Covid-19: My eye-opener
At the outset of this pandemic I didn’t think there was anything good about this novel coronavirus — you know…, it shuts down business, it kills people, it locks you down indoors, it ruins all sort of plans, it creates fear, uncertainty and it builds an anxious “only cross if” boundary around us. It is terrifying.
But that was the impression I had 4 weeks ago, today, as Trump puts it — I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or using my own words — I am starting to see the positive side of this new situation, and I am learning to materialise it into growth.
When I say *growth* here, I don’t mean it in terms of positive investment returns (I am doomed for that for a while I believe!).
So…, then what?
Yes, I am afraid this is going to be another one of those weird personal development posts that I love writing so much (but most people find boring, sniff, sniff).
As a mechanical engineer, there is a sentence that jumps out of my pond of thoughts occasionally.
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another”Einstein
I don’t know if that’s going to sound crazy to you, but I believe that emotions are fuelled by a state of energy that can be either positive or negative. Many people have great skills at seeing this and can transform the energy from one form to another, others, unfortunately, don’t do it easily.
So next, I will describe what positive things I am taking away from Covid-19 so far, and who knows…, maybe it can be useful to you too?
Covid-19: My eye opener
Albeit I haven’t been furloughed, I enjoy having more free time these days. When I am not sharing it with my lovely “churry”, I spend it relaxing and reflecting, and it is especially during these relaxation periods that I improve the chances of learning something new, have new ideas, get some inspiration, or just clear my mind.
So, despite being in the middle of this passage of strangeness, broadly known as lockdown, I am having the most productive days ever. Many say that they work longer hours when working from home, I say I work the same and get more stuff done (yes, being DINK helps but that’s not all).
This occurrence combined with increased relaxation time and the book Principles from Ray Dalio has built the right glasses type to suit my eyes, a perfectly shaped tool that allows me to reflect on myself with a clear vision, as I could truly understand…
…Who I am: An INTP
If you want to find out what you want, you need to understand who you are first. That makes total sense, doesn’t it? But how do you find out who you really are?
That was the precise moment I began digging about myself (while reading Principles):
This image makes me ponder.— Tony @ OneMillionJourney.com (@JourneyMillion) April 18, 2020
5 years ago, when living in Spain, I was definitely a right brained person.
But, over the last few years I am shifting towards the left.
Can a new language, a new culture and the form of new habits change one’s own brain “configuration”?
Seems so. pic.twitter.com/JRvbaZgRem
If you want to get to know yourself, the option that Ray mentions is by using the Myers-Briggs assessment, so you can learn what your personality type is. I know it may sound like a freaky psychology thing to do, but I did find it useful, and I would recommend it to anyone who is up to do the test with real honesty. Apparently, Ray used this and other assessments with all his employees at Bridgwater Associates, the world’s largest and most successful hedge fund.
So, the result was that I am an INTP: The thinker (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving).
According to verywellmind:
“People who score as INTP are often described as quiet and analytical. They enjoy spending time alone, thinking about how things work and coming up with solutions to problems. INTPs have a rich inner world and would rather focus their attention on their internal thoughts rather than the external world. They typically do not have a wide social circle, but they do tend to be close to a select group of people.”
These lines define me well and define well why I am “enjoying” this lockdown, despite the dismantling big picture laying on the background. I knew I was an introvert, but that much?!
It certainly seems so, as although I do miss some things from the pre-lockdown life, my main needs are fulfilled, and I do not feel an extreme necessity of needing or having anything else so far.
This has been such a revelation to me, but I am still nowhere near the end.
During the lockdown, I’ve also come to realise that I was not spending my energy on the best possible way, and I’ve become aware that the older I become, the quicker energy fades away, making it a more valuable commodity over time.
That leads me to the next point…
Simplicity is key
KISS is an acronym widely used by the FIRE community that stands for “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it stupid simple”. The simpler the things you want to control or do, the more of them you’ll be able to keep an eye on. Albeit my eagerness for learning subjects as the world economy or investing remains, it has taken too much of my energy and added too many painful headaches with empty outcomes.
The last thing I wanted to bother during this pandemic is about my P2P investments, as I think I have enough dealing with the virus that affects us all.
Lifestyle should walk by holding hands with simplicity, but here on the blog, I will pay my attention to simplifying my investments while enjoying the learning experience.
Simplifying the path does not mean I will get rid of my beloved dividend portfolio, as I have a strong attachment to it. (and yeah, it also adds fun!)
Going ahead, we’ve also made our ideas clear on…
Where you live, matters!
How much we should borrow and pay for our homes it is a never ending hot topic for discussion in the financial independence community.
Overpaying money for a house that we can barely afford puts us into the “high social status, rat race endless circle”, and as I wrote on The Millionaire Next Door Book summary, we absolutely don’t want to do that if aiming to accumulate wealth.
But me, being such an introvert person, and living with another super introvert one, we both love spending time at home, and it does make such a difference in terms of how much it contributes to our happiness.
It is not the same to go through a lockdown in a tiny flat in central London than by somewhere nearby this:
Purchasing (or not) a home and how big our mortgages are according to our household income is such an important life decision. It’s important to know what our preferences are, and we are happy we discovered ours.
We wouldn’t mind keeping on renting for the long haul if that translates into having a happier life. Whether that means I will need more years to get to the million I don’t know, but the key point is:
If you don’t enjoy the journey, you won’t possibly get anywhere, anyway.
Ok, let’s keep on moving, now getting closer to the end. The keyword *enjoy* triggers my next action, to start building a…
F-you! money fund
I think most people know what f-you! money is, but just in case you are wondering what the heck it may be, then here is the definition by urbandictionary.com:
“The exact amount of money required in order to tell an individual or organization to go fuck themselves without facing repercussions.”
I embrace the idea of working from home, even after the lockdown. While I can’t say I would be ok with working from home only, the option of working remotely would add freedom to my lifestyle. Working remotely would mean I can visit my mum, sort out paperwork or do any other tasks in Spain, without the need for using any of my holiday entitlement.
Furthermore, it may sound funny, but I fear life after the lockdown. I would not be surprised if I become depressed once I must sit my ass in the same office surrounded by the same people every single day again.
If that happens, then I need to make sure that I will be ready to say F-you! to my boss and start new adventures.
Last, but not least
I could not be dealing so well with covid-19 if it weren’t for my lovely girlfriend. We obviously spend more time together than ever, and while it seems like some relationships are breaking apart, I can just see ours strengthening more than ever. She is the core reason why I am standing up firmly, and the perfect partner to build an empire* with, through a journey of growth and happiness.
Also, a big shout out to Mrs SavingNinja whose Covid-19 thought experiment has contributed as an inspiration to write this entry. I am not convinced if my post can be taken as Ninja thought experiment (I will leave it up to him/her). However, I am more than happy to share other folks’ thoughts experiments down below as I found them all good reads: