Lesson 11

Lesson 11: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

“Assemble your life… action by action. And be satisfied if each one achieves its goal… No one can keep that from happening... Action by action.” —Marcus Aurelius

Surgeon and author Atul Gawande writes in his book, The Checklist Manifesto, that success in any field hinges on making the right choice at the right time. Failures occur when one’s decision space becomes too hard to track and crucial steps are not followed and, of greater concern, missed entirely.

“Life is choices,” Gawande writes, “and they are relentless. No sooner have you made one choice than another is upon you.”

He provides an example of an experimental Boeing 299 that crashed - not during a routine test flight, not because of any mechanical issues, but because the pilot missed a crucial step in landing the plane.

Following specific steps is the recipe to success. Just like pilots and surgeons have specific steps to follow, so too do financial advisors. If you want to build the exact business of your dreams, you need to follow these steps.

No matter how good or skilled we are, we must humble ourselves before the altar of routine. We must have systems, processes, and procedures in place that we follow “no matter what”.

Yes, those systems, processes, and procedures will eventually become boring. But I’m going to tell you a little secret about Mega-Producers and those that have built the exact business they wanted:


Sorry, but there’s no way around that. Like it or not, you will become bored with your job. You will even become bored when you have the exact business that you want. But so what.

Suck it up, buttercup!

So, you’ve got a new habit that we’re going to start with this lesson. It’s the habit of making a checklist.

It seems so simple and so obvious that you need to make checklists, so much so that hardly anyone does it. But you will from now on. Just like Marcus Aurelius did, you will make a list of things you will do and things you WON’T do.

That’s right, you’ll make a checklist of things you will NOT do. It’s interesting that in Marcus Aurelius’ journal, he writes to remind himself that he will not lose his temper tomorrow, or that he will not give into temptation. He reminds himself to make time for his family. He even reminds himself that he’s mortal and should enjoy every moment of every day like it’s a new gift he’s given every morning when he wakes up.

So make a checklist of things you will do, won’t do, and finally, put on that list the things you are most grateful for and take a moment to reflect on each of them.

NEW HABIT: Make a checklist as described above.

NEW TASK: Add this to your EXCEL spreadsheet that we had you create last month. Make sure every new habit and task is on that spreadsheet and you are keeping track, with Xs and Os, of everything that you are doing or not doing.