Here’s what’s working for me this week. Enjoy!!
WHAT I READ
The Book of JOY – by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (with Douglas Abrams)
I’m usually pretty skeptical about books on finding happiness but I figured that if anyone knows something about it, its these two. The book takes the form of conversations between the two spiritual leaders over a number of days. They cover topics such as the nature of true joy, obstacles to achieving it, the eight pillars of joy and various joy practices. What struck me most was the playfulness and lightness of heart that these two highly revered men display, despite their positions and titles. It’s also interesting to see how their shared values and principles can transcend religion. Finally, the book provides tangible steps and exercises that you can put into practice in your daily life. Definitely worth a read.
WHAT I DID
Took a first aid course.
With a second child on the way, my wife and I decided it would be a good idea to attend a first aid course to make sure we are somewhat capable of keeping the little nipper in one piece. Although the course was slanted towards infant care, it covered all first-aid basics, such as dealing with resuscitation, choking and injuries. I’m embarrassed to say that there was a lot I did not know. I count myself, my first daughter and the rest of humanity as extremely fortunate that I have not been called upon to administer first-aid to someone in a serious condition – because that person would likely not have made it. If you haven’t done a proper first aid course yet, do it. Besides the fact it could save a life, it will also give you a lot of confidence that you could do something to help if you had to.
WHAT I WATCHED
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix).
This documentary delves into the Fyre Festival, which was billed as a luxury music experience on a posh private island, but turned into a nightmare for those who organized, attended and supported the event. As I watched I just could not believe how the mastermind behind the festival, Billy McFarland, kept up the charade until the bitter end, when it was clear that the whole thing was a complete shit-show. Ironically, in the same week that I watched, this, I also attended an event featuring the brilliant business journalist, Rob Rose, who was discussing his book, Steinheist. The book uncovers how Steinhoff CEO Marcus Jooste orchestrated South Africa’s biggest corporate frauds. The similarities in the demeanor and behavior of McFarland and Jooste are striking. One panel member described them as possible psychopaths who need to take on massive risk to feel any sort of thrill. They are also incapable of seeing how they could be wrong. I kept thinking that her description of a psychopath could apply to a worryingly large number of company CEOs. But that’s a whole other discussion.
I don’t know why but I find this topic fascinating, maybe because I just can’t imagine what must go on in their minds. It’s also good to know how to spot one, so you can run far far away.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT MONEY
The lesson of resisting the urge to panic when it comes to decisions about money has actually been a long time in the making. I have often been guilty of making rash decisions when it comes to investments that are either rising or falling quickly. In virtually all these cases, the decisions led to poor outcomes. Over the last year or so, I have become far more conscious of not letting my fear and emotions influence my decision making.
For example, when markets were tanking in December, I resisted the urge to panic sell. Rather I revisited my overall strategy with my financial advisor and concluded that it was still appropriately structured towards achieving my goals. So far so good. Markets have rebounded nicely in 2019 and even if there is a pullback, I know I can ride it out without losing too much sleep.
So last week, when Eskom decided they would re-introduce us to the Dark Ages, I had no sudden urge to sell all my SA assets and rush to the nearest forex dealer. Instead, I will continue to play the patience game and stick to my strategy.