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38 What is Your Morning Routine?

Steve Seid & Kurt Dupuis
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Rocks stacked in the sun

Steve Seid:
Hi and welcome, everybody, to The Whole Truth. In the Bay Area, California, I am Steve Seid.

Kurt Dupuis:
And from Atlanta, Georgia, I'm Kurt Dupuis. So Seid, I understand that you have to use our platform here to get some stuff off your chest, and despite the name that we call this segment of, Just Stop It. I'm not going to stop you. I'm going to let you let it rip. So what's going on?

Steve Seid:
Just to reflect, this is just where I pick a couple of things that annoyed me, as Kurt said, and I riff on it. Is it weird they're the easiest thing for me to prepare for? The easiest?

Kurt Dupuis:
No. That's right on brand for you, actually.

Steve Seid:
That's right on brand, okay. So I'm just going to share it. I go around day to day, and when things annoy me, I write it down. So I've got it down to a top five. We're not going to do five today, because that would probably be too long. Maybe. We'll see how quickly it goes. So I've got one through five, and Kurt, you're going to decide which ones I do by just picking a number at random. Five things. Does that make sense? I have five things written down. Just pick a number between one and five.

Kurt Dupuis:
Number one.

Steve Seid:
Okay. Number one. Now, this happens when I'm hearing people talk. I've seen articles written this way. People use this to support an evidence. They start with, "A study shows. There's a study that came out that said this." I want everyone to really do some research. If you think that you read an article and it says, "A study shows this," and that actually tells you anything, well, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. You're wrong, and I want you to go to the computer and Google statistical significance. Because one study, Kurt, one study on something doesn't tell you anything. Even if it's peer reviewed, even if it's the best. So first of all, we should start off by saying most studies, there's a lot of studies that aren't good and just aren't done well. But even if they're the best study in the world designed by the best people, and it's peer reviewed, it is still one data point. One solitary data point. It doesn't actually tell you anything. I mean, it could. I mean, it's interesting, but it does not make a fact. Does not make a fact. Does that make sense?

Kurt Dupuis:
How many data points does one need to have relevance?

Steve Seid:
You've got to achieve statistical significance.

Kurt Dupuis:
Greater than one?

Steve Seid:
Greater than one is the answer. Okay. Listen, the reality is the more data points, the better. In some things, you're not going to achieve statistical significance, because there's just not going to be that much data. But you can't just rely on one. It's not good enough.

Kurt Dupuis:
I got a joke for you.

Steve Seid:
Okay. Go ahead.

Kurt Dupuis:
You know what the plural of anecdote is?

Steve Seid:
What's that?

Kurt Dupuis:
Data. Boom. Data jokes coming at ya.

Steve Seid:
That was pretty good that you had a data joke. Okay. That's my first one. Now you, I have two, three, four, and five left. Please pick another number.

Kurt Dupuis:
Give me five. Going to the extremes. One and five.

Steve Seid:
Have you ever walked in, I'm going to get in trouble for this one, I'm going to just say it.

Kurt Dupuis:
Then I already like it.

Steve Seid:
I'm going to get in trouble for this. Someone's going to take offense to what I'm about to say right now. Have you ever walked into a financial professional's office and then have them start to go into all kinds of discussions or descriptions around something about technical analysis, like death crosses and support levels and all the stuff? Have you ever gotten into extensive conversations about it?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah I definitely have had those conversations, people that like Dorsey Wright or something follow that kind of research.

Steve Seid:
Well, Dorsey Wright’s a little bit different, because this is technical analysis. Like following the charge of how-

Kurt Dupuis:
Pure technical.

Steve Seid:
Pure technical analysis. Resistance levels, support levels. They can create these death crosses or whatever, and it's a way to predict the market.

Kurt Dupuis:
The candlesticks, yeah.

Steve Seid:
So I'm not going to rant too much about this. What I will say is this. Most of it I know for certainty is mumbo jumbo nonsense. In the CFA, they will-

Kurt Dupuis:
That's a spicy take.

Steve Seid:
It's not really a spicy take. The CFA has concluded after studying all of this that technical analysis doesn't work. Now, that's at the high level. I'm not saying no technical analysis work, but what I am saying is I find it very, very hard to believe that people use a lot of that type of analysis to really add value. Is that fair? I'm not ranting too hard on this.

Kurt Dupuis:
I've always said that I would be open to believing that technical analysis could provide 10% of the 100% predicted outcome, meaning that it has the potential to be accretive. I don't know how to use it, first of all, but secondly, I'm not giving it a high weighting. But what I have found frustrating is those same self-described technicians, when you come to them with something that has a certain level of momentum or it fits their criteria, then they still don't act on it, that's when I just throw my hands up. You're not just a technician. You like to use a bunch of fancy words to not make decisions.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. It's mumbo-jumbo. Most of it. I'm going to pick my next one, which is number three. You've kind of led the way. Conspiracy theories. We've gotten a little out of control, ladies and gentlemen. We've gotten a little out of control. I want to read a conspiracy theory that I came across. I don't go looking for this stuff. This was in an article I read.

Kurt Dupuis:
It finds you, you don't find it.

Steve Seid:
It finds me, man. You ready for this one? This is good. Bill Gates has been a part of creating the vaccines for Coronavirus so that he can implant us with microchips. So planting microchips. The Coronavirus is a made up disease, A, and that the vaccine was actually a way to implant the entire population with microchips.

Kurt Dupuis:
Wait, that's a conspiracy theory?

Steve Seid:
That's a thing I read. I don't know how much-

Kurt Dupuis:
I read on Reddit that it was a fact.

Steve Seid:
That it was a fact? Yeah. If you believe that, just go smash your head against the wall like 10 straight times until you start thinking. I mean, you must admit, we've gotten a little out of control with this conspiracy theory stuff. It's out of control. I don't know if it's a failure of the education system or it's the it's the internet or what it is. I mean, I guess it's always been there, but to this level, has it always been there?

Kurt Dupuis:
One of the only things that is worse than the financial literacy in this country is the media literacy. We talked about this with the take back technology episode. I mean, the speed at which information comes out, we're not adept to handling it. The amount of misinformation that comes out, we're not adept to handling it, and we don't have your favorite word, a framework for receiving, internalizing, and then exporting information outside of our brains. We don't have good systems for it.

Steve Seid:
Well, we need to do something, but just stop it. If you believe that Bill Gates is implanting the population with microchips because coronaviruses, just stop it. There's also people that believe in dog men. Have you heard that one now? Dog men. That's a thing. Not everything is a conspiracy.

Kurt Dupuis:
What corner of the internet are you on?

Steve Seid:
I literally do not go and search this stuff out, I swear to God.

Kurt Dupuis:
The Bill Gates, I have heard that. I've heard that one from people.

Steve Seid:
When did Bill Gates become a guy that people thought was this evil being? When did that happen? I mean, I don't know. I don't know if he's a nice guy. I don't know anything really too deep about him, but he spends a lot of his time doing charity work now. He doesn't really seem satanic to me.

Kurt Dupuis:
That's all a ruse. All a ruse to get microchips in us.

Steve Seid:
Well, let's cut down. Let's, let's knock off the conspiracy theories please, because I don't think you're really adding anything to the conversation. I'll conclude on this, and then we'll switch over on doing some real topics.

Kurt Dupuis:
And then today's therapy session will be over.

Steve Seid:
So if you are a person that doesn't let cars in. So let's say you're on a road and there's traffic, and someone's trying to get in, in the long list of cars, and you're stopped. The person's just trying to get in, and you're the type of person that doesn't let them in. You know what I'm saying? Do you let cars in? Not all the time, but I mean, where it's the polite thing to do? Do you let cars in?

Kurt Dupuis:
So I would describe my driving style as efficient with a touch of nicety. I will use both lanes if they're merging, because it's most efficient to do so. I'll admit that, even if it means cutting across into the less populous lane to scoot up to use the merger lane. I do that. But also, yeah. I'm a pretty avid. But I learned that in Pittsburgh. So do you know what the Pittsburgh left is? Have we talked about that?

Steve Seid:
No, no.

Kurt Dupuis:
So let's say you're on a two way road with stoplights on both sides, but the person in the front on one side is going straight, the person in the front on the other side is turning across the other person. The people behind that person that is turning, they can't move until the turn is made. So in Pittsburgh, it's customary that that person that's going forward through the light lets the person turn first before they go so that both lanes of traffic can then flow after it changes, which it's efficient and it's nice. I love it.

Steve Seid:
But you have come to these people that they should let someone in and they won't. They won't.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, I've been to New Jersey.

Steve Seid:
Listen, don't hate on Jersey. I grew up in New Jersey. We know how to drive out there. It's the other parts of the country, I'm not too worried. But anyways, if you're that person that doesn't let the car in just because you're a jerk and you think your time, you just be a little nicer. Just stop it. Let the person in. Just be a little bit of a better person. That's all I'm saying. So anyways, I'm going to stop there. There's a lot of lists, but I'll throw one, and then we could. I'm not going to rant on this, but also if you start something and you start the sentence by saying, "People are saying," or, "They are saying." If you start a sentence like that, just stop that sentence.

Kurt Dupuis:
It's a nothing burger. It's a nothing burger.

Steve Seid:
Just stop it. Just stop it. Okay. So that's enough for today. We can't do a whole episode of this. So where are we headed to in the stepping stone, Kurt?

Kurt Dupuis:
I'm glad you feel better. Well, so oddly enough, how you started talking about how you write stuff down, we're going to talk about writing certain things down in your morning routine to help both your efficiency, but also your mental state.

Steve Seid:
Awesome. So we'll come back with that. This is The Whole Truth. Stick with us.

Disclosure:
The views expressed herein are those of the participants and not those of Touchstone Investments.

Kurt Dupuis:
So welcome back. We're going to discuss a book turned into an article about how to improve your morning routine in two minutes. Now Seid, I know you're always skeptical of anything that's the three tricks or improve something in two minutes, but hear me out on this one.

Steve Seid:
I'm listening here, because there's definitely ways I can improve my morning for sure. So I'm open-minded.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, and do you write stuff down right now?

Steve Seid:
Oh yeah. I'm a list person. I'm a list person.

Kurt Dupuis:
You're a list person.

Steve Seid:
If I don't have it on a list, it can get lost. So I'm an active list person, yeah.

Kurt Dupuis:
So that's where this started for me is I am definitely a list person, a classic ADD guy. I come in in the morning, I have to sit down and write this stuff that I have to do that day. Otherwise they do not get done. But this is taking that, but taking it come to the next level. So are you ready?

Steve Seid:
Well, before you do that, can I ask you a question about your list? I'm sorry. I know I'm derailing it, but I have to know this, because there are two different kinds of lists. There are the type of lists where you've got legitimate, big major lists on, and then there's also what my wife does. God bless her. I love you, Becky, who just writes things like, "Got to clean the kitchen." Just really small. Are yours meaningful? It'll be like, "Pick up daughter." She has to write everything down. Sorry, Becky. What kind of list do you have?

Kurt Dupuis:
So I'm not quite like that, but-

Steve Seid:
She likes crossing stuff off. That's what she likes to do. She just likes that feeling.

Kurt Dupuis:
And I do it. It's therapeutic. So I have multiple lists. So my one list, I have a whiteboard. I have an adhesive whiteboard in my office. Steve, you can see it right now, a little bit.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. I love the whiteboard.

Kurt Dupuis:
Two by three, that keeps track of a lot of the practice, coaching stuff that we're doing, just so make sure that I keep in front of those people. It's got to do lists, but that are long-term like, "Hey, don't forget about this thing." Over the course of a year, as I get ideas of LinkedIn posts or other kinds of content, it goes on this list because it's not immediate, but stuff I want to keep in front of me.

Kurt Dupuis:
Then I have my list list, which is just an old school notepad with tear off pages that every day I come in and write who I'm going to be calling, who I need to email. It's like, "Oh yeah, I got to get back to that person," and I use that in concert with Outlook to be my to do. So if I email somebody today and want to follow them up again with them in three to five days, I just put it on the calendar and time block so I know, "Hey, for this hour or two, I'm blocking this off. This is what I'm going to do for that time." So that's the extent of my list game right now.

Steve Seid:
It sounds exactly the way that I do it. Yours is probably a little bit better. So anyways, proceed. Thank you for that.

Kurt Dupuis:
So this is an article by a guy named Neil Pasricha, who is kind of called the happy guy. He wrote this book called The Book of Awesome. It's a thousand ideas of how to make yourself happier. He decoded how to make yourself happier.

Steve Seid:
I would like to read that. That sounds good.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, exactly. So a couple of takeaways, but first I guess it helps to know his backstory. So what's probably typical with someone that would write about happiness is he originally was coming from a place of deep unhappiness. His marriage was ending, falling apart. He was at a cushy suburban job, but not into it. And then he converted, he moved downtown. He worked to have his escape. He lost a bunch of weight due to stress. It was just not at a good place, and then he found the power of index cards. So what he started doing-

Steve Seid:
Power of index cards.

Kurt Dupuis:
Power of one dollar for 100 at the dollar store index card.

Steve Seid:
I got to tell you, I did not see you finishing that sentence with index cards. I did not see that coming. Go ahead.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, so the corollary, especially to the conversations that you and I have with financial professionals, it's writing stuff down matters. So we just talked about lists, different lists. Writing down, it has a cognitive effect. It has a behavioral effect. It's just good. But he really utilizes this like three by five index cards. So he started with his list to say, "I will focus on," but then he had three cards. He said, "I will focus on what I will do, what I could do, and what I should do."

Steve Seid:
So that's for the day. So he starts his day that way. So I wake up and-

Kurt Dupuis:
Every day.

Steve Seid:
It's Wednesday here. Okay. That's interesting.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. So it's less of a to-do list, but it's more of, I mean, you could incorporate it, "This is how I want to act today. This is what I want to focus on as a person or as a father." It can have multitudeness effect. It doesn't have to be strictly business-related.

Steve Seid:
Awesome word, by the way. Multitudeness, well done.

Kurt Dupuis:
But then it evolved, so then he talks about this almond sized amygdala. Is that how you say that?

Steve Seid:
I think that's right. In the brain stem, right? That's where that is?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. But this creates the fight or flight mechanism in us as humans. so apparently this thing is really good at looking for problems, finding problems, solving problems, but it's exactly what both news media and social media and all of the other things that compete for our attention exploit to take our focus away. So he took his idea of, "I will focus on something," and he decided like, "I'm just kind of an ungrateful bastard. How can I be more grateful?" And he adopted the same index card methodology to that. So every day, in addition to I will focus on, he does, I am grateful for. I got to tell you, this is my takeaway. We talk about there should be a takeaway. There's got to be a takeaway. This is my takeaway. I think I'm going to start doing this. We're working on sight words with my kindergarteners. I'm going to steal some of her three by five cards and start on a daily basis just writing one thing that I'm grateful for, putting it on an index card. So if you take away nothing else, that's my takeaway.

Steve Seid:
There's been books written about this, that you should write down positive things. I really need to do this. The other thing I really need to do, I'm all over this, by the way. All these things I think would be very, very beneficial. I've also been putting off, do you meditate? Can I ask you that? Do you do any kind of meditation?

Kurt Dupuis:
I've played around with that.

Steve Seid:
Me too.

Kurt Dupuis:
Ironically enough, with an app that helps you.

Steve Seid:
Played around is that the key though. I think creating this stimulus, just creating some practice that you do, that meditation calms you down and then this creates, it sounds like focus as well as improves your mood. Think about this, you roll all this up. How much time are we really talking about here, could you do this?

Kurt Dupuis:
Minutes.

Steve Seid:
Minutes, right? We should try this out and report back. We should, you and I-

Kurt Dupuis:
Agreed.

Steve Seid:
I don't know how many days-

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, let's do this. I'll do the gratefulness exercise on the index cards, you work on the meditation. Or I think mindfulness is at the center of this. I think that's the generic all encompassing, just being more mindful of what we say, how we think, all those kind of things. But to your point, for the word that you were looking for, what Neil describes this as, this whole exercise, it's like doing bicep curls for the brain. It's got a bit of muscle memory. The more you do this, the stronger those muscles get, the more innate focus, the more innate happiness you're building into your routine and building into yourself. He talks about just the amazing outcomes. He's like, "You won't smell rain on hot asphalt the same way after you do something like this," or, "You won't take the first scoop of an unopened peanut butter jar the same way." It's just taking those little things and extracting happiness. There's a happiness quotient to it. It's such a cool way to look at the world.

Steve Seid:
Did you hear my first segment with the just stop it? I think I could use some happiness help is what I think this could, to be honest.

Kurt Dupuis:
Great segue, because the last category of index cards start with the phrase, "I will let go of."

Steve Seid:
I think I just had a visceral reaction.

Kurt Dupuis:
Am I speaking your language?

Steve Seid:
Yeah. That's hard. It's so hard. That's a real weakness of mine. You know those things that you know you can get better at, and you're always like, "I should stop doing that," but then you never? Yeah. Let go of stuff.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. Yeah. So that's the three categories that he writes down on a daily basis. I will let go of, B, I am grateful for, C, I will focus on. Let me read one of the last couple of phrases in the article. Am I completely cured? Am I always happy now? No, of course not. But this two minute research-based morning practice has massively improved the quality of my days.

Steve Seid:
So separately, but I think is related to this of focusing on things that you're grateful for and getting rid of negativity. I have a wonderful, wonderful mentor that's been my mentor for many years. Shout out to Mark Caner. Great. Just the greatest guy in the world, and he gave me these. It was CDs at the time, but it's audio called Lead The Field. It's by a guy by the name of Earl Nightingale. I've got homework for you and our audience. Well, I've got a couple of pieces of homework for our audience, but give that a listen. Just listen to 20 minutes of it and then come back to me. I'm curious of what you think about it. What it is is you spend 20 minutes thinking completely positive. It's all positivity, and by listening, you sort of get in that. So it really does make you happier after you're done listening to it. And that's what this reminds me of.

Kurt Dupuis:
Can you give me the name again?

Steve Seid:
Earl Nightingale is the author, these are audios, and it's called Lead The Field. I just Googled it. You can find it on YouTube. Just listen to 20 minutes of it. All of this comes down to a mindfulness practice that you can do that we all know that would probably benefit us. I've been talking about, "I'm going to meditate," for years and I never do it. Well, let's do it. By the way, our community, everyone listening, who's in with us? You just heard a bunch of different ideas that we talked about of a mindfulness practice. Email us. Tell us who's involved in this. Let's do it. Let's do it all together, and let's see, honestly, if it's beneficial or not. Is that fair, Kurt?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. I'm going to do my index cards, you're going to do some meditation mindfulness, and I'll close with this. We're awake about a thousand minutes a day. But if you spend two of those minutes getting your mind right, it's amazing the influence that time has over the other 998.

Steve Seid:
Awesome. Costanza Corner's next. Stick with us.

Kurt Dupuis:
And welcome back to our closing segment called The Costanza Corner where we like to end the show on a high or uplifting note. Seid, take it away.

Steve Seid:
So I'm actually going to quiz you a little bit on this, Kurt, because this is an uplifting thing that happened in your backyard in Atlanta, and I want to know if you heard this story. Now, it is about animals, so you're going to say, "Every one of yours is either science or animals."

Kurt Dupuis:
I should've known.

Steve Seid:
But it's about people too. It's about people too. All right? Remember, just because I love animals doesn't mean I hate people.

Kurt Dupuis:
Okay. Hit me with it.

Steve Seid:
A homeless man is being hailed as a hero as he risked his life to rescue several dogs from a fire at an animal shelter. Did you hear this story?

Kurt Dupuis:
I did not.

Steve Seid:
Okay. In your backyard. So long story short, I won't get into and read the whole article, but this fire breaks out at an animal shelter and it breaks out so aggressively that fire department, all of it, would not have had time to come and rescue all the different animals. I mean, it would have been a very, very bad scene. So this homeless guy sees it, breaks into the animal shelter, and rescues every single animal from the shelter. That alone is the most heartwarming story that shows of this gentlemen, but what's awesome is, and the human benefits too. Because he did this, he got his stuff written up in the newspaper and all this, and a GoFundMe was started and people have started to raise tons of money because of the writing for the guy. Because he's a hero, man. As of the writing of this article, it was up to $40,000 that they're giving this man. So anyways, yeah, just a really, really awesome story on every level.

Kurt Dupuis:
People helping people, man. I love to hear it.

Steve Seid:
Thanks, everyone, for listening. We'll see you next time.

Kurt Dupuis:
You can find The Whole Truth and subscribe for free on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. We'd love it if you took the time to rate and review the show on Apple podcasts. It helps others find the show. For more episodes of The Whole Truth, go to www.touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth. That's touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth. All one word.

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