That Is So 2013

  1. Waking up at 11.00am.
    Admittedly this is after going to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning. The problem with waking up so late is how it screws up the rest of the working day and if one then goes to the gym and then does lunch — it’s evening before any real work gets done.
  2. Skipping the gym.
    See 1. above. I’ve been known to (happily) skip the gym to make up for waking up late and to be able to do some work during the winter sunlight hours when my favourite coffee shops are still open. However if I’m to be honest I do need the cardio so as not to puff dangerously after running for the bus. It’s also nice to show off some muscle. Yes, vanity!
  3. Skipping jujitsu practice.
    See 1. and 2. above. The excuse here (and always) is that since I woke up late and then had to go to the gym I really couldn’t afford 3 hours of attending to jujitsu. Hmmm. The only way I’m going to get my second Dan is to go to jujitsu. No more excuses.
  4. Eating a whole packet of Hobnob biscuits.
    I swear it’s what they put in the oats. I can’t stop eating the damn things. The cure: I’m deleting hobnobs from my short and long-term memory. Don’t even mention the letter H.
  5. Facebook.
    As I get older Time is the one thing (more than youth) I want but can’t get any more of. Let’s be frank, time spent on FB is mostly pissed down the toilet of life. Solution: time limits – log in, log out, max 15 minutes; and not more than twice a day.
  6. Avoiding household chores.
    If I had the money I’d get a cleaner … wishes, wishes. I do like a clean and tidy home; I think better, I work faster (I can find things easily) and I love relaxing in a place that’s not been hit by a tornado. But it takes soooo looong to clean. If I had the money ….
  7. Taking shit from people.
    if you don’t stand up for yourself or complain then people dump shit on your head. You would think that everyone would be really nice, like Grandma advised, and would treat everyone else well? What planet have I been living on? On Planet Earth, give people an inch and they take a mile. It’s true!
  8. Taking shit from myself.
    ‘Nuff said. No more Mr WouldaCouldaShoulda.
  9. Spending money knowing I’ll be paid at month end.
    Er … not now I’m self-employed. Now I have a budget(!!) and it’s so very painful but it is an absolute imperative. 😦
  10. Listening to the same old iTunes playlists.
    Confession: I am one of those guys who maintain vehemently that music has gone rapidly downhill since every Tom, Dick and Sally could put out a machine made formulaic record. It’s so bad that I can no longer dance to “Dance” music – that bewildering juxtaposition of noise that the people who dance to are either in music videos, look drunk or are on some other wavelength. And what’s the thing with Justin Bieber? He is very pretty but a music superstar? Doggone it. [Rant over I promise] Yet every so often last year I’d hear a record and go “That’s good!”. So this year I’m gonna go explore and find me some cool new music.

So there they are: the “That’s So Last Year” list. What are yours?


Resolution Possible: The 2012 Protocol

Poop less. Earn more. Save more. Live smarter. Dress sharper. Live braver. Eat better. Drink wisely. Dream in colour. Live in magic. Laugh more. Worry less. Think different. Think big. Embrace success. Return to ju jitsu. Take boxing lessons (or Kung Fu). Dance sublimely. And wickedly. Question everything. Read people. Fake it. Sweat it but don’t show it. Be savvy, politically. Trust but verify. Be assertive. Speak imaginatively. Listen discerningly. Think thoroughly. Think through. Consider everything three steps ahead. Read precociously (a bit late for that so), read prolifically. Travel. Pinch myself, I’m ALIVE! It won’t be this way forever. I’ve been lucky. Take nothing for granted. Share love. Share goodness. Live creatively. Inhale the wondrous universe. One day it will be gone and I’ve been lucky to see it. Refuse lies. Refute myths. Eyes wide open – see the world as it is and not as I saw it. Shit happens. So does stuff. Lady Luck does not discriminate so grab my share of breaks. Work smarter. Much smarter. Be humble. Flee hubris. Fuck assholes up. Be kind to the loving. Sleep well. Exercise unfailingly (there’s an Olympian god in there somewhere). Feed the brain its favourite drug, glucose. And adrenaline. Live life on the edge but inside the rim. Relax. Meditate. Recuperate. Seek these three: great health, wisdom and love. That’s true wealth for ya. [After comes the base kind, lord knows I’ve worked hard enough]. And if I die, die happy and peacefully.


The Hard Graft of CV Writing or It’s a Can of Poo Anyway

At this time of year resolutions are like fresh air. One can’t get enough of the stuff. Vows are made, affirmed, written down, prayed upon and sworn to. “I will absolutely quit my shit job and find the perfect employ where I WILL be fulfilled. And earn much more. I’ll show them”. Of course. Note though that talk is cheap. Cheaper than making a phonecard call to Africa. Cheaper than Skype. After the swearing and puffing comes writing the CV and that’s where we get our comeuppance and die. The task is hard.

Everyone knows financial people are a cut above the rest. That’s why they get paid the big bucks. The facts are incontestable. One of my colleagues reckons people should give their investment managers the freedom to do whatever these hallowed folks think they need to do to earn their sumptuous fees. My friend cautiously adds that you need to appoint the right manager in the first place. The reason for this extreme postulation is that often an investment manager will see an opportunity to make his client (you) money but what he wants to do is not permitted by the mandate you gave him. You (quite sensibly) restricted his activities to only those things you comfortably felt should be done with your money. The problem there is you know damn squat about investments and by tying your manager down you end up with a sub-par portfolio. Plausible, eh?

The flaw with my friends suggestion is obvious even if you’ve never heard of Bernie Madoff and Sir Allen Stanford. The postulate works if two premises are true. The first is that people are trustworthy. The second that human judgement is sound. Why? You need to choose the right manager and then trust they will do the right thing by you. The first premise is, let’s be candid, laughable. People are the least trustworthy of all nature’s creations. At least with a carnivorous beast or a virus you know they’ll kill you as soon as they could. But a wo/man can and often will laugh with you, sup at your table and then under the cover of using the bathroom, sneak upstairs and rob granny. And the worst thing? The next day s/he’ll (not the granny) be driving around in a Porsche giving you the wicked Sarah Palin eye.

The second premise has been thoroughly trashed by behavioural psychologists. We think we are fully rational and logical and objective. It’s not true. As Kahneman recounts in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, we are pretty much ruled by the irrational part of our brain (termed System 1 as opposed to System 2 which is the rational part). The reason is that System 1 has had hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary practice to develop an intuitive way to respond quickly. You meet someone and the stars go ballistic (“love at first sight”, divorce in a hundred). You know nothing about them. Nothing. (“You know like you meet your soul mate. I just knew”). Careful.

To be clear, I am in no way suggesting that financial people are crooks and can’t be trusted. They get taught ethics too. Just remember our old folks had a saying “A fool and his money …”. Trust, but verify. If one of your resolutions is to invest for prosperity because you think you’re smart and can do it yourself. Careful. If you choose to employ someone to manage your money because you “feel” they have the gift. Careful.

What does all this have to do with your CV and the can of poo? Well, picture that recruiter reading your CV and justifying binning your CV to her colleagues thus: “She doesn’t match the job. There were better candidates” – when in fact you were binned because the recruiter did not like the schools you attended (not posh), or the font on your CV (not professional), or the sound of your name (not from here) or, hell forbid if you sent in a picture, the shape of your face. On the other hand the guy who throws in a can of poo (bullshit in polite language) gets the interview. If he talks a good talk he gets the job. That’s why writing CVs is so hard – I mean, just what do you put in them?