Why Waking Up Early Leads to More Productivity

Most of us are aware of Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying that early to bed and rise is the condition precedent to both health and wealth. What is less an element of the public consciousness is Franklin’s passage from “A Way to Wealth” that precedes it:

“But if you do love life, then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of, as Poor Richard says….If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest prodigality, since, as he elsewhere tells us, lost time is never found again, and what we call time-enough, always proves little enough: let us then be up and be doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy, as Poor Richard says; and he that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night. And early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” (emphasis added).

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How To Improve Your Work Ethic

Samuel Johnson once said that courage is the most necessary of virtues, as without courage, it would be impossible to exercise any of the other virtues. In terms of leading a life of accomplishment, having a strong work ethic is the most necessary of prerequisites, as without a strong work ethic, it would be impossible to realize any ambition that involves production.

The difficult fact is that a work ethic does not automatically compound. With investing, there is a passive element to it. If you own 100 shares of Coca-Cola, you can do absolutely nothing, and as long as those shares remain in the name of yourself or something you own, you’re going to receive that $156 in dividend income without any further action required on your part.

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The Well-Done Steak Problem

Most chefs learn pretty quickly that the customer’s idea of what tastes best is different their idea of what makes a good meal. More than any other food item, chefs are astonished by the amount of restaurant patrons that request that their steak be cooked well-done (i.e. steak cooked at over 160 degrees Fahrenheit with no pink on the inside, containing effectively no juiciness).

Given the flavorings and taste that is lost while cooking a well-done steak, many chefs will think back upon their culinary school experience and try to channel the inner wisdom of the Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke, who once said: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life

The psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has an enjoyable writing style that weaves scientific data with allegories and anecdotes, wrote a book titled the Twelve Rules for Life. There are two arguments that he makes that I find particularly enjoyable.

The first is the “lobster stuff”, which the media has teased him about, but makes a fair point about the importance of posture and how our physical presentation transmits all of this data to other people that we may not even realize that we are doing and can often have even more influence than the words that come out of mouths.

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Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who Wasn’t

In 1960, Chuck Feeney and a business partner set up duty-free shops in airports to sell alcohol, cigarettes, and handbags produced in Japan to American travelers. The DFS Group, which was the holding company for Feeney’s business, earned 300% profit margins from the outset and had extremely high retained profits that gave him tens of millions of dollars in annual profits despite having only a few dozen physical locations in the 1960s and 1970s.

Feeney’s life has been marked by incredibly interesting moments, such as early investments in Facebook, Priceline, and Alibaba following the sale of DFS Group to Louis Vuitton in 1996. During the 1990s, he provided approximately $600 million to a constellation of causes, including funding for paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland to embrace electoral politics, the creation of an antiretroviral treatment for AIDS in Southern Africa, and even grants to create a public health system in Vietnam.

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