The Critical Thing I’ve Been Missing – Money Measurement

I have been sloppy with money measurement. I’ll explain why after I let Dan Kennedy explain why this failing is so fatal:

Clipped – 15:37 to 17:47

“Most chequebook ledgers just track the balance. That’s probably what yours tells you.

“Every time I look at my chequebook, there’s a constant tracking of where I am in relationship to the amount of cash I want to have on hand by the end of the year.

“Total cash assets.

“So there’s a continual list that I’m continually updating of what’s in this account, what’s in that account, what’s sitting over hear in this, what’s sitting over here in that, what’s due to me, and what that total is in relationship to what the total’s supposed to be on December 31st.

“So I’m down “X” dollars. How much ground have I made up in the last 30 days? Where am I in ratio?

“You could go through [my ledger]… if you went back enough years you could see the progression against the first million, you could see the progression against the second million, you could see the progression against the third million, you could see the sudden disappearance, you could see the progression again.

“I track that daily. I want to know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I am away from the number I’m supposed to hit by the end of the year, and I want to know if I’m making up ground, or if I’m not making up ground. Do I need to make up ground, or can I coast?…

“The more ways you measure, the more frequently you measure… any athletic coach will tell you, and most athletes will tell you, absent any other changes, measurement improves performance. Absent any other changes. No change in diet, no change in conditioning, no change in training, no change in anything. Measure the performance more, performance improves. Well, we’re dealing with performance here – our own.”

There is a lot of guilt wrapped up in money for a lot of us. I know it’s true for me.

My guilt not only prevents me from asking for money (“taking money from others“), it also prevents me from even looking at it all that often. For me, it’s a chore, and so I go weeks sometimes without looking at my numbers.

Elsewhere in this “Wealth Attraction” seminar of Dan’s (in part 1), he talks about guilt and money. He says that you’ve got to get over the “queasiness” about taking money from someone else. What he doesn’t say (because so few people know), is how to get over that guilt, other than simply struggling your way through it.

As I’ve said a few times in this blog, the only lasting way I’ve found of releasing yourself from negative emotions like these is not to force your way through them, ignore them, or try to argue logically against them. The only way is to let them go. You need to surrender them, and then back up that surrendering with an action that reinforces the new, positive attitude.

There are other conditioning methods you can do, like having pots of money lying around the home, and Dan talks about that. However, such positive programming works best if the new “code” is being written in a fresh, blank “text file”.

It’s time I start and end each day by measuring my money, and my progress towards specific money goals. And every time I sit down to do it, I’ll take a moment to notice the feelings that it triggers, accept them, and let them go.

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Dan Kennedy, Cynically Admitting That Generosity Comes Back to You

Dan Kennedy on Wealth Attraction.

Of anyone I’ve ever heard talk about money and success, Dan’s the one that made me re-consider the “metaphysical” woo-woo side of wealth creation the most.

He’s jaded, cynical, in short the last person you’d expect to say that giving money away seems to make it come back to you in some kind of karmic way.

Start by creating a Wealth Account & a Giving Account:

Clipped at 00:41:34 to 01:06:58

I wonder, how can we “handle the cheques” in this day and age? I heard once of a guy making his Paypal notification for incoming money sound like a cash register. Kinda like this…

Something Rare & Valuable

The best way to build up career capital (and thus have the leverage to be a truly successful “lifestyle designer”), you need to master a rare and valuable skill.

That’s the Craftsman’s mentality. Not, “What can this career bring to me,” but, “What can I bring to this career?” (quote from Cal)

My choice for “rare and valuable” is copywriting.

A few years ago I studied a few sales letters, worked a bit for a startup, but I did not master it. I just got okay at it.

I’ve had enough of trying to be quick, of being impatient. I’m ready to earn minimal amounts for the next 10 years if necessary, if that’s what it takes to be truly world-class.

At 34:26 in TMBA #381, Cal Newport stresses that you must relentlessly develop the skill. “Not just doing it a lot, but training like you’re LeBron James.”

I’m ready.

The Craftsman Mentality

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”
– Chuck Close

A recent episode of the Tropical MBA left a big impact on me.

If you’re not that satisfied with your career so far, or if you know your “value-produced” (true productivity) could be better, it’s a must-listen.

“Creative production at the professional level is very fulfilling but it’s craftsmanship… Focus as hard as you can. Wrack up the hours. Repeat. Good things come out of it.”
– Cal Newport

The conversation is with Cal Newport, a professor of advanced distributed algorithms, and a thought-leader in how to get more out of your work, both in terms of the value it creates for the world and in the satisfaction in creates for you.

At 25:22, Cal digs into the second (of two) primary assumption behind “follow your passion” advice:

“…it depends on this assumption that if you really like something and then you do that for your work, it will transfer over and you’ll really like your work.

It’s one of these syllogisms that kinda makes sense when you hear it, but we don’t have a lot of evidence that that’s true, either.

Professional satisfaction is a pretty complicated thing, and there’s a lot of research on it. What you don’t find in that research is any sort of emphasis on a match of the work to a pre-existing interest as being a really important factor as to whether or not you find work interesting.”

We’ve all heard of the amateur something-or-other who starts making money from their hobby, gets excited and does it full time, and find that it completely kills their passion for the thing.

A knee-jerk reaction for many of us is to say that “money corrupts things that are otherwise pure!”

But in fact, the more likely reason is:

“…what makes you love your work is very different from what makes you love a topic from a personal or a hobby point of view.”

That’s the key…right there…to understanding how we can love our work.

It’s the knowledge that love for our work comes from a different place entirely than love for our interests.

What makes us love our work is mostly this:

And probably some other things besides.

It’s been on my reading list for a while – I think it’s time I finally whip out So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal’s book on approaching work like a craftsman.

Here’s Derek Sivers’ rave review of the book.

Surrendered Goal Setting

“The mechanism of surrender is a tool only. You can use it to remove the obstacles to making a million dollars, or you can use it to remove the obstacles to the development of spiritual awareness.”
 Dr David Hawkins, Letting Go, Page 315

 

I’ve started the goal setting practice outlined in Letting Go.

By no means is it a book “on success”. Rather, it’s a book on how to deal with your emotions. That’s why the chapter about the negative effects of desire seemed a strange place to include a goal setting practice.

Although we are constantly told that wanting something bad enough is the key to its attainment, remember that most people who dispense advice are successful first, probably due to uncounscious processes, and they then backwards-rationalise why they are successful.

So… just because something is said a lot, doesn’t make it true.

For me, simply “wanting something bad enough” hasn’t worked.

The Letting Go process of goal setting is a little different, and very counterintuitive:

  1. Write down the thing you want in extreme detail.
  2. Every time you think of it, let go of the desire to have it.
  3. Keep reminding yourself of it and hold it in mind.

 

The theory: 

  • Holding something in mind makes it more likely to come about.
  • Desire blocks its attainment.

 

The thing you want is already yours for the asking. There’s no such thing as “worthiness”, therefore you are already as worthy as anyone will ever be of anything you can dream of.

The energy of desire tells you otherwise. It tells you it’s not already yours, that in this moment (and the next, and the next, and for as long as you don’t surrender it) the object of your desire is beyond your reach.

Think of the business man who desperately needs a negotiation to go his way. Now think of his opponent who could take it or leave it. Who is more likely to get it?

Think of two young men who both want the same woman. One is desperate for her affection. The other has chosen her and calmly loves her, giving affection without demanding it in return. Which is more likely to win her over (all else being equal)?

It’s not to say it’s bad to want things. If you wanted nothing, then nothing would be on your goal list, after all.

No, it’s the energy of desire that weakens us. It’s the energy of cravingness, neediness, and desperation.

 

The goals you write down to let go are not things you must want more.

They are things you have chosen.

And if you have chosen them, the only thing left to do is to remove all emotional blockages and resistance to their attainment.

Feelings can be dealt with.

This daily blog business is not always easy. Sometimes, you feel there’s nothing you have to say.

But that’s just a feeling.

The truth is, I’ve learned how to tap and evoke emotions that I was previously bottling up and pushing down. Once they’re exposed, they can be dismantled.

I haven’t flown into a rage (other than once, when I was alone), or broke down crying (I’ve only squeezed out a few tears here and there). For the most part, when you choose to work through your own emotions, you can control them. I’m tapping into a vast well of negativity that has hidden itself from me until now. Since I’m choosing to bring it up, I have my hand on the faucet. It’s not pouring through a broken pipe, like it would in a typical “outburst”.

Why bother?

I seek a transformation… which is not yet forthcoming.

I had a few pleasant experiences:

  • Some fleeting moments of supreme bliss.
  • A feeling of despair and confusion be replaced overnight by effortless clarity.
  • The surrendering of desire to indulge in distractions that would normally tempt me.

Enough things to convince me that this is worth it.

Enough to convince me I’m on to something.

But a “transformation”…

…such a change will only come when I am ready to let go of that which feeds my petty, “small” self, and let go of the resistance to my greater, “higher” self – something we all have within.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, but it is… for me, at least.

On Tuesday, when I had my hand on the faucet, allowing all the feels to come to the surface, I had a very strong reaction to the idea of being my “greater self”. It was surprising to see. I have a blockage to it. It’s not rational, or logical, but it makes sense. It’s there because that’s how humans work, deep down. We block ourselves to things. We choose “smaller” behaviour, and “smaller” lives and then convince ourselves it’s only happening to us.

To let go of my resistance to my small self will mean letting go of all the payoffs I get from remaining where I am – some large, some subtle, some secret, others obvious.

Letting go of your negativity means letting go of all the things you like about it. And there is a surprising amount that you like about it, believe me.

But the benefits to doing so…… are truly exciting.

I’ve used the techniques I’ve learned to make a depression last only one day, instead of God knows how long.

I’ve proven to myself that feelings can be dealt with.

I keep getting deeper. It’s logical that I can deal with this large, deep inner resistance to success, too.

The challenge in refusing to give in to despair, doubt, skepticism, which are all doing their best to derail me.

 

Despair, hopelessness, and doubt are all just feelings, though.

And feelings can be dealt with.

Dvorak Update: 55 wpm

That’s not an average, I will admit, but I did hit 55wpm the other day.

Two months ago I switched from the Qwerty keyboard layout to the Dvorak layout (not named for the letters on the top row, btw – named after the inventor, ).

Here’s what my progress has looked like:

2017-03-22 at 12.56.49.png

Bare in mind: The second half is not as smooth as it looks. I just stopped taking data points every day.

Regardless, the trend is clear, and common. With almost everything, you make fast progress at first, and then you reach a plateau.

If it becames an “OK Plateau“, you may never leave it!

55wpm is solidly above average (~40)… but I don’t want to be mearly above average! My old Qwerty speed was 85wpm at a push, so my Dvorak goal is at least that. I’ll aim for 100.

I’ve been treating progress as a given, but maybe that was an error. I’ll start practicing dail again, like I did when I first switched.

I have no doubt that I can learn to type faster with Dvorak than I could with Qwerty. It’s so much more comfortable to type with the layout. It would stand to reason that it can be faster.

(I use Typing-Speed-Test.aoeu.eu to test my typing speed and Typing Club to practice.)