Patience

The practice

I pull up to an intersection, and the oncoming traffic is approaching briskly, but I have a small window: if I gun it, I can merge in. “Patience.” I’m working with a customer who is demanding and irate. My blood pressure spikes, I feel an adrenaline surge, and my mind starts racing. “Patience.” Negotiations have stalled and neither party is budging; I know I have a strong hand but want to close the deal quickly. “Patience.”

My mind’s voice is so trained to utter this simple word that it emerges from my subconscious before I even start to think about the correct course of action. It all began when I realized that my aggressive driving was a detriment to my life and well-being. I set out to lighten my lead foot, quell my road rage, and eliminate close calls. I found a simple, perfect solution. Every time I would encounter a driving situation where my heart would skip a beat and I’d feel an urge to wildly maneuver, I uttered the word, “Patience.” First, the practice was out-loud, and then I simply said the word in my head.

The payoff

The results of this practice are immediately tangible. Sure, sometimes, I lose a few seconds on my route. I’ve even had to drive passed my exit to take the next ramp, backtracking to my destination. But I gained an enormous amount of safety. I gained control over my emotions. And I gained a powerful tool that has applications in nearly all aspects of my life.

From a zenful perspective, waiting patiently is an experience far removed from waiting impatiently. The patient mindset lends itself neatly to a peaceful acceptance of stillness. We’re so inclined to move from activity to activity that a lull in between appointments can leave us frazzled and agitated. Instead of fidgeting or whipping out our phones when we’re unexpectedly forced to wait for a few minutes or even a couple hours (airports, anyone?) – upon discovery of a delay, instead opt to tell yourself, “Patience.” Sit. Smile. Relax. Observe. A trial is not what you must endure in these circumstances but a gift for you to appreciate, only if you accept it with a spirit of patience.

Wield the weapon of patience in these arenas

Professional life

Patience can help unveil opportunities that you might’ve otherwise overlooked. Turning down a job offer that’s not quite right only to find better employment around the corner, humoring that annoying coworker who ends up being your boss down the road, or simply being kind to yourself when you’re stuck on a difficult problem: there are so many ways that a patient mindset can benefit you professionally if you adopt it as a habit.

In today’s economy, moving from job to job and company to company has proven to be the best way to boost your salary in the long term. However, when you find a company that takes care of you and pays you market rate or slightly above, sometimes it’s best to ride out the rough patches. Especially if your management is excellent, you can be rewarded for longevity with an employer. You’ll only be able to count the years at a single company if you approach your work and its drawbacks with patience.

Spending

Waiting for a sale can help you secure a substantial discount. I’ll often set a price alert on SlickDeals or CamelCamelCamel for an item that I covet. I’ve found that – given enough time – the price I want almost always arrives. Sometimes I’ll get an email from an alert I set a couple years ago, and I just chuckle, “I forgot I even wanted that!”

In fact, just putting a few days in between the urge to buy and the actual expenditure can eliminate a lot of unnecessary impulse buying. We have implemented Online Shopping Sundays in our household, partially to curtail costly clicking and partially so that our deliverymen stop hating us for our daily porchload.

Investing

Much like buying things, purchasing investments is an activity best approached with a motherlode of patience. If you’re the type of person to calculate the intrinsic value of a stock or bond, then trust your judgement and wait for the correct price point. Don’t rush in before the price dips below the your desired entry point. Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s “Abominable No-man,” likes to say no to 99.99% of opportunities that cross his desk so that he’s flush with capital for the best opportunity that comes along. Then he says yes, yes, yes!

When you own investments that are repriced by the second, you’ll often find your holdings “underperforming” – losing money on your balance sheet. If you’ve done your homework and know the value of your asset, and the underlying economic engine hasn’t suffered some malady, just sit tight. Riding out the lows with years- or decades-long patience can be extremely rewarding. Some investments muddle along for years in a low band before skyrocketing when the market seems to suddenly wake up and double the price in short order.

Relationships

Your spouse may have an irritable spell, seem to be on your case, or just be down in the dumps sometimes. Instead of burning a short fuse, have some compassion and apply patience to your relationship. Being combustible in these circumstances can do lasting damage to the person you love most and the feelings that you have for each other.

If you’re itching to see a friend, and he’s turned down the last few invitations, takes a long time to respond to texts if he does at all, or maybe you saw him on a group outing that excluded you: try being patient. Keep checking in every so often and continue extending invitations to connect. A brief respite in your friendship may be just that: temporary. But if you press too hard, seem too needy, or just plain give up, then you might just sever ties for good. Friends are hard to find, good friends are rare, and great friends are one of life’s most precious treasures. Keep them nearby by gifting them a bit of patience when they need it.

Just a meek little word

“Patience” isn’t the most robust word in the English language. It’s hard to say with gusto. You’d seem a little silly if you ever screamed it at someone, even an obstinate toddler. “PATIENCE!” It just doesn’t sound right. It’s a word best whispered or maybe said with assertiveness. Despite its plush surface, behind those two syllables is a deep well of power. The more you tap into patience, the more it rewards you. Next time you feel an aggressive impulse arise, try saying it to yourself: “Patience.”

Build Your Personal Finance Strength Using Milo’s Progressive Overload Principle

Miloh - A wieght lifter squating with a squat bar holding 4 plates of 45 on each side.

You may have read the title, looked at the picture, and visited the mind palace to double check your comprehension of Progressive Overload. What in the world does weight training have to do with personal finance or other areas in our life?

If we take a step back to think in mental models like our role model Charlie Munger, then we can see that applying principles from other disciplines can help on our own. Humor us for a moment, allowing us to explain in more detail.

The Story of Milo of Croton

Nearly 2,500 years ago in 540 BC, Milo won his first men’s wrestling competition – displaying outstanding athleticism and strength in the match. He went on to win the next 5 Olympic games!

The story goes as such:

Miloh - A picture of a brown calf standing in grassOne morning, Milo was given a baby calf to care for. Back in those days, water didn’t come out of your kitchen sink nor did food come out of a fridge. His calf’s water and food supply was on top of a mountain/hill. Each day Milo played sack of potatoes by carrying his new friend up the mountain for nourishment. Similarly to our first day at the gym in awhile, he was EXHAUSTED by the time he reached the top; most likely taking a nap while the calf roamed free.

The first week flew by and reaching the top became a piece of cake, well that was until the calf grew like young things do in our world. As the calf grew, Milo grew stronger too – how else could he eventually carry a mature cow on his shoulder up a mountain?

Thus, the principle of progressive overload was born. By gradually increasing the weight one lifts, you gradually increase one’s muscles to meet new heights! Now, where does this fit into personal finance and life?

Beginning Anew

Starting from scratch or from detrimental results in your finances reminds me of poor Milo when he had to carry that calf up the hill for the first time. His body was weak, his legs were wobbling, and his belly began growling. People can start learning personal finance at any age – especially in the internet era. It creates a huge opportunity for us all. The opportunity to start carrying the calf on your shoulder, gaining more strength in your personal finance knowledge bank every day. Turning those little gains into budgets, 401(k) investments, and philosophy.

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, there’s one way to make your life into the life you dream of. Follow the “do something” principle!! We understand feeling lost in the mumbo jumbo of managing your money, and that’s how the idea of blogging begin. We saw a need to give people a roadmap to their successful personal monetary policy by wielding the most powerful tool in their lives: money.

The principle requires overloading your muscles to build them, then once they have recovered to handle more weight, you increase it. The same can be done for learning about finances. Start simple, build yourself up to more complex.

Start Carrying Your Calf

We talked you through the mental model, the story, and related it to personal finance. Now, here are some tips we recommend for getting started!

Steps:

  1. Start your journey
    • Our “get started” page introduces you to our blog, helping you to build your financial kingdom!
  2. Subscribe to top financial blogs from Rockstar Finance’s Directory
    1. Read one article a day, then two, then three..overloading your brain as you go
  3. Ask questions!
    1. Each financial blog has a comments section, we want to help change the lives of our readers – have a question for us to help with? Ask it :).
  4. Do Something!
    1. You may not be able to carry your full portfolio up the mountain yet, but start by dedicating time to research how – one small step at a time
    2. Your savings might not be where you want, make your budget and make a few cuts now!
    3. Check out our recommendations and others from your local library

No one can change your life except you. People can help, guide, and support. Take a second to remember how you made it to the moment we call the present. How did you get here? It was a sum of the decisions you’ve made in your life. Are you where you want to be? Either way, you (and also the Master Dukes) have much to be thankful for.

Milo and his calf proved that adding progressively to your life builds into huge results later. Let’s learn from Milo and take advantage of this principle to be better…in finances, and in our life, one small step at a time.