Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule and the Power of Pairing Your Goals

Warren Buffett, the investor — you know him — had given advice to his personal airplane pilot, Mike Flint, once. He told Flint to come up with a list of 25 things he wanted to accomplish in his career.

Flint went off to do that and came back with his list of 25 goals. Buffett told him to circle his top five and put those into Group A and then circle the bottom 20 and put them into Group B. In this, Flint thought, okay… well, Group A will be my primary focus and Group B will be pursuits I take on during my spare time.

No. Group B must be avoided at all cost, Buffett told him. Flint mustn’t touch any of those tasks until he was to finish all his goals from Group A. That was his advice and you can absolutely use it too.

It’s hard to argue against Buffett. He is, after all, one of the most successful investors in the world.

However, as a creative, you get to blend your goals together. Such as writing and video creation, like when I daily vlogged my NaNoWriMo experience.

Something that was number 18 on your list might be the spark or the muse to help you accomplish your number 2 task.

Let’s say my #2 goal is to be a published writer, I want to write a book and my #18 goal is to become a beer judge. Well, why don’t I use my skills as a writer to write about beer tasting? Why don’t I research about beer, review beer, and go on beer tours and write about all of it? These two goals overlap and end up propelling each other. I can, of course, write about something not on my top 25 list, but why not kill two birds, right?

If you can find ways to pair your goals, you will be constantly inspired and get a more varietal creative life. In order to be great at one thing, you’ll need to have skills and understanding in many other areas. Golfing is more than just putting, it’s driving, it’s wedging the ball out of the bunker or staying mentally focused as well as physically in shape.

If you can pair your goals together and find an interesting relation, then each goal is supported like walking, where one leg holds steady as the other lifts forward. The two goals, as you make progress, pushes each other in the direction of an ultimate goal — and that ultimate goal is your fulfillment.

Go ahead, write out your 25 top goals for your life, and then, see which ones from your top five can be linked with any of the other 20.

To me, the one that can be linked to most of the others are the ones you should pursue. It might not always be the fastest path to success, but this way, you get the most bang for your buck, this way, you might just get to indulge in the buffet of life.

If you like this article, you might like this one as well: Little Bets: How I Make Decisions Without Feeling Stressed

Wake up and compromise


The pursuit of dream may not be the same journey as the pursuit of happiness

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Happiness is not getting everything we want. Happiness is accepting what we have.

We all want glory and success. As children, we dream of our achievements as adults and all the possibilities. People will ask what we want to be when we grow up and we’ll list off all the options: actor, athlete, astronaut, doctor, etc. At some point, we need to face reality; perhaps our childhood desires are not what we want forever.

Having a dream is having a goal. When you are young you have all the potential in the world. Nothing seems impossible. You can become a doctor if you want. It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and you are anxiously awaiting the draw. You haven’t lost yet. You haven’t won either. As you grow older, you might realize that you aren’t that interested in medicine, and studying makes you sick. Pursuing a career as a doctor—not only dedicating time and money but also excelling in the programs—is likely to be torturous if that’s the case. So I ask: is it worth it for a well-paying job?

When we talk about dream jobs, we aren’t really talking about the job itself, we are talking about being successful in one particular field. The problem is that our society only shines the spotlight on certain roles, placing them on a higher pedestal than others. The CEO gets the spotlight, the lead actor gets the spotlight, the star athlete gets the spotlight, but we ignore the supporting cast. Rarely do children dream of being part of the pit crew. They want to be the driver.

We want to take our interest and transform it into a lifestyle. The problem with turning hobbies and interests into work is that we turn something we enjoy—music for example—into something tedious. Putting pressure onto anything may often destroy it. And so it goes with dreams.

We chase our dreams, but what we should do is chase our passion. Dreams are a fabrication, while our passions aren’t. Once we accept that, regardless of what we do, we’ll have to work hard, we can then hone in and identify what actually makes us happy—or not. That’s the thing about passion, it changes, and we can allow it to.

It’s not a crime to give up on your dreams. We are lucky to have an opportunity to pursue it, so don’t feel guilty. Not everyone is built to climb Mt. Everest and to be stupid enough to believe you can without the hard work is irresponsible. Dream is a finish line. Happiness is the desire to improve and seek progress. Dreams just happen. Happiness requires work. Find work that makes you happy and that may mean changing paths now.

Unhaggle | 18 Personal Road Blocks That Stop You from Achieving Your Goals

Ghostwritten and Researched by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com | April 23, 2014 |

On this long windy road we call life, we encounter adversity, obstacles and road blocks that keep us from achieving our goals. What might seem like a brick wall, stopping our Civic from becoming a Lexus— might in fact only be a detour or a speed bump. So, don’t cancel the trips yet.

Of course, I’m just speaking in an analogy for our own personal behaviours and mannerisms. These negativities of body and mind hold us back, compromise our confidence and drain our potential. If we are to become better hagglers or just better at everything there is, we need to know what holds us back. Se, here are 18 common road blocks that might just be hitting us harder than the road:

1. Not speaking up or asking for help

Maybe you’ll figure it out yourself—but chances are, if you speak up and ask for help, you’ll find the solution to your problem much faster. Whether you are asking for direction at a gas station or telling the driver that you need to go to the bathroom on a long road trip, don’t be afraid to speak up!

2. Bad body language

Actions speak louder than words. Crossing your arms and staring at the floor in social events might be causing you more harm than you know. Displeasure and antagonism is often associated with bad body language. You can learn more about your body language here.

3. No introductions

Some people need no introductions, but you do. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you haven’t met before. There won’t always be someone to welcome you, so you should always welcome you.

4. No courage to explore

Experiences are created by breaking from the norm. If you fail to find new experiences and explore, you aren’t going to have those interesting stories to tell. I’m not saying you are a boring person if you don’t try new things, but would you rather be a plain slice of bread or a rich tasting sandwich?

5. Holding a grudge

Revenge might sound sweet sometimes, but if you hold a grudge you are probably just poisoning yourself. Wasting your time seeking retribution and resenting others holds you back from accomplishing your goals. The best revenge is living a healthy, happy life, and the ability to forgive is the first step to finding peace. Read more about ditching grudge in this piece.

6. Lack of confidence in your gut feeling

You don’t always have time to ask for permission or to perform an intensive research procedure—sometimes you just have to go on your gut feelings. Impulsive choices are not unhealthy acts. If done moderately, it can lead to many new opportunities that are invisible to those who aren’t ballsy enough to do something different.

7. Being constantly influenced by others

Having role models and inspirations are good, but if someone wants to change you instead of helping you improve, they are probably not trying to assist you. They are trying to alter your values. Being influenced by others and seeking their acceptance might make you feel “cool” for a little bit, but lying to yourself in the progress is more harmful than beneficial.

8. Prophesying your own failure

Actors, athletes and other high-pressure professionals know that having the ability to visualize success is instrumental to achieving it. Expecting failure drains morale and sucks energy from the performance, whatever it is. If you want good things to happen, expect them to happen.

9. Envy

Don’t be jealous, be inspired. There is always a more skilful and proficient person out there regardless of what you do. Therefore, trying to be better than them will ultimately lead to disappointments. But if you seek to improve yourself and be better than the person you were yesterday, than you can always achieve your goal and gradually raise your own bar.

10. Lack of motivation

Laziness pays off right now, productivity pays off tomorrow. That is a slacker mantra, but it shouldn’t be yours. Good motivation takes time to develop. The more you do something, the more likely you are to repeat it over time. If you floss today, you are more likely to floss tomorrow and the day after. If you tell yourself you are going to clean your office for five minutes, you might end up doing to for 30 minutes. Ease yourself into good habits.

11. Self-destruction and sabotage

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Putting yourself in situations where you are doomed to fail due to various reasons is a recipe for anything but success. If you want to learn to drive, don’t start on a freeway—start at an empty lot with no obstacles. Same goes with everything else. If you dive into the deep end, you might need to be rescued.

12. Reliance on the validation of others

If you need validation for everything you do, you aren’t going to do much. Sure a “thank you” or a “good job” is nice, but you should do something because you are the person to do it—it’s probably your job. Validation is not mandatory, it’s just a nice gesture; you are not entitled to it, so don’t take it so personally.

13. Notion that rejections equal defeat

Yes, in a way, rejections are defeats, but what is success without failures? Embrace rejections. It has happened, move on to the next target. The more rejections you have, the stronger your fortitude becomes, thus building your foundation to success.

14. Being governed by external perception

We all have shortcomings and flaws. Learn what they are and allow them to become a part of who you are. Showcase them and don’t feel ashamed.

15. Heavy focus on superficial attributes

Physical appearance is the first thing anybody notices. Nobody appreciates your personality right away. But that doesn’t mean you should be consumed by your appearance. Dress to impress if you want to, but be comfortable. Self-consciousness will make you unappealing regardless of how fashionable you are.

16. Fear of saying “no”

Whether it’s a date or an extra work assignment, sometimes we just need to learn to say no. Saying yes may seem easier, because rejecting others is sometimes as hurtful as being rejected, but it’ll save a lot of trouble in the long run if you know what you can’t do and voice it.

17. Being too selfless and accommodating

You are a valuable person, so don’t let anyone take you for granted. Because selfishness is selflessness, we should all help each other and therefore help ourselves. You deserve payment, it does not have to be money—but your kind deed should not be ignored.

18. Hesitancy to make any key decisions

If you can’t make the big decisions in your life, nobody will. Plain and simple. Take the wheel and head in the direction you want to go. The key to finding success is to be a pilot, not a passenger.

Unhaggle | How to Measure Your Performance and Gain More Success in Life

Researched and Ghostwritten by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com| April 09, 2014 |


There are many ways to measure success in life: By the money we have, the people we love, the accomplishments we’ve made or even the car in our garage. If you have a Lexus, then maybe you’ve achieved something! Every person defines success differently, but what matters is that we continue progressing, striving to be better.

It’s human nature to become complacent over time, but our laziness can be tamed. Different stages in life yield different results for success. So, whether we want to improve our career, marriage, academics or simple social skills such as haggling, we can achieve it all with a bit of planning, a few progressive implementations and of course, proper evaluations.

Here are a few steps to get your started on your way to success, whatever and wherever it may be.

Set Key Goals for Yourself

Because we all have different values, it’s hard to determine what success means from person to person. Take this hypothetical example: would a middle age, unmarried CEO be considered more successful than a newly-wed entering the job market? Maybe… maybe not.

Before we can become successful, we must understand our own values. These pillars of success are often associated with personal life, health, finance, etc. So, we ask ourselves what our dreams and aspirations are? Once we’ve decided on what we want, we can begin setting goals.

Focus on both the big picture and the small picture. If the long-term goal is to have a high-paying job, drive a Jaguar and have a happy relationship, then the short-term goal must be to develop a skillset, apply for work and get your butt out and meet someone. Small achievable goals will keep your morale high, while the larger achievements such as graduation, promotions and first dates can be inspirational and motivating.

Make a list, prioritize and stay true to what you want. Picking your battle is the first step to success.

Create Deadlines for Yourself

Now that you have your goals in mind, be sure to set some deadlines—after all, life is short.

Every once in a while, you’ll step into an interview or be caught in a conversation where someone will ask you what your five-year goal is. You should always be prepared for the answer; after all, nobody else can answer it for you.

Carrying on with the relatable example of being rich and loved: You have recognized that you need a skill set, therefore you must get an education. Say to yourself, “In five years time, I’ll be graduated from an institution with hireable qualities. A year later, I’ll get an entry level job. After putting in a few more years, I’ll climb the ladder to upper management. In 10 years time, I’ll be able to afford that luxury vehicle I wanted.”

Give it a try. Create your own deadlines. And take care of yourself in the future, as well as the present.

List Your Accomplishments

After you have put some focus on your tomorrow, be sure to take some time to remember the yesterdays.

For each milestone reached, you should reward yourself—celebrate! Take a break to look back at how far you’ve come and assess everything, including your follies and what you’ve learned from them. Be honest with yourself and recognize the errors as well as your triumphs.

Share these momentous occasions with supporters and peers. They understand where you’re coming from and they are cheering for you to get where you are going. In other words, they are your little fan club. If they were there for you during the rough times, be sure to invite them to the good times. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate ceremony in your honour. A nice dinner at home or a night out at the bar will absolutely suffice… for now.

Remember that life is like a mosaic. You’ll lay some dark pieces and some bright pieces in a seemingly random fashion, but be sure to step back occasionally and see your progress.

Always Plan for Success

Before the big game, athletes are taught to visualize success. The same positive thinking can be implemented in all sorts of situations—it doesn’t have to be sport-related.

Imagine yourself doing well in an exam, an interview or a date and it’ll give you confidence to do so. The possibility of failure hasn’t changed, but your mindset has.

Alternatively, to visualize failure is to demoralize. It’ll zap all your energy and leave you weak when comes time to perform. So, always plan for success! The reason you set goals for yourself is because you’re aiming to achieve them, not so they can knock you down and defeat you.

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it many times—and I guess you’ll hear it from me again: As long as you’re persistent, then you’re well on your way to success. You’ve set your goals, you’ve made deadlines and you’ve taken the time to appreciate your journey, and not just the destination. So, with all that being said, it’ll be a matter of time before you’re riding off into the sunset in your sleek new car.

Success is a DIY project



Don’t rely on others to be happy

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 25, 2014


We put a lot of pressure on other people—people we don’t even know: artists, athletes, and politicians, to name a few. When they succeed we cheer them on and when they fail we mope by their corner. We pay money to attend their movies, concerts, games, and conventions just so we can be in their presence. We make false idols out of these people and invest a lot of ourselves into their well-being and achievements. But is that healthy?

Living vicariously through other people is normal. I do it, you do it, and your mother definitely does it. But how far is too far? I still remember that story about a sports fan who struck his wife after the team lost. Whether the story is true or some exaggeration, the news was appalling; yet not that surprising, since sport fans are notorious for overreacting to something they won’t even get recognition for.

So why do we invest so much in, say, a team or an athlete? Well, because there is something in our brains that allows us to relate to athletes and other people we get enjoyment from. We feel the feats they perform, like we are performing them ourselves. We feel the jubilance of a goal and the pain of a loss. It’s through this emotional high and low that we end up getting invested. It’s like watching a movie or reading a book; we feel what the characters feel. This is totally healthy, but only if there is a balance between self and other.

For most of us, we aren’t athletes, we aren’t musicians, and we aren’t actors. We need others to break us out of the stress of our lives. Our exams, our job interviews, and our dates are all ordeals we have to go through on our own, and it’s not healthy to just focus on ourselves, either. It’s important to achieve our own goals, while cheering for others. You end up creating a community within yourself. You work for you, but you find inspiration in others, while never relying on other people to improve yourself.

Would Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar really make you happy? Why should it? Would Team Canada losing the gold medal upset you? Were they going to share the goal medal with you? Should you have gone on the ice for Sidney Crosby and scored for him? Probably not.

But you can still be happy, and you don’t even need Leo or Sid. You can do it all by yourself. Create goals that don’t involve other people, goals that you can achieve without the help of anyone else. It could be as simple as a diet or a physical challenge, or to reach an academic or career goal. It’s nice to see other people succeed, but remember there are always people rooting for you, and they deserve to see you succeed as well—and you owe them nothing.