Updated: Mar 19
By Justin Sorbo
“Reality is far more vicious than Russian roulette. First, it delivers the fatal bullet rather infrequently, like a revolver that would have hundreds, even thousands of chambers instead of six. After a few dozen tries, one forgets about the existence of a bullet, under a numbing false sense of security. Second, unlike a well-defined precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality. One is capable of unwittingly playing Russian roulette - and calling it by some alternative “low risk” game.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This tax season granted me a lovely surprise: an enormous balance due that was entirely avoidable. Unbeknownst to me, my accountant made an egregious error. I never checked her work and assumed the best.
Enamored with my attention to detail, I diligently tracked my income and paid taxes on time according to the figures from her work. Time passed, until a new accountant reviewed my statements from the current tax year and sent me the balance due.
My heart dropped.
I had spent the past two years operating on bad data, and now it was time to pay the piper.
It begs the question: how many decisions are we making based on false premises?
Assumptions about the future arguably drove the collapse of two mid size banks earlier this week, flushing billions of dollars down the toilet. A generation of older adults got cancer because cigarettes were supposed to be healthy.
The list goes on.
There’s one guarantee about the universe: things fall apart. You will make poor decisions. People will make errors. Accept it and prepare for it.
I’m in a position to absorb what could have been a catastrophe. I saved more than I “needed” to, because shit happens.
I say this not out of spite, but to embrace all that life has in store for us.
We need to act as an agent of reality: we are definitely doing some things the wrong way. We will make errors. Other people will too. It’s what it means to be human.
To grant yourself the best chance at fighting illness, take care of your body. Every workout, every healthy meal, and every good night’s sleep builds your savings to fight disease and degradation. Your mood, outlook, and quality of life will be such that you can handle stress with grace.
Since mistakes are guaranteed, eliminate as many decisions as you can from your fitness and nutrition. Develop a routine where habit dominates. Hire a trainer. Seek simplicity.
It won’t happen all at once, but a year from now you can be in a much better position than you are now.
And always check your accountant’s work.