ‘amazon business’ are already experiencing this as margins have been getting eaten away recently. I’ve been saying this was going to happen for a while (https://foreverjobless.com/amazon-price-war-season-3-episode-7) and it’s only going to get worse. Remember you have to have some level of moat if your goal is to have your business be around for the long haul. It’s harder in the short term to try and create a moat, but you get paid significantly more if you can figure it out. Otherwise you may unintentionally be operating a cigar butt business. You might get some more puffs out of it, but it’s going to be over soon.

 

Crypto and the ’make money’ space

 

I assume everyone reading this has heard about crypto(bitcoin etc…). I think watching what happens in the crypto market is a perfect market to realize what’s happening in every other market. It’s just so extreme in crypto that it stands out so obviously that anyone should notice.

I went to a bitcoin meetup last year because I was genuinely curious in learning about something I knew 0 about. When I walked in there was a guy sitting down that seemed to have a pretty good audience around him, so I pulled up a chair right by him and listened. People asked him questions, and he continued to give his feedback as people jotted down all sorts of notes. As the meetup was about to start, I introduced myself to him and this was the beginning of the conversation:

Me: Thanks so much for sharing all that, you sound like you know quite a bit about the industry, how long have you been investing?

Him: Three weeks now.

Me: Three weeks?!?

Him: Ya, but I’ve been reading about it for longer.

Me:

Regurgitated info – the best kind of fake knowledge!

Most crypto experts are not crypto experts, they’re internet marketing experts who notice crypto as the latest opportunity to take advantage of the uninformed/suckers. The same way most “business coaches” have never started an actual business, and are infomarketers wanting people to pay them for coaching for something they’ve literally never done.

Think of that crypto story when considering your next consultant/coach.

The % of ‘never started a business people’ teaching how to start a business in the space is at an all time high right now.

If you’re considering hiring someone for coaching/consulting, couple things to help you steer clear of trouble from the ‘I read about business’ business coaches:

If their only business has ever been blog/podcast/info, unless your goal is to start the same exact thing as them: YOU IN TROUBLE!

Look out for false confidence- notice every crypto “expert” who is very loud when it is going up, wanting to act like they are making lots of money/they knew it all along, but they’re completely quiet when it goes down/were quiet before it went up. A true expert if they thought it was worth more would be louder when it’s going down, unless their goal is fake authority – becoming an authority to sheep who don’t understand, in order to convert more people into a sale.

They should be loud before something happens, not after. If you’re following the guys who are loud about something after the results are in: YOU IN TROUBLE!

… crickets

 

 

 

Have they started ideally two or more real businesses before(real business = product or service of real value that produced income for extended period of time, not temporary arbitrage play)? If not: YOU IN TROUBLE!

I probably harp on that subject too much, but every time I log into social media it’s like a 95/5 ratio of people you should run for your life from, and I don’t want you falling trap to the nonsense and wasting a lot of time/money down the wrong rabbit hole.

 

—-

 

To wrap this quarterly update/mini rant up, here are two books I read recently that I LOVED that you may enjoy:

American Kingpin

 

Red Notice

I hope you’re having an amazing year so far, and that you’re on track for achieving this year’s goals.

-Billy


Yearly Review, Lessons, New Goals and Plans


Whew! 2017. Seems like the years always just fly by right?

Last year was a unique one for me. Very bad in a lot of ways, but plenty of good too.

Was a really rough year for me. I ended up having some health issues(adrenal fatigue + more) which pretty much wiped me out half the year. Even the months when I was working on stuff, it was not me working anywhere near optimal levels. I can remember trying to write early in the year and it was like I was cutting through a cloud of brain fog, dizziness, headaches and fatigue just to transfer my thoughts through the keyboard. Was rough. At first, I thought I just had this recurring cold or something that was making me feel ‘off’. Plenty of days I’d wake up after a full 8 hours sleep, get up, and instantly just want to lay down. Not a lazy type ‘just stay in bed’ thing, but a ‘completely drained and exhausted’ feeling. Definitely not normal. So, I spent a lot of the year ‘laying down’, and trying to get my energy back. Obsessively healthy eating, and getting as much rest as I could get.

If I didn’t believe in Maslow’s hierarchy before, last year was a good reminder. When health goes, everything else becomes completely irrelevant. My goals switched from ‘accomplish XYZ’ to ‘do whatever is needed to get health back’.

Even when I was feeling ‘okay’, the year threw me interesting curveballs just for fun. My life literally felt like a Seinfeld episode. Luckily I write weekly update/accountability emails so I can remember some of the funny moments…well, let me just walk you through how last year got started:

How last year started

I arrived in Bali on New Year’s Eve. Caught a ride to my hotel and crashed early, so I could kick off the new year with an early writing session.

The writing session went great, and I headed off to Ubud later that day.

As I was chatting with my driver, upon hearing I liked coffee and had recently lived in Colombia he told me they had some of the best coffee on the way.

“You drink coffee? Best coffee in the world close by I’ll take you!”.

A short time later he pulls off the road and we walked back to this hidden garden and just hung out trying different kinds of coffee. I got to see how the famous luwak coffee was made.

coffeeimage

An hour later we got back on the road.

Good start to the new year, as I headed off to Ubud to go look for a good place to live.

Kind of went downhill in Bali in humorous fashion from there:

(excerpt from my week 1 update):

I’m in Ubud. I got bit by a cat at the gym in Bali(I know, I should have been watching for cats in there!), so some of my time this week got eaten up by learning about rabies/seeing doctors. Besides that just trying to get settled in here. People are unbelievably nice and happy here.

So… ya, there was randomly a cat in the gym I went to. Welcome to Bali! Every time I travel I learn how different the rest of the world is from the US. Like, you wouldn’t accidently step on/near a cat while hitting up the gym in the states. I walked up to the front desk to ask a question, and all the sudden…“Wait, wtf is on my leg?”. Oh, just a cat. I guess he had walked below me and I either stepped on his paw or stepped near him enough to scare him. He was attached to my leg for 1 second and then sprinted away.

Normally if you get bit by a cat, probably not a big deal. But in a country where rabies is a real concern, I learned you’ve gotta be on top of that.

I went to the doctor and they put something on the wound to prevent infection, but they told me I had to try and go find the cat.

“Find the cat?”

“Yes, you need to see if it dies. If it dies, within a week, it has rabies, so you need shots. If it doesn’t die, you’re okay.”

Say what now!?

So, I was basically tasked with trying to track down this random cat that was in the gym, and periodically check in on him to make sure he wasn’t dead. Solid. I’ll add it to my to-do list!

I went in the next day and it turns out through the limited English I could speak with the employees, that one of the people at the gym owned the cat. We found him and told him what happened with the cat, and I asked him if it’d had a rabies shot.

“Oh yes, had shots.”

“Are you 100% sure?”

“80%!” followed by a Balinese chuggle which I loved, but it was a more beautiful sound when my potential death wasn’t a side effect.

They could tell I was still skeptical of the 80% vaccinated cat.

“It bite my friend too, he fine!”, as he motioned to his friend.

His friend excitedly showed me his scar and said, “ya it bite me here, and I’m still alive!”.

I didn’t know what was more humorous, his comforting line about not dying of rabies yet from the same cat, or the fact that these guys just kept letting this random cat that keeps attacking people in the gym, haha.

Anyways, I figured I’d follow doctors orders and keep checking in on the cat just to be 100% safe.

Week 2:

I continued my search for a great long term spot in Bali, which turned out to be much harder than I thought for what I wanted. Each place would have amazing photos online, I’d book a 1-2 day test run, and the place kept turning out to be nothing like the place in the photos, and/or not in an area I wanted to be in.

The good news of the week was that the cat was still alive more than a week after our encounter- rabies free!

Week 3:

Finally found a good long term spot- a quiet villa out in the ricefields:

eliminate distractions

Since I’d moved away from the touristy areas, I was a bit of a trek from any gym. In Bali the only efficient way to travel is by motorbike, which I didn’t know how to ride. So, next task up was learning.

I walked around and found a small covered stand on the side of the road with motorbikes for rent.

“You want rent bike?” the man sitting inside asked.

“Yes, but I don’t know how to ride I need a lesson”, I replied.

He said, “You go like this(motioning with his hands what someone riding a motorbike looks like) real slow, and then faster later. You want bike now?”

He wasn’t even showing me on a bike, he was just sitting at his desk.

I think that was my lesson.

Class complete.

I ended up heading somewhere else to get a few actual lessons, but let’s just say I wasn’t the best.

Combined with the fact that it often rained in Bali, getting around to the gym and other spots made it not super optimal for me.

Week 4:

(excerpt from my weekly updates):

Bali continues to own me. Have felt like I’ve been on an episode of Punk’d the whole time I’ve been here. Small motorbike accident the 2nd day riding solo. The 3rd day got bumped from behind by a car. The next day while I was riding a bicycle back from a cafe a bat bit me.

I got rabies vaccines and now I’m packing up to go get immunoglobulin. After initially hearing I didn’t need it, spent all day yesterday getting more opinions from doctors and the embassies and I need to get it to be on the safe side. Was already ready to be done with Bali, so I’m just going to go get the immunoglobulin and book a flight to somewhere else from wherever I get the shot.

Week 5:

flighttwitter

Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots and then headed off to Cape Town, South Africa. You can read the whole ‘bat bite’ story here if you want some entertainment: https://foreverjobless.com/bat-bite/

I started the search for a good long term spot in Cape Town.

Week 6:

Cape Town was awesome.

billyimages4

But I learned that if you didn’t book super early during high season, it was hard to find a good long term spot.

Week 7:

Final rabies shot + finally found a great long term spot that just opened up.

Recap of my first 7 weeks of last year:

Week 1: Bit by cat. Tasked with tracking the cat to make sure it didn’t die of rabies.

Week 2: Still moving around Bali looking for a decent place. Found out I’m rabies free.

Week 3: Finally found a decent long term spot + learned to ride a motorbike(kind of).

Week 4: Small motorbike accident then got bit by a bat.

Week 5: Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots then traveled to Cape Town.

Week 6: Searching Cape Town for good spots.

Week 7: Finally found legit long term spot in Cape Town. Final rabies vaccine.

Despite my year getting off to a chaotically bad start from a productivity/not getting distracted standpoint, I hit my Q1 goal, which was mainly how I was rating my success for the year. Not by a one big goal, or by monetary rewards. Quite the opposite.

I wasn’t overly concerned/committed to one big goal like normal, and like many of the last several years, I didn’t really have aspirations for a monetary goal:

From ‘How To Set Goals if You Don’t if You’re Not Sure What You Want’:

I decided my goal for the new year was to not focus on making any money, and to put out content that I thought was important, and helpful for people. Money can be a distraction, and lead us to unintentionally do things for that purpose. If money comes as a byproduct, cool, but I’m putting zero focus on making money this year. If I make $0 and release the content I’m planning on releasing, it will be a good year.

Pursuing a path that purposely avoids better financial rewards is definitely an uncommon path. Like I mentioned I’m more concerned with life/happiness optimization than monetary optimization at this point. It may lead to monetary gains in the future, but it’s not the focus so we’ll let it play out and let what happens, happen.

I was rating my ‘success’ for the year by my quarterly goals:

The priority goal will always be what the quarterly goal is. So, there’s a chance I double down on a specific goal and a victim could be one of the yearly goals, but that’s okay. As long as I ensure accomplishment of my priority goal(which at this point will be re-set each quarter for me), I’m happy.

My 2016 Q1 goal:

My priority in the first quarter will be releasing an average of one article per week to the blog. So, by the end of the first quarter I’ll have 13 new articles posted. However, even though it’s a number goal, the focus is on quality, not quantity.

I ended up publishing over 50,000 words in Q1:

Blog post 1: How To Achieve Your Goals (9,605 words)

Blog post 2: Sunk Cost Fallacy (3,739 words)

Blog post 3: The Packed Gym of Failure (1,948 words)

Blog post 4: Dream Life (3,242 words)

Blog post 5: 4 countries in 4 days, with a ‘94% chance of living’ (4,467 words)

Blog post 6: How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want (11,638 words)

Blog post 7: Arnold Schwarzenegger Infrastructures of Wealth (2,200 words)

Blog post 8: Learned Helplessness (2,524 words)

Blog post 9: Easy Business To Start: The ForeverJobless Free Business Idea Edition (4,685 words)

Blog post 10: Don’t Cap Flow State: Extreme Hyperfocus (1,991 words)

Blog post 11: Entrepreneurial Quicksand (2,313 words)

Blog post 12: James and the Giant Bamboo (2,710 words)

Blog post 13: The Penny Stakes of Business (1,819 words)

After hitting the Q1 goal, I planned to significantly ramp things up in Q2 with a focusing on marketing. The articles had gotten a great response from readers, but they were mainly just reaching ForeverJobless readers, so I wanted more people to see them.

But, besides getting through the comedy that was my life to hit my Q1 goal, there was something else I was battling. I was basically feeling extremely tired most of the time. Not tired like woke up too early, tired like no energy even when I got plenty of sleep.

I’d been dealing with it before when I was in Colombia prior to Bali, but figured it was some cold I couldn’t kick or something. So, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it returned strong in Q1 and I was constantly tired for no good reason. Like, ridiculously fatigued. I’d wake up after a full night’s sleep, and just want to lay down. Not only that, as mentioned I had constant headaches, brain fog and dizziness.

When I got back to the states after South Africa my main goal became: figure out what the heck is up with my health/energy, and fix it. Q2 and 3 were basically a lot of resting/recovering for me. As mentioned other goals became irrelevant pretty quick once health became an issue.

If I look at my ‘goal accomplishments’ for last year, it’s hard to say if I’m happy with my performance or not. When I was functional, yes. The 2 quarters I had half decent function I hit my goals. Crushed Q1 writing goal, and my Q4 goal of helping a certain # of people in the Incubator 2016 class blew past the initial goal significantly, enough so that I had to stop accepting signups to make sure everyone got enough personal attention. Much of Q2/3 I wasn’t functioning, and my main goal became: get health back. So while I can’t say I crushed 2016 because I basically took 2 quarters off, the two quarters I was on, I hit the goals I’d set those quarters- I even finished writing an unreleased book(actually ended up deciding not to publish). I would have loved to accomplish much more in 2016 but randomly chopping away 50% of the year made more aggressive goals pretty difficult. Obviously fitness and dating goals went out the window(no lifting weights or dating since April).

Energy levels have mostly come back, but it’s still a work in process, not an overnight thing. The goal is to prioritize continued rise of energy(so I don’t risk reverting back to same issues) until I have superhuman levels, while being aggressive with goals at the same time.

What did I learn last year?

There was a lot of good takeaways from the year, and things that are good to think about and review.

For starters:

  • Having money is goooood. Very good.

I was incredibly thankful to have money when dealing with the health stuff. I usually don’t appreciate it much since I don’t spend it on a lot of things. Like, I didn’t care what anything cost when I wanted to make progress. The only question was, “what is the most optimal thing I can do right now based on the information I have?… okay, I’ll do that”. Most times the optimal thing will definitely not be the lowest cost. I could pay to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th opinions and run whatever extra tests I wanted, and spend whatever money I needed for the optimal foods and supplements, on top of everything else. I’m sure I spent $10,000+ out of pocket just in ‘extra’ expenses for health stuff that insurance doesn’t cover. I’ll likely spend at least as much this year just for continued health optimization.

Having the health issues last year actually motivated me to want to make more money once healthy, something I haven’t cared much about the last few years. If I ever ran into a serious, serious health issue it’d be nice to be able to pour unlimited amounts into whatever I needed to find a solution.

Another thing I learned through the process was that people betting their entire welfare/health on traditional health care are a bit naive. It was a little scary how behind the times some things in traditional medicine were. If you’re only getting advice from traditional docs, you’re definitely operating suboptimally. I was up until last year, and feel like a total newb for doing so. I’ve learned a lot since. Based on my still novice opinion, a mix of traditional + non-traditional is likely a much better route to go for your health and overall well being.

It’s very freeing to be able to make decisions based on what is best for you. I think money is more valuable than most people think, as funny as that sounds with how much value people place on it. I think the ‘mental freedom’ it gives you makes it worth significantly more than people realize.

I’d kind of dismissed the need to go out and make a lot more money and not really given it a lot of thought the last few years, but the health stuff combined with some overly analytical exercises I did on how much money I’d want in different future situations(family, kids, impact, etc…), I plan to at least have some focus on turning up the flow of the money faucet this year.

moneyfaucet

Most of the last 3 years I haven’t had a huge focus on business or a desire to ‘go make more money’. I think some clarity from my time away + my regaining some energy from my fatigue issue has made me more motivated in those respects.

If my desire was to make ‘real money’, clearly writing/ForeverJobless is not the optimal route, but I’m enjoying it at the moment and feel I have unfinished business. I have a book in progress that I think people really need to read + I want to help more people start profitable businesses like I have in the last two Incubator classes. And much like last year, enjoyment is still at the top of the list for me. I don’t want to dislike something I’m doing just because I can make a lot of money with it.

When I was really wiped out this summer energy wise, and just laying around a lot trying to recover from the fatigue issues, I would do little exercises on certain companies I was interested in starting, and found one that looked like a perfect fit for my skillsets, seemed fun, and would be extremely profitable. The ‘entrepreneur addict’ in me wants to just start it up, but I know I’d be unlikely to hit any of my goals if I tried to do them all at the same time. Sometime later this year I may bring on the ideal project manager, and get it started up.

One of the things I’m putting focus on this year is in trying to set up the most optimal life possible. I think that we all try and ‘save’ money on things and say we don’t ‘need’ more money. We don’t, but we do if we want life to be more optimal we just often dismiss the fact that money makes an optimal life much, much easier.

Creating a more efficient and optimal life frees up as much time as possible to do more of the things you or I want to do.

You can never be what you want to be unless you delegate everything except for what you love

I hired a personal chef and a 2nd assistant, and may be hiring some more help to bring in people who are great at what they do, so I have more time to do what I’m great at.

This helps make my life more optimal, which means I can spend less time doing things I don’t like, and more time doing the things I do like. That = a more enjoyable life.

It allows you to spend your day chasing antelope instead of mice:

A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?

Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up  

Besides eliminating the chasing of mice, you must also eliminate headaches.

I ask myself the questions:

What drains me? Eliminate these things

What gives me energy? Do more of these things

Something I did last year was that I completely stopped trying to help those who won’t help themselves.

Cutting out tire kickers = one of the best things I did. It was way too draining.

Only working with action takers = way more fun/fulfilling.

I used to try and help those that said they wanted certain things instead of showing with their actions they wanted certain things. You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

I used to try to help too many people who needed me to hold their head up to keep them from drowning. That is an energy suck and keeps me from doing great work and giving value to those who will put it to use.

The people in your life are either giving you momentum, or they are taking it away  – Alex Charfen

If you’re helping someone who won’t help themselves, you’re just lighting your time on fire.

favor2

As much as I want to help people, I’ve learned you can’t negatively affect your own life to do so.

Large guaranteed decrease in present quality of life doesn’t justify a large speculative return – Tim Ferriss

It’s amazing what happens when you only help action takers and eliminate all headaches. Life’s a lot easier and much more enjoyable.

I look at the people we accepted into the Incubator vs. a lot of the cold emails I get, it’s just a completely different level of player. It’s people who want to make a significant life change and who put in the effort to do so. Time going towards action takers instead of tire kickers makes a much bigger impact, and is much more fulfilling.

I get the most excitement from helping others succeed. I get pumped when I hear from people like Jordan or Corey about how they’re doing with their businesses, or Incubator 2.0 members and how their launches are going.

Knowing you’re helping people is the best kind of drug. Tire kickers/energy drainers deprive you of your high.

It works the same with employees.

Most entrepreneurs who struggle to manage people think they need to spend forever trying to get better at management. I’ve learned the hard way that an easier fix is just working with people who need less management.

Get people who already do good work and don’t need much hand-holding. Less time holding hands = more time doing what you’re good at and/or enjoy.

Besides elimination of headaches, elimination of remaining distractions is incredibly important:

Eliminate all noises/notifications from your computer and phone- it’s a game changer. I don’t have many apps on my phone- I highly recommend deleting most. I use things like News Feed Eradicator on my computer for Facebook which eliminates your news feed, so you’re less tempted to visit an insanely distracting site. I’ve probably only averaged one FB post per month on my personal page which has helped too- because many people have the constant urge to go seek out more dopamine from new ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. In addition, I spend much of the day with my phone on airplane mode. Eliminating situations where you’ll seek those things out is super helpful.

Keep in mind this is not stuff I’m naturally good at. That’s why I eliminate opportunities for me to suck at it. The reason I point this out is I think sometimes from a reader perspective people often get the false belief that the person who’s writing is just magically good at X, Y or Z. Quite the opposite. I’ve always naturally been unorganized/easily distracted. Similar to what I mentioned about managing, it would be hard to completely change how you respond to certain things if you keep the same situations- that’s decades worth of habit built in. Much easier to eliminate the situations that distract you. If you have less to organize/be distracted by, it’s much easier to be better organized/focused.

Fail more/learn more about flaws

You’ve got to be experimental to accomplish anything important. That means you’re going to be wrong a lot. – Jeff Bezos

Changing your mind a lot = good in some respects.  It’s like poker… you make the best decisions you can with the information you have in front of you. When you have new information, it may change what the most optimal decision is.

I learned that finding out what is true, regardless of what that is, including all the stuff most people think is bad—like mistakes and personal weaknesses—is good because I can then deal with these things so that they don’t stand in my way.- Ray Dalio

Most people are really unaware of what they’re not good at. They don’t like to hear about their flaws, so they try not to listen, and by trying not to listen they can’t improve. Getting better at this, means getting better at life. Just temporarily learning you’re not perfect, which no one is, will only make you better.

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I learned that being truthful was an extension of my freedom to be me. I believe that people who are one way on the inside and believe that they need to be another way outside to please others become conflicted and often lose touch with what they really think and feel. It’s difficult for them to be happy and almost impossible for them to be at their best.- Ray Dalio

This is something I used to be horrible at. I used to try to please people and/or not upset them, and the result is you basically get stepped on a lot of times. You say “yes”, then you say “yes” more… And each time get slightly more frustrated getting taken advantage of.

Now when I don’t agree or don’t want to do something I just let it be known. Someone’s frustration about me saying “no” doesn’t affect me, that’s on them. HUGE life benefit – why get frustrated at them getting frustrated? The only people who won’t like it are people you don’t want to associate with anyways.

You have enemies? Good. that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life – Winston Churchill

‘Enemies’ is a strong word, but if you are basically making decisions just to please/not upset others, what will happen is you definitely won’t be happy yourself, you’ll make your life harder/less enjoyable. You can still be very nice and not be a pushover.

Again, if you stand firm that you’ll do X, and someone wants X+Y and you say no- sure some people will be temporarily frustrated when they don’t get their way. But if you start sticking to your guns and don’t do things you don’t want to do, it = you being MUCH happier. The amount of mental space free once you stop sweating people’s responses = super freeing.

While most others seem to believe that learning what we are taught is the path to success, I believe that figuring out for yourself what you want and how to get it is a better path. – Ray Dalio

One way to ‘figure out what you want’ is to stop looking for validation from people. I think most people are subconsciously operating for others, instead of themselves. They feel so much need to impress others that they make decisions they think others would like. It sounds absurd, and it is, but that’s the way most people operate even if they don’t realize it.

People ask me why I never post pics on Facebook while I’m traveling. This is why. I feel like most people unintentionally do things to impress others. While I live a very good life, I feel like posting daily pics about it as I live it would make me desire certain things more than I might actually want them. It’s hard enough for us all to figure out what we want, and having the unintentional influence from the dopamine we get from others telling us how great our life is isn’t needed- no sense making something that’s already hard, more difficult.

After a lot of recent traveling, I learned that for me I don’t desire to travel as much as I have in the past, at least for a long while. I like my life in Austin. I still enjoy traveling, I’ll just probably scale it back significantly.

I liked this short post from Sol Orwell about how you should make it harder to go on vacation:

http://www.sjo.com/different-way-new-years-resolutions/

What should I do this year that would make me less likely to want to go on vacation? – Sol

Now that I’ve settled back in Austin I feel like I’ve quickly set my life up so that a vacation doesn’t look super appealing, since my normal life is already set up with so many things I like. Plus it’s much easier to hit goals when in routine.

I read this somewhere and thought they were great lessons from obviously genius people, and echoes what I’ve slowly figured out the last number of years:

Lessons from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger:

  1. find what turns you on
  2. don’t worry about what everyone else is doing
  3. know your strengths
  4. fewer and higher quality
  5. know what you like and forget the rest

Slowly you’ll chip away and become closer to the version of yourself that you want to become.

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Similar to last year, I reviewed my strengths + things I would enjoy when thinking of what I would spend time doing this year.

My strength results(from test):

  • Choose work in which you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas.
  • Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
  • You might excel in entrepreneur or start-up situations (hey would you look at that!)
  • Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future
  • You inspire others with your images of the future, yet your thinking may be too expansive for them to comprehend. When you articulate your vision, be sure to describe the future in detail with vivid words and metaphors.
  • Your futuristic talents could equip you to be a guide or coach for others. Unlike you, they might not be able to see over the horizon. If you catch a vision of what someone could be or do, don’t assume that he or she is aware of that potential. Share what you see as vividly as you can. In doing so, you may inspire someone to move forward.

Since what we’re extremely good at often comes natural to us, it’s not easy to realize what you’re incredibly good at isn’t so easy for others. You don’t think of a normal skill of yours as incredible because it’s not difficult for you, which actually makes it incredible.

If you were to give yourself advice, what would you advise yourself to do? (You often know the answers but don’t step out of your own busyness to come to what may be obvious conclusions for you.)

“Seneca called euthymia—”The belief that you’re on the right path and not led astray by the many tracks which cross yours of people who are hopelessly lost…

The sense of our own path, and how to stay on it without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.

Each one of us have a unique potential and purpose.

It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go and accomplishing the most you’re capable of at what YOU choose.

Only you know the race you’re running – Ryan Holiday

At the end of the day, I don’t know if I’ve necessarily ‘solved’ this problem of mine, in finding what I’m uniquely meant to do/brings me maximum happiness/fulfillment, but educating people how to think about things in a more optimal way and help enable them to live the life they want is definitely something that pops into the discussion for me quite a bit.

This has remained true for me

ForeverJobless Incubator:

Last year’s Incubator was supposed to be the final one(of two total). I didn’t plan to do it after the 2nd, as I was just doing it because I had enjoyed it/liked helping people. I initially expected to bring in X amount of people, help them crush it and then I was going to launch a new company. Then… I had even more fun than the first time after adding weekly calls and more to the mix. It was a blast.

Plus, seeing the results has been super fulfilling. Someone from our 2015 Incubator class is doing 7 figures/yr. Someone from our 2016 class that just ended already had a $10,000+ week during the initial 10 weeks. I think I get more excited about it than they do!

We kind of didn’t want it to end so a bunch from this year’s class are flying out to Austin to give updates on their businesses since the Incubator and work on them together with me in person.

There were also a lot of people who wanted to participate that we couldn’t fit in- we got bombarded with requests to join, and had to shut off signups fast. I’ve consistently got emails since asking if I’ll run another. After talking with friends who thought I should do it again, and thinking more about it, it was like… why are you stopping doing stuff you like?

After considering how much I enjoyed it and the number of people who’ve made incredible life changes out of the program, I’ve decided to launch a 2017 Incubator in April.

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This year’s goals:

  • Energy 100% back to normal + back to ‘fitness model’ shape(at least 5.5% bodyfat(calipers) while putting muscle back on)
  • Incubator: have the highest % success rate to any program in the space
  • Find girlfriend material girl and see how a legit relationship goes
  • Write X book
  • New business project launched
  • $ increased by X

(x = name or amount not shown)

We all make New Year’s goals, but most of us don’t make goals for things like more conversations with people who matter. Here’s some personal things I’m doing in 2017:

  • Make a list of people I want to do a better job of staying in touch with through the year, and either see them in person, or call/email on regular basis… and don’t be such a hermit.
  • Spend more time/effort working to make a positive effect on people’s lives- whether it’s being a positive influence on people I come across that I can help, helping Incubator members make a positive life change through a new business and new way of thinking, being a ‘good dude figure’ as “Uncle Billy” to my nieces and nephews, etc…
  • Vacations with family and friends: My mom sent me this link a while back and it’s super interesting/thought provoking: http://seeyourfolks.com/. We all probably have only X years to do certain things we want to do. I’m not just talking about seeing family or friends. You can think about this for other things too- how long are you going to be single? Or without kids? Or your friends being in those situations, etc… Meaning, you likely don’t have as long to live life a certain way as you think. “Someday I’ll do X” is a good way to never do it. Do the stuff you wanna do with the people you want to do them with now.
  • Mansion Mancations: If the things you want don’t exist, just create them. I’m putting together a group of 10-20 great guys/entrepreneurs in March and just spending 3 days hanging with good people, many of who I don’t get to see enough. Way better way of hanging with people I want to see than attending conferences.

mancationnew

I used to attend a lot of conferences, but it was just too much ‘conference’ and less of the stuff I wanted, so I haven’t really been to conferences the last couple years. This year I’m just doing this- basically sending invites to the people I’d want to hang with if I went to conferences, and just eliminating the conference aspect and all hanging, having fun and masterminding together. I attended one a few years ago and it basically made me not want to attend conferences anymore. Much more quality time with people you want to hang with, much deeper conversations, much more in depth strategy talk and big idea sharing, and way more fun time since all the conference stuff(speakers, etc…) is eliminated. Highly recommend.

Expanding my network in other areas:

I’m making an effort to network even more outside of my normal business circles. I think it’s easy to always think about the same stuff if the majority of people you know do X. Most of my thoughts/ideas are in a much smaller window than I’d like them to be because 80-90%+ of my friends are in that window. Being obsessively focused on one space is great if you’re only doing that, but with me eyeing the pursuit of a new project in the near future, I plan to explore other industries and strategies a bit more.

Kind of along the same lines I’m focused on connecting with higher level people. I remember when I was just starting out, I did whatever I needed to get around people smarter than I was so I understood how they were playing the level of game that they were. Even when I didn’t have much money as a kid I flew across the country to go meet people- since I knew I could learn a lot from people already investing and starting businesses. Now that I’m at a different stage and have the desire to get new projects going again, I need to do those kinds of things again.

Optimal life/energy choices:

Even as my energy continues to return to normal, I plan to remain obsessively focused on optimizing health to an extreme level, which means very strict diet, no alcohol, etc… I’m sure I’ll maybe have a glass of wine or whatever sometime in the future, but for now doing zero alcohol, bad foods, etc… I’m not opposed to drinking/eating ‘fun’ food, but I’m opposed to not feeling highly energized at all times. I want to feel as optimal as possible.

Previously flawed content plan?

I realized I had a flawed content plan- I was writing more blog posts on FJ, but not reaching enough additional people to help knock down other goals- reaching more people who the book will help, + more people I can help start profitable businesses in the Incubator.

So while I’ll still be putting out content on FJ, it will be more sporadic, but when I do they’ll tend to be very unique pieces of content(you’ll see). The main content creation time will go towards my book- I think that will have a significant impact on the people who read it so it’s important for me to get that done.

Things I’m doing to accomplish my goals/keep improving

I eliminated TV(never hooked it up). I got used to not ever using a TV when traveling. I used to put my remote behind my TV just so I really had to think about it if I was going to turn it on, but even though I get it/pay for it through the building I live in, I’m just not going to hook it up.

Got a 2nd assistant to help with day to day stuff.

Got a chef so I can eat as healthy as possible + not waste time figuring out what I am going to eat each day/where I’m going to get it, etc…

Got an accountability coach + got in a high level mastermind with people outside of my normal network.

Inbox Zero – I used to always be at 5,000+ emails and got to inbox zero before the new year. Did a perfect job of staying at 0 until I was out of town for a few days, and plan to get it back and keep it all year. I’ve very seriously considered just eliminating email completely, and may possibly do that in the future. Warren Buffett and many other insanely successful people do not use email. Not surprisingly, they are less distracted by the requests of others and can focus on doing great things.

Weekly emails to a friend- Every week going on almost 2 years now I email my friend what I did in the last week, what my plan is for the upcoming week and why, and other small things- it kind of morphed into a mini blog with an audience of one, with random thoughts/lessons intertwined. He asks really good questions + is smart/successful, so it’s been super helpful as he often challenges me on things and we go back and forth on most optimal paths- not just with business/money, but life stuff. Probably would be a fascinating exchange for someone to read. Highly recommend doing something similar.

Something I haven’t done yet but plan to is to stop working earlier in the day. I used to just work until ‘whenever’, but what happens is while you sit at the computer for a long time, it’s not super productive time. Similar to how many people have a ‘start time’, I’d like to start having a hard ‘stop time’.

I can do this if I’m strict about not capping flow, by pushing morning meetings/calls, etc… back into the middle of the afternoon at the earliest, so that all main work is already complete by early afternoon.

Business people in Silicon Valley (and the whole world, for that matter) have speculative meetings all the time. They’re effectively free if you’re on the manager’s schedule. They’re so common that there’s distinctive language for proposing them: saying that you want to “grab coffee,” for example.

Speculative meetings are terribly costly if you’re on the maker’s schedule, though.

… At this point we have two options, neither of them good: we can meet with them, and lose half a day’s work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them….

Those of us on the maker’s schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager’s schedule is that they understand the cost.Paul Graham 

How my days/weeks look

Sunday: I always plan the following week.

Morning routine:

This is continually evolving as I test what works/doesn’t work for me, but as of right now I usually wake up and get some writing related stuff done, meditation, cold shower and walk.

Evening routine:

I plan the following day, which is usually just small tweaks to what I already set up during the Sunday planning session.

Something I haven’t implemented yet but plan to shortly is an evening review.

Evening review:

Planning to read this at the end of each day to make sure I’m staying focused/on the right road:

Was I happy today?

Why/why not?

Was I productive today?

Why/why not?

If anything needs ‘fixing’, how will I do that to be happier and more productive?

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I used to just randomly work on stuff sometimes every day, even if it was a ‘free day’ for me. This year I basically almost never work on Saturday.

The mind must be given relaxation – it will rise improved and sharper after a good break. Just as rich fields must not be forced – for they will quickly lose their fertility if never given a break – so constant work on the anvil will fracture the force of the mind. But it regains its powers if it is set free and relaxed for a while. Constant work gives rise to a certain kind of dullness and feebleness in the rational soul. – Seneca

Hopefully some of what I’ve learned/done in the past year, and what I’m currently doing helps you think through some of what you’re doing.

If you’re a new ForeverJobless reader and haven’t yet read How To Achieve Your Goals, I highly recommend it and guarantee it’ll give you an edge this year and help you accomplish the goals you really want.

I often get emails from some of you asking how you can help me. I love you guys and you’re the reason I haven’t eliminated my inbox 🙂

I usually haven’t had an answer, but now I do. Here’s a few ways you could help:

  1. If you’re someone who writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, Success, Fast Company, or another similar publication, I have a few interesting stories/angles I’d love to have someone write about with some things we’re working on. Would make for a very unique article.
  2. If you have a large audience of entrepreneurial minded folks and would like to promote the Incubator, I plan to work with 1-2 additional people to do this(we cap the Incubator to maximize success rates + quality of the group, so would be selective about the audience/promotion)

Ways I plan on bringing you value this year:

I plan to put out some limited, but unique content this year for FJ. One project we’re working on will be very different than anything on the market, and will be entertaining and highly valuable. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter you’ll be notified as soon as we release(likely next month).

If you’ve been wanting to start a profitable business for a while but still haven’t made it happen, I’m going to open a 2017 Incubator class in April. It will be unlike anything else you could join and I guarantee you that I care about your success more than anything like it. I’m obsessive about the process and insanely committed to the group- ask Incubator members. Those who are serious about wanting my help in launching a profitable business, I’ll do everything in my power to help you launch one.

As mentioned I’m planning to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for some time this year. The goal is to complete it by year end, so I’ll have my head down creating something much more impactful for you than my articles.

Like I mentioned last year, what I put out is only successful if it positively impacts your life in ways that others could not produce. I want to help those who are taking the action to help themselves.

Leave me a comment letting me know what your big 2017 goal is.

Also, if you want to include your favorite FJ article from 2016 and why, I’d love to hear about it.

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The ForeverJobless Podcast, Season 2 Launches!


The ForeverJobless podcast has officially returned! Due to popular demand I’ve decided to launch a new “season” of the podcast.

“Season 2”, is here.

To celebrate the launch of season 2 I’ve decided to run a contest where you can win free coaching calls with me, instagram shout outs, join me on an episode of the show, and even win a $1,000 mystery box.

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Check out the prizes, and steps to enter below:

You can check out the podcast here in iTunes.

Or, here on the podcast page.


The Value of Time


There’s an old story I heard about Picasso. He was sitting in the park when he was approached by a woman who asked him to make a portrait of her. He agreed and quickly drew her portrait, and handed to the woman. She was very pleased. “Wow, this is perfect. How much do I owe you?”. “$5,000”, Picasso replied. “$5,000, but it only took you a few minutes to draw this!”. “No mam”, Picasso replied. “It took me my entire life”.

paintingsWhy is this story important? Well, most people fail to realize the price of mastery. Once mastery is accomplished, others don’t understand the value. They view the value of time incorrectly.

If you desire someone’s time, you’re not desiring their current time, you’re actually desiring the value of all of their past time that went into making their current time desirable. It took them a long time to learn the things they know how to do that make you desire access to their current time.

So, the “just 5-10 minutes of your time!” you desire from someone, likely took them at least 5-10 years to produce the result of such valuable time that others crave to have it.

They likely did not work so hard to give it away to those who value it the least- those people who would like it for free. That’d be essentially giving it to those who really don’t understand the value, or who appreciate it the least. So, besides losing that time forever, it is not likely it will be put to use.

The price of something helps separate the people who it is valuable to from the people it isn’t. Giving away time to those who just want things free, only de-leverages the person’s time they’re taking from, and gives it to a person who is significantly less likely do anything with it.

Do not ever let anyone make you feel bad for not giving away your most valuable asset for free. The one you made more valuable by hard work and sacrifice, which is why they desire it. All they are saying is, “I do not value your time, can I steal it from you?”.

These are the only places you should be spending your time:

  • With people who value your time
  • With people you enjoy spending it with
  • Doing things you enjoy
  • Continually learning(which increases your value, and your ability to spend it how you want)
  • Ideally some combination of the above

Giving value to others would be included in “spending it with people who value your time”, but it’s important to understand that if you give to those who don’t value it, you would not actually be giving value because they will be less likely to use it. To better explain what I mean, take this experiment I ran:

Hundreds of people write me asking for free things- often involving my time- calls, advice, etc… I usually respond requesting that they read all of my articles first, and follow up with me in a week. ZERO people have followed up. It’s a good indication of how little they valued the time, but would have gladly taken it from me if it was “free”.

Since the time you are burning is not in the form of actual dollars you don’t realize they’re being stolen from you. Every time you are considering a time burning activity, picture your money going up in flames, it will help you realize the robbery that’s about to take place.

burningmoney

Even if you only participated in time burning 2 hours/week, let’s say your time is worth $100/hr, you realize you’re giving away $10,400/yr?

Valuing time

Now let’s talk about some of the other times you may be inadvertently making bad decisions based around flawed understanding of the value of time:

How many times have you spent lots of time doing something, that could have been time saved if you’d paid an expert to teach you how to do it better/more efficiently, or just paid someone to do it for you in general?

How many of you attempt to do your own grass, or clean your home, or fix your car, or learn how to start a business on your own?

It’s likely you’re misapplying your time.

Have you heard the parable about the plumber? My dad used to tell me this story as a kid, and it’s similar to the Picasso story. A man is having a problem with his pipes so he calls a plumber. The plumber looks around and listens to the pipes. He walks over to a pipe, and hits it with a wrench. The man is thrilled until the plumber hands him a bill for $200. “All you did was bang the pipe with a wrench, I want to see an itemized invoice!”, the man demanded. The plumber broke down the itemized invoice and handed it back to the man. It read:

Hitting pipe with wrench: $1

Knowing where to hit it: $199

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The value didn’t come from hitting it, it came from the mastery he’d acquired so that he would know exactly where to hit it. The man clearly could have hit the pipe himself, but there’s no way he would have ever known where to do so if he had.

How many times do you find yourself getting angry at a high bill because you don’t place value in the proper place?- the knowledge for knowing how to do something.

Successful people often find themselves paying for the expertise of someone else to help save them the time to progress faster towards their goals. The unsuccessful let the emotion of the high cost for something they can’t see as tangible(the person having spent so long to learn the craft), so they let it hold them back. It takes them much longer to do it themselves, if they ever get around to being able to do it at all.

In case you hadn’t had enough stories for one article, let’s apply it to business with the story that’s been told about Henry Ford:

“Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called a man by the name of (Charles) Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side.

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Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

Steinmetz responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator $1.

Knowing where to make mark      $9,999.

Ford paid the bill.”

(source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/charles-proteus-steinmetz-the-wizard-of-schenectady-51912022/)

It is a poor mindset(literally) when you relate how expensive something should be based on time.

Learning a valuable skill from someone who’s worth $500/hr doesn’t cost you $500/hr, it either allows you to become worth a certain % of that value, or to free your time to make up that value by doing things you’re good at.

Let’s look at both.

Allowing you to become worth a certain % of that value:

If you have a business coach, maybe learning from a $500/hr person teaches you to be worth $200/hr over time. Instead, many $20/hr people talk about how expensive the $500/hr is. If you understand math, you’d realize it’s significantly more expensive to remain a $20/hr earner.

 

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There’s plenty of people who’ve been talking about starting a business for years. They make $10/hr, or $20/hr, or whatever amount they make, and they don’t want to “risk” investing to learn how to start a profitable business. Well, let’s see how flawed the math is.

Poor mindset person:

Makes $20/hr at 40 hours/week, so $41,600/yr. They desire to start a business but hiring someone for $500/hr for 10 sessions(random example) is “too expensive”.

So, they “save” $5,000 and remain a $20/hr earner. They continue to talk about how they will start a business “one day” but to learn is “just too expensive.”

So, over the next 3 years, they earn $124,800(41,600 x 3) from remaining the same person, with the same skillsets. They’re proud of themselves for not spending $5,000 for something that “might not have even worked.” Then they would have only made $119,800 over three years. Phew!

Now, take another person who consistently invests in themselves to become more valuable. They spend $5,000 out of their $41,600 salary(or from savings), but after implementing the changes they’re not a $20/hr earner anymore, they’re likely a significantly higher earner. For the simplicity of this example let’s just say they’re now a $50/hr earner after learning from someone who’s a $500/hr earner.

They’d have went from making just $41,600/yr, to $104,000/yr. Over a three year period that’d be $312,000 in earnings.

math

They would have increased their earning ability by $187,200 over that time period. The $5,000 investment seems trivial when you actually get into the numbers. Most people think so short term they don’t really understand what they’re passing up when they decide not to invest in themselves. They’re not just giving up a short term investment, they’re giving up long term returns.

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Don’t try and “save money”, maximize your expected value. Instead of “saving” your money as a $10-20/hr earner, invest in yourself to learn from someone else. The portion of knowledge you extract from the investment often aligns with the portion of income your value increases by. Your investment of paying $xxx/hr pays you back a dividend in the form of increasing the value of your own time, by more valuable knowledge and skills you then possess.

Free your time to make up that value by doing things you’re good at

If you make $20/hr and would spend 5 hours trying to figure out something you hate and/or aren’t good at to “save $50”, you could have been doing your $20/hr work and made double that anyways.

Example: You don’t know how to fix your car, so you’re going to spend 5 hours attempting to figure it out, rather than paying someone who knows what they’re looking for to fix it. It happens all the time. In these scenarios a lot of people don’t want to “spend money” so instead they waste time(which is often much worse than spending money). They could have been making xx/hr doing something they already know how to do and/or enjoy, that would have more than paid for the cost of the mechanic to just get the job done.

Don’t let your emotional decision making overtake your logic that would allow you to make the correct decisions.

Realize that if you’re learning from the right people, you’re not getting 1 hour of information, you’re getting 10 years of information. If you’d like to save that money, go spend 10 years, but you’d learn it’d cost you much more as by saving pennies you’d avoid dollars.

If you calculated an honest hourly rate for yourself you’d realize you’ll be working for 10 cents/hr for every $100 you save. So, let’s say you have an hourly rate of $25/hr, you’re spending $20k to attempt to save $100. Think about how absurd that is.

The sooner you invest in yourself, the faster you start getting paid the dividends of those investments. Some simple math will show you the attempt by most people to “save money”, costs them more than they could ever imagine.

Invest the time and money in yourself to get the results you want.

Those who remain poor year after year are usually the result of not betting on themselves because they attempt to save money instead of just grabbing the Treasure Map.

You can set vision boards of all the million dollar houses and cars you want, but if you fail to correctly understand the value of time, and refuse to pay for the information that would enable you to learn how to do something, you’ll be a vision board expert, but not much else.

Broke people think about how much they can make and keep today. Rich people think about the long term expected value. Contemplate this question: Do the poor not invest in themselves because they’re poor, or are they poor because they don’t invest in themselves?

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The Treasure Map


Imagine you are tasked with finding a treasure buried in a field. You and one other person, with the same skills and starting at the same time. Now imagine the other person has paid someone for a map that will lead him to the treasure.

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You are not going to get the treasure; he is- because he got wise advice from someone who knows how to find it. If you do not want to invest money for the map, you are thinking about money wrong. Not spending the money to find out how to get to the treasure ends up costing you the treasure.

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It’s the same with business. If you try to save money by not hiring people who can help you get exactly where you want to go, you actually lose money, and will watch all your competitors who do invest in themselves pass you by.

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Like I talk about in much of my writing, we’re wired to fear loss and avoid risk. So, our initial natural reaction to spending money, is the feeling of having a loss of money. We fear spending money, and possibly not getting anything in return for it.

Ironically if we go to the store and buy $300 in clothes we feel good about it because we immediately receive the $300 clothes we purchased.

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But if we can invest $300 to potentially improve our business, we don’t get the instant gratification of the results.

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That’s why coaching and courses and books that promise overnight success often sell better. Even though that’s the wrong treasure map to be buying, sold from people who play on the emotions of instant gratification rather than having the optimal thought processes to be following. The chance of having an immediate payback makes you feel better about the risk.

When you buy $300 worth of clothes you know what you get… $300 worth of clothes in return. If you were to hire a consultant, or buy a course, or a book, or whatever it is, since the result is uncertain, most people don’t like that risk.

There’s no guarantee. Investing in yourself is a series of bets. You can read about some of my bets in this post.

Some work out, some don’t, but you want to make bets in a way so that the ones that do work out pay you back significantly more than you invested.

I think you may view me as a “risk taker” just because I talk about how important it is to take risks and make bets, but keep in mind I’m just making bets I believe are +EV. I don’t think that’s risky, as the risky option would be taking the -EV route by making no bet at all. I’m relatively conservative compared to a risky person.

I just had lunch with a friend who is definitely a “riskier” person than I am, but they’re +EV risks so he reaps big rewards as a byproduct when they pay off. He just did 7 figures… in a month. He’s got multiple mentors and has invested in all sorts of consultants and coaching. The people on the outside just see the end result and want the same “luck”. They don’t see the time and money that was invested.

You can’t get those type of returns if you’re afraid to spend money to talk to a coach, or on a mastermind, or going to a conference. Is it any coincidence a lot of highly successful people know each other? Not really, they’re all making similar time and monetary investments so they cross paths and have a similar network in common.

I get so many emails from people who want all the results that they see people getting who take risks, but they don’t want any of the risks.

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That’s not how it works.

You don’t have to take huge risks. In this post I talk about how small of a monetary amount I risked to get some pretty significant returns.

Now, if you want to make bets, it’s +EV to have someone in your corner who’s been where you want to go and understands the roadmap that’s necessary to get there.

Many people get confused when I talk about the silliness of the ‘business/make money’ space online. I get a lot of emails asking if it’s bad to invest in coaches/courses, etc…

Of course not! It’s bad to invest in the wrong ones, and there happen to be a lot of them. People advising to go one route, when that’s not the route they actually profit from, and/or temporary income streams that are no longer optimal. I’ve mentioned a number of them in past posts like Infrastructures of Wealth, The Apple Stand Empire, The Penny Stakes of Business, Entrepreneurial Quicksand.

People who don’t invest in themselves to save money are just proving they don’t have an understanding of simple math.

If you’re trying to start a real business, and you could hire someone who’s started a real business to advise you, how much is that worth?

You could try to do it on your own, which is less short term ‘cost’, but it’s definitely -EV.

Example, let’s say you paid a mentor $5,000 to help you start your first business. That’s a big investment.

They say 80% of businesses fail, but most people go in blindfolded and hope for the best. It’s not really a surprise that they failed.

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They “save money” from not hiring people who know what they’re doing to help them succeed, and instead waste years of their time and money, because they wanted to save the “risk” of a +EV investment.

Anytime I want significant results from something in my life, I take the risk to increase the probability of success as much as possible.

Trying to re-invent the wheel every time would cost me significantly more time and money. The better play is to find someone who’s already been where you want to go and knows how to get the results you desire.

Study their blueprint, and you can always put your own twist on it later. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

When I started in poker, I got poker coaches. I spent thousands of dollars on coaches. But I made hundreds of thousands in return.

If I hired them and poker didn’t work out, fine. I move to the next bet. When the bets pay, they pay well. Remember, capped downside, high upside bets.

When I decided I wanted to get in incredible shape, I sought out someone who was in incredible shape to help me.

I didn’t just hire some random trainer because they said they were a trainer, I found someone who’d already had the results I wanted. Then I made a bet.

I paid $750 for the initial 10 sessions.

It was getting me the results I wanted, so I continued. I would go back to my trainer once/week to check in and get a workout in. So, I made lots of $750 investments. However, I got the body I’d always wanted. Small bet, ridiculously high payoff.

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If I’d tried to do it all myself, I’d still be struggling, and not have the results I wanted.

When I started in e-commerce it was the same thing. I got guidance from someone who’d already ran several successful e-commerce businesses. If I’d gone in blindfolded it would have been very difficult to have success.

No matter what you do you’ll have some risk. Getting guidance from the right people help lessen the risk, as well as maximize the upside.

I’ve hired multiple business coaches. Some end up being bad investments, some end up being good ones. The ones that don’t get a good return, the downside is capped. The ones that work out pay me back for any of the ones that don’t work 10x.

Same with business conferences. Some are horrible, and you leave feeling like you wasted time and money. Some are good. Some are great, and the great ones pay back for any of the others 10x.

As I’m writing more, I’ll either hire a writing coach, or pay a highly skilled editor. Maybe both. It’ll be almost impossible not to get a return on doing so. I’m investing in something I want to be better at, and will get better results for doing so.

The results you or I or anyone else have over the long run is a clear indication of if we’re willing to invest in ourselves.

The people who try to do everything themselves… they can succeed. It’ll just be less likely, and if they do it’ll be a lot slower road. Because the road they take to the end result they desire is filled with constant turns down the wrong road trying to get to the most optimal path. Someone who’d already been down the optimal path could have saved them a lot of time and money showing them how to find it.

Let’s say you’re trying to start a $100,000/yr income business, and it costs you $5k to hire a business coach to help you along the way, what’s the risk? Well, $5k, but that’s not the way to think about it.

Let’s pretend you fail 80% of the time without a coach, and 50% of the time with a coach.

Without a coach:

$100k/year business 20% of the time:

It means 4 times out of 5 you just fail and just stay on the same road you’re on right now. This gives you:

An additional $20k income(in expected value) year 1

With a coach:

50% of the time you succeed. This gives you:

An additional $50k income(in expected value) year 1

(note: This is obviously a very simplified example, but shows that even if you only made a slight increase in your chance of success and still failed 50% of the time, an investment in yourself is still a no brainer).

So not only do the people who attempt to ‘save’ $5k go way slower whether they’re succeeding slower, or just failing, they also lose a really obvious bet.

They lose by not betting at all, since they choose the -EV route of not investing on themselves.

In this scenario, a $5k investment would make them an additional $30k in year 1. That’s only including year 1, it doesn’t include the fact that for the times you succeed you continue making money. Money and knowledge compounds. So the 600% increased return in EV year 1 is just the initial return.

Yet, the people who don’t want the “risk” of losing $5k in this example, instead choose the -EV route of a path that’s 600% less expected return, just to avoid a short term monetary risk. They keep it safe in the bank making 1% a year, and wonder why they never get ahead. It’s because they constantly choose -EV routes to avoid temporary “risks” of betting on themselves.

If you’re getting the right map, it’s a smart investment.

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Stop being cheap and pay for the map.

Your attempt to “save” money, is costing you massive amounts of income and success in the long term.

What’s the treasure map you need? 

Why haven’t you invested in yourself to get it yet?

One of the smartest bets you’ll ever make in life… will be the bets you place on yourself.

Investing in your own success will reap you the greatest returns.

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