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What Am I Doing That's Hard?

It's funny, this natural inclination we have for things to be easy. Everyone wants to work really hard, not for its own sake, but only so that they can stop working hard and go live on a beach. They're willing to suffer through the ordeal of dating to find that perfect soulmate so that they can coast for the rest of their lives. I used to think like this, too, but over time have developed a new way of looking at things. Now I want to do hard things only so that I can do even harder things later. I don't want it easy.

At least once a day I marvel at how I got to be alive. I look at the dashboard of my motorcycle and the stripes lining the road, and I think, "how totally insane is it that I get to see these things right now, that I get to be on a motorcycle and operate it and live in a place where someone has striped the road for my safety?" Seriously, tiny little things like that are huge. It is ridiculous that I'm alive and that life is as incredible as it is. I mean, we could all be amoebas. There's more of them than there are of us.

Investing Time vs. Spending Time

If I ask you how you spend your money, that's a very different question than if I ask how you invest your money. Your goals for spending and investing are different, and as a result your actions for each are different. So isn't it strange that we talk about how we spend time, but we never talk about how we invest time?

The interesting thing about investing time is that the distribution is much more uniform versus monetary wealth. Most people probably sleep for around 6-8 hours and work for around 8 hours, giving them another 8-10 hours to either invest or spend. Finances range much more wildly. Some people have negative net worths, so they can't even begin to think about investing, whereas others have billions of dollars. That spread means that ideal financial investment strategies will range wildly. Because we have such similar amounts of time, though, maybe there are some general principles that will be almost universally applicable.

Before we get into those strategies, though, let's talk about what investing time means. I'd define it as devoting time to an activity whose primary benefit won't immediately be realized. School is one example-- you can have a lot of fun in school and benefit immediately from it, but you're really going because you believe that it will pay off when you graduate. I'd say that school is sort of like investing in real estate. You can always use it for something, it's historically been a good investment, but it's a lot of leverae in one big investment, and recently hasn't performed as well.

Spending time with people and building relationships is an investment, not because that process isn't fun, but because the benefits of having strong long term friends are even greater than the immediate pleasure of hanging out with them. This could be analogized to investing in art-- you get to admire it every day, but the value of it increases over time as well.

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