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David Gardner: How can you trick you’re Chief Financial Officer into reallocating capital? What did Ralph Waldo Emerson know about journaling that you should too? And how can you ensure you will create positive memories for grandchildren one day that they will always remember. Have you written a letter to yourself recently or ever? The list goes on. These are not really investment lessons this week this run deeper, they’re life lessons, but often they’re simple, humble. They’re hacks, mental tips, tricks and life hacks volume eight this week only on Rule Breaker Investing.
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing a delight to have you joining with me this week. We’re going to have some fun together. Let’s get smarter, shall we? It’s the latest. It’s number 8 in our historical running series of mental tips, tricks and life hacks. The series started with Volume 1 on June 15 of 2016. Now, back then 2016, it was just mental tips and tricks. But then I thought when I did Episode 2, hey, it’s not just about mental tips and tricks. I mean, those are great, but what about life hacks? We all need those two ways to do life better, more elegantly, ways to make things that used to be kludgy effective. That’s how I think about life hacks anyway and I also love mental tips and tricks, which we’ve now done seven times before. The most recent was last November, November 2022. If you want to hear earlier episodes of the series including that one, you can certainly always just [Alphabet‘s] Google. Rule Breaker Investing mental tips. In fact, is you start typing that into google. It starts suggesting things like mental health tips and other things. I don’t know if I provide that, but google’s suggesting that in the auto-fill as you type in Rule Breaker Investing mental tips. But I can assure you that will get you to past episodes in this series. You’ll find all previous ones which might be worthwhile since there are no repeats. Every one of these episodes is chock-full of new, original. Well, at least this show mental tips, tricks and life hacks. Now, are these earth-shattering, life-improving, unforgettable tips? Absolutely not. I mean maybe, but these are hacks, a lot of life hacks. This series is designed to make life more elegant, fun, and navigable. I’m coaching you very explicitly here and like any good life coach might do, aiming most of all for your success so these are things that have worked for me and sometimes for listeners who’ve written in, have worked for them that we hope work for you too. They can be quite small, by the way.
For instance, last year, November 2, 2022. Number 4, was a trick and I shared with you how I use the Kindle apps since I love e-books, maybe you do too. I highlight with all four colors because the app lets you highlight not just with the traditional yellow highlighter, but with a blue, a pink, and an orange and I described how I use all four of those and meaningfully therefore can filter books that I’ve previously read down to just a single thing I’m looking for. For example, I use pink to be the critically most important passages of a book, whether it’s a novel or nonfiction, whatever strikes me, is the most important takeaway I always highlight in pink and then if you do that along with me, you can then just filter for your pink highlights and quickly review the big takeaway points you’ve found in any pass book. Now, I said this, the series is not necessarily earth-shattering or unforgettable, but it is life improving and I’m happy to say, after I did that podcast, I got an email from a listener who said, hey, I hear you on the highlights on the e-books. Have you ever heard about read wise? Well, I have subsequently talked about Readwise on this podcast in the past, but if you still haven’t heard of read wise before and you’re an e-book person like me, you should know that you can now upload all of your highlighted passages from all of your e-book reading, whether it’s Amazon Kindle or maybe Apple books or other platforms where you’ve done reading and highlighting. You can upload them all into Readwise and get a morning missive every day and a morning email flashing back five past quotes from your reading and I have found this incredibly effective at helping me remember what I’ve read in the past, representing me great points I’d completely forgotten about, or a wonderful liner quote that I could use in next week’s podcast or next month’s keynotes.
I am a huge Readwise fan and I have Kara Chambers, who’s the one who sent me that email to thank because this podcast, mental tips, tricks and life hacks enabled me to share it out, the idea of multicolor highlighting and Kindle and I got back a great gift Kara, who also is a Motley Fool employee and has appeared many times on this podcast helping talk about company cultures, so Kara thank you. That’s a fun recent moment. One of the fruits born of this particular episodic series. Well, we’re about to present number 1, and in fact we have seven. I see, 1, 2, 3, I see four tricks and three life hacks this time. But before we go there, I want to give too quick plugs. The first is that I was on someone else’s podcast in the past week, and that is former Motley Fool employee, longtime friend Aaron Bush at Aaron underscore bush underscore on Twitter. Aaron with his Naavik start-up, which focuses on the gaming industry, has his Naavik, that’s spelled N-A-A-V-I-K with his N-A-A-V-I-K podcast he interviews, people who love games or interested in the business of games. I am one of them and the way that Aaron promoted this, this week, he said David is not just a market-crushing investor, but it’s also successfully embedded game design into his life and business and I would say for about an hour, we go pretty deep. If that topic sounds interesting to you, I hope you’ll checkout Aaron Bush’s interview with me in the past week on Twitter. That’s at N-A-A-V-I-K at Naavik underscore co. Of course, you could just google Naavik on Spotify or Apple and find the podcast that way. I had such fun with Aaron this past week.
That was the past. Let’s talk briefly about the future a little bit later this month, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dan Pink. Now, Dan has appeared on this podcast a number of times. Daniel Pink, of course, the many times New York best-selling author, focused on so many great nonfiction works, often about human flourishing and the human brain and living life better, talk about a life hack, author and friend of the Fool over the years, well, I get to interview Dan Pink for The Motley Fool Foundation. We have a monthly virtual event. It’s sparked conversations and on July 20 at 01:00 P.M. I have the honor of speaking to Dan Pink as my guest there, so head on over to foolfoundation.org.
That is, of course, the Fool Foundation’s website. Scroll down about halfway down that main page, you’ll see a link to register for that. Dan Pink in conversation with yours truly again, 1:00 PM Eastern next Thursday, July 20th. Our topic mindset shift for positive change. We call it the sparks series, where we try to throw off sparks, spark new thoughts, spark and interest in creating more financial freedom in the world at large. Anybody who listened to last week’s podcast has heard quite a lot about financial freedom this month. You’re going to hear even more and possibly here at even better from the very talented Dan Pink. Dan and I hope you will join us for that Fool Foundation Spark Series virtual event. Here we go it’s mental tip trick or life hack, Number 1. Number 1 is a trick and I’m just going to call this reallocate. I did mention at the top, I was trying to be enticing when I said, how can you trick you’re Chief Financial Officer into reallocating capital. I want to share a trick, I watched live in a board meeting a few years ago. In fact, it was five years ago. I even noted the date and time. It was October 29th of 2018 at 11:15 AM. I’m going to say a little bit more about that a little later. But anyway, at that exact date and time, I watched this happen. I watched one of my fellow board members turned to the leadership team and Chief Financial Officer and he said, “Now, if you had to cut $100,000, let’s just say we had to cut back here.
If you had to cut $100,000, where would you go first?” Which is a great question any of us can ask ourselves that we can tone down the numbers and say $100. If you had to cut $100, if you had to save $100 in the next month, dear listener, where would you go first? But for this organization 100,000 was about the right question. If you had to cut that, he said, where would you go first? The team thought about it, and then they gave an answer and he nodded, he took that and he received that. Heard it, nodded and then he turned to his next question, he said now, conversely, if you had an extra $100,000, where would you put that right now? That same talented team, scratch their heads talked about it for a while and thought about, where’s the real growth capital? Well, if we were taking in venture capital, $100,000 we didn’t have before where would we put it? Some exciting new area of growth. They gave a good answer. I don’t think he was intending to set them up and I don’t think they felt set up. But after hearing a if you had to cut 100,000, where would it go and b, if you had an extra 100,000, where would you put it, he simply said, c, great. I suggest we cut $100,000 along the lines you all just suggested and put that $100,000 into the place you just told me it should go. I thought that was a master class in good advice from a board member, helping the Chief Financial Officer reallocate capital. I’m putting that went out Number 1 this week as a trick, anybody can use, you can change the amounts, you can change the context that can work for any organization, that can work for any friend, any individual. You can use it yourself. If you had to cut blank, where would you go first? Great. By the way, if you had an extra blank, where would you put it? Do it. Now I’ve been a little bit coy, not mentioning who that person was, but I want you to know he’s one of my authors in August this coming month.
Sunny Vanderbeck, whom I just shared a little bit of his wisdom and quoted Sunny Vanderbeck wrote an excellent book a few years ago called Selling Without Selling Out. In this case, he’s not talking about selling as in being in sales, he’s talking about selling your company. Now, a lot of my listeners are business people and a lot of us, we over-index at The Motley Fool to small businesses, family businesses. For a lot of you listening to me right now, if you don’t already have one, you might dream of starting one. But at some point years later you might want to sell it. By the way, I’m not in any way projecting. I personally hope that I’ll hold my company to death and pass it on to the next generation. But a lot of people do, especially serial entrepreneurs, they sell. They start something to sell it and then they want to start something else. That’s not me, but that might be you. But whether you’re talking about something you started or grandparents started three generations ago a lot of us eventually maybe in a position of needing to sell or wanting to sell our business and to do it well. That’s exactly what Sunny Vanderbeck an expert on the subject will be talking about in August. There we go. I’ve now plugged two of our authors in August.
Arthur Brooks has wonderful book, Love Your Enemies and Sunny Vanderbeck his wonderful book Selling Without Selling Out. Two of my four authors in August next month. I’m mentioning it to you now still in early July. Still the first half of July so you’ll have a chance to read these excellent books before we talk about them next month. There was mental tip trick or life hack number 1, reallocate. Let’s go to number 2. This one is a life hack. This one’s speaks back to the last episode of the series because number 5 that I presented last November was journaling. In supportive journaling specifically in areas of personal growth. A lot of us may not journal on a regular basis and I’m raising my hand too I’m not somebody who does that. But in part, I think it’s because we think we need to be really regular about it or very intense about it. Anyway, Mike McCann, this was a listener submission last November, talked about the merits of journaling. If you’re thinking about that, I highly recommend that point from last November. This one speaks back to it. This one key into it with a slightly different angle. Number 2 is a life hack. Let’s call it micro journaling.
In his excellent book, Essentialism, Author Greg McKeown says the following, and I quote, and I think this is such an enabler for you and for me if we’re thinking about keeping a diary, keeping a journal, by the way, it doesn’t have to be for the rest of your life. You could just do it for the next month or you could say in 2024, I’m going to do it for that year. For some it’s a daily regular practice. I suspect that’s a tiny minority of my fellow earthlings, but a lot of us just need to be unblocked because we build it up to be too much. In support of micro journaling, Greg McKeown wrote in his book Essentialism “For the last 10 years now, I have kept a journal using a counter-intuitive, yet effective method. It is simply this, I write less than I feel like writing.” Typically when people start to keep a journal, they write pages the first day and then by the second day, the prospect of writing so much is daunting and they procrastinate or abandon the exercise. Apply the principle of “less but better to your journal. Restrain yourself from writing more until daily journaling has become a habit”. I call that micro journaling writing just a little bit, writing a lot less than you think you need to. I was looking over the diary of Ralph Waldo Emerson recently and it’s quite an eye-opener. Emerson who was such a voluminous writer and thinker in the 19th century. Here was his diary entry from January 17, 1829. You’re ready, here goes, “My weight is 144 LB”, period.
That was his journal entry. This is somebody who wrote voluminously, who kept a diary over long periods and revisited it many times. That was like what he wanted to say that day. These days I don’t think we need some big, handsome leather bound book that we write into, some people appreciate having paper pages. I’m obviously more of an e-book person, but whether you want to do it electronically or you going to do it on paper, you can do a lot less than you think, and that’s much more likely to lead to good habits and becoming somebody Amazonian. Before we move on to number 3 I have to give the classic Oscar Wilde line about diaries. Oscar Wilde once wrote, ”I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” Let’s go on to mental tip trick or life hack number 3. We’re going to call this one, dear me. Well, number 3 is a trick, so we’ve gone trick, life hack. Let’s go back to tricks. This one as I mentioned, I’m calling dear me. I asked at the top of the podcast this week, have you written a letter to yourself recently or ever, and that’s what dear me is all about. I’ll just phrase it how we did it years ago here at The Motley Fool. We have an annual corporate offsite at the Fool, which as you might expect of us, we call Foolapalooza. One year I said, hey team, I have this idea, let’s try it.
I think this should be fun. I’ve heard it works in other contexts. Perhaps dear listener you have already done this yourself, and I hope it worked as well for you as it did for us. I said, what if we have all of our employees on the final day of our two day offsite spend 15 quiet minutes with a pencil and a piece of paper, and they write themselves a letter of what their intentions are both personally and professionally over the next 12 months. That is indeed what we did. We passed out pencils and writing paper and everybody spent that 15-20 minutes writing a letter to their future selves. The key, of course, is that it was a letter and it was going to be to their future self. Because what we then did is we took their pieces of paper and we put them in envelopes. We wrote their name on those envelopes, we seal them and then we sat on them for 12 months. As the code designer of this, I knew what we were doing, but I’m pretty sure our few hundred employees at the time had well forgotten one year later as we reconvene for Foolapalooza the following year. We were able to surprise every one of them, well, except of course for our new employees in the meantime, by handing them an envelope. An envelope with their name on it, and they started to remember, oh my gosh, that’s right. A year ago I wrote something to myself.
I wonder what I wrote. Some people have memories better than others. I would be somebody with not so good of memory. I had very little recollection of what I’d written the year before, and the laughter and the insights. In some cases the congratulations or the privately felt shame, the intention to be better versions of ourselves by reexamining whether we lived true to what we hoped for in that year ahead. I think there was a lot of personal growth and learning. I don’t think it was corporate. We didn’t make a big point of reading out loud anybody’s letter, anybody could share with others if they wanted to and they did. But it was mainly an individual exercise for each of our employees. I’ve always thought of it as dear me. I’ve suggested this to others and other organizations. I don’t know if they’ve taken me up on it or not, but I waited until this day and this minute to share dear me with you, dear fellow Fool as trick in this case number 3 on the podcast. Dear me, there are different ways you could tweak that exercise. You could make it shorter or longer. You could make it for a certain group of people or with a certain intent. But I think it’s really effective, and I think about one year is a good amount of time, not too long that you’ve forgotten about it. Don’t care about anymore, but not too short, enough for a move that it does give you almost like we as investors, I’ve often said the very minimum timeframe I would ever thinking is about one year. That’s about what this dear me exercise was all about.
There it is. Number 3, dear me. Try it. Onto number 4, this one is a life hack. I’ll be brief on this one because I don’t think it has a grand point to make, but I have really appreciated that as someone who keeps a careful calendar, so I know color-coded across 20 different colors. I know what I’m doing tomorrow, next week. I know what I did last year on this very day. I can go back to 2008, which is when I personally adopted Apple into my life. When I switched from PC to Apple 2008, I began using iCal. I’ve kept a daily calendar ever since. What I’ve done in addition, it’s probably the same mindset that leads me to do this, is whenever I’ve come up with a new thought or an idea, it might be something for this podcast, for example, whatever platform I’m using, I use OmniFocus to track a lot of my tasks. You could use your iCal calendar as well. Notes applications. Whenever I come up with something that I think is important, I don’t just write it down, I make a particular point of saying the exact day and the exact time that I had that revelation or insight. A quick recent example a couple of months ago on this podcast, I did surprise Volume 1, Smoke and Mirrors. That was April 19. It is a series that’s all about stories that have an important element of surprise that help you as an investor, as a business person or fellow leaver of life that have a surprise ending that make an even stronger point because of that surprise.
Anyway, turns out I first had the idea for that podcast at 05:53 PM on July 14, 2022. Now I went back and checked what was happening in my life that I would’ve thought that at the moment. I can’t know for sure. What I can say is it’s my wedding anniversary every year. Happy anniversary to me again, this year my lovely wife. Margaret and I will have been married 33 years as of later this week. But it wasn’t in fact on my anniversary day last year at 05:53 PM that I thought, stories that surprised that should be a podcast series and it took me about nine months to actually deliver that. But what I’ve found is when you note the exact timestamp, when you come up with things, in many cases it will help you remember why you came up with that idea at the time, which can be very instructive both for your memory and or for telling a story about why you did this new thing or came up with this new idea. You remember, if you check your calendar and you keep a careful calendar, you remember exactly where you were and when. Then add somewhat to the story, the creation story of your new idea or enterprise. I’m a big fan of coming up with new thoughts and celebrating innovations. I think if you are too, I highly recommend you exactly timestamp those. Your future self will express appreciation later on that you took the time to do that. It only takes about 30 seconds whenever those eureka moments hit. Anyway, not a big one, but a fun one. Number 4, keep a great calendar and then timestamp your thoughts.
We’ve been going trick life hacks. If you’re following along, you’ll see the next one is of course a trick Number 5. This one is hard to explain. I’m not sure how to title it, but let me just describe what happens in human social groups. In humans social groups, we’re all taking cues constantly from each other. A lot of behavioral scientists, psychologists know this better than I, but I sometimes read what they write. I’ve definitely come across the concept, that in a group of people, this probably goes back to our chimpanzee days, we’re trying to figure out who’s the top dog in this group? Who is the king chimp? Let’s hope it’s not a king chump. Who is the king chimp in this group? This is just something that lightly I’ve become aware of over the course of time. For social reasons, not everybody can speak all the time or all at once certainly. We might listen to somebody that we all consciously or more often subconsciously think this is the leader, so we will listen to them and be guided by them. It’s more efficient for us as social creatures to have people that we admire or are the most popular or the strongest, whatever the context is, speak or lead the group. This is something that human beings have gone for a long time, although it’s very subconscious. What I’ve noticed is at this stage in life where I am, I will sometimes be in that position, especially thinking of business conferences or even cocktail parties in some contexts.
At the age of 57, I find sometimes I’m that person. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When people speak, like not me is speaking, and there’s a group of us, where do they look? They’ll tend to look at me. Now, not everyone does this. If you start playing this game along with me and become more conscious of this and watch this in the day or week ahead, you’ll notice that some people are very good at including everyone when they’re speaking. In a group of five people, they’re telling a story and they’re giving equal face time to each of the four people in the social circle around them. They’re very good at including everyone, which I think is a strength. Other people I’ve noticed, will tend to just look at one person. I find myself doing this. Sometimes I’m telling a story and I’m only looking at one of the people in the group. Probably not just because I think they’ll enjoy it, but because I esteem them.
I think maybe just subconsciously again, they’re the leaders, so I might just be directing my gaze there. I’ve found that this tends not to include everybody else, which I think is a mistake in life for a number of reasons we won’t go into right now. What I’m here to point out is if you find yourself, dear fellow Fool in this position where people are telling a story or points are being made in a social circumstances, it might just be around the water cooler or after the keynote speech when everybody is out there getting a cup of coffee, you’ll notice in some cases that someone is talking and there are four of a group, they’re only looking at you the whole time. Here’s my trick. I think if you find yourself to be the king or queen chimp in any context, and conversation is being directed solely at you and you’ve noticed that, a lot of people won’t notice this, they’ll just think this person is talking to me, but the truth is, this person is not really looking anyone else in the room, here’s a gift you can give everybody else in the conversational circle.
Make a real point of not looking the speaker in the eye the whole time or as they make all of their point. Intentionally, look at others around the circle. Intentionally, the speaker is not including them, but you’re intentionally looking at others. What I’ve found with this rather subtle social trick I’m giving you here at Number 5, is if you make a point of directing your gaze at others around the circle and you’re not looking at the speaker, guess what the speaker will start to do? The speaker will start to not look at you because you’re not giving them your ocular attention and instead they’ll start looking at others. They’ll probably be looking at the people that you are looking at. As a consequence, everybody will be invited with eye contact into the conversation. Number 5, it’s a trick, it’s very social, this doesn’t really speak to invest in your business too much. This is more about life.
But if you find yourself with the highest Q rating in the room, if you’re the best known or most popular person or the person that people are looking up to in a conversation, avert your gaze as people speak to you and look at others. Onto my last two, Number 6 and 7, I don’t know, I’m just going to flip flop them. Let’s not go life hack, we’re going to go trick and close with a life hack this week. Number 6 is also a trick. Compete in unionized industries as a conscious capitalist. Just putting that out right there upfront. What I’ve found in the course of picking stocks and starting a business and then meeting other entrepreneurs and then eventually learning about conscious capitalism, which is such an important thing for me. I’m on the National Board of Conscious Capitalism, the Motley Fool is a consciously capitalistic enterprise. I love conscious capitalism and yet it’s still such a minority approach taken in the business world. The best people I know in business practice capitalism in a new way, consciously. In a way that says yeah, capitalism has had some flaws. It’s responsible for a lot of abuse outright in some cases, or neglect.
In others, not every stock that has gone up created a better world in so doing. But I also know many where that is true where good people have been doing and are doing good or great work. Those are the stocks I tend to pick and I’ve been in the market for many decades now, largely on the backs of these people and these enterprises. I think you probably already know this about me if you’ve listened this podcast for any amount of time, I love conscious capitalism. My trick here is to future entrepreneurs. Now in industries that are largely unionized and I’ll give a couple of examples in a sec, but I think a lot of us can name these and some of you listening to me are in unions today or are in industries that are unionized, I believe that for the most part that’s come about over the course of time because there wasn’t trust. Trust was not built. There was in some cases, abusive or monopolistic behavior on the part of owners. By the way, not everybody is a good guy or bad guy on either side, there was some bad behavior sometimes by employees and it led to a failure of trust, which led to, in some industries, commonly many people to say, we’ll go with the phrase, I can’t trust the man here, this industry, business or my employer, so fellow employees, let’s group up together and there’s power in numbers. We’re going to become a union and we’re going to unionize against management. We need to make sure our interests are protected. I acknowledge in many cases that was necessary and very helpful. I think a lot of those who study business history will also recognize the many other cases, it’s led to some bad behavior on the part of union bosses are other people who are taking their own power as people who leave unions and acting abusive or poorly themselves. I think it’s helpful to have a 360-degree view here.
But my actual trick is specifically to think about industries where there is very little trust, where there’s a history of antagonistic behavior between unions and management and management and unions and instead, look to create a new business in that industry that is actually operating consciously. That is by definition, trying to create wins for everybody, wins for the employees, wins for the shareholders, wins for the environment, for partners and suppliers, the community wins for all. Those who know conscious capitalism know that’s at the heart of it. If you go into industries where that is not commonplace, you have a huge advantage. If you are hiring within that industry and simply treating people well or better than the other companies treat them. Now, this is played out right in front of all of us. I can give a couple of examples right now. Let’s go with Tesla first. Tesla will sometimes get bad headlines and Elon Musk can be a target for people. They’ll say things like Tesla is engaging in abusive behavior with its employees. I’m not here to say they never have. In fact, any company worth nearly a trillion dollars has probably had some tough trade-offs to make over the years. But for the most part, as Andrew Sorkin on CNBC in 2021 as he was interviewing not Elon Musk in this case, but General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Andrew Sorkin said the following, “It appears by my math that on average, Tesla employees who aren’t non-unionized, it appears on an hourly basis they’re making more money than unionized workers, for example, at,” he said,” General Motors”. Mary Barra goes on, I think unsuccessfully to refute that, Elon himself tweeted after that this is true. He added also Tesla employees get health insurance, stock and other benefits, and by the way, their performance of the stock for employees who bought and held their shares over the years has been spectacular. There’s so many benefits to working for a company. It’s not going to be perfect, no company is, but that is consciously trying to create a better world, a better environment, a better product, and a better experience for employees not a perfect one, but better than exists at other competitors in that same unionized industry.
Now this works for any industry, by the way, if you can come in and be a conscious capitalist anywhere, Good Anya and Motley Fool Ventures might want to back you, google us. It’s true anywhere, but I think it’s especially true targeting industries where people are disaffected, they don’t love their employer, they may not respect it, you have such an advantage as an entrepreneur creating businesses within that industry and your employees probably won’t unionize if you’re treating them well. For example, Old Dominion Freight Lines, one of my better stock picks over the last 15 years or so. Old Dominion Freight Lines operates as a largely non-unionized, multi-generational family company doing lighter than truckload, trucking an incredible logistics company, and they’ve treated their employees wonderfully relative to the rest of their industry and that’s why Old Dominion Freight Lines has outperformed just about any other trucking company you can name on the backs of non-unionized labor that feels invested in and appreciated and has helped create a win, win atmosphere. There it is, trick number 6, compete in unionized industries as a conscious capitalist.
Conscious capitalism is a devastating competitive weapon for anybody starting that business in any industry. I highly recommend if this phrase conscious capitalism is something you haven’t come across before, that you google it, check it out, and learn something. There’s a great book called Conscious Capitalism by Raj Sisodia and John Mackey that I will bring to your attention as well, past interviewees on this podcast. Elon Musk gets it, Old Dominion Freight Lines gets it, and I think some entrepreneurs listening to me right now in future will demonstrate the benefits of this. Yes, this will lead to not just a better business world, but to a better world. Well, I hope you liked that trick. I’m sure some will adamantly disagree and I’m willing to listen to that. In fact, we have a wonderful mailbag episode we do at the end of each month. [email protected] is of course the email address. I would love to hear your reactions to that particular trick or frankly, any of my others. I highly recommend micro journaling or thinking about that dear me letter or tricking your CFO into reallocating [laughs] capital [email protected], you can tweet us at RBI podcast. Well, number 7 is a life hack. This one’s a good one to close with this week. It first came to me from my friend Kim Conti. Kim is a talented businesswoman here in the Washington DC area. She was a member of my Leadership Greater Washington class of 2019. I always like to site and source where good ideas come from. I probably even timestamped somewhere exactly when Kim said this in my presence.
Anyway, here’s what she has done to intentionally make a connection between her parents and her kids, between grandparents and grandkids. It’s pretty simple, and maybe dear listener, you’re already doing this. By the way, if you’re already doing this in some interesting or better new way, I would love to hear from you on this month’s mailbag, but this is what Kim described. She’s made a real intentional effort to have happened in her family’s life, especially around the holidays. But if you have grandparents who are near their grandkids near your kids on a regular basis, it could be any or all the time, but for them it was at a holiday time. They specifically made a point of having gramps or grandma or both read a story to the kids. If it’s the holidays, let’s go with selections from Dickens’ Christmas Carol or maybe it was The Night Before Christmas, something that they would do not just once, but every year at the same time. It maybe not every year, but most years. Kim very intentionally created a bridge between her parents and her kids by having them repeat as it tradition, a special moment a special story, it might be a red story, it might be a told story. She just knows and I do too that years from now when we’re all gone, but our kids are still here that’s what they’ll remember.
It didn’t come about by happenstance it came about because of an intentional choice to think about, what is the story, a message that I would love to convey to that next-generation and can I set up the older people in my kids lives to have that moment and to have that sharing? I was thinking in my own life I didn’t have a grandparent who necessarily told a story, but I’ll always remember when I was five or six years old, my father’s father, my grandfather in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we would go up for holiday times and it would be time for supper that night. My grandmother who had partly prepared it, would be calling everybody into dinner and we’d be sitting maybe we’re watching television and my grandfather was there and he was briefly dissuading us from listening to our grandmother. He was dissuading us from going to the dinner table because behind the door that he had in the den, he had a supply of gumdrops, specifically the Chuckles brand for those who may know love or a member, Chuckles’ gumdrops, those rectangular shaped gumdrops in a certain color sequence in that Chuckles packaging and we knew that pop-up was opening up a packet of Chuckles in order to give us each a gumdrop, desert first, a gumdrop before we had to go into supper. There was, of course, some chicanery here, a little bit of mischief in our grandparents eyes, and that’s a memory that I will always have something that he repeated. I don’t know if that was the intention he meant to make on his grandkids so that years and years later, he died in 1972, I’d be talking about this 51 years later, but that was a moment. If you are a parent or a grandparent, lifehack, think intentionally about what tradition, story, or ritual you yourself would like to start or set up someone else in the family, get them started to create and extend the family culture that they have cultivated carefully over the course of their lives to ensure it precedes down through the generations. Thanks again to my friend Kim Conti for that life hack, have your parents read a special story to your kids at a special time.
Before I let you go this week, in the ongoing battle in my household anyway, I don’t know about yours. Should I google it or should I ChatGPT it? Thinking of the Chuckles brand, I couldn’t remember the name of that brand as I prepped for this week’s podcast so I googled old gumdrops USA candy brand. I google those six words and I skimmed down my google search and I absolutely could not find in word or image what I was looking for. Well, I remembered it was a one-word name, but i thought, well, why don’t I just tried to ChatGPT this one. I wrote, what is an old USA candy brand that put gumdrops in about 6-7 different colors, one each, each big and rectangular in a plastic package with a one-word brand. Sure enough, ChatGPT answered, the candy brand you are referring to as likely the Chuckles candy brand. Chuckles is an old and well-known candy brand in the United States that produces gumdrops style candies. The candies are rectangular in shape, come in various vibrant colors, and are typically packaged in a plastic wrapper. Chuckle’s candies are popular for their fruity flavors and nostalgic appeal. Well-played, ChatGPT. See you. That’s a bonus. Number 8, another life hack. Fool-on.