It’s Better to Ask Yourself for Permission than Forgiveness

It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. 

It’s that phrase we’ve all heard before. The implication being someone other than us must gift us permission.

Bull hickey.

We give ourselves permission. To pretend otherwise is to vanquish personal responsibility and freedom.

Your opinion is the one that matters most. Not your friends’. Not your parents’ and grandparents’.

Give yourself permission. You’re the only one who truly can.

I was listening to the Deschool Yourself podcast with Zak Slayback and Jeff Till this morning; T.K. Coleman was the guest. They spoke about how deeply ingrained the “schooling mindset” is within us.

T.K. said most rules are more about making the lives of the rule-makers easier than anything else.

A part of me gets mad when I see people jaywalking. That’s the rule-follower in me. The bigger part of me, the rule-hater, says, “Hell yeah! Go on and walk those jays, sir!”

As I was listening to the podcast this morning I came upon a police officer directing traffic. And oh boy did it ever piss me off. I would’ve seen red if his dandy reflective jacket wasn’t such a sickening shade of sour yellow.

I can navigate traffic without your whistley assistance, officer. But thanks anyway.

Sometimes rule-makers and rule-enforcers have good intentions. I don’t give a shit. Good results—that’s all that matters.

I guess I just wanted to write this to remind myself (and you) that it’s a constant struggle. We must fight the urge to ask for permission from others. We should instead focus our time and efforts on shaping a life wherein we’re privileged enough to ask for permission only from ourselves.

That’s the kind of life I want to live.

5 Tips for Inexperienced Investors

Are you an inexperienced investor? That was me eight weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve grown my investment portfolio from nothing to over $3 billion. WOW!

That’s not true. But I have grown my portfolio substantially over the last several weeks.

You don’t need to suck at the teat of the government or insurance companies or loan sharks or anybody else. Follow my tips and you’ll be sucking your own teat.

These tips aren’t for getting rich quick. They’re for getting financially independent slowly, over 15 years or more. (But you’ll be 15 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead of your friends!)

1. Get a Credit Card

So many people think of credit cards as scams. They’re wrong. A credit card is a many-spendlored gift as long as you’re disciplined in your spending and payment habits.

(READ THIS BLOG BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR A CREDIT CARD!)

My biggest tips for first-time credit card users is treat it like a debit card proxy. Every transaction you put on the credit card, immediately pay it off with your debit card (within a few days is fine.)

2. Get on Stash Invest

Apps like Stash take the headache out of first-time investing. Sign up for Stash. Pick your investment strategy (this is very simple to do). My boss David (also my unofficial financial advisor) suggests setting Stash to auto-transfer $25 per month, then doubling that amount every year.

3. Get on Acorns

This app tracks your non-cash transactions, rounds each transaction up to the nearest dollar, and invests that money for you.

So if you buy a meal for $7.63 with your debit card, Acorns takes $0.37 out of your bank account and invests it for you.

If you’re someone that has several transactions per month (more than one per day, let’s say), this app is a brilliant investing option for you.

There’s also the added benefit of illuminating for you just how much you can save by investing “spare change.” (Compound interest really is the most powerful force in the universe!)

NOTE: Acorns charges a flat monthly fee of $1 for accounts under $5,000, but college students can have this fee waived for up to 4 years.

4. Learn to cook (and invest the money you save)

This one skill will save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Let’s do some hypothetical budgeting.

Friend who can’t cook: estimated $16 per day on food * 30 days = $480 per month.

Me: $1.30 for breakfast per day + $3.00 for lunch + $5.00 for dinner * 30 days = approximately $280 per month (these numbers are extremely conservative).

I can still go out to a moderately-priced restaurant like Olive Garden 6 times per month and still save $100 compared to my friend.

If I invest that $100 each month at a conservative 5% ROI for 20 years, I’ll have more than $33,000. It shoots up to $76,000 if I can get 10% ROI.

If I’m a homebody and invest the full $200 in savings each month, here are the numbers in 20 years:
10% ROI – nearly $153,000
5% ROI – nearly $84,000

Learn 15 recipes. That’s all I’m asking. And learn to buy certain foods in bulk. And take advantage of your grocery store’s coupons/sales.

Cooking at home will typically be healthier than eating out, thus saving you money in healthcare costs in the long run as well.

5. Don’t be an impulsive buyer.

This is the hardest one on the list. Like Taekwondo, this takes years to master, and there’s always room for improvement.

Plan things out. There are a million ways to help you learn this discipline.

Going to the grocery store? Make a list and stick to it.

Are you big into fashion? Plan your outfits months in advance (buying clothes out of season can save you more than 50%!)

You get the idea—question every purchase decision you make before you make it.

Follow these tips and you’ll be so rich you’ll have a somewhat respectable portfolio income by the time you’re 40 (assuming you start when you’re 20.)

Let Yourself Succeed – Understanding Your Goals and How to Accomplish Them

How do people climb Mt. Everest? By setting themselves up for success.

This post was inspired by T.K. Coleman. Thanks for your help, man.

In our meeting earlier, I revealed to T.K. that I’ve neglected my goals the past several weeks. My confession was met with understanding, wisdom, and absolution.

It wasn’t he who absolved me (he’d deny even having this power, I’m sure), but it was through him that I was absolved.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Berating yourself, or allowing others to berate you, for not accomplishing your goals is counterproductive. You’ll just feel worse and do worse, which will send you spiraling ever downward. You must be forward-facing. Look to the future. Get back on track.

A weight was lifted off me when he said these words.

This doesn’t mean you should always let yourself off the hook, but there’s no use in beating the shit out of yourself with a pillowcase full of The Past.

Know Thyself

To understand why we don’t accomplish our goals, we must first understand ourselves.

Why did you set those goals? Are you really behind them 100%, or did you just set them because you thought you should?

If I wanted to be reading self-help books every night instead of watching Netflix, I would be.

So what? I should just accept my inevitable future as a lazy binge-watcher? No!

The Right Stuff

All we have to do is set goals that excite us.

But how? We have to set the right goals for ourselves.

Consider the following:
I’m going to eat healthier this week vs. I will only drink one soda and eat five salads this week.

Which is the right goal?

The first goal, while having the same intention as the second goal, is insidious in its ambiguity. As T.K. said, “If your goal is to ‘eat healthier,’ you’ll never be able to meet it.” If your goal isn’t specific—isn’t measurable—how will you recognize your progress?

The second goal is concrete, and it allows for celebration upon completion. If on Friday I’ve had less than two sodas and more than four salads, I can feel good about the week. And I’ll feel emboldened that I can do it again next week.

This post is not meant to be a substitute for hard work and follow-through. But if you ignore this advice, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Don’t do that. Let yourself succeed.

To recap:
1) Don’t beat yourself up when you fail to meet your goal. Don’t let yourself off easy either.
2) To understand why we don’t reach our goals, we must first understand ourselves.
3) Set the right goals for yourself—ones that get you excited and are measurable.

Further reading: Check out some tips from the master himself.

Blogging Challenge Recap

I did it: one month of blogging every day. (I missed one day.)

This site began as a Praxis module and ended as a creative space where I come to share my thoughts.

This month was only the beginning; I didn’t get nearly deep enough in my posts.

Growth as a writer was my main goal. I know a lot more about content writing now than I did a month ago.

As I reflect on the past month—and the past year—I’m reminded of the mistakes I made. But mistakes ought not stop us from improving. In fact, making mistakes is the fastest way to improve.

My posts varied in length, substance, importance, and quality. (Just like all lessons in life.)

But the jig isn’t up. I’m gonna keep writing. This time next year I’ll be the best blogger around, or, at the very least, I’ll be monumentally better than I am right now.

So here’s to the New Year, your health, continued growth, and the written word.

Cheers!