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Our obsession with perfection

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Maybe I am showing my age here, but I remember the good old days when sitting down to decide what to watch on TV was a 30-second endeavour. You had four options, so making a decision was a whole lot easier.

Nowadays, I sit for hours, mindlessly scrolling through Netflix, trying to pick from an endless stream of titles I have never heard of before. The importance of this selection process is no laughing matter. More often than not, we just give up and end up watching nothing at all.

All this to say, there is such a thing as too much choice.

Supposedly choice frees us. While a certain amount of choice can be liberating and beneficial, too much can be overwhelming.

Making a decision is always hard, but the degree of difficulty is proportional to the number of choices you have. More is not always better.

"As the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize," Barry Schwartz, 'The Paradox of Choice'.

This analysis paralysis is not exclusive to Netflix. Picking the right investment is becoming harder and harder for several reasons.

The democratisation of the financial world is a fantastic thing, but it has created a new age problem; With endless options, where do you even start?

The endless barrage of news, noise and cautionary tales function to heighten our uncertainty. Making any decision even harder.

Finally, we are acutely aware of all the potential options and outcomes, so when something inevitably ends up being less than perfect, we are dissatisfied, blaming ourselves for the wrong choice we made.

As a result, we have become obsessed with always making the perfect decision. Nothing else will do. People get so caught up in sniffing out the perfect decision from the minefield of choice available to them that they end up doing nothing at all.

When investing, people seem to be under the impression that the only options when are 'safe' 0% returns from your deposit account or 100X return or bust from your YOLO Brokerage account. However, there is a beautiful middle ground that has provided stable returns to investors for generations that doesn’t get enough attention.

STOP OBSESSING

My advice. Stop obsessing about making the perfect investment and instead focus on improving your own situation day by day. Find the middle ground.

If your money is currently in a deposit account making negative real returns, then perhaps becoming a legendary investor is not the first order of business. Your primary objective is to stop losing money by leaving it sitting in the bank. Don't concern yourself with making the perfect investment. Simply finding an investment you are comfortable with will be a marked improvement compared to the guaranteed losses you are currently exposed to.

If you want to pick some individual names to invest in but don't know where to start, then narrow your focus. Hone in on a particular sector of the market you are interested in and analyze the main players within that sector. Using this knowledge base, you can do comparative analysis on the remaining companies in the industry and build out your investment decision from there.

There will be plenty of future winners in every sector; you just need to find one, so narrow your focus.

I get it; getting rich overnight has its appeal, and patience is a virtue no one has time for anymore. Still, obsessing about the exact right moves to make will end up in analysis paralysis. Instead, assess your own current situation and focus on improving it one step at a time.

Focus on progress, not perfection.

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The tax you’re really paying for your health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?” In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. We have it, and we use it, and, […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?”

In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word.

We have it, and we use it, and, of course we pay for it. We justify the constant ratcheting-up of our tax burden to pay for rising health-care costs. That tax is on our wallets.

We also pay another type of tax: When we’re unhealthy, we don’t get to do the things we like. When we’re overweight, we don’t always say “YES!” when our kids ask to go to the swimming pool.
When we’re unfit, we don’t take our buddy’s invitation for a weekend hiking and camping trip. We can’t start jogging because our knees hurt; can’t lift weights because our back hurts; can’t cut down calories because we feel we need the energy.

Those things are taxes. Physical taxes, but they’re not the worst taxes we pay.

The worst tax we pay is the mental tax.

When we’re self-conscious about our fitness or health, we don’t want to start exercising. We don’t want to look dumb or fail.

We don’t want to start a new lifestyle because our families will say “good for you”, because they know we need it, or they’ll say “you don’t need that …” and lie. Or they’ll roll their eyes because they know we’ve failed before.

When we’ve been away from the gym for four months, we don’t want to do that first workout because we’re going to be last. It’s going to suck and we might get embarrassed.

SELF IMPOSED TAX

The Government makes us pay financial tax, but the other two – physical and mental – are self-imposed.

No one cares if you’re slow.

No one cares if you finish last.

No one cares if you blow your nutrition this week and have to start all over again.

You’d stop caring about what others thought about you if you realised how rarely they actually do.

Everyone thinks about themselves, mostly. That’s the tax they’re paying – and most of us overpay.

We’re taxed enough. Stop worrying about what you look like and start caring about what makes you feel good.

If you’d like to start taking steps in the right direction with your health and fitness, call in for a free consultation with us at Activate. Visit www.activate.ie/free-intro for more information.

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Tractor run raises €500 for charity

By Sean Moriarty Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019. 30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980. Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019.

30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980.

Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ on Lewis Road, the convoy travelled to the communications mast near Coolick in Kilcummin, where participants enjoyed views of the wider Castleisland district and Killarney Valley.

“Some of the drivers were never up there before and they were amazed with the views across the two valleys,” organiser Tom Leslie told the Killarney Advertiser.

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