☝️ Upwarding #6: Old Trees, Mexican Happiness, Higher Interest, Pocketing your Phone, and Accepting People

Welcome to this week's Upwarding newsletter. Issue #6


There’s something special about old trees. We can’t stop noticing this one (yes, that’s Michell in the front).


Call it God, call it the Great Mystery, call it whatever. Believing in a higher power is strongly correlated to happiness. Probably because you stop trying to control everything. I’m currently in Mexico and now believe this is one of three major reasons people here are so happy.


Natural supplements make a lot of claims but virtually every single one has been debunked after further study. One of the precious few that keeps proving its worth is Vitamin D, which apparently reduces the risk of cancer. Curiously, most southern states in the US, where the sun gives you free vitamin D, have fewer cancer deaths than heart disease deaths. The opposite is true in many sun-deprived states like Maine and New Hampshire. Vitamin D is so important that it’s the reason white-skinned people evolved to have lighter skin and lactose tolerance. White, green, black, or purple, we probably all spend less time outdoors, and more time with clothes on, than whatever the past 1 million years of genetic selection bred us for.


One way to get more than the paltry 2% yield on savings accounts is to invest in a basket of higher yielding securities like convertible bonds, preferred shares, international bonds, and more. The prices on these can be volatile – but the income they generate is very consistent. Just close your eyes and invest! Here’s a post on investment options that yield 3% to 6% and who they might make sense for.

Random Thought

You think that pulling out your cell phone to show someone that relevant article or picture is going to enhance the conversation, but it almost never does. You break eye contact, you tacitly invite them to pull out their cell phone, and chances are you get lost in some other phone distraction. If you’ve found a way to do this and not kill the vibe, reply to this email. My current view is that it’s a conversation killer.


We all want to be fully accepted for who we are. But do you give others the same courtesy? A question I like to ask when I’m rubbed the wrong way: “What part of person X am I not yet willing to accept?”. Instead of forcing them to change, you invite yourself to change. Note: I’m not yet applying this to my kids.

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