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On “Unorthodox Methods” to Grow and Staying True

It is the mid week, a holiday and my willpower is weak.

Work has been rather busy recently, and would get more busy. Now I finally understand what some of my readers are feeling when they say it is difficult to put in the work to learn stock investing. You come home and you do not feel like doing something. 

So that is why I will tell those young ones… cherish the strong mind and freedom in time when you are a young adult and learn these things before you need them. Next time it will be quite tough. 

So that will mean I won’t be writing about something to do with active stock investing unless it will flow easily in my head. 

I thought that there was one question that I could address that has been on my mind. This post, likely might not make a lot of sense to you. So if you are looking for some wealth building, stock investing, financial independence stuff, best to give this post a miss.

I manage to meet a peer in the finance blogging industry some months ago.

The person is a keen observer in this space and also rather influential as person. The person was asking me if I noticed a peculiar trend of some up and coming sites. These sites are much more savvy than us in the past. They know what makes the audience tick and specifically pushes the kind of content to them. 

The motivation can be rather different. For some with the page-views, they are better able to pitch to prospective businesses to help them with their marketing campaigns. Others, from my observation is to grow. Dunno grow until what is the end goal. 

I detect the person are hinting this is not how it is suppose to be. It is a little unorthodox (or perhaps too much). The person explains that you could do it for profits but you could always stay true to your voice, and provides 2 examples in our community that the person will read for a long, long time.

So we have to part ways and I didn’t manage to give a good perspective.

Since I am in a “piss off with life for 2 days” mood, I thought I will try to address this.

I think it didn’t slip my radar that some of this is happening.  One of the more prominent one is Value Penguin. Truth to be told, I read their content and somehow… I thought it can be rather useful. This is because what they write about, I am rather deficient in that department. So I learn quite a fair bit there. Perhaps for the information on cars and maid, not so much on the credit cards.

What is considered “unorthodox” and “staying true to your voice”?

Everyone is trying to build a business. If not they might be getting their site ready for the next general election and unveil themselves as a PAP or opposition candidate. 

And to do that, you got to know how you can build things up. And you got to use the best strategy to help you achieve the results in the shortest time.

The ones that come after us, is having a serious tough time. The whole landscape is quite saturated so you got to be quite above average to stand out. 

Or you need to do “the things” to get your business there. 

Does it piss me off when I see people trying to do these stuff? Yes I do. Especially when I wear the hat of the BIGS World admin, where I try to stem out the folks who only want to use the group to market their stuff, their content and have no intention of really interacting. 

But the reality is that if you are trying to grow or trying to make your business to make it, you will use some of these strategies yourself. So aren’t we being hypocritical to call people out?

Some of us have the upper hand because we got big, either due to competence, popularity, or just sheer luck. We could choose to “stay true to our voice” by not using some of these techniques. 

I find that it is no different then in the work environment. 

There are people fighting for that higher grade, power position, for the money, for the title, or just for the pure power and ego. Those that have real competence, or have establish a really good spiderweb of network, we can pick and choose whether to use these strategies or not. We can not adopt and still consolidate our position and interest. For others, KNN, it is just quite hard to break through.

I would say, what we are seeing, is their true voice.

When you mix up your feelings and what is Right or Wrong

Mark Manson writes that we often confuse that we needed to know the meaning behind our feelings.  In the article, he wrote about how we often think something is right, by how we are feeling then and there:

The problem is that the brain doesn’t like to feel conflicted about its decision making. It doesn’t like uncertainty or ambiguity and will do mental acrobatics to avoid any discomfort. And our brain’s favorite way to do this is to always try to convince itself that whatever feels good is the same as what is good/right.

So you know you shouldn’t eat that ice cream. But your brain says, “Hey, you had a hard day, a little bit won’t kill ya.” And you’re like, “Hey, you’re right! Thanks, brain!” What feels good suddenly feels right. And then you shamelessly inhale a pint of Cherry Garcia.

You know you shouldn’t cheat on your exam, but your brain says, “You’re working two jobs to put yourself through college, unlike these spoiled brats in your class. You deserve a little boost from time-to-time,” and so you sneak a peek at your classmate’s answers and voila, what feels good is also what feels right.

You know you should vote, but you tell yourself that the system is corrupt, and besides, your vote won’t matter anyway. And so you stay home and play with your new drone that’s probably illegal to fly in your neighborhood. But fuck it, who cares? This is America and the whole point is to get fat doing whatever you want. That’s like, the sixth amendment, or something.2

If you do this sort of thing long enough–if you convince yourself that what feels good is the same as what is good–then your brain will actually start to mix the two up. Your brain will start thinking the whole point of life is to just feel really awesome, as often as possible.

Took me a while but I realize I made wrong conclusions about things a lot. We will often get riled up by the fear that something we cannot control is happening and due to that, it may lead us to conclude this is not right. 

This inaccurate feeling manifest itself when you ask another person about it, and the person are puzzled what the fuss is this about:

Ever been talking to a friend and thought you heard them say this horrible mean thing and start to get upset and then it turned out your friend didn’t say that horrible, mean thing at all, you just heard it wrong? Or ever get really jealous or upset with somebody close to you for a completely imagined reason?

Like their phone dies and you start thinking they hate you and never liked you and were just using you for your Boy George tickets? Or ever been really excited to pursue something you thought was going to make you into a big bad ass but then later realized that it was all just an ego trip, and you pissed off a lot of people you cared about along the way? Feelings kind of suck at the whole truth thing. And that’s a problem.

Overtime, I realize these strategies, they have a spectrum to them. Some are outright sinister. It will take someone who can detach their moral compass to use them. Some goes with your values. 

Most that I see, I think it is OK la. It still requires a lot of hard, talented work to make them work. 

Competition might lead us to demonize them but that might be more of a feeling.

Summary

My friend’s comment about the 2 sites that the person will read for a long, long time stuck with me. 

I find that for most of us, we tend to gravitate to the content of our friends, or those things we are learning about, be it about wealth or not. So we gravitate to people that we wish to learn from. 

Sometimes I asked myself what is it I like about these scene in the past and I realize I really missed reading folks who write about how they build wealth, their struggles with life, and also those folks that write splendidly well. As an investor, I am also attracted to the folks who are competent or who showed that they wish to be competent and write well thought out pieces on individual stocks. 

Then there are those who I detect are trying to build their business, and trying too hard at it, I will give it a pass. The primarily reason is I am not sure if this is a person that is authentic enough to get along as a friend. Let’s just say that we all get tired about the business side of things sometimes, and I sometimes wish things would be simpler. 

I should really be reading less and investing more. 

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Here are My Topical Resources on:

  1. Building Your Wealth Foundation – You know this baseline, your long term wealth should be pretty well managed
  2. Active Investing – For the active stock investors. My deeper thoughts from my stock investing experience
  3. Learning about REITs – My Free “Course” on REIT Investing for Beginners and Seasoned Investors
  4. Dividend Stock Tracker – Track all the common 4-10% yielding dividend stocks in SG
  5. Free Stock Portfolio Tracking Google Sheets that many love
  6. Retirement Planning, Financial Independence and Spending down money – My deep dive into how much you need to achieve these, and the different ways you can be financially free

 

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