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- The Art of Risk-Taking: Building Your Playbook to Freedom
"The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that's changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." - Mark Zuckerberg This morning, I’m waking up in Las Vegas. While many people think of the glitz and glamour of Sin City, I'm thinking about race weekend. It's funny how perceptions can vary so widely, isn't it? With the flashing lights of the slot machines, spinning roulette wheels, and high-stakes card games, that's the epitome of risk, isn't it? I think being risky should be the focus of your playbook to freedom. But hold on a minute. I'm not suggesting you go all-in and bet your life savings on "0" at the roulette table. That's a surefire way to end up disappointed, if not downright broke! No, the kind of risk I'm talking about is calculated, strategic, and, most importantly, manageable. So many of us view risk all wrong. Risk is not always a bad thing. Taking risks helped me tell my boss, “I’m leaving in 2 weeks and I don’t want or need your money anymore.” Isn’t that what you really want? Don’t you want the time freedom to do what you want without wondering how you are going to pay for it? Back in my twenties, I took a decent amount of risk and invested all my savings into a brand-new tech company. You might have heard of it—Google. Yes, that's right, the search engine giant that has become a household name. You know you are in a good position when your investment goes from a few techy nerds knowing about it to your grandmother using the company's name in her common vocabulary. Now, I'm not saying that every risky investment will yield the same results. Far from it. In fact, I've had my fair share of failures along the way. Like the time I jumped headfirst into the frenzy of the dot-com bubble. I watched my account double, then triple, only to watch my stocks dwindle away to literal pennies. The key is to approach risk with caution and prudence. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks, but it's equally important to not bet the entire house on a single idea or asset. Never risk more than you can afford to lose, both financially and emotionally. If you're saying, “This guy got lucky and he bought Google once, I’ll never have that opportunity,” let me stop you right there with a couple more examples just in the past 2 years. I made enough money in Meta (Facebook) to buy a brand new Tesla with cash. Which is what I did. My JP Morgan trade replaced ½ of my salary in three months. When others were buying FRC, I was buying best of breed. Keep repeating the things that work, and you learn from the things that did not work. But even more importantly, stop repeating the things that don’t! Let the ego go and realize you don’t have to always win! Not all risks are created equal. It's one thing to take a chance on a promising new startup or a cutting-edge technology, but it's quite another to gamble recklessly with your financial future. That's why it's crucial to approach risk with a level head and a clear strategy. Risk is not something to be feared. Embrace risk; it's the fuel that drives progress and innovation. Risk is the actual catalyst for growth and change. So go ahead, take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and see where it leads you. Who knows? I know this is how you build your playbook to freedom because if it can work for me, it can work for you too!
- The Illusion of Shortcuts: A Path to Nowhere
"The harder I work, the luckier I get." - Samuel Goldwyn Every morning, as tie my running shoes, I can't help but wonder: are there shortcuts to achieving my goals? We are being tempted on a daily, if not hourly basis to think there are shortcuts to our dreams. With all the ads promising quick fixes—like magic shots for weight loss, a pill to help your run faster, a course that teaches you to make $20,000 trading options—it's easy to fall for these promises of a shortcut to success. But do these shortcuts really lead us where we want to go? I think we all know the answer, but there is that little part of brain that still wants to believe the shortcut is the best way. This week I've been focused on staying consistent in my habits, and it's not easy. But as the quote I highlighted above says, we get lucky when we work hard which to me means staying consistent! In life, we all crave three things: health, wealth, and relationships. We see others achieving these goals seemingly effortlessly, and we want the same for ourselves. So, we chase after shortcuts, hoping they'll fast-track us to our desired destination. Shortcuts are appealing because we've witnessed them working for others. At least that's how it appears from the outside looking in. But what we often don't see is the messiness that comes with them. Think about lottery winners, who end up losing their fortunes within a couple of years. Without the habits of managing wealth, sudden windfalls can lead to a vicious cycle of gain and loss. I've seen so many people (even myself a time or two) stumble upon a seemingly foolproof stock trading strategy, overconfidence sneaks in, things seem so easy you start leveraging more, after all you can't lose, and then... confusion sets in when the strategy stops working. At first it's denial, that quickly turns into panic. Without the repetition and experience to understand why the foolproof way of making money suddenly stopped you are right back where you started! This applies to health as well, like appetite-curbing shots, that extreme diet of avoiding entire food groups, might offer temporary relief. But without building sustainable habits, we're bound to revert to old patterns, finding ourselves back at square one. Trust me, I've been tempted by the shortcuts too. But, deep down I know the best way to get the desired result, is my consistently working on my inputs. We all need to build habits aligned with our goals. It's not just about hitting the jackpot; it's about what we do with it. My happiness and satisfaction changed when instead of fixating on the end goal—a certain weight or a specific amount of money—I focused on the life I want to live. Why wait for a million dollars to live your dream life, when you can take small steps towards them every day? Why should you wait until your 'goal' weight to enjoy life now? There is no good reason! Sure, shortcuts might offer temporary relief, but true success comes from consistent effort and learning. Instead of chasing after quick fixes, let's adopt the habits of those we admire. Let's enjoy the journey, knowing that every step forward brings us closer to our dreams. These are reminders and tips I used to ditch the shortcuts and build habits that work: Pick your dream life: What does freedom look like for you? Traveling the world? Spending more time with family? Having enough money to do what you love? Once you know your goal, start building habits that get you there. Start living your dream on a smaller scale, once you get a taste of your dreams you will be more inclined to keep going! Small steps, big wins: Don't try to change everything at once! This one has gotten me so many times. You don't have to turn the dial from 0 to 10... Moving from 0 to 2 is way more sustainable! Start with tiny habits you can easily do every day, like saving a little money each week or 30 minutes of studying a day. Even small changes add up over time! Copy the champs: Look at people you admire who achieved their dreams. What habits do they have? Learn from their success, copy their good habits, but feel free to make them your own. We are so much more successful when we feel like the habit makes sense to us. Enjoy the ride: Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Celebrate your small wins, and focus on how good it feels to be moving towards your dream life. So, the next time you're tempted by a shortcut, remember: success isn't found in the destination but in the journey itself. I know it doesn't feel like it all the time, but deep down we all know it's true. Let's build habits that lead us to lasting freedom, one step at a time. I'm here for you, ready to support and encourage every step of the way. Head over to my Instagram at @playbooktofreedom for ongoing motivation and goodkidstrading.com a community where we navigate stock market trading together.
- Failing a Marathon Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” - Brene Brown One year ago just the thought of running 3 miles would have had me winded. Physically running a mile was a struggle. So, when I tell you that I attempted my first marathon last weekend I honestly don’t recognize who I even am anymore. Here’s the thing, I didn’t cross the finish line. Well technically I did cross the finish line but I wasn’t standing on my own two feet… Contrary to what you see on social media we all fail sometimes. We miss deadlines, we fall short of goals, we disappoint people, and sometimes we find ourselves riding in a fire department’s golf cart… Well maybe you don’t find yourself beside a medic in a golfcart, but I did. I don’t think anyone wants all the minor details of my marathon or the post mortem review I did of my race. If you do, feel free to email me as I wrote way more than I’m posting here. Here’s the quick run down, I’ve been training for months, I even got in a nice 20 mile run about a month ago, but what I didn’t take into account was there is a big difference in asphalt and something called “hard pack” which was really just a gravel path that seemed to go uphill the entire time. At mile 16 I found myself struggling to stand on the side of a mountain trail. I felt like a boa constrictor was wrapped around my calves while simultaneously feeling sorta how I picture the rotisserie chickens probably feel at Costco when they are almost finished cooking. Leg cramps reduced me to a hobbling, whimpering mess, questioning every life decision as I was seriously just trying to not pass out from the intense pain. Here's the thing: amidst the pain, the frustration, something clicked. I realized that "failing" to complete the marathon wasn't the end of the story. It was a chapter, perhaps a messy, sweaty, tearful, gravel-filled chapter, but a chapter nonetheless. It was a testament to the fact that progress, not perfection, is the true measure of success. We are all going to "fail" sometimes. You might not post it on your website and social media, and that’s fine I don’t blame you. But maybe after you read this you actually will! Because we need to stop acting like life is perfect, I would much rather have failed trying to run a marathon, than sitting on the sofa being winded by the thought of running a 5k. It’s these moments, these messy chapters in this journey called life, where the real learning happens. Losing and not getting our desired results teach us who we are and what we are capable of doing. Learn the importance of showing up, even when the finish line seems impossibly far away. So friends, take this from a (slightly bruised and very thirsty) not quite a marathoner: embrace the journey, cry for a minute or two, but laugh at the mishaps, and don't be afraid to get a little gravel under your feet. Because sometimes, the most beautiful victories come wrapped in unexpected packages, with a side of lessons learned and a healthy dose of being able to laugh at yourself. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a Gatorade, my cold plunge and a long hot Epson salt bath. Remember, when you fail, and we all do, failing in style is always the best option. If you are looking for freedom and happiness here are several key lessons that I think should become part of your playbook to freedom and this applies to all areas of life not just running a marathon. Say yes especially if it pushing your comfort zone! I had a couple friends ask me if I wanted to run a half marathon in Las Vegas about 8 months ago. Remember, I'm the guy who was not a really a runner. I was a little past being able to run a couple of miles, but running a half marathon seemed impossible. But saying yes is where I have always found the adventure in this journey called life. Fear of failure is silly. I’m saying this even as I found my legs locked up and I’m close to fainting as I walk back to an aid station on the course. You are going to find out failure is normal, and you can actually look back and laugh if you learn from your losses. Stop being afraid to say yes because of the fear of failing is an awful excuses and the best way for you to end up sitting right where you are today… If you are sitting at your job you’ve have for 10 years because it just barely pays your bills, and you are miserably bored what are you waiting for? Do you think the brinks truck is going to accidently drop a million dollars right in front of you? Build a plan and follow the plan. I decided to build a plan for my training, the same we plan for our family and our jobs. Before I knew it a half marathon wasn’t as intimidating after months and months of running. Each run I found myself getting better and better. Things that were uncomfortable before were slowly getting easier and more obtainable. I remember completing my first half marathon on a random Sunday, no one else around, no one even knew until I sent a screenshot from my watch to a few friends. Show up for yourself, when other’s don’t show up, you continue to encourage them, but this is about you more than it is about them. Have a reason for what you are doing, if you make your why big enough you will get days you don't want to get out of bed. You will find a way out of that dead end job, you will realize that saving up for that big dream isn't as hard. It's about you and your why, nothing else, no one else should matter. Listen to those ahead of you- this is one of the reasons I didn’t finish the marathon. I had trained for many months, I had run further than 16 miles numerous times. All my coaches kept stressing do not change things up on marathon day… But that ended up being exactly what I did. I decided to not take my own water when I saw the organizers said they were going to have plenty of hydration stations. Huge mistake, by mile 10 I was drier than a desert tumbleweed. I also didn’t know what other people would think if they saw me running holding two bananas as a bottle of water… No one is paying attention to you. This applies to running and life, people aren't focused on you, they are caught up in themselves. I realized this as I was double over in pain and watched runners keep passing by on their race. I’m not inferring they should have stopped or offered assistance, I’m just reminding you that they are focused on themselves so they aren’t focused on you. Do your own thing, but definitely listen to those who are ahead of you! When they tell you to checkout the course before you run it, you should. Asphalt and hard gravel is a big difference, sometimes there really isn’t mind over matter. Sometimes having intel is worth more than blind optimism. Admitting defeat, Know when its time to call it. I know we all want to have the David Goggins spirit of I’m going to run on broken legs when we want to get a desired end result, but it’s actually ok to say no when it’s not working. It’s not a failure, it’s a learning opportunity. When you shift from I just failed to well I know so much more now than I ever knew about myself and how I can come back better and strong, you just won. Do not define yourself by the result, define yourself by the progress.