Simple Formula for Finding What You Should Do For a Living

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – Benjamin Button


(Photo: ジミー リー)

Your life has mostly been decided by others. I am not sure what your religion is, but I can guess that it is the same as your parents and be right majority of the time. What you studied in college has most likely been “recommended” to you by your family. Chances are you will eventually lower your expectations and get married to someone because you are getting older and this is what is expected of you. After all, how else can you live the American dream of having 2.01 children and 2.28 cars?

You like to think that you are a captain of the ship, but in reality, almost everything has been chosen for you by your parents or society.

Deciding what you should do for a career which will consume the rest of your life is one of the most important questions you will have to answer. But how do you decide what you should do? Here is a very simple formula to decide your career based on what you want not what others have chosen for you. 

  1. In one column write down all the things you would love to do for a career if you could. (Yes we would all like to play for the NY Yankees but that is not reality, pick a job that you actually have a chance of landing and have a talent for). Make a list of at least 10 careers. Whatever you think you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life and be happy, write it down. Marine Biologist, Artist, Writer, Fireman, Eco Tour Guide list everything and anything you think you would enjoy doing year after year.

  2. Now in the next column, next to each career, write down what is the LEAST amount of money per year you would be willing to do this job for regardless of what the starting salary is. Think hard about this one. What would the least amount of money you would take to do this job year after year for the rest of your life?

  3. Now write down how many years you would be willing to dedicate to go to school to learn to do each job, assuming that the pay off would be the amount you listed in the previous column. In other words, how many years would you be willing to learn a trade assuming the amount you will make would be the minimum you specified.

  4. In the 4th column write down what is the average salary a person makes for the job you have selected.

  5. In the 5th column write down the years of schooling that is needed to be able to get this job.

  6. Now simply remove any entry where the schooling needed to get a job you listed is more than you specified (Column 5 is larger than column 3) or where the average salary is less than the minimum you specified (Column 4 is smaller than column 2).

  7. You should now have a list of all the careers that made the cut. What career is right for you? The answer is whichever one you would be willing to do for the least amount of money.

The old saying of “Do what you love and money will follow” is true, but a safer version of the saying is “Do what you love and happiness will follow”. The fact that you chose a career that you would be willing to do for the least amount of money means that it is a career that will make you the happiest, since you are willing to trade monetary gains in exchange for doing it. In reality, chances are that you will make a great deal more than the minimum you listed. The odds are also very great that you are going to make more than everyone else in the field because you would be doing it with love and not solely for money.

So is the career you selected going to be the one you will be doing 30 years from now? Maybe and maybe not, who knows? But at least you would have been happy doing it. Put some money aside and if you ever get bored and decide to start new, you have plenty of money to pursue your next adventure.

It’s never too late to follow your dreams and live the life you want, not the one which has been chosen for you by others.

Here is my favorite Benjamin Button clip for inspiration.



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2014 Q1 Report

“The focus of most investors differs from that of value investors. Most investors are primarily oriented toward return, how much they can make and pay little attention to risk, how much they can lose.”  – Seth Klarman


(Photo: 401K)

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security; this is simply how I am managing my money and how I see the market. It is also a record to track my performance.
 All commentary is based on market levels at 03/31/2014. My market level valuations are based on historic PE ratios, profit margins and Q-Ratio among other criteria.

Current Market View:

Markets continue to defy gravity. We are indeed living through a very interesting time. The current evaluations (Shiller PE) we are seeing in US markets (especially small caps) have only happened a few times in the history. 1929, 2000, 2007. Needless to say, we all know how those events ended. Yet markets continue to go up, even as evaluations continue to show negative future returns.

The low return on cash has forced many investors to seek more and more risk. Eventually this party will come to an end and it most likely will be uglier than people anticipate, but for now I am paying a great price for being on the sidelines.

Things I am watching:

Russia is starting to look attractive, but besides that things are pretty expensive everywhere.

Current Market Valuations:

International Markets: International markets are overpriced by about 35% and need to drop about 50% to be a true bargain.

Emerging Markets: Emerging Markets need to drop about 18% to be fairly valued and need to drop about 35% to be a true bargain.

US Large Caps (S&P500):S&P500 is overpriced by about 50% to fair value.

US Small Caps (Russell 2000): US Small Caps continue to be tremendously overpriced and need to drop over 65% just to be fairly valued.

 Current Portfolio as of 03/31/2014:



% of Portfolio

Cash and (Cash like Instruments)


Berkshire Hathaway



ProShares Short Russell 2000



Singapore Dollar


Emerging Market



ProShares Short Small Cap 600



ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury



 My Current Positions:

Cash and cash like Instruments – 69.57 % – Cash, I sold off most of my Asian currency position and moved to cash. I continue to hold a very small position in the Singapore Dollar. I also trimmed some of my Berkshire Hathaway holdings.

Berkshire Hathaway – 11.16% – I sold off some of my Berkshire Hathaway holdings as I feel the markets are getting more and more dangerous.

Russell 2000 Short – 9.63% – I added a bit more to my short position over the last quarter.

Singapore Dollar – 1.58 % – I isolated my Asian currency holding to the Singapore Dollar.

SBB/VWO – .48% – I continue to hold a small long position in Emerging markets and a short position in US small caps. Over all I feel this trade provides the best risk / reward profile.

Long Treasury Short – .45% – Small insurance against a drop in treasuries.

 My Performance:

I consider myself a buy and hold investor and judge the success of my investing over a full market cycle. The performance over a quarter or even a year is pretty irrelevant in the long run. But I am including it just for reference and record keeping.


1Q 2014 Performance

1 Year Performance

Performance since tracking (1/1/2012)

My Portfolio




S&P 500 (IVV)




Total World Stock (VT)





* I have been making a mistake in my previous reports by listing my annualized returns not my total returns. This showed lower returns than I actually received. The problem has been corrected moving forward, but I left the previous reports uncorrected.

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3 Best Things You Must Do If You Want to Succeed in Anything

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley

3 fingers

 (Photo: Mutiara Karina)

Over the years I have spent a lot of time learning and thinking about why certain people succeed or become wealthy while others do not. Why do some reach their goals while others continue to struggle year after year? Why do some people climb to great heights while others quit or resort to mediocrity? After all my success, and many, many failures, I have summarized the 3 most important things I learned, mostly through trial and error.

So, if you want to become wealthy, be great with the opposite sex, lose weight, start a business, find your ideal mate or anything else you dream of, these are the 3 most important things I believe you must do if you want to succeed. Doing these things will help you reach your goal easier, quicker and with a lot less friction. So let’s get started: 

  1. Clearly Define What You Want.

Why this is important:

Most people never reach their goals because they don’t even know what it is they are after. A phrase like “I want to be rich” is too vague and meaningless, if you don’t clearly define it.

Life is a journey, you need to have a plan to go from here to somewhere else. Unless you know where that somewhere else is you will never reach it. When a pilot leaves JFK to fly to Heathrow he knows the exact coordinates of his destination.. He has a flight plan. No pilot ever flew out of NY trying to get to London with the vague idea that it’s somewhere East. By defining what you really want, it will help your conscious and subconscious to put a target on it and work towards it.

What to do:

Whatever it is your want, define it in the most specific ways that you can. The more detailed the better.

If you want to find an ideal soul mate, write out all the ideal traits you would want this person to have, write out how this person would react to you and how your life together would be. If you want to be wealthy write out exactly what that means. What are your possessions, how much money do you have in the bank what does your house look like.

Regardless of your dream, write out your ideal day. You wake up and open your eyes, what do you see? Who is next to you? Where are you living? What do you do next? How do you spend your day? Who are you with? What do you accomplish, what do you do in the evening? Write out in as much detail as you can. Spend at least an hour doing this. Now think about this every day before you go to sleep and when you wake up. At least once a week reread or edit what you have written.

  1. Remove any subconscious obstacles you have.

Why this is important:

If you put a gun to my head and said what is the one tip you can give me for becoming great, this would be it. Everything else is almost irrelevant. It’s only second chronologically; but it’s the most important obstacle to overcome.

Majority of the people never reach their goals because they are torn about actually getting it. They have two forces within them, a conscious one which wants them to succeed and another, their subconscious,which can prevent them from reaching their goals. This is the biggest obstacle that stands in your way. If you can take care of this one issue, you will succeed. If you do not, you will never succeed.

Your brain will keep you from becoming something that you hate. If you want to be rich, but on some level you believe that rich people are stuck up, or that they are evil or that they use people, then it will be extremely difficult for you to actually become wealthy.

If you want to be great with women but you look back at your high school or college days and believe that all the guys who were great with women where dumb A-holes then it will be extremely difficult for you to become great with women. If you want to be great with men but believe only fake, superficial bimbos are great with men, that will be a problem. Because you can’t become something you hate.

As a matter a fact, if you are struggling with money or do not have an abundance with the opposite sex, I can almost guarantee that you, at least on some level, have those beliefs.

You can read all the books about wealth or being social that you want, but unless you take care of this one huge roadblock you will just be spinning your wheels.

What to do:

Be as honest as possible. Write down all the negative beliefs you have about whatever it is you want and then tackle each belief through affirmations. The formula for this is very simple. Start with your belief then write out the complete opposite. So if your belief is “I think rich people are stuck up” your affirmation is “I believe rich people are giving and friendly” If you believe that “Guys who are great with women are brainless jocks” your affirmation is “Guys who are great with women are fun, thoughtful and caring”.

Then add affirmations that remove your particular road blocks about whatever it is you want. I call it “Blessing the thing you want”. You are thankful for the fact that others have what you want. For example, if you want to have a great social life you can write out “I love that there are guys who have abundance with women”. If you are lonely and want an ideal partner write out “I am happy that there are so many great couples who love each other”.

Pick one affirmation and write out 2 pages of it each day. Do the same affirmation or pick a new one whichever one speaks to you the most that day. And do this habitually and consistently every day.

  1. Quantify.

Why this is important:

You need to see the progress you are making in order to stay motivated and see what changes need to be made.

What to do:

Pick your goal and clearly measure your success (or failure) on a regular basis. Say your goal is to lose 50 pounds and you would like to lose 4 pounds a week. Take your goal and divide it by 2. Change losing 4 pounds a week to only 2 pounds a week. This is important because seeing slow progress is a lot more motivating than swinging for the fences and striking out. In the long run the difference between losing your weight in 4 months or 8 months will not be important but being frustrated and quitting after a month because you are not meeting your goals will surely derail you.

Now measure your progress on a regular basis to see if you are moving towards your goal or away from it. But remember as with any goal in life the progress is never linear. Sometimes it’s 2 steps forward 1 step back. Keep moving forward and you will succeed.

That’s it. The 3 most important things you need to help you reach any goal you desire. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

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2013 Q4 – Report

“There actually are two risks in investing: One is to lose money and the other is to miss opportunity. You can eliminate either one, but you can’t eliminate both at the same time.” – Howard Marks

money(Photo: 401K)

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security; this is simply how I am managing my money and how I see the market. It is also a record to track my performance.
 All commentary is based on market levels at 12/31/2013. My market level valuations are based on historic PE ratios, profit margins and Q-Ratio among other criteria.

Current Market View:

With 2013 behind us, what can be learned and what is the take away? For me, the take away is that markets can be irrational for longer than you imagine. 2013 proved to be a difficult year for me, while a few trades that I made have been successful overall, I simply did not have a lot of skin in the game to make it matter. I continue to stay mostly in cash and my long stock holdings are muted by a small cap short position.

Investing is a tough job because no matter how you do it – you always look foolish. Either by getting out of the market too early and staying in cash (me) or risking and losing money when the markets crashes (not me).

Here is a great example of how Isaac Newton, one of the smartest people in the world, invested during the South Sea Bubble and what I see as the fate of many investors today.

Many thanks to Marc Faber for doing the leg work on this chart.


Mr. Newton saw an opportunity, entered the tulip bubble and got out with a decent profit. But then, seeing everyone else around him get rich, he went back in the market only to see it crash and go broke. The chase for a few percent more becomes extremely dangerous during over valued markets like the one we are seeing now. I may have missed out on a good return staying in cash, but I find that loss to be a lot less painful than actually losing money.

Markets can continue to climb but by almost any measure you want to use (Tobin Q, Shiller PE, GNP to total market capitalization) the markets are at best overvalued and at worst extremely overvalued.

I see no reason to compound the mistake of missing the rally by risking capital. The time to get into the market will come and when it does there will be a great deal of money to be made but now is not that time.

Things I am watching:

There are bargains to be had, mostly in a few Emerging Market countries (Russia, Turkey) and I may go into them once there is positive momentum but overall evaluations are rich all over.

Current Market Valuations:

International Markets: International markets are overpriced by about 35% and need to drop about 50% to be a true bargain.

Emerging Markets: Emerging Markets need to drop about 20% to be fairly valued and need to drop about 40% to be a true bargain.

US Large Caps (S&P500): S&P500 is overpriced by about 50% to fair value.

US Small Caps (Russell 2000): US Small Caps continue to be tremendously overpriced and need to drop over 65% just to be fairly valued.

 Current Portfolio as of 12/31/2013:



% of Portfolio

Cash and (Cash like Instruments)


Berkshire Hathaway



ProShares Short Russell 2000



Asian and Emerging Market Currencies


Emerging Market



ProShares Short Small Cap 600



ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury



 My Current Positions:

Cash and cash like Instruments – 60.00 % – Cash seeking fat pitches.

Berkshire Hathaway – 20.56% – Continues to be my largest stock holding over the last few years.

Russell 2000 Short – 9.89% – I added a bit more to my short position over the last quarter.

Asian Currencies – 8.44 % – An insurance policy against the possibility of a falling dollar.

SBB/VWO – .54% – I am not sure what the market will do in the short run (next year or two) but over the long run I am very certain that emerging market will outperform US small cap stocks by a wide margin. I added a little to my position of going long emerging market and short US small caps.

Long Treasury Short – .54% – Small insurance against a drop in treasuries.

I consider myself a buy and hold investor and judge the success of my investing over a full market cycle. The performance over a quarter or even a year is pretty irrelevant in the long run. But I am including it just for reference and record keeping.

 My Performance:

I consider myself a buy and hold investor and judge the success of my investing over a full market cycle. The performance over a quarter or even a year is pretty irrelevant in the long run. But I am including it just for reference and record keeping.


4Q 2013 Performance

1 Year Performance

Performance since tracking (1/1/2012)

My Portfolio




S&P 500 (IVV)




Total World Stock (VT)





* My performance was actually a bit better but for simplification I am not counting the return on my cash which was around 1%


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How to Land Your Dream Job in 5 Simple Steps

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucious


(Photo: Marsmett Tallahassee)

During the summer vacation my junior year in high school I decide that I needed to get my first job. I applied for one at the local plant nursery. Being awkward, anti social and shy I figured that I was better suited to be around plants and shrubbery than people. I got the job, although in hindsight, it was most likely due to being the only applicant and not due to any amazing interview skills.

The first day on the job the boss asked me to bring the groceries into his house after shopping, which I was happy to do. That happiness quickly faded when I was attacked and bitten multiple times by his undersized, annoying and hyper dog. I am not sure what was worse; the pain from the bites or the fact that the boss thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. I was one hour into the first day job of my life and it already sucked worse than I could have imagined.

Over the next week things did not get much better. Besides being yelled at and belittled for every minor infraction by a bitter alcoholic ogre of a boss, I was also being paid $3.60 an hour, way under minimum wage at the time.

A few weeks into the job my boss, (let’s call him “Drunky”) decided to send me to the local hardware store on my bicycle to pick up some paint. At that point I was happy to do anything which did not involve interacting with Drunky. I saw a sign at the hardware store that said that they were hiring and found out the pay was $4 an hour. That was over a 10% increase from the crap job I was in.

As I was riding back with the bag full of paint cans dangerously hanging from my handlebars, I decided that I either needed to get a raise or get a new job. So after delivering the paint cans, I told Drunky that the hardware store was hiring and they were offering $4.00 an hour which was a lot more than the $3.60 he was paying me. For some reason this caught Drunky off guard, I am not sure if this was actually due to my statement or to some sort of alcohol withdrawal symptom that he all of sudden experienced. But after asking me to repeat what I said and thinking about it for a few seconds he said…”Ok kid, I will raise your pay to $3.80”.

That was the last day I saw Drunky as I started my new career at the hardware store making $4.00 an hour. The job involved a lot of stocking shelves, doing inventory, scrubbing floors and loading lime and fertilizer bags into the trunks of stranger’s cars. The job also sucked but just not as much. I made enough money that summer to buy a new BMX bike and some Rush albums.

I have often said that it is very difficult to become rich working for someone else but I have known a bunch of rich self made business owners who are miserable. The big question is what is it all for? Why do you want to be wealthy? For me, it was never about having fancy things, but more because I wanted freedom. I wanted the freedom to do what I desired each day and not have to put up with Drunky or loading fertilizer bags in people’s cars.

I decided that working for a risky startup or starting my own business, even if it failed, was better than a steady paycheck doing something I hated. My outlook could have been completely different if I actually enjoyed the first few jobs I had or felt appreciated and challenged.

Starting your own business is not for everyone, and the path to happiness does not necessarily mean passing through Millionaire’s Row. If you wake up each morning happy to go to a job you love then you already have it better than 99% of the people on the planet. More money is not going to bring you any more joy. Working for someone else may never make you a multimillionaire but you have already won in the game of life so who cares.

What do you do if you don’t have a desire to start your own business but merely want to work for a great company with great people and a great culture? Here is how to land your dream job in easy 5 steps. (This is exactly how I would do it if I had to do it all over again and had no desire to start my own business.)

Step 1. Find your breaking point?

If you are at a job you dislike and you are not sure about leaving ask yourself this question: How much less would you have to be making at your current job in order for you to not think twice about leaving? Remember this number.

Step 2. Go towards the light.

Find a company that you absolutely would love to work for and whose values you respect. If you can’t think of any go to “Fortune’s List of Best Companies to Work For”. This is a list of companies who treat their employees with great respect, have a great culture and opportunities for growth

Select your state and see if the companies are located anywhere near you. Even if you don’t see anything near you, don’t feel discouraged. Go through all the companies on the list, many might have branches near you.

Step 3. Throw your hat into the ring.

Find the companies you like and go to their web sites to see if there are any job openings. I recommend starting with the ones with fewest employees and work backwards from there. The smaller companies generally have less red tape in the hiring process. Now apply for any job which you think you might be good at, even if it’s not directly related to the field you are in and pays al least the same amount as the answer you gave in Step 1. Wait to hear back, if you get the job you are set, if not go on to step 4.

Step 4. Go directly to the top.

If the company you wish to work for is not hiring or you did not get selected after applying, find out who the founder, CEO or members of the board are. Look up any interviews they have given in print or on YouTube. Find something interesting about what they said that deeply resonated with you. Find the address of the company and write a letter directly to that person.

Step 5. The Letter.

This is it. This is how you would separate yourself from everyone else. You are not looking for a handout, you truly want to give your all and fully commit to a job with the opportunity to advance where you feel appreciated and respected.

If I was at a dead end job I despised I would probably love to get a job at Zappos. Not only is it one of the best companies to work for but Tony Hsieh is an amazing CEO and leader.

Here is the exact letter I would write if I wanted to work at Zappos (or any company) and they were not hiring.


Dear: Mr. Hsieh,

I recently watched the talk you gave at Stanford University on the culture you built at Zappos. It was truly one of the most moving and insightful talks I have ever seen. Based on hearing your speech, I decided to become a Zappos customer.

It amazes me the great lengths that the people in your company go to in order to bring joy to so many customers. Zappos is not just a company I plan on doing business with again and again but I wish I had the kind of people that work for your company in my life.

I know you are not currently looking to hire anyone but I believe I can make an amazing addition to your team. I would like to prove to you that I have what it takes, not only fit in, but to add a great deal to your company.

Here is what I propose:

  • I would like to come and work for you for free for a week at any capacity you see fit. I would do any job that needs to be done. If at any moment (even after an hour) you are not happy with my performance, or don’t feel that I fit into your culture, you can let me go. I will feel down but I would know that I gave it my best shot.

  • I am ready to come and work for your company for a week at anytime convenient for you. Just give me a few week notice since I would be using my vacation time since I currently have a day job working in customer support for a computer company.

  • I am including a check to Zappos for $200. Please cash it; I want to compensate your company for any time that I may be taking from your employees due to them spending time with me and for any office supplies that I may use during my week trial. If you do hire me, and only if you hire me, I would like to convert my $200 check for a $200 Zappos gift certificate since regardless of the outcome I plan on shopping with you for a long time.

Thank you again for your time and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the amazing company and culture you have created.

I look forward to your reply and looking forward to being a part of the Zappos team.


Michael Page 

A few notes:

  • The check does not have to be $200. It can be $100 or $500. Pick any number that feels comfortable to you. The odds of your check actually being cashed is small.

  • Make sure the check is made out to the company NOT the person you are writing the letter to. You are not bribing anyone, you simply want to make sure that the company is fairly compensated for taking a chance on you.

  • The smaller the company the more likely this method will work.

That’s it. 5 simple steps to change your life.

Do something different, take chances. We all have limited time on this earth and there are no rewards for living in mediocrity. Shake up your life, time is short.

Michael Page

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Taming the Black Dog: How to Hack Depression

I’ll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” ― Henry Rollins


(Photo: Nesster)

The Grey Dog

When depression comes it should come bearing a fruit basket, so while you are contemplating the insignificance of your existence you can at least enjoy an apricot or two. But depression comes bearing neither produce nor an instruction manual to help us make sense of the suffering or even a way out.

I was depressed most of my childhood and through my early 20s. As I built a better life for myself, the depression slowly lifted but has not disappeared completely. It still shows up in my life every once in a while but over the years I learned to deal with it. It’s much like an annoying uncle who comes to visit uninvited and whose presence you disdain but yet have learned to tolerate.

I want to share some of ways I have learned to deal with depression and the things that have really helped me. Over the years I have found numerous tricks and shortcuts to minimize and even prosper from depression. Most of these ideas are from trial and error, self experimentation and paying attention – trying to observe my own depression as an outsider.

 The “Blah’s”


This depression comes every few months, it’s not really a depression but more of a “blah” feeling, where you just feel down and don’t have a lot of motivation to do things. You want to close the curtains and veg out. It’s not an overall depression but more of a semi numb feeling where you just have diminished enthusiasm. If it takes hold, it usually lasts a few days but most of the time I found that it can be avoided with the following.


  1. Exercise.
    This is one of those things that works almost without fail. Any type of workout I have found will improve my mood, but I have had better results after weight lifting than running. The workout does not have to be long at all 15 to 20 minutes of HIIT workout will usually do the trick. The positive feelings after a workout I have found to last usually the whole day and into the following day.

  2. Staying Busy or do the one thing you have been putting off.
    Staying busy and distracting yourself will most of the time improve your mood. But I found one of the best ways to feel better if you are depressed is to do the one thing which you have been putting off and have been dreading doing. Could be a phone call, could be taking care of a project you have been putting off or it could be taking your car to get an oil change. Whatever task that takes less than 2 hours to complete which you know you have to do at some point but been avoiding is the thing that you should do if you are down. I found that doing my dreaded task first thing in the morning really helps.

  3. Cleaning your place.
    I came across this trick by reverse engineering and seeing what I do once I come out of a depression. Cleaning my place was almost always one of the first things I do. I started experimenting and seeing if I can “trick” myself and feel better if I clean my place as soon as I start feeling depressed. This usually works, plus it’s much easier to feel down if your place is messy and dirty.

  4. Compliment people.
    I have found that if I say kind things to strangers when I am down I tend to feel better. Usually a kind word to a checkout clerk or someone who is not expecting a compliment improves my overall mood. You should always do kind things for strangers but I definitely noticed a lot bigger return when it is done when I am down.

  5. Being around people, no matter how painful it may be.
    The problem with doing any of the things I mentioned is that when you are down you really don’t feel like exercising, cleaning, doing hated tasks or being overly social. This is one of those things I found that you have to force yourself to do even if you hate it, especially first thing in the morning. Getting up and starting a routine as soon as you wake up I found to be key. Unfortunately, if you are feeling really, really down none of the things I mention will help, but more on that in a minute.


Here are the things that I have tried but had limited success with:

  1. Writing all the things you are grateful for and things that went right.
    Robert A. Emmons, of the University of California and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami conducted a study where they instructed people to keep a journal listing five things for which they felt grateful for, like a great meal, great friends, something they’d learned or a sunset they’d enjoyed. The gratitude journal was brief and done only once a week, but after two months there were significant effects. Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier.
    Unfortunately, after trying this for a while I have not had the same results as the study group. (Still a good exercise to do even if you are not feeling down)

  2. Taking a Cold Shower.
    A 2008 study at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found that depressed patients who were treated with cold showers showed a significant improvement in mood. The treatments consisted of cold showers that were 20°C for 2 to 3 minutes, performed once or twice daily over several months. I have tried this and it does work to some extent but if you are already down do you really want to step into a cold shower and be hosed off like some Alabama Freedom Walker? This is helpful but to me it was just not worth the sacrifice, especially when things like working out had more positive effect.

  3. Sleep.
    Sleep is really interesting. At times I found that if I am down and take an hour or two nap, I will feel better when I wake up, but other times I found that I actually feel worse and irritated. I have not been able to find a way to get constant positive results from napping.

  4. Happy Light.
    Chris Kresser had a very good article on using light therapy to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder. (SAD) I have tried this but have not been able to detect a clear positive pattern.

  5. Being outdoors and vitamin D.
    Studies indicate that there is a correlation between D levels and depression. I have found no difference over the years with my D levels being in the mid 20’s Ng/mL to close to 50 Ng/mL. I did find that being outdoors does increase my mood ever so slightly although usually the following day. Being outdoors for even an hour is equivalent to roughly 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D. I have found that taking a dose of 10,000 IU to 20,000 IU of Vitamin D, did not produce the same effect. So I think there is something besides Vitamin D which might attribute to the positive effect of being outdoors, or the body processes Vitamin D from sunshine in a different way compared to pill form.

Even though I had limited success with the things mentioned above your millage might vary so feel free to give them a try.

 The Black Dog


That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” – Elizabeth Wurtzel


(Photo: Zebra Pares)

Winston Churchill, who battled with mental illness for most of his life, referred to his depression as the “Black Dog”. He was fearful of ending his life during his depressive episodes, saying “I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.”

It’s so easy for someone to question how can one of the greatest world leaders beloved by millions possibly be so depressed? Unfortunately, depression does not make a lot of sense, especially to people who have never experienced it.

I have been truly deeply depressed only about a half dozen times in my life, all the times came unexpectedly (although they tended to show up either around my birthday or around the holidays). The depression usually lasts about a week… but it’s a week of pure hell.

One of the most important things I learned when trying to figure out depression is that fighting it does not help. No amount of affirmations, “turning that frown upside down”, gratitude exercises and other self help crap works. The people who recommend those things clearly have never been truly depressed. When you are truly in the depth of depression even interacting with a checkout clerk at the supermarket is a painful ordeal. When you are truly depressed, depression is not something that happens to you, it is who you are and who you become. Everything is different, the sun does not shine as bright, and the world seems distant and unattached. You are not living but existing, going through the motions of life like a zombie, simply because you have done it before. But you are not really there. That is what real depression is.

My depression also comes with anxiety which is really the hardest part. Depression + Anxiety is a little like New Kids on the Block going on tour with The Backstreet Boys. They are horrible by themselves, but when combined, it makes for a really insufferable experience.

I can’t say that I was ever able to lift myself out of deep depression once it has set in, but I have found a few tricks to minimize its pain. Here is what helped me and what might help you.

  1. Reward yourself for being depressed.
    Stop thinking that there is anything I need to do or that there is very much that I could do. I accept that this is how I will be for the next week or so and don’t feel bad for feeling bad. I then give myself permission to do things that I deny myself when I am feeling good. In other words, I reward myself for being depressed. I watch dumb, brain numbing stuff on TV that I would never watch while being happy and productive (Hello Miami Vice reruns). I completely go off my healthy diet and eat whatever the hell I want. (I am looking at you Kit Kats and Nutella). I waste time extensively (Did someone say girl on girl porn?).
    I know that I am going on a trip to hell for about a week how can I make my voyage less painful? I do it by giving myself permission to be imperfect, lazy and unproductive and completely free.

  2. Know that you are in good company.
    Whenever I feel truly down, I look at my bookshelf and at my music collection and realized that pretty much everyone whom I respect has been where I am now. There are very few great artists, writers or people of any importance who have not suffered as much or more than I have. Depression gives me sensitivity and insight into the world that I would not have otherwise. I learned to never be ashamed of how I feel but wear my depression as a badge of honor during the time I am going through it, I am in good company.

  3. Pile on.
    When you are feeling truly down – everything sucks. You feel like a failure, you underrate your successes and concentrate only on your flaws and failures. This is natural part of depression along with the horrible feeling of helplessness. I have found that I get some relief if I feel that I have some ability to influence how I feel. Unfortunately, attempting to make me feel better never works but I found that I can get a little bit of power and control by having the ability to make myself feel worse. I will pile on and try to think of as much negative stuff as I can while being depressed. If depression makes me feel like a failure at one part of my life I like to find other parts of my life in which I am successful in and try to come up with reasons why I am a failure in those areas as well. This makes me feel worse which in effect makes me feel better because it gives me the power to see that I actually do have power in a powerless situation to influence how I feel (even if it’s for the negative). But my mind, just like a dog to which you fake throw a tennis ball, it figures out that I am messing with it. At which point, my brain catches on and says, “Yes, I know that you suck at this part of your life, but the other part you claim you suck at, I think you are trying to pull a fast one on me because you are not as bad as you claim, let me show you why….” This in turn generates positive thoughts which are a warm relief.

  4. Be anxious about something else.
    To me the depression is not the hard part it’s the anxiety which seems to fixate on something, build it up and make it real. What I found interesting is that each time I have had one of my depressive episodes it’s always ONE thing that I am anxious about never TWO or THREE. I have found that I can minimize the anxiety if I pick another thing to obsess about. Here is a simple example of how this would work in reference to something that probably everyone has experienced. Let’s say you are driving and you have this anxiety because you feel you left the oven on. No matter what, you do you keep obsessing about the oven. In this situation pick another thing which might be even more real and try obsessing on that. Here what the inner dialogue might sound like: “Yes, I know I probably left the oven on and it will burn down the whole house, but I also forgot to lock the front door which means that I will probably be robbed first and then the house will burn down.” Try to fixate and come up with all the reasons why you left your door unlocked and why you will most likely be robbed. For some strange reason in my case, anxiety only latches onto one thing and is not capable of handling two separate items. This seems to have power to short circuit the anxiety and minimizes it’s powers.

  5. Do the Math.
    Let’s go back to the made up anxiety example where you start obsessing about leaving the oven on. One thing that helps is to do the math on the problem. If you are away from home and you are obsessing about leaving the oven on and you think your place will burn down, do a simple calculation. What are the odds that there will be a house fire? Well, if there were roughly 500,000 house fires last year and there are roughly 150,000,000 homes in the US that means that my odds of me having a house fire is roughly 1 in 300 this year. I then compare it to something for which I do not have any anxiety over such as driving. There were 6 million car accidents last year and there are roughly 250,000,000 cars in the US. So the odds of me getting into a car accident this year are roughly 1 in 41. The odds are much greater that I will get into a car accident than have a fire in my place and if I am not anxious about something which has a much greater odds of happening then why should I be anxious about something which is much less likely to happen? Breaking things up mathematically really helps put things in perspective. As one enlightened person once said to me “The thing that ultimately gets you is never the thing you fear or obsess about, it’s usually completely unexpected”. So stop worrying.

  6. Finally from Eckhart Tolle’s advice about living in the moment and being the observer of your life.
    I found that to some extent depression and anxiety can be relived if you try to separate yourself from your depression and try to focus on being the observer who watches and views himself going through depression from the outside. Like Jane Goodall studying the chimps, become the person who watches and studies and takes notes as an outsider, observing what is happening to you. This has been very helpful and it’s also the root of all spiritual enlightenment.

If you are depressed, seek help and know that you are going through what hundreds of millions of people have gone through before you over the centuries. You are no different and you are not a special and unique snow flake. Your suffering is ordinary.

Whatever it is you want to accomplish in life, it is hard to do without having enthusiasm for it. If you lack enthusiasm because you are depressed, I would devote a lot of time to trying to fix that first. See what others have done and do a lot of self experimentation. Approach depression like you would a puzzle which has a solution that is unique to you and remember that the answers are out there.

Michael Page

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The Ultra Rich Dumb Money Bubble

“Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.” – Marlon Brando

balloon dog(Photo: Charles Nouÿrit )

Over the last 5 years while most of Americans have struggled, the wealth and lives of the ultra rich have gotten better and better. For example the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (which should really be renamed “Dumb Stuff the Ultra Rich spend their Money on Index”) is up over 40%. If we dive deeper into the numbers we will find that over the last 5 years expensive watches are up 33%, Chinese Ceramics are up 43%, Collective stamps are up 83%, Art is up 12% and classic cars are up 115%. The problem with all of the items is that their price is not determined by any intrinsic value but rather by what someone else is willing to pay for it. If someone wants to spend millions of dollars for a small ceramic bowl they have all the right to do as they wish, but what is interesting to me is at what point does this ego fueled party come to an end?

I believe what we are witnessing now is rather unique time in history. Just like during the dot com bubble when the newly made rich day traders all thought they were geniuses we now have hubris bubble among the ultra rich. There are now a great many newly made billionaires who all believe they are geniuses, failing to see that the rising tide of liquidity has been lifting all the boats for the ultra rich.

Nothing signifies this more than the art market. I find it so amazing that the same people who would never venture into penny stocks, for the fear of losing due to market manipulation, would not think twice about spending millions in the art market, which is tremendously more corrupt and manipulated than the stock market ever was.

I fail to see any intrinsic reason besides ego to spend tens of millions of dollars on a painting or over 50 million on a stainless steel balloon dog. Now you might call me a simpleton who does not understand high art, and you may be right. But if I do not understand art I find it hard to believe that some newly made Russian oligarch who owns a coal mine is that much more knowledgeable in it than me.

The rich buy art for the same reason hip hop artists buy expensive champagne. How many people would actually buy Cristal if the bottle said Yellow Tail or if there were no other people there to see them buy it and drink it? Just like I am certain that most people would not be able to tell the difference between a $2000 bottle of champagne and $50 bottle, I am more than willing to bet that some newly made Chinese billionaire can’t tell the difference between a $5,000,000 painting of blotches and squiggly lines from a $500 painting of blotches and squiggly lines.

The ultra rich have been bidding up prices among themselves for a while now, and sooner or later the party will come to an end. Make no mistake, the super rich have always overpaid for items that enhance their status and stroke their ego, this has been going on since the beginning of time. The only difference now is that there is a lot more self delusion as to why this is actually a good investment option.

This might be one of those rare times where a constantly rising stock market, low return on cash, tremendous liquidity and old fashion hubris is causing a lot of the onetime smart money of the ultra rich to become dumb money. And like all dumb money in the long run, it usually does not stay with its owners for very long.

Here is a great piece 60 Minutes did on the art world from a few years ago; the situation has become even worse since then.

Michael Page

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2013 Q3 – Report

 The best way to outperform is to avoid the disasters” – Jim Chanos 


(Photo: 401K)

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security; this is simply how I am managing my money and how I see the market. It is also a record to track my performance.
 All commentary is based on market levels at 9/30/2013. My market level valuations are based on historic PE ratios, profit margins and Q-Ratio among other criteria.

 Current Market View:

We are indeed living in interesting times. Extremely overvalued markets continue to defy gravity pushing higher and higher regardless of underline evaluations. The big problem in investing during bubbles like this one is that you either look foolish by getting out before the top and watch everyone else make money or you look foolish getting out after the crash. I chose to be in the first category. I took a defensive position in my portfolio last year and I missed a big chunk of the melt up that has taken place. But to me the downside is much larger than the upside and I see no reason to venture onto thin ice to pick up nickels and dimes.

The majority of the time you pay a very high price in the stock market by staying in cash but when the markets are this overvalued I am willing to pay that price. For those who have been reading my market forecasts over the last two years you may get the impression that I am pessimistic perma bear but that is not the case. For most of my investing history I have been almost fully invested in the market. As a matter a fact, the last time I was positioned this defensively was in 2007 and 2008 before the big market crash.

There are currently some decent deals to be found in the emerging markets which are now trading at average historic evaluation levels and normally I would venture into them. But with the US stock market being ridiculously overvalued, I fear that when the crash comes, it will drag other markets down as well. That’s why I feel comfortable staying on the sidelines.

Just how overvalued is the US stock market? It depends on which criteria you want to focus on. For me – I like the Shiller PE ratio (the S&P 500 divided by the 10-year average of inflation-adjusted earnings) along with a few others. If we look at the Shiller PE ratios we see that the market has only been this overvalued a few times in history: before the 1929 crash, before the 2008 crash and at the middle of the dot com bubble.

Over the last 15 years if you were fully invested in the market you would have seen your portfolio lose close to 50% of its value – twice. I suspect that the next market crash will be no different. I do, however, think that the next market crash might be a lot scarier than the last two. During the dot com and real estate bubble crashes the investor had some silver lining of hope that the Fed would move in to protect the system and lower rates to spur growth. Unfortunately, at current historic low rates, there is very little that the Fed can do. For this reason, I think the next crash will be truly scary for investors as they realize that there is no safety net and nobody there to save them.

When will the crash happen? That I cannot predict. I do know that sooner (rather than later) the markets will offer some truly amazing deals which will allow an investor to make a very generous return on their investments. Unfortunately, now is not that time.

Things I am watching:

Emerging Markets are about 25% from a true bargain. I also see a lot of opportunities in a number of countries in Europe as well as Russia and Brazil. I hope to go into them once they hit new lows and establish momentum.

Current Market Valuations:

International Markets: International markets are overpriced by about 30% and need to drop about 45% to be a true bargain.

Emerging Markets: Emerging Markets are trading at a slight discount.

US Large Caps (S&P500): S&P500 is overpriced by about 50% to fair value.

US Small Caps (Russell 2000): US Small Caps continue to be tremendously overpriced and need to drop over 60% just to be fairly valued.


Current Portfolio as of 09/30/2013:



% of Portfolio

Cash and (Cash like Instruments)


Berkshire Hathaway



ProShares Short Russell 2000



Asian and Emerging Market Currencies


Emerging Market



ProShares Short Small Cap 600



ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury



 My Current Positions:

Cash and cash like Instruments – 61.01 % – Dry powder waiting to be put to use.

Berkshire Hathaway – 19.64% – My largest stock holding over the last few years.

Russell 2000 Short – 10.02% – I added a bit more to my short position over the last quarter.

Asian Currencies – 8.42 % – An insurance policy against the possibility of a falling dollar.

SBB/VWO – .37% – It is tempting to wade into the markets, unfortunately there are very few bargains to be had. In those situations I tend to prefer to play the spread (going long and short). One such play which screamed as a bargain is the spread between returns of emerging market stocks and small cap US stocks. Based on evaluations EM should outperform by about 10% a year on average over the next 5 to 10 years. (How it will do over the next year or two is anyone’s guess). I established a small position going long Emerging market and Shorting S&P SmallCap 600 which I hope to add to if the spread widens.

Long Treasury Short – .54% – Small insurance against a drop in treasuries.

At the start of the year I established a small position of going long gold miners and shorting gold. I closed out my position last quarter at a small gain after I started to become more and more uncomfortable holding Deutsche Bank ETN. (DGZ) (ETN unlike an ETF is only backed by the faith of the bank issuing it). With Deutsche Bank’s current leverage of close to 50X, I did not think I was being compensated for taking on that much risk. 

Brazil Equities –  I closed my position in Brazil equities last quarter for a small gain.

 My Performance:

I consider myself a buy and hold investor and judge the success of my investing over a full market cycle. The performance over a quarter or even a year is pretty irrelevant in the long run. But I am including it just for reference and record keeping.


3Q 2013 Performance

1 Year Performance

Performance since tracking (1/1/2012)

My Portfolio




S&P 500 (IVV)




Total World Stock (VT)





* My performance was actually a bit better but for simplification I am not counting the return on my cash which was around 1%

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101 Tips on Becoming Great

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammad Ali  

if you want to become great

(Photo: *Eddie)

Ever since I got out of high school I have been keeping track of anything I come across which I think could benefit me. Whether it is a saying, an insight, or a different way of viewing the world, I was looking for anything which might help me to become better. Over the years, I have accumulated notebooks and spreadsheets full of things categorized by different topics. I want to share as much as I can with you.

Many of these tips are things I figured out on my own, a lot are quotes and ideas I came across over years of reading, listening and thinking. I tried to give credit where credit is due, but many ideas are without attribution only because I did not write them down at the time and came back to them after some reflection.

I hope one or two ideas might change the way you view the world and your life and I hope that there is something in my writings which will help you become the best you.


1) To reach greatness I must let the Universe lead me to it, not me or my ego


2) “As long as you live keep learning how to live” – Seneca


3) “Dare to Be Naive” – Buckminster Fuller on becoming wise


4) “Courage is a muscle that can be built up” – Theodore Roosevelt


5) After success is the most dangerous time, because it allows you to rest and to believe that the formula is correct. It might not be. Always be willing to start from scratch after every success.


6) All the fears and challenges are not with anything in the world, they are inside of me. If I can battle them and win, my success will follow.


7) Always act confident and confidence will come.


8) Always be a graceful loser, people remember it.


9) Always be free to reinvent yourself.


10) Always give a positive label to whatever I am doing.


11) Always pretend that I am 7 and I don’t have to go to school even though it’s a school day. What would I do today? This creates more creativity and better thinking.


12) Always welcome change.


13) Anything I don’t fully enjoy I will never be great at.


14) Avoid extreme ideology.


15) Avoid people who use the word “Should”. Such as “The world Should be a certain way”. They are not mature and do not accept life and its circumstances.


16) Be an Artist. Create something even if it’s not very good.


17) Be aware of same race bias. We are more likely to believe someone of the same race regardless of the facts.


18) Be comfortable being uncomfortable.


19) Be comfortable in not knowing what will happen next.


20) Be open to anything, don’t dismiss any new idea right away.


21) Be patient. Anything that I want and don’t yet have is due to me not accepting it in my subconscious yet.


22) Before attempting something write down all the excuses I can come up with and then write down why those excuses are bullshit.


23) Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about people.


24) “Biggest hinderance to reach greatness is ego sensitivity to finding out if you are right or wrong and identifying ones strengths and weaknesses” – Ray Dalio


25) Champions are made when nobody is watching.


26) Confidence comes from doing things that go against the grain of society and being comfortable with it. Break out of the “This is what is expected” routine.


27) Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyways.


28) Don’t be realistic – dream the crazy dreams.


29) Don’t avoid things I fear. Admit it and take steps.


30) Don’t focus on things I can’t change.


31) Don’t mistake my traits for who I am. I am a fluid entity, be willing to change.


32) Don’t trade comfort for change. Be willing to let go of the comfort of the familiar (crappy job, bad relationship) for change. The ability to let go of toxic comfort quickly determines success.


33) Don’t try to be too perfect. That energy takes away from creative energy I need.


34) Embrace my fears fully. “Hug the Monster”.


35) Face your fear and the death of fear is near.


36) Fill my life with sensual pleasures of all kind.


37) God is in the uncertainty.


38) Hard work is only hard work if it has no meaning.


39) Ask how would I live my life if nobody ever told me how to live my life?


40) I can do a lot if I just look past the fear and see what’s on the other side.


41) I need to be open to all possibilities. Be open to other possible realities.


42) In any endeavor he who loves it the most usually wins.


43) In order to get something I first need it to feel natural.


44) It’s easier to avoid trouble than get out of it.


45) Key to life is to learn to be comfortable in the uncertainty of life.


46) Leaders need to know when to become followers, and followers need to know when to become leaders.


47) Live everyday like I just started over; be free and feel excited about trying new things.


48) Make eye contact with everyone especially people of authority.


49) Never be afraid to die because you’re born to die.


50) Never try to impress other people by imitating them, it just creates a weaker version of them and they will hate you since it represents their insecurities.


51) Nothing great ever comes into the world without enthusiasm.


52) People who are great always take the blame and know why things went wrong when they do. Average people lay blame. Always have a good idea and a plan and look honestly why a plan might not have worked.


53) People who are successful have a clear vision on what they need to do and can picture themselves doing it even if they have never done it before. Do the same.


54) Push myself hard and then tell myself I am the best.


55) Push myself outside my comfort zone each day.


56) Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.


57) Relive each day and see what I would have done differently and replay the good version in my mind.


58) Resist Nothing.


59) See myself as the best person I want to become and commit to it fully.


60) Seek enthusiasm and passion for life.


61) Studies show that people perform better when relaxed. So try staying relaxed in stressful situations.


62) Surround myself with beauty.


63) Surround myself with people better than me and role models.


64) Take what I want to happen and in detail write in out to make in happen that way.


65) The abundance of things I receive is normal. It’s the way things should be.


66) The best predictor of success is optimism. Always focus on being optimistic.


67) The big stuff is just as easy to manifest as the small stuff. It’s all in feeling worthy of it.


68) The key to life is to lose larger and larger battles. It means I am learning.


69) The most dangerous circumstance is getting comfortable cheating a little, since it leads to big cheats.


70) The only thing that keeps me from getting anything I want is the story I tell myself about it.


71) The secret to life is not to take your life personally.


72) The voice that I talk to myself in my head determines my mood. So use calm positive voice.


73) There are no good or bad people only teachers.


74) There’s nobody here to save me. To get what I want I have to go out and get it myself.


75) Thinking you are the shit or a piece of shit, takes the same amount of ego energy.


76) To be a leader, strive for excellence have a vision be more passionate and be willing to take on the worst jobs.


77) To be good at anything you can’t rely on what you did in the past. You can never look back. Don’t get attached to the past.


78) To be great at something you must be clear and view it as something playful and fun with no negative thoughts.


79) To decide if I should do something distract myself and then think of the problem again and go with the gut instinct at that time. Scientists found this is the most accurate way to come to a correct decision.


80) To feel like I own the room. Walk in and pretend to touch all 4 walls with my hands. Breathe in the space.


81) To get something, picture it clearly in your mind while smiling and meditate on it.


82) To go anywhere first I have to be most brutally honest about my current situation because then I will improve.


83) To have a great life assume that everyone you meet is your friend and wants only the best for you.


84) To overcome fear of something, act like you are not afraid of it and soon it will be so.


85) Try new ways of thinking about what I want to improve. I can always go back to the old ways of thinking if it does not work out.


86) We are what we think. Think positive things.


87) Whatever I am lacking, write how grateful I am about it and that others have it.


88) Whatever I focus on will grow, focus on positive things.


89) When arguing appeal to interest not logic.


90) Whenever I gossip I pull myself down not the other person. If I catch myself gossiping always end with something positive to say about that person.


91) Whenever I am trying something scary. Stay with it until the fear and anxiety is reduced at least by half.


92) When someone gets what I want be happy for them. That’s the only way to get it.


93) When talking to a stranger, be positive in describing anyone, they will then assign those qualities to you.


94) Write down all things that hold me back.


95) Write down things that I want in personal terms and read it when I wake up and when I go to sleep.


96) You can always push yourself to do more. If someone else was pushing me (coach) I would do a lot more. Be that coach to myself.


97) You can only learn from a mistake you admit.


98) You can only take on a strong position when you can argue for the opposite of what you believe better than the person who supports that idea.


99) You have to be willing to get to the truth so badly that you are willing to humiliate yourself to get it.


100) You need to be able to give up freely the thing you want the most.


101) You only start living when you lose the fear of dying.


Michael Page

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When Will a Toyota Corolla be Faster than a Porsche? The Moore’s Law of Automobile Performance

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley


(Photo: CarSpotter)

I recently wrote an article mentioning about how my old Acura Integra was faster than the fastest car from the 1920’s and 1930’s. The point was not that my Acura was necessarily fast (it was not) but that over the years the automotive technology has improved so much that even an average old jalopy, made over the last 20 years, is on average faster than the fastest cars made even 60 years ago. I decided to see just how fast that evolution was taking place and just how long it would take for your average car to be as fast as a sports car made today. For comparison I took the Porsche Boxter.

Depending what model we look at, the Boxter 0 to 60 times are between 4.2 and 5.5 seconds. I decided to use a good round number of 5 seconds as the time to reach for. I also picked a few car models which are not known for their speed and whose performance data went back at least two decades. I used 0 to 60 website to gather the information and used the fastest time for each year on each model. So how do the numbers look?

Toyota Camry

camry old

camry new

(Photo: Wiki)

First up is the Toyota Camry. The Camry is like the automotive equivalent of Nickelback. It sells very well but you never brag to your friends about actually liking it. Here is how the performance of the Camry looks like over the years.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
1983 Toyota Camry 12.4
1987 Camry DLX 2.0 9.1
1988 Toyota Camry All-Trac 11.4
1992 Toyota Camry SE 7.6
1993 Toyota Camry LE 10.9
1994 Toyota Camry SE 8
1995 Toyota Camry LE 7.9
1997 Toyota Camry CE 6.9
1998 Toyota Camry LE 7.7
1999 Toyota Camry Solara SE 7
2000 Toyota Camry LE 7.9
2001 Toyota Camry Solara SE 8.1
2002 Toyota Camry SE 7.9
2004 Toyota Camry Solara SE 6.6
2005 Toyota Camry SE 6
2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid 7.9
2010 Toyota Camry SE 8
2011 Toyota Camry LE 8.3
2012 Toyota Camry SE (V6) 5.7


If we plot a graph we can get a formula for the linear trend line.

camry chart


We can then solve the formula and come up with the year when the Camry’s 0 to 60MPH time will be under 5 seconds. In this case the year will be 2021.

Toyota Corolla

corolla old

corolla new

(Photo: Wiki)

Next up is the Toyota Corolla. Trying to decide between a Camry or a Corolla is like trying to decide between Billy or Stephen as your favorite Baldwin brother.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
1968 Toyota Corolla   16.8
1973 Toyota Corolla 1200   18.3
1974 Toyota Corolla 1200   16
1975 Toyota Corolla E-5   15
1976 Toyota Corolla SR-5 15.2
1980 Toyota Corolla Sport 11.9
1984 Toyota Corolla   13
1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S   10.4
1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 9.1
1991 Toyota Corolla LE   10.1
1993 Toyota Corolla DX   9.2
1995 Toyota Corolla DX   10.1
1998 Toyota Corolla LE   10.2
2003 Toyota Corolla CE 9
2005 Toyota Corolla XRS   7
2009 Toyota Corolla LE 8.4
2010 Toyota Corolla XRS 7.4
2013 Toyota Corolla S 8.5


corolla graph


And once we solve the formula we come up with 2019 as the year the Corolla will do 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.

Honda Accord

accord old

accord new

(Photo: Wiki)

The Honda Accord considered to be one of the most reliable cars in automotive history. The good news is that the Accord you bought in college all those years ago is still running well, the bad news you are still driving an Accord that you bought in college because it’s running well.  

Year Model 0 to 60 time
1976 HondaAccord 13.6
1981 HondaAccord 13.1
1982 HondaAccordLX 12.9
1986 HondaAccordLXi 9.7
1990 HondaAccordEX 10
1991 HondaAccordEX 9.3
1992 HondaAccordEX 9.7
1993 HondaAccordLX 10
1994 HondaAccordEX 8
1995 HondaAccordLX 8.4
1996 HondaAccordLX 8.7
1997 HondaAccordEX 7.6
1998 HondaAccordEX 7.1
1999 HondaAccordCoupe 7.3
2001 HondaAccordLX 8.2
2003 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2004 HondaAccordEX 5.8
2005 HondaAccordHybrid 6.9
2006 HondaAccordEX 5.8
2007 HondaAccordSE 8
2008 HondaAccordEX 5.7
2009 HondaAccordType-S 9.1
2010 HondaAccordCrosstour 7.2
2011 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2012 HondaAccordEX 6.1
2013 HondaAccordCoupe 5.5
2014 HondaAccordPlug-In 7.6

accord chart


As for the Accord 0 to 60 time will reach 5 seconds in 2016

Honda Civic

civic old

civic new

(Photo: Wiki)

And finally the Honda Civic. The Civic is Accord’s smaller less popular brother. It’s like the Frank Stallone of cars.

Year Model 0 to 60 time
1973 HondaCivic 19.1
1974 HondaCivic 15.5
1976 HondaCivic 14.2
1980 HondaCivic1500GL 11.1
1981 HondaCivic 15
1985 HondaCivicS 11
1985 HondaCivicWagon 11.8
1987 HondaCivicHatchback 13.5
1991 HondaCivicEX 9.6
1992 HondaCivicSi 8.3
1993 HondaCivicCoupe 8.3
1994 HondaCivicEX 8.7
1995 HondaCivicEX 9
1996 HondaCivicDX 8.4
1998 HondaCivicGX 11.8
1999 HondaCivicSi 7.1
2000 HondaCivicEX 8.3
2002 HondaCivicSi 7.5
2003 CivicHybrid 12
2006 HondaCivicSi 6.2
2007 HondaCivicLX 7.6
2007 HondaCivicType-R 4.9
2008 HondaCivici-CTDi 7.5
2009 HondaCivicType-R 6.5
2010 HondaCivicType 6
2011 HondaCivic1.8 8.8
2012 HondaCivicSi 6
2013 HondaCivicHF 8.5

civic chart


For the Civic 2016 should be the year when 0 to 60 times will be under 5 seconds.

So the good news is that all the acceleration you crave in todays sports cars will be available to you in ordinary cars at fraction of the cost in less than 10 years.

A Grain of Salt

Here are few possible flaws in my conclusions.

  1. The trend of cars getting faster and faster seems to be taking place over the last 75 years, but if we were to do these calculations in the late 70’s or early 80’s, we would come to the opposite conclusion. Due to the need for greater fuel efficiency most of the cars actually got slower in the 70’s. For example, the Ford Mustang 0 to 60 times was 7.3 seconds in 1964 but by 1974 was almost twice that at 14.1 seconds. Since the 80’s cars have been getting faster and faster but it is possible the trend might still reverse once again. There’s nothing to guarantee that the trend has to continue. 

  2. Even if the trend continues for a while longer it will at some point stop or become miniscule. For example the Toyota Corolla will reach 0 to 60 in 1 seconds in year 2037. That is never ever going to happen.

  3. There is clearly going to be a point where cars will not be allowed to accelerate at a breakneck speed even if the technology to make them go that fast does exist. Much like the regulations which limit top speeds on today’s cars.

    But for now the future looks bright.

    Michael Page

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