Butterfly Effect

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Life is unpredictable with its own rhythm and logic. Which is why the self-help genre is inevitably so disappointing.

Self-help strategies seem to assume that life is shaped by the conscious mind. In my experience, it largely isn’t. Instead, life rolls along chaotically, each seemingly unrelated event shaping the next.  Each subsequent human move percolating in the subconscious.

A recent example in my life of such a random chain reaction was my own entry into the miles game.

It began with disappointment. Paying nearly 8000 bucks to fly my family on coach to Japan seemed like an inordinate waste of money.

From this frustration, sprang a desperate attempt to find an alternate path forward.

A couple of hours of googling completed, I jumped headlong into The Miles Game. And six credit cards applications later I was hooked.

But that was not the end of the story.

Coming up with a system to keep track of my credit cards, prompted me to teach myself new organizational skills.

Keeping track of it all was all part of the game and so it was enjoyable.

Because of this positive feedback loop I effortlessly became more organized and value oriented.

And seeing the power of an organized system of spending, accounting, and deal seeking, I became pretty obsessed with the idea of saving money.

Which prompted me to inspect the role of money in my own life. Which pushed me down the path of researching personal finance and economics.

Which clued me in to a surprisingly simple calculation that revolutionized my attitude towards personal spending and saving.

From there it was a quick sip from the firehose of investment knowledge, and a surprisingly effortless reorganization of my own saving and spending habits.

And here I stand before you today much happier, marginally richer, and ever more engaged in my own life.

Actually I’m not standing at all. I’m lying on my couch with my cat Jupie next to me. And I’m dictating this blog post into my iPhone.

Which gets to the central point of this whole entry, and maybe even this whole blog.

When you’re enthused about a philosophy that’s had a positive effect on your own life, it’s hard not to get all evangelistic about it.

But the whole starting point of this post is that self-help doesn’t really work.  We just aren’t wired that way.

So am I just chasing my tail here?

I don’t think so.

My hope is that some aspect of this blog will affect you, my reader, at a vulnerable moment.

Perhaps you’ll be frustrated about a trip that you feel you cannot afford to take.

Or maybe you’ll feel that you’re stuck on a hamster wheel of endless employment and spending that won’t let you off until you’re old and decrepit.

Or maybe you’ll just be wondering if there’s a better way to invest your retirement money.

At that point I hope some earnestly written post in this blog can catch you off guard and set off a neural sequence in your grey (or white) matter which sends you rolling down an unpredictable path toward self-discovery,  value, and happiness.

May your path take unexpected turns.

I can’t help but be hopeful…

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