Week’s Highlights

Some of the things that caught my interest this week.

If you’re thinking about how you’ll make it to retirement, here are six suggestions from NBC’s Kelsey Butler in January of last year. I’ve been thinking about retirement accounts a lot over the past couple of months, having blown through three of them over ten years.

The Tim Ferriss podcast with my hands-down favorite author Neil Gaiman. I first read Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek last spring (listened to the audiobook, twice in a row on several trips across Florida). Gaiman’s Neverwhere I read as a high-schooler, and that was my first introduction to the author. I’ve since read just about everything he’s written, including the Sandman series (straight through and then with the annotated editions from Leslie Klinger), American GodsStardust, and The Graveyard Book, to name a few.

If you have an Aubible subscription, get Sam Shepard’s True West, the West End production featuring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow) & Johnny Flynn. It’s a free download for subscribers (up to two Audible originals each month), and it’s really good.

Unroll.me. I was slow to get this one, but it really works! I’ve gone from a couple hundred emails a day down to less than 30. I’ve still got some clearing out to do, especially across multiple email addresses. but thus far, this has been an amazing help. Plus, its single daily email with previews of each email you’ve rolled (not unsubscribed but not individually let in) gives me one place to see if there’s anything there that I need.

 

April Reading

Books Bought:

  • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
  • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
  • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

Books Read:

  • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
  • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

Time is a finite resource

How do you spend it? What does your currency go towards? Are you doing things that make you happy?

Some of the more pervasive questions I’ve been asking myself of late. Over the past two years I’ve had roughly 4 different jobs, and I’m currently interviewing for a new position. (Several, actually, across disparate fields.) I’ve had okay “jobs”, and tended to excel in them. However, much of the work has been hollow. Or left me feeling hollow.

Certainly it’s a societal norm to trade hours for money. And we trade the best years of our life away in a notion that we’ll enjoy our retirement that much more.

Yet I’ve been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (finished it, and have actually begun rereading it). It’s one of those books that resonates with me. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin was another. Business-focused, creative, and with just enough balls to say that the system may be wrong.

When I was a president of a board, I recall bumping against the mindset often; the mindset that was resistant to change because “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”

And if that’s the kind of mindset I have to fight tooth-and-nail with, is that really how I want to be spending my time?

I think not.

Job hunting

I’ve been actively seeking a job for about a month. The current telecommunications work I’m doing has me traveling to much, and enjoying it too little. I’m reshaping my life. Lifestyle design, as Tim Ferriss calls it.

It’s odd, how things line up. When I started reading 4-Hour Work Week, I was in my final weekend of Evita. The show about Argentinian Eva Peron, and here the author is talking about tango in Argentina.

Some might call it coincidence. But I call it serendipity. My life has been filled with too many “coincidences” for it not to be something more.

For instance, I’ve never found a job looking for one. Yet, I’ve been working since I was 15. And in numerous positions. Somehow, every time I need a job, I get offered one. When I’m not even looking.

The past month nothing has come available for me. And yet over the past week, so much has happened. I’ll be hosting my own radio program (much like how Eva had her own weekly show in Evita…) and it looks like I may be going back into fundraising.

Without even trying. Serendipity.

The Art of Stopping Time

I’m often contemplating the lack of time that I have. Mostly I believe it’s self-inflicted. For instance, I’ve signed on to two new shows over the coming six months, and I’m currently working up in Georgia.

For starters, we all have problems. Little foibles that make us who we are, the struggles that define us. Or, that we assume define us.

In some of my recent reading, I’ve found that we can exert more control over how we spend out time. Get off the social media (I barely use it myself now). Quit checking email (but what if I miss something?). We’re all guilty of time-wasters. The things that we tell ourselves are important, when really it’s just FOMO: fear of missing out.

I like this tale from Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week:

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

-found on BeMoreWithLess.com