Saturday, October 18, 2008

Philosophical Saturday - What's Next For Us?

What's next?
Termed the Information Age, we live today in a world where information is exchanged literally at the speed of light. One can log on and instantly link up with strangers from all around the world in a matter of seconds. The only thing slowing you down is your ability to get the information from your mind to your finger tips. We have evolved to a point where every inch of the Earth is networked or linked, together. I can indulge in a wealth of information with just the slightest ponder. Between Google and Wikipedia, I have successfully eliminated television from its bulky interruption of my busy schedule. I have replaced my television time with hours and hours of info digging, constantly googling any and everything that I may ponder. I can instantly gratify my mind with answers and entertainment of any sort. I write this today to ask you what's next? What comes after this Information Age? If we are at the peek of this wonderful time, and growing closer and closer to the peak of the Technological Age, what could possibly drive us into and through the next renaissance?

Can you imagine a world without money?
As we struggle to find different ways to define our existence, we will eventually let loose of our ridiculous urges to collect and show off material things. This will become more and more apparent as we enter into this time of recession, and the gap grows between those who are "recession-proof" and those who are "recession-burdened". Some people have made the right decisions and are prepared to avoid the price hikes of literally everything. Prices will continue to increase on every single commodity as the economy continues to plummet, but some will be able to survive and even profit through these "hard" times. On the other side of the fence, most people will suffer through these economic downfalls, waiting for a solution to their problems to come in the form of new government and leadership that may (but may not) solve all of their financial worries. And that's exactly what they'll continue to do . . . wait, while things continue to get worse and worse. There are two ways to fight poverty. The easiest and most obvious way is to put money into the hands of those who are in the most need of it. This will temporarily calm the waters. The only problem with this is, the mentality that drove us into the recession is still prevalent. The other solution to poverty, I imagine, is to eliminate the idea of poverty. To rid people of this ego-trip of collecting more and more things, we would first have to supply basic needs to everyone, without the use of the marketplace. Eliminate the paradigm of supply and demand, by having one organization supply the basics needs for everyone. (No I'm not promoting communism). Society would then have to shift into a time where money no longer was the driving force behind all of its actions. People focus on money because they are directed to by way of survival. With the absence of money, poverty could be eliminated. What do you think?

Can knowledge really be power?
I believe that we are moving into a time where individual minds will reach a new platform of enlightenment. Our basic paradigms of life will be broken down and humans will enter into a time of enlightenment. As our financial sorrows continue to build up, people will begin to question the validity of this financial quest we all seem to embark on. We will then look to other ways to fulfill our need to be driven. People will begin to focus on another driving force. What is the one and only thing that you can enjoy to no end and share amongst everyone without ever worrying about its depletion? Knowledge. Enlightenment. As one grows wisdom, he can share his wisdom without ever losing any of it. It is only natural to want to learn. Learning should continue throughout life. It is unnatural to stop learning. We are coming to a time where enlightenment will be the focus of all. Knowledge will be the overall driving force of the entire human population. What a time it will be? What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rich in the Not Too Distant Future

Whenever I think about my dreams and aspirations, I attach this quite particular word to my vision. I quite often describe my lifestyle in my dreams as 'rich'. I do this so regularly when thinking about my future, that I don't often stop and define 'rich'. I've used the word so much that it has an incredibly broad meaning in my head. I may be using the word 'rich' to describe an enormously large amount of money. In other context, the word 'rich' may be synonymic with the word 'happy' or 'wealthy' or simply 'not broke'. Quite honestly, I haven't placed much definite meaning to the word, which is sad considering the pivotal role that it plays in the vision I hold for my life.

One of the philosophical changes that I am making in my life is providing detailed descriptions of my goals, rather than half-heartily putting together wishes and hopes. Today, acting on that newly found philosophy, I will describe what I mean when I use the word 'rich'.

When I stop and focus on this term 'rich', I realize that it means so much more to me than just a lot of money. It doesn't just signify financial freedom to me. When I am using the word 'rich', it describes the journey that I am on to become financially literate. It isn't necessarily a destination, but more of a lifestyle. Frankly, I believe that you are rich from the moment that you decided to be. At the moment in which you decide that your life will not be mediocre and bland, and that you will take over your financial situation, you become rich. The concept of rich is not upheld by your income or your material possessions, but by your drive to get out of the rat race and do something more for you and your family.

I've heard story after story about the millionaire that lost it all and gained it back again. To me, at no point was he not rich. He always believed that he was rich, so therefore he was. I've also heard stories of the average guy striking it rich by winning the lottery, and after a short period of time, that average guy is back to average. To me, at no point was he ever rich. He never believed that he was rich, so therefore he was not.

It's not the amount of money that you have that makes you rich. The amount of money that I consider allot is a moving target. When I was a kid, you could have given me a dollar bill, and I would've thought I had allot of money. As I grew older "allot of money" was a bit more than a dollar. To use 'rich' in this context makes it an unattainable goal. What you consider an enormous amount of money will always change with time.

I think that anyone, anywhere can be rich, just by repeating and believing the following statement,
"My life is no longer controlled by money. Money will not dictate what I do with my life. I am aware that I have complete control over where and how the money that I have is allocated. I am capable of earning more money, and I understand that I am always working for myself. I am continually developing a sound financial philosophy in order to attain dominance over my financial situation."

What does the word rich mean to you?
Are you rich?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saving Money Not Eating Out

I'm not eating out this pay period.

This may not sound like such a big goal, but it has astonished me at how much money I have saved eating at home. Prior to setting this goal, I had been eating out for nearly every meal. If I didn't go to my mother's for dinner or just came across an event that offered free food, I ate out all of the time. I skipped breakfast in the morning and had a heavy lunch at a fast food restaurant, which led to a late dinner at the closest Taco Bell. My girlfriend and I have successfully dissected every restaurant in the area into all possible categories. We can predict almost down to the minute how long each and every delivery service will take, and the handlers know my name and apartment by heart. It's not that we're lazy, but her and I both aren't used to cooking. Neither of us ate together as a family growing up. In my case, my mother cooked, and everyone went to their separate ends of the house to eat. As I got older, it just became convenient to have someone else cook the food instantly. The number of restaurants in this area is incredible, making the decision even easier to eat out.

This sad and accurate explanation has cost me loads and loads of money. I didn't realize how much I could save by not eating out until now. I set a goal in a recent blog to not eat out this pay period. I am pleased to say that I have kept my word so far. I got paid last Monday and went to the grocery store on Tuesday. I spent $101.15 and haven't even gotten close to running out of grub. I am actually excited to go grocery shopping next week to see what i can get in addition to what is still in my cupboard.

With that said, let's do some math!
I was eating out every day at least once, but most of the time I was eating out twice. On average, I was spending about $15 a day. In 14 days, that's a total of $210. In a year, that's an average of $5,460.
If I simply stopped eating out so much, and reduced my budget to $120 every pay period (2 weeks), I would save $2,340 a year! That's more money than I spent to go on a cruise last summer (that's including 2 cruise tickets, 2 plane tickets, 3 excursions, hotel stay, and a trip to Universal Studios).
Here's a pitch: Go on a cruise by not eating out.

Here's a good list of tips on saving money at the grocery store. I will be incorporating some of these tips next week to see how much more I can get with my hundred bucks next time around.

In addition to saving money, I feel so much better. I have a ton more energy than I had just a week ago. My focus levels have increased ten-fold. Luckily my metabolism (and my girlfriend's) hasn't slowed down too much to where I would have a lot of weight to lose. Thank heaven I am not exhibiting through my body the effects of a poor diet. Age is a wonderful thing. I'm sure, I wouldn't be so lucky if I had let 10 years pass before I kicked that habit to the curb.

My next goal is to incorporate more healthy habits into my diet. I think that my diet is, if not more, just as important as my finances.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Personal Development Wednesday - "Stuck in a Rut?"

The following are a few words to those of you stuck in a rut . . .

What is it that has to happen in order to change your life right now? One of the greatest quotes I've ever heard is from the movie Vanilla Sky: "With every passing minute, there is another chance to turn it all around." I take that quote to heart every time I think of it. Every moment is another chance that you have to completely change your life. Your outlook on life is the absolute first thing that needs to change in order to begin changing your life. If you want to know what it takes to make your wildest dreams come true, get up from your computer and walk to a mirror. You are already equipped with everything that you could ever possibly need. Ponder this: At what point are you considered successful? Is it when you've reached retirement, or is it when you can finally call yourself "rich", or maybe it's when your kids have become "successful"? At what point have you reached the pinnacle of success? I personally believe that you've reached this platform that we so broadly call "success" when you've made a conscious decision to get there. At the moment in which you have made the decision to be successful, you are then successful. In life you are either working toward your dreams or you are working toward someone else's. One of the other has to happen for you every moment of every day.

One of the most detrimental things that we have is too much time. Because we have so much time, we often forget how truly valuable and scarce our time is. You forget how sweet that first taste of honey is, when you've already had an entire jar.

Time is like our natural gases; until we started running out, we gave it away for pennies.

This life, right now, is your one and only life. We're not just watching previews. You right there at the computer are experiencing your one and only life right now in this moment. Your life deserves your utmost respect, concern, and attention. If you were ever to focus, focus now fully on what it is that you want your life to be. The sky is truly the limit. Allot of us forget that we can do whatever it is that we want to do.
If you want to be a millionaire, be it. If you want to travel the world, go. If you want to have a happy family, decide what needs to happen to make that happen right now. If you want a promotion, go to your boss and ask them what it takes to make that happen right now. If you want to get out of debt, do it. If not now, when?
"There's only one guarantee in life; and that guarantee is that you will not make it out of here alive." Who are you trying to fool? What excuses do you have? Are those excuses potent enough for you not to be happy? What is your happiness really worth to you? How many times would you have to fail, before you decided to be unhappy?
Ask yourself, what is the price on the price tag attached to your happiness? Ask yourself, how many times in the past have you given away your happiness for close to nothing?

You should always be focusing on your goals. It's not supposed to be easy. You can't just take a break at will. You have to always be focusing on your goals. Always! If you are not willing to make your dreams come true, I've got news for you . . . no one else is either. There's no one out there focusing on your dreams and how to make you happy. If you don't do it, it won't get done.

Someone asked me, why am I always talking about success? It's simple. Because my dreams mean more to me than anything else. My dreams are absolutely everything to me. What do your dreams mean to you?

When did you decide that it was okay to be mediocre? When did you decide that someone else could dictate your schedule? When did you decide that someone else could dictate your salary? When did you decide that someone else could tell you what to do and where to live and what to wear? When did you decide that you weren't going to give your life your best effort? Well, I've got some news for you. With every passing minute, there's another chance to turn it all around.

The PD Wednesday Book of the Week is Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, MD.
It is a very easy read. You can sit down and read it in about an hour. It is good to read, if you are interested in changing you perspective on life. It is somewhat fitting, considering the economic turmoil that our world is experiencing right now. One of the most unique things about this book is that it is fitting for people of all ages. If you have kids, I encourage you to share this book with them. In fact, you should be sharing this book with everyone that you know. If they've already read it, at least you've found someone to have a good conversation with.

My True Goals for "Me Financially Free"

This is a new blog, and I am new to building wealth. If you are looking for a seasoned financial expert, I am definitely not the person to listen to.
I've boasted about goal-setting and how this one task is vital to any successful run, but I've neglected taking the time to share with you what my own personal goals are. Before I get into details, I think it'd be beneficial to first point out some key components of my story.
My life has consisted of me dabbing in and out of this and that. I went to school full-time right out of high school, on a full engineering scholarship. After about 6 months, I found that engineering was something I was very good at, but not necessarily something that I wanted to do everyday for the rest of my life. That lack of enthusiasm was then coupled with the fact that I was not very well-prepared for college. I didn't have a very intuitive and supportive structure at home. My parents pretty much said "when you turn 18, you're on your own (financially)." This led me to seriously consider how I was going to survive. It was hard to focus on my education, when I literally didn't know where my next meal was coming from or how I was going to wash my clothes. So, after 2 semesters of college, I dropped out on full scholarship. Looking back at that, I find it hard to believe that I actually did that.
But, what I lost is not comparable to what I gained. What I learned in the mean time was how to survive and how to work hard (100+ hours/week) to get the things that you want. I eventually learned to work smarter. I've been presented many job opportunities throughout this time, as some pertinent individuals have taken notice to my ambition and determination. Right now, I'm working as a Project Manager for an Engineering company making about $55K a year. For a college drop-out, that's not too bad. I'm back in school and I'm getting better at my job. I've gotten a raise nearly every 4-6 months for the last 2 and a half years.
Now I'm 24, and as school is rolling along, I've gotten to a point where I really would like more control over my finances. There's certain patterns that I've noticed as my income has gone from $7/hour to $27/hour. One pattern in particular is the fact that despite the change in income, at the end of the month, I still had the same amount of money- none. I'm am afraid that as my income continues to grow, without having addressed some of these issues, my financial situation will stay the same regardless of how much money I bring in.
This fear has made me seriously examine my financial knowledge. I want to know how you get rich and stay rich for the long term (beyond my lifetime).
About 3 years ago, I successfully got myself out of debt. I put together a goal and a plan, which led me to completely demolishing my debt (about $10K). That's not much, but I think that the philosophies behind my success can be shared and duplicated. I also believe that I can be rich. I believe that I can build similar philosophies that I used to get out of debt in order to build riches. And I believe that these philosophies can be shared and duplicated.
As I develop these philosophies, I want to so desperately to show other people how to incorporate those philosophies into their lives to produce real results. This is my true passion, and why I want this blog to be successful.

My first goal here (which is so small, it has to succeed) is to make $75 online in a month. This is a small short-term goal. This goal has led me to the creation of this blog. So far, through use of Adsense, I have made $0.62. I am confident that this number will go up. My $75 goal has led me to another goal: to get 1500 page impressions (or page views) within a month of the start of my blog. So far I have a little under 200.
I will keep you updated on how well I am doing. I'm working on a good way to track my goals. I see other bloggers who use charts and such, and I will be doing something similar to track my short-term and long-term goals as this journey continues.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Law of Attraction - What are you thinking about?

2 years ago I saw a very inspiring movie. It was called "The Secret". It is a cinematic depiction / documentary explaining one of our greatest gifts. After watching this movie, I was hit with the most amazing thought: Every single thought is another chance to think and feel as if all of your dreams have come true. Just thinking this has changed my life tremendously. If only we knew the power of simply thinking as if everything in our lives had turned out just as we had imagined. Believe it or not, your life is exactly the way you want it to be. Your life is simply the composite of how you've pictured it your entire life. If you've spent time picturing a fantastic outcome down to every detail, then your life is simply fantastic. Your mind, or should I say subconscious mind, is a very fascinating tool. It is constantly aimed at making your dreams come true. What most of us forget to do is provide our mind with the details of our dreams. It takes some focus to aim your goals. If you have no goals, then where are you going?

Goal setting is the one most important characteristic of the successful. Every successful story started with a goal. The most successful people, more than likely, wrote down their goals long ago, and then set out to make them come true. You must at some point sit down and focus your aim. You don't just close your eyes and throw the dart. Just depicting your dreams in your head is more than what the average person has done. Once you've gotten to that location (your dreams) in your head, you will be surprised at how quick your mind starts to create feasible goals to make that dream come true.
Regardless of where you are in life, one thing is certain: you are constantly accomplishing something. For example, you are keeping your teeth clean or going to work or filling up your car. The only problem for most people is that you haven't tuned in your accomplishments to move toward one particular goal.

The question that begs to be asked now is: what are you thinking about? Where are your accomplishments taking you? Have you set goals that you are constantly reminded of?

If you have gone there in your mind, you will inevitably go there in the body!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who Influences You?

The mind is a very interesting tool. Through all of its complexities, there is one underlying, universal rule. The mind will always re-enact the patterns apparent in the [other] minds that surround it. (Monkey see. Monkey do.) Believe it or not, I'm here to tell you that nearly everything you do, from brushing your teeth to the way that you drive your car (or even which car you choose to purchase and how you purchase it), is mocking someone else. The whole success of learning lies in the ability of the "student" to re-enact what the "teacher" has taught him/her. What most don't realize is that the mind is constantly learning. The ever-lasting job of the mind is to understand its surroundings and react. Our surroundings are, despite our greatest attempts, random and unpredictable. To make up for all of the complexities of our environment, the mind looks to others for help. The best trick the mind has learned is becoming like the minds around it. For every trick or pattern your mind can mock, that's one less trick or pattern your mind has to learn.
The longer that you are around someone, the more you will act like them. It is an inevitable result.
The question that begs to be asked is: What minds do you choose to influence your own? Who is impacting your mind the most? If 10 entrepreneurs are who your are surrounded by, you will inevitably start thinking like an entrepreneur. On the flip side, if you hang around 10 alcoholics . . . well, you get the drift.
So, who influences you?

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