Simple Formula for Finding What You Should Do For a Living

“For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” - Benjamin Button


(Photo: The Dream)

Your life has mostly been decided by others. I am not sure what your religion is, but I can guess that it is the same as your parents and be right majority of the time. What you studied in college has most likely been “recommended” to you by your family. Chances are you will eventually lower your expectations and get married to someone because you are getting older and this is what is expected of you. After all, how else can you live the American dream of having 2.01 children and 2.28 cars?

You like to think that you are a captain of the ship, but in reality, almost everything has been chosen for you by your parents or society.

Deciding what you should do for a career which will consume the rest of your life is one of the most important questions you will have to answer. But how do you decide what you should do? Here is a very simple formula to decide your career based on what you want not what others have chosen for you. 

2014 Q1 Report

"The focus of most investors differs from that of value investors. Most investors are primarily oriented toward return, how much they can make and pay little attention to risk, how much they can lose."  - Seth Klarman


(Photo: 401K)

3 Best Things You Must Do If You Want to Succeed in Anything

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley

3 fingers

 (Photo: Mutiara Karina)

Over the years I have spent a lot of time learning and thinking about why certain people succeed or become wealthy while others do not. Why do some reach their goals while others continue to struggle year after year? Why do some people climb to great heights while others quit or resort to mediocrity? After all my success, and many, many failures, I have summarized the 3 most important things I learned, mostly through trial and error.

So, if you want to become wealthy, be great with the opposite sex, lose weight, start a business, find your ideal mate or anything else you dream of, these are the 3 most important things I believe you must do if you want to succeed. Doing these things will help you reach your goal easier, quicker and with a lot less friction. So let's get started: 

2013 Q4 – Report

“There actually are two risks in investing: One is to lose money and the other is to miss opportunity. You can eliminate either one, but you can’t eliminate both at the same time.” - Howard Marks

money(Photo: 401K)

How to Land Your Dream Job in 5 Simple Steps

"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life" - Confucious


(Photo: Marsmett Tallahassee)

During the summer vacation my junior year in high school I decide that I needed to get my first job. I applied for one at the local plant nursery. Being awkward, anti social and shy I figured that I was better suited to be around plants and shrubbery than people. I got the job, although in hindsight, it was most likely due to being the only applicant and not due to any amazing interview skills.

The first day on the job the boss asked me to bring the groceries into his house after shopping, which I was happy to do. That happiness quickly faded when I was attacked and bitten multiple times by his undersized, annoying and hyper dog. I am not sure what was worse; the pain from the bites or the fact that the boss thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. I was one hour into the first day job of my life and it already sucked worse than I could have imagined.

Over the next week things did not get much better. Besides being yelled at and belittled for every minor infraction by a bitter alcoholic ogre of a boss, I was also being paid $3.60 an hour, way under minimum wage at the time.

A few weeks into the job my boss, (let's call him “Drunky”) decided to send me to the local hardware store on my bicycle to pick up some paint. At that point I was happy to do anything which did not involve interacting with Drunky. I saw a sign at the hardware store that said that they were hiring and found out the pay was $4 an hour. That was over a 10% increase from the crap job I was in.

As I was riding back with the bag full of paint cans dangerously hanging from my handlebars, I decided that I either needed to get a raise or get a new job. So after delivering the paint cans, I told Drunky that the hardware store was hiring and they were offering $4.00 an hour which was a lot more than the $3.60 he was paying me. For some reason this caught Drunky off guard, I am not sure if this was actually due to my statement or to some sort of alcohol withdrawal symptom that he all of sudden experienced. But after asking me to repeat what I said and thinking about it for a few seconds he said...”Ok kid, I will raise your pay to $3.80”.

That was the last day I saw Drunky as I started my new career at the hardware store making $4.00 an hour. The job involved a lot of stocking shelves, doing inventory, scrubbing floors and loading lime and fertilizer bags into the trunks of stranger's cars. The job also sucked but just not as much. I made enough money that summer to buy a new BMX bike and some Rush albums.

I have often said that it is very difficult to become rich working for someone else but I have known a bunch of rich self made business owners who are miserable. The big question is what is it all for? Why do you want to be wealthy? For me, it was never about having fancy things, but more because I wanted freedom. I wanted the freedom to do what I desired each day and not have to put up with Drunky or loading fertilizer bags in people's cars.

I decided that working for a risky startup or starting my own business, even if it failed, was better than a steady paycheck doing something I hated. My outlook could have been completely different if I actually enjoyed the first few jobs I had or felt appreciated and challenged.

Starting your own business is not for everyone, and the path to happiness does not necessarily mean passing through Millionaire’s Row. If you wake up each morning happy to go to a job you love then you already have it better than 99% of the people on the planet. More money is not going to bring you any more joy. Working for someone else may never make you a multimillionaire but you have already won in the game of life so who cares.

What do you do if you don't have a desire to start your own business but merely want to work for a great company with great people and a great culture? Here is how to land your dream job in easy 5 steps. (This is exactly how I would do it if I had to do it all over again and had no desire to start my own business.)

Taming the Black Dog: How to Hack Depression

I'll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” ― Henry Rollins


(Photo: Nesster)

The Grey Dog

When depression comes it should come bearing a fruit basket, so while you are contemplating the insignificance of your existence you can at least enjoy an apricot or two. But depression comes bearing neither produce nor an instruction manual to help us make sense of the suffering or even a way out.

I was depressed most of my childhood and through my early 20s. As I built a better life for myself, the depression slowly lifted but has not disappeared completely. It still shows up in my life every once in a while but over the years I learned to deal with it. It’s much like an annoying uncle who comes to visit uninvited and whose presence you disdain but yet have learned to tolerate.

I want to share some of ways I have learned to deal with depression and the things that have really helped me. Over the years I have found numerous tricks and shortcuts to minimize and even prosper from depression. Most of these ideas are from trial and error, self experimentation and paying attention - trying to observe my own depression as an outsider.

The Ultra Rich Dumb Money Bubble

"Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent." - Marlon Brando

balloon dog(Photo: Charles Nouÿrit )

Over the last 5 years while most of Americans have struggled, the wealth and lives of the ultra rich have gotten better and better. For example the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (which should really be renamed “Dumb Stuff the Ultra Rich spend their Money on Index”) is up over 40%. If we dive deeper into the numbers we will find that over the last 5 years expensive watches are up 33%, Chinese Ceramics are up 43%, Collective stamps are up 83%, Art is up 12% and classic cars are up 115%. The problem with all of the items is that their price is not determined by any intrinsic value but rather by what someone else is willing to pay for it. If someone wants to spend millions of dollars for a small ceramic bowl they have all the right to do as they wish, but what is interesting to me is at what point does this ego fueled party come to an end?

2013 Q3 – Report

 "The best way to outperform is to avoid the disasters” - Jim Chanos 


(Photo: 401K)

101 Tips on Becoming Great

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” - Muhammad Ali  

if you want to become great

(Photo: *Eddie)

Ever since I got out of high school I have been keeping track of anything I come across which I think could benefit me. Whether it is a saying, an insight, or a different way of viewing the world, I was looking for anything which might help me to become better. Over the years, I have accumulated notebooks and spreadsheets full of things categorized by different topics. I want to share as much as I can with you.

Many of these tips are things I figured out on my own, a lot are quotes and ideas I came across over years of reading, listening and thinking. I tried to give credit where credit is due, but many ideas are without attribution only because I did not write them down at the time and came back to them after some reflection.

I hope one or two ideas might change the way you view the world and your life and I hope that there is something in my writings which will help you become the best you.

When Will a Toyota Corolla be Faster than a Porsche? The Moore’s Law of Automobile Performance

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” - Aldous Huxley


(Photo: CarSpotter)

I recently wrote an article mentioning about how my old Acura Integra was faster than the fastest car from the 1920's and 1930's. The point was not that my Acura was necessarily fast (it was not) but that over the years the automotive technology has improved so much that even an average old jalopy, made over the last 20 years, is on average faster than the fastest cars made even 60 years ago. I decided to see just how fast that evolution was taking place and just how long it would take for your average car to be as fast as a sports car made today. For comparison I took the Porsche Boxter.

Depending what model we look at, the Boxter 0 to 60 times are between 4.2 and 5.5 seconds. I decided to use a good round number of 5 seconds as the time to reach for. I also picked a few car models which are not known for their speed and whose performance data went back at least two decades. I used 0 to 60 website to gather the information and used the fastest time for each year on each model. So how do the numbers look?