Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Becoming Accustomed

Pause before you look at people who are richer than you to learn about money. If you want to create a buffer for the noise. If you want space to breathe, then the best place to look is how you spend money. How could you live on half of what you spend? The best place to learn is from people who are living on half of what you are. The key to stilling the waves of money anxiety is the relationship between income and expenses. The ins and outs, and the balance between the two.

Someone who is earning a lot of money, but spending even more, will be progressively getting more into debt. Making it increasingly hard to reduce their expenses. Becoming accustomed to a lifestyle they can not afford. Even if their income is growing, they are not on the path to financial freedom. They are going to be stressed, and full of money anxiety. Whereas someone who is earning half of what you do, can offer you lessons on how to gradually build up a buffer.

The Dance of Ins and Outs

Monday, November 30, 2020

Reply All

I have been lucky to work with awesome people. My colleagues are the part I miss most about a Corporate life, and the thing I am looking most forward to in the trade-offs of a return. You spend a lot of time with the people you work with. Those teams change. As time grows since my first job, it is interesting mentally going through the list of who I have worked with, and where they are now. The old adage of repairing a boat panel by panel, till you ask if it is the same boat. I once got a job as a waiter at a restaurant I loved eating at. Turned out management was awful to staff, and then switched on their smiles. The same can be true in “Reply All” slip ups, and emails forwarded without looking at the full trail. False smiles will out, and containers will change. I love being part of a team, but have gradually realised my real loyalty lies with the people I have connected with. Not the dynamic containers we were using at the time. Clients become colleagues. Colleagues become competitors. Competitors become colleagues. We are all connected, across time and through actions. Money is made in containers with barriers to entry and exit. We are not made in one container. There is always a bigger container that matters more, and will last longer.

You need boxes to move.
But boxes are not the point.

Window Shopping

Relativity is one of the biggest obstacles to mental health. When we wish we were in the position of someone else, and judge ourselves through others. When you hear about good fortune of people you know, and it does not make you feel good. When you go visit friends or family in bigger houses, or when you go on holiday, and are constantly aware of the things you do not have. Window shopping into other lives. We only have a small peak. We never see the full picture. We cannot understand their full story. We only see the conspicuous. We do not see the trade-offs. We do not see the challenges. We glimpse a single angle snapshot of another life path.

Letting go of that idea is vital to be able to fully focus our energy on whatever our bits of the puzzle are. Whatever our choices are. Whatever our position is. That is not accepting your role in life. It is letting go of the idea that people are better or worse.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Comfort within Discomfort

Find comfort within discomfort. That does not mean pushing through pain. With yoga and stretching, to progress, you do not need to hurt yourself. You can learn within limits. You can learn by understanding the boundaries, and doing the work inside of that. Playing, and moving around, in your areas of slight discomfort. Be curious about transitions that are not smooth.

A lot of meditative work can be done through movement and dancing. Being aware of, “Ooo, this bit there is tight. I am going to move my shoulder more. I am a bit stiff in my lower back, I am going to do some moving there.” It is about understanding where you carry your tension. You can go for a run. A swim. Lift your arms over your head. Pick something up. Reach for something. Our minds learn in the way our body does. Through an embodied use-it-or-loose-it process of leaning into areas of discomfort (without hurting yourself) and building endurance and resilience. Through consistent engagement.

Twist and Breathe

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Keep Playing

In a pure play Meritocracy, Mr Shaibel would tell you to resign before you even sat down at the table. If you knew the opponent was better, you would not bother to pull out the chair. A fundamental rule of money is that price is not value. The idea that money is a measure of merit is bizarre. All money is, is a balancing machine for supply and demand of things you can count, control, and contain. Money is made in boxes with barriers to entry. That allows us to learn to play the game even when we are not the world champion. The world champion is not always the opponent. We all have to eat, so we use multiple boards. You do not have to point potential clients to someone who does a better job than you. You get pieces. You play. Win or lose, you learn and keep playing.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Finding a Path

When you are looking for the commitment required for long-term endurance, the path is through complex relationship building. Understanding money is relatively easy by comparison. There are significantly more interesting ways of releasing flavour, that we do not seek out because it requires work. Work that is profoundly rewarding, but asks a lot of us. Asks us to be better. In a way that is not relative to other people. That neither excludes others, nor creates bubbles of comforting success. A deeper sense of better. Through grappling, struggling, and engaging. It is beautifully difficult. You must want that beauty.

I suspect most of us default to the path of least resistance. Responding to confidence in a complicated world. We are all so confused, that if someone looks confident, it is enticing to say, “I’ll just do what they told me to do.” Freedom of movement requires strength and flexibility built consciously and actively, rather than the passive following of instruction.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Darkness

The challenge we face with politics is that we want it. The most political people I know use phrases like “leave your ego at the door”, and ask “how do we get rid of the politics?” without a hint of irony. The darkness from lack of transparency protects our interests and vulnerabilities. We like positioning ourselves against other people, if we come out on top. We like the sense of superiority. We like getting better. We like progress. We like being incentivised. We like action. We like feeling like we are doing something right, and moving forward.

We create these hierarchies as a way of making sense of the world. As a way of feeling like we are moving. Feeling a sense of life. It is an easy option to measure the world. Money is like salt, fat, and sugar for the taste buds. It is not subtle flavouring.

Thursday, November 19, 2020


A share is a slice of ownership in an underlying business. Ownership is not participation in profits based on your productive contribution. That is just an alternative form of salary. A share in the spoils (or losses) as your price. Ownership exists separately from personal contribution. I have worked at three companies, and only owned shares in one of them. Those were given to me in 2004 as part of a Broad-Based Economic Empowerment scheme. Everyone who worked at the company got a little. Those who did not work there, were welcome to buy them. At the other privately held firms, I was a sellsword. I took what I earned and built my engine of capital outside where I was working. The three base ingredients of money-making are (1) money, (2) problem-solving, and (3) a container. Do not just think about “big ideas” and merit to solve problems. Money makes money by scaling problem-solving, and providing strength and flexibility that exists beyond personal merit. Containers create the barriers to entry and vehicle to allow ownership. Ownership allows you to free your labour from the narrow constraints of supply and demand. Your container is not the place you work. Unless you are a real owner.