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Building Gratitude

I have worn the same silicone bracelet on my left wrist every day for the past 7 years (had to confirm a 2012 order date in Gmail). A simple white one that says:

#GratefulDaily

It was - and still occasionally is - a reminder to express gratitude every day. 

And it worked - for a while. But now, even though I still see it (and still fidget with it) daily, it's lost some of it's magic. 

But around that same time in 2012 I tried an experiment. When I was feeling low, I'd call, email, text, write a card, or some other way contact a friend, colleague, client, or family member and just say Thanks For Being In My Life. And usually highlight something I appreciated about them.

And you know what? Immediately I would feel better. Like clockwork. It's strange how it works, but by the minimal energy spent blessing someone else, I would be refreshed. Every. time. 

And this - contrasted to the bracelet - still works today. Just this week I was feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. So I took a few minutes and fired off some gratitude love notes. 

I've got a quick favor to ask: do this. Right now. Send a gratitude message to someone in your life. 

And even though it's not the intention, see what it does for you. 

Then let me know.
Additional Resources

1. Dimensional Perspectives - IPOs: Profiles Are High. What About Returns?
Some big name companies have had Initial Public Offerings (private companies that are taken to the public markets to be owned by anyone) this year. Some have done really well - some have, well ... not done well. But everytime it triggers interest to find and buy the next Amazon or Google or Microsoft. (Confession: I spent an embarrassing amount of time backdating a theory of buying every single IPO on it's first day and selling within 30 days. Short term tax ramifications aside, it still didn't work well.) This article by Dimensional does a great job doing a much more thorough job than I did, and viewed this over multiple year variations, but arrived at the same conclusion: IPO's are really exciting, but don't typically generate good returns. Their conclusions say that this poor performance is because of insider lockup periods, generally lower profitability, and high investment companies. 

2. Robert Wuebker (Medium) - La Tête et les Jambes
This is hard to summarize or cherry-pick favorite quotes, but a mentor passed this onto me and it'll be another article I bookmark and come back to. It's a phenomenal reminder that for a lot of things in life, harder is better than easier. Crazy thought, right? In fact he goes further, saying that certain life "hacks" that make things easier actually are harmful to us. And this line really stuck with me: "Even if it turns out that, for whatever reason, doing good work does not win it does not matter... doing the work itself is its own reward... Success, if and when it occurs, becomes icing." #dothework

3. The Evidence Based Investor - Passively Managed Structured Portfolios

(Disclaimers: #1 I use Dimensional Funds in my personal accounts and in client portfolios; #2 This isn't light reading). Once an investor arrives at their asset allocation, the next step is picking out the actual investments that will implement it. Which cues the age-old question of active vs passive investment strategies. A quick primer: active management means a fund manager or a management team is proactively selecting companies that they think will do better than others, while passive is generally owning every company in an entire segment of the investing universe. This article argues for the approach that Dimensional Fund Advisors uses - something titled passively managed structured portfolios. This attempts to blend the positives of both active and passive while trimming the negatives (oversimplification, but a general summary). 
If you take me up on my challenge - could you shoot me a quick email and let me know? Bonus points for saying who you sent it to and why you appreciate them. Gratitude is contagious. 

Gratefully,
Jeremy
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