How to do anything.

December 9th, 2007 by De Onion

Zen thoughts for the day… after Dennis’ excellent series on the numbers behind achievement in the workplace.

From Marty Gaal

My three steps to simplification:
* Make a list of the few things in life that are most important to you.
* Do what’s on the list.
* Do nothing else until your list is complete, or your list changes.

From Gordo Byrn

“Achievement is linked to maximizing our capacity to work, then working.”

Point your goals on the actions required to improve, not the improvement.

…and from my personal notes the Four Steps…

How to do anything:
1. Decide what you want to do.
2. Learn how to do it.
3. Form a plan.
4. Do it.

…and even a Hindu Proverb that holds special meaning in my life…

There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

I think that’s the one single thing a lot of people miss when they look at achievement, race, education, and Bermuda in general. Doing anything is simply a product of preparing yourself to do it and then going out and achieving. We have a huge culture of blaming instead of doing.

The overwhelmingly negative blame and innuendo laden campaign being run by the PLP is an incredible example of what people are driven to do after a decade of failure to follow the Four Steps.


November 28th, 2007 by De Onion

So what’s the government doing here? Let’s see – they’re forcing out the owners of a natural monopoly because they can’t profitably pay a higher price on their lease or agree to the expropriation terms offered by the government. Then it appears that some friends of the PLP leadership will come in and take over the plant in a transaction subsidized by the government.

Given the record of this government on capital purchases, it’s safe to bet that the people of Bermuda are going to get royally screwed on this one. Royally. I’m taking odds on which of Ewart Brown’s golf buddies is behind Island Cement Ltd.

Profit is the same thing as simply not spending money in the first place, so if the government were at all interested in putting money into the pockets of the people of Bermuda then they would stop spending money like crazy! For example, saving $1,000 per year is exactly the same as earning 10% on an asset worth $10,000. So how about just not wasting money like crazy (like the emissions control plant and Faith Based Tourism) and bingo, you’ve done exactly the same thing as buying an asset worth many millions of dollars!

I have no problem with creating a public superannuation fund – ie. public shares in private businesses, but it should be done in a sensible way to actually add value. Since the government appears to be financially clueless, we should not expect them to be capable of doing that.

This whole thing stinks. The justifications are garbage. Even if in principle you think that it’s a good idea to tear down the old landed aristocracy, this is a) not the way to do it, and b) not the family to do it to. The Butterfield family are incredibly charitable, but unlike the current government leaders their motivations are not image or ego, which is why you don’t read on the front of the Royal Gazette about how they were installing water wells in Africa or bringing supplies to poor church groups in the Bahamas.

Anyone who thinks that old money runs this island needs to crack open a copy of The Bermudian from the 1960s or 1970s. How many of those old white businesses still exist?

Quality of life…

October 1st, 2007 by De Onion

What is quality of life?

One place where economics fails quite miserably is in making people happy – bringing joy to our lives. We get to see this perhaps best when we see that in economic growth terms we are hugely wealthier than our grandparents – and yet, are we happier?

So here’s a list I made by writing non-stop for 10 minutes a list of the things that are special about Bermuda that bring joy into my life.

Running on the railway trail.
Non-Mariner’s Race
Seagull racing
Black rum
Reggae music
Swimming in the morning
High finance all day
2 Hours from NYC
Dinner with friends on the water
Windsurfing after work
Drinking rum and playing guitar with friends till 2AM
Night swimming
Cherry Hedges
Walking all the way up and down South Shore
Tree frogs
Live music almost every night in the summer
Soca show
Going on vacation to St. George’s once a summer
Cup match
Good morning
Holding the door
The rude lady in the post office who has been nice to me for the past 12 years
Working with really smart people doing really cool stuff
Watching the sun rise from Heydon Chapel
May 24 – cheering or running
Palmetto silhouettes
Beach BBQs
Funny accents – from all over
Facebook groups about the waitresses at Cafe 10
Kid’s projects at the Ag Show
Planting cedars and watching them grow
Rocks – awe at the ocean at Spittal Pond

That’s 10 minutes – but I got a bit distracted and I’m sure if I did it again then I’d have a whole different set of joys. Nonetheless, I think it carries what’s really important. It’s not this legislation, it’s not winning, it’s not revenge, it’s not what a politician did today, it’s not how much money I have, how old I am, if I’m a mason or a hedge fund manager. The simple truth of it all is that what brings quality of life is to be able to do the things that bring joy – and that’s really what we should be looking at when we chose Bermuda’s direction.

What really matters to us?
What do we want to keep?
What do we want to lose?

Anonymous comments are welcome – I want to know: What brings joy to your life in Bermuda?


August 6th, 2007 by De Onion

In my last post I neglected to include the link to the Bloomberg Savings calculator.

The link is here.

My apologies

Rich. Some questions.

July 26th, 2007 by De Onion

In light of the much appreciated comment by Jstarling on my post about the Premier’s racist proclamation of “Black Entrepreneurship” as the solution to income inequality I’ve decided to write more on this topic, but first some questions:

What is rich?
– High income?
– High cash flow?
– High NAV?
– High control?
– High lifestyle?
– High satisfaction?
Who is rich?
How can one become rich?
– Inherit?
– Save?
– Create?
– Steal?
What things correlate with rich?
What things cause people to become rich?
What’s the difference?
What can we do to ensure that more people can become rich?

What is equal?
What can we do to make things more equal?
What does not work in other countries?
What does work in other countries?

Some things to keep in mind:

A person’s image does not correlate well with their personal financial status. There are lots people worth many millions of dollars who dress poorly and live humbly. There are lots people who dress and act like millionaires who are essentially flat broke.

Also, it may be fun to play with some of the retirement and savings calculators on to get an idea of the power of compound interest (remember that we have no taxes on investments, and there’s no limit to how much each Bermudian can own because we can buy assets in other countries).