Between ‘energy’ drinks and lattes, the world’s hyped up and crazy. But it means most people are making terrible decisions, if they’re making them at all. Here’s my philosophy of drug use as it relates to financial freedom.
As an investor, have you ever thought about performance enhancing drugs?
You know, give you that little edge?
There are a number of socially sanctioned drugs available to the modern investor, but which one is right for you?
Now I’ll fess up, I’ve been struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with coffee, well caffeine really, since I was in my early 20s.
In one of my favourite Seinfeld skits, Jerry’s talking about the battle between night guy and morning guy. Night guy likes to stay up late and drink and party. Isn’t he worried about getting up and going to work? Nah, that’s morning guy’s problem. Every day morning guy wakes up and thinks, “Damn that night guy, he’s done it to me again.”
I used to have the same problem with coffee guy.
Coffee guy is excitable and full of passion. He runs on adrenal energy and has a ‘crash or crash through’ approach to life. Sometimes that’s all great. Sometimes it leads me right up the garden path.
When coffee guy’s on his high, everything’s awesome. He gets excited about everything. And he says the world in broad brushstrokes, like looking out the window of a speeding train.
So I’d wake up to find that coffee guy had booked me into a trekking holiday in the Andes, a Japanese calligraphy course AND signed me up for Zumba and a 12-month gym membership.
So that’s the first lesson I learnt. Don’t let coffee guy pick our life goals. He lives in a super-saturated world of colour. He can’t tell the difference between core life mission and ‘might be fun if I had ten lifetimes.’ Seriously. Japanese calligraphy.
The other thing I learnt about coffee guy is that he’s terrible at developing strategy. Coffee works the adrenals. They’re all about our fight or flight response. They release the charge we need to get us out of danger.
But by design, it’s a short burst of energy. And so I found that coffee guy wasn’t interested in developing methodical strategies that played out over multi-year time frames.
He wanted it all and he wanted it now. He turned his back on boring things like research, and steadily saving for a deposit. He was happy to gamble it all some high-risk, high-return strategy that just felt right in the moment.
Over priced cleaning products? Bring it on!
I learnt the hard way that coffee guy couldn’t be trusted. So I don’t let coffee guy near strategy and tactics anymore either. In fact, coffee guy only gets a run at social gatherings these days.
I think we all know how rushed life feels. And it feels like it’s a constant struggle to keep up. Coffee gives us that sense of keeping up… for a moment…
But maybe you’re not the problem. Maybe it’s the world that’s gone crazy. Maybe the world is revving into the red, and you were never meant to keep up.
One of the most common ambitions of my mentoring students is ‘more time.’ “The rat race should be open to all rats, but not made compulsory for the rest of us.”
And one of the key things I’ve learnt is that if you want to make good decisions, you’ve got to slow down.
When you’re laying out your life goals and trying to find your true calling in life, you’ve got to let all the dust settle – let all the prodding and pressure that comes at you fade into the back ground, until you come back to your true self. Your authentic self.
That authentic self is the life that wants to be lived. It’s like a destiny. And I believe that you’ll never find contentment until you align yourself with that. But to find it, you’ve got to slow down.
Same with tactics and strategy. You’ve got to come back to yourself and step from there. Don’t let coffee guy sign you up to getting up two hours earlier everyday to study. Come back to what’s reasonable and realistic, over the long-run.
Great legacies are often built little by little. The real challenge is keeping yourself driving forward after all the initial motivations have worn off, and you’re 5 years into a 20-year journey.
A friend of mine builds boats. Really beautiful boats. It’s just a hobby he enjoys, and he likes to take his time with it. Put a lot of care into each curve and each feature. He could probably bang them out a lot quicker if he wanted to, but you can really see how much work has gone into them. They’re truly works of art.
I think we can take the same approach to what we make of our lives. Slow down, take the care, focus on just one thing at a time, and then enjoy watching it unfold into something truly beautiful.
So that’s why I let beer guy make all my important decisions. Having a beer, sitting on the deck at the end of the day guy. Or sometimes, if I’m entertaining the ladies, chardonnay guy. He goes alright too.
These guys know how to slow down. Take some time to reflect, and come back to the things that are really important to me. As a result they make better decisions.
And then I run my tactics past several beers and a large pasta later guy. He’s very lazy. If the tactics work for him, then I know it’s doable.
(And yeah, I know, ideally, I should be consulting with meditation guy on all this. But I haven’t heard from him since the 70s. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got.)
But whatever you do, just don’t let the madness of the world stop you from running the race you were born to run.