When, in 1984, I was offered the job of my dreams, it wasn’t because the job found me. That job was the quarry and I was the hunter.
No, it’s not that stark; life’s more subtle than that. Try this:
I was the adman, and I pitched myself to the business. I was a one-man marketing strategy motivated to join that company and be on the inside.
My strategy worked because I figured out what they wanted and how they wanted it presented. The timing was a matter of luck.
Big moments in life often turn around a pitch. It’s best to get good at them.
Sometimes we need a break. For my generation the model for this is Ferris Bueller. Ferris’s famous day off is the cinematic confection that fuels many a bored worker’s daydream. It helps that he gets the car, the girl and away with it.
This week I decided to take off from the grind of the current job. It wasn’t that I was particularly tired or feeling in need of a mental health time out; I am no more exhausted or crazy than normal. Now it’s Friday and I look back, I see that the week has been relatively productive. Oh, and I got an amazing amount of sleep too.
A couple of levels of logic were working in my head. I tidied up a lot of stuff around my apartment. From the closet I tossed out – donated – lots of clothes. In the bedroom I audited some furniture, books and bedding. In the kitchen I cleaned from top to bottom, emptied and cleaned every cupboard and eradicated every speck of dust.
Cleaning is always cathartic, as well as being satisfying. What it also allows me to do is to prove to myself yet again how effective my company’s products, and how good they smell.
Which brings me to the most important reason for my week off. I wanted to pull the circuit-breaker on my workaday life and create time to think about moving on. What’s my next move? How can I escape the neo-slavery of the current job? By using my intelligence, how can I maximize my time over the next weeks and months?
For the most part I answered these questions. Importantly, I have the confidence to act. That’s invaluable.
Warren Buffett’s secret isn’t a secret. His accumulation of wealth comes down to this simple set of principles.
1. Create a regular income, preferably from multiple streams.
2. Spend less than the amount you make from 1, above.
3. Invest the difference between 1. and 2., above, in income-producing assets.
I know, this is childishly simple. Buffett’s income actually came from his insurance company businesses, mostly GEICO. The big difference between insurance income and our income is…
4. Ensure that the time between you receiving your income and paying it out is as long as possible.
When an insurance company takes your premium, they often have many months or years between that time and when they must pay out claims. If your claims are less than the premium you accrue, and there is time between the two events, you end up with an enormous amount of investable money.
Buffett calls this “the float” and it made him rich. Rich beyond understanding.
The point is that even if we don’t own an insurance company, the principles remain. Spend less than you earn. Diversify into passive or recurrent income streams. Allow compounding to work. Be persistent.