Every Saturday, I send out this special post with a few ideas I am reading and thinking about. Plus, a question I am meditating on.
If you wish to receive this post – apart from others I write regularly on investing, decision making, behavioral finance – please sign up below.
Book I’m Reading – One Small Step Can Change Your Life
“Go big or go home,” is a glorified adage. To change a habit, most people believe that they must take drastic steps. Like an austere lifestyle to get out of personal debt, quitting an addiction “cold turkey,” removing all their favorite foods from a diet. In most such cases, either the task is finished or they are. (often, it’s the latter.)
Not to forget that most people revert to their old habits as fast they dropped them. As Robert Maurer writes in his wonderful book –
Too often you meet with success in the short term only to find yourself falling back to your old ways when your initial bursts of enthusiasm fade. Radical change is like charging up a steep hill – you may run out of wind before you reach the crest or the thought of all the work ahead makes you give up no sooner than you’ve begun.
Instead, Maurer suggests a simpler and more sustainable way – Kaizen, which means continuous improvement. In the book, he discredits the notion of big change and instead, talks about “really small steps, ones that seem almost embarrassingly trivial at first,” to overcome the brain’s resistance to new behavior and improve each day.
When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur… Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.
Continuous improvement compounds over time. 1% of improvement at the end of a year is not 365%, but a whopping 3,778%! No wonder Albert Einstein called compound interest “the eighth wonder of the world.”
Articles I’m Reading
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Leonardo da Vinci had remarked. Einstein agreed when he said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
Then why does complexity get revered? Not just that, it also sells, according to Morgan Housel –
Particularly when the product is advice, the volume is associated with usefulness…Investment banking analysts create 100-page pitchbooks that no one – no one – reads, but clients still request… Charge a client for ten sentences of advice and they’ll leave in disgust. Give them a phone-book-size elaboration and they’ll pay you a fortune and refer their friends.
Housel highlights pertinent inherent biases for this. Like the mystique factor (“When you understand things I don’t, I have a hard time judging the limits of your knowledge in that field, which makes me more prone to taking your views at face value”), and an impression of control (“…only paying attention to a few variables while ignoring the majority of others can make you look ignorant”).
As tempting as complexity is, simplicity is what helps us understand things at a fundamental level and build expertise. Don’t you think so?
The surge in social media platforms where we can speak our minds has led to relentless brazen and unapologetic views, regardless of how extreme or inaccurate they are. This behavior has crept into our personal lives as well, writes my friend Vishal Kataria. Aggression has become the new assertive and has taken a toll on us.
Social media has amplified our lust for contact. The more brazen we become, the more attention we get, and the more important we feel. But in the process, we lose the ability to empathize, and the desire to work hard in order to make friendships and relationships work.
This loss of connections creates a void in our lives which we try to fill with mindless entertainment, meaningless relationships, spewing hatred over petty things outside our locus of control, and substance abuse.
Devdutt Pattanaik writes –
Within infinite myths lies the eternal truth, who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes, Indra but a hundred, you and I, but two.
It’s time we accept that what we don’t know far outweighs what we know, and choose to be more kind than right.
Thought I’m Meditating On
Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or creep or drip or crash. Be water, my friend. ~ Bruce Lee
A Question for You
Emotional baggage often occurs when we experience an event and wish that we could change the outcome. When we regret something, we usually have emotional baggage associated with that event. And regret is not the only way emotional baggage shows up in our lives. It can also fester itself within our insecurities, our fears, and the way we see the world.
One of the ways I have found to deal with emotional baggage is through acceptance. When we practice acceptance, we come face to face with the source of our regrets, fears, and insecurity. We come to peace with them, and take away their power to affect our lives. This causes us to let go of the fears and regrets that are holding us back, heal ourselves, and move on lives.
So my question to you is – Which emotional baggage are your letting go of today? What are you accepting?
Enjoy your weekend,