Life Lessons from Thinking.

March 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, histoires financières, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In my never ending quest to not feel like a total dumbass I read. I read a lot. No I have never cracked a volume of Fifty Shades of anything nor have I read Twilight. Until recently I thought it was an anthology of the Twilight Zone in written word.

I read books about historical (and often hysterical) people. I like biographies and not the sordid tell all types but the nuts and bolts of how someone changed their world by doing something their own way. I enjoy their process and mistakes far more than the ultimate successful outcome which brought them fame and fortune.  See here’s the funny thing about me. I know that I don’t know much in this world life but I do know that anyone who pins themselves as an expert is either full of bullshit or drank their own Koolaid (or Flavor-aid as it was). All I know is all I know and no more. Who decided we should “fake it till we make it?” That is a terrible idea. It suggest fooling ones self as well as anyone willing to buy into our story. I think that maybe and again I’m no expert, we should learn about it, research it, discuss it before declaring ourselves experts…and even then take it down a notch to say, hey this is something I have studied and I have some ideas versus the hard core foregone conclusion that every #FakeExpert out there really has the *Secret. There is no secret. Well, maybe there is…this is it.


You must learn to think. Critically think, think for yourself and often. Everyday in fact. Question everything especially what you think you know. I also don’t read because I want someone else’s foregone conclusion. I want some facts, some insights, some thoughts, some ideas and I will mull them around in my own noggin, seek more info on the subject and continue to distill the thoughts and even question my own distillations. Think of your ideas and conclusions as a good scotch whiskey. it takes quality going in, some knowledge and time…and even then shit happens and it doesn’t turn out exactly as the distiller thought it would. Sometimes better sometimes not. So s/he thinks some more before the next batch and maybe even talks to others in his world but still thinking for himself. Reflecting. It is easy to groupthink but takes actual thought to think for yourself. Question even your own thoughts.

Currently one of the books I am reading is Fortune’s Children, the fall of the House of Vanderbilt. Crazy stories of the ridiculous rich in 19th and 20th century America. Tales of social registries, who has the biggest most ornate mansion on 5th avenue and who spent the most on a party which excluded whom. All somewhat interesting but not why I chose this book. I wanted to understand the underpinnings of their failure to get past the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves curse of wealth. Yes they made it past three generations but not past 100 years. Why did they begin to falter? Was it the introduction of income tax, the millions spent on a never-ending string of mansions, parties and luxury yachts? I think it may have been even simpler. So basic that many families miss the mark. It was a missing system of family governance and the simple act of valuing the happiness of every family member. How did I come to this hypothesis? Well another book I am reading called Family Wealth by Hughes talks about how one man has coached the wealthiest families in the world regarding long-term wealth and he has observed why some families make it beyond  few generations and others are just golden ghosts of the past. Family and recognizing each individual’s right to happiness and being supportive in a way which enhances their life as well as expanding the family’s intellectual capital is key. I like the theory. So as I read about the Cornelius Vanderbilts I am testing the weight of this theory and as I read how money was a tool to strike fear, express love, bribe, and punish in the Vanderbilt’s world and I see the merit of this thing called happiness. I still think there is more so I suspend my full thought on the matter for now but look further for clues for happiness and wealth.

So I will leave this topic for further study another day. I leave you with this question. What makes a person an expert? Education? Marketing their knowledge base (fancy bullshit for selling yourself), a published article or book? Being on the Today show? …or could it be the quiet thoughtful person who is too busy to showboat and get your attention juggling buzz phrases? Maybe there are no experts? Maybe real thought involves quiet reflection and no wi-fi?

Discuss, research, contemplate.



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