Why We Need To Fail More

Much of the research that I read and write about is geared towards achieving more success.

We work on time management and productivity so that we can accomplish more. We study investing and personal finance so that we can be more successful with our money.

There is a major focus on success in our culture and not much attention paid to failure.

But maybe that’s wrong.

Maybe we should be failing more.

Continue reading “Why We Need To Fail More”

The Productivity Benefits of Letting Your Mind Wander

When I started making a concerted effort to be more productive, I knew I had to make better use of my time.

One of the early steps in this process was adding podcasts and audio books to my day. Previously, while walking to the subway or around the neighborhood, I would have just let my mind wander. I replaced this lost time with extra learning.

The extra knowledge helped. I felt more productive on my walks. But I started feeling more overwhelmed with the work I had on my plate the rest of the time. It felt like I was actually getting less done.

According to the research, I probably was.

I had lost the benefits of letting my mind wander.

Continue reading “The Productivity Benefits of Letting Your Mind Wander”

How to Succeed in the Modern Economy

Neil Irwin of the New York Times published a very interesting article on rising income inequality in America earlier this week.

The article was published by the Upshot, a team of wonks over at the Times who write nerdy, in depth, data driven policy articles. My favorite type of article.

The article took a nuanced look at the evolution of corporate culture and the rise of income inequality. It is worth a read in its own right.

But today I want to pull out just one piece of that story. A part of the story that struck me because it is a drum that I keep beating.

We are living and working in a fundamentally different economy than our parents.

Continue reading “How to Succeed in the Modern Economy”

Don’t Bank on the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Every conversation that I have had discussing the benefits of buying versus renting has eventually turned to the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

(What? Doesn’t everyone have those conversations? Just me?)

If you itemize deductions on your tax return, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows you to deduct the interest that you pay on your mortgage from your income. This ultimately lowers your taxes and, in turn, your cost of home ownership.

This perk is often mentioned to me as a key reason for buying a home rather than renting.

There are a number of reasons why I disagree with this approach, but today I want to explore one in particular.

The Mortgage Interest Deduction could be gone soon.

Continue reading “Don’t Bank on the Mortgage Interest Deduction”

Conquering Procrastination

One question that meditation has taught me to ask is: Where is the resistance?

In meditating, there is always something that is trying to grab my attention. Often, all I need to do to get rid of it is figure out what it is, acknowledge it, and label it.

“Okay, my mind wants to focus on that upcoming meeting. That’s good to know.”

I can label it, go back to meditation, and then address that issue when I’m done with my meditation. If the meeting is weighing on me, then maybe I need to spend some more time preparing. I’ve identified the problem, and I can then take steps to ease my anxiety.

Lately, I’ve been trying to ask the same question of my productivity.

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How to Earn More Money

Everybody is always looking for ways to make more money.

The Internet abounds with articles about side hustles and negotiating raises. There are entire television channels devoted to following stock market investments. Being a co-host of a show about angel investing can help catapult you into consideration to be a vice presidential candidate.

But from what I’ve seen and read, it looks like most people are taking a scattershot approach to making more money.

People try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. They jump into a side hustle and then when that doesn’t work they try another.

Like most other things that I talk about, I think it makes sense to look at earning money in a more systematic way. If we really want to make more money, we should understand the landscape. Continue reading “How to Earn More Money”

Comfort is Not Happiness

I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about happiness.

For years before I started writing here, I was just looking for ways to improve my own life. I wanted to understand why people who seemed like they had everything were still unhappy.

I wanted to find the traps that others fell into so that I could avoid them.

It is quite clear to me at this point that most people are not as happy as they could be. 

And I believe that the main culprit is mistaking comfort for happiness.

Continue reading “Comfort is Not Happiness”

Act Like the Person You Want to Be

This is an article that I have had kicking around in my head for quite some time.

It was originally an uplifting and positive article. The context has changed, though. The world has changed.

The idea centers on a Kurt Vonnegut quote.

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.”

This is a very powerful truth. One that I firmly believe we should harness to become better people. Continue reading “Act Like the Person You Want to Be”

The Three Fuels of Productivity

I read a lot of self-improvement books. Most of them are garbage.

Sure, they may have useful tips and tricks, but usually they contain about enough useful information to fill a blog post. This is then surrounded by fluff, anecdotes, and flowery language to meet the word count for a book.

This is what I expected when I picked up Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. I anticipated some helpful tips, but mostly fluff.

That is not what I got.

This book is one of the rare finds that actually has a lot of useful information. Continue reading “The Three Fuels of Productivity”

Not Making a Decision is Making a Decision

It is easy to become overwhelmed with choices.

We live in a world of options, and decision fatigue is a real problem to which many people succumb.

Sometimes we just don’t have the willpower at the end of a long day to make good decisions

Often we defer making decisions entirely. Sometimes it feels like the easiest option is just not to make a decision. Or, a variation on this, we make a decision that we will decide at some other point in the future.

The thing that we often forget is that when we fail to make a decision, we are implicitly making a decision to stick with the status quo. Continue reading “Not Making a Decision is Making a Decision”