March 7 2017

Why You Should Step Out Of The Shadows

We now live in a new era.  The information age is well at hand, and if you want to reach your goals there has never been a greater time.  Technology has provided us with the means to reach out and touch someone in ways AT&T would never have imagined.  But, are you taking advantage?

Believe it or not there is a such thing as being ‘afraid of success’, and it’s totally understandable.  Think about the young singer or actor who just wants to use their talents to entertain the world, but fear the attention that goes along with it.  Paparazzi following you around all the time, not being able to shop for groceries without being mobbed, you might think these are good problems to have, and they are, but never the less the fear is real. You’re probably wondering how we fit in here, right?

I have a passion for writing, and creating things.  Once I learned how to navigate the empty canvas of the internet, I attempted to fulfill my creative needs.  One thing that keeps me going is feedback, but it’s hard to get feedback when you’re hiding behind Gravatars and icons.  Back in the early 90’s when this whole internet thing was just starting to take off, that kind of thing would work. Here in the 21st century things have changed.

If you want real feedback and if you want to really connect with like-minded people, you have to put yourself out there.  I’m not saying you have to set up a camera in your room or walk around with a selfie stick, but at least get rid of that picture of your cat on your profile page and let us see who you are.  I know the fear of success or rejection is tough to deal with, but what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

March 6 2017

Top 5 Ways People Waste Money

 

We all do it sometimes; A pair of shoes you didn’t really need, a new car to celebrate your promotion, a ‘bigger’ screen television to replace the ‘big screen’ one from last year, because you just got another tax refund.

When times get tough or a great opportunity comes up and you don’t have the money to make a move, sitting back and thinking about all the money you’ve wasted can very painful.  But, what can prove to be even more painful is the fact that many people are wasting money and don’t even know they’re doing so.  Here is my list of the Top 5 Ways People Waste Money.

5. Cars

This is a big one.  If the other 4 weren’t so good (or bad depending on how you look at it) this would be higher on the list. Yes, a car is a great way to independently get around and having reliable transportation is a must for certain jobs, but when you’re making $40,000 a year and you go out and finance a $60,000 vehicle it’s apparent that you do not have your financial freedom in mind. This is a move made for 2 reasons; impulse buy or trying to keep up with the Jones’.  Either way you slice it, it’s a bad idea.

Think about it like this; Add up your car payment, monthly insurance, then add in gas and maintenance costs.  Now total that all up and take a long look at the result.  Oh let’s not forget that your car depreciate in value as soon as you drive it off the lot.  Yup.  Think about what you could do with that kind of money by the end of the year. What’s the alternative?  Simple, get a less expensive, reliable vehicle that you can pay off quickly.  If you pay off your car in a year or two and it lasts you 5 years after that, that’s 5 years and thousands of dollars you can use to invest in your future.

On the flip side of this is the celebrities and athletes who go out and buy dozens of expensive cars before the check even clears.  I don’t get it.  You have two feet, how many cars do you need? Of course a lot of these people end up broke years down the line. Don’t let this shit happen to you.

4. Clothes 

A few years ago this would apply to mostly women, but things have changed.  Through the popularity of movies and music -cough- (hip hop), the fashion industry has changed the perception of success in many people’s minds. There’s a difference between being a salesman who needs to look the part for a meeting and buying a $1500 bag just so people can say you’re ‘balling’.  One catastrophic mistake in your investments, brand, or overlooking your expenses can have you in a situation where you need cash as soon as possible.

What if you or someone you love has a health emergency? Do you think the doctors are taking a bag full of your expensive shit as payment?  Look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.  These two guys look like they shop at Old Navy, but they are two of the wealthiest men in the world.  This is why they will never go broke.  They know and understand the fickleness of our economy and the difference between rich and being wealthy.

3. Houses

I’m not talking about investment properties here.  Those are thumbs up all the way.  I’m talking about the people who go out and buy a 5 bedroom Barbie Dream House just because their credit score is over 700 and they have a nice nest egg in the bank.  I’m also talking about the newly rich that go out and buy a few 20 room mansions knowing that they are single, with no kids, and will hardly ever be home.  I’m shaking my head right now. Other than a multi-family as an investment property, a house is a big liability.  More often than not whatever money you put into improving it will not matter when it comes time to sell.  But, if you disagree go roll the dice if you want and find out the hard way.

2. Credit 

If used responsibly credit can in fact help you get rich, but I’m not talking about responsible people here.  I’m talking about the ones who use credit to buy all the stuff I listed above in numbers 5-3.  If there is anything you learned from the 2008 financial crisis it’s that you have to respect credit just as a gun owner would respect a loaded AK-47.  You have to know how to safely handle it and only use it if necessary.  It’s far too easy to get caught up in the moment and reach into your back pocket or purse to indulge just this one time.  The problem is that one time can start a domino effect that will take you years to recover from if you ever do.  Honestly who can afford to waste that much…

1. Time

The time you waste on your phone, computer, television, dead-end job or hanging with friends or relatives who live their lives by the battle cry, “You Only Live Once” is going to leave you running on the hamster wheel until the day you die.  That is of course if you don’t make a change right now. Go ahead and add up how many hours a day you spend ‘vegging out’ or wasting time doing things that have no positive effect on your future.  Sure it’s okay to take some time to relax and have fun, but some of us are doing that shit full-time.  If you’re one of those people, you don’t deserve fun time. You’ve already had enough to last a life time haven’t you?

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March 5 2017

Top 5 Things Keeping You From Moving On

 

Believe it or not moving on is one of the scariest things most people face in their lives. Right now you may be thinking, “hey, that can’t be true, there are plenty things scarier than moving on.  How about dying for instance?”  Hmm, that helps prove my point actually.  What is dying if not ‘moving on’?

Here’s what I believe are the “Top 5 Things Keeping You From Moving On”.

#5. Laziness

Oh yea.  Admit it, moving on is a lot of work.  First you have to work up the courage to step away from something, then you have to do it, and then you have to deal with the repercussions. If you walk away from your job you have to find another one, make new friends, learn a new system, etc.  If you walk away from your companion you have to find a new one or go through life alone.  I bet you’re getting tired just thinking about this.

4. Loyalty

Let’s get something straight right now.  When it comes to your life, you should be the one and only decision maker.  You should not be making life choices based on how they will affect other people.  I bet if you closed your eyes right now you could easily picture a friend or family member that’s always holding you back. Whether it’s telling you what you can’t do or guilting you into helping them when you should be helping yourself, these people do not have your best interest in mind.  Whatever you think you ‘owe’ them  you ‘owe’ yourself a lot more.

3. Pride 

You’ve spent countless hours, weeks, months, or years on this thing or this person and you refuse to ‘give up’ or ‘quit’. No way!  “I didn’t waste all this time and effort for nothing”, you tell yourself.  Stop.  You’re looking at it all wrong.  Moving on and quitting are two different things.  When Steve Jobs left college and went on to become one of the greatest visionaries and marketing geniuses of all time would you say he ‘quit’ school or would you say he ‘moved on’ to bigger and better things?

2. Money

Oh try as you might, but you will often fail to find an issue or problem where money is not involved.  In a society like ours with an economy dependent on the middle class you will often see people stay; at jobs they hate, with people they no longer love or in any other kind of situation that is slowly but surely eating them up inside, because it’s economically feasible. You’d be surprised what most people will do when they want or need money bad enough.  Overall its a bad idea to stay in a situation because of money. Listen, no amount of money can buy back time.  Staying in a situation like this makes you a slave.  A slave to money.

1.  Fear

The fear of all things listed above will always be the main culprit.

  • The fear of having to start over
  • The fear of disappointing people
  • The fear of disappointing yourself
  • The fear of being broke and struggling

The overall fear of taking on any or all of these alone is enough to make most people stay in a situation longer than they should.  If you can overcome this fear you will never have to deal with it (at least not at this level) ever again.  Trust that when you are able to ‘move on’ and still survive you’ll have a confidence that will only improve over time, giving you the strength you need to succeed.

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February 23 2017

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Blogs

I started blogging a few years back and ironically, it’s only recently that I came to the realization that I need to start reading other people’s blogs, not just my own.

Think about it like this; If you split your brain into two halves you have different characteristics on both sides.  For this purpose I will use the fact that the left side “thinks in words and logic” while  the right side runs on mostly creativity. So, if all I’m interested in is writing my own blog all the time, I am neglecting the whole left side of my brain, and that’s just the beginning.

Here’s my “Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Blogs”. When I say “blogs” I mean other than your own.  I will start from 5 because I think it’s sexier to have a countdown.  It builds excitement. See that’s my right side at work again.

5. Information

I don’t know about you, but I like learning things. In addition, I know that keeping your brain active has been known to fight some of the effects of old age such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Reading other people’s blogs will keep you constantly filled with knowledge.  It’s like the great salesman Grant Cardone said, “I’ve even learned something from bad books”. With this fast paced world we live in its impossible to keep up with everything. Reading a few quick blogs a day will at least keep you in touch.

4. Time

This goes along with the last sentence.  Notice I said “Reading a few ‘quick’ blogs a day will at least keep you in touch.”  That’s the beauty of blogs, they’re usually pretty quick reads. They aren’t quickly produced, but they usually take under 5 minutes to read. For anyone who says they don’t have 5 minutes here or there to gain some knowledge is lying. Most people spend more time than that binge watching their favorite show or endlessly scrolling down a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed. Oh there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you actually stop and read something other than a meme or two.

3. Blog Subscriptions

Again this is related to the sentences above. We all know that time is more important than money right? You can get back money you lost, but you can’t get back time you lost. Now we have a problem with the 2 previous numbers in the countdown, or do we?  The truth is even if you took the advice from above you will still be left with the issue of having too much information to choose from. This is where blog subscriptions come in. What you do is find the blogs that are right for you and subscribe to them. After that you just sit back and check your email when you get a chance and everything you like is right there. But Alem, “I don’t want to get spammed to death”.  No problem, I got that covered too.  Set up an email account just for blogs that you like. If you start getting spammed you can just delete that email and go from there.

2. Money

I always feel like by the time I get a great investment idea it’s already too late. Once I have my money ready the interested has moved or the market is flooded. This is where a blog can again help you. Right now I’m filtering through a few blogs laser focused on making and saving money. These blogs are where savvy investors find inside information before most of the public does. Oh and do not neglect the comment section of blogs. This is where some smart ass will come in and give you the scoop on something no one knew about just so he/she can feel good about themselves. CHA CHING!

  1. You Have a Blog

How the hell do you expect someone else to read your blog when you don’t read anyone else’s? On another note, why would you neglect a source of writing inspiration that’s right there at your finger tips. Do you know how many times I was writing someone else’s blog or a comment on a blog and came up with an idea?

There you have it, “The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Blogs”. Now I wonder if anyone reads this?

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February 21 2017

Chaos and Opportunity

Do you remember, “Think Different”? This was the campaign slogan for Apple in 1997. It was a play on words used as a creatively aggressive and condescending attack on IBM whose slogan was simply, “think.

For the feature image here I was going to use just the plain logo and slogan by themselves, but decided to use the one with a smirking Steve Jobs.  This is for good reason; If anyone in the world embodied the slogan it was him.

At the time of the aforementioned slogan’s inception, Apple was in trouble. Their visionary Steve Jobs had been fired years ago and they had invested in a bad project and lost millions of dollars.  They were almost done at one point, but as the great Bruce Lee said, “In the middle of chaos lies opportunity”.

Think about it, Jobs could have taken the millions he had and just settled down, but if you know anything about this guy’s personality, you’d know that wasn’t going to happen.

Jobs used the chaos and turmoil around him to his advantage when he returned to Apple.  Witnessing first hand how the company he had co-founded lost its way he decided to go against the grain once again.

Here was the philosophy;

Okay so we have money problems, no problem. Cut costs.  Close down the manufacturing plants we don’t need and stop concentrating on so many projects.  Chop the long list down to the best of the bunch and focus on making quality products that will change the world.  The rest is history.

I could use this theme of chaos creating opportunity countless times.  Filthy rich bankers and oil tycoons took (or caused) the great depression and turned it into the Federal Reserve.  A foreign, centralized bank that produces and controls the United States currency, but is not part of our government.

How about we go more recent? Fox News saw an opportunity brewing and seized it becoming one of the most popular news outlets in the country.  Like it or not it’s true.  All they did was realize that a majority of the country’s news sources were left leaning or liberal.  Next, they catered to the forgotten right or conservatives and provided an alternative.

Fast forward a few years to the 2016 election where party lines become blurred.  Many people voted Trump in simply as a protest vote. They didn’t like the fact that they were being told what to think. Chaos turns into opportunity.

As I said, I could go on forever.  The point here is that, you shouldn’t let chaos scare, intimidate or consume you.  In fact whenever you see chaos or any other problem you can bet your last cent that something good is going to eventually come out of it.