SSS #156: Positive Constraints β›“


I received a decent amount of positive feedback from last week's post - the one about lessons learned from a year+ of therapy.

I thought it might be helpful to include a link to the service I used to find my therapist:

Livin' La Vida Luna y Luca


What's grabbing their attention? 🧐

Wrong answers only. πŸ˜…

It sounds weird every time I say it, but I'm happiest when I'm in a prison of my own making.

I like creating rules for myself.

Saying "No" to something once and for all means eliminating a thousand future decisions.

I especially like the rules that act as positive constraints - they seem like limitations on the surface, but actually benefit me tremendously over long periods of time.

Over the years, I've tested and applied many of these positive constraints to my daily life.

Some have stuck. Others have fallen by the wayside.

Here are a few that I'm currently abiding by.

Saying No to Alcohol

I know, I know...

I've beaten this one like a dead horse.

But for anyone who isn't yet privy to the information - I gave up drinking alcohol on December 28, 2014.

This Christmas marks 8 years!

The benefits are obvious.

  • Save money
  • Never hungover
  • "Healthier" subsequent lifestyle choices

I wrote an in-depth post about this topic a few years ago.

You can read it here.

Time in the Gym

Dia and I used to be gym rats. 🐁

We would get to the gym 30 minutes before our workout and stay 30 minutes after just to hang with our buddies.

Those days are long gone.

Now I set a timer for 40 minutes the moment I walk into the gym and immediately get to work.

40 minutes is just enough time to warm up on any open cardio machine and get 3 sets of 10 reps across 3-4 different movements.

40 minutes also happens to be the exact amount of time it takes for Dia to drop off Luna to school in the morning (round trip).

Another added benefit to this time constraint is it allows me to work out every day (M-F).

I find 40 minutes to be the minimum effective dose for feeling like I made progress but also not feeling like I overdid it and consequently need to take a day off.

Phone Rules

I stopped bringing my phone to bed with me. It charges downstairs on my desk overnight.

There was a (brief) time when I wouldn't bring my phone into the bathroom either. Dia liked those days. I should probably get back to doing that.

Anyway, keeping my phone out of the bedroom allows me to fall asleep faster.

Mindlessly scrolling through all my social feeds has robbed me of so much sleep over the years.

These days, if I need a little help dozing off, my kindle paperwhite is tucked away under Luca's bassinet.

Oh! That reminds me of a new positive constraint I just adopted - I'm trying to avoid reading non-fiction before bed.

Reading about business, personal finance, or self-help inevitably winds me up instead of winding me down.

It's much easier for me to fall asleep after reading a good story.

I'm halfway through the second book of Game of Thrones and it's amazing!!! I can't wait to rewatch the series.

Dietary Restrictions

I allow myself to eat whatever I want as long as I don't exceed 1,800 calories per day.

For instance, if I know we are going out for an indulgent dinner, I might go the entire day fueled on nothing but coffee, watermelon, greek yogurt, and protein shakes.

This calorie constraint has allowed me to stay the same weight since college without really restricting what I eat.

...But now that I have this annoying cholesterol issue, I have to take it one step further and check labels for cholesterol content. 😭

Did you know that basically everything enjoyable has cholesterol? Ugh.

Who knows? This high fiber / zero cholesterol diet may ultimately get me back down to my high school weight. πŸ’©


Other categories of food/beverage I categorically say No to:

  • Beef & Pork
  • Regular Soda (except Diet Coke)
  • McDonald's

To be clear, I'm not opposed to fast food.

Taco Bell was the first 5-star Mexican restaurant (according to Yelp) I brought Dia to and this is a hill I'm willing to die on.

This Newsletter

βœ… Once per week.

βœ… ~1,000 words or less.

βœ… 5th-grade reading level.

Every week, you gift me with your most precious asset: attention.

I do not take it for granted.

I strive to make my point as succinctly as possible and keep it moving.

I'd rather leave you wanting for more than wishing I'd get on with it.


I firmly believe the respect I've shown you directly impacts my open rate.

I'm averaging 80%+, which is basically unheard of.

Thank you.

I can't begin to tell you how incredibly fulfilling it is to feel like I'm consistently putting something valuable out into the world.

As many of you know, this newsletter started as a way for me to keep a short list of friends and family up to date on what's happening in my world through a medium that's less distracting than our standard social media channels.

Since then, a few "friendly strangers on the internet" have found me through my real estate related content.

Therein lies a dilemma: each week I have this internal struggle about what I'm going to write about:

❓My family or my business

❓How far I've come vs. How much I've made

❓Which book I read vs. Which property I bought

It feels like a zero-sum game where catering to one group comes at the expense of alienating the other.

Thankfully, my (very wise) wife helped me realize this dilemma is the draw:

Providing an unfiltered view into the life of a 30-something American-born Indian guy desperately trying to build a lifestyle business while raising two young kids with his (badass) immigrant wifey while dealing with all the obstacles and opportunities that come along with it somehow passes as interesting

... for 156 weeks and counting. ⏱

πŸ₯‚ Cheers to 3 years.