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Asking Those Who’ve Succeeded

Getting advice from those who have succeeded

It’s a fact that in our western modern societies many are obsessed with being thin and being rich. There is some utility to these characteristics though likely far lower than assigned.

Practicing medicine in San Diego was an onslaught of obese diabetics. Diabetes, though having strong genetic factors, is often a side effect of longstanding obesity, which itself is a lifestyle disease.

Food addiction aside, stressful lifestyles aside and the shitty food quality aside, patients are nevertheless always trying to lose weight. They are perpetually trying to get in shape, trying to eat better, to better control their diabetes.


None of my obese patients ask how I stay thin

It’s assumed by most that those who are thin are so because of genetics. Conversely, someone with extra weight is so because of their DNA. I think there is a touch of truth and a ton of fallacy.

I started moonlighting in residency end of 2006 and in this past decade of practicing medicine I cannot recall a single patient who sat me down and asked me what I do to stay thin.

Plenty complimented my genetics.

If their goal is to become thin then why are they obsessed with all the products advertised on TV? How come they are telling me about the newest diet fad they are following? Why are they so set on having their thyroid tests repeated, for the 4th time? hey seeking weight loss medications, weight loss surgery?

They are seeking weight loss medications or weight loss surgery likely out of desperation.

The point is that their efforts are misguided. Forget finding the underlying cause, for now, focus on the weight which is high. Calories in and calories out, it doesn’t get simpler than that.

I suppose it’s the same with debt. When in debt, it matters that we lower it and not look for excuses why we are in debt. And when it comes to building wealth (assuming we don’t have it) then it’s important to ask those who have built wealth how they achieved it.


Being thin and being rich

I am no different from any other 30’s male in a modern society. I want to look fit, I want to have wealth, I want to be happy and healthy.

What I have realized about being fit is that if I put my energy into playing the sports which I enjoy most then I will naturally be fit. There is no need for me to spend hours in the gym trying to get the physique which I think I should have.

Being healthy has to do with what I eat, my sleep hygiene and how much I control my stress level. There is only so much control I have over my environment and there is definitely that genetic lottery of major diseases which I have no control over.


In a not too distant past, I always had a bit of underlying unhappiness.

In time I have realized that it stemmed from trying too hard to conform and being excessively hard on myself.

Later, my lack of happiness was because I just couldn’t come to terms with my situation. I wanted to work less and have more free time but kept blaming my job for sequestering so much of my time.

I spent money to find happiness and that didn’t work. I looked for different partners and it wasn’t there either. I moved and things still didn’t change much.

In the past 2 years, I have finally figured it out. For one thing, my happiness has to do with how much I can accept my circumstances. More importantly, I am happier when I can enjoy the moment and not have to worry about the future.

Happiness is a byproduct of a life lived in line with my values. Figuring out these values is hard enough, then comes living this life in line with them.

Happiness is a fluid state, however. I know things will happen in my life which will throw me off. Parents will die, illness will set in, wealth can be lost and our freedom can be oppressed.


Wealth comes from a combination of high earnings, aggressive savings, long time-horizon, and avoiding risk and greed.

I don’t want to be wealthy out of greed or for the love of money. Having a bunch of zero means shit to me.

Wealth serves only one function in my book, allowing one to live a life with the right amount of freedom.


realizationS about wealth

You know, I can’t recall the last time I went to someone who I considered to be wealthy to ask them what it is that they did.

To be fair, I have tried to read a lot or peripherally follow what wealthy individuals do.

Up until planning and writing this post, I didn’t realize that I have done what many of my patients have done, ignoring their biggest asset in the room.

It’s irrelevant that I’m thin, it’s relevant that the person sitting across from me wants to have my physique. They should be asking me “Hey, stretch, what do you do to stay thin? Go slow, I’m taking notes.”

What I should be doing is going to my network of friends who are wealthy and asking them what they have done to be wealthy. Sure, I might think I know but let’s face it, I don’t know.


What I would ask my wealthy friends

I would ask my buddy’s parents how they planned for the future, how they knew which businesses to get into at what times. I would ask them what they are invested in and what they are doing to plan for the future.

I would ask my old CPA how he managed his time with his many investment properties. How he decided which areas to buy in and how he is diversified.

I would ask my Angel investor friend how he decides on the right risk level and what his long-term plan his with his investment strategy. I would ask him what resources he uses to make his decisions.

I would ask my doctor buddy who is in his early 40’s and worth $3 million how he plans to spend the next few decades of his life. I would ask him what his game plan was when he was 20 and what changes he made along the way. I would ask him how his investment strategy changed during and after the 2008 depression.

I would ask my friend with a manufacturing company how he built it from a garage-made gadget into this massive international product. I would ask him how he dealt with glitches along the way and what his vision is for its future.





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