Against Cheerfulness

I once ended up at a Boy Scout ceremony in the northeast United States, where I inhaled the American spirit unfiltered. The boys’ uniforms had Stars-and-Stripes patches sewn on next to their badges. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance in front of an oversize US flag, and we prayed to America’s vague God, giving thanks…

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The Peculiar Blindness of Experts

The bet was on, and it was over the fate of humanity. On one side was the Stanford biologist Paul R. Ehrlich. In his 1968 best seller, The Population Bomb, Ehrlich insisted that it was too late to prevent a doomsday apocalypse resulting from overpopulation. Resource shortages would cause hundreds of millions of starvation deaths within a…

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Final Thoughts – May 2019

MY NIECE WAS THREE at the time. A trip to the historical mansion, Ripponlea, seemed like a great way to share this sparkling Spring day. Hand in hand, arms swinging, we ventured through the ornate metal entrance gate. A majestic peacock turned to face us, looked my niece directly in the eye, and I imperceptibly…

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Strengths vs Weaknesses

IS IT BETTER TO work on your weaknesses, or to focus on developing your strengths? When you’re working on your weaknesses, it is like staggering through half-set concrete. Dirty. Agonising. Demoralising. I’ve personally found that my weaknesses are so huge, gaping and embarrassing. For example, I’m so locationally dyslexic that sometimes I get lost after…

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What’s Your Trading Blind Spot?

WILLIAM JAMES’S LIFE sucked. As a child, he faced debilitating health issues – constant vomiting, blindness in one eye and hideous back spasms. His siblings were brilliant goody-two-shoes-show-offs, and all William could do is look at them with envy. William’s Dad, through his connections, managed to get him into Harvard Medical School. William HATED it.…

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Yes, They Saw My Undies

I’D JUST FINISHED presenting. A roar of applause. I glided towards the edge of the stage to make my carefully timed exit. High heels. Professional. A new flowing dress. And then… on the first step down from the stage, I stumbled. Not a graceful little skip, like you see in the soap operas. No, no,…

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The Three Levels of Self Awareness

Self-awareness is like great sex: everyone thinks they have a ton of it, but in reality no one knows what the fuck they’re doing. The fact is that the majority of our thoughts and actions are on autopilot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Our habits, routines, impulses, and reactions carry us through our lives…

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Getting Ahead By Being Inefficient

Trying to be perfect is a waste of time. Many of us feel constant pressure to adapt perfectly to our environments, especially our workplaces. Don’t waste time, we’re told. Maximize the output of your moments. Minimize your energy expenditure. If you aren’t getting great, someone else is, so before you collapse into a heap of…

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What We Want Doesn’t Always Make Us Happy

Much of modern economic theory is based around a simple idea: Human beings maximize utility. But what is utility? Many people think of it as happiness or pleasure; British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the inventor of utilitarianism, conceived of it this way. But this isn’t how modern economists think of the concept. To an economist, utility simply means…

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The Futility of Market Timing

This old chestnut has raised its head courtesy of this article that dropped into my LinkedIn feed. You can read the article at your leisure if you wish. The basic conclusion it comes to is that market timing as defined by picking the perfect day on which to invest  is not worth the risk.The article…

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But When Do I get Paid?

When you begin to engage markets on any level you naturally bring with you a set of behaviours and expectations that have been developed over the life of your working career. First and foremost of these is the notion of getting paid, after all nobody does anything for free. The expectation of a salary being…

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The Art of Blooming Late

Mozart was a celestial genius, but he struggled like a mere mortal during his teens and early twenties. Though already a prolific composer, he had to work as an organist and concertmaster in his native Salzburg to make ends meet. Underpaid, unfulfilled, and hemmed in by his frustratingly average gigs, he felt a burning desire…

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