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Calm & Margin – 35 years old and onward

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Leading a calm life with ample margin is how I want to lead the rest of my life from now onward.

The concepts of calm and margin are something I learned from the little indiehackers community. While the community at large uses these words to describe their business and lifestyle, I think the 2 parties that bring me to think deeper about these are Tyler Tringas (who founded the Calm Company Fund to fund bootstrapped founders) and Justin Jackson (co-founder of Transistor.fm)

I envision a calm life as the ability to not just carry out the day-to-day, but also one that let me make little trial and error on various ideas and learning – without worrying about potential short term losses.

B2B Saas is a perfect way to a calm life, due to its recurring revenue and thus predictable nature – at least for me.

Beyond finance though, there is so much more I need to look out for to achieve a calm life with margin.

What I am not doing enough for a calm life?

Health and Fitness

  • After all, a calm life goes beyond being financially healthy, but also being physically healthy. I need to get back to my hiking routine as well as gym sessions.

Mind Space

  • I probably spent too much time in front of laptop and phone screen. Even when I am not working, I would be browsing and consuming internet content.
  • When I recently take a break from my screen and sit down to spend time alone with my thoughts + doodling some ideas, I have found tremendous joy and clarity that I never had before.
  • With this discovery, I vow to take more off-screen time, and make small walks (or hike) to give myself more mind space
  • In long term, I might consider trying therapy session (no I have nothing wrong). This is inspired by Justin Jackson – who has recommended it highly in his podcast Build Your Saas.

Curiosity & Hunger to Learn

  • I am mostly confined in my comfort zone unfortunately, despite there is so many curio and interesting things in the world.
  • Physically I had (and still am) long thought about learning to skate, swim, surf and perhaps even shuffle. I need to put these in action.
  • Besides learning, I also want to put things in practice by actually creating and writing more, writing an actual book maybe, and go back to some of my childhood interest in drawing, painting and craft.
  • Another area is the social part of learning – I missed catching up with old friends and meeting new friends to learn about different perspective. Given, this has to be done carefully, as my time is finite and it should be spent tastefully with people who are genuinely interested to make things better for themselves / the world.

Margins

While the word “margin” is mostly understood as a business-related term for most, Justin Jackson loves the idea of having margin in life, and that is where I got my enlightenment!

To have margin means to give yourself space to breath and make mistake, without resulting in a catastrophic impact in your life. I think this is so closely related to the idea of a calm life.

In practice, I want to have margin in my time :

  • I want to stop squeezing and rushing to complete my errands because I have to a 9-5 work commitment.
  • I want to stop worrying about annual leaves – whether it is insufficiency of it or I missed out taking leave for something urgent, or worse, having to answer to someone when I have something else going on.
  • I want to have control over how I spend my time – whether I want to take a 3 days break to do nothing, or I want to do a all-nighter.

and I want to have financial margin, which is something that is relatively harder to define and measure.

(Once, I concluded financial margin could be reflected in how much I need to care about pricing when I am doing grocery shopping. In fact, I thought I have reached a spot where I no longer care about grocery pricing – until I saw a friend purchase a box of Japanese strawberry for RM 72 / SGD 24. #truestory)

While I am still solidifying the financial margin I want in life, I am comfortable with where I am now:

  • Owns an online asset that brings recurring and mostly predictable income, with minimal work required
  • Have enough access to financial resource to try building more online assets especially saas

I believe the concept of margin can be expanded into so many other aspects in one’s life, and writing this article helps me reflect my lack of clarity on how to better apply this concept. I shall stop here and revisit and expand when I gain more clarity.

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