Ep. #19: The Auspicious Moment

Have you ever felt oddly dissatisfied, but you didn’t know why? In this episode, we discuss a tool that can help. It’s called the auspicious moment, which is the moment when taking action is favorable or more conducive to success. Listen and find out how to put this tool to work in your life.

TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps you get more bank with less bulk. Today’s episode is for every listener who is feeling oddly dissatisfied—things aren’t quite working out, but you’re not sure why. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and I’m happy you’re here because today we’re going to talk about a tool that can help. It’s called the auspicious moment. We’re going to discuss what it is, why it’s so magical, and how to put it to work in your own life.

Let’s start with a quick definition. Auspicious is one of the best words in the world because it means favorable, or conducive to success. So the auspicious moment is the moment when taking action is more likely to result in satisfaction. It’s when taking action is more likely to get you what you want.

I’ve been thinking about this today because I’m recording this episode a few days before the 4th of July, which is a big deal at our house. We have family coming in from all over, we do this every year, and our neighbors up and down the river put on an incredible fireworks show. We all go out and sit on the dock and wonder, “Can it get any better than this?” And every year it does get better. the show goes on for over an hour, and there are so many fireworks going off, in so many directions, you don’t even know where to look. Your neck gets tired from craning in this direction and that direction trying to see all of it. There are so many fireworks that we don’t even bother to buy our own, and that’s a good thing because in my mind buying fireworks is very much like setting money on fire, probably something I wouldn’t be inclined to do even if our neighbors didn’t put on such a spectacular show. And in fact sometimes I wonder if it’s starting to get obvious that we’re not contributing. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point int eh foreseeable future our neighbors don’t go buy a bunch of fireworks and on the 4th of July they see all of us lined up on  my dock waiting for the show to start, and yell over the river, “Hey deadbeats, it’s your turn this year!”

But that hasn’t happened yet, and so were looking forward to another show this year, and it seems like our neighbors are as well because they have been getting antsy and lighting off some of their fireworks in the afternoons a couple days before the Fourth of July. And, so think about this: when they light off fireworks in the afternoon when it’s  light outside, the fireworks aren’t nearly what they could be if they had just waited a few hours. It’s a total fizzle if you do it during the day. It’s way better in the dark. , and I’m sure many of us have experienced this. As kids if we got too anxious and lit our sparklers before it was really dark that was super dissatisfying, especially when all the other kids saved their sparklers until after dark and it seemed so much more fun then. When I was a kid I always wished I had waited for the auspicious moment, the moment when lighting the sparklers would be more satisfying. It’s always about waiting until the time is right.

This is a foreign concept to most of us these days because we’re so accustomed to forcing things. We’re always in a rush, and we always think we have to do things right now.  We’ve been told that the world is getting more and more competitive all the time, and artificial intelligence is coming in and taking our jobs, and the economy is poised to plummet at any moment, and it could all go down the tubes, and someone else out there is going to take our share of the market, so we just better scramble around and “put ourselves out there” and hustle our brains out.

This, my friends, is a big reason that we all are overwhelmed with everything in our lives, but we still think we want more. We aren’t taking timing into consideration. We aren’t waiting for the auspicious moment when achieving the result will be savory and delicious. We’re eating now, before we’re even hungry. And I don’t just mean this metaphorically.

My sister-in-law is coming to visit this week, she’s one of the guests for the 4th of July, and she has had some food sensitivity testing done recently and it was determined that vinegar is no longer an option for her. I went through this a couple of years ago—after my hiking injury in 2015, I was having trouble walking, sitting and standing, too. And it felt like someone had taken my whole pelvis apart and put it together with rubber bands–some of them were too tight and some of them were too loose, and the pain of walking, and even sitting or standing, was ridiculous. And to top that off, the pain was getting worse and worse, it wasn’t getting better, and it turns out that the aggregation in the pain was attributed to vinegar and other acidic foods, things like citrus and even other kinds of fruits that we don’t usually consider that acidic, and definitely tomatoes, and I was eating a ton of those. So in addition to the hiking injury, the foods I was eating were a huge part of the problem. So I had to stop eating all of those foods, and anything with vinegar in it, to try to keep that pain at bay.

So, imagine what that looked like. Salads with only oil. Vegetables with only oil. No marinades. Nothing like that. So the foods I was eating, there was never that bite of vinegar or lemon juice or another acid to make it sparkly and refreshing and entertaining. I couldn’t even drink lemon water.. Not even condiments. Nothing. When you start looking, it seems like everything flavorful has an acid in it.

So my sister-in-law is going through that now, and she’s frustrated now, and I don’t blame her. So while she’s here, she wants to see how I’m eating and how I’ve learned to cope with this because it all seems so tasteless and bland and boring to her right now.

And I definitely felt that way when I was first getting used to this way of eating, and not only did I have to cut out vinegar and acidic foods. There were other foods that I had to exclude entirely, including caffeine, carbonated beverages, and all forms of chocolate. And many spices. I can basically eat salt as a seasoning, and sometimes I sneak in pepper or garlic or ginger now and then, but when I was starting out, I was on the complete elimination plan, so everything I ate seemed so bland and so boring I thought I was going to lose my mind. The most important thing I did to cope with this, to make my food seems satisfying when my palate was still very accustomed to highly flavored foods, is that I waited. I waited until I was sufficiently hungry that anything would taste good, and then from that place, when I ate my simple, mostly-unseasoned food it seemed satisfying because I was hungry enough. And now my palate has adjusted, so it doesn’t bother me so much, and I actually like my food for the most part without vinegar and really spicy seasonings, but waiting for the auspicious moment back then was a very valuable technique in getting to this place. I couldn’t have done it without waiting for that moment when satisfaction was more likely to occur.

This is something that we can all consider in our approach to food and nutrition. Whether we want to lose weight or not, there are always foods that are more palatable—many of them are engineered that way– and these of course tend to be the foods that don’t serve us and that we should never eat, or if we do eat them it should be rare. Cheetos is a prime example. Those in the know, the food engineers among us, describe Cheetos as a triumph in food engineering. It is the perfect combination of flavor and texture, the way it dissolves in your mouth makes you feel as though you haven’t eaten anything, so when you get started on Cheetos you just want more. And what manufacturer of food-like substances wouldn’t want that? A food you enjoy eating that never satisfies you—it’s a guaranteed cha-ching at the cash register because no one ever has their fill.

So even if you don’t want to lose weight, if you just want to eat more nutritious food and cut out the junk–and this is always a good idea by the way, because not only will you feel better but your brain runs better, you focus better and you earn more when you’re not struggling under the weight of a junk-food fog—if this is you, waiting until the moment when you are truly hungry before you eat will help you avoid junk that’s been engineered to make your brain go crazy for it. it will help you eat better because you will find satisfaction in healthier food.

And if you do want to lose weight, this is obviously an excellent way to do it. Putting a longer period of time between your meals until you are hungry is a form of fasting, and if you punctuate those fasting periods with a healthy, satisfying meal before you embark on another fasting period that ends the next time you’re truly hungry, you probably will find that your body begins to very easily relinquish excess weight. There are huge benefits to waiting for the auspicious moment as far as food is concerned. A clean, nutritious meal becomes a lot more satisfying when you do, and this saves us from a lot of problems around food that we suffer from these days.

The auspicious moment is very valuable in business, too. Every single time I am speaking with a budding hedge fund manager, what they tell me is, “I want to create an institutional-quality fund. I want my fund to attract pension plans and insurance companies and other types of institutional investors.” And the reason they want this is because that type of client, the institutions of the world, tend to allocate in very large chunks. A single investor can mean $50 or $80 or $100 million into the hedge fund in one shot. Often, it’s even more than that.

So at the outset, when they’re starting their new businesses, every new hedge fund manager wants institutional money, but the question is how do they get it?

My advice is always to seek the auspicious moment. In other words, wait. 99.99% of hedge fund managers do not want to do this, and 99.99% of them are men, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. I generally don’t get mired down in gender distinctions, I think they’re largely irrelevant in business and way too much is made of how women act in business and how men act in business, and I don’t think the dividing line isn’t gender in most cases— it’s actually thought-based. But in this particular context I suspect there’s an evolutionary impetus involved. I suspect what’s going on with this not-wanting-to-wait among hedge fund managers and their quest for institutional investors is that, as men, waiting is not something they have evolved to understand. What they are used to, what has been successful for them in the past, is that when you want something, you go chase it down, club it into submission, and bring it home.

This doesn’t work with institutional buyers of hedge funds because they don’t want a brand-new fund. It has no track record. It’s small. And institutional investors have restrictions on what they’re allowed to invest in. They’re not allowed to buy into a small fund with a short operating history.

So what happens is that most new hedge fund managers fail, because they hit the ground running, and they chase institutions that they’re never going to catch until they collapse from exhaustion and very high expenses and fatal distraction. They spend so much time trying to get these institutions on board that they trade badly and they fail to develop the track record that would have attracted the institutions in the first place.

Why does this happen? Because they don’t understand waiting. They don’t understand hard-to-get, either. And in this respect they could learn a lot from that lovely creature who is perhaps bordering on extinction if not extinct already, and this creature I’m speaking of is the society debutante.

The debutante ball, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a rapidly disappearing ritual in which a family presents its coming-of-age daughter to society so she can meet eligible bachelors with the goal of securing a good marriage. I’m sure you can see why this ritual is rapidly disappearing—the idea that young women have nothing else to do but get married seems to be dying on the vine–but there’s a business lesson that all of us can glean from the debutante ball, and it’s this: You don’t have your “coming out” party until you’ve dropped your baby weight and gotten your braces off. Perhaps the modern-day equivalent of this might be Internet dating. You wait to post your photo online until you look as good as you can. Maybe these days that means getting a spray tan and your teeth whitened, but whatever it is, I think we can all agree that the strategy is to wait until your efforts are more likely to be met with success, and we should do the exactly the same thing in business.

Here’s a small example from my own life so you can see what I’m talking about. I want to expand my business beyond hedge funds, and start working with all kinds of businesses to help them distill their marketing message and make their sales efforts more effective. I want to go outside my network in this narrow little hedge fund niche that I’ve been working in for 25 years, and start talking with people who don’t know me, who’ve never heard of me, about how I can help them. The question is, when should I approach these folks? Should I do it now, or is there another time that would work better?

And I’ve decided that there’s another time that would work better. The first thing I’m going to do before I approach them is write a book. These days a book is the best business card anyone can have, and the book I’ve decided to write is how entrepreneurs, and the salespeople they hire, can get past their fear of rejection so that they can attract more customers. I think this is huge because fear of rejection is the thing that holds all of us back. If you ask entrepreneurs, “What is your main business concern these days?,” they will tell you that it’s getting new customers into the business. But if you say, “great, let’s talk about how to sell,” they look at you like you just proposed to pull their thumbnails out with needle nose pliers. They’re terrified. So, the working title that my husband and I came up with for this book this morning is, Rejection Anti-Venom: Learn to take the sting out of rejection so you can become unstoppable. Maybe that’s a little bit of a mouthful but it’s something like that. And I will keep you posted on how this effort develops. The point I’m trying to illustrate with this example is that sometimes later is better than earlier. We can do things in our business to make ourselves look as good as we possibly can before we approach our prospective customers, and that’s what I intend to do with this book so I’ll keep you posted on the progress and when it’s available, but in the meantime, I would love to hear from you if you have thoughts on the title. You can either email me at Kelly@richandthin.com or you can post a comment in the page for this episode at richandthin.com/19. And I’d love to hear from you if you have thoughts to share about that. I’d also love for you to consider incorporating the auspicious moment into your life. It makes everything so much more satisfying. And with that I’m going to close for today. I’d like to say thank you so much for joining me today, I’m so happy to have you as a listener. I hope you have a great week and I look forward to connecting with you next time.

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