In preparing for an upcoming move from Cleveland to Seattle, we’re going through our belongings Marie Kondo-style to determine what we really need to take with us on this next adventure.
I have a long-documented problem of buying too many books, so this has been a fantastic challenge to decide which books have deserve the right to remain on my bookshelf. I’m trying to limit it to the “hall of fame” books that I would reread any time I can, and those books that I’m still passionate about opening up one of these days.
One of the timeless books that will certainly make the journey is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It was in reading this book that I began my routine of writing three pages in a personal journal every morning. Life changing.
The idea is that in filling three pages every day, you get rid of all the mental baggage. You cleanse your mind of all the junk in the way and allow yourself to focus on being creative. And it works.
One of the coolest outcomes of this process has been how I complete the daily journal. I remember the first time I wrote three pages of content, I wondered how to wrap it up for the day. It seemed so sudden to just stop writing. Should I say, “That’s it,” or “Onward,” or “Love, David,” or what?
In the beginning, I just needed a way to signify the end of my daily notes. But over time I added more and more items at the end of each note, and they became a sort of mantra; a daily reminder of the things I hold dear.
For now, I’ve settled in on these five things which I write at the bottom of my journal every day.
One of my favorite stories of all times reminds us to not take life too seriously. As investors, as traders, as professionals, as humans, we tend to make things seem way more important (a.k.a. stressful) than they need to be. If you’re intrigued, check out my YouTube videoand blog poston the topic.
Steve Jobs quoted The Whole Earth Catalogin his amazing commencement address at Stanford University. On the back page of the final issue was a picture of a country word along with the encouragement to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” This reminds me to look at the world like my kids do.
In a Tim Ferriss interview with author Susan Cain, she shared one of her own mantras which is “Only Connect.” This quote from author E. M. Forster helps me respect the importance of nurturing my network not just professionally but also to explore my passions for music, flying, etc. At some point I changed this to “always connect” and I’m guessing it was because “only” felt somewhat limiting. My goal is to reach out to people, help them, and lift up those around me.
Embrace your passions
After I left Fidelity in 2016, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my passions and how I wanted to live my life. After faith and family, I came up with the next three things that were truly important to me. If I didn’t have these, I wasn’t really alive. Music, Markets and Mindfulness.
I even ordered business cards that say “David Keller, CMT. Music, Markets, Mindfulness.” I created a simple icon for each of these and when I draw them, it’s a reminder to make sure my day includes each of them, even in some small way.
Live in the now
Once I’ve finished writing my daily prose and wrap up the entry with all of the above, I draw two slanted lines. For years, when I would take notes for every business meeting, and those slanted lines would signal to me that it was the end of the meeting. It ended up serving as a signal for my brain to stop thinking about that meeting and start living the rest of my life. Move on!
So that’s it. Every day I empty out my brain of mental baggage, then I write out five things. They remind me to this:
Remember rule number six.
Embrace your passions.
Live in the now.
What do you write at the bottom of your journal?
Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Please see the Disclaimer page for full details.