In 2021, I faced some major decisions.
I had to decide whether I wanted to open my own investment fund and whether I wanted to move to Portugal.
To make sure I was making the right choices, I hired a coach to create a blueprint of myself and my life.
This was something I had heard about from value investors Guy Spier and Mohnish Pabrai.
The two famous value investors once had such a mapping of their lives, complete with an instruction guide.
It changed their lives.
I was particularly taken by Mohnish Pabrai’s case.
A Tailored Instruction Manual for a Good Life
The consultant who created the report told Mohnish Pabrai that he didn’t understand how he got up in the morning and went to work (he was an IT entrepreneur).
The work of running a business was such a poor fit for his personality that the consultant suggested Pabrai sell his company and instead open a value investment fund.
That story fascinated me.
Mohnish Pabrai wouldn’t be a famous value investor at all if it hadn’t been for his meeting with this coach.
Imagine having a document that can give you guidance for making major life decisions. In fact, it’s a kind of shortcut to a good life.
I wanted that document and coaching too. I found out who made the blueprint.
His name is Jack Skeen, and if you ask nicely, I’d be happy to put you in touch with him.
You can also reach out to him directly here, but please tell him that you heard about him from me.
His process is quite special. He conducts two personality tests on you and interviews about 7-8 people who know you well. The personality test is not entirely normal. In fact, he tests you for personality disorders because he believes it can also help identify your strengths and weaknesses.
What was the result of my test?
I Got a “Yes” for Managing Other People’s Money
It’s a very comprehensive report, and I won’t reveal the details about my personality. But I can tell you that I got the green light to move to Portugal and open my fund, Grünbaum Value Invest (raised funds in 2022 and started investing in January 2023).
Today, I know what my strengths and weaknesses are – and that is a great advantage. It means I can plan my life in a way that better compensates for my weaknesses (e.g., by hiring others to do certain things) while amplifying my strengths.
Many of the things I learned are specific to me and may not be super exciting for you to read, but there is also some general life advice that most people would benefit from following. I’ll share those with you here.
In this blog post, I’ll focus on the 5 most important things I learned from working with Jack Skeen that you can also benefit from in your life, so you can create a good life for yourself.
Let’s take a look…
1. Live Life Trusting That Life Cooperates With You
Jack explained that you can live life in three ways:
A. “Life happens to me”
The first is living as a victim, where you believe that life happens to you. At this level, you don’t believe that you can create, and you don’t feel like you have much control. You live passively and wait for things to happened to you.
B. “Life happens by me”
The next level is when you believe that you create life. Here, you believe that you have to create everything yourself, and things only happen if you “fight” for them. You see everything as a problem that you have to solve. You are often “in battle.”
C. “Life happens for me”
The third way is when you believe that life happens through you or for you. Here, you trust that there is a purpose to what happens and that you simply need to have faith in life for the good things to come to you.
“It’s a good way to live when you experience life happening through you. Life creates new opportunities that may not necessarily require great effort from your side. Be curious and open. Keep an eye out for the possibility and add as little as necessary to participate in it,” says Jack Skeen.
I have probably approached life with the second attitude. I’ve seen myself as the creator who had to fight for everything to happen. From creating my career to having children with fertility treatment, moving countries and even my approach to dating.
It’s comforting to think that I can relax a bit and trust in life.
2. Keep Your Focus on the Mission
For me, my mission is to help you and others become financially independent. I do that through the blog, courses, and the Grünbaum Value Invest foundation.
Jack Skeen reminded me again and again to keep my focus on my mission and my two children. He reminded me to avoid getting distracted by trivial matters in life.
It may sound obvious, but I can tell you it’s easier said than done when life throws all sorts of things at you, and perhaps on the same day – you have a feverish child, a broken refrigerator, and a neighbor threatening to poison your cat.
Every time I get frustrated with life’s normal ups and downs, I hear a voice saying, “You don’t have time to get bogged down by trivial stuff. You’re on a mission.”
It gets me back on track every time.
Your mission is different from mine, but you also have something that is important to you. Whether it’s revolutionizing the way we design houses, simplifying business regulations, or raising children (or maybe a combination of professional and family matters), the same applies to you – keep focus on what’s important, on your mission.
Drop the everyday drama. You have a responsibility.
3. Conduct Research Before Making Decisions
Sometimes, I make decisions quickly – sometimes too quickly. I’m super efficient and a quick thinker. But I have to slow down in order to make really sound choices.
Jack has taught me to approach making big life decisions the same way I do when investing in stocks (I’m pretty good with my checklist and analysis, and this is an approach I can spread to other areas in life).
I need to slow down and do my research before jumping into anything.
Let me give you an example: not long ago, I fell in love with a house on the coast of Portugal. It had an amazing view of the sea.
There was another bidder, and the message from the real estate agent was not to hesitate because the house would go to the other party.
I brushed that off, and I took my time (after talking to Jack, actually):
● I visited the house several times.
● I walked around the area and talked to people.
● I had an architect and a building expert evaluate the house before placing a binding bid.
I gathered so much knowledge that I decided to withdraw my bid and let the other interested buyer go ahead with the deal.
The view from the house was stunning, but the house needed extensive renovations to become a really good place to live. It would require too much time and effort from me. (Here we are back to keeping your focus on the mission.)
4. Be Selective With Who You Let Into Your Life
I am very outgoing, and I easily make new friends.
Sometimes I have hired or associated myself with the wrong people, and it has created problems for me in the past.
It could be hiring a cleaner that has a lovely personality but doesn’t really know how to clean. Or a nanny who the kids love, but who doesn’t show up for appointments. Or dating someone who turns out not to be willing to commit to a relationship.
It’s also about conducting research, but researching people is a whole different process than stocks or property.
With people, it’s important to allow time and experience to inform you about the person in front of you.
Jack has reminded me that I should find people who understand and appreciate the specific mission I am on:
“Proceed slowly, be discerning, let things grow. Find people who understand and love you and your mission.”
5. Refuse to Dwell on What Others Think of You
Most people are primarily focused on living an easy and comfortable life, but if you have a true mission, it’s not always easy.
If you have a great idea and a destiny, it can be challenging.
People won’t always understand you if they don’t have a mission themselves. Jack Skeen calls these people who are motivated by comfort and who have no mission in life for “vanilla ice cream people”.
It’s about refusing to think about what other people think of you – especially the vanilla ice cream people.
They won’t always understand you and your mission, and that’s just too bad.
His point is that you undermine your own sense of purpose if you start caring about what others think and do.
Instead of caring about other people’s opinion, try to be in love with yourself and your mission. It elevates you to a different level.
If you want to read more about my mission and how I can help you, you can check out my e-book “Free Yourself”. You can download the book here.