The Brevity of Life

Life is short. Life ends fast.

Slow down to smell the roses, and other times run full throt­tle. Balance.

We don’t stop play­ing because we get old. We get old because we stop play­ing. Live young, stay young.

What doesn’t kill you makes for a great story.

Work hard, play harder. Embrace the crazy in all of us and set it loose.

Have fun with life. Don’t take it too seriously.

The frailty, the brevity, of life. This is the under­es­ti­mated reality.

Don’t waste your life.

19 Ways Rich People Think Differently

How do you mea­sure up? Num­ber 3 is tough for a lot of people.

1. Rich peo­ple always keep their goals in sight.
“I focus on my goals every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 62%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 6%

2. And they know what needs to be done today.
“I main­tain a daily to-​​do list.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 81%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 19%

3. They don’t watch TV.
“I watch TV one hour or less per day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 67%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 23%

4. They read … but not for fun.
“I love read­ing.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 86%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 26%

5. Plus, they’re big into audio books.
“I lis­ten to audio books dur­ing the com­mute to work.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 63%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 5%

6. They make a point of going above and beyond at the office.
“I do more than my job requires.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 81%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 17%

7. They aren’t hop­ing to win the jack­pot.
“I play the lot­tery reg­u­larly.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 6%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 77%

8. They watch their waist­line.
“I count calo­ries every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 57%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 5%

9. And they take care of their smiles.
“I floss every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 62%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 16%

10. Rich peo­ple believe their habits have a major impact on their lives.
“Daily habits are crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess in life.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 52%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 3%

11. Rich peo­ple believe in the Amer­i­can dream.
“The Amer­i­can dream is no longer pos­si­ble.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 2%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 87%

12. Rich peo­ple value rela­tion­ships for pro­fes­sional and per­sonal growth.
“Rela­tion­ships are crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 88%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 17%

13. Rich peo­ple love meet­ing new peo­ple.
“I love meet­ing new peo­ple.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 68%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 11%

14. Rich peo­ple think that sav­ing is hugely impor­tant.
“Sav­ing money is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 88%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 52%

15. Rich peo­ple feel that they deter­mine their path in life.
“I believe in fate.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 10%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 90%

16. Rich peo­ple value cre­ativ­ity over intel­li­gence.
“Cre­ativ­ity is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 75%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 11%

17. Rich peo­ple enjoy their jobs.
“I like (or liked) what I do for a liv­ing.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 85%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 2%

18. Rich peo­ple believe that their health influ­ences their suc­cess.
“Good health is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 85%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 13%

19. Rich peo­ple are will­ing to take risks.
“I’ve taken a risk in search of wealth.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 63%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 6%

 

HT: http://​www​.entre​pre​neur​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​3​5​228
HT: http://www.businessinsider.com/ways-rich-people-think-differently-2014–5

Graduating Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

This after­noon, my girl­friend and I fin­ished our last class with Dave Ram­sey. Like many oth­ers, he’s become a house­hold name to us. “Dave says this…” or “Dave said that…”. For those that aren’t aware, Dave Ram­sey is the nation’s most pop­u­lar finan­cial guru. He lists 7 baby steps as follows:

  1. Build a $1000 emer­gency fund
  2. Get out of debt as quickly as pos­si­ble, pay­ing extra on your small­est debt and work­ing up from there.
  3. Build a fully funded emer­gency fund of 3–6 months expenses.
  4. Start invest­ing 15% of your income in an IRA with high yield­ing mutual funds.
  5. Start a col­lege fund for the kids.
  6. Pay off the home early.
  7. Build wealth and give.

Cur­rently, I’m on step 3 for less than two more months. Then, I start step 4, jump over step 5 (since I don’t have kids), and start sav­ing for a down pay­ment on a house since I cur­rently rent. It’s excit­ing times and feels so lib­er­at­ing to not have the finan­cial bur­dens that so many oth­ers carry.

Dave’s phi­los­o­phy fits so well with Live Sim­ply Free because he harps on liv­ing within your means–living sim­ply. His mantra is, “Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else.” Fantastic!

We must resist the lies of our soci­ety to buy things to be happy and that it’s ok to have debt. Sim­plic­ity brings true joy and free­dom. Maybe you’re already bogged way down in finan­cial woes. It’s ok, there’s always hope and it’s never too late to start mak­ing changes. All it takes is deter­mi­na­tion and discipline.

You might look weird just sit­ting with friends at the restau­rant but not order­ing any­thing. Your fam­ily might think you’re crazy for sell­ing every­thing and liv­ing so mea­gerly but that’s ok. After all, isn’t it the crazy peo­ple in this world that always end up doing great things?

It’s been said that when you see the major­ity head­ing in one direc­tion, it’s best to go the oppo­site way. I’m com­mit­ted to that par­tic­u­larly in my finances and I hope you will be too.

bachelors traversing the status quo

What first comes to mind when you think of a bach­e­lor pad? Per­haps some­thing along the lines of the pic­ture below?

messy bachelor pad

 

 

 

 

 

How­ever, if you stop by my apart­ment (which is shared with a room­mate), you’re sure to find a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence. With touches from wall art, to orga­ni­za­tion sys­tems, to an always clean kitchen and fridge, our bach­e­lor pad doesn’t fit the sta­tus quo. In fact, more than likely if you come around the din­ner hour you’ll find one of us cook­ing a meal. When I say meal, I don’t mean ramen. We don’t even have a microwave.

We’re two totally dif­fer­ent guys with extremely oppo­site per­son­al­i­ties, careers, and hob­bies. I’m in the med­ical field and my room­mate is in the film indus­try. About the only sim­i­lar­ity is that we’re both Chris­tians and we both run small busi­ness out of our apartment.

So what’s the secret to keep a clean house? It’s an incen­tive pro­gram. It basi­cally works like this. We have iden­ti­fied 4 areas in the apart­ment that we have to keep clean. If my room­mate makes a mess and leaves the apart­ment or leaves it overnight, and I clean it up for him, then I place a hash mark on our white­board. For every hash mark, I get to take $5 off my half of the rent, and vice versa for my room­mate. It’s a pretty good incen­tive that is keep­ing our place spot­less and ready for guests at any­time. So, if you’ve got a room­mate, it’s worth giv­ing it a try. You may end up sav­ing some money this month.

Since we’re talk­ing about room­mates and apart­ments, here’s a project that my room­mate and I are going to start work­ing on this week to give us a lit­tle more space and orga­ni­za­tion. See pic­ture below.

fridge pantry

making the most of rest

It’s been a blur of a year. I started out teach­ing classes dur­ing the Spring semes­ter almost every­day. I also met my dream girl the begin­ning of the year. As the semes­ter ended, the triathlon sea­son started and I was aver­ag­ing 2 races a month. Throw in some wed­dings and a cou­ple other road trips, and it was a very time con­sum­ing sum­mer. Oh, I for­got to men­tion I also started my own teach­ing company.…AHH!!!

I just fin­ished my last race which hap­pened to be the Nation­als 2 weeks ago, and the dust has finally set­tled. I was just star­ing at my cal­en­dar and it is com­pletely empty. After 8 months of busi­ness, I hon­estly feel uncom­fort­able with all this free time. I don’t want to fill it with another reg­i­ment of projects. So, the ques­tion is raised, how do I make the most of this sea­son of rest?

Well, busy lives equate to dis­trac­tion. Dis­trac­tion from God, other rela­tion­ships, good habits, etc. A focus on spir­i­tual things should always be the fore­most thing. Dig­ging in a lit­tle deeper with the church, amp­ing up daily devo­tional time, and seek­ing dis­ci­ple­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties. Sec­ond is strength­en­ing rela­tion­ships with a core group of friends (includ­ing your sig­nif­i­cant other if applic­a­ble) which sta­tis­tics say we can’t main­tain more than 6 close friend­ships. Third would be tak­ing up some gen­eral good habits like read­ing, writ­ing, inten­tional solitude/​mediation, and so forth.

So, if you find your­self in one of these rare sea­sons as well. Resist the urge to fill the void. Embrace the empti­ness, attempt to pro­long it as long as pos­si­ble, and use the time to focus on the fun­da­men­tals of your life.

exposing the lie of careers

Amer­ica is the land of oppor­tu­nity. If you work hard enough, you can be any­thing you want to be. There’s a lot of truth to that. When we boil it down, our soci­ety has 3 gen­eral cat­e­gories of suc­cess­ful careers. You have lawyers, doc­tors, and busi­ness exec­u­tives. I hap­pen to per­son­ally know one such person…it’s my dad.

Ya, he worked his way all the way up from low­est man on the totem pole, to a suit-​​wearing exec­u­tive who was president/​VP of mul­ti­ple com­pa­nies, trav­elled the world, went to fancy par­ties in tuxe­dos, and made six fig­ures. He had it made. He had arrived to a spot only most dream about. Well, he doesn’t do that any­more. Now he owns his own win­dow clean­ing com­pany and offers his ser­vices as a quad-​​lingual interpreter.

I was on the path to busi­ness exec­u­tive. I’m very early in the jour­ney but it was clear to many that I’d attain it. It didn’t take me long to real­ize that with advance­ment came a lot of respon­si­bil­ity and worst of all, STRESS! I work for the best and biggest com­pany in my field, and even then there’s a lot of flaws. I began ask­ing around to see what oth­ers thought who were climb­ing the lad­der and all at dif­fer­ent lev­els. The answers were all pretty much the same. “Yes, it’s a lot respon­si­bil­ity.“
“Yes, there’s more stress.” “If I can only reach a cer­tain rung, then it’ll be smooth sail­ing.” “It’s just busy for this sea­son, things will slow down in such and such time.”

Those answers might be ok if these peo­ple were just get­ting started with their careers, but the real­ity is they’ve been at it for 10, 15, 20yr and they’re all at dif­fer­ent rungs and all say­ing the same thing. So what am I to think? That my cir­cum­stance is going to turn out dif­fer­ently? That every­one with­out excep­tion is say­ing the same thing, but I’m going to be the excep­tion!? I’m not naïve, my fate will be no different.

So, back to my dad. We talked about how careers are over­rated and my idea of start­ing my own com­pany. Here’s what my dad had to say. “You’re right.” Being a busi­ness exec­u­tive, my dad had lots of busi­ness exec­u­tive friends. He told me that most of them finally fig­ured out the same thing I had, and now they all run their own busi­nesses. Do they all have the same lux­u­ries they use to? Not all of them, but they’re all a lot happier.

Careers give us a false sense of secu­rity. It’s no more secure than run­ning your own busi­ness. If any­thing, you have more con­trol over your secu­rity when you run the show. Life is a lot sim­pler. Careers are over­rated. If you know some­one that can prove me oth­er­wise, let me know.

God Is Our Fortress [Psalm 46 Personalized]

God is my refuge and strength,
a very present help in trou­ble.“
There­fore I will not fear though my life crum­bles before my eyes,
though I lose every­thing I once held dear.
whether it’s my fam­ily or friends,
or my job and all my possessions.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habi­ta­tion of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morn­ing dawns.“
Friends may mock, they may try to shake my foun­da­tions;
“he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought des­o­la­tions on the earth;“
He fights for me, and gives me the strength of 10,000;
He will silence my ene­mies tongues and deaden their actions;
He will destroy what they hold onto for strength.

‘Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!‘
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress”

the power of a touch

Touch is a pow­er­ful thing. As an Ital­ian, touch is woven into my DNA. Not every­one is so inclined. Here’s a few exam­ples of the power of a sim­ple touch, and how it can change the very essence of who you are and how peo­ple per­ceive you.

Encour­ages — A sim­ple hi-​​five or pat on the back. You know’ve got­ten one and it felt good.

Com­forts — An arm around your shoul­der, or a hand on your arm. With­out say­ing any­thing, it can say a lot.

Cor­rects — The firm grip of a father’s hand on your shoul­der. It strikes fear in every young, and not so young, man’s heart.

Calms — The ten­der rest­ing of a hand on your knee or the reas­sur­ing grip of your hand. It gives peace to those with a rag­ing storm within.

Romances — Those early stages in a bud­ding rela­tion­ship where ever so slight and dis­creet touches are made. Whether touch­ing a shoul­der while laugh­ing or brush­ing some­thing off someone’s face. Seem­ingly minus­cule, yet core to our species’ way of courtship.

Iden­ti­fies — A bold hand­shake, a slap on the back. Often sub­lim­i­nal, but com­mu­ni­cates a level of sta­tus via confidence.

Gen­uine­ness — The hug that makes you feel like you are known. It’s what we all crave and imme­di­ately attracts us to the one who has given it.

Recalls — That sim­ple touch or kiss that floods our minds full of mem­o­ries. It brings us back to a place that can feel so real and just like yesterday.

The power of a sim­ple touch. How under­es­ti­mated it often is. Peo­ple cry for change in this world. Poverty, war, greed. Could not a touch be the cat­a­lyst for much of this needed change?

To add a spir­i­tual note, Chris­tian­ity should be pre­sented with a touch. It allows oth­ers a glimpse into our souls to see the truth of what we speak. Chris­tian­ity given at an arms length is not Chris­tian­ity at all.

What would you enjoy doing if money were no object?

I watched a video tonight that cut deep. The ques­tion was asked, “How would you enjoy spend­ing your life if money were no object?” Watch the video for yourself.

Peo­ple have dreams but get jobs to make money to live those dreams. Young peo­ple get a good career and get wrapped up in it, then buy a house, have a fam­ily, and become so depen­dent and com­fort­able with where they’re at. They never break the cycle to do what they really wanted.

Why do peo­ple get full time jobs and take pro­mo­tions? It’s for the money. Why not try liv­ing your dream even if you don’t think you’re ready? No one ever thinks they’re finan­cially or emo­tion­ally ready for mar­riage or kids but these are accepted “risks”. Could liv­ing your dream be one of those “risks” that end up turn­ing out alright? I read once that “Fears are often only paper thin. All you have to do is walk through it.”

Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to live life to the fullest for 5yr and have some­thing to remem­ber than live a mun­dane life for 50yr? And hon­estly, I’ve seen a few close fam­i­lies to me go through bank­ruptcy and some­how today they seem no worse off for it than me. Money holds far too strong of a grip on us.

Full time jobs pro­vide insur­ance, and it’s thought to be fool­ish not to have insur­ance espe­cially if we have kids. Well is it not just as wise to put away money each month for emer­gen­cies and scrap insur­ance? Besides, if some­thing cat­a­strophic hap­pens, insur­ance gives up and you’ll end up with some­thing you can’t pay anyway.

Insur­ance is so we can give our kids a bet­ter chance at a future. But what kind of future are they really going to have with us set­ting the exam­ple that they’ll fol­low of get­ting a job and work­ing our lives away doing some­thing we really don’t enjoy?

Take the plunge. Don’t set­tle for this society’s phe­sod of free­dom. Free­dom lies among a select few who are brave enough to go after it. I use to be one of them and I plan on join­ing the ranks again.

simple productivity tips

Some­times though we wish life were sim­pler, it just isn’t. For those of us with com­plex and busy lifestyles in the pro­longed process of sim­pli­fy­ing our lives, there’s a few pro­duc­tiv­ity tips to help.

  • Take sup­ple­ments. Most of us don’t get all the nutri­ents we need, and nutri­ents play a big role in our energy level and sleep qual­ity. Here’s a few of the things I’ve been tak­ing that I’ve noticed mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence. Juice Plus+Opti­mum Nutri­tion, Omega 3 Fish Oils.
  • Wake up early. I like to get up between 5–5:30am (I feel great now that I’m on those sup­ple­ments). There’s no sci­en­tific research, but I always seem to get more done when I wake up early. By 10am I can have most things done that would oth­er­wise usu­ally take all day.
  • Use a to-​​do list. To-​​do lists aren’t just for peo­ple with bad mem­o­ries. When you have some­thing writ­ten down to accom­plish for the day, there’s an instinc­tive nature to want to check off those items. I use Things, but there’s plenty of other free appli­ca­tions out there. Try to find one that has a com­puter and phone app that sync.
  • Exer­cise. This will help get the blood flow­ing, release those endor­phines, and make you more focused. 20min of ele­vated heart rate is all it takes. Swim, bike, run, yoga, hike, rock climb, lift weights, etc. You can’t say you don’t have options.
  • Plan ahead. To-​​do lists are good for the daily details, but you also need to map out the big pic­ture. Take one day a week to jot out your next week’s sched­ule. I put down work appoint­ments, exer­cises and their times, recre­ational blocks of times, and per­sonal study times (because I always want to be learn­ing). Per­son­ally, cer­tain cat­e­gories I plan for the upcom­ing week and some I plan 2wk in advance due to my sched­ule fill­ing if I don’t plan far enough out. Once you make your sched­ule, decide to stick to your guns (like exer­cise) if some­thing else comes up (friend want­ing to get coffee)…there will be other days.