Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tool for Titans #37 : Put the Big Stones into the Jar First

This section is on the father of Progressive House Music DJ Kaskade who was nominated for the Grammys five times. After reading this short section twice, I have no idea why this is in the wealth section.

Anyway, I'm just going to talk about that famous metaphor where the professor asks the university students to put rocks of different sizes into a jar. If you put the smallest rocks into the jar first, there would be insufficient space to put the large rocks later. Instead, the optimal approach to maximise the use of the jar would be to put the largest rocks into the jar first before the smaller rocks. This maximises the use of the jar and you can even put some sand into jar later on.

While this is a good metaphor to advise people to make room for their biggest priorities, the folks in their 20s will not even know the size of the rocks before they start prioritising which rocks to put into the jar first.

Are are limits to how far a good metaphor can go in assisting us in life decisions.

I just had a meet-up with my buddies and just now we suddenly had this really candid conversation about what my buddies had originally planned to do about setting up a family when they were much younger.

The story began when we gossiped about a friend who supposed had his life planned out after junior college, he was supposed to have a stable job with the uniformed services and would be happily married in his early 20s. Life did not turn out his way because he had some pretty bad patches in his relationships and now completely turned off on the idea of marriage.

Then some other friend shared about his own initial goal of marrying young because he thought his life would be modelled after his dad. For other various reasons, he too, remains single today.

I am currently the only married guy in my usual group. When I was in university, marriage was the last thing on my mind (although I was a horny desperado in the later stages of University life which led to many misadventures and some  encounters which I may probably write about one day on this blog).

Furthermore, my dad married late for men in his generation, so I was fighting hard to marry later than he did ( which I did ), instinctively I wanted financial freedom as a single man before I took the plunge.

As an engineer in my 20s, I had no Culture in my life. I had no Art. A few years down the road, I would have a HP12C calculator. ( I soon learnt that if you have a HP12C and master reverse polish notation, you neither need Art nor Culture in Singapore. )

My obsession was money, playing Dungeons and Dragons and building a solid career.

After reading Robert Kiyosaki, I figured out that as a male without economic resources in my 20s, I basically had a Lan4 Ming4 Yi4 Tiao2 - A worthless life which I can throw into my career.

How did the family rock appear in my jar when I did not prioritise this early in my life ? Why do I even have kids today ?

Why do some couples pay me to listen to my advise on relationship and personal finance today ?

( Maybe they just want to listen to Thomas or Lionel. )

But the moral of story is that metaphors are great.

But having an Intention does not equate to an outcome.

Your large rocks can mutate into small rocks when your personal circumstances change.

And sometimes your jar just breaks and you need to get a new one to move on with life.

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