What insight about life have you acquired that seems obvious to you…

I read a great deal and through various AMA’s, podcasts and articles.. a common question is “What insight about life have you acquired that seems obvious to you, but might not be obvious to anyone else?” (This sounds like a job interview question!)

What would your answer to this be?

Mine would resonate with Derek Siver’s post titled “Obvious“..

Hit songwriters often admit that their most successful hit song was one they thought was just stupid, even not worth recording.

We’re clearly a bad judge of our own creations. We should just put it out and let the world decide.

How very true.

One answer that caught my attention that goes deep into the midst of life, death and our significance is from, Naval Ravikant, CEO & Founder of AngelList and his podcast interview with Tim Ferris (link here).

This is a tough one. It’s a deep question. I do have one fundamental recent belief that I’ve acquired in the last few years that I don’t think most people would agree with. It’s such a personal thing, and it came about in such a personal circumstances that I’m not sure anyone will get there in the same line of reasoning. That said, I’ll lay it out anyway, which is, I’m not afraid of death anymore.

I think a lot of the struggle we have in life comes from a deep, deep fear of death. It can take form in many ways. One can be that we want to write the great American novel. We want to achieve something in this world. We want to build something. We want to build a great piece of technology, or we want to start an amazing business, or we want to run for office and make a difference. A lot of this comes from this fear that we’re going to die, so we have to build something that lasts beyond us.

Obviously, the obsession that parents have with their children. A lot of that is warranted biological love, but some of that is also the quest for immortality. Even some of the beliefs of some of the more outlandish parts of religion I think fall into that. I don’t have the quest for immortality anymore. I think I came to this fundamental conclusion. I thought about it a lot. The universe has been around for a long time, and the universe is a very, very large place. If you’ll study even the smallest bit of science, for all practical purposes we are nothing. We are ameba. We are bacteria to the universe. We’re basically monkeys on a small rock orbiting a small backwards star in a huge galaxy, which is in an absolutely staggeringly gigantic universe, which itself may be part of a gigantic multiverse. This universe has been around probably for 10 billion years or more, and will be around for tens of billions of years afterwards. Your existence, my existence is just infinitesimal. It’s like a firefly blinking once in the night.

We’re not really here that long, and we don’t really matter that much. Nothing that we do lasts. Eventually, you will fade. Your works will fade. Your children will fade. Your thoughts will fade. These planets will fade. This sun will fade. It will all be gone. There are entire civilizations which we remember now with one or two words. Sumerian. Mayan. Do you know any Sumerians or Mayans? Do you hold any of them in high regard or esteem? Have they outlived their natural lifespan somehow? No. I think we’re just here for an extremely short period of time. From here, you can choose to believe in an afterlife or not. If you really do believe in an afterlife, then that should give you comfort and make you realize that maybe everything that goes on in this life is not that consequential. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in an afterlife, you should also come to a similar conclusion. You should realize that this is such a short and precious life that it’s really important that you don’t spend it being unhappy. There’s no excuse for spending most of your life in misery. You’ve only got 70 years out of the 50 billion or so that the universe is going to be around. Whatever your natural state is, it’s probably not this. This is your living state. Your dead state is true over a much longer time frame. When I think about the world that way, I realize it’s just kind of a game.

Which is not to say that you go to a dark place, and you start acting unethically and immorally. Quite the contrary, you realize just how precious life is and how it’s important to make sure that you enjoy yourself, you sleep well at night, you’re a good moral person, you’re generally happy, you take care of other people, you help out, but you can’t take it too seriously. You can’t get hung up over it. You can’t make yourself miserable and unhappy over it. You just have a very short period of time here on this earth. Nothing you do is going to matter that much in the long run. Don’t take yourself so seriously. That just kind of helps make everything else work.

That’s an insight about life that I’ve acquired that now seems obvious to me, but it’s really not obvious to most people.

All food for thought.

Here’s to the good life.

Robin

Bitcoin Wealth Distribution

Following on my Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency & FOMO post. This seemed very approriate. I stumbled on this whilst doing some cyrpto reading. Bitcoin Wealth Distribution conducted by Howmuch.net (https://howmuch.net/articles/bitcoin-wealth-distribution). Assuming their calcutions are correct, it represents a very interesting side of the (bit)“coin”. Obviously the Author puts disclaimers on data accuracy etc. However, I do believe it is food for thought, especially comparing with the original concept of Bitcoin. Even if you take it at a loose 5% of addresses own 90%, it’s eye opening.

 

Don’t be an eunuch!

This post is not about forex trading, or becoming a forex millionaire trader. However, it will help you on your journey in life. It’s about the mindset. Far more imporant is the mindset, compared to the tools/resources people have, in order to become successful. You can give 2 traders the same trading system, and their results will be completely different. This falls down to mindset.

Funny enough this post revolves around Singapore and one of it’s early key personnel’s thoughts. It was sent to me by a fellow business associated in Singapore. It sheds light on the possible future of Singapore, the importance of leadership & people, and the edge of the country/people. Oh, to top it off, don’t be an eunuch! Seriously – there are too many around =/

Former EDB Chairman Philip Yeo’s latest biography sheds light on leadership pitfalls

6-Feb-2017: http://thepeakmagazine.com.sg/interviews/former-edb-chairman-philip-yeos-latest-book-sheds-light-leadership-pitfalls

Through 10 interviews with Philip Yeo, and 40 with those who’ve worked with him or known him, readers will gain an insight into the heady days of Singapore’s early nation-building.

# 1 What is the rationale behind your firing-squad approach to managers?

Like Dr Goh (Keng Swee), I don’t believe people can change. So the best way to change an organisation is to burn it down and start afresh. That means I sack the whole lot of managers. In every organisation, there are three types of people: the emperors at the top, the workers at the bottom, and the eunuchs in the middle. The ruler says, “I want my pyramid,” and the workers are the people who build it. The eunuchs are the ones who shuffle papers. They don’t do any real work. Their objectives are to keep the emperor happy. How to do that? Keep the emperor entertained or distract him with other preoccupations. Eunuchs destroy empires. It was true in China and also in the West. The Ottoman Empire was brought down by eunuchs too. All they did was create problems between the emperors and the commanders who did real work out in the battlefields.

# 2 Who are the eunuchs in the Singapore context?

We call them “staffers”. I advise CEOs and top civil servants to go into the field, visit the companies and spend time with the workers. But many still prefer to hold meetings and presentations. They create another layer and it is a layer filled with staffers. Soon, the leader will be infected with eunuch disease.

# 3 What is eunuch disease?

It is when a leader surrounds himself with staffers and he becomes increasingly isolated. It is a common cancer in pyramidal organisations. The best organisation structure is flat. If I’m the emperor, I would want to see the generals myself. Increasingly, the emperors in Singapore do not see their generals because there are so many layers.

# 4 How did Singapore get to this stage? Is it because as society becomes more developed, it requires a more complex governance structure?

No, it’s how the leadership has evolved. There are so many papers which need to be submitted, and then summarised for the management. Why can’t the leader read the paper himself? Dr Goh used to demand that a paper be no longer than one page and it must be written in simple English. He always said: short and sharp. If you cannot tell me in one page or in five minutes, it means you have no clarity of thought. I have no patience because a damn idiot wants to write his grandmother’s story.

# 5 Is this a result of how talent is recruited?

The organisation wants stability. There must be a balance with some turmoil. If it is all stability, it gets really boring and a maverick won’t want it. He will run away. You will get people who are honest and respectable, but you won’t get mavericks. These are the people who follow rules – “Yes, Sir, I will do this.” They are your obedient kids in schools and teachers like them. They grow up to be good eunuchs. They sit down and don’t move around. They are better than the guy who cannot sit still, the kind who has an itchy backside and will get into trouble. I used to get into trouble in school. I finished my work fast and I made noise in class. The teacher made me stand at the blackboard. I’m happy to stand. Better than sitting in the stupid chair.

# 6 How much of this increasing bureaucratisation is seen in Singapore today?

The management is too involved in day-to-day matters. They become administrators rather than leaders. Let me tell you a story. When Lee Kuan Yew was in charge, he called me to Istana one day. He was still Prime Minister and I was EDB chairman. I sat down. It was just the two of us. “Can you bring investments to Woodlands?” he asked me. “Can you put an MRT station there?” I replied. Finished. I walked out. Our conversation lasted less than a minute. I knew he called the Minister of Communications right away and said that Woodlands must get an MRT station. I quickly got TECH (Texas Instruments, EDB, Canon and Hewlett-Packard – Semiconductors) to get set up in Woodlands, way before the MRT station was even up. I pushed for projects to go to Woodlands. I didn’t write a memo. I didn’t have to answer him on how we were going to do it. He took my word and I took his word. He wanted something and I delivered.

Today, ministers overwork – doing everything and appearing everywhere. When there were issues with CPF, the minister answered. Where was the CPF chairman? When the trains broke down, the minister answered. Where was the SMRT chairman? In the past, the civil servants would take charge. Now, the Admin Officers are quiet. That is a sad thing. In my time, permanent secretaries were permanent in their postings. Today, we should call them “temporary secretaries” because they get rotated every few years. There’s no reservoir of experience… they are constantly rotated and they have no depth.

# 7 How does this contrast with the Old Guard leaders?

The Old Guards were politicians. They built a nation from next to nothing. They didn’t care about the nitty gritty. Just get the bloody job done. Bring in investments, create jobs, build up an army. They didn’t have time to discuss with you “on the one hand and on the other hand”. They sketched the big picture, they told you what they wanted and they left you alone to do it. It’s based on trust.

# 8 Do you think Singapore can remain exceptional?

It depends on exceptional people who’re willing to serve. It’s up to the present leadership and the future generation. I’m concerned about Singapore’s economy. What’s the next engine of our growth? Is it tourism? But do you create good jobs with tourism? You don’t need highly qualified people. All you need is a tour guide. Look at Formula One. For a few days, all the chauffeured cars and the hotels are occupied. It’s like the Singapore Airshow. It’s a one-week event and the tourists leave after that. These are not sustainable, everyday industries. These are icing on the cake. So far, I haven’t seen anything new that can create good and sustainable jobs. After biomedical sciences, what’s next? Space? What are we selling to our young people? What’s the new dream? It is a harder job today for EDB. But we must keep trying.

# 9 How do you think you will be remembered in Singapore?

Not my problem.

Goal(s) + Self Discipline + Feedback Loop

Hello my people!

Apologies for the radio silence, it’s been about a month since my last post.

Displacement would be the word for the past month. I have traveled for work & leisure to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. At the time of posting, I am currently in Italy.

Today, I wanted to talk about achievement, momentum and reaching your goals. I see many people float around, talk about their dreams/ambitions and waste a great deal of time by keeping themselves ‘busy’ with useless time filling tasks which (at times) they deem important. Most of this wasted time are on things that make them feel ‘important’ or busy. Being busy or feeling important, doesn’t equate to achieving goals or success.

Time is our greatest asset (or for us forex traders, time is our greatest currency). Spend it wisely it. We’ll never get the past minute, hour, day, week, month or year – no matter how much money we have.

Goal(s) + Self Discipline + Feedback Loop = Achievement Momentum

Goals: What do you want to achieve in life?

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Self Discipline: I know this is word is thrown around a lot, especially in self help books. But, it is required to achieve anything of value.

Self discipline for me, is the ability to get up and focus your actions on getting closer to your goals. Even on days when you don’t ‘feel’ like it or are not as motivated.

Just imagine, you worked on your goal every day for one (1) year, that’s 365 days. The chances are you’d achieve a feat of value to yourself or in the process learnt something of value. Most people can’t even do this for a month. You could be focus on anything, eating no desserts, exercising, reading, learning a new skill, back testing your trading system, the list is endless.

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Feedback Loop: What is this loop you speak of? Well, it’s rather simple. You need a form of feedback (loop) when you are working and actioning towards your goal. If not you may be repeating the same actions over and over again, and getting the same results but not closer to your goal. (There is a huge difference to persistence and stupidity.) Hence the feedback loop, you need to know that your actions of discipline are getting you closer or are actually beneficial to your goal. This is where self awareness comes to play, being aware and measuring the effectiveness of the actions. Plus or potentially even better a friend or a mentor who can guide you from pitfalls, time wasting ideas, provide motivation, or just some general advice.

Goal(s) + Self Discipline + Feedback Loop = Achievement Momentum

Momentum is key to achieving anything in life. You don’t have to be ‘busy’ all the time, you have to be effective.

To our success,

Robin

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The Eight (8) Rules of Carney – Ugly Americans Book

For those of your who don’t know of the book, Ugly Americans (link here), by Ben Mezrich, I suggest you give it a read. I stumbled on his writings when a friend in London passed me his book called “Rigged”, I was instantly hooked. The Eight (8) Rules of Carney, are from this book and ring deep to the markets (some gems in rules)! Ugly Americans is based on the true story of ‘John Malcolm’ and his road to success.

This isn’t a book on trading systems/advice, nor is it technical. It an easy read that does get your mind flowing to the endless possibilities we have in our life.

The Eight (8) Rules of Carney:

(Who the F is Carney? He was the hedge fund cowboy who partly trained ‘John Malcolm’.)

  1. Never get into something you can’t get out by the closing bell. Every trade you make, you’re looking for the exit point. Always keep your eye on the exit point.
  2. Don’t ever take anything at face value. Because face value is the biggest lie of any market. Nothing is ever priced at its true worth. The key is to figure out the real, intrinsic value — and get it for much, much less.
  3. One minute, you have your feet on the ground and you’re moving forward. The next minute, the ground is gone and you’re falling. The key is to never land. Keep it in the air as long as you fucking can.
  4. You walk into a room with a grenade, and your best-case scenario is walking back out still holding that grenade. Your worst-case scenario is that the grenade explodes, blowing you into little bloody pieces. The moral of the story: don’t make bets with no upside.
  5. Don’t overthink. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s a duck.
  6. Fear is the greatest motivator. Motivation is what it takes to find profit.
  7. The first place to look for a solution is within the problem itself.
  8. The ends justify the means, but there’s only one end that really matters. Ending up on a beach with a bottle of champagne.

I love number 2, 4, 5 and 8. At the end of it all, it’s all about the final result.

To success!

Robin

A.I., Automation and the Economic Workforce

Times are changing, and they are changing fast. The jobs our generation have known may become obsolete much faster than we think. Automation, A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), and the rate of expenditure on human & technological advancement and betterment is going at warp speed.

I was having coffee the other day with a fellow trader friend, and he was telling me on how JP Morgan has automated it’s financial contracts which used to take 360,000 hours for it’s legal team but now takes seconds with it’s new software (link here). Who would have thought that would be possible? Cutting the lawyers out of contractual work (I mean, we all love lawyers – really *cough*).

Other companies are following suite as well, Goldman embraces automation with it’s own trading. Having a trader force of 600 in the 2000s, now being streamlined with automated trading programs and 200 computer engineers (link here).

Last year a banker was asking if I was interested in a startup that was aiming to remove lawyers and make contracts automated combined with block chain technology. In all honesty, I thought it was feat that would take a very long time to come to life. That’s hindsight for you 😉

There are many companies adopting automation. Don’t think this is just limited to certain industries. Even the pizza business has an automated pizza robot (link here). Think about it, robots are less error prone, they can work 24/7 (they don’t need breaks), no unions, pensions, health care, the list can go on. All of this can be applied to all the industries we are working in.

It has been known that job security is a thing of the past with our new economy. But what will the jobs of the future be? And what will the future workforce look like? And more importantly how will you keep your edge?

I know this is off on a tangent from full forex trading but it’s really food for thought and will have a huge impact on our lives.