My recent car purchase has been something of a disaster. That's why I haven't written about it yet (or, rather, posted the rather excited blog post I've already written). The car is currently back with the seller, who owns a shop that repairs these sorts of cars, and he's trying to figure out why it won't go over around 20mph and to fix it.
One of my friends asked if I was upset about it or if I regretted buying it. Not at all!
I did a lot of research before I bought the car. I knew that despite it being one of the most reliable cars the manufacturer has ever built, it was an older complicated car, and that things might go wrong with it. I didn't think they'd go wrong on day one, but it wasn't totally out of the realm of possibility.
I checked out the car in person and got to know the seller. He was obviously someone with a lot of integrity and we got along well, so I was confident that if something did happen right off the bat, he'd take care of it.
When I thought about my actual cost of buying and owning the car, I factored in a (hopefully) unrealistic annual repair cost.
In other words, it was a pretty good process for buying the car. And it was based in experience — I've bought several cars in the past and have had the experience of buying an older fancy car and dealing with the maintenance that comes with it.
My last car was very different. A bit over two years ago I bought a car for $2500, a 1996 Mercedes C220. I knew that it was a very reliable car, and I knew that it would save me a ton of car rentals (back then I wasn't living in Vegas all the time). I sold half of the car to my friend, so my total outlay was $1250. It's still running strong with no problems that didn't exist when I bought it, but I was prepared for the possibility that it would completely fail within a year or so.
If I'm happy with the process, I'm happy with the outcome, no matter what it is. If something way out of the bounds of what I expected happens then I may have to rethink my process, but part of my process is knowing that any process I come up with will be imperfect, so even that's baked in.
Imagine if I did my research, understood the odds of bad things happening, and then became really upset when one of the poorer outcomes surfaced. I already knew that something bad might happen, but I still got angry? To me that's a total disconnect with reality and means that I am unable to assess my risk tolerance.
I also want the focus to be on the process, not the results. I can control and improve the process, but results are always less predictable. Better is to think about the process and consider if there's anything that should be improved. For example, if I drove the car home, had a major catastrophe, and then later found out that this was a catastrophe that many of this car had, probably I need to do more research next time.
But if I did my research, something bad happened, and these bad things happen approximately as often as I predict they well, over the scale of my life, then I should actually be happy about my process, even when things went wrong. It means that I'm gauging risk appropriately and reaping the benefits of that risk.
If you have a plan and you stick to it, be happy with whatever the results are. To expect everything to always go as well as it possibly could is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment. If your process is objectively wrong, then fix the process next time but also don't be upset about that, because iterating on processes is also a good process.
Photo is the remnants of a lot of Walnut cracking with Min and her grandmother in China
Totally random, but I may be hiring someone to do part time customer service for CruiseSheet. If that interests you, email me.
Hi, Tynan. I've read your book recently, which I found awesome. I find insights borne out of personal experiences fascinating. One part struck me though - where you talk about how you became an optimistic person. Before, I wouldn't have considered it possible for someone to make such profound changes in one's outlook by just finding one positive aspect of a given situation. So, I was wondering, if you think it's possible to boost self-confidence/decrease self-doubt by following a similar strategy? Thanks!
I find that the process is easier to look at objectively because it's a process (something else), but the outcome can easily be confused with your identity. Like the difference between saying I'm fat and my health process is wrong. That's why for me process thinking is better. I can map out my workout routine for the next six months and make adjustments along the way. The outcome of the workout is like a flash in the pan that is harder to grasp. It happens for a split second right after the last workout of the six month routine.
I wish I was more like you, thinking of doing something and then actually going out and doing it.
Usually I just think of stuff I want to build, apps, websites etc and then I'm like "wow that would be helpful" and I know I have to get started on it, but then weeks later I'm still thinking "I should get started on it". And then the cycle repeats itself.
There's still 180 days in this year, I wonder if I'll have changed my dumb behaviour and take action, or if i'll just have wasted another year accomplishing nothing (except going to work)
Apparantly there are also 18989 days left until I'm 80 years old, I don't want to wake up one day, realize those days are behind me and I didn't create the things I wanted to create. But knowing my track record...
Too bad we're not friends IRL, maybe your work ethic would've rubbed off on me.
Anyway, Tynan, I like you.
Great article! Quite a different way to look at things than most, but also probably much more effective in the long run.
I wonder if you developed this kind of mentality from poker. Work on your strategy, calculate all risks, etc. all you want, but you won't be able to win every single game, and that's okay, as long as you're winning in the long run.
Great article. Something I remind myself constantly when studying and related exam results. Even lately when I felt embarrassed in my personal life , I remind myself it's a process, and when I ask people questions, they don't always agree or say yes. Some days they don't, some days they do. How can I improve the process? How can I improve my odds? Letting go of the rest; what I can't control.
Ok folks... I'm gonna break it down for you Dr. Phil style today, and talk about happiness.
Now, first of all - I don't see why happiness is always priority number one. "Do whatever makes you happy", they say. "Yeah, but is she HAPPY?". Who says this is the holy grail? Personally, I think giving Tynan presents should be the end goal. "Do whatever makes Tynan get more presents" and "Yeah, but is she giving Tynan presents?" both sound pretty sweet to me.
But we live in a world where happiness is number one. They don't ask if happiness makes you money, but if money makes you happy. So, let's get happy.
One of my first few experiences that made me rethink the materialistic way of life was buying something and thinking that it would make me most happy (and keep me most happy) and finding out that was hardly the case.
I have been fortunate to have always got what I have asked for. Be it technology, or food, or a roof over my head, or books, or the company of beautiful people, or vehicles, I have been fortunate. I am grateful to the Whatever it is that gives me what I want. I have been able to manifest whatever my heart has desired, but "true" and "everlasting" happiness seems to be alluding. And I wonder if I'm the only one.
I'm sure there are many, many other who have written on this topic, and this blog is yet another one. But what is it that brings us true happiness, with which we can negate the appeal of materialism? Is materialism bad? Should it be avoided? One thing this has taught me, is that happiness does not, and cannot lie in the world outside.
Our society has become more and more consumerist, and more and more materialist, but are we happy? Has your level of happiness increased? Are you more happy today that you were a decade ago? If yes, then that's great! But if not, then you and I must be doing something wrong, no?