The Achilles’ Heel to Success

Resistance to public scrutiny is often the achilles’ heel to success- from lifestyle choices to financially sound decisions.

You can often tell a Asian person’s advice- or that of someone from a white-collar, highly educated family- apart from an average Westerner’s:

Go to university- a prestigious one- and only seek white-collar jobs that sound and look good on paper.

Traditionally this has been the widely accepted route to success, but in today’s rapidly shifting economy, it often ends up as a financial strategic blunder. For many, it is like a religion- the belief that an university graduate is automatically superior to a person without an university education- even if a successful trades worker making $100,000+/year and living a otherwise happier lifestyle granted by the income and work opportunities, or a successful business owner, as he/she can actually afford to do the things he/she loves and pay the bills. Many do not have logical rationale to defend this logic, beyond seeing other Asian or other white-collar-preaching people also follow the same path. Needless to say, most are afraid to be disowned by their families and social circles, and submit to the flawed advice. It’s hard to be your own man/woman. It’s hard to stand on your feet and defend your beliefs against those closest to you who say otherwise.

In addition to consequence of the biological clock, women often have the social pressure to be chased by lonely men, and fuck and have kids. The ones who diverge from the norm- who are financially and mentally prepared before doing so- are the ones who end up rising above those who do not.

Men are socially pressured to go on glorious trips with all their pocket change, and buy a truck or nice car with the limits of their disposable income. Again, the ones who diverge from this norm (i.e. maintain a healthy budget doing so, or don’t at all), find themselves above the rest.

In the career world, most people tell you to simply get a job you like, put your spare pocket change into the savings account (if any at all), and don’t invest because it’s risky and you might lose money. They tell you not to start a business in something you are good at because it’s risky, and you might lose money. They tell to give up and cut your losses as soon as you fail. They tell you to just be grateful you have a job and devalue yourself as an employee with a certain skillset and experience because it makes you a good person, and because somebody else is sitting at home for months with a family, you are automatically devalued and should bow down to your employer. They tell you to not to look for more money and/or a higher position because it somehow makes you a bad person. 

In the financial world, most will preach only the savings account, in belief that everything else is too risky and you might lose money. If they do tell you to invest, they tell you to only buy mutual funds, because somehow the banker’s product is superior to one you make of your own. People will tell you to not buy stocks because they go up and down and you might lose money. If they do believe in stocks, they tell you to buy only big businesses only, because only big businesses make money in their eyes. They tell you to just sell if your stock(s) drop in price and don’t buy a stock that has dropped, even though everything else being equal aside from public fear, buying the same business at a lower price, nets you more profit than buying it at a higher price. If they preach real estate, they will preach only that, because you can touch it and people will always rent. Real estate preachers will also tell you to aim for only positive cashflow properties, and as positive cashflow as possible, because they have the flawed financial logic of ROI = cashflow/initial investment, and are short-sighted and only see the present:

Buy cheap properties that produce, relatively, the highest cashflow possible, even if they are pieces shit people don’t want to live in. Charge as much rent as you can for them. Fix as little as you can. Keep the cashflow as high as possible.

People submitting to market fear will also tell you not to buy in x market because it is a down market. They tell you to not buy x asset because many people are selling assets like x asset. They think it is too risky and money might be lost, forgetting that buying the same property at a lower price, makes more money than buying it at a higher price:

One person’s trash is another’s treasure.

Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.

Most will tell you to pay down debts as fast as possible, because it is risky to have debt, even if it is low interest debt before factoring in tax write-offs as an investment expense. Some will go even further to tell you to artificially make an investment property cashflow positive by paying down the mortgage. Many of these people do not know basic financial math of return = profit/initial investment, where the return is higher with a lower initial investment. It’s more profitable to make $2 with your $1, than $3 with your 2. Understandably there are bad and good debts, but it is a common fallacy to believe all debts are a poison- and outside greater Vancouver and Toronto areas, cash on cash returns on real estate are often poor and inferior to numerous other investment avenues, such as even blue-chip stocks that enjoy much greater liquidity and transparency, returns aside. Hence, without leverage, they are inferior investments.

Most people tell you to do things other people are doing, because they are widely accepted, and somehow if Person A is doing x, then x must be the best, and you must do x if you want people to accept you. If John or Andrea are wearing certain articles of clothing, then they must be the best clothing. If all the other young lonely men are chasing dumb girls or vice versa and spending much of their spare time with a bag of chips in front of TV, then it must be the superior philosophy of young adult life. If one woman does her hair in a certain way, then it must mean men like that hair. If a Asian person or other white-collar-preaching person is doing x career choice, then x must be the best career choice. If Person A is following x workout and y diet, then x workout and y diet must be the best workout and diet. A colleague I used to do work for Cenovus with used to joke:

They may be A unit. But we are B, and B [eventually] stands for best.

To summarize, do what you want to do, not because you want others to approve of you, or because it’s what other people are doing. There will always be some idiots that say you’re wrong and they are right. It is your best interest to pretend you didn’t hear it, or if there is fear, use it to your advantage:

Another dumb and/or lazy person without an open mind is another to make you richer.

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