Before I begin, I want to wish every single one of you a very happy new year.
Wherever you were in the world, I hope that you started the new decade with the renewed excitement to become the best version of you.
I came home last night from a silent 10-day meditation retreat.
It was an incredibly powerful experience, and although it sounds like the last thing a lot of people would want to do – it was an eye-opening revelation.
Meditating in and of itself is a process by which you learn to calm your mind.
Even if you don’t believe you need it, you likely talk to yourself endlessly during the day.
And making your mind the objective focus of a 10-day retreat makes you highly sensitive to the amount of nonsense so much of that internal talk really is.
It is far from easy, but I’ve found that there are few things more powerful than meditation to see things clearly in life.
Besides the meditation, there was something else that really took my experience to the next level: tapas.
Now, you might be thinking that ‘tapas’ are those delicious Spanish dishes that you could eat all day with a sangria in the Sun – and they are.
But they are also an ancient yogic practice that essentially means voluntary self-restraint.
In other words, it means consciously using your willpower to hold yourself back.
During the retreat, the most obvious tapas was ‘mauna’ – or noble silence. We weren’t allowed to look, gesture or talk to anyone else.
But we also weren’t allowed to use our phones, computers, the internet, and even write or read during the entire time there.
All you could do was be with yourself, your mind, and total silence.
Again, to some of you, that might sound like hell. But to me, it was a gift.
I wrote in my last newsletter that in a world in which information is abundant, clarity is the new superpower.
And I stand by that statement with renewed enthusiasm.
We live in a world in which everything is available, all the time.
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we are constantly on our phones and computers – ‘connected’ to others and inundated with news, opinions, snippets, articles, updates, tweets, texts, posts, blogs - you name it.
Without realizing it, we essentially flood our brain with information to the point of sometimes complete paralysis of any critical thinking, creativity, or clarity.
If you’ve ever surfed the internet for hours just to end up with this strong brain fog of confusion – then you know what I mean.
This overflow of information can make a complete disaster of your financial life, as emotions of greed and fear take over your rational decision-making process.
For example, you may strongly believe in the power of cannabis to revolutionize parts of the healthcare or drug market.
Or you may fundamentally agree that cryptocurrencies will play an increasing role in the next decade.
Yet just one negative news article, a dissident headline or a temporary drop in the price of a cannabis stock or bitcoin, can make you confused or fearful.
This process happens all too often, and for some of us, every day.
And instead of increasing the quality of our lives, our investments now make us doubtful, and uncertain.
This fear is what we want to avoid.
One of the best ways to avoid it is to 1) know what you’re doing when you invest so that your thesis can stand the test of time, but also 2) to stop exposing yourself to irrelevant information that could sabotage you.
I’m not saying that you should base your investment decisions on blue-sky thinking. You need to make rational decisions with a clear mind.
But once you establish a long-term position – let it be truly long-term. Don’t worry about what will happen to it tomorrow, or the next month or even the next six.
And don’t let a news article, a blog post or an opinion piece derail you from your original thinking.
Use tapas to restrain yourself from seeking out the constant bombardment of information and opinions – 99% of which is irrelevant to your life.
Instead, re-evaluate your thesis once in a while with the 1% that matters.
In between, just let it be.