Being weird, poor investing decisions, and hobbies.
What up, Traiiiiipser!
I’ve fully shifted into summer slacker mode. No major projects, simply embracing these hot days of outside time, refreshing cold river swims, junglesque garden growth, van trips, and iced tea lattes.
Oh, and skipping occasional newsletters...
Calvin and Hobbes said it best:
Summering About, Edition 107 features:
-Quirky habits rule
-How to choose said quirky habits (or normal hobbies)
Shout out to my friend Brady for finishing and publishing his latest film,How to Bikepack the Silk Road Mountain Race, which is set in Kyrgyzstan. If you enjoy biking OR like watching nutcases on bicycles explore beautiful places no sane person would ever take a bike, I highly recommend it.
Our garden jungle. Those sunflowers are 10' tall and competing with the tomatoes for tallest plants. Crazy that this was just a lawn two years ago!
Since the recent crypto crash, I’ve been doing a postmortem on my behavior. What started as casual interest and minor research in crypto morphed into me caught up in the wave of greed and irrational exuberance.
I thought I’d left that behavior behind after dabbling with (ill-informed) day trading in 2007?
What’s fascinating is that I didn’t need to change our investing approach—stocks plus commercial real estate were working great—but I got sucked in anyway.
Mostly I invested in “blue chip” (ha) crypto like Ethereum or Bitcoin, but I still feel embarrassed to have put money in projects like Terra or some alt-coins that…uhh, didn’t do well.
(An evening drawing last November.)
Luckily, I only played with a small portion of our money. I didn’t mortgage the house or force a change in our lifestyle. A reminder to everyone: diversify!
My new #1 goal with investing is to do NOTHING, ZERO, ZILCH if I’m excited by a project or an investment. Before committing, I want to scrub the delusional new relationship energy from my brain.
It's fascinating and instructional to see this chink in my armor. I think I've patched it, but shall remain vigilant! All in all, I’m treating this as a cheap lesson with life-long impacts.
Bullshit in investing, be it wild over-optimism, deception or fraud, is as old as time, precisely because it is hard to resist the promise of easy returns and to tell the difference between innovation and make-believe.
The first step in avoiding being taken for a ride is to recognize that you are a mark for people trying to get rich off your money.
Burn the principle into your brain that financial markets are large and competitive and have a lot of smart people in them.
Easy money-making opportunities are almost never real; professional mercenaries would have found and exploited them first.
High returns with low risk explained away by complicated and nontransparent strategies deserve great scrutiny.
Ask questions; be skeptical; do not assume that just because brand-name firms or authority figures are involved that all is well.
Smoke season has largely spared us so far. This haze rolled in during a bike ride (yuck)...at least the sunset enroute to home was lovely?
I have no idea how to find the perfect balance between internal and external benchmarks. But I know there’s a strong social pull toward external measures – chasing a path someone else set, whether you enjoy it or not. Social media makes it ten times more powerful.
But I also know there’s a strong natural desire for internal measures – being independent, following your quirky habits, and doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want. That’s what people actually want.
I’ll add that since I completely ditched social media and ramped up my pursuit of additional hobbies that I love, I’m the most content I’ve ever been.
Still a fav hobby... (King Castle trail.)
Picking new hobbies is easy...right?
Speaking of hobbies, how does one choose them? We need something in place if decreasing social media or mindless entertainment time is a goal.
TheClearer Thinking podcast posits that ideal hobbies have at least these four traits:
they are fun, make us more relaxed, and help to reset us for future work and responsibilities (which rules out hobbies that are too similar to our work)
they feel like time well spent when we look back (which rules out most TV shows)
they involve learning and eventual mastery (so "seeing friends" doesn't quite work on its own as a hobby)
they have positive side effects such as fitness or friendship (which is why exercise and social skill-building are often good hobbies)
Worth considering if you’re looking to add an activity to your life!
My new fav Bend discovery: swimming, laps-style, in the Deschutes River is THE BEST. So cool to uncover new activities (hobbies?) a few steps from my door. Note: downstream is easier than upstream.
Before my new hobby is writing too-long newsletters, let's wrap this puppy up.
Question of the week: what's a hobby you've always wanted to try? Can you commit 15 minutes a day to it for 3 months and see what happens?