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The Compounding Life

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As an investor, I've always been aware of the power of compounding in the financial world. However, it wasn't until recently that I began to notice the same principle at work in so many other aspects of my life.

Just like investments, the law of compounding effects can be seen in relationships, experiences, skills, and even personal growth. It's a simple yet profound realization that committing to something long-term can yield benefits that aren't immediately apparent at the surface.

Take my frequent trips to London, for instance. This year, I've found myself returning to the city every few weeks. I have just now begun to notice the compounding effects of these visits. With each trip, I am meeting more interesting people and discovering new opportunities.

Reflecting further on this, I realized that I've visited London nearly ten times this year already. I could have easily chosen to visit ten different European cities instead, spreading my time thinly across new and interesting places. But by focusing on one city, I've been able to deepen my connections and build familiarity there, which is now opening doors to me that I didn't know existed. This is the power of compounding at work.

Two years ago, I moved to Lisbon and found myself saying 'yes' to almost everything. I was eager to explore, to meet new people, and to immerse myself in the culture. Looking back, I sometimes miss the openness and curiosity of those early days. But as I've settled into life here, I've become much more selective, more of a 'no' person.

Now, I invest my time and energy in deepening connections with my existing friends, rather than constantly seeking new connections. This shift has brought its own compounding benefits. I feel more grounded, supported, and cared for by my close friends. It's a different kind of richness, one that comes from depth rather than breadth.

The same principle applies to how I consume information. Choosing to read a book, which allows me to explore a single topic in depth, has more lasting benefits than scrolling through a feed of fleeting ideas. The deeper understanding I gain from reading a book that can be applied in my life and shared with others, adds more value than the superficial knowledge gained from skimming through a feed.

My professional journey also reflects the power of compounding at work. I served as the CEO of my tech business for 15 years. Over that period, I built credibility, influence, and experience that gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. This wouldn't have been possible if I had hopped from one business or industry to another. Many smart people choose to stay in the same organization or role for an extended period, even if there's a higher paying opportunity next door. They understand the compounding benefits of credibility, influence, and trust that come with time that they would not immediately receive next door.

Recently, I started learning salsa dancing. It was a spontaneous decision, prompted by a friend's last-minute invitation. I found the challenge just right - not too easy, not too hard - and it sparked a desire to get good at it. Now, I'm taking weekly classes and seeing significant progress. If I had chosen to try a different dance style each week, I wouldn't have experienced this level of growth, would have gotten frustrated and would have stopped.

Perhaps the most valuable area where I've seen the benefits of compounding is my health.

Last week, when my flight was delayed by two hours, I found myself calmly using the time to clear my inbox, feeling gratitude for the unexpected free time. Looking around, I saw frustration and anger on other passengers' faces. At that moment, I truly felt the benefits of a decade of meditation at work.

Over the past year, as I have dug deeper into my physical health, I have been laying the foundation for building strength, endurance and resilience for the decade ahead. I intend to continue to improve my physical health, day by day.

The power of compounding is not only a financial concept. It's a principle that applies to every aspect of my life. It requires staying invested, which is sometimes difficult. When something shinier or more appealing walks by, it could be easy to jump. Whether it's building relationships, acquiring skills, or personal growth, the benefits of long-term commitment and consistency are profound. They may not be immediately visible, but over time, they compound to create significant value and richness that are not available to me in any other way.

When I choose depth over breadth, I am now open to receiving the benefits of compounding.

In my frequent trips to London, I've seen how repeated visits have opened doors and introduced me to people I wouldn't have met otherwise. In Lisbon, my decision to invest in existing friendships has given me a sense of grounding and support that is priceless. My choice to read books over scrolling feeds has enriched my understanding and application of ideas. My long tenure as a CEO has given me credibility and influence that wouldn't have been possible with job-hopping. My commitment to learning salsa has led to noticeable progress, and enjoyment. And my decade-long practice of meditation has given me a sense of calm and gratitude that is invaluable.

The power of compounding in life is a testament to the value of consistency, patience, and long-term commitment. It's about understanding that the most significant benefits often come from deep, sustained engagement rather than surface-level exploration. It's about recognizing that the most meaningful growth often happens incrementally, over time.

In a modern era filled with stimuli and that is encouraging of hoping, jumping and surfing from here to there constantly, I believe now more than ever is it important to intentionally commit to the compounding life.

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