Nice Guys Finish First (But Never Beat Anybody)


Everywhere we look we can find conflict in the world.  Nuclear threats, civil wars and international trade conflicts come to mind on a geopolitical scale, but we also see it in our day-to-day lives.  It can apply to your stand-off with your roommate over who is going to be the first to scrub the bathroom or your relationship with your coworkers, spouse or another member of your family.

In all of these cases, objectively, it seems that both sides would be much better off if they could just find a way to cooperate.  And, in fact, they would.  However, each party is averse to being the one to cave first, at risk of being ‘the sucker’, even if it means a worse overall outcome for everyone.   In this way, we end up not cooperating even when it is in our mutual benefit to do so.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

“The Prisoner’s Dilemma”,  is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory. I recently listened to a great episode of the NPR podcast Planet Money, in which they featured Robert Axelrod, a career mediator and political scientist who eventually became a Professor at the University of Michigan during the height of the Cold War.  For this reason, he took a particular interest in this experiment that has roots in the 1950s.

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Who’s Really Going to Lift That Heavy-Ass Weight?


Things haven’t been so easy of late.  I mean, nothing is really bad, by any stretch.

Just…not easy.

But that’s just it – it doesn’t matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you have it objectively, it is up to you to frame your perspective in such a way that allows you to see your situation in a positive light.

So no, nothing bad has happened, and nothing has really changed.  It’s just that it turns out that having a goal and achieving that goal are not the same thing.  Things ‘come up’, all the time.  I could only imagine what it must be like for people with a more complicated life than mine, like those raising a family.

It’s hard to meet your budgeting and savings goals.   It’s hard to meet your blogging goals.  It’s hard to meet all your goals.  That’s why it must become a habit – something we just simply do without too much thought to it, allowing consistent action over time to be the real change maker. Continue reading “Who’s Really Going to Lift That Heavy-Ass Weight?”

What Will You Do? Run A Marathon in the Desert


I think one of the things that most potential retirees struggle with – or at least ponder a lot – is what to do with one’s self once they’ve gained an additional 40+ hours/week to fill?  Luckily for me, I am able to ‘practice’ retirement pretty often, as a result of my unique work schedule, as I have discussed before here.

When I started on this journey in 2016, my intention was to purchase my home in Mexico with cash and to have my basic cost of living covered by the rental income earned from that home.  From there, I would be free to explore new and interesting things as I please, some of which would inevitably earn me money, but the pressure to earn for the sake of paying my bills would be largely absent.

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The Resolution: June 2018

My Dad is incredibly punctual.  I don’t travel with him often as I am not interested in waiting in the airport 4 hours before my flight.  But, as should be expected, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  Usually.

However, I am  also a firm believer in the notion of ‘better late than never’.  Mostly because it is really convenient, when you are late.  As I am here.

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What You’re Thinking About, You’re Becoming


What you’re thinking about, you’re becoming.

Mohamed Ali once said this in an intimate interview.  It may be my favorite quote ever.  Simple enough to feel like you’ve known it all along, yet profound enough to shake you to your core.

But the mindset behind this quote from The Greatest was hardly a new notion at the time, nor is it yet completely forgotten nowadays.  For example, in the brief literary essay As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (1902) – about a 30 minute read – the foreword opens with this encapsulating verse:

Mind is the Master power that molds

and makes;

And Man is Mind, and evermore he


The tool of Thought, and, shaping

what he wills,

Brings forth a thousand joys, a

thousand ills:-

He thinks in secret, and it comes to


Environment is but his looking-glass.

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What Shit Really Costs: Gas and The Power of Data


After a long wait since my first installation of this series on the real cost of car ownership, I am here to add this to the mix.  I guess you could see it as supplemental to that post, since fuel economy and car ownership are inextricably linked.

Now, you may be wondering why I think that you give any hoots about what my gas mileage is when you’re vehicle is not the same?  Well, although I will get funky with a little bit of basic arithmetic and algebra, like most of my posts the point is the message – the mindset – rather than the details.  For me, gathering some data on something – some real, hard, data that I myself went and got on my own –  that has a monumental impact on my ability to incorporate real change into my life around that thing around which I am gathering data.

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Freedom Notes: Zen and the Art of Creative Curries



Zen is a fascinating notion.  Often seen as some sort of illusive state, rather than what it really is, a practice.  Much like happiness and bitterness, Zen is a choice.  A choice to live your life and to view events in a certain way that will maximize the amount of inner peace you experience.  There is no magic involved.  Theteachings of the stoics are much the same: make the choice to make a practice of viewing life and all that happens with a certain lens and, eventually, that shall be the lens through which you happen to find yourself experiencing life.  It is to your benefit to choose a positive lens, and to train yourself to scrupulously distinguish between that within your control and that outside of your control.

As I have noted in the past, one of the main motivations behind this blog is to continue to remind myself of my goals and the things I’ve learned that I believe will help me.  And now seems like a timely occasion to remind myself of some of the simple and foundational pieces of a life well lived.  A life of Zen.

It really comes down to the small and simple things that we do consistently.

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The Resolution: May 2018

Well, folks. The tracking continues. May has passed us by and I continue to chase my elusive goal of spending just $1,250 CAD per month for an entire year. As we come up on the half-way mark of the year, I still haven’t managed to meet my goal once. And, despite hopes coming into the month that May would be different, I fell short once again, although not from far.

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What Will You Do? A Reframing of the Question

Don’t just do something, stand there! -White Rabbit

The world is a dichotomous place.  For every action there is a reaction.  For every instruction there is an alternative approach.  And so it becomes difficult to tease apart what is real and what is finely-crafted rhetoric.  Perhaps rhetoric is all this piece is.  But if it comes from a place of truth does that not make it real?  And if it comes from a place that is meant to disguise one’s true intentions is it not then rhetoric? It may not even matter, as it is only that we can’t expect what works for one to work for all.

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You Have to Just Do It

Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands resistance. -Steven Pressfield

You have to just do it, or it will never be done.

We spend a lot of time just thinking of what will be when we get to where we’re going.  And so we often lose track of the route completely.  We also try to think ourselves into taking action, into doing something, into making change and into becoming somebody.  But sometimes it’s difficult to convince ourselves that those things are possible, so we don’t take any action.  We rely on motivation and inspiration, but these things are fleeting.  Amazing when present, no doubt, but they are not easily sustained in most of us.  Not always, anyway.

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