Curmudgeon thread
Also titled the things no one taught me.
The few of you who read my tweets, buckle up.
Retirement. When I had my first factory job, I could contribute to a 401k after 60 days in. Company matched 6% of my annual salary (I save 6% they match it). I made $9.50/hr. It seemed piddly.
In investing the magic number is 72. 72/rate of return (in %) = years it takes the existing money to double. But the trick is you keep investing, so every contribution looks for a doubling period. That little now adds up to a lot in 40 years.
I didn’t start saving until I was 37. Only by the grace of my current benefits and 401k investment options have I dig myself out of the shit.

I got really, really lucky.
Don’t bet on luck.
Two. College.

Cold fact is college graduates earn more in a lifetime. If you aren’t (or know someone) suites for knowledge work, go into the trades (plumbing, carpentry, construction, even garbage removal). You can have a solid living in services that are always needed.
Going to college? Unless you are going to a specific school for a specific program, or am Ivy League level school, do your first two years at a community college. Don’t pay a 1000% tuition premium to take gen ed classes. ESPECIALLY if you will need to do student loans.
Student loans charge 7% interest for most government loans you take out. Remember the rule of 72? That means whatever principal you don’t pay off in the first ten years (4 of which you’re in college not working) will double.
The average student loan takes over 20 years to pay off. Which means some of that loan doubles twice with interest.

You remove this pain by minimizing the up front of those first two years.
And student loans are very hard to discharge in bankruptcy. Nearly impossible. One political party wants that to be hard, and they pack the judiciary, so thinking Biden being president will fix it is unlikely at best.
Three. Health.
Getting fat is easy. Staying in shape is difficult. Getting in shape is maddening.
I am a smart man. I understand the nature of calories and macros, and the basics of eating less and exercise. And I’m still fat. Orca fat. Have been since the 7th grade.

Habits and willpower also double down over time.
The #1 absolute grand slam best thing you can do for a long term health outlook is learn to cook.

Learning to cook is the most important life skill. Period.
So many health issues can be traced to eating shit. Fast food, pizza, food in bags, food in boxes. In order to make it stable and tasty, they have to load it with chemicals and salt and unhealthy fats. These don’t get processed in good ways in the body.
But I cook those!

No, you HEAT those. No chemical reaction. Loaded with shot to keep it stable.

Cooking with real food takes patience (it isn’t ready in 3-15 min), but it’s healthier, and it tastes better - much better.
But I don’t like vegetables? I don’t like that crap in the bags either.

Asparagus? Brussel sprouts? Squash? Roasting slowly at home with olive oil gives them flavor that doesn’t just make them edible, it makes them good.
When you eat good home made food, something happens. All those chronic issues that your doctor gives you pills to treat, suddenly start to go away. The better solution isn’t to add something to treat the cause, it is to remove the cause.
Also, you will need to eat your whole life.

Don’t eat shit.
Four: expertise.

When you want to do something in life or for a living, seek out expertise. Someone did this before you. Use that knowledge to speed your learning curve.
Yes, you may be able to replicate their successes without their wisdom. You learn from experts not just to use their successes as a jumping off point. You learn about their pitfalls, so you don’t lose time stuck in the mud they pointed out.
Remember the rule of 72? There is a corollary in anything that requires your time. Wasted time is due to poor return on your knowledge investment, because not learning from someone else is akin to investing in penny stocks.
Five: People.

We bond with people over shared experiences. The most dramatic example is the war buddy bond. This is how we connect with people. This is an understandable mechanism in the human condition.

It can also cause havoc.
From my factory life through school and my first 7 years in IT, I lived in poverty (primarily due to student loans - $1200 / month in payments). So I bonded with people who also lived in poverty, due to lack of opportunity and a financial need to split costs.
The dirty truth about poverty, is some don’t believe in the system of hard work, because the examples they’ve seen haven’t paid off. Very few buckle down and are willing to make the true sacrifices to get out of poverty.
They expect success to be a rags to riches change, and not a slow incremental build where the little successes build on themselves creating a compound interest of success (remember the rule of 72, the returns on successes also compound and double).
And if you are the one who succeeds and get out, those in poverty will try to drag you down. Not out of hatred or jealously (at first). They’re all trying to grab on and have you lift them up, and if you don’t break free they drag you down.
I spent time trying to support people with whom I spent more than a decade in poverty by guiding them on a path to better themselves in ways they wanted to bette themselves.

It required them to do things they felt were beneath them. And they just wouldn’t do it.
I’m smarter than my teacher, why do I have to do the things they say?

I’m older than my supervisor, I shouldn’t have to do the job their way, my way is better.

They view the power imbalance as unfair. If it was unfair, they wouldn’t do it, instead of working through it.
When you pull away from them, then the hatred and vitriol begin.

Do not let them stunt your growth. Not ever. Your first responsibility is you. You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself.
Six: Money.

Learn about how money works: assets and liabilities.
We spend so much money on useless shit. These are liabilities. Even me, I buy lots of books. I haven’t read 1/3 of them. I could have saved thousands by using my library card.

Just because you can find utility in something, doesn’t mean it’s truly useful.
All bells and whistles do is drain money from your pocket.

Even worse, these bells and whistles are found in disposable items with a short shelf life.

Like mobile devices.
$1500 for a phone imma turn over in two years? Sure.

Understand, there are times to spend the money on high quality goods that should last.

Work chair.
Chef’s knife.
Good cookware.

These are things you will use for a decade or more, and have a strong effect on the quality of your life.
But I have the money to spend!

Save or invest it to turn it k to more money, or pay down debt.

Debt is an anchor that can have a psychological effect.
Debt is what makes a wage slave. That term exists for a reason. Unlike those taken from their home and forced into bondage, generating debt is selling yourself into bondage for a very crappy price.

Avoid it, or work to remove the shackles as quickly as possible.
I may be debt free at some point next year instead of 2026 because I focused on removing my chains of debt instead of the Next Shiny Thing.

That freedom is one of the few things that excite me.
Seven: Freedom.

Freedom, simply put, is being able to not rely on anyone else for your survival.

Very few humans in the western world will be able to achieve this.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Every step toward true freedom creates a better stronger you. And it’s a hell of an example to set. Strive for this.

The freer you are the better your psychology and health.

The worse thing you get out of this is a better life.
I am out of steam. Learn from this, or not.

I’m going to focus on me.

And if you can help some one and you don’t need the remuneration, tell them to pay this forward.

Be better.
And don’t forget to breathe.

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More from @DefenderExiled

12 Jun
I’m coming up on 5 years in my current role in a few months. I’ve done #infosec for over a decade, but never more than 18 months in one sitting at one place before (contract life).

Here are my ruminations.

Thread. 1/x
The only person you will be able to rely on is yourself.

This maxim is reinforced at orbs that are good or bad re: security.

Bad orgs have a cya// not my fault culture, and you can only count on you to live the needle. Not even your manager, just you.
Good orgs will have so many ways they can go re: security, it’s on you to be able to prepare for and fight the battle for the system or process that will best help, and make sure people are informed why spending the extra money on tool // training // people is important.
Read 32 tweets

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