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How to Be Semi Retired: Step Three: The Five People

Posted by kdadmin on August 8th, 2015.

How to Be Semi Retired: Step Three: The Five People

According to Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.”

In order to Be Semi-Retired, it’s imperative that you learn to cull the herd. Recently a new friend asked me who my five people were, given that I’m so often on the road. Upon reflection, I realized that I’ve spent years, not only culling my herd, but also limiting my exposure to wankers. Here’s how …

First, I got rid of mainstream media. I’m sorry, but I don’t care about whose dog ate whose cat in a terrible case of species on species homicide. This goes back to Stephen R Covey’s Circle of Influence vs Circle of Concern in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Look it up. Taking this step to cut the crap out of my life, gave me more mental clarity, more peace. I was able to enjoy myself more. In other words, my first person was me.

Second, I had to find myself a wife whose intellect I admired. Look at that photo above. It’s on a beach in Cavaliere, France. No matter where we are in the world, if there is a beach nearby, my wife run to it, stand right on the water’s edge, let the surf flow over her toes and simply marvel at the marine ecosystem. She can spend hours engrossed in the awesomeness of nature, then go home and look up everything she didn’t know, wondered about, or wanted to use as a way to deepen her trainee’s experience of the AMI Montessori Method. How could I not admire a woman like that?

Third, I needed a complimentary business colleague. Enter Terry. She is easily one of the most talented and level headed people with whom I’ve had the privilege of working. If you know her, enough said. If not, just call my office for a sampling …

So that’s three. Next, is my lead counsel, Steve. He is one of those few attorneys who will speak to his expertise, delegate to the gifts of others, and tell me exactly what he thinks, no holds barred. He’s extremely useful. And, mostly tolerable over dinner, so that’s a plus. Being a published author also helps.

That only left one person. Which, as it turns out, is an amalgamation of the best philosophical, strategic, and business writers I’ve encountered. From Sartre to Nietzsche to SunTzu to Whitman to Machiavelli to Stephen R. Coveyto Michael Hyatt, and many in between. I love to stuff my head full of this sort of focused brilliance, in an effort to glean and integrate the relevant kernels of insight into my daily life.

I used to spend time with less useful people. People who complained about everything but who would never actually DO anything about their “plight” in life. Boo hoo. Life is what you make it. I don’t have time for whiners. Worse, were those people who KNEW that what they were doing wouldn’t lead them to their goals, but mustered all their immaturity and did it anyway. They basically guaranteed personal failure.

Yes, it’s tough to cull the herd. To look through your list of common associates and rationally decide which ones are great for you and which ones suck the life out of you. But it’s imperative that you do it. Follow these steps:

  1. Make a list. Great people in one column, jerks in the other. Be brutally honest.
    1. Great people are those people that always seem to bring new energy, ideas, enthusiasm, honesty and love to your relationship. People whom you respect, look forward to seeing no matter the time or mood, and whom are genuinely dedicated to your happiness even if it inconveniences them.
    2. Jerks arethose people whom constantly bring excuses, whining, despondency, crisis, or manipulation to your time together. Those that, if it was convenient, would triangulate, use, shame, lie to, or betray you.
  2. Estimate the amount of time you spend with each person on each list in an average month. Use hours or days, whatever works, just be consistent.
  3. Add up the time for each list. Divide by the total. Write it down at the top of each list.

Your goal is to spend 100% of your time with great people and 0% of your time with jerks. I’m not kidding. It’s really this simple. Do not suffer fools. Any amount of time spent with jerks will directly inhibit your ability to be successful. I can’t stress this enough. Use this list to prioritize your life in a way that maximizes your exposure to greatness.

Now, remember what I asked you to do at the end of How to Be Semi-Retired: Step Two? If not, click here. With that information in hand, consider which five people, from your list of great people above, you would most want / expect / hope to have join you in your quest to live the life you love. Try to imagine how, exactly, each of them would fit into it. If you don’t have five, brainstorm about where you could get the remainder. Then take the first steps to flesh out your list. If you have them, take a step to deepen the relationship with each one.

How about a live example? Take this blog. Every once in a while, someone gives me flack for being too philosophical. They think that I should just write about the boring technical details of the market. While I love these details, it won’t actually get you were you want to go. Luckily, I’ve already culled my blog herd. I’ve asked specific people, on a rotating basis, to give me their direct feedback about the direction and content of my blog. I trust their opinions. They are on the great list. With every post, I get direct feedback about what works, what doesn’t, or which direction I should try next. It’s supremely valuable, and helps make this a better resource for everyone. Which, after all, is my goal.

So, instead of blathering on about Macaulay Duration in the bond market, while you your eyes glaze over, I can actually take the time to really help you. Toget away from the jerks, to surround yourself with great people, to figure out what you want, AND how to get there. From this platform, you are going to be far more confident and receptive to the constructive guidance I can give you in the next segment, How to Semi-Retire: Step Four: Pen to Paper.


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