It is extremely important to have faith and to be optimistic—but equally important, is to be a realist and understand where you stand in life. This, in fact, is a paradox; you must be a dreamer and think of big things, but at the same time you have to face the brutal facts of your situation. I have always advocated that we could see the world through two sets of eyes, optimistic and pessimistic, glass half full or half empty. However, we must always have our feet planted in our reality. In order to go out there and reach for our dreams, we must have a solid benchmark of where we are starting and from there see what is attainable. For example, a child born in a foreign country could have been brought to the US as a baby, grow here, love this country, serve in the military, become a politician, but will never be the president of the United States. Unless the law, only a US born person can be president, changes, this is impossible. I believe this statue will probably never change; so he or she will never become president. Does that mean they give up? Well no, but they can’t focus all their attention into becoming president, it would be an unrealistic goal. Another example would be if I tried to play in the NBA. I don’t consider myself short in normal standards, but compared to those guys I would look like a little kid playing basketball with grown ups. With this is mind, it is probably wise for me to do something other than basketball for a living. These two might seem like very general examples, but my goal is to get you thinking in reference to your own personal goals and aspirations. I don’t know what those are, so you are going to have to write them down, face your current facts and be completely honest with yourself. Ask yourself the question; are these realistic? Sometimes only until we are completely real and honest with ourselves, is when we begin to change.
Tip of the week: Think of a situation in which you have not faced the facts. Maybe you are in denial or just don’t want to believe it, but remember facts are better then dreams, so face the facts and take action.
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Planning is such an important concept of a person’s life, the problem is that most people spend more time planning their vacation, then planning what they want their life to look like. Plans are made so you dictate what you want your life too look like. For example, plan where you want to live, what career to have, when do you want to marry, and when or if to have kids. Furthermore, what would you like to be doing in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? Or even 20 years? We must first plan our life and then through are choices get there. If you don’t design your life, then someone else will design it for you. We need to be doing things intentional and on purpose, especially with the choices that shape our life. Half of the year has gone by already, so set up a plan for what you want the rest of this year too look like for you, what do you want to do? What goals can be achieved by the end of the year? Design what your life should be like these last months of 2014. This year seems to be going really quick for me, but one of the things I am noticing is that the older I get, the faster time seems to go. Time is a dimension, and is all about perception. When you are having a good time or doing work you love, time flies, but when you are doing something you don’t enjoy; then time seems to pass by very slow. The reality is that time is the same for me and you, it is not faster or slower; time does not forgive and it will pass for everybody, so design your life, and do what you want to do, stop wasting time on things that are not going to get you where you want to be.
Remember, always when you set down plans or goals, they must always be in writing. There is something powerful about writing things down!
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I’m reading this great business book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. The book is fantastic and should definitely be read by anyone with a business mind. Collins and his colleagues studied companies that suddenly sky-rocketed and went from GOOD TO GREAT. The purpose was to find out what the secret of these companies was and what moves were made by these companies that gave them their breakthrough. I am only a few chapters into the book, but what I want to focus on today on a particular topic that Collins analyzes in the very first Chapter: GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF GREAT. Think about it, Collins says why don’t we have great schools? To which he responds, because we have good schools, why don’t we have a great government? Because we have a good government, and more profoundly, WHY DON’T WE HAVE GREAT LIVES? Because we rather settle for good lives. I am almost 100 percent sure that everybody wants to live a good life, and I think everybody will agree with me on the 3 things that we all generally want out of life:
1. Be Happy
2. Be Healthy
3. Be reasonably Wealthy.
Frankly, I do want these 3 things and I do want a good life, but after reading this chapter it challenged me to stop thinking about wanting a good life; I don’t want a good life, I want a GREAT life. We only get one shot at this life so why should we settle for good when we can have great? Why settle and conform rather than becoming the best we can be? As they say, be the change you want to see in the world. If you want to have a better life be a better person, if you want better friends be a better friend, if you want a better relationship with your spouse be a better husband or wife, if you want better kids, then be a better parent, if you want a better boss, then be a better employee. It goes back to the law of reciprocity, that exactly what you send out is exactly what you get back. I think if we keep aiming higher every time and try to continuously be better, we will reach greatness.
One quick tip: When we are asked “Hi how are you?” we generally say “Good and you?” If you want to live a great life, then I challenge you to change your answer and from now on when people ask how are you doing respond “Great and you?” It is a very simple and subtle change, but it can make a big difference on the way you are perceived by the other person and it can set a tone for a completely different mood.
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Although every person has the right to not go to school or to not get a degree; I believe, we do not have the right to not get an education. We need to be consistently learning; always asking questions, because there are always people out there that know things that we do not know. Technology has changed the face of education at such a tremendous magnitude that we literally have knowledge at our fingertips. Any question we have can be quickly answered trough a “google” search. During times of change, only the learners will move on and be successful. Just like in business: if you keep doing business like yesterday, you will not be in business tomorrow. The only constant in this world is change. As we carry on in this journey called life, we need to be learning every single day. We need to accept the fact that learning will be a never-ending battle. You might have finished your formal education, but you are definitely not done learning. We need to possess a teachable spirit. Being teachable is a choice, you decide intentionally to have the right attitude and mindset to keep learning in life. We need to have an open mind because a close mind will not create opportunities. For example, I want to know everything there is to life, I try to have a beginner’s mindset for everything and try to listen all I can. However, I am realistic and I will not know everything in this world, but I do know that I will continue to learn everyday and that I will die asking questions. Wisdom is gained through a lifetime of listening and asking questions. Ultimately, we learn by asking questions. In formal education, we are giving tests full of questions to find out if we know the material, but in life we must ask our own questions and test ourselves. Asking questions at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day will help us reflect on the learning opportunities each day brings us.
In Today’s culture, even though there is more advocating in recycling and sustainability, we seem to be wasting other things. Do you remember VCRs? What happened when they stopped working? What would you do when the TV suddenly started showing weird lines? The norm was to take them to a repair shop and get them fixed at a price way below the initial retail. We would do the same with our refrigerators, washing machines, stereos, shoes and even our own clothes. Before it was not a big deal to patch a clothing item or put a new sole in your shoes. However, times have changed, how many TV repair shops do you see around anymore? How many shoe repair places are still in business? I’m sure if you look around your neighborhood it would be hard to find any of these places. The main reason for this trend is that these commodities have become cheaper as relative to our income, meaning that our incomes have grown and the cost to produce these items have gone down. So now instead of repairing things, we just go out there and get a new one. The problem with this issue is that it has changed our mentality to “used” not being good anymore. People now hesitate to buy “used” stuff, afraid that they will not work. For example, cars, a lot of people would rather go in debt and be suffocated by a car payment, because they think a used car is not reliable. Believe me, even new cars break down, expensive cars still get flat tires. Another example can be with washer and dryers, you can usually get a pair for around 200$ “used,” but instead we decide to load up our Best Buy card and get a washer and dryer set that cost us over a 1000$. In a culture that already spends more then they make this issue should be taken into consideration. If you make millions of dollars a year then you can probably ignore this post, but if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with nickel and dime.
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What is the number 1 cause of divorce in a divorce-ridden culture? Money problems. I’m sure for most of you this is not a big shock. However, the divorce rate, which is around 50 percent, is a big problem in America today. You can throw a coin flip every time a couple weds to determine if the marriage will be successful or not. This is statistic can be somewhat scary for all those engaged or soon to be married. In order to have a higher percentage of success for your marriage, a couple must be in complete agreement on how to handle their money. The very first step is to combine the incomes. The priest or pastor says now you are one, therefore you become one, a unit, a team. If one person is sick, the couple is sick, if one person is in debt the couple is in debt. Once married, you must combine your lives and your money. The second step is having a written plan on how that money will be used efficiently for the benefit of the marriage, and all the things that come with it, for example the purchase of a home. Both persons must be on agreement on how the money will be saved and spend. Couples in which only 1 person is the breadwinner must be wary, because the other person might feel an inferiority complex, however, as I said before is no longer “my income” or “your income” it is now “our income,” so even though the other person might not have a salary, they do have an income, and must be included in all the financial discussions. A great start for soon to be married couples is to look for pre-marriage counseling to discuss the topic of money. Since it is the number one cause of divorce; don’t you think is a good idea to be in agreement on money?
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Check out this book that can help you with money and relationships
Couples Money: What Every Couple Should Know about Money and Relationships
SACRIFICE: GIVE UP TO GO UP
Sacrifice is hard, but is needed for success. In order to go up we must be willing to give something up. We cannot gain something without giving up something else. Think of everything you accomplished, but also note the things you had to give up to reach your goals. We have all giving up one thing for another; this is how life works, there are trade offs. We can’t have it all, so we must prioritize. We must know what is really important in our lives and sometimes must let go of the things that are not.
2 Quick examples:
A) To GET good grades in college, you must GIVE UP time with your friends and sleep. If you want to party and be really social you will be giving up your GPA.
B) To GET skinny you must GIVE UP bad food, and time in order to exercise.
I think is really hard to sacrifice because we want it all and we want it know. It is so hard for humans to have delayed gratification. There was a study done with little kids, in which they were all handed down 1 marshmallow. The kids were told that if they did not eat the marshmallow in 15 minutes, they would receive a second marshmallow. The results? Two thirds of the kids did not wait the 15 minutes and ate their marshmallow. What is even more interesting is that the lives of these kids were followed into adult hood, and the one-third that waited for the second marshmallow became more successful then their peers. These results tell me a couple of things:
1. The majority of the population will not be successful or simply do not have a strong desire to win
2. We must be able to sacrifice or put something off in order to receive a better reward later. The people, who understand this principle will be successful, have no doubt.
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We must be able to sacrifice or put something off in order to receive a better reward later.