31: How $60 changed my life forever

Image result for $60 cash

“You’re really bad at this. I’m honestly nervous to have you working in this role now, I might have made a mistake.”

A former boss once said this to me in front of the entire team during a meeting. 

…Did I mention it was unprompted?

…Did I also mention that this was the first meeting I ever ran at the company?

It was…not great.

(If you’re wondering, the short version of the story behind this anecdote was that my former boss, a guy who really embraced the whole “alpha male nootropic warrior mindset" thing, saw my visible nerves and was annoyed that I wasn’t “seizing the meeting” like it was a enemy naval base or something.)

This guy was a feeble excuse for a leader, not to mention being a real trash bag of a person overall. Seriously, if I can give any advice to people who want to become leaders in their organization, it’s this: If you need to personally insult your team to “motivate” or “inspire” them, you fucking suck as a leader! 

While he was absolutely terrible, I also need to thank him: In order to deal with him, I had to create a new way to deal with him. Which meant I had to come up with a plan. The plan? Punch him in the mouth on my last day. (That plan was scrapped.)

Instead, I created a new habit that changed my life. Instead of getting mad, I decided to get “better."

“Better” is a loose concept that I define as “something creates value for my personal long-term development.”

That meant dealing with mental and physical health (obvious tools needed for long-term anything), as well as accepting that even that I know a lot, I don’t really know anything. That led to me going down hour-long Youtube holes, podcasts, anything that taught me something I didn’t already know.

After awhile, I decided to level the concept up by putting some skin in the game. I created a line item in my monthly budget called “personal development”. The amount? $60. It sounded nice at the time.

Since then, I’ve spent the budget on things that will make me healthier (A DDP yoga DVD set that I need to get back to using) and things that make me smarter (books about American class structure or how the television business works). I’ve scratched my creative itch by exploring curiosities I’ve always wanted to learn about but never allowed myself to chase. An example? May and June 2019’s budgets went towards importing men’s style magazines from Japan. 

Image result for popeye magazine april 2013Image result for casa brutus

If you’re looking for your own personal development habit, here’s three tips to help you get started:

  1. Don’t do it to compete with others.

    We spend so much time thinking about where we size up and how we fit in with the world around us that we don’t take the time to think about ways we can get better without comparison to others. As the runners I know say, “Your race, your pace”.

  2. Make it something that excites you.

    Ask anyone who’s made a tremendous change in their lives for the better: it’s about the mental act of associating the habit with a positive response. If you hate the habit to the point you won’t do anything with it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  3. Make it your own.

While I don’t think the budget option works for everyone’s lifestyles, creating a habit in your life that’s solely aimed at your personal development might be the strongest thing I can recommend to you. I can’t decide for you, only you can. You can do it!


"It" girl Cornelia Guest was squired in the 1980s by such famous walkers as Andy Warhol. "There were a lot of drugs … walkers protected me," she says.
(Andy Warhol and socialite Christina Guest)

“In the '70s and '80s, wealthy women like Barbara  Walters and Jackie O often left their husbands at home to be squired to galas by gay men, and for the few escorts still in action, the appeal endures: "To be around fascinating and powerful humans is highly addictive."


SAFE FOR BABIES — I’ve been working on providing a playlist packed with modern jams that my friends with little ones can listen to around the house. Lots of clean versions and general profanity-free tunes that aren’t the Paw Patrol theme or Baby Shark.

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Office Hours is written by Ernest Wilkins. Follow him everywhere @ErnestWilkins