Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Leverage your small successes to make a big difference

I often write about understanding your own cognitive bias to make better decisions. But the decision itself is just one piece of the overall decision-making process. In some cases, it might even be the easiest part. A decision can often bring you into unfamiliar territory, outside your comfort zone. You may feel nervous and unsure of the outcome. Following through on a decision takes confidence. It takes courage.

Although some people are born with it (must be nice), I like to imagine for the large majority, confidence comes from a cumulation of a lot of little successes. …

And I am not alone

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Our environment has evolved, but our instincts haven’t.

We are no longer hunting and gathering our food. We aren’t nomadic. We might move, but it's for a job, for family, for fun. It's no longer for the changing season, to follow the herd, to seek protection.

Before, we depended on the tribe to survive. We needed the group for protection and for resources. If we did something unpopular, we could be pushed from the group. We would be left to fend for ourselves. We would die. Staying in the in-group literally was life or death.

The in-group still matters to…

Photo captured with iPhone

It was a beautiful spring weekend in the Swiss Alps. The sun was shining. The sky was unthinkably blue. Cows were grazing with their calves. And the snow was melting into a flurry of wildflowers.

My husband and I were enjoying a wellness weekend with day-long hikes. As we zigged and zagged, up and down the mountain my mind wandered. I reflected on work, on relationships, on life.

The more I am surrounded by nature, the more I realize how much there is to learn for it.

In the end, a few key lessons continued to reappear. They were practically…

Taken with iPhone in Sylhet

Bangladesh often is in the news for its economic shortcomings. Poverty, dangerous working conditions and political corruption are the focus. And while this does exist, if you travel to Bangladesh, you will see so much more.

You will witness lush nature. You will experience a rich history. You will feel a vibrant culture and a community, supported by people working together. To understand the countries complexities, you need to travel to see it for yourself.

And to truly experience the country’s nuanced beauty, travel with a local guide. My husband and I have the privilege of having a dear friend…

Hidden gem for passionate travellers

Picture taken with iPhone in Sylhet

Bangladesh is incredible. Completely unaffected by mass tourism… or any tourism for that matter. It is the perfect destination for those who like to travel off the beaten path. But the remoteness, which makes the trip so special, is also what makes it so difficult to travel to on your own. A local guide is necessarily in order to navigate and to experience the country’s subtle beauties.

My husband and I have the privilege of having a dear friend, Zubair, from Bangladesh. He offered to show us his home country and we will be forever grateful for the magical adventure.

How I paid $160 for 30 hangers (that I threw away anyway)

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

I was moving to Zurich. My husband and I were starting our new life together in my husband’s home country. I was saying goodbye to a life I loved. Saying goodbye to dear friends who were more like family, to coworkers who were more like friends, and to a city that became more than my home. I became who I am today in Chicago.

To say the very least I was going through some things. As it is, it is hard to make rational decisions in the best of times and I was not in my best of times. …

Two breathing exercises for stress management

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Breathing and anxiety have always been linked for me. I would have frequent panic attacks causing me to hyperventilate. I would have short breaths, fast breaths, and sometimes no breaths at all. Anxiety sitting on my chest somehow felt too heavy to be physically able to breath. At one point, my therapist asked me to schedule “reminders” in my phone to check my breathing, to make sure I was breathing.

I knew I could measure my anxiety by observing my breath. But, only once I started practicing yoga, I discovered I could use my breath to reduce my anxiety. Especially…

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

A penny saved is a penny earned? Sorry, Ben Franklin, I have to disagree with you. A dollar cut from your expenses actually has a larger impact on your retirement goals than an extra dollar earned.

This seems mathematically impossible. A dollar is a dollar. But in this article, I will prove how this is magically correct.

To begin, you may have heard about the FIRE movement. It stands for Financially Independent Retire Early.

The FIRE method is based on the 4% rule. The 4% rule is a rule of thumb used to estimate a savings amount needed to continue…

A story about how groupthink led to dessert disaster and how we can learn from it.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I was at an Italian restaurant with my husband. The place was a trendy spot with dozens of tables, side-by-side. Truly, we were all sitting on top of each other and eavesdropping was (almost) unavoidable.

Next to us, a couple enjoyed a celebratory dinner.

After the entrée, the husband asked if his wife would like the chocolate cake for dessert. She replied with a resounding “Yes”. The dessert came and the wife didn’t even take a bite. Confused, the husband asked why.

Well you…

Step 1: Admit you have a problem.

You are irrational.

So to be honest, I wasn’t ready for this step initially. I was living comfortably in the land of denial.

So if you are like me, your first step is actually to enjoy learning about how other people act irrationally.

Laugh at the absurdity. Along the way, you may just discover the many (many) ways you are also systematically getting it wrong.

So what does a rational decision maker look like? And how can you make badass decisions? …

Julie Muggli

Chicago Booth MBA in Finance, Statistics & Organizational Behavior. American expat living in Switzerland. Passionate about travel, learning and mindful living.

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