Tag: Life advice

Cut the crap, you’re not busy!

Cut the crap, you’re not busy!

Take a walk in any office and ask how people feel. I bet that people claim to be busy more often than not. Especially in an environment where people are dealing with a constant flow of e-mail requests and an unending amount of meetings, it is hard not to be overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, there is always more to do. That’s not necessarily bad though. As Jacob Lund Fisker writes in Early Retirement Extreme:

“Busyness is seen as a virtue.”

Cal Newport explains in his book Deep Work: In an environment where productivity is hard to judge, for example in creative endeavours or in knowledge work, looking busy is the only proxy of being productive and valuable.

But also in personal life when trying to make plans, everybody seems to be in a rush. There is just so much to do and there isn’t enough time. Literally, consider all the options you have in a given moment to spend your time. By choosing to do one thing, you have to discard thousands of opportunity’s to spend your time. (That’s why I find it hard to believe that people can be bored, that’s another topic). But if you “mistake busyness for importance – which we do a lot – you’re not able to see what really is important.” – Michael Lewis.

Though it is not always a very pleasant thought, Marcus Aurelius insists you to remember that your total time is limited. This is not just a life and death matter, but you also can’t tell whether your mind is clear enough at an old age to enjoy all the things you want to do (book 3-1, Meditations). So it is not just good to have a sense of urgency in life, moreover, you should make a concious effort to critically examine whether what you are doing is really important to you.

If you are feeling busy, life is controlling you. You have to accept that some things can’t be changed, but how you spend your time isn’t one of them. Are you mindlessly browsing Facebook and YouTube? Are you catching up with people who aren’t actually your friends? Are you doing work that isn’t moving your company forward? It is time for you to cut the crap and take control of your life.

You need principles, not some magical silver bullet

You need principles, not some magical silver bullet

One thing I’ve learned by reading a lot over the past years is that the principles guiding the advice from some book are often a lot more valuable than the actual presented content. What I mean by that can probably be best explained by an example from Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Although this book looks to be about personal finance on the surface, see what happens when you apply the book’s lessons to other areas in life, like fitness:

For example, in the start of the book Ramit writes:

“I have met with thousands of millionaires in my years as a financial counselor[…]. They all lived on less than they made and spent only when they had cash.”

What happens when you rewrite that sentence to be:

“I have met with thousands of cases of successful weight loss in my years as a personal trainer[…]. They all ate less than they needed and indulged only when they had room in their diets.”

Simply replacing the financial aspect with a health expert still yields the sentence to be true. That is because it is not the advice that counts, it’s the underlying principles that are the real lessons. Another one:

“Being rich is about freedom.”

Or:

“Being healthy is about freedom.”

Being rich allows you to be independent of whatever you do daily. You don’t have to worry about earning enough to buy life’s necessities when you engage in some type of entrepeneurial activity. Being healthy allows you to engage in all type of life’s activities without worrying about becoming sick or having pain while doing so. The underlying principle is that having the basics in life in check will allow you to do all the things you deem important without worry.

So instead of looking or silver bullets that you treat like magic:

read them for what they’re actually saying: “I need to eat less to lose weight” or “I need to spend less to have more money”. Though these examples may help and provide useful guidelines, read them for what they are and try and to find the underlying principles the next time you are given advice. Use these to become a little better in all areas of life.

Spend more money to save more

Spend more money to save more

I read Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich a couple of weeks ago, and one of his advices has been resonating with me:

“Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.”

Initially, this seems to be just solid financial advice. By spending only on the things you enjoy and cutting costs everywhere else, money goes towards the areas in life that provide the highest value for money. Subsequently, this will steer life away from the areas that aren’t providing value at all. Like most of Ramit’s advice, though financially minded, it is applicable to a lot more of life’s areas.

For example:

  • Friendship: spend most of your time with the friends closest to you, while avoiding toxic relationships with people who tend to drain more energy than they ultimately end up providing.
  • Fitness: do the exercises that provide you with the most benefit, like compound movements (squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows), while avoiding exhausting yourself doing just isolation work.
  • Nutrition: especially when trying to lose weight, ‘spend’ your minimally available calories on foods that you enjoy and keep you full, while declining on mindlessly eating the dense foods that do not provide the same satisfaction.
  • Time: since time is a non-renewable resource, use it wisely by only dedicating it to activities that provide value to your life. So read a book instead of aimlessly wandering around Reddit or Facebook.

By applying this advice to your entire life, you will guarantee that all of life’s resources are used optimally. That means being completely honest with yourself and sometimes making the most difficult decisions ruthlessly, in order to decrease every distraction to make the most valuable investment of all resources.

Consequently, by guiltlessly spending more on the most enjoyable area’s of life, it will in fact become a lot easier to avoid the value draining activities, therefore:

  • Increasing your savings while getting more for your money.
  • Losing more weight by actually eating the foods you enjoy.
  • Inceasing free time by doing more of the activities that provide value.

So start consciously making decisions with this advice in mind, in order to transform your life step by step.


If you liked this article, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: I Will Teach You To Be Rich on Bol.com
Amazon: I Will Teach You To Be Rich on Amazon