Home Q&A Answering Reader Questions (Q&A #1)

Answering Reader Questions (Q&A #1)

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I keep receiving questions via Direct Messages on Twitter and I noticed that 75% of the questions tend to be similar (most problems are universal) so I sent an email out to my newsletter subscribers, inviting reader questions.

I expected to get a few emails that I could answer in one article, maybe two, but the response has been overwhelming.

Thank you for all those who sent in a question – I am humbled.

I’ve received so many questions that I’ll have to split the replies over articles, tweetstorms and newsletters. If you sent in a question – it will be answered.

(Some of the questions have been edited for clarity)

Question 1:

How do I find a balance between work, socializing (girlfriend, friends) and self-development (reading, exercising, personal projects)? What amount of your time would you give to each topic?

And

How can one incorporate strategies for self improvement, social skills etc in our daily life in a way that we stick to it and actually feel the difference? I read stuff and find it challenging to apply all those leanings consistently.

Interesting topic. I’m going to expand over this with a post later, but here’s a summary:

You first need to sketch out your average day on paper. Find out how much uncommitted time you have in a day.

Let’s say out of the 16 hours you spend awake, you work for 8 hours and an additional 2 hours are spent on the commute. Now you’re left with 6 hours of potentially productive time.

You need to stay organized – pre-plan your day. Let’s say you need 2 hours for the gym (includes time spent traveling to the gym), 1 hour to rest, and a quarter hour to write in your journal.

Now you’re left with 2 hours 45 minutes for other things. Use this time to socialize, use it to work on your personal projects etc.

One way of approaching this is to complete your personal projects and reading at work. Unless you work a very high pressure job – you’ll find enough downtime to get personal work done. Maybe you can use your commute in a similar way.

Time can only be managed, it’s supply cannot be increased.

If you really don’t have time – you’ll have to cut corners here and there. Drop unimportant projects, look for a new job, find a way to make your commute shorter, sleep less hours occasionally etc

Question 2:

I’m facing a problem for a long time (2-3 years) – I am very self-conscious about myself such as what I do, my actions, my decisions and everything. I guess it leads me to wrong decisions, negative thoughts about myself, makes me mentally weak etc. Can you share any thoughts on it, please? Is it a normal thing?

This is certainly a common problem, but if you ask me, I would not say its a “normal thing”.

You shouldn’t normally be so self conscious that it actually becomes a real hindrance.

Start with reading this article “Obstacles Exist Only in Your Mind“. Being overly self conscious is a problem that literally only exists inside your head.

This is not a physical problem or a time related problem like the previous question – this is a mindset problem.

You need to stop giving a fuck – and it’s easier said than done.

Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut step by step solution here, but since you’ve posed the question – every time you do something that makes you self conscious and you feel like stopping – do what you were going to do anyway.

Everytime you hold your tongue because you were self-conscious – say what you were originally going to say anyway.

The only way to stop giving a fuck is to be okay with being rejected, being okay with hate and being okay pissing off a few people here and there.

People care about you way less than you think – remember when someone else had an awkward moment? You probably can’t. Just like that, other people don’t remember your cheesy moments either.

This is truly a game where the player and the opponent is the same person.

Question 3:

What are your thoughts on bitcoin?

I wrote an article on Bitcoin sometime earlier.

Needless to say, I’m not it’s biggest fan. With that said, I’ve opened up to using it for transactions but not as an investment.

The problem with these intangible technologies is that someone will always come up with something that’s slightly better and render the previous one obsolete.

It feels like the 2008 housing bubble all over again – people felt that housing prices will keep rising forever, just like Bitcoin enthusiasts.

Question 4:

How do you approach your working mode? With music? Without music? Anywhere or dedicated place?

I prefer silence and a dedicated place to work.

I’ve tried working at coffee shops before – but it hasn’t gone well for me. Too much noise and too much movement.

I don’t understand how people who work at coffee shops manage to get anything done.

I work best when I’m alone. I work best in silence. I’m not a fan of teams.

When I do listen to music while working – I avoid music with lyrics. Lyrics are distracting. Good music occasionally boosts my creativity.

Question 5:

I’m about to graduate high school, and I’ve always wanted to work in finance. What must I learn/do in order to be successful it in that field?

This question has been answered by people in the industry.

Mikael Syding wrote an article about breaking into finance.

Here’s an answer from WallStreetPlayboys:

I am XX Years Old What Do I Do to Break In? We also get this one far too many times, here’s the general guideline.

Student: The same structure always applies. 1) Target School, 2) 3.5+ GPA with finance courses taken, 3) Work Experience – this can override a bad GPA and 4) start networking.

Major? Choose the closest to finance. Business + emphasis on finance classes. Engineering + finance is also great. Economics + finance also works. Finally, triple check at the career center to see where people end up. Accounting + corporate finance classes are *required* otherwise the recruiters/HR won’t think you are prepared or serious about a Wall Street career.

If you have to choose between target and non-target. Bite the bullet, go to the target.

If your GPA is a 3.4? Take a couple easy classes bump it to a 3.5

If you have no work experience? Will be extremely difficult to get any interviews. Start networking and start at the bottom if you have to in a job such as asset management intern at a tiny firm.

If you don’t have contacts? You are increasing your reliance on the filter system. Not a good idea.

Analyst: If you are 25 years old or younger, keep gunning for an entry level slot as an analyst. This means you pass CFA level 1 if you have absolutely no finance experience to prove you understand the basics and then you get straight to networking. If you’re at a non-target then read our post on how to network/recruit. Now if you are from a no name school, no work experience and low GPA. You have next to no shot and are better off going to get an MBA later in life. This is the truth. As a non-target or older candidate with no experience, you need to have something to bring to the table otherwise you will lose time and time again to 22 year old candidates with banking internships, top GPAs and a great school.

Associate: If you are 26-33 years old this is your second chance to break in. If you have nothing related to finance, probably best to get an MBA.

Vice President and Above: Likely 33+ years old and you’re making a switch from a revenue generating career. In this case you should already know if you’re well qualified. Generally speaking, if you’re in a sales role or run a product line at a firm and are paid $300K+… You’re likely a good fit (this is general as most people who are in this slot know if they have the skills to move to the sell-side or not)

There you have it, it will answer 99% of questions. If you’re young you simply network and spin your resume assuming you have some skills that are transferable. If you’re in your late 20s you’re likely better off with a top MBA.

Question 6:

How do I get over a break up?

and

I went through a break-up a few months back and it doesn’t seem to have registered well with and within me. We were together for 7 yrs but now she’s dating someone else. I have read and listened to several podcasts and blogs and quora answers over how you should get over it but I’m unable to. Otherwise I was and am extremely focused in my life as I’m a stock market investor and aspiring CFA. 

But her absence has broken me from within and I refuse to acknowledge it and seek to runaway from it. I also started smoking for a while to get over it but to no avail. She was my best friend and my love but now it’s just completely empty. 

Need your advice and perspective immensely.

This is a wound that only time can heal. 7 years is a long time and you’re bound to feel empty – you’ve lost someone who was such a huge part of life.

Don’t make the problem worse by smoking, drinking or other bad habits that’ll stay with you longer that the feelings you have for your ex will.

Spend more time with friends and family. Focus on work. Get back in the market and find yourself a new girl.

It gets better with time – you’ll wonder how someone you thought was so indispensable that you couldn’t live without them is someone whom you don’t even think about anymore.

It takes time and the process hurts, countless men weaker than you have gone through with this and survived (and even thrived). You’ll be fine.

Hope that helps,

Your Man,

Harsh Strongman

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