Friday, January 15, 2021
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TJ

Money Is Just A Tool

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Almost everything we’re taught about money is focused on spending it and saving it. Parents, teachers and even personal finance books discuss saving money as keeping it, increasing it and controlling it. Saving money involves figuring out ways to get more of it, to build a bigger cushion. We’re taught that’s the ultimate goal.

In contrast, spending money is described as budgeting or cutting back. We’re even told that we should create habits that make spending painful, like cutting up credit cards and carrying only cash. We shouldn’t feel good about spending money.

For as long as I can remember, that’s how I’ve defined these two concepts: saving good, spending bad.

Then, there was a subtle change in my thinking. What if we start treating money like a tool? Tools are meant to be used. They’re not meant to sit on a shelf and collect dust. Instead of thinking in terms of saving and spending money, I started to think of using it.

For instance, let’s say we’ve decided that it’s time to go on a family trip. We’ve saved the money, and the trip fits our plans perfectly. When the time comes to use that money, there’s no need to feel guilty or bad. Instead, we’re using a tool that helps us get something that we really value, time with our family.

This shift in thinking is definitely subtle, but it changes our feelings about saving and spending. We no longer need to think in terms of good and bad, positive or negative. We’re focused on the outcome of our actions.

Money is meant to be used, to be in motion. It circulates from us to other people then back to us again. Even when we save money, we’re simply storing it for use later. When we use money today, we’re not spending it or blowing it. We’re using the best tool available to get the job done.

 

Source: nytimes.com

Keep It Simple

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There is something that sounds grand and important about the term ‘making a difference’. As we go through school and then grow up, we nurture dreams of one day making a difference in the world around us. We have thoughts of millions of people testifying tearfully about how we have touched their lives. I’ve spoken to many young people who have stated amazing intentions of building schools, shelters for abused women and children, hospitals and academies in the future. I myself have verbalized a dream of .

In reflecting on this, however, I saw some little red flags come up to warn me about my pattern of thinking and they startled me. I hope they startle you too so that, together, we can get real and start to act before it’s too late and we are singing sad songs of regret, wondering how we came to the end of our lives and never achieved any of the things we wanted to. More importantly, I hope they will help us check our motives.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking big. In fact, a vision that involves ‘making a difference’ is of paramount importance if we are to live fulfilled lives. A life void of giving is, most times, an empty and meaningless one. But often, I have come to realize, we neglect the possibility that making a difference can be done in very simple ways. We have a tendency of looking very far away for places to make a difference when literally right under our noses there are people crying out for help.

This hit home for me fairly painfully quite recently. I had some old clothes that I wanted to give away and, for some reason, I had it set in my mind that I would go give them to some guys in a neighborhood that is about 20 minutes away from where I live. Yet I had neglected to consider the homeless men who come to look for food just outside my gate every Monday, scrounging through the bin. Perhaps they needed those clothes too. But that wasn’t the end of it. As I carried the bag full of clothes to the gate, I was met by a gardener – a pleasant man whom I see everyday and wave smiley greetings to. Curious to know what I was carrying, he stopped me. I then told him I had some old clothes I wanted to take to the men waiting at the gate of my house. Quite desperately, he told me to wait until he had chosen some clothes first. That broke my heart. Here I was, rushing to the aid of strangers when someone right within my reach needed what I had to offer as if speeding off to be a ‘hero’ somewhere far away would make the act more significant somehow.

Do you have a big dream of making a difference? Start by making a difference in the life of the people (or even just one person) closest to you. Open your eyes to the needs of the few and the near and you will find that your dream of helping the many who are in distant lands will happen. If we handle the small things well, the big things will come easily. Maybe it’s time we stop trying to complicate things and keep it simple.

The process of checking our motives can be made so much more meaningful when we involve God. Why do I say this? More than anyone else, He knows our hearts because He created us. So, who better to ask for guidance than Him? If you’d like to explore the possibility of connecting with God, please click on the banner below.

Smartphone Addiction Is A Disease

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Did you know that smartphone addiction is a disease? It may soon be a fully certified and recognized medical condition. It’s called “nomophobia” (short for no-mobile-phone phobia), and psychologists say that it’s affecting more and more young people.

Symptoms include feelings of panic or desperation when separated from your smartphone, not being able to focus on conversations or work, and constantly checking phones for notifications. Some people may think their phone is ringing when it’s not, a condition named cellphone vibration syndrome that researchers say could be a sign of a more serious technology addiction.

According to Dr. David Greenfield, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, an attachment to your smartphone is similar to other addictions in that it involves a dysregulation of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s reward center, meaning that it motivates people to do things they think they will be rewarded for doing.

Greenfield founded the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction to help the always-connected find a better balance in their lives.

“Every time you get a notification from your phone, there’s a little elevation in dopamine that says you might have something that’s compelling, whether that’s a text message from someone you like, an email, or anything,” Greenfield said to Business Insider. “The thing is you don’t know what it’s going to be or when you’re going to get it, and that’s what compels the brain to keep checking. It’s like the world’s smallest slot machine.”

In a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in the fall of 2013, 63% of respondents said they check their phone for messages or calls once an hour, while 9% said they checked their phone every five minutes.

An additional 63% said they would be upset if they left home without their smartphone. Many would return home to retrieve it, even if they’re out on just a quick trip to the store.

And, according to a survey by the Huffington Post and YouGov, 64% of people between the ages 18 and 29 have fallen asleep with their tablet or cell phone in bed with them.

Still, you may not have heard of nomophobia because people who suffer from it may not even realize they have a problem.

“As with any addiction, denial is the number one hallmark. There aren’t a lot of people who come out and say they have a problem, and the link with the anxiety they feel is much more tenuous,” psychiatrist Dale Archer said to Business Insider. “Plus, the symptoms are not that bad with the majority of people. Like any addiction, I suspect it will be like that — 1% of the population with a full-blown problem that affects their lives.”

Some psychologists have proposed adding nomophobia to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is considered  to be the ultimate authority on mental health.

“It is undeniable that technology through new social media, social network sites, social informatics, and social software…enables us to perform our job more quickly and with efficiency,” Nicola Luigi Bragazzi and Giovanni Del Puente of the University of Genoa wrote in their DSM proposal. “On the other hand, mobile devices can have a dangerous impact on human health. Further research is needed, above all academic and scholarly studies, to investigate more in depth the psychological aspects of nomophobia and to provide a standardized and operational definition of it.”

Greenfield says that nomophobia is just a small subset of a larger problem with Internet addiction.

“A smartphone is just a more readily available access point to the Internet. My research has shown that the ease of access, availability, and portability makes it twice as addictive as other modalities,” he said. “Convenience is the mother of addiction — the quicker you can get a hit back on the technology, the faster the intoxication.”

Plus, constantly receiving tons of likes on your tweets or Instagram photos creates this feeling of self-importance that just isn’t real.

“That feeling you’re going to miss something if you’re not constantly checking is an illusion — most parts of our lives are not relevant to our smartphones,” Greenfield said. “What happens on our devices is not reflective of what happens in real life.”

Digital detox programs, like Camp Grounded in northern California, ban electronic devices in the hopes that a true unplugging will help cure technology addiction. Guests at Camp Grounded participate in activities like archery, sing-a-longs, and meditative breathing workshops, all without the constant influence of a smartphone or other device.

In China, Internet-hooked teens are often sent to boot camps where they undergo intense military-style training designed to break their addiction.

But both Greenfield and Archer say that curing nomophobia doesn’t always require such extreme measures.

Greenfield suggests downloading an app, like Menthal, that records just how much time you’re spending on your phone each day. A huge amount of people lose track of time and space when they’re on their devices, which affects the brain in a way similar to the way a drug would.

And Archer says it’s important to create guidelines for when it’s appropriate to use your phone — for making a phone call, for instance — and when it’s not.

“Stop texting while you’re driving. Don’t take it into the bathroom with you. Have a rule not to use your phone when you’re with your friends. If you’re on a date, make a rule that you’ll both check your phone for a maximum of 5 minutes every 90 minutes,” Archer said. “It’s all about setting simple rules that you can follow.”

 

Source: businessinsider.com

Changing The Way You Think

I have a fascination with people who think differently – people who swim against the current and see blue when everybody else sees yellow. Recently, I had the privilege of reading up on business mogul Richard Branson and I was inspired in a huge way by how he thinks, particularly as a leader. The title of his 2006 book “Screw It, Let’s Do It” is, for me, probably the best of any book ever. As I reflected on some of his principles and the way he treats his people and motivates them, I came to realize that one of the things that has always amazed me about Branson is his tendency to think differently. He has a fertile mind that is always racing with ideas on how to make life better and he has an ability to find the extraordinary even within the most ordinary of things. The video below is a classic example of the type of thinking that reveals why Branson is where he is in life and business:

It led me to ask myself how much more interesting my life would be if I made a decision that in any situation that comes my way, I will react and negotiate my way around that situation differently from what would be expected or considered the norm. If the economy were bad and no jobs could be found, what if I decided to hope rather than despair? If things weren’t going well for me, what if I chose to look at the experience not as a disaster but as an opportunity to learn and grow? Faced with a situation in which it seems the only logical thing to do is complain and grumble, what if I choose to see some good and propose real, workable solutions?

Make a choice today to challenge yourself to live with a good attitude. In the midst of any trial you face, perhaps that is where your greatest victory lies but you will never know unless you look at your difficulties with a different set of eyes. It all begins with changing the way you think. When I look back in history or even at the present day and peer into the life of any person I’ve ever admired in any way, I come to realize that at one point or another, they made a choice to look at things differently and think a certain way. Out of that choice came valuable lessons that empowered them to be the great person they are or were. Greatness can’t possibly come out of doing things the way everybody else does them and reacting to life like everybody else. At some point, choices have to be made to swim against the current.

As the continent of Africa, the time is overdue now for us to stop perpetuating the culture of pessimism about ourselves. Perhaps if we stop seeing ourselves as ‘the dark continent’ and stop hoping that someone else somewhere will come and rescue us from our wars and distresses, we will come out of the mess we’re in. It’s obviously easier said than done but I really believe that if we can think differently, something will give and true and total transformation will happen.

I am challenged deeply by Albert Einstein’s words which propose that problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them. New ways and levels of thinking are required and I, for one, aspire to those. But am I prepared to do the work to get there?

If this post resonates with you in some way and you feel challenged to do something about it, consider the words of an old text that says this: as a man thinks, so is he. That text is the Bible and its story is about a God who has immense love for you. If you’d like to know more about God and connect with Him as a father who can help you in changing how you think, please click on the banner below.

How To Be Taken Seriously

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Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you needed to make a great first impression? How about feeling like you wanted to be taken more seriously at work or within your personal relationships? Maybe in the past you weren’t ready to be the ‘go-to’ guy or girl – someone who could be relied upon and basically had their stuff together – but now you want to be. You’re in luck. I want to share with you some of the techniques I used to overcome my shyness, grow out of my laid-back phase, and improve my standing with others so that they knew I was now a force to be reckoned with! (You heard!) Here are six things you need to do to get other people to take you seriously:

1. Dress for the part.

Think of your attire as your uniform for battle. Generals have stars and stripes to show they’re the boss, so you must show your ‘stripes’ as well. Do you want to be taken seriously at work? Then dress better than your current job requires. How about on a date? Then dress like a man or woman who commands respect and adoration for their class and grace. Do you want to be seen as the right person for the job during an interview? Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, says dressing conservative is best. He extols that dressing traditionally conveys that you care, made an effort to not offend, and that you are respectful. As for your first impression, he says that within the first 10 seconds of meeting your interviewer he or she has already decided if you will be getting the job or not.

2. When you are in the company of others, do more listening than talking.

With this tactic you will learn about the other person, be perceived as a good listener, and you will be primed to contribute wisely when you do speak.

3. When you speak, talk about things you know really well.

Disperse intelligent ideas and informed opinions about subject matter that you are fully versed on so that people will view you as an authority. Be knowledgeable about what you do for a living, your passions, and hobbies. You don’t need to be informed on everything – just stick with the stuff that is important to you and that will be enough. People admire people who have genuine interests.

4. Mind your body language whether you’re in an interview or speaking to a group of people.

If you want to be seen as an effective, commanding, and likable person, pay attention to the signals you are sending with your body movements. Body language is the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person communicates to others. Good body language can convey authority, confidence, and create rapport. For example, when speaking, turn and face the person you are speaking with. This suggests engagement, interest, and that you have nothing to hide. Use your hands to emphasize your dialogue, but don’t lift them above your shoulders as this will appear strange. Also, maintain eye contact as this shows confidence and sincerity. When you’re shy, making eye contact can be a little intimidating. Try this technique I learned from Tim Ferris from his book, “The 4-Hour Work Week.” Each day, where appropriate, and when you’re feeling particularly ballsy, pick a random person to make eye contact with. Focus in on their eyes and once they connect with you, hold the gaze, and then look away. This exercise may also have unintended outcomes like being asked out on a date, but then you can also practice saying, “No, thank you,” which is a good thing to be able to do well anyway. Of course, you can just start looking at people in their eyes when you are talking to them. If you’re really nervous, start with your relatives. They shouldn’t be too alarmed by your sudden and intent gazing.

5. Follow through on what you say.

The most effective way to be taken seriously is to be seen as a person who follows through on what they say. If you declare you’re going to do something, do it! Forget giving reasons for why you failed. If you want to be the ‘go-to’ guy or girl, don’t come up short. Be seen as the talented, tenacious, and indispensable person you now want to be by making sure you show up ready. Be on time to those important appointments, deliver the project on its due date, and be prepared to present like you’re giving your TEDx Talk.

6. Demonstrate conviction.

Finally, the best way to be known as a person who means business is to be seen as someone with ultimate conviction in their beliefs. Whatever it is you want to share, sell, or tell people, it has to be something that you believe in and love. The more you believe in and love it, the more people will be moved by it. With most folks being bored by gimmicks, disappointed with mediocrity, and just plain tired of false promises, to be taken seriously nowadays you have to be on your game.

 

This post on how to be taken seriously originally appears on lifehacker.com.

Stop Blaming Others

There’s nothing in this world easier than finding someone or something to blame when things go wrong. The emotionally distant man chooses to blame his parents who never hugged him enough; the soccer fan chooses to blame the coach who should have substituted this striker with the other one; and, in case you thought you’d escaped this, I’m talking to you too Africa. For how long will we blame colonialism for all our ills? We’ll talk about that subject on another day. It deserves its own post.

I don’t dispute that very terrible things happen to us in life. Nor do I dispute that those things can befall us not because we have done anything wrong but because someone else has decided, for whatever reason, to do them to us. But more and more, I have come to realize that the people we spend our time blaming and being bitter towards are getting on with their lives, being productive and focused on doing what they need to be doing. If that’s the case, why bother blaming then? Here’s a short but very informative video from Dr. Brene Brown on why we should stop blaming others:

I recently came across something that put things into perspective for me when it comes to the issue of blame. Many people give excuses for why they do not progress and blame circumstances for why they don’t do the right thing. But, while that is going on, there is always someone somewhere else who is in a far worse situation but who makes a decision to take responsibility and do the right thing. It’s all a matter of our attitude towards the things that happen to us. Think about it. There are countless people who have gone through shocking adversity but have bounced back to reach heights that they themselves never would have imagined!

If this post resonates with you and you identify yourself as a ‘blamer’, it’s worth considering that there is a deeper, spiritual reason for us doing all the things we do – whether good or bad. Perhaps, we adopt certain attitudes to mask a deeper emptiness we may feel inside of us. A genuine relationship with God is the ultimate cure for all the emptiness that causes us to resort to blaming, projecting our own failings on others and all the various other defence mechanisms we resort to in order to survive life in this crazy world. If you’d like to hear about how you can make this connection, please click on the banner below.

Bringing Back Lost Lover

One of the most interesting phenomena in South Africa – and I’m very sure it happens in other parts of the world too by other names – is the belief in ‘bringing back lost lover’ [sic]. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, all you have to do is google the term and you will find a long list of websites promising to help the rejected ones among us to track down the one who stopped loving them and bring them back. The idea is that the ex is actually a little out of their senses and is lost somewhere. All they need is a little push and some encouragement to find their way back home as it were. So, by calling a number and getting in touch with a psychic, fortune teller or sangoma (isiZulu for ‘traditional healer’), a plan can be made to begin the process of supernaturally bringing back lost lover.

The real issue is that we all generally find it hard to let go of someone we truly love and it can be downright painful. In researching this topic, I came across some interesting words of a blogger by the name of Paul Hudson. He shares his views on how to let go of someone whom we have truly loved. Personally, I find some of his points pretty controversial and I don’t agree with them but it makes for some fascinating reading all the same:

1. Take all the time you need.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that “time heals all wounds” — because that’s nonsense. Sure, time heals many wounds. Most wounds even, but not all wounds. Some wounds stand the test of time better than any of the remaining wonders of the world. Some wounds are so deep that the only way time can remove them is by removing you along with them. On the other hand, we sometimes find that time is enough. Sometimes time shows us that the feelings we felt were only to be felt in passing — as we passed on by and on to the next individual we love. That’s why you have to give time a chance. Even if it doesn’t do the trick of healing all your wounds, it will most certainly numb the pain. It will turn those vivid memories into blurry renditions. This may not solve your problem of letting that past lover go, but it will make it a whole lot easier for you to do so. It will get easier with time. Once it does, you can try one of the following suggestions.

2. Meet someone new.

What I’ve come to realize is that allowing yourself to fall in love with other people can go a long ways to your recovery. “Just fall in love with someone new, you say? How easy!” I’m not telling you to go out there and find the new love of your life — it was surely hard enough the first time around. What you can do, however, is allow yourself to fall in love in the shallowest of senses. Don’t try to fall in love with an entire person, fall in love with bits and pieces. Allow your mind to wander and your imagination to draw conclusions that almost certainly don’t exist. When people fall in love initially, it isn’t the deep sort of love that most of us search for — we may believe it to be, but that is why most of us become disillusioned over time. When we initially fall in love, it’s a very shallow form of love. It’s the most romantic kind of love as it is based on minimal information about the person in question — we take what little information we know and we act as if that’s the only information we need to know. Of course, once you find out more information about the person you’ve fallen for, you’ll surely snap out of it. Nevertheless, falling for someone on even the shallowest of levels reminds you that you are capable of loving again. Think of it as a small step on a long journey.

3. Make it clear to yourself why you had to part ways.

Have you ever had to stop yourself and rethink why exactly it was that you and this particular individual decided to call it quits? You’re not alone. As time passes, our minds wander into the past, recollecting past pleasant memories and emotions. We transport ourselves into a time of deep love and passion — something very dangerous as your goal is to let that individual go and allow yourself to move on with your life. Every time a pleasant thought or memory of that individual and the life you once had enters your mind, counter with a negative thought or memory. Love exists in your mind and because it does, you can learn to have better control of it. You may not be able to choose who you fall in love with and don’t fall in love with, but you can pair up an individual with enough negative feelings to naturally ward yourself off them. Even if you can’t convince yourself to hate this person, reminding yourself regularly of why you had to call it quits can make your life a whole lot easier.

4. Make it clear to yourself why you need to let this person go completely.

Sometimes relationships can be saved and passions rekindled. And sometimes we know that when something is over, it needs to remain over. It’s one thing to understand why you and he or she broke up and it’s another to understand why you and he or she must remain broken up. Again, you have to be careful with allowing your emotions to run loose — emotions are complex and often deceiving, pulling you away from reality. Take a step back, take a deep breath, clear your head, and reason with yourself as to why you need to continue moving on with your life. You need to remain clear on your intentions and reasoning because if you don’t those emotions will catch up with you, and you’ll end up doing something that you’ll later regret.

5. Take the time to imagine the perfect person and then point out which areas your past lover falls short.

This is something I believe too few people ever bother to bother with. We all hope — expect even — that we will one day find the man or woman of our dreams. My question is: How will you know you’ve found love when you have no idea what would make up the man or woman of your dreams? We all know that no one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t outline the characteristics we admire in a partner. Sure, you may never find someone who fits your criteria exactly, but that doesn’t matter. Your perfect partner is more of a guideline than a set of requirements — a guideline that you should use to compare potential suitors. Whether they fall short or not doesn’t matter because in the end you still get the last say in the matter (well, you and whomever you’re courting). What this guideline is also often good for is helping you understand how far off the mark your last love was. It can help put things in better perspective for you.

6. Find the love of your life.

I understand that you believe that the last person you were in love with was the love of your life and that you don’t believe you will find another — if you didn’t then you probably wouldn’t have read this far — but I’m here to tell you that as soon as you meet the real love of your life, the last one will become overshadowed. This isn’t to say that you’ll forget that love entirely, but your new love will make the last one diminish in intensity. You may still think about this person occasionally — if it were a deep love, it likely influenced you tremendously — but you won’t be yearning for this person in particular. Love is like a drug… it doesn’t matter who’s supplying, as long as the supply is good. A new love drowns out the last. This isn’t to say that you’ll entirely stop loving him or her. I believe that there are some people we never stop loving because they’ve become a part of us. You will, though, stop loving them romantically. And as far as intense emotions and obsessions goes, that’s enough.

What is your take on these points? Are you still determined to rather try to bring back lost lover? Get in touch with us in the comments section below.

Refuse To Fail!

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I am constantly amazed by the rate at which innovations are increasing in the age we are living in today. You don’t even have to be a ‘tech geek’ to appreciate the importance of technologies that are being developed in every sphere of life. Even more striking is the connectedness which many of these innovations allow. I try and picture what it was like for people in the old days where important communal gatherings were announced by way of smoke signals and when people traveled by donkey or foot to get to hear the words of great men. Reading the Bible as I like to do, I see the stories of multitudes journeying for days to hear Jesus Christ and the great prophets give speeches. How times have changed.

In our day, if I want to hear the teachings of men who inspire me like John C. Maxwell on leadership or have access to a great interview by legendary interviewer Larry King, I don’t have to pack food, load the clan onto donkeys and camels and trek across deserts and nations for months to get to them. All I have to do is pick up my little mobile phone, go online and follow them on Twitter or stream their stuff on YouTube. If not that, I can walk a few minutes to my local bookstore and pick up their books and check out what they have to say without ever having met them.

The statistics say that cellular phone usage in Africa is growing at a faster rate than on any other continent. Cellular network and technological hardware providers are seeing great potential for growth on our continent and companies like Samsung project five-fold profits over the next few years. That’s staggering…

But the question is, with so much wisdom made more easily accessible to us with each passing moment, are we taking advantage of it?

I strongly believe there just isn’t any reason for us as a continent to remain where we are and allow the rest of the world to keep despising us. We really have no excuse and it’s up to us to refuse to fail. If we fail to use this rapidly increasing access to our advantage and pull ourselves out of our present situation, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Our future is bright. But we have to be the first ones to believe it.

Taking this to a deeper spiritual level, God promises in the Bible that He has really great plans for us and and that He doesn’t want us to fail. This is not to say that we will never meet disappointment and moments of failure along the way, but the overall story of our lives will be one of success in what our purpose is designed to be. If you would like to be acquainted with a God who is interested in your success, please click on the banner below.

Money Mistakes To Avoid

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You want to be wealthy and prosperous, right? So, do billions of others around the world. Why aren’t we all wealthy then? Part of it could be that there are certain things the wealthy do that ‘the rest’ aren’t willing or able to do. Courtesy of Grant Cardone, international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author and radio show host of The Cardone zone, here are 8 money mistakes to avoid on the way to being wealthy.

1. Seeking comfort, not freedom.
Comfort is the enemy of abundance and the most dangerous element of finances. The entire middle class is built on seeking comfort. The wealthy seek freedom and so much abundance that money is no longer dependent on their efforts. More is the mantra, abundance is the affirmation, comfort isn’t on their menu and freedom is the focus.

2. Diversification.
You can never get truly wealthy by diversifying your investments. Wall Street has done a great job of selling the public on this idea of diversifying because it benefits Wall Street.

Mark Cuban says “Diversification is for idiots.” Andrew Carnegie said “put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”

If you want to create real wealth, learn everything you can about a space and go all in.

3. Depending on one income flow.
No matter how big your income is, never depend on one flow. I knew an executive who was earning $350,000 a year, the top 1 percent of all incomes. Suddenly the industry she worked in came to halt and her one income flow was shut down. This has happened to many Americans, destroying trillions of dollars of “pretended” wealth.

To create wealth, you must make investments that will create dependable streams of income flows, independent of your main source of income. I use rental income from apartments and partnerships in other companies to throw off passive flows of income. I continue to pay attention to each of these flows to make them stronger. This is not diversification — it’s fortification of wealth.

4. Comparing to others.
Seventy-six percent of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Comparing your finances to others will ensure you never create wealth. People often compare their situation to some starving nation in a remote part of the world to justify being “better off.” Another person’s finances, good or bad, will not pay your bills, won’t fund your retirement and will not provide you peace of mind. Don’t compare your finances to someone else’s.

5. Investing in trends.
Avoid investing in the latest and greatest technologies that can be displaced by new technological developments.

Warren Buffett invests in electricity, railroads, banks, insurance, soft drinks, food companies and candy.

Don’t get on the roller coaster. Take the longer, slower ride that guarantees arrival.

6. Trusting without proof.
The single biggest mistake of my financial life was naïvely trusting a group of people because I liked them and it felt right. I neglected to get proof that they were actually as they presented. Instead I went with my feelings and was deceived. By the time I figured out something was wrong, I was out millions.

Disregard your feelings when it comes to people and always look for solid evidence. If you are so close to people that you are not willing to ask them to provide evidence, make it a policy not to do business with them.

7. Saving to save.
It is impossible to create real wealth just by saving money. The banks only pays .25 percent, so it will take you 40 years to grow your money 10 percent if rates stay where they are. More importantly, money that sits around idle always seems to find an emergency to fund.

Dave Ramsey suggests you not carry cash or credit cards because when either is available — you’ll create a reason to use it.

To guarantee my wealth, since the age of 25, I moved surplus money into future investments accounts that I could not easily access, so that money was available for investments when I finally had the knowledge and courage to do so. This kept me broke and having to hustle constantly.

8. Pretender spender.
On the other end of the spectrum is the pretender spender. They try to impress others with how they spend money. It’s not their money, it is always someone else’s. Sports cars, expensive clothes, designer bags, shoes, V.I.P. tables — the list is endless.

The wealthy are not trying to impress anyone, they are seeking freedom.

When the wealthy hit affluence and abundance, they start throwing money around on ridiculous things — cars, boats, planes, vacation homes. By then, it no longer matters that the things are poor investments. The very wealthy may appear to be flaunting their money with extravagances, but in reality they are not. The money they are spending is minuscule compared to the abundance they’ve created.

Sounds good doesn’t it? So what will it be for you: middle class, rich or wealthy?

You know money won’t make you happy and just getting by won’t either. There is a price to be paid for whatever choice you make. Wealth provides you with options and the person that has options has freedom.

The Power Of Helping Others

We all go through moments when we are down and we aren’t sure if we have what it takes to make it through. What’s interesting is that, right then, we don’t need bags of money or anything fancy and outrageous. We just need somebody to notice us, even if all that happens is someone simply asking, “Are you OK?” How difficult it becomes when that doesn’t happen.

As I reflect on the journey of life , it has begun to dawn on me how awesome the power of helping others really is and what a difference it can make. Let me qualify this by saying two things: firstly, that I am not talking about a pitiful, dismissive dishing out of resources that perpetuates a vicious cycle of neediness but a genuine, heartfelt investment in another person’s life – a need, a dream or a gift. Secondly, I don’t limit help simply to the financial kind but also helping by giving time, energy, care, expertise and so many other things that can’t be quantified like money. Helping is a powerful thing and, interestingly, more often than not the one who helps tends to forget this action because they see it as small. But the one who receives help (if they are sincere and grateful) can never forget because that help came at a time when they were weak and even desperate. How powerful is the hand that helps!

In my own life, I have received so much help. It’d be dangerous to even try to start naming the people who have helped me, in one way or another, to grow and become a better person. In gratitude for this, shouldn’t I at the very least make a decision today to become a person whose life is poured out to help others also? Particularly seeing as we live in a world where we are pushed to live as selfishly as possible and do only what feels good and is comfortable for self. In today’s world, it’s really all about ‘me, me, me’ (or other variations of it like ‘me, myself and I’).

I observe more and more that the world’s most powerful communities and nations are those that have, as their way of life, a culture of helping one another and helping others. The opposite applies: the weakest communities and nations seem not to see the value of helping one another and others. Rather, they see themselves only as receivers of help. But I should probably emphasize again that I’m not talking about a pointless handout of resources but smart, well thought-out investment.

Make a determination to be a person who helps others and don’t take lightly the things you have at your disposal that could mean a world of good to somebody else. Remember that it’s not just about money. Your smile can help someone to get through a difficult and thorny patch.

We must also remember that God has promised to be there to help us, both in the good times and the bad. In the Bible, he is referred to as “a very present help in times of need”. If you would like to know more about how God can be a source of help and encouragement for you and others, please click on the banner below.

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