Tag Archives: philosophy

Using the “Five Whys” to discover the desires behind our goals

My last post was about goals, and ironically I need to apologize for the lack of posting. I’m working on a goal myself, and it’s taking away all my free time. I’m trying to draw a 48-page graphic novel by the end of the month, for National Graphic Novel Writing Month.

While it’s important to have goals, it’s even more important to understand why you’ve chosen your goals, out of all the millions of goals in the world.

I found a really simple and effective tip, while reading this great business book, The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. It’s called the “Five Whys”. Here’s how it works:

Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself why you want to achieve it. If you want to be a millionaire, ask yourself why you want a million dollars. When you think of an answer, ask “why?” again. Keep asking yourself why until you get into a loop where the answer is “because I want it”, which suggests you’ve gotten to the desire behind the goal.

Here’s Kaufman’s “millionaire” example:

  1. Why do I want a million dollars? Because I don’t want to be stressed about money.
  2. Why don’t I want to be stressed about money? So I don’t feel anxious.
  3. Why don’t I want to feel anxious? So I can feel secure.
  4. Why do I want to feel secure? So I feel free.
  5. Why do I want to feel free? Because I want to feel free!

The answer to each question may seem obvious, but look how we got from a run-of-the-mill money goal to a very deeply rooted human desire, in just five steps!

Once you know why you want to achieve a goal, you can sometimes figure out a more direct way to the desire behind the goal. If becoming a millionaire is really about freedom, look for changes you can make today that will get you there, like quitting a 9-to-5 and starting your own business.

Happy goal-setting!

Now the internet knows how much I spend on socks

I got this cute drawing on a receipt for socks I ordered online, and I decided to share it on reddit, the social news website. Not sure what I was thinking.

The first comment, from MikeOnFire, was actually a good question that got me thinking:

$44 for three pairs of socks? Wow, either I’m missing out or I’m pretty good with my money

To which I responded

Whether or not you’re missing out depends on how much you currently spend on your socks, how often you need to replace them, how much you like shopping for socks, the value you place on fashion/style, etc. Spending more or less for a particular item doesn’t necessarily make you good or bad with your money. It’s all about how much value you personally get out of the amount you spend.

In other words, nobody can impose their money values on another person. Beyond spending less than you make, being “good with money” can mean different things to different people. I don’t spend much on clothing over the course of the year and I’m not a fan of clothes shopping. So when I buy an article of clothing, I choose something that will hopefully provide good value, and last a while.

The most important things when it comes to money are having a healthy attitude, and sticking to your goals/values.  Actually those might be the most important things in life in general. Funny how that works.

A quote

I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.

–Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

A short post tonight. I have a library book due soon, so I’m going to read.

Not caring what other people think. It’s hard.

The hardest part about being frugal is not caring what other people think.

I bought a coat at Value Village for $5. I assume it was priced low because it had a rip in the back, since it’s an otherwise amazing jacket that packs down small.  I’m not good with sewing but I’m really good at duct taping things.  So I taped the hole closed with waterproof duct tape.  That was 2 years ago and it’s still going strong.

Since the hole is in the back, I usually forget about it anyway.  I probably saved myself $50 – $75 compared to buying a comprable coat new.