Sunday, August 20, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5701.  If you take five minutes before you meet someone to really think about what they value, how they communicate and how you can serve them, everything will change because you’re actually putting in thought and work into how you’re communicating rather than thinking that because you can speak you’re somehow a master communicator;
5702.  When you have a quick trigger for stress, you reduce the quality of your life and everything in it;
5703.  It doesn’t matter how good things are going externally if your emotional home is fragmented and stressed;
5704.  Every single emotion that you have in your life is a choice.  Once you’re aware of an emotion, you’re officially holding on to it;
5705.  Once you’re aware of an emotion, you are in complete control of your emotions at any given moment of your day.  You may not be in control of how they trigger, but once you are feeling an emotion and you’re aware of it.  It is in your power to change;
5706.  Meaning and events only have the significance that you ascribe to them;
5707.  Your emotions are the quality of your life and if anyone in the world can affect them in a negative way then you are not in control of your life and you are going to live a stressful experience;
5708.  You’re not getting stressed because of what’s happening in the world, at a deeper level, you’re getting stressed because you’re not in control.  All you need to do is to take ownership of your emotions and, in doing so, you can set yourself free;
5709.  Without leverage, you will remain stuck because you’re already leveraged in your current position.  You must have reasons, whether you’re aware of them or not, to continue doing your current behavior or it would have changed already.  Until you have a reason more powerful than what’s keeping you here, you’re going to stay exactly where you are;
5710.  There is no change without action and action only comes from a reason to do it;
5711.  Stop focusing on the how.  There is an unlimited amount of how and a how that works for you may not work for someone else.  Instead, focus on the why;
5712.  Leverage gives you the permission you need to keep trying all the different “hows” with everything you’ve got until you find a way through.  Commitment is building a total and ruthless focus on something that will allow you to plug the endless amount of answers that you could use into your life and actually start the experiment to find which one of them is going to work the most effective way;
5713.  Mastering leverage is about understanding that the human brain at all times is craving pleasure and avoiding pain.  Everything that you do in your life is at some level avoiding pain and about seeking pleasure;
5714.  The reason that you haven’t changed is that your brain thinks it’s more painful to change than it is to stay where you are;
5715.  Leverage is finding a reason to create change in your life where staying where you are, your current model of the world, your current reality and your current habits are more painful than changing;
5716.  A way to create leverage is to show your mind the real consequences of your actions if you fail to make a change;
5717.  Anything that you find important and care about you can tie to leverage to make change;
5718.  When I’m old and grey, what will I regret more?  Going after my dreams or settling for what I already have?
5719.  The key area for growth is recognizing that it doesn’t have to be certain.  You don’t have to have the perfect answer.  It just has to be good enough;
5720.  If you’re scared of failure or the rejection you may encounter from trying something new, acknowledge it.  Get comfortable with that fear.  We’re all truly fearful of failing at things that are important to us.  But you need to give yourself permission to feel that fear and go for it;
5721.  If you just feel the fear and run away then you’re never going to move forward;
5722.  Most of the time, it’s the expectations that we’ve set for ourselves that keep us locked down on a specific way we think we should be living our lives.  We’re afraid to make changes (that we know deep down in our hearts that we need to change) because we are looking for certainty that our changes will be the “right” ones;
5723.  You’ll never be sure about the outcomes of anything unless you actually take the actions to try and experience it for yourself;
5724.  The easiest way to get you to do anything is to create some fear or pain for you to run away from;
5725.  Respect is how to treat everyone not just those you want to impress;
5726.  It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love.  This is how the whole scheme of things works.  All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get;
5727.  It’s not in chasing happiness that we find it, but by practicing gratitude and compassion, which makes us feel deeply connected and fulfilled, which is what really makes us happy;
5728.  While empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes – to understand their situation and share their feelings – compassion is the concern and pity for their plight.  It’s the ability to feel their pain and to want to soothe it – just as you would want to soothe that pain if it were your own;
5729.  If we are compassionate towards others, it can help us to have a greater appreciation and gratitude for our own blessings in life.  For instance, when we empathize with someone who is sick, it helps us to appreciate the great blessing of our own health.  And if we have a strong sense of appreciation and gratitude in our own life, it can, in turn, help us to have a greater capacity for empathy and compassion towards others because a strong gratitude practice puts us in a mental position of resiliency that can fortify our ability to empathize;
5730.  Because of the way the brain works, the quickest way to greater happiness is not by chasing happiness itself.  Instead, it’s by cultivating and actively practicing gratitude and compassion in our lives;
5731.  In today’s world, there are many, who are willing to die for their religion, but no one is willing to live according to their religion’s principles;
5732.  It’s not in constantly chasing the things that we think we want that leads to a sense of “enoughness.”  It is rather the practice of gratitude for what we already have that makes our life feel full;
5733.  It’s not seeking love and acceptance from others that makes us feel valued (and validated).  Instead, it is instead practicing empathy and compassion for others that makes us feel truly connected;
5734.  Everything is temporary.  Your good times are temporary and your bad times are temporary.  So when you’re up, enjoy it, bask in it and be grateful for it.  And when you’re down, know you will get through it.  Know that it’s not the end and that it’s just a rough patch.  Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs and surprises;
5735.  It’s about the journey not the destination.  There is a lesson in everything.  Recognizing the full worth of your hardships and your blunders is key to appreciating the journey;
5736.  More often than not, we tend to worry about what’s to come or dwell on something that’s already happened.  While it’s crucial to care and consider your future, be careful not to let it hinder your present.  Moments turn into memories.  Enjoy the moment while you have it;
5737.  Worrying isn’t productive.  Living in the past is equally unproductive;
5738.  Your work is a considerably large aspect in your life that you dedicate yourself to.  If you aren’t happy in your career, that unhappiness will seep into other aspects of your life.  And while nothing is perfect, it’s important to work on yourself and position yourself to reach the goals and satisfactions you desire;
5739.  Invest in yourself.  This goes for your non-work life too.  What habits and hobbies do you want to stop?  Which ones do you want to develop?  It’s important to be conscious of the type of people and activities you surround yourself with.  Information is like nutrients to your brain, be aware of what you are feeding yourself;
5740.  Success isn’t one triumphant moment.  Success is a series of moments (and choices) leading up to bigger moments;
5741.  You are the only person who can get in the way of living every day doing what you love;
5742.  What’s money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do;
5743.  The happiest people tend to be the ones who’ve worked the most on themselves.  Being happy takes a lot of work.  It’s just as much work, if not more, to be unhappy.  So choose wisely;
5744.  Being happy means at some point you decided to take control of your life.  It means you decided to not be a victim and to put that energy back into yourself.  Sometimes it’s hard, but you have to pull yourself up and push yourself forward;
5745.  Your lifetime is a series of developments and personal growth;
5746.  One of the worst things you can do for self-development is comparing yourself to other people.  It’s easy to get caught up in jealousy and wanting what other people have.  Especially with the way we interact with social media.  You have to remember that people tend to show only the best parts of their lives on those platforms.  It’s not fair to yourself when you see that and think, “I want to do that” or “I want to look like that.”  Not only does that distract you from being appreciative of what you have in our own life, it doesn’t provide any productive input to yourself.  Most often, your perception of someone’s life is a fallacy.  And even if it isn’t, focus on yourself.  It’s your journey and your path that you should be concerned with;
5747.  Being happy takes practice.  Whether it’s you learning to let go of your ego or forming more self-loving habits, it takes practice;
5748.  You only have one life, work as hard as you can to make it your best life;
5749.  To get to a true sense of wonder, we have to let go of expectation;
5750.  To get to peace, we have to let go of control;

Monday, August 7, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5651.  Your goal should not be to be better than anyone else, your goal should be to be better than you used to be;
5652.  Even religious girls like sex;
5653.  What’s so amazing about being right?  Is it really the greatest feeling in the world?  Would you really rather be right than be connected and loving with the people around you?  Would you rather be right than have someone in tears thanking you for how much you changed their life?  Would you really rather be right than do something for someone else that lights them up?  You wouldn’t;
5654.  If you’re focusing on being right, you’re not learning and you’re not connecting.  So come from the heart and not from the head, commit to letting this go and all will change in a matter of weeks;
5655.  If we risk nothing, we risk everything;
5656.  People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.  You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary.  Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke?  You’d distance yourself and you should do the same with complainers.  A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem.  They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction;
5657.  When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness;
5658.  When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them.
5659.  While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt.  That way, no matter what (toxic) people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within;
5660.  Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain, you’re never as good or bad as they say you are;
5661.  Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state.  When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress.  When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress;
5662.  Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget.  Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on.  It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance;
5663.  There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (i.e., the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it.  Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary and self-defeating.  It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of.  You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs;
5664.  Drinking apple cider vinegar (i.e., one capful in a glass of water) will whiten your teeth;
5665.  Drinking apple cider vinegar will (also) get rid of bad breath;
5566.  “Treacle” is the British term for molasses;
5667.  Regardless of how challenging something is, it’s always our reaction to it that will dictate how much it is going to impact our lives.  You decide how much and for how long, getting cut off on the highway is going to piss you off and you decide how much someone’s poor opinion of you is going to make you shell up in insecurity.  Let your natural reactions happen, but then consciously choose how long you want to let them impact everything else;
5668.  You should always have enough money for what matters;
5669.  People are going to hate you no matter what you do.  You can try and people please your entire life, but no matter what, some people are always going to dislike you.  So rather than wasting your time trying to match what you think is the most acceptable, spend that time accepting who you are;
5670.  To unjustly direct blame towards a circumstance or other person may seem relieving, but in the long term it takes its toll.  The less you take responsibility for your actions and decision making, the weaker you become mentally.  Taking responsibility may come with some immediate repercussions, but, over time, it builds a life founded on honesty and it strengthens your ability to tackle challenges when they arise;
5671.  People don’t think of you as much as you think they do.  People are too concerned with themselves to give you as much as attention as you think they are;
5672.  Not even the perfect relationship is going to complete you.  True happiness comes from within and can never be filled in by another.  Relationships are an extension of our happiness and not the basis of it, so focus on strengthening the one with yourself and all of the others will follow;
5673.  People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel;
5674.  Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right;
5675.  Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence;
5676.  If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.  If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough;
5677.  Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent;
5678.  To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart;
5679.  Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears;
5680.  Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value;
5681.  You’re not a product of your circumstances.  You’re a product of your decisions;
5682.  The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any;
5683.  A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new;
5684.  When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us;
5685.  The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be;
5686.  The ideal work-to-break ratio is 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest.  People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work.  For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish.  They didn’t check Facebook “real quick” or get distracted by e-mails.  When they felt fatigue (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work.  This helped them to dive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work;
5687.  The brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (i.e., roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (i.e., 15-20 minutes);
5688.  The breaks we take aren’t real breaks (i.e., checking your e-mail and watching YouTube doesn’t recharge you the same way as taking a walk does);
5689.  Breaks such as walking, reading and chatting are the most effective forms of recharging because they take you away from your work;
5690.  It’s far more productive to rest for short periods than it is to keep on working when you’re tired and distracted;
5691.  The next time painful or stressful feelings threaten to overwhelm you, here is what you do: Get something to write with.  Get something to write on.  Write down a word that describes the emotion you’re experiencing.  It doesn’t have to be comprehensive.  Just a word or two will do.  Affect labeling, the act of naming one’s emotional state, helps to blunt the immediate impact of negative feelings and start the process of climbing back down from stress;
5692.  Yes, it’s a risk to switch careers with a mortgage and debt and two kids heading into college.  But which is worse: To take the risk for greatness or to stay in the same job where you know you’re miserable and in a few years you’ll still be miserable and now older to boot?  The first situation risks failure, but what so many people don’t realize is that the second situation guarantees it;
5693.  The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation;
5694.  Discovering what adds meaning to your life will very often add meaning to others’ lives as well.  And the money will follow;
5695.  Traits to embrace to live a fuller and more deeply passionate life include: 1.  An appreciation for beauty; 2.  Sense of purpose; 3.  Resistance to enculturation; 4.  Welcoming the unknown; 5.  High enthusiasm; 6.  Inner-directedness; 7.  Detachment from outcome; 8.  Independence of the good opinion of others; and 9.  An absence of a compelling need to exert control over others;
5696.  Every single person you meet your entire life has a particular window through which you need to communicate with them if you want to communicate with them.  Every single person you meet will have a different sized window that will be constantly changing.  Some people’s window is the size of a postage stamp.  You must communicate with them following their rules, their language and their words or you’re not going to have any real level of communication with them.  Other people’s windows are so big, they’re basically the size of the known universe.  You can communicate with them in any way you want and they will do their absolute best to understand you, respect you, be open to you and generally be a delight to speak to;
5697.  All great communicators have one thing in common.  They are obsessed with finding the boundaries of the other person’s window so they can communicate with the person.  They do not waste time moaning that people are not meeting their window;
5698.  It’s critical to understand that each and every person you meet needs a different language set from you for them to see you as part of the same tribe.  And considering we are all humans, we are all part of the same tribe.  Everyone on the planet has many different sides to their personality and we should aim to create the safest place that we can for communication with other people.  That means making sure that we show people the side of our personality that they can connect with, that they can understand and that they can appreciate;
5699.  Depending on the people you’re around, depending on the social hierarchy and the status of all the people, you may want to be very quiet and just listen or you may want to be very up-tempo and try and create energy.  Match and follow those around you and find the zone of “just right;”
5700.  Thinking that you can get people to communicate with you without going to them first is like going to France and expecting everyone in France to speak English;

Monday, July 24, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5601.  Apparently, Aruba is off the coast of Venezuela and, on a clear day, you can see it;
5602.  The casinos in Aruba are (pretty) small;
5603.  When (you’re) snorkeling, don’t put your mask completely horizontal/flat in the water . . . angle it slightly up(ward) (i.e., it’ll help keep the snorkel out of the water);
5604.  You may have been taught that strength is measured by how “hard” you are in your thinking or how inflexible you are in your opinions.  You may have been told that weakness is associated with those who bend.  But when confronted with any stressful situation, keep in mind that being stiff won’t get you very far, whereas being flexible will carry you through;
5605.  Change the way you think about strength.  Aren’t the physically and mentally strong those who can bend and adapt to life especially as we age?  The more you think in rigid ways and refrain from considering other points of view, the more you’re liable to break.  Our minds and our bodies need flexibility to thrive.  When we see ourselves as flexible and supple, we are able to bend in harmony with our source;
5606.  The Asian pear salad (with baby arugula, Belgian endive, walnuts & cider vinaigrette) at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse (BobbyVans.com) is tasty;
5607.  Actively creating the conditions and cultivating the habits that reduce and temper our fear response and promote internal peace are the very things that open the door for more abundance to show up in our lives;
5608.  Apparently, your shower valve can affect the hot water in the rest of your place;
5609.  Lost Rhino Root Beer (LostRhino.com) is dangerous.  You can’t taste the alcohol at all;
5610.  Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will;
5611.  A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave;
5612.  To create change in every aspect of your life, you must continually push the bar.  But the truth is, the standards you set for yourself and everyone around you determine the difference between acceptable results and extraordinary results – the chasm between good and great.  Surround yourself with people who are striving for life at the next level.  Together, you can challenge, support and push each other;
5613.  The corona of the National Museum of African American History & Culture is at the same angle as the pyramidion atop the Washington Monument (i.e., 17.4 degrees);
5614.  $300 million of the (over) $500 million it cost to build the National Museum of African American History & Culture was raised through private donations;
5615.  In the U.S., there’s only about 300 female, African America architects;
5616.  Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public;
5617.  It would be absurd for anyone of us to say that you should be grateful for everything that happens to you, but you can be grateful in every moment;
5618.  Just discussing a goal or idea you have socially will actually trigger a reward mechanism in your brain.  Meaning that just talking about your goals or ideas to a group of friends will make you feel like you’ve actually done something worthwhile.  This tricks us into thinking we are making progress when in fact we are doing nothing and allows us to continue living in a fantasy land full of our own progress;
5619.  Ideas mean nothing.  The greatest idea in the world will never put money on the table or impact the world.  The only thing that matters is execution and actually creating the world you want to live in;
5620.  Coming up with a good idea takes a few seconds.  Turning that idea into something in the real world takes years;
5621.  Audacious plans require an audacious work ethic;
5622.  You build a new belief by brainwashing yourself each and every day.  The same way that you have to exercise daily to get the body you want, you have to exercise daily to get the mind that you want.  You need to start focusing on what you have done, who you are and what you will do rather than the opposite.  Each and every single day, you need to write out with a pen and paper why you should believe in yourself, why you should be confident and why you should be grateful for yourself.  Sometimes it might take you 5 minutes to come up with an answer, but just keep trying.  Eventually, you notice you start feeling better 1 day out of 3.  Focus on that one day, focus on the bright spots and eventually that one day will become 2 out of 3 and then eventually 3 out of 3.  It just takes doing the work;
5623.  Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you can see how your company’s 401(k) plan stacks up by using the “Fee Checker” tool at ShowMeTheFees.com;
5624.  In reality, all financial advisors fall into just one of three categories: 1.  A broker; 2.  An independent advisor; or 3.  A dually registered advisor;
5625.  About 90% of all financial advisors in America are brokers.  They’re paid a fee or commission for selling products.  Many of them work for enormous Wall Street banks, brokerage houses and insurance companies;
5626.  Brokers don’t have to recommend the best product for you.  All they’re obliged to do is follow what’s known as the “suitability” standard.  That means they must simply believe that any recommendations they make are “suitable” for their clients.  Suitability is an extremely low bar to clear;
5627.  Brokers and their employers earn more by recommending certain products.  For example, an actively managed fund with high expenses will be far more lucrative for the broker and the brokerage house than a low-cost index fund, which will be far more lucrative for you and your family;
5628.  The United Kingdom has a fiduciary standard, which means that all financial advisors are required by law to act in their clients’ best interests.  Australia also has a fiduciary standard;
5629.  No matter how much you may like your broker, your broker is not your friend;
5630.  Of 308,937 financial advisors in the United States, only 31,000 – approximately 10% – are registered investment advisors (also known as RIAs or independent advisors).  Like doctors and lawyers, they have a fiduciary duty and a legal obligation to act in their clients’ best interests at all times;
5631.  How come there are so few RIAs, if this is such a superior model?  The most obvious reason is that brokers tend to earn a lot more money.  All those fat fees from selling financial products can be extremely lucrative.  By contrast, RIAs don’t accept sales commissions.  Instead, they typically charge a flat fee for financial advice or a percentage of their clients’ assets under management;
5632.  The vast majority of independent advisors are registered as both fiduciaries and brokers.  In fact, as many as 26,000 out of 31,000 RIAs operate in this grey area where they have one foot in both camps.  Only 5,000 of the nation’s 310,000 financial advisors are pure fiduciaries.  That’s a measly 1.6%;
5633.  Conflicts of interest can arise even when you’re working with an independent advisor – typically involving clever, but legal schemes to make additional money off you while you’re looking the other way;
5634.  You should watch out for: 1.  Proprietary funds – Brokers routinely sell proprietary funds created by the their own firm.  It’s a not-so-subtle strategy for keeping fees in the family.  Most clients aren’t even aware that they’re buying funds owned by the same firm.  That’s because the fund arm and the advisory arm typically operate under different brand names; 2.  An additional fee for doing nothing – You pay an advisor a fee to manage your money – let’s say, 1% of your assets.  The advisor recommends a “model portfolio”, which has its own additional fee – let’s say, .25% of your assets.  This fee is over and above the cost of the underlying investments in your portfolio.  But nothing additional is being done for you: the “model portfolio” consists of various investments the advisor has assembled, which is what you paid him to do in the first place.  If an advisor charges a money management fee for selecting investments, that should be it.  End of story; and 3.  A consulting fee – Some independent advisors make private deals with investment firms that enable the advisor to earn commissions without you knowing it.  Your advisor recommends the funds of a specific mutual fund company.  The advisor can’t do anything as tawdry as receiving a backdoor commission from the fund company in return for recommending its products.  So the advisor approaches the fund company and asks instead for a “consulting fee;”
5635.  How can you tell if a particular fiduciary has the right skills and experience for you: 1.  Check out the advisor’s credentials – If you’re looking for planning help, make sure the advisor has a certified financial planner (CFP) on the team.  If you’re looking for legal help, make sure there are estate planning attorneys on the team.  Looking for tax advice?  Make sure there are CPAs on the team; 2.  Ideally, if you’re using an advisor, you should be getting more than just someone to design your investment strategy – What you really need is someone who can help you as the years go by to grow your overall wealth by showing you how to save money on your mortgage, insurance, taxes and so – someone who can also help you to design and protect your legacy.  It’s important to have this breadth of expertise since taxes alone can make a difference of 30% to 50% in what you retain from your investments today; 3.  You want to make sure your advisor has experience in working with people just like you – Does s/he have the track record to prove s/he’s performed well for clients in your position with your needs?; 4.  It’s also important to make sure that you and your advisor are aligned philosophically – For example, does s/he believe s/he can beat the market over the long run by picking individual stocks or actively managed funds?  Or does s/he recognize that the odds of beating the market are low, leading her/him to focus on selecting a well-diversified portfolio of index funds?; and 5.  It’s important to find an advisor you can relate to on a personal level – A good advisor will be a partner and ally for many years, guiding you on a long-distance financial journey.  It’s a professional relationship, but isn’t money also a deeply personal subject for you?  It’s tied up with our hopes and dreams, our desire to take care of the next generation, to have a charitable impact and to live an extraordinary life on our own terms.  It helps if you can have these conversations with an advisor you connect with, trust and like;
5636.  Seven key questions to ask any advisor: 1.  Are you a registered investment advisor?  If the answer is no, this advisor is a broker.  If the answer is yes, s/he is required by law to be a fiduciary; 2.  Are you (or your firm) affiliated with a broker-dealer?  If the answer is yes, you’re dealing with someone who can act as a broker and usually has an incentive to steer you to specific investments.  One easy way to figure this out is to glance at the bottom of the advisor’s website or business cards and see if there’s a sentence like “Securities offered through [advisor’s company name], member FINRA and SIPC.”  If you see these words, it means s/he can act as a broker; 3.  Does your firm offer proprietary mutual funds or separately managed accounts?  You want the answer to be an emphatic no; 4.  Do you or your firm receive any third-party compensation for recommending particular investments?; 5.  What’s your philosophy when it comes to investing?  This will help you to understand whether or not the advisor believes that s/he can beat the market by picking individual stocks or actively managed funds; 6.  What financial planning services do you offer beyond investment strategy and portfolio management?  Ideally you want an advisor who can bring tools for tax efficiency in all aspects of your planning from your investment planning to your business planning to your estate planning; and 7.  Where will my money be held?  A fiduciary advisor should always use a third-party custodian to hold your funds.  You sign a limited power of attorney that gives the advisory the right to manage the money, but never to make withdrawals;
5637.  Core (investing) principle 1: Don’t lose – The first question that every great investor asks constantly is “How can I avoid losing money?”
5638.  The more money you lose, the harder it is to get back to where you started;
5639.  The most successful investors recognize that none of us can consistently predict what the future holds.  With that in mind, they always guard against the risk of unexpected events – and the risk that they themselves can be wrong, regardless of how smart they are;
5640.  We have to design an asset allocation that ensure that we’ll “still be okay,” even when we’re wrong;
5641.  Asset allocation is simply a matter of establishing the right mix of different types of investments, diversifying among them in such a way that you reduce your risks and maximize your rewards;
5642.  Core (investing) principle 2: Asymmetric risk/reward – According to conventional wisdom, you need to take big risks to achieve big returns.  The best investors don’t fall for the high-risk, high-reward myth.  Instead, they hunt for investment opportunities that offer what they call asymmetric risk/rewards: a fancy way of saying that the rewards should vastly outweigh the risks.  In other words, these winning investors always seek to risk as little as possible to make as much as possible;
5643.  Five-to-one is Paul Tudor Jones’s ideal investment.  He obviously can’t find that ratio every time.  In some cases, the ratio of three-to-one is his target;
5644.  Four important ways to diversify effectively: 1.  Diversify across different asset classes (i.e., real estate, stocks, bonds or any single investment class); 2.  Diversify within asset classes (i.e., don’t put all your money in a favorite stock such as Apple, a single M.L.P. or one piece of waterfront real estate that could be washed away in a storm); 3.  Diversify across markets, countries and currencies around the world; and 4.  Diversify across time (i.e., dollar-cost averaging);
5645.  Beyond Meat’s (BeyondMeat.com) “The Beyond Burger” tastes (pretty) good.  It (actually) tastes like meat, but it does have a funny, lingering aftertaste;
5646.  I can say I’ve weeded with Barry Trotz (the head coach of the Washington Capitals);
5647.  Hard choices easy life.  Easy choices hard life;
5648.  Miley Cyrus has a lot of (inner) arm tattoos;
5649.  We accept the love we think we deserve;
5650.  We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there;

Monday, July 10, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5551.  Most people spend their life searching for something big neglecting something small that they already have;
5552.  Many people chase a dream just because they think it is an easy route to success.  This means the real reason they enter a career is because of their desire to be successful and not because of the passion for pursuing it;
5553.  If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change;
5554.  Execution trumps knowledge every day of the week;
5555.  History is but a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us and not on where we are headed.  The past is not necessarily prologue to the future;
5556.  Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be.  Be one;
5557.  Money is only a tool.  It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver;
5558.  When any market falls by at least 10% from its peak, it’s called a correction;
5559.  When a market falls by at least 20% from its peak, it’s called a bear market;
5560.  On average, there’s been a market correction every year since 1900;
5561.  You’ll experience the same number of corrections as birthdays;
5562.  Historically, the average correction has lasted only 54 days – less than two months;
5563.  In the average correction over the last 100 years, the market has fallen only 13.5%;
5564.  From 1980 through the end of 2015, the average drop was 14.2%;
5565.  Fewer than one in five corrections escalate to the point where they become a bear market;
5566.  There were 35 bear markets in the 115 years between 1900 and 2015.  On average, they happened nearly once every three years;
5567.  More recently, bear markets have occurred slightly less often: in the 70 years since 1946, there have been 14 of them.  That’s a rate of one bear market every five years;
5568.  In more than a third of bear markets, the index plunged by more than 40%;
5569.  Bear markets vary widely in duration from a month and a half (i.e., 45 days) to nearly 2 years (i.e., 694 days).  On average, they lasted about a year;
5570.  The stock market isn’t looking at today.  The market always looks to tomorrow.  What matters most isn’t where the economy is right now, but where it’s headed;
5571.  When everything seems terrible, the pendulum eventually swings in the other direction;
5572.  Every single bear market in the U.S. history has been followed by a bull market without exception;
5573.  The U.S. market hits an all-time high on approximately 5% of all trading days.  On average, that’s once a month;
5574.  From 1996 through 2015, the S&P 500 returned an average of 8.2% a year.  But if you missed out on the top 10 trading days during those 20 years, your returns dwindled to just 4.5% a year;
5575.  Aruba is really windy;
5576.  The water in Aruba is very blue;
5577.  There aren’t many locals/natives in Aruba;
5578.  The McCrioyo Sausage (i.e., sausage, egg, tomato, lettuce, ketchup & mayonnaise on Aruban bread) at McDonald’s (in Aruba) is pretty tasty;
5579.  Groceries are expensive in Aruba;
5580.  They take U.S. dollars in Aruba;
5581.  “Doei” (i.e., do-e) is “bye” in Dutch;
5582.  Apparently, Aruba is Dutch;
5583.  In Aruba, it’s pretty much between 80 and 84 degrees every day in May;
5584.  A study by JPMorgan found that 6 of the 10 best days in the market over the last 20 years occurred within two weeks of the 10 worst days;
5585.  If you lose money in the market, it’s because of a decision you made.  The market is going to do whatever it’s going to do, but you determine whether you’ll win or lose.  You’re in charge;
5586.  Let’s assume the stock market gives a 7% return over 50 years.  At that rate, because of the power of compounding, each dollar goes up to 30 dollars.  But the average fund charges you about 2% per year in costs, which drops your average annual return to 5%.  At that rate, you get 10 dollars;
5587.  Professional fund managers aren’t really any better at predicting the future than the rest of us;
5588.  Investing is a zero-sum game.  When two people trade a stock, one must win and one must lose.  If the stock goes up after you buy it, you win.  But you’ve got to win by a big enough margin to cover those transaction costs;
5589.  If your stock goes up, you’ll also have to pay taxes on your profits when you sell the stock;
5590.  An exhaustive study by Nobel laureate economist William Sharpe showed that a market-timing investor must be right 69% to 91% of the time to outperform the market;
5591.  When you look at the results on an after-fee, after-tax basis, over reasonably long periods of time, there’s almost no chance that you end up beating the index fund;
5592.  If a mutual fund is held in a nontaxable account like a 401(k), you’re looking at total costs of 3.17% a year.  If it’s in a taxable account, the total costs amount to a staggering 4.17% a year;
5593.  An actively managed fund that charges you 3% a year is 60 times more expensive than an index fund that charges .05%.  Imagine going to Starbucks with a friend.  She orders a venti caffé latte and pays $4.15.  But you decide that you’re happy to pay 60 times more.  Your price: $249;
5594.  Robert Arnott, the founder of Research Affiliates, studied all 203 actively managed mutual funds with at least $100 million in assets, tracking their returns for the 15 years from 1984 through 1998.  Only 8 of these 203 funds actually beat the S&P 500 index.  That’s less than 4%.  To put it another way, 96% of these actively managed funds to add any value at all over 15 years;
5595.  Of the 248 mutual stock funds with five-star ratings at the start of 1999, just four still kept that rank after 10 years;
5596.  71% of people enrolled in 401(k)s think there are no fees and 92% admit that they have no clue what they are.  But the truth is, the vast majority of plans are characterized by huge broker commissions, expensive actively managed funds and layer after layer of additional, and often hidden, charges;
5597.  The sun is brutal in Aruba;
5598.  Brazilians like to party;
5599.  Apparently, “puseta” means “pussy” in Portuguese;
5600.  Apparently, Aruba is by the equator;

Monday, June 26, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5501.  The lead singer of “Against Me!” (i.e., Laura Jane Grace) reminds me a little of Bret Michaels (the lead singer of “Poison”)/Johnny Rotten (the lead singer of the “Sex Pistols”);
5502.  Tré Cool (the drummer for “Green Day”) lived in Norfolk, Virginia;
5503.  Playing against your boyhood idols is surreal at first, but if you look at it as surreal all the time, you’re not going to rise to the occasion.  You have to think of yourself as equal; you have to think you’re better than a lot of guys;
5504.  No growth happens inside the comfort zone;
5505.  Sugar and processed foods have been shown to be eight times more addictive than cocaine;
5506.  The peanut butter curry ice cream at “Humphry Slocombe” (HumphrySlocombe.com) in San Francisco, California, is pretty tasty;
5507.  In big cities, it’s (perfectly) acceptable for adults to ride skateboards and scooters;
5508.  Apparently, Martin Yan (from the cooking show, “Yan Can Cook”) eats at “Hong Kong Flower Lounge” (Mayflower-Seafood.com/HKFL/) in Millbrae, California;
5509.  I’m taller than Martin Yan;
5510.  The mango pudding at “Hong Kong Flower Lounge” is really tasty;
5511.  I can now say I’ve walked on (a bed of) hot coals;
5512.  There are gorgeous girls at the University of Southern California;
5513.  The L(os )A(ngeles) Coliseum is right by the University of Southern California;
5514.  “Mondo Cozmo” (i.e., Josh Ostrander) is a Corona drinker;
5515.  At the end of the day, what you know is your greatest wealth.  And what you don’t know is your greatest risk.  But there is always risk, so learn to manage it instead of avoiding it;
5516.  A birthday party goes to another level when you hire your own bartender;
5517.  Everything depends on what you believe about yourself.  If you want to change your life, you have to change your self-concept.  If you want to move to a higher place, you need to change your belief about what is possible for you and elevate your beliefs about yourself;
5518.  Of all the beliefs that each one of us own, none is more important than the ones we have about ourselves.  Our beliefs about ourselves are the single most telling factors in determining our success and happiness in life;
5519.  The lack of love in a person’s life is the internal fear that he or she does not deserve love.  The absence of achievement is most often due to a genuine belief that one could never achieve at a high level.  The absence of happiness stems from the internal sentence that “Happiness is not my destiny;”
5520.  Japanese food and jazz is a strange combination.  I’m talking about you, Tomi Jazz, (TomiJazz.com) in New York (City);
5521.  I don’t get the ube ice cream craze;
5522.  You can get a great view of New York( City)’s skyline at 230 Fifth (230-Fifth.com) in Manhattan;
5523.  Don’t believe Guy Fieri.  The pizza at Don Antonio in New York (City) is fine, but not great;
5524.  A “pizze fritte” is like an unsweet doughnut;
5525.  Apparently, you can scoop gelato in the shape of a flower.  Who knew?
5526.  Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die;
5527.  Many people will not start the journey until all the lights are green;
5528.  Too many people allow their excuses to get between them and the life they would love to live;
5529.  Most people are blinded by their own excuses.  They see what they are afraid of rather than what they want in life;
5530.  Success comes when you focus on your dream, not your fears;
5531.  We win by being the best version of ourselves in order to uniquely matter to someone else.  We can’t achieve that aim if we’re endlessly keeping score in relationship to the others who seek to matter.  If there’s a full accounting to be done, it should be within ourselves.  And we have to be unafraid to find what is wonderfully different and put it out there on full display.  That can feel uncomfortably daring.  And if it does, we are probably on the right track;
5532.  Here’s the thing about self-comparison: In addition to making you vacate your own experience, your own soul and your own life, in its extreme, it breeds resignation.  If we constantly feel that there is something more to be had – something that’s available to those with a certain advantage in life, but which remains out of reach for us – we come to feel helpless.  And the most toxic byproduct of this helpless resignation is cynicism – that terrible habit of mind and orientation of spirit in which, out of hopelessness for our own situation, we grow embittered about how things are and about what’s possible in the world.  Cynicism is a poverty of curiosity and imagination and ambition.  The best defense against it is vigorous, intelligent and sincere hope – not blind optimism, because that too is a form of resignation, to believe that everything will work out just fine and we need not apply ourselves.  I mean hope bolstered by critical thinking that is clearheaded in identifying what is lacking in ourselves or the world, but then envisions ways to create it and endeavors to do that;
5533.  If you are struggling to compete, don’t look to what others have done.  Discover what is missing in the world or incomplete within yourself and apply all your energy to the worthy endeavor of filling that unclaimed space better than anyone else ever could.  Find your difference and you will make a difference;
5534.  Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I fail?”  Almost always, the consequences aren’t as dire as you fear.  Then ask yourself, “What’s the best that could happen?”  Stop focusing on the fear and instead train your sights on the potential, on the exciting achievements that are possible when you reach outside your comfort zone;
5535.  With the growth mindset, mistakes just allow you to learn and grow.  You’re not afraid of failure because you know that’s how you grow, that’s how you get better;
5536.  For the fixed mindset, you’re as good as you’re going to get at the start.  For the growth mindset, who you are now is just the starting point.  It’s exciting because you don’t know how far you’ll be able to grow;
5537.  Struggle isn’t a sign that you’re attempting something you shouldn’t.  Struggle is an opportunity to grow your abilities and sharpen your smarts;
5538.  If your reaction to admitting that you don’t know something is defensiveness or paralyzing fear, you’re never going to grow;
5539.  I think the main reason that superhero movies are so popular is because most people have a fixed mindset (i.e., meaning that they think their strengths and weaknesses are set in stone, that they’re born with or without certain talents and that skills can’t be gained and learnt over time) and they feel that they're not enough.  People imagine that they’re the hero/ine and that they too have hidden, innate abilities that makes them unique and special and, ultimately, worthy of being loved;
5540.  Because of the way your brain works, the pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness itself;
5541.  Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself;
5542.  The mind is like a parachute.  It only works when it’s open;
5543.  Are you “letting go” or are you afraid?  When people say things like “It just doesn’t feel right,” “I’m being guided to walk away,” “If it was meant to be then it wouldn’t be this hard” or “It just isn’t flowing” and then they use it as a rationale to give up, walk away or abandon someone (or something) that has real value in their lives.  They’ll usually label this act as “letting go.”  They’ll speak as if challenging circumstances are an indicator from the universe that the thing they’re pursuing is “not for me,” when maybe what’s really going on is that they’re afraid, doubting themselves or something has triggered an old wound that they’d rather not look at;
5544.  Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate;
5545.  Vulnerability leads to authentic connection and it helps us build compassion and empathy.  It heals.  It builds bridges.  When we’re able to be vulnerable, it helps us understand ourselves better.  And in deepening our own inner experiences we deepen our ability to empathize with the experiences of others.  Basically, it expands our capacity for love and humanity;
5546.  Most of us have been hurt in love.  Whether it’s romantic love, in friendship or with family.  Usually it’s about some expectation of ours not being met.  Sometimes it can be because someone disappoints us with their actions.  Sometimes it can be because our feelings (or expectations) are not reciprocated.  Or there’s not enough respect or equality in the relationship.  Or because their actions don’t match the promises we think were made.  All of that can feel really painful.  It can be hard to open up again once you’ve felt stung, especially if the sting was very deep;
5547.  We’re wired to learn from bad experiences.  We learn to avoid them like touching a hot stove.  We’ve all done it once, maybe twice, but we soon learned that it’s something best avoided.  What happens when we start to avoid love?  Avoiding a physical burn is a pretty straight forward choice.  There’s not much downside to it.  We’re not missing out on something precious by not touching that hot stove, but closing down our hearts so that we can avoid getting emotionally hurt.  That’s a trickier choice because love is part of what makes life worth living.  It may even be the thing that makes life worth living;
5548.  Most stress in our lives results from hanging on to beliefs that keep us striving for more because ego stubbornly believes we need it.  When we make the shift away from attachment, the influence of our ego fades.  We replace attachment with contentment.  Chasing and striving – and then becoming attached to what we chased after – is a source of anxiety that feeds ambition, but it won’t satisfy the need for meaning at our soul level;
5549.  The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention;
5550.  We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give;