Weekend Journal: Smoking for the Mind, Gratitude, Todd Combs, Buffett in a Nutshell, 👉NYC Sound Meditation
"Whatever you want to do in life, don't solve for money, don't solve for prestige or adulation or anything like that." Todd Combs
I want to use this journal section to share my thoughts and readings more regularly and informally again. Today:
Some personal reflections on the challenge of social media and being kind to your mind and body during a difficult time.
Recommended podcast: William Green and Michael Berg on Abundance
Upcoming event: I will facilitate sound meditation in New York on October 21
Buffett ‘in a nutshell’ cheat sheet.
Investing Red Flags.
Highlights from the podcast with Todd Combs:
1) Great investors are weird and love the process.
2) We are all wet cement.
3) To compete, you need to love the game. To decide whether to compete, you must deeply know yourself and your passions.
Also: speaking truth, rather than flattery, was crucial in Combs’s life.
Thank you for reading and have a great weekend,
Be kind to your mind (and body)
What is there to write about investing and life when terrorism, war, and tremendous suffering rear their ugly heads again?
First, I think it is an excellent time to practice gratitude. The more challenging the day feels, the heavier the world seems to weigh on your shoulders, the more important it is to remind yourself of all the good in your life. It could always be worse.
I started taking a minute or two every morning to observe the world around me and find gratitude for everything, even the seemingly trivial. Start with things like your health, family, and friends. Or be grateful to live in a free and safe country. How grateful we can be to start our days with work rather than being shot at.
One of the most important things is to awaken great appreciation every single day. Meditate on, how would I feel if this didn’t exist? Health. Think for a minute how would you feel if you had to be in the hospital right now? Spouse. How would you feel right now if you’re by yourself? Meditate on areas of life in which you have abundance already, but have lost appreciation over time. You will see how much happier you are.
I find that a little walk and exposure to nature helps. Take a deep breath, let out a sigh, and look at the sky, trees, everything around you. No matter how flawed or ugly the world may seem, every day we get a chance to experience the dance of life and find an abundance of love and beauty around us.
Second, we all know the importance of learning and sharpening our mind, but what about protecting it? I spend a lot of time on Twitter/X and the platform has noticeably shifted towards viral engagement. Not only has it become harder to keep up with the facts of current events, being bombarded with footage of warfare and atrocities as well as outrage and lies seems quite damaging over time. I used to think cable news was the ‘new smoking’ but social media is no different.
A friend pointed out that we are simply not designed to be exposed to all of humanity’s suffering, all day long, and in graphic detail. My friend believes that our constant over-exposure eventually burns us out and actually reduces our capacity for compassion in our immediate environment. I don’t know what the right balance is between not looking away but also not overloading your own capacity for compassion. Buffett once moved back to Omaha to avoid the noise and distraction of New York. In the internet era, the noise and outrage follow you everywhere.
But I do know that, on a more practical level, if you wanted to invert an environment for rational decision-making, you would add plenty of political dogma, chronic stress, and unregulated emotional volatility. What do you think is more dangerous to investment performance: not reading one more research report or being in a state of anger, anxiety, or depression?
That’s why I’m so interested in the inner game. All the knowledge about mental models will go right out the window if your nervous system is in fight or flight mode. All your hard work building knowledge about investing and business will be devalued if you burn out. Reading The Body Keeps the Score opened my eyes to the importance of reconnecting with the body and finding ways to release tension.
Protect your mind, protect your time, and build reservoirs. To me, this includes a rhythm that alternates between tension and release, motion and stillness, activity and stillness.
On that note, I am happy to offer fellow New Yorkers an hour of sound meditation at my local yoga joint at St. Marks. I haven’t written much about this practice yet, but it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to rediscover inner harmony, equanimity, and deepen introspection. And it’s very simple: lie down for an hour, relax, and actively listen to a sequence of select instruments.
👉Sound meditation, Saturday, October 21, 7pm at St. Marks Yoga.
Among other pieces, I am working on a take on Ed Thorp’s frameworks for investing and risk, I am nearly finished with a fascinating book about the rise and fall of a real estate dynasty (also skimming Michael Lewis’s Going Infinite), and I will share some thoughts on the life of Richard Rainwater. Oh, I’m also chewing on a new Buffett and Munger project. Lots of content coming!
Steve Jobs: gratitude and contributing to the flow
I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I used. I make little of my one food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on.
And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how … We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. — Steve Jobs
Buffett in a nutshell
👉 The rest of this newsletter is only available for premium members, whose support makes my work possible. If you’re not already a premium member, consider upgrading your subscription below.