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80/20, Essentialism, Basics, Fundamentals, Principles

Originally, this article was supposed to be on Essentialism, which is a word that was in my mind for the last couple of weeks; as I kept thinking that in business, life, relationships, everything, should focus on the essentials rather than pursuing the fringe and shiny stuff.

But it's truly a combination of a few approaches, including the 80/20 rule, foundational/fundamental thinking, principle based living, focusing on basics.

I ended with an improvised Essentialism, which is truly in my opinion:

focus on the 80/20 rule, which means focusing on the 20% of activities that generates 80% of your ideal outcome, do this extremely well. Being aware that it “generates only 80%” also show you to not expect a 100% perfect outcome, because there isn't any.

And to me, this spills over to all aspects of my life, including:

Health

Waking up early everyday at 4.40 AM, daily exercise and praying/meditation and reading the word. This improves my physical health of my organs and physical/physiological system, as well as improve my mental/spiritual clarity and my relationship with Jesus Christ, and this is the anchor and beginning of my day, everyday, including Sundays and publich holidays.

We drink water/beverage that contains water every day. We eat food cooked with water everyday. Hence it makes sense to get a very good and affordable water filter to filter out the bad stuff in our water. Read my review here.

Basic but good health supplements. Ignoring the popular-in-the-media ones such as fat burners etc, focusing on two basic foundational supplements: high quality organic and pure multi-vitamin as well as the one that improves gut health. Any other supplement is a bonus or specific for treatments (please choose very carefully which health supplement company you buy from, too many unscrupulous ones out there. Avoid the MLM ones always: compensation plan jacks up price unfairly as less research base, more hype based unfortunately)

I avoid processed foods as much as I can, and eat whole foods as much as I can, trying to avoid grains etc.

Business

This is basically revolving around business decision making and leadership. I take an easier and simpler approach, of focusing on making simpler, smaller and more sustainable 80/20 decisions. Of course, has to be legal, ethical and moral too.

This is clearly demonstrated in a few events where my brick and mortar business which has been acquired, was going through the usual downtime cycle (in Asia/Singapore, there are a few down times where there is less patients: Chinese New Year, school holidays, ghost month and Christmas), so it's not a new event to me but the company that acquired me got jittery because

they needed to show and tell the shareholders what we're doing during the downtime to boost up stuff

I told them that there is no need for that, because it's cyclical, but…to the professional managers, that fell on deaf ears.

So we went through having to try different advertising approaches, spending money etc and yet, there is barely a +5% difference. I explained that I have a more “orchestral maestro” approach, and by end of the year, after putting things in place, our business went up.

Without a sweat.

And what I do IS NEVER discussed, because what I do is boring and unsexy. But it fucking works.

Investing

Again, I do not look for sexy investment projects. I do not look for the next possible Google or Instagram or Facebook.

Nope, not important to me.

What I do is to look for companies that has been consistently and reliably paying out dividends of at least 5% or more over the last 10-15 years, which tells me how sustainable they are, how defensive their business is over the cycles and how they take care of their investors.

And I invest with them, and reinvest the dividends.

I don't have to keep worrying about their share price or if they have some scandals or something.

No need. I rather spend my time pursuing stuff that matters and need my active attention.

Like my children and family. My businesses. My friends.

Passive And Recurring Income

And in the same token, Essentialism is also what that led me to conclude that building and acquiring assets the provide me with recurring passive income over time makes much more sense than participating in activities that provide once-off active income.

This is the reason why I am building online businesses and investing in dividend stocks.

It's so much more financially sensible to do so, where I reap multiple streams of passive recurring income with typical projects that are short term in nature.

Thoughts

I sum down my Essentialism philosophy to a statement I said above:

And what I do IS NEVER discussed, because what I do is boring and unsexy. But it fucking works.

I prefer to do it the boring and unsexy way, but it's effective and efficient, cutting out unnecessary movements that waste energy and resources.

It's like being a boxer, and just focusing my energy on roadwork, throwing the basic lefts and the basic one-two punch. Nothing big like Dempsey roll or crazy Haymakers, just the basics.

So I'd go: roadwork, lefts, one-twos. And again. And again. And again.

And that's how my life goes:

  • Wake up early in the morning. Pray, meditate, read the bible.
  • Then I go for a run and come back and do body-weight exercises.
  • Breakfast.
  • Shower and clean up.
  • Work on the daily businesses, focusing on problem solving, research and development and making decisions or delegating work, and cutting out unnecessary clutter/processes
  • Family time + dinner
  • Sleep

That's it.

I've many people looking at me in disbelief when I tell them my schedule, and they think that I've all the time in the world and probably taking off as and when I want to, eating at posh restaurants and partying everyday.

Wrong.

I more or less have the same routine everyday. I eat eggs every day for breakfast, and lunch is usually a simple sandwich, and dinner simple. Usually at home. I'm just doing what I usually do in my routine.

To me, my current lifestyle and approach in Essentialism living is very meaningful, because firstly, I spend my limited time on earth doing things that are important, which includes time with praying and reading the bible, with family, business, investments and health; and secondly, there is less/limited time wasted.

And that to me, is wonderful.

Anyone or anything that say otherwise, I'd just say “good for you, and more power to you”, and I am very clear on the way I want to live my life moving forward. I don't agree with how some companies work their people to the ground and doing stuff that will make people be unable to sleep well at night – I can't stand such people and approaches to life.

I hate getting myself or anyone who works with me to work 90% effort to get 90% results when one can work 20% of what important and get 80% results. It makes sense to then focus on 20% of what's important, AND still do another 2-3 projects well.