Monthly update: The billionaire lifestyle and 84% happiness

Dec 10, 2022 6:06 am


Coming up this month:

  • How to live like a billionaire (sort of)
  • My 84% happy year
  • A mug
  • And more!

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πŸ€‘ "What would a billionaire do?"

Inspired by my friend Noel, I've started using the question "What would a billionaire do?" to unlock creative ways to solve problems.

What a billionaire would actually do is usually out of reach, so the next step is to work backwards until you reach a realistic option.

For example: we were going to Center Parcs, and our default option was to take the train. But we've got two kids and a lot of stuff now, so it was feeling like a chore.

What would a billionaire do? Their chauffeur would whisk them there in a limo, of course (landing a helicopter around our way is a nightmare). Can we do that? No. But what about booking a taxi to take us all the way there and back? Yes – and it turned out not to even cost that much more than the train.

Billionaires don't wait on hold to insurance companies: they'd have their personal assistant do it. Can you get a full-time PA? Probably not. Can you get a part-time PA and authorise them to administer your account? Yes.

Billionaires get whisked directly to the door of the plane. Can you do that? Probably not. Can you inexpensively pay for fast-track security and lounge access? Yes.

I like this question because everyone tends to just accept the default way of doing things, but you don't have to – and the prompt is a great way of breaking out and generating new ideas.

β˜•οΈ Cracking a joke

I'd planned to announce something very exciting in this section, but I'm not allowed to yet. So in its place I'll tell you a pointless anecdote.

For a tiny visual gag in a video, I spent Β£12 on an "I Love Nicola Sturgeon" mug on Amazon.

Not having the cupboard space and feeling a bit uneasy about being seen drinking from it on Zoom calls, I listed it on eBay because I was too embarrassed to take it to a charity shop. After four re-listings where it failed to attract even a single bid, it eventually sold for Β£1.25 plus postage.

I posted it off thinking that would be the end of the matter... only to receive a message from the buyer a few days later saying that it had turned up smashed.

After refunding them, that tiny joke that's been seen by a whole 6,308 people has cost me roughly Β£16 and taken up far more headspace than it should have done. There's probably a lesson about life or money or something in this, but you'll have to find it yourself because frankly I'm over the whole thing.


😁 My year of working on happiness

Back in January's newsletter, I wrote:

My main goal for 2022 is to be able to give at least 90% of days an "enjoyment score" of at least 7 out of 10. Yes, I track it on a spreadsheet daily. No, I don't get out much

The numbers are in, and my "at least a 7" days currently stand at 84%. Damn!

Because I take brief notes on each day, I can see that the worse days cluster around several themes:

  • Having a new baby and not sleeping much
  • Being ill
  • Stuff going wrong at work
  • Days with nothing but meetings and no creative work

Not surprising: that's what I would have guessed in advance, but it's nice to have the data to back it up.

It's also noticeable that it's more common to have a few "bad days" in a row rather than just one, so when I experience one I should make an effort to change something rather than just assume that tomorrow will be better.

On the whole, I think this year has been better than the numbers suggest: new baby, move to an incredible area, professional wins, some great new friendships.

How's it been for you? Have you thought yet about what you'll be focusing on for next year? Let me know!

🍿 Media picks

πŸ”» Have you heard about the overnight collapse of crypto exchange FTX? It's an unbelievable story – and this explanation of events by one of my favourite YouTubers is just hilarious.

🀯 My favourite Wikipedia page is this list of common misconceptions. Santa's red robes weren't invented by Coca Cola. Eating rice doesn't cause birds' stomachs to explode. Buddha wasn't fat. Prepare to have your world turned upside down.

πŸ—£ How do you pronounce "gif"? Should a sandwich be cut diagonally or horizontally? This page settling the world's most contentious debates is just one of the mad and brilliant little games on

That’s it for 2022! Feel free to write back and let me know what you've been up to.



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