In investing, there’s this idea of a backdoor play.
For example, in 2014, Facebook announced it was going to use satellites, drones, and lasers, to bring the internet to the unconnected. Now, instead of buying Facebook stock and hoping they would succeed, you could’ve tried to figure out who they’d get the equipment from and buy their stock. Because even if Facebook failed, they’d purchase a lot of parts in the process.
In that sense, one of the best backdoor plays on cryptocurrencies must have been Twitter. The stock is up 100% year to date, partly because the platform dominates the crypto discussion.
While there is a lot of noise around this heated topic, a few clear voices stand out. Like Luke Martin, who’s amassed close to 150,000 followers in less than 8 months. One of Luke’s core ideas is to move slower with your investments.
Since he brought it up again and again and again, the phrase started popping up in my head. Not just when considering investments, but all the time. As it turns out, moving slower is a great philosophy in all walks of life.
Elephants at Work
I’ve been approached a few times about how I remember the material for my college exams so quickly. I don’t. I try to memorize it just once, but properly. Most of our classes come with anywhere from 200–1000 slides. Sure, you can scroll through them, skim and highlight.
Or, you reflect each slide for 1–2 minutes, ask: “How can I say this in one sentence?” and create a 20-page summary. It takes a week to complete, but when you’re done, you have already read, filtered, written, and memorized most of what you need to know.
Similarly, taking a day or two to review the scope of what you’ll do and which tools, information, or people you need to accomplish it goes a long way at work. Move slower.
The Best Way to Eat, Hands Down
Just like at work, most of our food culture, especially in the Western world, is designed to be fast. US waiters often ask whether you want the check right after you’re done swallowing the last bite. Come fast, eat fast food, go fast.
The next time you eat, try this: Take a bite, put down your fork and knife, then lay your hands flat on the table. You’ll instantly chew slower. It gives you time to think about what you’re eating, enjoy how it tastes, and you’ll need less to feel full. Move slower.
Wash Your Bowl
My friends make fun of me because I like doing the dishes. They think it’s a mundane, mindless activity. To me it’s the exact opposite. There’s a famous Zen story about it:
A monk told Joshu: “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked: “Have you eaten your rice porridge?”
The monk replied: “I have eaten.”
Joshu said: “Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
After you’ve eaten, cleaning up is the next step. If you let it be, it can be a meditative, restorative practice. Just like any physical next step. You rinse and swirl as long as you need to. There’s no need to rush. Let life flow for a few minutes. Move slower.
Gut Decisions Twist the Stomach
When we’re young, we quickly jump into relationships of all kinds. The first person we sit down next to in high school, the first cute guy or girl we see in college, the first coworker we go to lunch with. As we get older we realize how scarce and valuable our time is, but that habit is hard to shake.
There’s nothing wrong with commitment, but you don’t have to commit to anyone or anything on the spot. Give your relationships time. Add an extra date, an extra meeting, an extra night at the gym. Move slower.
Glaciers vs. Rocks
If you pile up enough dirt, you can create your own hill, but mankind has yet to make an artificial mountain. There are so-called ‘sailing stones’ in the Nevada desert. They’re rocks that move at up to 5 meters per minute. Even the fastest glaciers, however, move at only 30 meters per day.
For most fortunes that last, you’ll find the money has piled up with similarly declining velocity. Even if you get rich really fast, there’s no way to ‘stay rich quickly.’ Generally, delaying financial decisions often makes them obsolete or at least their conditions a lot more favorable.
If your TV breaks and you wait until Black Friday to buy a new one, you might realize by then you don’t need one at all. Instead of a mortgage today, get a raise in 6 months. When the market dips, wait to see if it dips some more. Move slower.
Why the Tortoise Beat the Hare
In 2014, rapper 50 Cent decided to accept Bitcoin for sales of his new album. Four years later, his 700 BTC stash has ballooned to over $5,000,000 in value. You might think of this as dumb luck, but is it really? Just because you’ve forgotten a good decision doesn’t make it bad.
This is what moving slow is about. Taking the time to think, make good choices, and then give fortune the time it needs to support them. The hare lost against the tortoise not because he expended too little effort, or because he took a break, but because he stopped moving altogether.
The one thing moving slow is not is an excuse to postpone choices indefinitely. Make decisions deliberately, but when you make them, do it with your whole heart and soul.
Move slower, but keep moving.