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FI Weekly – March 15, 2022: Challenge Your Thinking, Luck Surface Area, Small Improvements


Challenge Your Thinking

I genuinely enjoy ideas that challenge my preconceived notions and though it will probably appear otherwise with the 2 links I’m including in this section, I’m not trying to build a case against home ownership.

I thought these articles were worth your time as a way to challenge your thinking on this important topic:

Increase Your Luck ‘Surface Area’

I’m both intimately aware of how much luck factors into success and simultaneously always looking for ways to increase my luck “surface area” – to make it more likely through preparation, connections and knowledge that luck will strike positively for me.

This Twitter thread from George Mack entitled “How to Get Lucky (without being rich)” was a really good example of increasing that luck surface area. 

Quotes that jumped out to me:

  • Be interesting. And seek interesting friends. People will remember you when they have an interesting opportunity.
  • Assume everything is a game of skill and there’s always something you can control.
  • Don’t wait for others to do nice things for you before you do nice things for them. Just relentlessly give to good people with no scoreboard in your head keeping track
  • Introduce people. If friend A and friend B can get value from each other – intro them. It’s a 30-second email for you and may change their lives forever.

Small Improvements Over Many Years

When I find something I’m excited about, I want to scream about it from the rooftops (Examples include: ToDoIst, CamelCamelCamel, the library).

My latest example is 5 years in the making.

It was exactly 5 years ago that I heard Jerzy Gregorek on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast Episode 228 and was blown away by him, his story and his fundamental approach to building a body that works in every joint and with full range of motion.

I’ve used two of Jerzy’s quotes on the ChooseFI podcast repeatedly over the years:

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”

“The 3 Killers of Happiness are: Sarcasm, Complaining, Blaming”

Four years ago, I bought The Happy Body, the book Jerzy and his wife Aniela wrote together.

The Happy Body program is built around “micro-improvements” over months and years and isn’t a ‘get fixed quick scheme,’ which appealed to my long-term thinking FI Mindset.

I loved the book, but for whatever reason I didn’t move forward with the program at that time.

Fast forward to January 2022 and I finally took action.  I reached out via their website to Diana D’Amelio, one of The Happy Body “Mentors” they’ve trained. 

Diana runs a Zoom class every morning at 6:45am and 9am that I attend faithfully 5-6 times a week and it was just the push I needed to get started.

I think it’s the best exercise program I’ve ever been a part of, and for anyone of any fitness level who is looking to improve the way their body moves, this program is worth a look.

If this sounds interesting to you, here are some suggestions:

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Darcy said, “Writing today because my 1% better is my getting approved for the Capital One Venture Card, which I got recommended from your Resources page. I’m planning on using the card rewards (and the rewards I already have from you recommending Chase Sapphire Preferred last year) for an amazing trip to Europe I have planned later this year. I haven’t been overseas since college 8 years ago, so this is going to be one memorable trip. Thanks so much for helping me offset the cost!”
  • Michael said, “My 1% better is we just did our first ‘housesit’ this weekend through Trusted Housesitters (Brad note:  Amy & Tim talked about Trusted Housesitters in-depth on Episode 79 of the podcast). I hope to use this tool to reduce the costs of our summer travel plans, and to increase the puppy love I experience on that vacation! Plus, it will allow us to spend some time in quiet relatively non-touristic places and allow us to get to know the country/region even better – for cheap/free!
  • Cathie said, “My 1% better- I received a raise at the beginning of the year. With grand plans to pay off debt in January, we soon slipped into lifestyle creep. Hundreds of dollars vanished through needless spending! This problem is mostly mine, so I decided to write a daily “task” in my Todoist (shout out, Brad) that reads “We own everything we need.” I see this small meditation every morning as a reminder to think about what we already own that makes our life complete or that could fix a problem that comes up. As quick as the spending happened, it has dried up, with me much more at peace.”
  • Caleb said, “We finally broke up with our financial advisor who was charging 1.3% to buy expensive mutual funds and transferred our ROTH IRAs to vanguard. We also used our Chase reward points to pay for our two-week hotel stay at the beach in Thailand!”
  • Jessica said, “My 1% feeling like a million % this week is removing work e-mails from my phone. I can respond on my work laptop only during office hours. I also turn my phone off now from 8pm-7am once everyone I need to be home is home. I’ve been dealing with poor sleep. Last night I sleep amazing from 9pm-7:24am. Boundaries are such a blessing!”
  • Lily said, “Going with the theme of last week’s email, my 1% better is going to the mountains instead of going to an amusement park. It’s still a far drive, but staying near a national park was far cheaper than going to see the Mouse. We are looking into getting camping gear to turn $150 hotel room expenses into $25 campsite fees. I’m so excited to spend more time in the beautiful area of the country I live in. Thank you for the weekly reminder to improve. It always keeps me motivated!”

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