Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

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ben2000s
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by ben2000s »

seanconn256 wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 2:32 pm
Thanks for the interest! Sadly I believe this group is at our limit for attendance, as we are trying to make it so that everybody has time to contribute in our 1 hour meetings, which gets harder with more people.

If you or someone else is willing to volunteer to lead a third group, and make a post asking for interest, I have the intuition that it would get enough replies to start a new group after a little time. I have noticed a trickle of interest over time, even after this group filled up.
No worries. Yeah I started a group here: viewtopic.php?t=12572
Please send people this way :)

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

For our next round we are reading and discussing the book Early Retirement Extreme. The discussion will happen in our live meeting, but I figured I would post some discussion starting points from Chapter 1 here to get everyone thinking.
We tend to like philosophies that are already somewhat aligned with our personal values and talents…We’re all different and it’s up to each of us to develop, grow, and walk our unique path…This change isn’t easy
What drew you into the ERE philosophy?

A couple other great quotes to start discussion:
Pg 11 This challenge can become a struggle if your frame of mind is incompatible with your adopted lifestyle. In other words, you need to believe in your lifestyle as an end rather than as a means to an end.

Pg 7 To successfully break free of one’s chains, one must build an overarching philosophy of what it means to live...
To what extent have you developed your OWN philosophy of what it means to live?

A few other quotes that spoke to me that I'll gladly talk about if we get to it:
Pg 6 To live well, one must go beyond lists and start thinking creatively about solving problems. One must accept a lot more personal responsibility than merely showing up on time, following orders, checking off boxes, and trying to fit in.

Pg 8 …provide them the time and freedom, the lack of which has previously prevented them from getting things done and caused relations with friends to stagnate or degenerate into acquaintances or “networking opportunities”.

Pg 12 This book gives you the tools and shows you how to use them. However, it can’t give you the experience in using them, nor can it give you the courage to do it; that is up to you.

Pg 13 A high level of dissatisfaction can be accompanied by low vision in cases of depression, loss of faith or vision, or by external circumstances.

Pg 14 If you feel differently about change, modify my approach to suit your personality accordingly.
We are also supposed to discuss chapter 2, which I have reread, but didn't pull any quotes from. All I could do was purse my lips and slow nod.

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seanconn256
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by seanconn256 »

Here's a summary of the meeting we had recently, on the first two chapters of the ERE book, "A different frame of mind" and "The Lock In".
  • First we talked about the similarity of some of the critiques of society/consumer capitalism in both chapters to other critiques, Marx being an example, and how the analysis could possibly benefit from those other perspectives
  • how ERE as a whole seems to have a engineer+introvert bias, which pops up every so often, but particularly where ERE described as a was of fixing things that both works if everyone does it and if only individuals do it (section 2.6)
    • this stems from the difficulty of finding social connections while living alternate lifestyles, and the different mindset most adults are in when work is their main life activity
  • On school/the education of children, the point that school trains students to become little factory workers was well taken, but with some contentions about the need to instill some structure in children's behavior so they can learn basic life skills like reading/writing, and how the forced socialization helps kids develop (section 2.1)
    • this was described as a "learn the rules so you can later break them" situation, were there is a need to start somewhere
  • we gave check ups on how much we have progressed through the lock-in, how much we have incorporated each element in our ERE plans (bullet points in section 2.6)
  • some discussion about economics (sections 2.3 and 2.4)
    • how we need to move the global economy past growth (
    • how interesting it is that ERE very clearly speaks against automatic/mindless investing and yet the rest of the fire movement talks about index funds all the time
    • if Jacob's proscriptions for the economy are correct, specifically about calling it similar to a "Keynsian stimulus project" and "demographic ponzi scheme"
    • we largely agreed, but had some discussion about how some things can be transitioned from ponzi schemes or are already not comparable
  • on how to stop trying to follow lists to do ERE, with most relating that at one point we tried to treat ERE like pre-made plan, and how that did not work for any of us (chapter 1, page seven)
    • we thought it may be a necessary step to hit that wall at some point
    • to move past it, there were recommendations to get tactics from other sources (this is also mentioned in the book). This necessarily means you are compiling the lists, and combining them yourself, which starts to get you thinking for yourself
    • the importance of asking yourself often if each lifestyle component you build is a good fit for you individually

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:39 pm
Last week some in our group had an informal social meeting with no agenda. At one point we (or was it I?) ended up joking about the "permissiveness" of our group. One member has obliterated food costs? Great job! Another member values going out to eat? That's great, too! I was reminded of the above post, and wondering if that group ever resolved "accountability vs supportiveness"?

I know for me, I cannot understate the benefits of the socialization and support of the group. So much so that I've been nudging (bugging? hard-selling?) a couple members that may be transitioning their locale to try my locale on for size. It came up in our last regular session that aside from a very few "gifted" people able to almost instantly change to a renaissance person, switching "species" is hard! In the quoted post, the struggle of being pulled back to the status quo is mentioned. If the goal is then to help oneself, others, and the ERE movement at large, then it just seems right to push to the next level of ERE engagement. As far as I know, an intentional community like this https://earlyretirementextreme.com/buil ... unity.html or the city MMM was mistaken to have actually been planning has not been created, but maybe the time has come for another small step in that direction.

Divandan
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by Divandan »

Is the group taking in new members to join in on the conversations? I think I am at a juncture where having people to bounce ideas off of would be super helpful.

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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by AxelHeyst »

I'd say it feels like we've resolved the tension we had regarding accountability. In other words, we're not approaching our MMG dynamic like a conventional entrepreneur based MMG, which I imagine are very RESULTS OR GTFO. It might be accurate to call it a social club where we use the artifice of goals and accountability as an excuse to build relationships with each other.

But! In a fun twist, it's those relationships and interconnectedness that might contribute to accelerated ERE 'progress' more than any amount of goal setting! And also is a desired outcome in and of itself, regardless of tangible progress.

Im glad to hear there's at least talk of members getting physically closer to each other. We might not ever pull off ERE city... But ERE nucleation sites? Now that seems feasible.

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

@Divandan

Pretty sure seanconn is going to tell you our group is full.

However, since I got called out for what I told the last person looking for an MMG, I'll tell you that if you try to start one yourself and nobody joins, I'll join you and we can have a group of just two until more people come around.

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seanconn256
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by seanconn256 »

@Divandan
Sadly @grundomatic is right, we are at our limit for how many people can reasonably contribute in a hour meeting.

Also, meeting summary that I forgot to post:

Summary discussion Sat 25 Feb: Over ERE book chapters "Economic degrees of freedom and Renaissance Ideal"

All of us have experience in the "salaryman" quadrant. Some in other quadrants too. The total concept of the quadrants as a way to describe grades of freedom was understood by all.

During the salary quadrants discussion, various members noticed:
  • that being in a particular quadrant is also related to one's temperament.
  • that working some time in all the quadrants helps to develop to notice the difference between them.Also that it broadens one's idea about freedom and to helps you eventually reach out to the renaissance quadrant.
  • that hobbies can be used to train for working in other quadrants too.
Further we spoke about adaptation and complexity. An insight from the ERE book, that it is much easier to not spend money than it to earn more money, is one of the big eyeopeners for all of us. The skill to adapt in ones life is an important one, a difficult one too. Due to (extreme?) changes in the world at the moment we all found it worthwhile to become adaptable, to be ready when we meet adverse situations. One of our members is living within a 1000 miles from the war of Russia/Ukraine, and its social and economic impacts are quite apparent to them, underscoring the importance of adaptation
Next was a discussion on the Renaissance ideal. Some thought their image of the renaissance ideal was similar to living as homesteader, doing everything yourself. Others thought of it more as being able to have (some) skills about many things, to reduce spending and increase marketable skills.
The lists in the book about copying/comparing etc was found to be helpful instrument to see how one "grows" to another level of skill. Even a skill like handling stress well can be gauged by applying such a list. As well as becoming your own "lawyer" or otherwise taking on typically "professional" roles by taking time to learn skills.

Divandan
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by Divandan »

Sounds good and no worries. I will either start a new one or be on the look out for a new one kicking off. Thanks!

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

Meeting 3/25 notes. Reading this back seems very strange, probably because conversation is very different than writing Also, I can only take notes so fast. In any case, here it is:

If someone focused on just having goals not counteract each other, even if they didn’t ever read the book they would probably end up with a lifestyle that’s like ERE.

One member tried writing up goals/values, but lists did not prove helpful. Then they made pie chart of how time is used…found it was not a burden to fill the time everyday. Then it was easy to build a web of goals. The way of living is the most important part…pointed out what they found to be the most important sentence of chapter 5: “On the meta level, a process-oriented strategy (=a web of goals) is primarily aimed at living, with goals being accomplished as side effects, whereas a goal-orientated strategy is aimed at goals, with living as a side effect”

Process oriented focus underlined in one member’s book several time

Is removing the friction just a stage in the journey?

Removing the biggest negative side effects–is there a Pareto curve for efficiency of that, maybe?

Changing perspective–cleaning becomes exercise rather than an undesirable chore. Another member tried that,, but can only lie to themselves so much. Others agreed, just need to find appropriate activity.

AH’s journal entries on internal/external motivation have been super helpful–big takeaway is building or finding an environment where you don’t have to force yourself to do things.

One member has two places with appropriate sports for both environments, and also looks to the future where a simpler, smaller apartment might better meet future needs. Changing needs and wants throughout life should be considered.

Time as limiting factor–”ERE lite” while working. One member that recently stopped working represented it as a paradigm shift that’s hard to appreciate while devoting time to a full-time job. One member receives a pass for having an exhausting job.

Can every negative side effect ever be really removed?

To what degree can one really be independent? Focusing on reducing dependencies works way better for mentally for one member, otherwise seems like an impossible task.

Simple ingredients can be used in more than one thing, making it less necessary to have many things. Of 80,000 things in a store, only need maybe 20 of them–it’s a good feeling.

Incorporating the complexity oneself is what one member strives for

Balancing time and energy with amount of money spent–where does DIY pay off?

Free and cheap alternatives–for individual activities, but maybe not for social ones? Have to take the initiative–hard to convince people to do alternatives in the spur of the moment when the group is used to going out, but most probably won’t object if something like a potluck is planned.

Buying secondhand saves so much money. Some people value time so highly that it’s easy to save by just looking around and using what they throw out or give away.

Focusing on strengths due to substitutability of skills, learned from business school to shore up weaknesses and focus on strengths. Weaknesses can’t be totally ignored, but maybe shouldn’t consume one’s entire focus.

Someone thought focusing on one thing and get really good at it is not suited for this model. Another thought it could totally work–learn many skills then tie them together later. Someone noted how learning skills (woodworking was example) has changed the way they look at things, when initially they thought it was just a fun little hobby.

Everyone is different. Best to do what suits you. Work on something until it doesn’t suit you, then take a different approach.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by mountainFrugal »

Nothing to add here other then to say that a short write-up or notes like these are an interesting way to demystify what goes on in MMGs. Notes also ensure that ideas and questions make their way back onto the forum. Great idea!

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

We forgot to assign a scribe for our last session, and I forgot that I was going to volunteer because it makes me listen even closer and talk less (you already told us that story, grundomatic). Something we talked about has popped up in several member's journals, so I'm going to put a topic for discussion in the housing section of the forum.

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

Find below notes from our meeting, discussing the final chapter of Early Retirement Extreme. I was not at peak performance this morning with my note-taking.

5/27 MMG

Do you see yourself as part of an ecosystem or not?

One member has the goal of using as little resources as possible. One thing to do is not travel as far–stay in one’s neighborhood.

What is an abiotic in an economic system? Hard to apply to a person, since they are obviously living.

3 routes–FIRE, intermittent working, semi-retirement

One would have liked to have considered all of these before getting stuck in money-hoarding career mode.

Another early retiree said that it is good to keep one skills sharp and contribute even after retiring–doing things voluntarily for reasons other than just making money adds pleasure to life.

Intermittent work–possible in the US with healthcare? ACA and medicaid are an option if one can control income.

Do people do the calculations like $1 a month requires $300 savings or whatnot, do people think like this? Most did at one point but stopped when it was making them miserable. For locked in consumer, calculating the costs of living are very eye-opening. Maybe doing the calculations once a quarter or year is good enough for most of us. One member has to do monthly otherwise things get out of hand. Most largely in agreement that constantly thinking of every expense like this can cause misery.

Author gets flak for being anti-index fund, but reading this he seems like he’s really just anti one solution forever.

One member has truly found an investing system that works for them, and with a long view of investing was able to wait out the zero interest period having had 7 or 10 year deposits to help carry them through that period.

Understanding the overall macroeconomic environment seems to be the focus of the chapter more than individual investment solutions.

Most have found that they can better solve their own health problems than going to the doctor. Healthcare is flat in the US because it’s been reduced to straight producer/consumer relationship. Consider the average patient for the practitioner and maybe it’s easier to understand the outlook of the doctor.

Discussion of 3% withdrawal rate–one member still uses a larger rate and plans on making side project money as the safety margin. Another thinks the benefit comes from being able to make, say, $300 a month, even if one doesn’t, just having the ability to provides the safety needed.

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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by jacob »

grundomatic wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 12:25 pm
What is an abiotic in an economic system? Hard to apply to a person, since they are obviously living.
When brought in from the outside, it raw resources like dry beans, thread, nuts and bolts, 2x4s, ... that one can use to produce (make) things.

When recycled internally, it's reclaimed waste. For example, taking furniture apart again for the wood and screws. Taking clothes apart for the fabric.
grundomatic wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 12:25 pm
Author gets flak for being anti-index fund, but reading this he seems like he’s really just anti one solution forever.
Explained in greater detail in this podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs6SsQontV0/

hunterweir
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by hunterweir »

Long time ERE lurker/fan here. Looking to join a mastermind group, any openings or tips on where to join one?

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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by jacob »

hunterweir wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2023 11:50 am
Long time ERE lurker/fan here. Looking to join a mastermind group, any openings or tips on where to join one?
See viewtopic.php?p=253289#p253289

Step 1) Make yourself a "known quantity" (see link) by posting more.
Step 2) Take the initiative and create a thread inviting people to join MMG #3.

In lieu of step 2, you can also wait for someone else to do step 2. Also IIRC, exceptions have been made for step 1.

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

We took July off with many members being very busy this past month. Next month will be a discussion of Robert Kegan's In Over Our Heads, and then in September Michael Greger's How Not to Die. The general consensus seems to be that our book club format gives us a reason to meet and lends structure to the meetings.

mathiverse
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by mathiverse »

I'm a part of Axel Heyst's MMG group and if you all would be open to it, I'd love to join your group for the Kegan book club meeting a la Intermixing mastermind groups.

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grundomatic
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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by grundomatic »

@mathiverse

I'm waiting for everyone to give it the thumb's up, but we can tentatively plan on you joining us. The only issue I see may be someone objecting to putting you into our discord group where there is personal information. If that is the case we'll just use another meeting platform when you join us.

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Re: Mastermind Group #2: Electric Boogaloo

Post by mathiverse »

Solid!

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