Imagineering Your Dream Life with special guest “The Art of Purpose”

I’m thrilled to have “AOP” from the “The Art Of Purpose” as interview guest on my blog today.

If you don’t know him yet, here’s why I believe you should get to know him soon:

He’s taken “Money Twitter” by storm this year.

AOP used the Covid crisis as a chance to adapt and use his skills to start something new in his life. Right from the moment when Covid hit first in March 2020, his Twitter account @creation247 started to defy “social media gravity” and soared quickly past many others – at light speed!

Today, we’re going to explore his background story and I’m most certain you can take away inspiration and valuable insights about how to imagineer your own dream life going forward!

Don’t just survive, thrive in the 2020’s!

Before you continue, please click “play” below and listen to AOP’s personal music recommendation for reading this post!

Background: Brahms only wrote 4 symphonies during his life as creator: Quality was everything for him.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the interview, shall we?

Q: Who is “The Art of Purpose”?

My Twitter name is “The Art of Purpose” or short AOP. I used to be an opera singer touring the globe with some of the biggest performers in the world. For the past 35 years I’ve been involved with all forms of art. First as student, then as creator, and now as teacher. As of now, I’m a certified public-school teacher with more 20 years’ experience.

Luckily, I discovered my passion to learn, perform and teach at an early age.

It was also from an early age that I saw many good artists creating beautiful work but how they remained “starving artists”.

In early 2020 I’ve started as “AOP” on Twitter with the aim of turning Twitter into my personal Art Gallery. The AOP Twitter account is about 90% of who I am in real life.

Without an alarm clock, I usually raise around 5 am to devote time for my online presence. This includes my Twitter account and my The Art of Purpose webpage. Once the sun rises, I’ll be a teacher and keep engaging with my online audience during my breaks.

If you do what you love, you won’t feel like working at all.

It rather becomes like some kind of computer game.

And we all know how addictive games can become – that’s why Creation247.

While I like to create and teach my lessons learned online, it’s my outspoken goal that artists got to eat and I don’t want to become a burnt-out, starving artist myself!

Q: AOP, how does someone go after finding their purpose?

It’s a sad fact but too many people go through life without having any plan at all. They wake up, go to work, go to sleep, and before they know it, get old. Their life will have zoomed by – and that was it!? If that’s you, you will fit in, but you will never stand out. For many thinking and reflecting about life is too hard.

Make it a priority to take the time to do so!

(Financial Imagineer: find your technique, some people swear on hiking, working out, practicing meditation, for me Jaccuzzi Beerstorming works best! )

Start by imagining who you’d like to become and what you’d like to achieve.

Write your thoughts down. Use this as your mission and vision statements. This must be your compass. Re-read it from time to time. Stick to it mostly, however, don’t aim for perfection, let yourself and the idea of your future self evolve and allow a certain degree of flexibility as well.

Keep asking yourself: What is YOUR best life? What is YOUR purpose?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Comment by Financial Imagineer: If you’d like to read more about finding your purpose, you can read more on AOPs “Find Your Purpose” post or on my “Ikigai” post.

Q: Did you have a “Pivot Point” in life?

There were actually two distinct pivot points in my life so far.

The first one was back in my early 20s: I had a negative net worth. One morning I woke up and decided to no longer be poor. I wanted to become wealthy! The key lesson here is: It was a mindset shift. It all starts with mindset! The day I decided to no longer be poor and instead become wealthy was the day my mind got primed: I am going to make this happen.

Once my mind was aligned, I had to take action. The very first step was to get rid of my loaded GT Mustang Convertible. If you are not a millionaire, don’t act like one!

I immediately drove my gas guzzling Mustang to the very next car dealership and exchanged if for a Nissan Leaf – an electro car. Imagine that!

The line of thought was: Since I will take my family on the journey to get wealthy, I got to make a big sacrifice first to make a point visible to everyone. At first, they all thought I’m crazy. But hey, seven years from that “point” we actually became millionaires!

The facts behind the scene: By tackling the car costs I managed to reduce the annual commuting costs (in terms of gas only) from $7,000 for the Mustang with 20 miles per gallon to an e-powered 7 cents per kilowatt solution. This alone resulted in new commuting costs of $150 per year. This swapping yielded a recurring saving opportunity of $6,500 – annually – which went right away into the stock market in tax sheltered accounts. Boom!

You do the math.

That set my dreams to get wealthy in motion.

The second tipping point was during the Corona Virus crisis in early 2020.

One evening I logged into my account and realized a double comma figure popped up.

It has happened. Age 39: Millionaire!

At first, I expected this point in life to feel different. But there was nothing special about it. We celebrated, we were happy, our plan worked out, but hey: Life goes on. What’s next?

That’s when I decided to start sharing my path and story and help others. I needed a platform. I had been on Twitter before, but more as a reader, a consumer.

Now, I decided that I’d like to give back and teach others how to become creators and influencers in the new world! That’s when and why I started my Twitter account @creation247.

Comment by Financial Imagineer: If you’d like to, you can read more about these crucial pivot points on my blog post “The Day I Became a Millionaire”.

Q: How did you prepare yourself? How did you get started?

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been trained to be a professional performer in all arts. I also used to read a lot about persuasion skills from Scott Adams. You take all this add it together and cross it with me playing video games for 8-9 hours a day. You could say my life led up to this point where I was fully equipped to take that next step to start my online story!

In order to create AOP I used all my knowledge, the best knowledge and insights available in the world, to take the step and become an influencer. You could call the AOP account a well designed persuasion hack, it combines the picture of Brad Pitt with beautiful paintings that speak to the audience with a strong and convincing voice. The overall package combines things you’re familiar with but haven’t heard or seen before in this exact way.

For me going to social media and becoming an influencer was like levelling up my computer games skills and creating something to inspire others to take action to improve their lives.

Q: What was your learning curve? Do you have any tips for others who like to follow your footsteps?

Playing computer games is fun. But hey, let’s face it: It’s also a huge waste a lot of time! Time you will never get back anymore. Creating something as an artist, be it online or not, may not be as easy as it may seem. First and foremost, it’s a lot of work.

After having started the AOP Twitter account in May 2020 I gained 470 follows, in June I just managed to add another 100 follows. Later on more follows came faster. Growth and success never come in a linear form. During those first months I was posting very decent stuff, the same level quality as now with more than 17,000 follows.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

My learning curve was to focus more on networking and connecting with others [on Twitter]. I aimed at figuring out how “to play the game”. I can confirm, if you really want to grow on Twitter, you got to connect with others. One of the biggest benefits of doing so is you can get connected with some of the smartest people in your field.

They are literally just one mouse click away!

Recently I’ve started an online course to teach people interested in exploring this path.

My online course “Create 24/7” starts with a Twitter growth book and comes with additional video modules. More modules being uploaded in the future: It’s a truly unlimited Twitter growth course!

You can find my course here: “Create 24/7: The Blueprint to Unlimited Content Creation”

Q: What does “success” mean to you?

Success can be defined in many ways.

Not everyone can become “the wealthiest” person in life.

For me success means being strong enough to help others, at first providing for my family.

Right after that comes being able to walk my own path and avoiding starving artists syndrome while doing so.

To me success means: Fulfilling your purpose.

Q: What is your success formula?

My success formula revolves around my family values. At times, I can be a pretty competitive person – but all I want is a building a better life for my family. The “formula” could be broken down into three main pillars.

First: College education.

Thanks to a scholarship I got a college education without student debt!

Having an academic background shaped my mind to constantly research anything that interests me – in depth. When getting into a new subject, I can spend hours and hours to find and study the best information available. Make it a priority to learn everything you can from the best.

Second: Take action

Once you start getting relevant information, learn how to use it and act upon it. Becoming successful is a lot of learn by doing. Don’t just accumulate theoretical knowledge without ever taking action. Get started, learn from mistakes, and keep going.

Third: Never be denied!

If you want something, go out and get it. Determine the cost – be it your time, your effort, and/ or money – and if you deem it worthwhile: Pay the price!

Never be denied.

The above are the three main ingredients that defined my personal growth trajectory.

When it comes to money, you should also do the same things as mentioned above, learn from the best…

…educate yourself, take action and go for your goals despite naysayers.

Especially for money, my extra advice is to automate as much as possible. If interested you can read more about how to do this in my blogpost “Automate Your Life to a Million”.

Beware who you’re surrounding yourself with.

You become the average of the five people you spend time together the most.

Similarly consume news or music carefully. Anything that you let to your mind is influencing you in a way. Avoid getting programmed.

Control the quality of what you consume!

The quality of what you consume is what you become.

Q: What inspired you to “build” your life?

In my life I was blessed to grow up and study with and from the best since I was a child. My inspiration came from the best teachers, the best artists and later the best writers and online sources I could find in this order.

For the art of performing and persuasion the most inspiring sources where Scott Adams and and Dr. Robert Chialdini.

For going online, I got mainly inspired by the fitness guys and mindset hack bloggers.

Let the main take away be this: No matter what you do, learn from the best and learn how to play the game!

“When you play hockey, you don’t go where the puck is at, you go where the puck is going.” Wayne Gretzki

With the above quote in mind, “playing Twitter” is NOT different.

As of now, I have around 1,000 tweets prepared on the side and I’m observing the “mood of the day” to play my best tweet accordingly!

Q: How do you make decisions?

First and foremost and as mentioned before, family comes always first for me!

Beyond that: Have a plan.

Know where you’re going. See the big picture. When caught up in the moment, remain flexible, flexibility is key to improve yourself. Keep an open mind, try to always keep all options open.

This doesn’t translate in me changing my course all the time. No. But if I happen to come across new superior information, I’m more than willing to drop my old beliefs and adapt.

This is a super crucial aspect for making good decisions during the information age. Our world is constantly evolving at speeds unimaginable just a few decades ago.

The most adaptable survive, not the strongest ones.

Comment by Financial Imagineer: Click to read how to make a 5 year plan with your partner to design your life.

Q: How will digitalisation shape our lives in the next 10 years?

I’m a kid of the 1980’s and remember how back in the days, when the internet was in its infancy, its builders believed in being able to solve the wealth inequality issue by democratizing access to information!

A few years fast forward and we know: The exact opposite happened.

Poor people don’t know what to do or how to work with information.

Rich people use information and improve.

In fact, the internet somehow made the problem worse!

Right now we can still say we’re in the infancy of social media in some way. We’re slowly seeing how mainstream media is on its way out. Ultimately it will get replaced. Users prefer to consume content from social media instead. Their timelines are highly customized and each person has their “own channel” in a way.

We have now personalized news on demand on a global scale.

Nothing beats unfiltered information from bloggers, from influencers and from people who have something to say.

Unfiltered information coming from the heart is unbeatable.

That’s why I believe digitalization will create huge opportunities for many to build their own brand. Start today, begin your brand, and understand how to use social media instead of consuming from it.

My vision for the AOP account is to create the best course on content creation that there is!

Comment by Financial Imagineer: Read more about how to thrive in the 2020’s on my blog post “The 2020$ – Thriving In The New Decade”

Q: What would you recommend for living a happy life?

It’s an amazing fact: 75% of all people believe money buys you happiness. But only a few people know that happiness somehow plateaus at an annual income level of around $70,000.

From well researched studies it was also shown: If you won the lottery or you lost your limbs – you will be overjoyed or depressed at first but eventually your level of happiness will revert to your mean, no matter what.

This is called hedonistic adaptation.

That’s why my recommendation for young people is to get familiar with stoicism.

It teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. Being stoic is being calm and at times without any emotion.

When you’re stoic, you accept whatever is happening. This is the one part where you can truly control your level of happiness!

Happiness = Expectations – Reality.

Q: What is your personal ultimate goal in life?

I imagine myself having real estate in a few places around the world. Ultimately my dream revolves around having beach access. My home base is and will be Texas.

No matter what will happen, I still want to be engaged on social media, learning, growing together with you!

Final Words

Thanks for your time and sharing your insights with my readers today AOP!

If you’re interested to grow your Twitter or become a creator of some kind, please feel free to reach out to us and stay connected for more! Never ever in the history of humankind was spreading your ideas with a global audience as easy as today. The world is wide open and hungry for good content.

If you liked this interview please share it (social media buttons are below, comment, retweet) or leave a comment below about what you think would be interesting to learn about imagineering your life in the 2020’s!

Learn from the best,

Matt, Financial Imagineer

If you’d like to read more from AOP, click here to join “the rebellion” and to add yourself to his newsletter or follow him here on Twitter.

If you didn’t join my inbox crew yet subscribe by email in the box below, like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Equal Partners Podcast

Adam Kol helps couples who love each other make sure that the money conversation doesn’t get in the way. His aim it to take couples from fear and fights to partnership & prosperity.

As a Couples Financial Counselor and Certified Mediator, Adam provides customized counseling and tailored tools to give you intimacy, peace of mind, and ultimately: cash.

His services are available worldwide via video coaching.

Learn more about Adam Kol’s offering on his website AHK Coaching.

It was an honor to have been a guest on Adam’s 30th episode of his “Equal Partners Podcast” together with my wife Martina who was speaking as a podcast guest for the first time in her life!

Listen to our episode right here or find more links below.

During our show with Adam we introduce ourselves, how we got to know eachother in Taiwan and how we started planning our lives together in Taiwan as we quickly fell in love.

From two worlds apart, a lot of sacrifice went into figuring out our future together. After Matt moved back to Switzerland, we knew that we couldn’t be apart for too long and made a five-year plan to be together.

In this episode, we share how we turned our post-it note dreams into our thriving reality via financial planning and selfless compromise, we share some of the things we sacrificed and how we helped eachother along the way as well. 

Now, with a family and financially independent we love to share in this podcast that if you plan your couple as a dream team, you can superspeed your life goals while still afford the things that make life exciting.

Be careful, because once you tune in to this podcast, your interest is sure to …compound!

Listen to this episode either directly on Adam’s website: The Equal Partner$ Podcast

Or click here for: Spotify

If you found today’s post helpful, kindly consider sharing it with your spouse, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. Please don’t forget to subscribe my blog by email, like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Go after your goals as a dream team!

Matt

Distilling Skills to Imagineer Your Life: Master Mandarin Chinese

Have you ever looked at a master perform a craft and thought to yourself: Wow, I wish I can do that too? Here is good news for you: Nobody was born a master, yes you can! It’s our aim to teach you how.

This is the first blog post of a monthly blog series “Distilling Skills” where we will “distill” different skills into their basic ingredients and show you how to learn them in a more efficient manner. Over time, we will show you how you can make yourself a master of all trades!

In this competitive world, your ability to learn new skills gives you an extra edge over your competition. If you can figure out how to learn any skill, you can do anything.

The faster you learn a skill, the more you will be able to achieve.

What does this have to do with imagineering your life?

You can pursue your dreams better and faster when you learn and acquire the skills of your choice. Levelling-up the right skills is the key to living a more wealthy, happy, interesting, and fulfilled life.

Life is more than mere consumption. Learn how to create for a fulfilled life.

Let’s begin this series with my own example. I’d like to share the story how I ended up speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese while I grew up believing that I got no talent for learning foreign languages. My grades in French and English were nothing outstanding.

My appetite to learn and improve at foreign languages ran into a speed bump because I strongly believed not being good at it. I hated studying languages during school because it did not seem to be worthwhile. My negativity was made worse by a teacher who made me believe I truly had no talent learning languages.

Instead of a growth mindset, I felt stuck in the fixed mindset.

A few years later, I won a large cash amount at a TV gameshow “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” which filled my bank account with six-figures at 21 year old. Concurrently I graduated with my economics Master and the world suddenly seemed to be filled with opportunities. Since I was born in Panama I chose to go on a solo backpacking trip to Panama and Costa-Rica to learn Spanish!

Something must have happened during this trip. Before the trip I strongly believed I have no talent for foreign languages but after less than three months studying Spanish, I immersed in the language and was suddenly able to converse with anyone on the street!

I couldn’t believe it.

My English improved a lot as well. The whole experience was fun, empowering and something clicked in my head: Maybe my teachers were wrong about my language skills? Maybe I found a key to “unlocking” a new skill through immersion?

Don’t say impossible.

Say I’m possible!

When someone tells me something is impossible, it usually gets me really interested.

Back in Panama, I double dared myself. When I left the Spanish school, my teachers and friends asked me: What’s next? My goal was clear: I got intrigued to test myself and see if I could learn Mandarin Chinese next!

Instead of why.

Ask: Why not?

I had barely returned from my Central America back-packing trip and announced: Next stop will be the Far East! Within two weeks I signed-up with AIESEC for a management traineeship. And another two weeks later I landed in Taipei, Taiwan!

It was my first trip eastwards of Europe. It was one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever embarked in my life.

Little did I know what else would start from there. This new trip was like “unlocking” my skill-adding button. Some of my friends and family told me learning mandarin Chinese was one of the hardest to learn languages for Caucasians. I’ve accepted the challenge.

Instead of one day.

Say: Day one!

On my very first day in Taiwan I got to know my future wife (!) and a ton of wonderful new friends from the international AIESEC community. AIESEC is one of the best organizations for young people to expand your horizon and explore! It was day one for my mandarin Chinese challenge.

Once I had my basic life organized, I quickly arranged for a language school (TLI – Taipei Language Institute) and started mandarin lessons. I was sure how to go about it and quickly switched from initial group lessons to 1:1 style with a private teacher three times a week after work. Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8-10pm and on Saturday mornings from 9am till noon I started learning Chinese. 7 hours a week. It worked. It was fun.

I learned so much more than just a new language though. My lesson was much deeper. Thinking back, this was the moment where I’ve learned to find a way inside myself to unlock my motivation, my appetite for adventure as well as the discipline and motivation to follow-through.

Once you find your “way” inside yourself, you can add any skill you’d like.

The key take-aways for me where that I could repeat this with anything I’d ever want to learn in life. There’s a huge menu list of skills I’d still like to add. For me the basic ingredients are:

  • Motivation
  • Challenge yourself
  • Set yourself up for success, schedule it
  • Stay the course and follow through
  • Be fearless in the pursuit of what tickles your interest

Earlier this year I got to know Mike (@distillmike on Twitter), the blogger behind “Distill Institute”, I shared with him my above experience and how it affected me in a great way for the long term. We decided to start this monthly series “Distilling Skills to Imagineer”. Mike will lead you now through the technicalities behind my above “lucky” story so this lesson of mine becomes truly applicable for whatever skill YOU choose to learn!

Over to Mike:

Let’s Distill For Skill!

Matts’ journey of mastering so many difficult languages offers many more lessons than just “luck” for you to learn from.

Let’s use Matts’ experience as an example on how he subconsciously distilled the skills of learning languages and you can use them to replicate his success.

In the heart of distilling skills, we will use the DSSS method: Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing and Stakes. This is a quick learning tool made famous by Tim Ferriss, the author most known by his 4-Hour Work Week book that ignited the New Rich trend.

Step 1: Deconstruction

First, you need to pick apart a language down into minimal learnable units and identify what builds a language.

There are countless words in a language but if you can learn the most common 3,000-5,000 words, you can consider yourself proficient in the language. Learning a language may seem like an immense project, but once you break it down into the simplest parts, it doesn’t look so scary anymore.

Remember that even the Great Wall is built by laying the first brick. Don’t overwhelm yourself, know that most languages are spoken and written in simple phrases and words that anyone can master.

Deconstruction helps to simplify a skill that seems complicated at first.

Step 2: Selection

Now that you have identified the minimal learnable units, it’s time to apply Pareto Law. Pareto Law is the principle that 80% of your output comes from 20% of your input.

In the learning context, it means that you have to pick out 20% of the minimal learnable units that would give you 80% of the results. This process requires you to find the smallest actions that have the biggest effects.

In language learning, it means finding the 20% most common words in everyday’s conversation. When you nail those frequently used phrases down, you would get by with speaking to the local like Matthias did.

Learning is about constant calibration. Get your basic strong and you can continue to refine your skill from there.

Step 3: Sequencing

Once you have picked out what are the minimum learnable units for the language you want to learn, it’s time to decide on which to learn first. Many people get caught in trying to learn everything at once and neglected to learn the foundational pieces. As a result, they don’t see it through the learning because they aren’t getting anywhere.

You need to realize that by getting the sequence wrong, you might be learning the intermediate building blocks instead of the beginner blocks. This will make your learning inefficient and ineffective.

Learning becomes fun when you’re getting better at a skill. So it’s critical that you can get the sequence of learnable units right. Start with the most impactful fundamentals will save you from wasting time and overwhelmed.

Step 4: Stakes

When there’re real consequences on your failing to learn, you tend to learn faster too. In Matts’ case, life would be very difficult for him if he didn’t speak the local language. The definite goal is to speak to the locals and the punishment is the inconvenience of not knowing the language.

So this pushed him to learn faster. The self-discipline is built in when there’s a price to pay for not learning and there’s reward for learning quickly.

When you’re learning a skill, implement actual punishments and rewards to keep yourself in check.

Distill to Imagineer Series

In this collaboration between Financial Imagineer and Distill Institute, we want to let people know that fast learning is a key to imagineer your life. We are going to use real world examples to distill skills for you so that you can learn fast too. We plan to release one new distill to imagineer post per month.

Stay connected for more!

The world is wide open for you to imagineer with the ability to distill any skill!

If you can learn anything, you can do anything.

Mike and Matt

If you’d like to read more from Mike, click here for subscribing for his newsletter or follow him here on Twitter.

If you didn’t join my inbox crew yet consider subscribing by email in the box below, like my Facebook page or follow Financial Imagineer on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

Speed Of Time

Today I’m celebrating my birthday. I’m turning 41. Translated for you: It means I’m now closer to 50 than to 30 and closer to 60 than to 20. At least that’s what I’m thinking about right now. Also, 41 years means I’ve spent now more time living after the year 2000 than before. Hell, just think about it, 1990 is now further away than 2050.

Yes, birthdays get me thinking “about time” every single time.

And I like it.

Because time flies.

The speed of time is exactly 365.242189 days per year!

Is this fast? Is it slow? Well, that’s where it gets interesting, you see:

It depends!

What’s for sure is this: Time moves forward and forward only.

The past five years I kept thinking of ways how to “slow down” time in my life. We’ve experimented a lot with life and “this time around” I’m happy to write a blog post to share my findings and thoughts with you.

Hope you too can slow down time in your life!

Today is the oldest you’ve ever been.

And the youngest you’ll ever be again.

Five years ago, on my 36th birthday my dad called me. He was 72.

He said:

First: “Congrats, you’ve already reached half my age!”

Second: “You’re catching up!”

Last: “Beware, the second half goes faster…”

Like so many other lessons I could learn from my dad:

This sunk in.

Deeply.

While I appreciate every single day that is given to me, it’s terrifying how fast time actually flies.

Where did all the time go? Tomorrow isn’t promised.

The fair part of it is: It’s the same for everyone.

Nobody has figured out how to stop – or even reverse – time.

Time keeps flying no matter what you do.

Besides eliminating Time Bandits in your life, there are many more things you can do!

Create your own life progress-bar t-shirt at NAS daily, it shows how many % of your life as vs. your life-expectancy have passed already. [no affiliate link]

Time is Relative

The futurist Peter Diamandis once said, “The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.” At first sight, this quote simply explains Einstein’s relativity theory.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Let’s take the relativity theory apart and apply the findings to enrich our lives!

What does “time is relative” mean? It simply means that depending on the perspective of an observer, the passage of very same amount of time is perceived differently. I fully appreciated this meaning once we started living in Singapore.

Singapore is located almost at the equator. Every day you got about the same amount of sunshine and darkness. Further, every day, year around, the weather will be mostly the same. There is no more seasonality in Singapore as for in places where you take notice of spring, summer, autumn, or winter.

Due to missing seasonality, every day looks and feels the same. Lack of weather stimulating our brains will make perceived time speed up. It will get hard to “archive” your memories according to a season. For me in the beginning it felt like living “out of time”.

While this concept can be well explained with seasonality or the lack of it, it also works with your personal life experience.

Think of it like this: The older you get, the more you’ve experienced life, the less “interesting” or “new” normal experiences or habits will be for your brain. As a result, given no new stimulations, your brain will switch into autopilot and cruise-control through your ordinary life. Your brain zooms out!

Remember when you were a kid, how did waiting for Christmas feel? Waiting those 25 days through December? It took an eternity! On one hand our brain has a relativity function, so let’s say when you’re a five year old, your total accrued life experience is merely (5 x 365) 1,825 days, hence, waiting 25 days translates to a relatively long time as compared to your accumulated total. Once you’re turning 41 like me today, the brain has 14,965 days to put 30 days in relation to.

The older you get, the more you’ve seen and experienced, the easier it will get for your brain to essentially put your life on FASTFORWARD – if you stick to your current habits!

Have you ever watched the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler?

In this movie Adam Sandler gets a magic remote control that helps him skip the unpleasant parts of life. It learns and adapts his preferences and automatically skips the parts he doesn’t like, it helps him zoom out and by the end he missed most of his life!

You and me, we are pilots of our own life.

As pilots, there are some things we can do to slow down perceived time!

Bending Space Time

Research indicates that your perception of elapsed time is primarily influenced by the type and amount of NEW experiences you encounter!

Since we can’t influence the weather, why not focus on creating new stimuli yourself: The more “new” inputs for your brain to process, the more “interesting” your life, the slower time will pass for you!

I’ve tested this myself in the past soon five years.

After having left my 9-5 job in 2017 I’ve exposed myself intentionally to learning new things, such as blogging, starting businesses, travelling, learning other things and habits such as cooking, baking or cutting hair.

I can confirm Einstein was right: Time is relative indeed!

In the past 5 years we’ve made so many great and fond new memories as family.

If you plan to slow down time for yourself: Live life intentionally.

Keep your life interesting, expose yourself to new experiences, learn new skills, meet interesting new people, and go travel.

It’s time for a change: Bend your own space time!

Lightyears Ahead

Einstein also said: Time is relative. The faster you move, the slower your time passes!

However, if you turn the above around, the slower you move towards your desired goals, the slower your time seems to pass as you’re merely waiting for something to happen.

How does that translate to your life?

Let’s say you feel stuck in your professional life. Maybe you’ve been told to wait another five years for the next promotion. How do you feel will these five years feel if all you do is sit back and let life happen until your promotion?

Don’t do that! This is passive and will not add happiness to your life. It’s will feel like waiting forever and ultimately, in retrospect, there won’t be many memories or experiences to look back to!

Instead, try to put your dreams on drive and “jump” forward.

Recently I’ve challenged my kids with this:

I’ve given them this paper and asked them to show me the shortest way from A to B.

Sure enough they pointed out the fastest way is the direct line between the two points. In happy anticipation I kept pushing their initial findings back, asking them to “think out of the box”.

Like in this example, in life, if you follow the normal path, if will take you 36,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri [the next star system from earth]. Depending on your dreams, going the ordinary, proven path, you will never be able to reach your goal in a lifetime.

Ever.

If you want to speed up things though: You got to find the switch for the warp drive – or even better – find a wormhole!

The actual shortest way from A to B is to “bend space time”. Fold the paper and place B right next to A, find the bloody wormhole!

To move fast is to have all the time in world.

If I lost you here, please, let me try to explain: How does that work for YOUR life?

Before you speed-up, slow down. Stop!

Get crystal clear on where you currently are and where you’d like to go. If you observe your surroundings, try to see things differently, try to see wormholes or shortcuts. If not, it might be time to change your surroundings.

Surround yourself with people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities.

Take care of your network, you might know someone who achieved already what you have in mind or who could help you on the next steps. Explore your network, learn from others, find out what’s the best course increase your options!

Then: Set YOUR new course!

Put your dreams on DRIVE!!!

Once you put the pedal to the metal and go full speed you will realize how your mindset gets equipped with a new set of priorities. When you travel high speed, you will need to be highly concentrated. Take note that by being fully focused to reach your goals faster, you will forego certain things and remove options in life. There are opportunity costs to every choice in life.

When you accelerate to warp speed, you can compare it like travelling on a highway. You will reach your goal faster and move into the right direction. However, you surrender your ability to stop at any random place at will. No more sightseeing. Your options to stopping or changing directions still exist, but they’ll be restricted to intersections or exits instead.

The faster and further you travel, the more new opportunities you will come across simply because you travelled further and saw more. Living life on a high-speed lifestyle you will embrace the importance of the bigger picture more than certain small details which you pass by fast.

By getting started terraforming your life you’ll have the ability to manipulate and enhance the quality of your time and life, also, you will attract a whole different set of new opportunities as well!

Beware, don’t forget to slow down or stop to reflect every once in a while!

One wormhole or shortcut may have worked in the past and helped you move forward. But it may not be what helps you move further towards your dreams.

What got you here, won’t get you there.

The one trick that will help you truly understand this concept for real list is:

Instead of looking at time elapsed, we should look and focus at distance travelled!

Conclusion

Become a time bender. Live timeless. Find ways to store time.

Live life intentionally, find shortcuts, live fast, slow down time. You have no time to waste. Do what you like to do now. Make the life you live right now count!

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

Time will tell.

A life well lived is long enough, but the second half goes faster. Winter is Coming.

The “faster you live”, the slower time passes. So put the pedal to the metal!

You only feel old when you stop discovering.

Explore, dream, discover!

It’s all about time.

Time to go!

Matt

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Eliminating Decision Fatigue: Why Less is Often More

Did you know happiness does not peaks with a maximum of options provided but with an optimum amount of choices instead? Yes, more and more is not better per se. From a certain point onwards an increase in more choices offered decreases your happiness!

Less is more.

Did you ever enter a supermarket and got flabbergasted by the sheer amount of different oils, yoghurts, breads or cereals offered? You got the cheap ones, the ones made from better or different ingredients, then you got the extra quality stuff, the super cheap ones and even more.

Which one will it be?

The modern supermarket: Nightmare or blessing? You choose!

If you go to Starbucks you got to figure out your game-plan to order a simple beverage like: “Double-shot, half-decaf, three pumps of sugar free vanilla flavored syrup, half-soy, half-nonfat, skimmy-no-foam-latte… venti-sized but with sprinkles please – to go!”

Now imagine you go order coffee for your whole family or team and need to repeat the above 10x. Ordering a simple beverage or choosing an ordinary item in a supermarket can become a real headache already!

Did you know at Starbucks you can order 87,000 different combinations of drinks these days? No kidding!

The same applies for investing by the way!

On the New York Stock exchange, you can invest in more than 3,000 stocks, and that’s just at one (!) stock exchange to start with. Most people choose to go with an ETF instead.

Same goes for whom to trust or whom to follow on Twitter.

If you want to be better equipped to make “data driven”-like decisions, consider checking out Data Driven Investor or the DDI Medium distribution where you can also find Financial Imagineer publications.

We’re living in a “multi-options society”.

We’re overwhelmed by options!

How to Make Better Decisions?

Learning how to make better decisions is a most important skill nowadays!

Deep down our culture seems to be all about having more choices.

Don’t we believe having the “ability to choose” empowers us to be the “driver of your destiny”? You are what you consume!

Simple logic would say: The more choices offered, the better your informed choices should be able to satisfy your true needs and therefore improve your level of happiness!?

Well, apparently this is not how it works.

There are two different ways how humans react to this:

  1. You’re a satisficer = you are okay with “good enough”
  2. You’re a maximizer = you want to research everything in order to make the perfect choice

Guess who’s more happy long term?

Humans are fairly hopeless in predicting what makes them truly happy, hence in the long term the satisficers have a much higher chance to strike true happiness than the maximizers. Maximizers will be struck with endless comparisons and ultimately: Decision fatigue. If maximizers finally can settle for a decision, the satisficers have made many more decisions and have moved on in life already – happier!

Think of this ancient story that still holds true:

There was a donkey standing in the middle of two large piles of hay. They are both equally big but also equally far away from the donkey. Standing right there, the donkey had trouble to figure out where he should be going first. He was indecisive. As he kept contemplating, he starved to death.

The end.

Humans also “suck” at predicting what makes them genuinely happy – in the long run. They are able to go for a new, fancy car and enjoy the first few days with it. They’re expecting buying the car was a life changing decision towards more happiness. Then, they’ll get hit with a higher monthly car payment going forward that reminds them of their stupid choice for the years to come… like a sugar rush for a toddler! It’s the same concept.

Ultimately having no choice is bad. It’s the worst of all worlds. Having choices available to you is good but being offered too many options can be causing more harm than help improving happiness.

Some successful people have come up with great ways to counter these issues.

Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs for instance worked on solutions to reduce their decisions to be made in a day and successfully boosted their mental capacity to focus on more important decisions for themselves and their companies.

How did they do it?

Just look at how they usually dress, they defined their most preferred outfit and got multiple sets of it! Zuckerberg got his t-shirt and Jobs usually had his sneakers and jeans: Problem solved. The same trick works with school or work uniforms. It reduces decisions to be made and mostly improves happiness.

The 10-10-10 Rule

If you got more difficult decisions to make, there’s actually a simple hack of how you can “feel” which way forward is the best.

Whenever you have a difficult decision to make, stay true to yourself, reflect your thoughts and ask yourself these three questions first:

1. How will I feel about this decision in 10 minutes?

2. How will I feel about this decision in 10 months?

3. How will I feel about this decision in 10 years?

This is no magic, no fancy decision making tool, but it forces you to quickly think through the short, medium- and long-term implications of what you’re about to decide.

This method is also known as the 10-10-10 rule. People like Warren Buffett use it. He likes to think of a can of coke he’s about to buy as the forgone $1mio dollars it could turn into a few decades later. No joke!

For more long-term happiness try to focus on the things that last.

For difficult decisions that impact more than just yourself, but eventually your family or more people I love to do 5-year planning exercises. Just that instead of dreaming and mapping out your future as dream team simply do the 10-10-10 exercise together with your stakeholders!

Eight Methods to Eliminate Decision Fatigue

To conclude this blog post I’ve prepared eight methods, or strategies, for you to cope and potentially even eliminate decision fatigue so you can live a happier life going forward.

1. Decide

Mostly making a decision is better than not deciding at all, just think of the donkey!

This one is simple but not easy:

Learn how to decide!

2. Prioritize

Focus on what matters the most, see the big picture and how your decision will add value to all stakeholders involved.

Know what matters!

Ingore the rest.

3. Good enough is good enough

Don’t get lost in useless details, soon you will forget about them, become the satisficer instead of the maximizer.

Don’t get stuck with irrelevant details.

Move on!

4. Apply the 10-10-10 exercise

See the short, medium- and long-term impact, this in itself can help solve many decision making problems already.

Think in different time frames!

5. Simplify

Less is more, if the world doesn’t reduce your choices for you, find ways to do it yourself.

Simplify your life!

Eliminate the unnecessary.

6. Automate

Facing similar decisions repeatedly? Define a clear set of rules and have those make the decision on your behalf instead.

Automate your investment contributions or set-up certain rules for better decision making.

Automate or delegate where possible!

7. Stick to your decisions

Take the time and effort necessary to make high quality decisions.

But once you’ve decided, settle with it.

Learn to accept and be happy with your choice.

No regrets!

8. Practice gratitude

Stop thinking the grass is always greener on the other side, focus on the positives of your choices and stick to your path!

Stop comparing yourself with the Joneses and be more happy!

The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

If you’d like to read more about this topic I highly recommend you the following books: The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz or Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

If you found today’s post helpful, kindly consider sharing it with your friends and don’t forget to subscribe my blog by email, like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Cheers and hopefully you’ve learned something that will help you making more happy decisions!

Matt

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

How To Marshmallow Test Yourself

The “Marshmallow-Test” was first conducted back in the late 1960’s by a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel. Over the years and due to its results, it became one of the most famous studies for the subject of delayed gratification.

What is it about? It’s about measuring how young kids can use their willpower to delay their gratification and what impact this has on their potential in many areas of life.

The test was simple: A kid was brought into a room and given a plate with one marshmallow on it. Then it got asked to make a simple choice: Eat this marshmallow in front of you now, or wait 15-25 minutes in order to receive a second marshmallow on top!

Simplified: Each child was given a choice between having one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later. Most kids choose to have two marshmallows later. However, then they were left alone somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes (depending on age) with the irresistible sweet marshmallow right in front of them…

The test was then measuring the number of seconds that a child is able to wait. A few decades later, the researches went back to examine the life of those kids. They could prove the longer a kid was able to wait before devouring the marshmallow at age five was significantly predictive for a few very important life outcomes in their adulthood later on.

They found that kids who could wait [longer/ for the second marshmallow] where more likely to pass more difficult exams, had better social skills, where more confident, successful, healthy, and yes: Happy!

Of course, this test may have some limitations, however, the key essence holds true. More on those critical thoughts that challenge the test at the end of this post.

How to pass the Marshmallow Test?

First and foremost, it’s so simple: DO NOT EAT THE MARSHMALLOW!

That sounds simple but is not as easy as you think for a little kid.

The researchers highlighted two significant findings about how kids successfully passed the test:

First, not physically seeing their reward made it easier for the children to wait longer. This means, don’t look at the damn marshmallow all the time. Find a way to trick your mind into changing your thoughts.

Second, using distraction strategies also had a positive impact on how long the children managed to wait. Some of the kids started so sing songs, covered their eyes with their hands and arms, started to tip-toe on the floor, prayed to the ceiling and so forth. One little girl even tricked herself into falling asleep – a highly successful way to earn big rewards as André Kostolany confirms:

“Buy shares, take some sleeping pills and stop reading the papers. Many years later, you’ll see that you’re rich.”

André Kostolany

The key to success seems to be the ability to focus on the long-term goals despite short term attention magnets.

It’s some kind of trade-off.

Most people are programmed to chose instant gratification over all else.

If you find a way to trick yourself to “suffer” short-term you can unlock the door to the promised land of more enjoyment later:

  • If you exercise now: You will get healthier.
  • If you study hard: You can go to your dream school.
  • If you work smart: You will have a great career or even start your own business.
  • If you don’t eat out: You will save more.
  • If you don’t buy that toy now: You will invest more and become wealthy.
  • If you don’t waste your time and focus: Your dreams will become true!

While we are all different from each other. The remedy is the same.

The key is to find areas where YOU are capable to delay gratification.

Self-control is the key to success.

If you manage to resist short term temptations, you will go far!

How to Teach the Findings of the Marshmallow Test

While it’s easy to teach information and facts as above, the hard part is to teach methods that you can apply to actually improve your behavior and results.

According to Stanford psychology experts, the most important skill parents need to teach their kids for the 21st century is to “become indistractable”. This is a tough one in our modern society where the new currency on the street is “attention”. Even the more, it’s super important to take some time to learn to focus either yourself or teach your kids this skill in one way or another.

A counterintuitive way to teach focus was a study by Michael Posner and his colleagues at the University of Oregon who worked with 4-6 year old kids with the aim to teach them better focus skills using video games. In one of the exercises the kids had to use a joystick to control an umbrella above a cat with the aim to keep the cat dry as it runs around. Kids could manage to stay focused and kept the cat dry. Such sessions led to substantial increases of skillset in kids, including a higher nonverbal IQ level.

Another way is teaching through stories.

Sesame Street for instance has created situations in which Cookie Monster must learn to control himself. Instead of gobbling up his cookies right away – like eating the first marshmallow right away – he’s got to behave and wait. His goal was to join the “cookie connoisseur gourmet club” and – yes- for that one you got to be able to wait for your cookies. In the episode, Cookie Monster learned strategies such as “framing” where he’d pretend the marshmallows are just a picture – and because if it’s just a picture, you can’t eat it. Cookie Monster also had the idea of tricking himself into believing that the cookies are smelly fish, then he will not want them at all.

The key concept for yourself as well as for kids is to get exposed to strategies that showcase what self-control is, while having fun. The best strategies are including both: A great teachable and the self-motivation within. Kids – and adults – must want to change themselves.

Ultimately such exercises will help build character, grit, persistence, tolerance of frustration (!), gratitude, optimism, excitement and how to build energy going into a new project.

Even more important than simply teaching something to your kids is once again: You got to model it. If you promise something, you got to keep your promise. It will get tough to expect your kids to delay gratification if you are breaking your own promises to them.

Finally: Kids must understand that their behavior has consequences.

If they behave in constructive and creative ways, the consequences are good. If they behave in negative ways, the consequences are “less good”. As a parent, it’s your job to create that environment to let them become aware there’s a relationship between what they’re doing and what happens to them in the end. This way, they can internalize those lessons and have a better chance to later live the life of their dreams.

Here another post I’ve written about how to teach kids towards becoming truly (financially) independent.

How to Marshmallow Test Yourself?

As mentioned above, there are many ways to delay gratification. The essence is not to delay everything 25 years out and have absolutely zero enjoyment right now.

That’s no way to live!

However, there are many small things that you can do, to marshmallow test yourself right now, here are the five most important ones in my personal view:

1] You saw something that you’d like to buy:

Try to not look at it, hide it, wait – hold on for a few days and let your emotions cool down.

In more than 80% of cases you may as well forget about it again. If not, maybe yes, buy it.

  • remove temptation, install “spending speedbumps”

2] You check your account and see your stocks are up or down a lot – you’d like to take action:

Take some time to think again why you bought these holdings in the first place? Try to think if any of your long-term assumptions has dramatically changed? Are your emotions rather than your rational mind guiding you? Control your emotions and check the fear and greed index. Maybe sleep over it. Most often your conclusion will be unchanged from before. If not, maybe take action!

  • learn how to manage emotions and stress, align your short-term actions with your long-term goals

3] It’s late at night, you’d like to Netflix and chill – but you also have that great idea right now…

Don’t stress it too much, but do this: Take 5 minutes first, sit down, bring your idea to paper. Once you write it out, you can tell if you’d rather like to work on your idea now or still watch Netflix. Maybe you’re super tired and rather go to sleep than watch TV so you can work on your idea early in the morning?

  • prioritize your time, be intentional, beware of time bandits

4] It’s the last Friday of the month and you’ve just received your monthly salary.

It’s wonderful to see your cash account nicely filled. The weekend is coming. You’d like to go out for dinner, get a haircut, buy some new clothes and splurge a little, maybe stack-up on some exclusive artisan bread for Sunday brunch – after all: You’ve earned it! Right?

How about marshmallow testing yourself first? How? Yes, you’ve earned it: Pay yourself first! Automate a monthly deduction from your salary account to your savings and investing account. Invest into your system of abundant income streams before you spend. Then go have fun!

  • set goals, measure your progress, pay yourself first, automate where needed and control your urges

5] Last but not least, we are all human and yes, you are going to fail. It’s natural.

However, beating yourself up and being harsh to yourself doesn’t help. It’s wasted energy. Eighty percent of achieving your goal is based on your attitude. Attitude defines altitude. If you’re planning to work on ambitious goals, you’ll need time to build sufficient self-control, discipline and focus.

  • learn to forgive yourself and move on – learn from mistakes, stay passionate

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Some people have valid reservations why the marshmallow test turned out as it did. As promised at the beginning of this post, here the disclaimer: It was argued kids of successful parents are usually doing better at the marshmallow test not because they control their willpower better, but rather because those kids were around “trustworthy adults”. Thus, the kids trusted that the second marshmallow would be there in the future.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that mastering self-control and working on long-term goals with persistence, grit and endurance is more rewarding than not. My dad had me marshmallow tested as well during my own childhood. It’s something you can learn and pass on to the next generation.

A Finish proverb goes like this:

“Life is uncertain, eat your dessert first!”

However, the average human lifespan has increased steadily. We have now more “future” than ever before to spare. Therefore, despite life’s uncertainties, try to focus on your future enjoyment and picture your imagineered life – then you can stand this experiment, this method, better.

Do sustainably, in a fun way please.

Eat more marshmallows!

Tomorrow – not today!

Train yourself!

Make it fun.

Matt

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Fast Track Podcast

Yasi Zhang recently started her podcast with the mission to help people accessing the “fast track” in life. I had the honour to be invited as guest on Yasi’s “Fast Track” Podcast.

The Fast Track Podcast is all about helping YOU get the most insightful tips and advice that you don’t learn from school. Cover topics are entrepreneurship, personal finance, career development, and more. Anything helping you launch your life on the fast track.

In the show we cover many topics linked to personal and financial growth. In essence: How to Financially Imagineer your dream life!!!

During the talk I promised to publish a spreadsheet to help you plot your numbers down. Once ready and visually appealing, it will be ready for you to download right here – if you don’t want to miss it please subscribe to Financial Imagineer by email on the right hand side or at the bottom of this page.

Please don’t shy back to reach out to me in case you feel I could help you achieve financial independence! I’m planning to structure templates, tools and more to support anyone on their journey not matter what stage you’re in and what level of expertise you have.

Feel free to reach out by email.

But now, to the show, without further ado:

Website: https://www.fasttrack.life/episodes/matthiasrichter

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1ZEiQVy1WtpSQJRujYCDxI

Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yYmQ1NDViNC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Anchor: https://anchor.fm/fasttrackpodcast

Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/fast-track

Overcast:https://overcast.fm/itunes1529991741/fast-track 

Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/uphwv2tq

RadioPublic: https://radiopublic.com/fast-track-WDLXkw

Money Lessons From My Father

Any man can become a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad! I was blessed with a wonderful childhood and could learn many financial lessons from my dad.

Since almost 10 years I’m now doing my best to be a dad myself. Being a dad is one of the most important jobs any man can have.

Becoming and being a dad got me thinking a lot about life and money lessons passed down to me so I can “pay it forward” to the next generation. Following one of my older posts about how to raise financially independent children and after quite some jacuzzi beerstorming, I’ve distilled the key lessons from my dad into 25 short but important lessons that lead to this blog post.

What Is The Job Of A Father?

First and foremost, kids should be prepared to stand on their own feet.

Beyond that, I believe good dads should try to give their kids both – roots and wings:

Roots to give them bearing and a sense of belonging.

Wings to help free them from constraints of any kind.

Thirdly, I appreciate that my father truly never told me how to live my life.

He simply lived his life and let me watch him do it.

Some parents worry that their children may not listen to them; I think they should rather worry that they’re always being watched instead!

As a great parent: You got to lead.

Live your life in an inspiring way.

This will set the bar for the next generation.

You’re the benchmark!

My Early Years

What is Money?

Since I can remember, money was always something mythical, powerful and highly interesting to me. As a young kid you watch your surroundings and learn from observing. It was interesting how this thing “money” could help my mum to buy so many groceries. It was interesting to see how we could get food at restaurants or fuel up the car with it.

Most transactions used this magical tool: Money.

To my 4 year old brain the message was crystal clear: I had to figure out how to get some of this magical stuff myself! One day, my dad and I went to the city. It was the early 1980’s and one of the first ATMs got installed. My father brought me there to withdraw cash while holding me on his arms.

All of a sudden, money started coming out of a wall! The bills kept coming one after another back in the days. Finally I figured out where money comes from, from the banks of course! I asked my dad if I could take the next bill. He agreed.

I truly believed it was THAT easy back then. My dad quickly informed me that this is actually just his own money that he deposited at the bank earlier on.

Lesson 1:

Money doesn’t grow on trees: You got to work for it!

Lot’s to learn I still had.

First time in my life with a stock guide.

After having understood this lesson, we – together with my sister and some neighbourhood children – started selling fruits and garden vegetables and more in our neighbourhood.

The level-up was to bring our old toys to flea markets and we started participating church sales as well.

Lesson 2:

Learn how to sell.

Make Money Visible

Have you ever heard a kid say: “I wish I could have a phone, so I could buy stuff.”

I’ve heard this in one form or another, and it triggered me deeply.

Spend money to buy something to spend more money?

Just think of it: Money today is mostly digital.

It’s a virtual thing.

Like coin points in Super Mario Brothers.

How can children learn lessons in this abstract world?

Many young people see money as limitless.

Money doesn’t seem to be really real for them anymore.

This is exactly why I let my kids see and feel money – and its consequences.

If kids are given financially relevant experiences in their life and someone is there to help them learn the lessons from those experiences, they have a higher likelihood of achieving financial success later in their life. They need to have them early and they need to have them often.

Mentor them.

It’s paramount to educate the next generation to make financial decisions. It will give them a head start in a world where money is largely a virtual illusion but has very, very real consequences.

As parents, we owe it to them to set them up for financial success.

How to?

Imagine, my dad once gave me a loan to satisfy my hunger for instant gratification. I was about 8 years young. I borrowed around $50 from my dad to buy a fluffy toy.

Oh boy, the sugar rush lasted less than a week.

We used to receive weekly allowances.

Every week my dad would take out a piece of paper where my negative position was mentioned. He would simply make it slightly “less negative” while my sister kept receiving her allowance.

It took me a few months to pay-off my fluffy-toy-loan.

The lesson stuck!

Lesson 3:

Give kids real money and life experiences. Let them feel the consequences of their decisions.

Papa-Bank

Now I’m the father and instead of allowances, I’m running Papa-Bank.

Papa-Bank

My kids can make deposits and each week they’ll receive a 1% payout.

This means for $100 in Papa-Bank the interest would be $1 per week. For $200 it’s $2 per week. Each week they can chose if they’d like to take the cash out or reinvest. I’ll hand the interest to them physically and let them decide.

Every. Single. Week.

Yes, it seems like I’m running a ponzi scheme here [potentially] as I can’t pay such high rates sustainably. But no worries, every once in a while, my kids will use some money to buy some things again.

That’s usually when they start to feel the impact of their decision as the weekly payouts shrink along as well. Sibling and rivalry with cousins is doing the rest.

Oh ya, before I forget:

Papa-Bank is only open for business with our family’s next generation blood relatives.

Papa-Bank also extended loans before. But instead of adding interest, I will take interest on that side. My son went through this experience already to until his nice elder cousin bailed him out.

Lesson 4:

Make money visible and talk about it openly.

Teenager Years

Nothing is Forever

In the early 1990’s Switzerland got hit by the real estate crisis. Suddenly home prices dropped 40-50% in value in just a few months. There where foreclosures and mortgage fallouts. Banks got hit. My dad lost his job during that time. Suddenly he was home. With us.

Lesson 5:

Life doesn’t always work out as planned.

When our dad started to be at home more, we initially got scared. I fondly remember how all of a sudden our family started discussing options to move to another city for work.

My sister and I didn’t like the idea of moving away from our home.

Lessons 6:

Include your kids in your life, discuss what you do, how you do it and why you do it.

Shortly thereafter, dad went hiking in the mountains for a few days.

By himself.

When he returned, he had a plan: He’s going independent!

It later turned out this was a blessing and the very best thing he could do – on so many fronts.

Lesson 7:

Take risks, never stop learning or trying new things.

From now on my dad wasn’t just at home in the early morning, late nights and weekend. He was there for us for most of our time. He was here to talk about life, school and more. He also started cooking for us.

Lesson 8:

The best gift and investment you can give your child is your time.

Zig Ziglar once said for kids “LOVE” is spelled T-I-M-E!

Kids will hopefully learn that having time with money is more valuable than having to go to work and spend your time earning money.

Introducing a Budget

We were like most teenagers and suddenly got a taste for fancy sneakers, expensive hoodies and other branded stuff. We were not told off. My sister and me each had a “clothes-envelope” at home.

Each month my father would pay around $50 into the envelope and keep a balance sheet. We were free to use the contents to purchase clothes, shoes or pay for haircuts.

This was our pre-paid necessities budget.

Lesson 9:

Have a budget.

Looking back it’s a great way to make money available and visible without imposing potential arbitrary invisible barriers as to what is good and what is bad to use it on. It was clear: If we saved-up we could purchase the more expensive things. But we had to be patient.

The decision, the marshmallow test and trade-off has all been delegated to us kids.

No more instant gratification.

We had to learn it ourselves.

Lesson 10:

Marshmallow test your kids frequently and in different ways.

Learning to Help Myself

As a 13-year-old, the greatest dream I had was to have my own TV. In my bedroom. When I first mentioned this idea to my parents, my mum was fully against it while my dad simply said: “Yes, why not – but you got to earn it yourself.”

I learned that from age 14 onwards it was possible for me to become a newspaper boy. I applied immediately and got a paper-route with 400 households to serve. When I turned 14 my days changed. No matter the weather, if sunshine, snow, rain, storm, heat or cold, I had to serve my 400 households or face losing my job.

That job earned me $500/ month.

A very decent pocket-money for a 14-year-old in the early 1990’s.

Lesson 11:

Understand your kids motivations and let them go after their dreams.

After three months, I had sufficient cash aside to buy the TV. Once I got paid I rushed to the shop and bought the largest 16:9 TV available back then. It was a monster. I couldn’t transport it back home. That’s why I called my dad and told him what I just bought.

He simply said: “Oh, you actually did it. Wait, I’ll be on my way.”

One of the first 16:9 TVs available in the mid 1990’s.

A few weeks later I was enjoying my TV a lot but started to realize my bank account was almost back to zero once again while my time invested distributing all those newspapers is gone forever.

This is what motivated me to get started saving ultimately.

When kids are given the opportunity to engage in strategically relevant experiences and given the ability to learn the lessons from these experiences, will have a higher likelihood of success in their life.

Lesson 12:

Don’t just “go” through life, grow through it!

First Investment Experiences

When I was 16 years old I got a special gift for Christmas: My dad prepared an investment account with one share inside for me. Again, instead of telling me what to do and what not to do, he simply said:

“Let me know when you have any questions.”

I was bloody excited and started reading up on investing instantly. It’s amazing how this motivated me to read. Soon thereafter one of my all-time favourite books came to the market: “Rich Dad. Poor Dad.” by Robert Kiyosaki. While it has nothing to do directly with investing in stocks, it kicked-off my money book library in 1997.

The markets where exciting. Soon the new economy boom started going into overdrive. Sure enough I put the largest amount of my portfolio in Dot.com shares. They were on FIRE. By 1999 my portfolio grew nicely. Also in 1999 everyone thought Warren Buffett is too old to still be relevant.

As the markets kept climbing higher, I sold some stocks and bought a fancy second-hand sports car.

I sold more stocks to finance an apartment where I moved in with my girlfriend at 19.

Lesson 13:

Avoid lifestyle inflation.

Soon thereafter the market crashed.

My portfolio was suddenly back to square one again.

In total, it took me 5 years before I took my dad’s offer and went back to him with my first questions!

He laughed and uttered:

“Wow, that took longer than I thought.”

Do I regret going to him earlier?

No. No regrets at all.

Lesson 14:

Making mistakes and learning your lessons early in life is more valuable than just reading books.

This lesson is one of the most valuable in my view.

You see, indirectly my dad encouraged me to take ownership and fail early.

Once I understood this lesson in retrospect, it changed my mindset completely. Failure is NOT the outcome of your immediate actions.

Failure is not even trying.

Failure is standing still.

The biggest failure is not learning your lessons and trying again.

In our schools you might still get punished to make mistakes. That’s why in our society we’re afraid of trying and failing. Hence, many don’t even try anything anymore!

In our family, I’d be disappointed if my kids are not trying and failing at something every once in a while.

Lesson 15:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.

Young Adult

When we were in our teenage years, my dad kept telling us two things

1. He’d like us to move out before we reach 25 years of age.

2. We would always be welcome at home – in case we truly need help.

As written above, this motivated me to move out of my parents home at age 19 – I was a University freshman.

It also motivated me to hustle all kind of jobs. I worked part time as a bank teller on Saturdays, delivered pizza and later moved up to manage a pizza delivery business part-time as pizzajolo baking up to 200 pizzas per night regularly. It also brought me to work at the polling office of our community.

Due to all these activities I had a decent $1,500 – $2,000 per month salary as young student.

Lesson 16:

Learn how to stand on your own feet early.

Learn how to fish!

Thanks to my previous mistake of investing in high octane tech stocks only, I reconsidered my approach and started funding a monthly mutual fund savings plan. At first I fed it with about $300 per month but during some frugal months I managed to stash more then $1,000 per month as well.

Thanks to the lessons learnt, the pot started growing again.

Lesson 17:

Make a mistake once and it becomes a lesson. Make a mistake twice and it becomes a choice.

One evening in my most crazy side-hustling days back in 2001, I was watching “Who Want’s to be a Millionaire” on Swiss TV3. It was boring, none of the contestants seemed to make it past some simple questions.

This motivated me to write them a complaint letter.

Read here about how this has turned out for me.

Lesson 18:

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

With a six-figure bank account at 21 – I was free to explore the world.

I chose to invest in my skills, learned Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Ultimately, I ended up in Taiwan where it got really adventurous: I lost my job and working permit in Taiwan due to signing up with the wrong company…

When I called my dad back in 2004 to report to him what happened he answered the phone and replied:

“Welcome to life.”

I enjoyed that reply so much.

We laughed.

It encouraged me to stay the course.

Lesson 19:

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

Together with my girlfriend’s – now wife – help we managed to find me a second job in Taiwan. More about this story and how we planned our future together can be found in my guest post for JD Roth’s Get Rich Slowly.

Lesson 20:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Middle Age

It was the year 2015: On my 36th birthday, my dad gave me a very memorable phone call. In retrospect I could say this was probably the most valuable birthday gift I’ve ever gotten.

That’s why I’d like to share it here.

In 2015 my dad was 72 years old, I turned 36… he was exactly double my age!

I picked the phone.

My dad started: “Happy Birthday Son! You’re now already half my age!”

He went on: “You’re catching-up!”

And finished with: “Beware, the second half goes faster!”

This call stuck!

Three facts of life served up.

It got me thinking very, very deep in the days, weeks and months to come!

Lesson 21:

Time flies! Winter is Coming!

My thoughts where all about the value of time in life.

Read: Your Money or Your Life!

When you’re young, you got all the time in the world and it seems to be a reasonably fair thing to sell some of your time against some money to make a living. As you grow older, your reservoir of remaining “life-time” shrinks and in turn the remainder of your days keeps going higher in perceived value – to yourself and others. The older you get, the more it hurts if you still must sell your time for money…

Lesson 22:

Everything is about supply and demand. Everything!

During my career as Wealth Manager I was helping millionaires with their investments. Thanks to great guidance and working with inspiring people I’ve learned reasonably well how to invest and make money work for us by age 36. I’m so nerdy that I’ve actually kept a spreadsheet with all our assets, liabilities, income and expenses since the late 1990’s – it got a yearly update!

After listening to my dad’s voice about the speed of time, we started playing through some scenarios in my spreadsheet and identified two key areas for optimization:

  1. Generate passive income to cover our family expenses
  2. Activate “passive” assets and optimize our income/ expenses

Since our 5-year plan was due for discussion in 2016 I’ve added some new dream goals till 2021:

  1. Retire from my 9-5
  2. Start my own blog and business

Yes, one idea was to potentially let go of my job.

My dad used to say that each job is like a three-legged stool.

The three legs are:

  1. What you do
  2. What you get for it
  3. With whom you do it

As long as at least two of these legs are still working out for you. You’ll stay.

Also, everything is subjective. Priorities in life change.

We became parents and where looking for more time flexibility.

And maybe I was also looking for a new challenge.

Lesson 23:

You know that you’re on the right path whenever you feel things stop being easy.

This lesson is very close to my heart. Basically, it’s like if you think of playing Mario Kart on “easy”: You’ll always win. As you advance through life, also adjust the level of difficulty gradually.

After 2015 I started reading more into the FIRE concept and idea!

That’s when I suddenly read Mr. Money Mustache’s “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement“.

However, I’ve had some concerns about the “RE” (retire early) part:

  1. Don’t retire from something, retire TO something.
  2. Have something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to in life.
  3. Instead of being idle, try to find and live your “Ikigai”: Live a purposeful life.

It turned out my “RE” was more a “Retire to Entrepreneurship” – you could also name it “Recreational Employment” if you will.

Another deep concern was the kind of role-model I want to be for my kids.

  • concern of my kids not seeing me work anymore
  • live the life you want your kids to be inspired by

Whatever you plan in your life: Be a role-model for your kids.

Kids don’t quite “listen” and “follow your instructions” about living life – they rather watch how their rolemodels [hopefully their parents, make them chose YOU] live – and learn by watching!

To achieve this, be an inspirational role-model and ensure your lifestyle ticks all the boxes of lessons you want them to learn and absorb. Chase your dreams while they can watch and learn is the best starting point to set them for a happy and successful life.

Lesson 24:

Don’t tell your kids how to live their life, live yours, and let them watch!

Work is not just a 9-5-working-at-something, it can be anything – as long as you work hard towards achieving whatever goal you’ve set yourself.

Let your kids see you succeed AND fail.

This is YOUR chance not to raise “next-gen-rat-racers” or “trust fund babies” that will venture out to live an ordinary life – let them learn from you how to life an extraordinary life instead!

By mid-2017 we’ve set-up sufficient monthly recurring passive income streams from different sources and worked out a plan that allowed me to quit my 9-5.

We FIREd.

Lesson 25:

Live like a role model – work hard to chase your dreams to set an example for kids to inspire them to work hard on achieving their dreams later.

Invest in your dreams!

What advice would you give your younger self?

What lessons did you learn from your family?

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.

Make it a fantastic one.

Matt

Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

Time Bandits

Time is the most valuable asset you got. Do not let anything or anyone steal or ruin it. In our modern world, we’re surrounded by time bandits. Identify them. Sort them out. Live life by design.

No matter if you’re a beggar or a billionaire, we each got the same 24 hours per day. The difference between moving ahead or staying back is simply in how we make use of and invest our time.

Time Bandits – the Monty Python movie.

Time bandits didn’t make history – they stole it!

Make sure you keep them at a safe distance so they don’t steal your potential, to make history.

What are time bandits?

They are those things, activities or people that drain you of your energy and time to leave you back less productive, less focused, and in the end; less happy. For many, time bandits may be what holds us back from going out there and chasing our dreams.

Time bandits come in different forms. Some of them are hard to spot. Others have already taken over your habits. That’s why this post will go in details and attempts to show some ways to dispose of your time bandits in order to increase YOUR chance to financially Imagineering your dream life!

Media

Ever heard the word “media-junkie”? Well, these are people that are hooked up with their media outlets permanently and have trouble letting go. They’ve become addicted to consuming ever more content. Whether or not they do something with the things learned is the big question here.

Media time bandits could be:

  • Watching TV/ Netflix
  • Watching the news
  • Social Media
  • Youtube
  • Video Games

Don’t get me wrong, these things are all good and fun at times.

The problem comes with unintentional overconsumption. Rather than just letting your precious time float away while engaging in any of the above, use media with intention. Watch a certain show with a purpose or target. The goal can be to simply have fun. Engage on social media for staying in touch with people you care about. Watch Youtube to get inspired, entertained or learn something. Play video games to train (not drain) your brain.

Key is to not let any of the above become an unnecessary distractions on your path of life.

What you can do about it is to ignore notifications on social media, pre-define certain times you allow yourself to indulge in media consumption or actively use those channels to get inspired and learn how to create instead of consuming only.

Losing Focus

What is important to you? What would you like to achieve? Did you set yourself certain targets for this week? This month? This year? Your life? If not, go set yourself some goals. If yes, do you believe you’re on track? If not, what are your major obstacles? A key obstacle is not being focused enough.

Focus can be lost by saying YES too often. If you say YES to anyone. To anything. Every. Fucking. Time… then you’re indirectly saying NO to other stuff. Hence, beware of what you commit yourself to and ensure that those things do align with your goals.

You can do anything in life, but not everything.

Life is a trade-off.

You got to choose how you spend your time.

If it’s hard for you to say yes or no: Think of either saying FUCK YEAH or no.

Another way to lose focus is by doing too much multi-tasking. This one is especially terrible. It’s a clusterfuck of wasting time. It usually destroys productivity AND quality. Multi-tasking works for low attention activities or for consuming content such as layering time or listening podcasts.

By multi-tasking, you keep yourself busy. You do this, do that, but eventually nothing that actually matters gets done. Avoid multi-taking if possible. Stop half-assing your life.

The god of multitasking

Learn how to focus.

Perfectionism

The third time bandit is perfectionism. Perfectionism is often used to explain why some stuff hasn’t been done yet. Instead of aiming for perfectionism, aim for making steps into the right direction. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Build momentum. Not getting started or slowing down too much destroys growth and holds back failures that could lead to valuable lessons if learnt earlier on.

Learn how to get started. Keep moving. Keep advancing.

Settle for “good enough” first. If you want to learn how to throw darts, you won’t be reading a manual about it but start by throwing the first dart, then the next one, another one, until you perfectly know how to do it.

Don’t wait. Get started now. Learn by doing.

Procrastinating

Wait? For what? Why delay something if you can do it now? Many people have adopted a habit of doing something tomorrow. By doing so, you actually “allow” yourself validating to waste an entire day before you get started. The usual pattern will extend to this becoming a habit of simply “never getting started”.

At all.

Instead of dreaming, start doing. You will never regret doing something you want to do. Your dreams and thoughts are all nicely stored and comfortable in your head. But it helps nobody if they stay there. The least yourself.

Dreamcatcher

Whatever it is you are dreaming or thinking of, stop putting it off and get started now. Use baby steps if needed but start moving forward.

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl.

Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior

Not sure why you’re not taking any action? Write down your dreams and ideas. Do creative brainstorming sessions: (Jacuzzi) Beerstorming if needed – it works for me.

Take note and map out your thoughts. Once you get clearer, start plotting a way, a path and get on your way towards living the life of your dreams. This plan should be inspiring and motivating enough to get started on the spot instead of letting this time bandit rob you of your potential future.

Start living your dreams.

Say Goodbye to Procrastinating.

Negativity

In life you will come across people that carry a certain negativity with them. Some find a problem behind every solution.

Negative people love to complain: Yes, we all feel overwhelmed and not understood sometimes. But instead of falling into this trap, try to find other ways to blow-off steam, relax and digest your life.

Complaining is negative in itself. If you become a negative person you will scare off positive people and may miss out on what they have to offer.

Another form of negativity is worrying.

It’s one of the hardest to self-identify. Being cautious is nothing bad per se. However, worrying is unproductive and wastes your time and energy. Some “worriers” tend to blow imagined dangers completely out of proportion. Worrying and overthinking lead to stress and this in turn prevents action being taken. Stressed people don’t think clearly.

Worry less, don’t overplan.

Things change. So will you.

Instead of surrounding yourself with soul-draining energy vampires, build your own gang of likeminded individuals. Learn how to stay clear or walk away from negative individuals. Form a sanctuary of positivity.

Hard to do?

Read “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson – and become unfuckwithable.

Beware of Time Bandits

Time bandits WILL appear in your life. Identify them early. Allow them only temporarily and let them teach you permanent lessons. Sometimes it’s not about what time steals, but what it leaves behind.

Inhale the good shit. Exhale the bullshit.

Your time or “life energy” is your currency. Don’t let it go to waste or let others steal it. Understand you only live once – Winter is coming. Beware of time bandits. They feed on your energy.

Create an uplifting environment. Release the handbrakes. Time bandits are mostly some form of productivity hurdle. Switch your life into warp-drive. Start testing YOUR engine to its maximum potential.

Live life by design.

Don’t waste time.

Time is life.

Your life.

Don’t let yourself be the reason you don’t succeed in whatever you’re after.

Become a time bandit yourself and steal your own history!

Optimize your time and aim for your own “The 4-Hour Workweek“.

Control your attention and choose your life,

Matt

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Disclaimer: Please be made aware that the some of the links used above may be affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer could receive a compensation.

Winter is Coming

In this world, there’s nothing as stable as change. Spring adds new life and new beauty. Summer stands for sweet weather, sunshine and swimming in the sea. Then, all at once, summer collapses into fall and shortly thereafter:

Winter is coming!

While for “Game of Thrones” winter has already reached, in this post I refer to winter to that “thing” that happens to each and everyone of us – eventually. Winter, the seven bad years, disease, old age whatever we wish to call it: It’s coming to us all eventually!

You most likely have experienced or heard about some kind of seasonality in your life. Stories about changing times can be found plenty. The oldest stories are originating in the book of Genesis from the bible about seven good years followed by seven bad years.

Not much has changed ever since.

People as well as animals ought to build reserves during good times:

Winter is coming!

Just think of how certain animals are preparing themselves for tough times.

Squirrels prepare for winter by bulking up. Throughout fall, they maximize food consumption and body mass. In winter, when food is hard to come by, these reserves will help them survive. Groundhogs spend the warmer months eating as much as they can to build up their fat layers needed to survive winter in hibernation. There are many more examples alike.

We humans have this “alertness” embedded into our culture – depending on where we live and how much we’ve been exposed to seasonality ourselves. But more on that later.

First, let’s read a story about a businessman who goes see a fisherman:

Once upon a time, there was a businessman sitting by the beach in a small tropical village.

He was observing a local fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore, having caught quite some big fish. The businessman was impressed and went to ask the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Why don’t you fish longer and catch even more?” The businessman asked.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman replied.

The businessman then wondered, “What do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman said calmly, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman felt he better offered a suggestion to the fisherman.

“I’ve got a MBA and could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village to the big city, where you can set up your HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continued, “And after that?”

The businessman laughed heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

Once again, the fisherman asked, “And after that?”

The businessman said, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

You guessed it correctly: For the fisherman, winter is NOT coming.

You may probably have read this story in one form or another before.

I love the powerful lessons within:

1. Life is not linear and everyone has their own path. Some paths are safer and more frequently used. Other paths might be shortcuts or even detours.

2. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same – don’t let schooling interfer with education.

3.  Beware of the “deferred life plan” – money is renewable, time is not.

The main difference between the businessman and the fisherman is: Seasonality!

The businessman grew up with a different mindset and could not believe there is someone simply living day-by-day without worrying about the future and living a happy life.

When the businessman returns to his big city and fall arrives, the weather turns cold and the days get darker. This triggers a natural human instinct of preparing for winter.

Weather changes will activate our brains and concerns that we will not be having enough food or money to carry through a though winter.

As we all know, fear is one of the strongest motivators. Hence, we usually don’t get paralyzed by it but motivated to get busy preparing ourselves to pull through the dark times ahead. Bulk shopping before hurricanes, toilet paper shopping in 2020 and to preparing for a blizzard – winter is coming – is part of our DNA.

It’s our reptilian brain triggering the survival instincts.

In Europe we have countries high up north with very though, long, and dark winters. In the south we have places where winters are mild, and people are not that much bothered by seasonality. Coming from Switzerland I know that being landlocked and having survived two world wars without getting involved: We have our ways to prepare for bad times.

Like the squirrel, we are good in stashing resources.

I have met people from Scandinavia who strategically make use of winter to travel south for marketing purposes or recreational travelling when business comes to a halt at home.

Taking advantage and embracing winter to take actionable steps to move yourself forward are great ways to pass through tough times. Taking a well deserved break and flee the cold for tropical locations to “hibernate” are also legit reasons to do so.

Hence, there seems to be some sort of correlation between weather and the saving rate of whole countries depending on their exposure to seasonality. Just compare the northern with southern European nations to start with. In the north, people stash resources to empower them passing tougher times easier.

The one big exception with that regards that I’ve experienced myself is Singapore. Its founder Lee Kwan Yew [Singapore’s founding father] thought air conditioning was the secret to his country’s success!

When I started spending more time in Singapore, it was a new experience for me. Singapore is almost on the equator and weather doesn’t fluctuate too much; there’s no seasonality and most days have a similar amount of sunshine. Most days are mostly alike. Hence, less external stimulation is given and subjectively – time speeds up!

Personally, seasonality helps me put memories and events into relation with a timeline. I’ve got many memories from Singapore that I can’t assign a season or month anymore.

Sometimes it seems that just yesterday I was young and just about to embark the journey of my life. Luckily, I’ve made good use of the time given to me so far.

But still, I try to find ways to somehow “slow life down”.

How to?

You can do so by keeping life more “interesting”. Expose yourself to new things, experiences, learn a new language, new skills or do something you’ve never done before.

As for myself, I optimistically consider myself in very late spring or early summer – of my life.

Winter is not too close yet.

Readers in their early spring years have it the best. Instead of just saying: “Winter is coming” – get prepared. You know, time has a way of moving quickly, even speeding up somehow through life and ultimately catching you unaware of how fast its passing by. Build your nest-egg, start saving and investing now!

But if you’re not in your winter yet. Let me remind you: It will be here faster than you think.

When I turned 36, my dad (back then 72 y/o) called me and wished me a Happy Birthday, he said:

1. Congratulations son, you’re now already HALF my age!

2. You’re catching up!

3. The second half goes faster…

Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it timely. Plant your seeds now. Don’t put life on hold. Do what you can today. Nobody knows if you’re in your winter already or not.  “Waiting for better times” is a lot like waiting for spring to come early while shivering through winter.

Life is a gift.

The way you live your life serves as inspiration to the people around you. It is also a gift to those that come after you. Live it well, make it a fantastic one, make it count!

Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again.

The rest of your life starts right now!

Winter is coming!

Matt