Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Success is like a Cafe

So I talk about failure a lot, peeps know I'm obsessed with it. It is my mistress I court at every corner. But what of it's twin sister - Success?

I was sitting in a very nice cafe today, the name of which I don't know and it was so nice I kind of thought it would be a nice life, running a cafe. I don't know shite about coffee it's true, nor could I make good muffins or sandwiches and whatever. But seriously, having your business as a nice relaxing place for people to unwind would provide one with a nice relaxing place to work.

Anyway, I thought 'Success is like a cafe.' And maybe it isn't. I don't know what I'm saying...

Now I remember, success could be like a cafe, but really what I'm talking about is the vague and abstract concept of 'making it' that is the breakthrough. I've been told in any creative pursuit you are a pro when you don't actually have to do anything else to support yourself. That is you are a writer when you tap out a story or article from time to time and don't serve coffee at Starbucks to pay the rent. (it just occured to me that I know a writer literally doing this, fortunately he's probably too busy with starbucks to read my blog). You are a musician when you earn money from blowing on the end of a tuba and not when you give lessons to some fat kid from private school. You are an artist when you go to your studio and paint a rotting fish still life and sell it for your years wages, not when you go to a call center and conduct computer assisted telephone interviews for the collation of statistical data.

Thus the concept of 'making it' through this frontier has tremendous appeal. Anyway I'm going to stop explainanating and just talk about cafe's now.

If you are some kind of creative, you want to be the cool cafe. The hidden secret place to chill out. You just want to be a good cafe, that makes good coffee.

BUT you want people to find out about you and flock to you every lunchtime and pay your mother fucken rent by loading up on lattes. You want to be successful.

You could once successful, buy out your neighbours and put on more staff and service more customers. You could get an electronic cashier, you could have a seperate staff member for ordering and paying and pay somebody else to be your barista and send them to official barista competitions.

Or you could just keep being that cool cafe you always wanted to be. You can't service your demand, but you are doing what you love. You won't get all the customers you can, but you will keep all the customers you can handle. That is, no matter how many people hear about this cool cafe, this great atmosphere, you just keep being what you wanted to be. You get some money, not perhaps as much money as you can wring out of the short term, but you get it and you get to keep the atmosphere, the vibe you wanted to create.

That's mother fucken success. Success is like a cafe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Open For Business*

*I'm not actually open for business. yet.

Before I know it I will have graduated and will be legally able to dispense financial advice. I think as a mature student sitting in the front row because my eyesight has already gone I also think about my future clients a lot more than the green uni students that surround me with no real practical experience in the workforce. I think about my future clients often and I have become increasingly aware that in the future I may have none, none that I can help anyway. Here (hopefully) briefly is why:

#1 I don't think like the majority of clients out there.

In Business Finance (Finance101) the lecturer asked rhetorically why we buy a share, the answer being 'for the entitlement to future dividends' which is fair enough, but in a departure from this (and my usual emphasis on practical outcomes rather than semantics) I am considering one day putting in large lettering on my wall a different answer 'we buy shares because we wish to assume the risks of ownership.'
I don't believe in partitioning the mind, my last post looked at how believers could have minds such that they could design a scientific experiment that earned them an A+ in year 12 physics then go and listen to a priest give very specific explanations of the origin of the universe with no scientific evidence whatsoever.
Thus I don't see why I might go and support a sporting team may or may not win, or see a band that may never get signed or buy a zine of a friend that may never get a publishing deal then buy shares in a company I don't want to succeed.

Put simply, for me the question of ownership begins with whether you want the company to succeed or not. Not what its riskyness and expected returns are. Sure you want the business to be good, but first don't you want it's core value to be something you support. Thus I don't give a shit if a bamboo bicycle manufacturer offers more risk and lower returns than a brown coal exporter. I want brown coal to fail and I want bamboo bicycles to succeed.
From there I'd try and pick the best bamboo bicycle company, the most viable, the one likely to beat out its competition in the long run and so fourth, but that is where I begin my thinking not where I end it.

In this regard I'm much like Ben Graham and Warren Buffett - I think of buying a share in a company the same as owning the whole thing, and treat the investment decision as such.

Most clients though, shares are just numbers, and my lecturers teach me thus to reflect the industry practice. We spend hours talking about Beta's, covariances, variances, standard deviations, CAPM, CLM, RFR, Modern Portfolio Theory and almost exactly 0 time talking about companies. We assume that a clients criteria for investing consists of two variables Risk and Return and they don't give a shit how the optimum is achieved.

I give a shit, I don't care how strong BHP is, I don't want to own a penny of it.

#2 I can only help the rich.

I have friends that have the rich gene, they may not actually be rich but they are candidates to be rich. Why? they are willing to back themselves. They are willing to sink money into an uncertain venture and put up with the consequences if everything goes pear shaped. These are a slim minority of my friends that I try to spend the majority of my time with.

These friends one day I hope will be my clients, and I can help them. Most people I can't help.

Thus when I open my doors for business I imagine many of the people who walk through my doors will hear these sweet words from me 'get the fuck out of my office.'

I sort of don't want to touch superannuation money, even if there's a lot of it out there, and it is tax effective. I don't want it because it's money that has been saved for people, not by people. It's passive money in the possession of passive people.

People who think about their destination and not the road they want to take. People that will come to me with their own answers and just want me to tell them they are right.

People who want to buy property.

See I think my lecturers and the industry have got it all wrong. They invest tremendous amounts of energy into calculating risks and devising 'optimal portfolios' that in practice often underperform the market index (or no effort fund.) It costs people money to underperform the market and it is immensely popular.

But my chief concern is that uncertainty is uncertainty, and certainty is certainty and after the event you can be certain that whatever happened happened. That is the odds that something that did occur occured are 1.

Thus pointing out that something has an expected return of 14% with a standard deviation of 6% is a waste of everybodies time. Whether you get 8% or 20% are the consequences to concern yourself with not the odds of either occuring. Can the client deal with getting 8%?

Rich people can, they will give me money to play with they can afford to lose. They will say things like 'did I beat the market? who cares, I earned enough to buy this big house!' where the morons I will throw out of my office will say things like 'You charge 1% and you only achieved returns of 8% but MLC achieved returns of 12% this financial year so what are we paying you for?' and I will say 'I don't know, take your money and get the fuck out of my office. Keep chasing the annual winner because it won't be MLC next year.'

Actually that would be more than I can hope for, most people lacking the rich gene just listen to whatever moron at their dinner group is proud enough in the good times to advertise how well his investments are doing where he will shut his mouth all the times he has done poorly. Most people are concerned with keeping up with the Jones, independant of what the Jones' can buy or how they got there.

That's all I can think of right now, apart from the thought that is dominating my mind which is: it's lunch time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What is an Athiest?

Athiest is a label thrust upon you for being consistent. Hear me out! There is no real belief system in atheism apart from this: you don't accept an assumption that explains phenomena when the only (unreal) evidence to support the assumption is the existence of the phenomena it attempts to explain.

Confused? You see a puddle of water on a table, basically an athiest can't say 'I assume there was an icecube there but hours ago' because there are other concievable and perhaps more likely explanations for how that puddle came to be. A leak in the ceiling, a spill from a glass of water.
Sure you could run a bunch of tests to shorten the odds, but an athiest can't/won't say 'there must have been an icecube there' because they can't prove it.

An athiest doesn't stress too much about where puddles come from in the same way that generally they won't stress about how gravity works. An athiest doesn't need to understand gravity to live in a world characterised by gravity. Gravity reinforces itself day in and day out and aside from taking up a profession as a physicist, an athiest doesn't feel any particular desire to inject energy into understanding and revearing the mysteries of gravity.

By contrast a deist can look at a puddle and say 'god put it there' and without knowing the slightest thing about gravity can attribute it's mysterious functioning to a design by the 'cosmic architect' or whatever.

That's all an athiest is and isn't they have a consistent mind set where they approach the mysteries of life all the same and assume no knowledge. They can question everything as a result of this non partitioning of their rational process. What's really most amazing is deists that are perfectly capable of studying physics and biology yet have partitioned off a corner of their brains dedicated to religion where they apply the exact opposite rational process of assuming knowledge and rejecting evidence that contradicts it.

But this is important, one of the key differences between athiests and deists is that athiests don't really exist, as I said it's just a label foisted upon you for being consistent, thus there's no real unity or bond of belief that holds together an athiest community and this is just how I like it. Two people that hate eachother may be thrust together by their shared spiritual belief but not so with athiests. To each their own.


No I haven't bought a fixed gear, I'm just thinking that for a while now I've been coasting through life without any brakes. What are the brakes? well remember 'catch me if you can' where Leo Di Caprio meets with his father in a restaurant and begs him to ask him to stop (a life of cheque fraud and running from the law) and his dad just wants him to keep sticking it to the man?

Well I'm doing nothing so dangerous or irresponsible but it occured to me that in the long monotonous process of getting over my ex Misaki has resulted in their being nobody in my life that could ask me to stop what I'm doing.

I mean, I didn't like working at Honda, I did like it, but deep deep down I knew a big part of me was unfulfilled I wasn't charging headlong at the wall of my limitations, I could succeed at Honda and thus had to leave.

But I knew that if Misaki asked (at that time) I would have stopped, settled and accepted a life less ordinary just to be with her. I got enough happiness at the time simply from her that I would trade the rest to keep her.

Fortunately/unfortunately she needed to leave to work in the family business. So my brake system was being dismantled anyway. But the thing about getting over somebody is that you don't really notice when it happens, because part of it is that you don't think about them much anymore, so I was kind of caught offguard when I last spoke to Miki that almost a year had gone by, and that she was engaged and thus, there was no (I sincerely really hope there isn't) chance she'll call me up one day and ask me to stop. And if she did, nowadays I'd probably ignore her.

It's a bit daunting, but I feel like I'm becoming myself, for better or worse and nobody can ask me to stop.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The First thing To Do When You Panic

...is nothing. Today I was reminded of what it felt like to have my wallet suddenly dissappear in a foreign country and find yourself with no means of supporting yourself whatsoever.

I went through shock and denial very quickly, they get out of the way with a few searches of every possible place I could have misplaced my wallet or whatever. Travelling if it teaches you anything, teaches you that you simply don't exist except for the fact that you have money in your pocket to exchange for goods and services.

So I imagine losing your wallet when travelling alone in a foreign country is much like how Ariel Felt when Ursula took her voice in exchange for legs.
Except I don't have great legs that can nab me a handsome patriarch to look after me. Nor singing crab companions for that matter.

But in Abe Lincolns tradition of 'If I only had 5 minutes to cut down a tree I'd spend 4 of them sharpening my axe' or whatever, when you panic I highly recommend sitting down and letting time pass. 5-10 minutes is plenty. It isn't so much about planning or getting your shit together or whatever - it's about running an empirical experiment where you can prove to your own mind that the world isn't going to fall apart instantly.

Once you realise you have space to move it's much easier to come up with rational solutions. For me it was cancelling my card and stopping pending transactions from going through. Ordering emergency cash, and a replacement card. Then I just had to go to the police and arrange a 'pay on checkout' deal with my hostel.

The second time, I just had to devise some collatoral to offer to the hostel (because I dimwittedly arrived in town with no money having stuffed up a transfer of funds) which was refused on account of my trustworthy face and then digging up some old Japanese currency so I had enough money to eat a meal.

The thing was that in hindsight these situations were pretty easy to survive, and I could have survived a lot worse by sleeping on the streets or something.

Panic flares up to drive us furiously away from something unpleasant, but often it doesn't inspire the easiest, most graceful or even most immediate solutions to passing through our current state of affairs. Often the easiest and simplest thing to do is to endure the unpleasant and take it from there.

Having said all this if you can see the thief making off with your wallet, chase him down, don't do nothing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting Used to Being a Loser/Don't Be In a Rush to Succeed

James was skeptical of my triple encore theory but then like Kanye ruining an acceptance speech Ali Shaheed Mohammed had retaken the decks and cranked out 'Award tour' and the crowd that was in the process of departing hit the roof.
Except they didn't which was why Tribe stopped and rewound like 6 times until they were sure we were hitting the roof.
And it's not like they fucked up, after 20+ years of performing their shit was tight, we were apparantly fucking up our role as the crowd and it was really hard to determine what I was doing wrong as a member of it and further more I began to wonder who was paying who.

But I totally respect the will to do it over until its done right. And they did it over and over, and they did it multiple times through the show and it was totally the opposite of unprofessional.

24 hours later I'm standing in the reopened Tote's bandroom as men with ratstails and women with mullets pushed passed with plastic cups of bear reminding me never to stand between the stage and the bar again. One girl even even spilt her beer running into the back of me but I was wearing my terrance towel hoodie so I wouldn't have noticed if she hadn't been so apologetic.
Barbarion took the stage and started playing and more or less didn't stop. My ears are still ringing 4 days on. They had their original bassplayer Yuri back and boy were they tight. Tight yet loose and there a band I was lucky enough to get on the wagon of on their 3rd or 4th gig, they have a couple of new songs where they've clearly taken what they've learned but what really impresses me is what they've done with the tracks they've been playing for year(s) now.
They've pretty much amped them up, they've evolved, improved and basically injected more energy wherever they can.
They move about the stage better, command the space better and they aren't afraid to yell out instructions to their sound mixer to correct the balance throughout the show.
They've come along way in a short space of time and I can hear (and feel) the difference. The highlight though was when during 'Running From the Law' one of my favorites, the lead singer Myles a mighty man made a lacklustre attempt to crowdsurf which resulted in him singing from the floor.

The irreverant gracelessness is a big part of what makes this band successful and allows them to shape themselves and grow.

I'm sitting with 150 in a food court as usual (but unusually since we hadn't met for 6 months or so) waiting for the other members of the real gayle king to arrive. He's jotting down something I said which is kind of the point of this post, it's not something I said originally and sadly I can't remember who actually said it because I trawell through that much shit searching for references but whoever said it I resaid it and it was this: 'good is the enemy of done'

And 150 was writing it down, he seems to like my business management cliches that I like to recite to creative peeps. But this one was actually said I'm like 90% certain by a creative peep and that's what makes it so poigniant.

When the Real Gayle King first formed we wasted like 6 weeks of meetings (truly wasted because nobody documented the hilarious arguments) having infuriating arguments between 150 and me about online campaigning. I couldn't believe that 4 creative peeps had come together and the first thing 150 wanted to do wasn't to create but to online campaign and use trolling and forums to max out our web hits.

To be fair, this blog is my forum and 150 can't really defend himself, so in an attempt to do so, 150 was sort of the most successful of us at the time having quite a following of his zines through Sticky and was thus the least excited about creating tangible pieces and most excited about having a blog which the rest of us already had and not much more.

But while 150 is excused the rest of you ain't. Everybody coming into the creative scene is too impatient. How do I know this? Because I'm impatient, and yet whilst I know I've wasted years and it will take me years still (and years longer than I can ever anticipate) simply to get on track very few people think like this. They need to succeed and succeed now.

And I think that's what makes the old school acts, be they bands from the 90's or bands that should have formed in the 90's or earlier special.

H-wang when he eventually arrived at our meeting concurred about the photography world, saying that many of the old hands at photography had taken 20 years to establish themselves and nowadays the newbies worked 2 years before they were teaching classes on how to be a pro-photographer.

The mentality is everywhere despite the success of Malcolm Gladwell's outliers, and mayhaps that's just the facebook/myspace generation mentality. What the fuck is wrong with it though? There's a time to 'go professional' but not till after you cut your teeth. I remember in Year 11, Jacob yelling at Chris for missing his queue that it was 'un-fucking believable' this was a crappy house music competition of no consequence that's not the time to go pro but that's what so many creative peeps feel like to me these days.

I'm guilty as well, I once ripped shit through a friends manuscript (it was like fan fiction of some of my friend and my's fiction that in hindsight was too complicated to produce and never going anywhere anyway) because I was too attached to my own baby to see that everyone else just found it annoying.

Well the Beatles played in Hamburg for like 3 years just earning their stripes. I've seen Sutcliffe's or Lennon's sketches of Paul McCartney attempting to take a bath in a mensroom sink.

"We used to dress how we liked, on and off stage. He'd tell us that jeans were not particularly smart and could we possibly manage to wear proper trousers, but he didn't want us suddenly looking square. He'd let us have our own sense of individuality ... it was a choice of making it or still eating chicken on stage." - John Lennon - after 3 years playing strip clubs in Hamburg is the time to consider turning more professional.

Bobby Chiu one of the lead concept artists for Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland talked about when he first set up Imaginism studios and how hard it was lugging books around to comic cons with no money and reflecting 'these we will look back on as good times'.

I'm not sure if anybody in the Real Gayle King is doing the work necessary to make it, but regardless I certainly will look back on our listless sporadic and disorganised meetings in QV food courts as good times. Sitting in front of the state library checking out girls necks at Butcher's insistence were good times. Having my phone go off with one word text messages that simply read 'late' were good times.

Rather than turn to Malcolm Gladwell I'll turn to an author I actually have read being Nicholas Nassim Taleb's Black Swan that talks about how to choose the right brother in law.

Basically there's two kinds of people in the world, the vast majority stake their dollars on a daily basis and win a long succession of pennies, encountering a major loss once a decade or so. It's a metaphore so you can basically substitute dollars with 'important things' pennies with 'small pleasures' and major loss as 'any kind of hardship'

Then you have the creatives, the risk takers, the 'losers'. But a very special kind of loser, they are a minority they bet pennies on a daily basis and typically lose them setting up a long string of successive losses all in the hope to win dollars, once ever decade or so (or perhaps never) they win big, real big.
Again the metaphore, should be easy to translate, it's the struggling artist, the research scientist whatever. They are convinced that grand prize is out there to be won and they've inherited this conviction from that common risk taking ancestor.

Whilst most of us would prefer a long succession of small pleasures, others can never be satisfied unless they win big. Many or most never succeed, but its hard to tell because we never hear of them the ones that do win big misrepresent the odds of winning big because we hear about them all the time convincing other losers that their dreams are possible.

And this is good because this is how progress is made. If nobody attempts to hit the jackpot then it just keeps sitting on the shelf of possibility and never crosses over into our reality and enriches our lives.

But maybe the balance is shifting, I just meet too many people that are less patient than me to succeed. Most creative peeps have done more work than me so power to them, but in the spirit of 'good is the enemy of done' I think the biggest leap I made towards actually getting somewhere with my drawing was to give up on the idea that I could ever actually get anything done right.

Looking back on my sketches for the early Real Gayle King Stuff I cringe, but I also see a lot of progress now. Looking at how terrible my drawings were then makes me feel a lot better about how terrible my drawings look now.

FYI I'm publishing on facebook mostly because I'm too ashamed to put any of my stuff up on deviantart yet, I'll get there though with a lot more work and it will be good to kick the facebook habit.

But maybe I'm lucky I never went to art school, and I don't expect much of myself, (the little I do expect is more than I can deliver) I think some of the professionally trained peeps expect more of themselves and expect to get their creative produce right the first time. They don't fuck around and experiment and screw up and evolve anymore because they just want to be pro's right now, they've been trained to be pro's and they aren't ready. 'the perfect is the enemy of the good, the good is the enemy of done'

I'm lucky I tried being one of the majority of peeps, and have a regular steady paycheck in a secure job earning steady small incremental accolades and whilst I wouldn't consider it a total waste of time I met some great peeps and learned a bunch of stuff and what not, I know it's not for me. I'm for living in a garage to minimise my living costs whilst I make ill concieved attempts to create things of meaning hoping one day I'll make something that will resonate with somebody whilst not being sure if that/those resonating somebodies exist.

I feel though if you're not a loser like me you should be putting down your pencils, your plectrums, your stylus, your tough new Lumix and buying a milkbar. If you want to succeed and you're in a hurry go to a real estate seminar and be a real loser. If not take the time to fuck around, fuck up, feel fucking terrible, get back on the fucking horse, fuck shit up old school, and fucking enjoy it.

To end with a cliche, it's the fucking journey after all, not the destination.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Profiling Risk

My risk profile is something I think about, it causes me great uncertainty. So when my Pricing Theory class addressed it it was probably the first time I've been glad to see human behaviour depicted by a graph.

You see, I'm trying to be a risk taker, but I don't think I'm a natural gambler. For example, I wouldn't gamble. But my obsession with failure has lead me to an unnatural risk profile.

So first let's just look at the most broad risk profiles:

This person is risk averse, the curve of the graph indicates that their 'utility' or 'consumption satisfaction' decrease faster than it increases. So for each dollar of income or whatever they gain the feel nice, but for each dollar they lose they feel terrible. They are more scared of losing out than they are of winning.

Now here's the risk enthusiastic:

This person due to the shape of the curve, gets more utility for an increase in income than they do from a decrease. They are all like 'woohoo' when they win a dollar and all like 'whatever' when they lose one.

So which one am I? Well it depends...

My attitude is this - 'I'm not important enough to worry about failure' if I went bankrupt tomorrow nobody and I mean nobody would lose out on it (except me). There would be no front page story on the Age, Herald Sun, Financial Review or Wall St journal.

Furthermore if somebody was like 'tohm you have to go live in a park now' I'd be able to deal with it (until I died of pnuemonia) but whatever... I have a high pain/discomfort threshold with a few caveats I'll come to later.

But I get these natural highs when I succeed. Like if I draw good and people like it I'm buzzing. I'm willing to sacrifice the income I could potentially be earning to give myself an opportunity to draw. Success at something I want to do (even the smell of it) is much more rewarding than 'successfully failing' as I've come to dub it.

So this is what I mean by being 'unnaturally' risk averse. I don't care about the consequences because I don't really care about me.

Now the caveats, I think our risk preferences have something to do with our broader behavioural prefences aka Jungian psychological profiles. I'm INTP or something I haven't done the test in a while, but on the simpler one I'm an 'Amicable' or an 'Amicable/Expressive' person.

So let's start with the key differentiator - Introvert/Extrovert. This is one of those counter-intuitive things where people assume an extrovert cares more about other people because they are more social. But when you dig deeper its infact the opposite. Extroverts socialise so more people can care about them, introverts are the opposite they care little about themselves relative to other people, hence they hang back, they observe they whatever.

I'm an introvert, I've trained myself to act extroverted over the years but I know that meeting people socialising etc drains my energy. I get rewards out of it but it costs me. Others get energised by meeting people and talking to people and what not.

So here's the boundaries of my risk profile. I'm happy to take risks for myself, where the brunt of the consequences effect me and me alone. I balk at the idea of taking risks on others behalfs. The thought of hurting somebody else kills me. So I am risk enthusiastic with myself because hey whatever shit happens I'll deal with it, I can crawl out of the abyss anytime. But as an Amiable person the thought of causing hurt or embarassment to somebody else in any capacity I am very averse. I'll do almost anything to avoid it.

BUT then I need a second wave of caveats.

I kind of feel contempt for people in my quasi professional capacity as financial advisor (I'm not qualified yet, but people keep asking me). Talking investments is unflattering to most people, it's not a good look and it breeds contempt in me.

Because most people are risk averse, they fear losses more than they relish gains. But they aren't idiots, most peoples biggest fear is a loss of income (except that very few take out income insurance) and that is because they are focussed on retirement. They aren't (particularly) stupid and understand that inflation may erode the purchasing power of their savings and thus a paradox is created.

Peeps want as much profit and money as possible with no chance of losing. They see not making big profits or returns as risky (because of inflation) but they see the risks associated with high return securities as risky. Thus people are naturally attracted to 'sure things'

In investment Law we are looking at the case study of Westpoint mezzanine finance group scandel where many retirees were dooped out of their savings by what in essence was a ponzi scheme. That's a world of hurt, but I do feel a kind of contempt for the victims - they invested in property development for high interest payments of 12%, they were reassured by the fact that for every $100m borrowed there was $110m in presales. Thus a risk free 12%. Nobody stopped to ask 'If they honestly have $110m presales, then why wouldn't a bank lend them money at 10%, 8%, etc. why take the additional burden of mum and dad investors money and pay them exorbitant interest when a big capable institution can assess risks for themselves?

So more paradoxes, there's this cliche of 'the greatest risk is taking no risk at all' or in a sporting analogy 'you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take' but people who keep their cash under the bed because they are scared of bank insolvency will have all their savings wiped out by inflation if not burglery.

My plan if I become a fund manager, hedge fund, financial planner is to drive these mum and dad investors away with extremem prejudice. I don't want to do business with people who don't want to be accountable for their own decisions. I could take risks with other peoples money if they have a similar attitude to me. I imagine I will only end up with the small change of people I can only make richer, but I'd rather play with $10k of pocket change from a millionaire than $10k of savings for your average joe.

Then again, as I actually achieve stuff through risk taking, my profile will probably change, I will feel vulnerable on account of my achievements and start to fear losses rather than gains. My plain is to live a fairly spartan lifestyle, like Buffett only draws a $100k salary even though he's worth 60+ billion or something now.

Anyway confusing, it's hard to take risks when you don't know how you feel about them.