I’ve been reading a lot lately now that I have a couple extra hours each day (since selling Rockstar Finance).
One book that I’ve enjoyed immensely is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.
It’s written by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. I think it’s supposed to be a self-help/advice/success book but it’s difficult to classify. Anyway, it has many useful thoughts about how to succeed in life.
Many of his suggestions are either directly or indirectly related to money.
BTW, in addition to being full of useful advice, the book is also very funny! (as you might have guessed)
I first “read” the book on Audible (listening to it). It was similar to Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living (see Frugalwoods: Finding Fun and Fulfillment in Frugality) in that it was a great combination of humor and useful ideas.
A couple months after listening to it I ordered the book from our library, intent on reading and posting about it. This didn’t happen as I found myself wanting to make notes in the book. Since our library frowns on this behavior, I pursued another option.
I took the (rare these days) step of buying the book, reading it again, and noting several passages and thoughts I wanted to share with ESI Money readers.
So that’s what I’ll be doing in this post as well as one other to follow.
Even though I’m spending two posts on this, I’ll probably only cover one-third of the great content in this book. So if you’re looking for an awesome read, you might want to check this one out.
The posts will be a jumble of thoughts but the one unifying theme is that they deal with becoming wealthy in one way or another.
With that said, here are the nuggets of truth I liked best…
1. Luck is what you make of it.
I am working on a separate post about luck in financial independence, so I won’t share too much here.
But there’s so much good stuff on the topic I can’t pass it by.
Adams covers the issue throughout the book so I’ll share several key quotes that I loved.
He begins talking about luck even before the book gets started (in the introduction):
Was my eventual success primarily a result of talent, luck, hard work, or accidental just-right balance of each? All I know for sure is that I pursued a conscious strategy of managing my opportunities in a way that would make it easier for luck to find me.
I’ll share my comments at the end of this section. For now, let’s move on to this quote:
You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from a game with low odds of success to a game with better odds.
The best way to increase your odds of success — in a way that might look like luck to others — it to systematically become good, but not amazing, at the types of skills that work well together and are highly useful for just about any job.
Then he lists the skills as follows:
Luck has a good chance of finding you if you become merely good in most of these areas:
- Public speaking
- Business writing
- Design (the basics)
- Overcoming shyness
- Second language
- Proper grammar
- Technology (hobby level)
- Proper voice technique
Later in the book he offers another take on luck as follows:
I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.
A normal slot machine that requires money will bankrupt any player in the long run. But the machine that has rare yet certain payoffs, and asks for no money upfront, is a guaranteed winner if you have what it takes to keep yanking until you get lucky.
In that environment, you can fail 99 percent of the time, while knowing success is guaranteed. All you need to do is stay in the game long enough.
Even later on he writes:
What good is a book that discusses success if success is entirely luck? That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to wonder. And it matters because if you believe all success is based on luck, you’re not likely to try as hard as if you believe success comes from hard work. No matter what genes and circumstances you have, history tells us you still need to work hard to pull it off. Does belief in pure luck work against you? It can, but it doesn’t need to.
And finally, in the book’s summary he says:
If I’ve done my job right [in writing this book], you’ve changed in a way that will someday make people say you were lucky.
Lots of thoughts on this one for sure:
1. Overall, his thinking on luck aligns with my take on it.
Sure, there is random good and bad luck that you can’t do anything about, but most “luck” (good or bad) is helped along by what you choose to do or not do — the actions, plans, strategies you do or don’t implement in life.
- I was “lucky” to earn a high income during my career. Then again, I got an MBA, worked like a dog (especially in those early career years), and actively took steps to make the most of my career.
- I was “lucky” to invest in real estate when I did. Then again, I saw a potential opportunity and approached a knowledgeable person to determine options. From there I took the steps (and the risks) despite knowing nothing about real estate investing.
- I was “lucky” to have a side hustle like blogging that helped out significantly. I’ll tell you, I didn’t feel lucky at 2 am when I was writing post after post or trying to correct some tech issue that was causing my site massive problems.
You can probably name similar situations from your life as well — whether it was good luck or bad (i.e. my mom was “unlucky” to get cancer but she also smoked for 40 years.)
Anyway, my belief is that there is certainly good and bad luck we can’t influence. But no matter what cards you are dealt, I believe you can make the situation either better or worse through your actions or inaction.
2. I totally agree with the thoughts on skills.
We’ll cover this more in the point below, but I think we all know that 1) certain skills have better odds of making you “lucky” and 2) the more of these you have, the more likely you are to experience “good luck.”
I might nitpick on what skills should make the list, but we’ll get to that soon…
3. Luck can also often be defined as perseverance.
I like the slot machine analogy.
I’m not sure that success is guaranteed in any form or fashion, but I would say that the more you try and/or stick with something, the better your odds at achieving what you set out to do.
I can attribute many of the “lucky” things in my life to determination, dedication, and perseverance. I was often not the smartest, most skilled, most talented, etc. person up for an opportunity, but I was willing to work harder than almost anyone else and never give up in the pursuit of success.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on luck for this post.
I’m interested in hearing your take on the subject. Let me know your take in the comments below.
2. Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.
If you’ve heard the term “talent stack”, this is what he’s talking about here (though he doesn’t call it that in the book.)
I’ll let him explain and then chime in with my comments:
The formula, roughly speaking, is that every skill you require doubles your odds of success.
Notice I didn’t say anything about the level of proficiency you need to achieve for each skill. The idea is that you can raise your market value by being merely good — not extraordinary — at more than one skill.
Then he elaborates:
Successwise, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one.
When I say each skill you acquire will double your odds of success, that’s a useful simplification. Obviously some skills are more valuable than others, and the twelfth skill you acquire might have less value than each of the first eleven. But if you think of each skill in terms of doubling your chances of success, it will steer your actions more effectively than if you assume the benefit of learning a new skill will get lost in the rounding.
He even gives a formula for this effect:
Good + Good > Excellent
Adams details this thinking a bit more on his blog where he says:
The idea of a talent stack is that you can combine ordinary skills until you have enough of the right kind to be extraordinary. You don’t have to be the best in the world at any one thing. All you need to succeed is to be good at a number of skills that fit well together.
For example, I’m not much of an artist, not much of a business expert, and my writing skills are mostly self-taught. I’m funny, but not the funniest person in my town. The reason I can succeed without any world-class skills is that my talent stack is so well-designed. (That’s intentional, by the way.)
Pretty interesting stuff! Here are some thoughts from me:
1. This line of thinking matches my personal experience.
I think about all the successful men and women I met during my career. Their accomplishments weren’t because they were the best in the world at one thing or another but because they had an unusual (and valuable) combination of skills that made them successful.
The same holds true for me. I wasn’t the best at public speaking, negotiation, analytical thinking, leadership, and so on, but I was “good” (or at least “good enough”) in these and more. And the combination served me well in my career.
In addition, I continued to learn new things and develop new skills throughout my career. He’s right — each one built upon the others to make me more valuable. And more valuable employees generally get paid more.
2. Certain skills are more valuable and should be pursued disproportionately.
In the luck section above, Adams listed his 13 skills that are better than most as follows:
- Public speaking
- Business writing
- Design (the basics)
- Overcoming shyness
- Second language
- Proper grammar
- Technology (hobby level)
- Proper voice technique
Many of these also make my list of skills that can grow your career.
The one I might question these days is golf. It was certainly big in my day, but as I got towards the end of my career fewer and fewer people were playing it. I’m not sure if that’s because it was expensive (and time consuming) for businesses or if the game simply lost popularity, but it’s not as important as it was in business circles these days.
Anyway, it’s better to stack more valuable skills on top of each other than to pursue less valuable ones, though I would concede that every skill added has some sort of benefit.
3. This phenomenon certainly applies to money.
For instance, you can be world class at saving but if you don’t earn much, you won’t get far.
The same is true in reverse: you can be world class at earning and yet spend it all because you can’t control your saving (just look at all the actors and professional athletes that make a ton and then go bankrupt.)
It’s far better to be simply “good” at earning, saving, and investing. Those three will get you far. 😉
3. Happiness is health plus freedom.
I’m interested in seeing what you think of this one.
In addition to literally saying that “happiness is health plus freedom”, he takes the additional step of defining what he calls “the happiness formula” as follows:
- Eat right.
- Get enough sleep.
- Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it).
- Work toward a flexible schedule.
- Do things you can steadily improve at.
- Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself).
- Reduce daily decisions to routine.
A few thoughts from me:
1. Is he describing financial independence?
When I saw “happiness is health plus freedom” I immediately thought about being financially independent. Why?
Well, much of the FIRE movement talks about “happiness” as being the ultimate goal. Combine that with the freedom you get once you become FI, add in the chance you have to improve your health when you stop working full time (I’m probably 10 years younger since I stopped working), and it all seems like it fits so well.
2. The list is simple but right on.
Basically he’s saying to take care of yourself physically and mentally. If you do that, you’ll probably be happy.
Being financially independent makes all of this easier because you have time to focus on these. When you’re working your attention is divided in ways that make it much harder.
3. He’s not anti-charity.
When he says you need to help yourself first, he’s simply referring to what many would say — you can’t be a help to others if you are not in a good place yourself.
You know, the whole “put your mask on first” speech that airlines give you before every flight.
Ok, we’ll stop here for today and pick up in a future post.
What do you think of the book so far? Has anyone else read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
For more on this book, check out part 2 of this series here.
Paper Tiger (aka MI-27) says
The summary of this for me is in a frequent quote that I have used (and modified) to my own liking.
“The harder (and smarter) I work, the luckier I get.”
Sometimes the best advice is simply from messages that encourage you to use your God-given common sense. Intuitively, we already know most of what we should be doing so, we just have to apply that which we already know.
I think execution is always the key to success. Lots of people have great ideas and desires but they are just dreams without action.
Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto says
Happiness is Health plus Freedom. Insightful quote, sounds like a great book. Adding it to my “To Read” list!
You’re awfully self satisfied ESI. IMO thats because your definition of luck is very ego-centric. Did you stop and think how lucky you are to have been born in the USA and not in Guatemala or Syria or some other place where survival is the daily activity? Or how lucky you are not to have had a home situation that scar doesn’t you emotionally or physically for life? Or how lucky you are to have been born in the USA during a period when higher education was affordable? Or how you won the heredity lottery by just having the intellectual capabilities to learn all those skills you’re so proud of? Or how lucky you are just to have lived as long as you have with no crippling or fatal injuries or disease? Or to never have been the victim of some random violent crime?
When you say your gratitudes today it’d be smart to ponder how fortunate you’ve truly been.
Exactly! You could have been born a centipede. Or, even worse, a centipede in Syria!!! Or you could have been the bacteria on the centipede in Syria. Or, an emotionally and physically scarred bacteria with a horrible home situation. Everyday, when you get out of bed, your feet should hit the floor and your self satisfied ego centric self should ponder how much harder it would have been to be successful if you had been born a bacteria on a centipede in Syria. You lucky dog!!!
Cactus Lonesome says
There is nothing wrong with being self satisfied M24. I know I am lucky to have been raised in a middle class family. More than fortunate that my parents paid for my college education and all the other stuff.
But it wasn’t my parents who paid my bills every month for the past 25 years. It wasn’t my parents when it was time to purchase my first house. It was luck that my first home purchase return $225,000 after 7 years… never heard of that happening. I made the decision to save 10% of my salary for the past 25 years, no one else. That is how I shock of shocks, have 500,00+ in my retirement account.
With out saying it you have basically put someone down for being a white male. And try to make them feel bad because they did good.
I am a 50+ female with ADHD and a home worth about $500,000, retirement $500,000 and it was mostly through luck and lazy investing. I call myself the lazy millionaire because I didn’t actually work to get here. Mostly it is based on the work of others… who seem to like to increase real estate at absurb rates… I didn’t sit and calculate how do you get to one million net worth.
And I am pretty annoyed that you seem to think we aren’t grateful enough for what we have. I think ESI is grateful. I also think he should have an ego about it. Because it wasn’t given to him. He wasn’t born this way, he did earn it.
I don’t spend my life doing stupid things and nor does anyone else here.
We have been fortunate, and grateful but that isn’t the complete story, there is always more.
First of all, you have a narrow view of “luck” IMO. What you describe above are instances of “random luck” (both good and bad — you even use the word random). There’s no doubt these both exist. And I am thankful for the good things and more. Much more. I’m also thankful for the lack of random bad luck you mention. That said…
Second, there’s way more to luck than random luck. In fact I’d say that random luck (good or bad) is in the minority compared to “luck” (both good and bad) that people influence. Examples of good “luck” include hard work, attaining more skills, taking risks that pay off, etc. Examples of bad “luck” include smoking, driving while drunk, engaging in high risk activities, etc. There’s way more of these last two than random luck one way or the other, which, in turn, means that the majority of “luck” is influenced by actions.
Third, luck is relative. For instance, I am lucky to be born in the US versus Guatemala or Syria. But the person born in Guatemala is lucky that he wasn’t born in Syria. The person in Syria is lucky he wasn’t born in the slums of India. Eventually it gets to the bottom, but almost everyone is luckier than someone on some measure (income, health, family, and so on.)
Fourth, you don’t mention (conveniently) the unfortunate instances in my life. Parents divorced when I was eight. Growing up in low class to lower middle class environment due to a single-parent household making minimum wage and little child support. Spending most of my hours at home from third grade into high school alone. Having no savings to pay for college. And on and on. Even people who have random good luck face challenges, and these are often discounted or ignored by the random good luck crowd.
Fifth, what about others in my exact circumstances? Those that were born in the US that had the same random good luck and absence of random bad luck that I had. How did they do in life? And what were the key differences between our final results? Was everything luck? And while we’re thinking about it, what about people who started off BETTER than I did — they had more random good luck at the start. How did they end up compared to me? Generally better or generally worse? And what drove these results? All these questions are worth considering.
Sixth, the idea of random luck only often leads to a defeatist attitude and results in excuses why something can’t be done. Like “I can’t do this because of ________.” More often than not, ___________ is not a real barrier, but one that’s used as an excuse not to try (or try harder) and a reason why a person is not achieving this or that. This happens all the time in finances: people don’t “make enough” or “have enough to cover their expenses” because of this bad luck event or the lack of good luck others have. In the vast majority of cases it’s not that but instead a lack of applying basic financial principles to life that are holding them back. I know this as I’ve counseled hundreds of these people.
Seventh, no matter where you begin with random luck (good or bad), you can make choices that either improve or deteriorate your situation. No, not everyone can achieve the same things, but everyone can make attempts to create lives which are better than where they started.
There’s actually much more than this to the issue of luck. I’d suggest you explore this and other topics a bit more broadly before leaving self-satisfied, uneducated responses.
ESI your response is on point and is appropriate to anyone anywhere. Wow…I love your blog, wisdom, insight, perspective and how you’ve changed my family’s insight on how to do things better. I’ve been following you since 2017 and you seem like one of the humblest wealthy individuals I know. I feel the review of the book was insightful and your commentary even more enlightening. Thank you for your mission and ministry to help educate and improve other’s personal finances, and help others experience financial independence, like yourself.
Feisty FIRE says
I’d take being born in slums of India any day over some other options. The reason a lot of people live in slums is that their families migrate from villages for a better life and the city doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them. I personally know and help out some kids in whatever way I can financially. Some of these kids are 100 times more motivated and driven to succeed than anyone I’ve met. Studying under street lights, clearing difficult exams, working odd jobs and motivated to make a mark no matter what. Their tenacity and drive is inspiring. There is a great movie called “Gully Boy” if you’d like to know more about how slum life is in india.
Article on second largest slum in Asia and how it’s turning into a goldmine: https://blog.realestate.cornell.edu/2018/03/20/dharavi/
Feisty FIRE says
Gully Boy link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfbxcD6biOk&pbjreload=10
To M24…. wow that was harsh. What’s up with that? I’ve read a lot of this blog and ESI seems to be extremely helpful, balanced and humble. I don’t think he overlooks anything you posted and I know for sure many (not all) of the MI people are grateful for what they have in life. This blog is certainly reaching many people and is helping them immensely.
Honestly- your post just seems outright indignant and uncalled for. I hope YOU do a lot in charity…. Wow, the gall of your post is just baffling.
Really love the life slot machine concept. You keep pulling on the lever and you are bound to hit. The key is to pay the admission fee which is just time and work
I love this book, so much! Thanks for this post, ESI, am so glad you read this and shared your takeaways. Looking forward to Part 2!
Wish I had read it as a young man, there are so many practical and actionable examples. For instance, the book lists phrases and words that are commonly misused, and should be avoided to prevent ‘unforced errors’. Learn to say “I won’t do that” instead of “I can’t do that”; people try to be nice in saying ‘no’, but using ‘can’t’ indicates a lack of choice and inability when you actually have the power. Take it and own it. Another useful message in the book is “systems” instead of “goals.” If one is saving money for a nice vacation, the “system” is far more important than the “goal.” Same with practicing and learning skills for the ‘talent stack’ ESI mentions, ‘systems’ will produce more than ‘goals’ in pursuit of the talents. Scott Adams is popularly known for his 30+ years of creating Dilbert, syndicated in over 2,000 papers. That would be a cool ‘goal’, but he just passed the milestone of writing 11,000 jokes, which is an amazing ‘system’. He is the Cal Ripken, Jr. of cartooning, but he has many more talents and accomplishments that are worth investigating after reading this book.
Great points in this article! Regarding acquiring skills, I encourage people who want to progress in their careers to build their resumes. Acquiring degrees, certifications, and experience will most likely lead to being more skilled and being “luckier” (i.e., generating more opportunities).
I loved this post, ESI. Luck is definitely what you make of it. I see that in my own life and how my husband and I are slowly tucking away a huge amount of our salaries each month while people making way more than us are living paycheque to paycheque fully aware that they’ll have to work forever because they won’t be able to retire (or at least not with the same lifestyle they have now). People just waste so much potential because they’re either too lazy to care or they don’t maximize their opportunities. Oh well, I guess we’ll just call it luck.
I’m looking forward to reading this book. It sounds entertaining and interesting.
On the subject of luck… I’m in the camp with Paper Tiger above. I believe you make most of your luck (good and bad) via the situations in which you place yourself. You invest in yourself, work to be generous and kind to others and good things are more likely to happen. You stay out late at night drinking, in the wrong section of town, and more often than not, bad things happen.
One of my pet peeves is when someone remarks on how “lucky” we are to be living as early retirees in the place of our dreams. My response usually goes something like… “It has a lot more to do with perseverance, planning, and at times significant sacrifice that we find ourselves in this situation and has very little to do with luck.”
Just brought this book from amazon. I’ll post my thoughts after reading it next week. Thanks for sharing esi! There’s nothing better than recommending a good book 🙂
“The person in Syria is lucky he wasn’t born in the slums of India”. Do you have any data to support this? This is ridiculous statement. Do you think India is worse than Syria? Have you ever visited India? I bet people of India are happier than 90% of US population.
Well, based on this data, the average income of Syria is just above the average income of India:
So if you compare the slums of India (which is what I said — and which by definition would have lower incomes than average India), then the differences are even greater. This could be the 10% you’re talking about.
Of course more income doesn’t mean more happiness or luck, but it is one measure and what I believe the original commenter was getting at in his comment.
But it doesn’t really matter. You can say, “The person born in India is lucky he wasn’t born in the US”.
That’s kind of the point. Luck is relative (and based on perspective).
Whether one was born in the “slums” of any country, or into U.S. poverty, or as the heir to the king of England or the son of a billionaire, it only matters because the assumption is, incorrectly, that success is based on money and possessions which are assumed, incorrectly, to be the source of happiness. How often has money been a curse, leading to suicides, homicides, divorces, family divisions, and so on? This is supposed to be lucky?
Regardless of your birth location and financial status, so many have achieved great happiness, great love and contentment in all walks of life – not so much the wealthiest who are focused on their wealth. Don’t believe they are any happier or better off than you, it’s just society’s control over the masses trying to squeeze out every bit of financial productivity it can get out of them.
Call me crazy but Jeff Bezos (the wealthiest man on Earth) looks extremely unhappy and unfulfilled in every image I see of him. So many are so foolish as to aspire to be him. No thanks here. I think he needs prayers.
To me, greatness is not being a trillionaire, big houses, fast cars, great vacations, the presidency, blah blah blah. I have personally found it in my search for eternal truth and want for nothing beyond that – and that can happen in any slum, trailer park, palace or mansion – it’s up to the individual and not his circumstances.
When standing at the pearly gates, do you believe God will give more credit to the billionaire that gave billions to others but still a lived a life of glutton, or the impoverished poor man that shared his loaf of bread? I am honest enough with myself to know I have not yet achieved the favor of the poor man, hence my continued effort to get there.
I suspect that humanity’s severe misconceptions of “luck” and “happiness” will be highlighted in the comments here – that’s why everyone is always looking for a happiness that has eluded them for decades. I don’t like to be pessimistic, but this is a sad truth. Man is corrupt and forever lost without the guidance of the eternal God. Many go on pretending this is an extreme view or completely deny this truth. So many stubbornly live in darkness holding on to a mere candle as a substitute for the sun, seeing only what that candle shows them and petty – in the grand scheme of what is around them but has not been seen as they continue to live in the darkness of the candle, never seeing the beautiful, elusive surroundings had they been in the light. I for one am grateful for having born a poor ethnic minority in a third world company as it may be that very perspective that allowed me to substitute the candle for the sun. As ESI says, luck is indeed relative.
One should maintain healthy skepticism of what they read in these financial books – I for one don’t read them (who needs mind control?) – only one Book gives me all the answers I need while preserving my freedom for independent thought and evolving, fluid understanding. Rather spend my time sharing that last loaf of bread than occupying all my time reading for my own gain.
I struggle to attribute the invisible forces beyond my abilities that allow for my success to chance “luck”.
What if one has more bad luck than good luck? Perhaps if we all feel that our luck is skewed towards good luck, it may not be luck at all. I have found that invisible force that protects me every day is a loving God. In praying for divine assistance, I choose the invisible hand of a Father that lets me fall to learn, but in the end picks me back up – and that to me is what people feel may be bad and good luck.
If you want unlimited prosperity, find the narrow and hidden road of true faith and live by destiny, not chance. You’ll never run out of “luck”.
Also, the list of talents in this article that put you on the fast track to prosperity argues for the importance of preserving your marriage. No one has every skill, but a partner will complement the list of skills achieved. Great to have a partner to help cover my weaknesses and a Father who can cover all and any weakness! Risk reduction, need to rely on more than a coin toss. My coin is the same on both sides.
Happiness is the ultimate love and satisfaction TODAY (not in retirement, or after building that nest egg, or going on that vacation, or owning this or that) in knowing you are saving for eternity, not so much 65-100, Think bigger, be bigger than life and finally end that endless search for the greener grass on the other side…land on that permanent grass…or you can keep searching for decades letting luck determine which patch of grass you land on and how much happiness it may give you.
This life given to us can be absolutely amazing and fulfilled when we finally submit to the truth that eludes our limited comprehension. Most of us insist on complete comprehension rather than faith before submitting due to fearing a loss of our own control, keeping us in the land of “luck’s” control and mediocre happiness leaving us always wanting for more until a person or an experience comes along and offers up a change in heart – challenging everything you think you know which was really what society dictated to you. It happened to me, and I hope this freedom happens to all of you as well.
Dr. GFG says
I read your posts and its substance resonated with me. Like many of the people that follow these interviews and blog posts, I aspire to become a millionaire (and that will be the case soon), but I’m becoming increasingly aware that any physical wealth accumulation should not displace things of more lasting – and eternal – value. The most precious things in this world cannot be bought. Wake up and look at the apricot sunrise in the morning, soak in the majestic landscape of a shoreline, watch a hummingbird maneuver and stretch the boundaries of aerodynamics and physics. Perhaps nothing compares to witnessing the transition of life. My profession positions me directly at these points, particularly the joy of birth and the enormity of death. Ultimately, I need to prioritize knowing God and loving Him more than any pursuit for personal gain or glory.
At a net worth of several million in my mid 40’s, I am no different a person than I was at a negative net worth in my 20’s. Nor should we be so shallow as to have money change us, other than giving us a financial cushion.
Be bigger than life, and you won’t be like the masses always longing for something elusive to make them happier and fulfilled, but never quite finding it other than being able to get up whenever and do whatever in retirement. It’s not about me now and won’t be in retirement – I’ll be forever toiling for the comfort of others – family, friends and strangers alike – but I understand that’s my personal choice in my interpretation of scripture.
Today and every day should fill us with grace, peace and joy. Congratulations on a profession that helps you to achieve this by allowing you to share it with thousands over your career. Remember why you chose it when times become challenging.
These money mistakes listed above, most of them can be foreseen and prevented with a little wisdom and independence of thought. As for the skills, develop them and use them wisely. It’s all in the parable of the talents.
I wish you well.
10-S Guy says
To quote a song lyric “Happiness is enjoying the passage of time”. Having health and financial freedom can go a long way to setting one up to enjoy the passage of time.
Tom Murin says
I read the book a couple of years ago and loved it. I’ve been a big fan of Scott Adams since then. He’s a very interesting guy with incredible insight into human behavior and persuasion.
Sport of Money says
“You can’t directly control luck…”
Why worry about being lucky or unlucky if you can’t directly control it. Control the things you can control and let’s not worry about the things out of our control. This mindset can and should not only lead to a more financially successful life but this mindset should also lead to a happier life.
The thing I see in these comments are people are focusing on the “Luck” portion. Luck is uncontrollable. Some people argue that you create your own luck but the true definition of luck is centered around random things that happen to you. What several people are using as examples are things that you prepared for, and made the odds in your favor. If you are prepared, you can take something which is true bad luck, and be prepared for it, or absorb it.
Examples of true Luck (Bad or good):
* Cooked some Pork Chops and got a bristle from the wire brush caught in your tonsil.
* Waiting in line at the airport for immigrations coming back from vacation, find a $100 bill on a fica tree.
* Someone hitting your car while you are not moving.
* Walking in the forest and a bird pooping on your shoulder from a tree branch high up.
Examples of you stacking the odd in (or against) your favor:
* You got a good job, good company, good salary. You got this because you have 2 masters, and 20 years of relevant experience, interviewed well, and are personable.
* Your car dies because the engine siezes, but you haven’t changed the oil in 3 years.
* You are a millionaire because you saved XX% of your income, spent less than you earned, and invested.
* You are in poor health. But that is because you eat out fast food every day, only eat boxed/processed foods, sit at a desk all day and don’t get exercise.
Jim McKeeth says
The “Happiness = Health + Freedom” couldn’t be more true. What most FIRE followers forget is why they are doing this. They get consumed with the goal to save up money, financial independence and then tell the boss to shove it. But the reality is that this is often short-sighted because the root cause of their problems is that they blame their job solely for their lack of freedom. The truth is that they chose to accept and continue working at that job. They are responsible for their own freedoms.
A more hidden danger here is the erosion of freedom all around us. It doesn’t matter how you make your income – passive, active, or none. If you don’t have the freedom to express your views, or health freedom to pursue how you want to look after your body, or the freedom to travel, etc. then you are constrained.
I’ve not read this book yet but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Now I’m more intrigued.
Yeah, luck plays a part in things, like I was lucky to be born into a middle-class family in the good ole’ US of A. However, most of the success I’ve achieved in life has come from a fierce determination, persistent desire to see it to completion, and a will to learn in the process.
Spaceman Spiff says
Glad you are talking about this book. I read it when it first came out and found it to be overloaded with juicy nuggets of wisdom. I’ve been thinking about going back and reading it again with a highlighter, or maybe I’ll get the kindle version and make a note card stack.
I really liked when he talks about affirmations. Nice clear description of how affirmations work and how to do them. good stuff.