July 1st – July 15th, 2019


Mentioned before how you get used to living with all kinds of bugs and lizards in Bali, hard to keep them out. Up before sunrise this morning, turned on the light in the kitchen, and got hit with a massive swarm of termites. Our house geckos were loving it. Me, not so much.


Putting together my finance report for June. I earned just over a grand, but spent 3x that. It was my lowest earning month in 3.5 years. I knew I’d have a few such months this year with the transition and all, but it gets me a bit anxious nonetheless. Will try use it as motivation to keep pushing.


Chet Holmes used to tell the audience at the beginning of his seminars:

“You’re going to understand all the principles I share with you here today, as there’s nothing but logical information here. You’re going to agree with them. You’re going to know that I am right and that these principles will work in your business…. And then you will still not do them.”

The most important thing, he’d go on to tell everyone, is not the principles themselves, but a “pigheaded discipline and determination” in applying them.


Holmes’ book has inspired me to step up my productivity game. I’m now listing out my most important tasks for each day, and estimating how much time each will take. Estimated four hours today to run through a certain batch of tasks. Almost six hours deep and I’m still not finished. Oops.


Things I saw today riding 2+ hours on a scooter along busy roads in Bali:

  • A completely naked 5-year-old on the back of another scooter.
  • A one-street town where everyone apparently makes statues for a living.
  • A mall with a rollercoaster coming out the roof.
  • A horse and cart.
  • One fender bender.
  • Constant disregard for red lights.
  • A herd of cows.


Bali reminds me a bit of India. Travelers come back all starry-eyed from both places, talking about the food and the beauty and it’s oh-so-spiritual! Sure, there’s that, but there’s also mad pollution, crazy roads, and enough poverty to make you feel like a heartless asshole sitting there with your fancy latte and your MacBook Pro.


We’re at this plush club hanging off a cliff, all open air. There are infinity pools and private beds and small bottles of water that’ll cost you $5 a pop. The DJ is a dude from San Francisco with a quirky mustache. He plays us nicely into the night, beneath clear stars and a yellow-bellied moon.


I love the idea of self-driving cars. They’d eliminate parking problems and free up tons of space in cities. Less accidents, more leisure time, just all around better for everyone. But spend an hour driving in Bali and it’s hard to imagine an AI smart enough to handle the swarms of scooters buzzing everywhere.


On a call with an old friend. He’s starting a coaching biz, wanted to hear my experience investing $17,000 in coaching last year. Did I get my money’s worth? I still don’t know. I’d consider hiring a coach again some time, but no way would I spend such a big % of my savings on it. 


Training a new assistant, she’ll be helping me out with case studies, aiming to publish one per week before too long. Creating SOPs to go with the training, which makes it clear how messy much of my business is. Hard to build an effective team when you haven’t got your shop in order.


Erich Remarque was a German novelist who fought until wounded in WWI. He became famous in 1929 with the publication of All Quiet On The Western Front, a novel the Nazis later declared unpatriotic. They burned the book, revoked his citizenship, and beheaded his sister. In 1936, Remarque wrote:

“To forget is the secret of eternal youth. One grows old only through memory. There’s much too little forgetting.”


Sad day. Heard that Brendan Grace passed. Saw the old woman who lives next door, sitting on the step with tears in her eyes. Found a little crippled bird on the balcony. Passed a mother breastfeeding on the street as she begged for change. Listened to a man on YouTube who still thinks the earth is flat.


Problems with my newsletter recently, have more than a 0.5% complaint rate, which gets me flagged by my mailing list provider. Saw one subscriber mark me as spam today. They’ve been on my list since 2011. We’ve exchanged niceties. Messaged them asking for feedback, see if I can figure out what’s going on.


Twice now I’ve seen cops in Ubud leaving the air out of the tyres of illegally parked cars. Maybe they don’t have a ticketing system, so that’s the best they can do. I remember in Kathmandu they would punish jaywalkers at a busy intersection by making them stand on a traffic island for a stretch.


Been reading a book a week for several years now. Thinking I should slow down. Too focused on keeping the pace, rather than truly absorbing and enjoying. At the point with business books where I’d probably be better off reading 3-5 classics over and over again rather than constantly consuming the new.

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  1. 3) Do you think a “pigheaded discipline and determination” in applying things can be taught?

    Or is it something we’re born with/develop over time when we’re young? Then you either have it or you don’t?

    1. Hey Joe,

      I don’t think it can be taught, exactly, but I do think it can be practiced.

      I say this because I wasn’t very proactive myself as a teenager. I used to spend a lot of time watching TV and playing video games. I don’t think anyone would have accused me of having a high level of discipline or determination.

      But I’ve practiced those things over the years, and I’ve gotten better at them.

      It probably helps too if you can surround yourself with other proactive/disciplined/determined people. It rubs off.

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