Aug 292013
 
By the hour, by the task, by the relationship, or by ROI

I’ve had the privilege to expand my formerly fixed pie mindset into that of a lifelong student with an ever growing pie mindset due to being on the ‘path less traveled’ which I’ve been walking down these past 3+ years.

In this time, I’ve read north of 100 books, listened to somewhere between 500 and 1,000 audio recordings, watched over 50 DVDs, read hundreds of blog posts, and been to between 100 and 200 different events where I am surrounded by creators/builders/eagles/climbers. All of these, summed up, has completely been transformational. Not an overstatement in the least!

As part of the above, one particular book, amongst many, serves as the inspiration/foundation stone for this post – that being ‘Cashflow Quadrant’. It was one of the first dozen books I read when I discovered what true education really was ( = liber/liberty/how to think ), and I constantly recommend it in the present, and will do so into the indefinite future:  It is THAT crucial — a must read.  In fact, I believe it should be required reading in all high schools, regardless of if public, charter, private, Christian, or one of the many home school curriculums.

Taking a high level view of the acres of material in this book leads back to the title of this post. There are four/4 quadrants —  each of them will appeal to people based on their core values, their personality traits/temperaments, and their willingness to be a student (read: humble, honeable, hungry).  Each of these can also be attached to one of the short descriptors;  let’s unpack them one by one, then will close off this post with a summation.

By the Hour

E > Someone who ‘lands’, chooses, or is shuttled here through the ‘system’ and/or programming most usually thinks in chunks — hour(s). Extended further out: days, weeks, with a mindset of “hump day”, or Friday is more important than any other day of the week. This is due to an ingrained mindset where he/she measures things in such time increments which are short term in focus and perhaps also in vision.  Often, someone in this quadrant will say he/she “has no time”, or is “very busy”. Chalk this up to a priorities/urgencies root issue, and the age old difficulty in being unable to do anything about the time v. money 1:1 exchange.

By the Task

S > Here is a quadrant where one also tends to be shuttled or programmed to put up stakes, although there is a definitive difference b/w it & its cousin, ‘E’. A person(s) here now thinks more along the lines of – how much can I earn (income) for task “X”, “Y” ?  Example is the trading of time for an appointment which requires the other party to pay ( e.g., Doctors, dentists, accountants, certain types of coaches/counselors, stylists, consultants, lawyers ). So, to extend, it is in the best interests of the person to squeeze as many clients-customers into a given time period as possible. The outlook here can usually be longer than a day or a week, although a person here can oft-times employ others, so he/she may also be marking off in his/her head the time between ‘now’ & when payroll is due.

 

We’ve now traversed the metaphorical wall/chasm between sides of the squared quad. What is the difference between them, one who has yet to read this landmark book may inquire?  Quite straightforward:  One’s incoming information, and subsequent thinking (and actions/application of the former two). Another way to say it:  You are no longer depend”E”nt nor are you a member of independent”S” Inc. (so to say)

 

By the Relationship

B >  The least understood corner real estate, yet within lies the most profound answers to many of life’s perplexing issues/questions. Such as?  :  Why can’t I ever seem to get ahead? — Why don’t I think I have enough time in the day to do everything I must get done? ( yet, the day is just as long as it was millennia ago ) — Why is there more week/month than what is in my paycheck ( net income ) ?  Just who are the folks who own (not manage!) those ‘chains’ = franchises that I spend all of my waking time or currency in?

When you quite likely have made your way into this quadrant, since a very small number will be born here, you will find that your thinking requires a reboot. And, furthermore, that much of what you learned before quite likely will need to be unlearned over time. To “B”, you are no longer the magic elixir. You’ve instead discovered interdependent life — its all about Resolution 11: Systems (Holism) & working in concert with a proven, duplicatable system. This system often takes the form of a recurring inflow of life changing information or, in some cases, it is a reference manual/guide/book that you can use over + over + over again to get the same result.

How does relationship(s) tie in?  This way:  Since you are interdependent, you are interlinked in many cases with others in common purpose. The others will either ensure your financial security through their prosperity; and/or they will be your extended term clients/customers as you have earned their unshakeable trust and loyalty; and/or, lastly, you are seeking to grow your tribe and expand your network, so you must know people skills and sharpen the human relations art & science abilities that are not nearly as well taught as an “E” or an “S”‘er. Folks here also have a strong understanding of financial fitness & are coming to the realization that you don’t retire — unless the word is re-defined to mean that you are retiring from your obligations.

This leads to the final corner >

By ROI

I > This is rarified “air”, as the % of those occupying the ground in this bottom right real estate are most always those who spent a good deal of time as a “B”, and they’ve earned their stripes and have become truly free:  In both time and in money. So, they can now put their money on the line in great big chunks, and become real investors. No, if you are “investing” in a corporate-industrial age retirement vehicle such as a 401(k) nor an industrial age one like a defined benefit pension plan.

In those two latter examples, you are not spending money, however, you have not leveraged money to get an ROI on money. The leverage here is purely monetary as opposed to a system from its cousin to the north, the ‘B’. Instead, this is building or creating of an asset(s) that kicks off cash flow. The book describes the levels of investors far better than I could attempt to dissect, so dear readers, please be sure to read, or re-read, this seminal book, then pay it forward to your friends, family, and especially, the younger generations.

In this quadrant, to cap it off – you are receiving so much inflow of currency from your dependent ‘E’ & independent ‘S’ neighbors across the wall, that your well being is set. You are a living breathing example of the maxim of financial fitness that its NOT where the $ starts, but rather, where it ends up that COUNTS.

 

In wrapping up, please be willing to always change. It is hard, however, beating one’s head against cement and expecting cement to crumble!  If you have those questions above, or simply are a student and wish to gain wisdom and knowledge to then turn around to apply & then pay forward to another, you have found (A) one of the best books ever written, and (B) a post here in the blogosphere which has attempted to explain it all from a slightly different perspective than others likely have already. ( since this book has sold so many copies, I know there are tons of links online talking about it! )

Be the best you can be. Live. Learn. Grow, And may you find & earn your dreams.

Aug 192013
 
S - U - C - C - E - S - S

This acrostic caught my eye right away when I heard a highly successful entreprenuer lay it out on a white board earlier this month. I think the value of such a visual can often be under-rated, so rather than let that happen, am using this gentlemen’s focus on the familiar word ‘success’ as the heart of tonight’s post.

/////////////

S = $

U = You.

C = Common

C = cents ( sense 😀 )

E = Enthusiasm

S = $$

S = $$$

\\\\\\\\\\\\\

I can easily relate to why the ‘S’ s all were tagged to money. Since so many equate success to financial well being, it was a neat idea to build the acrostic with book ends which a majority of individuals will relate to at a surface level. Does this mean that success is exclusively financial?  Of course not. It is far, far more, yet since many aspire to financial freedom, with being successful as their vehicle to get there, it makes sense.

‘C’ & ‘C’ = how valuable, yet its not all that common sometimes, is it? This can be attibuted to so many root reasons ( e.g., non physical fears, programming, poor/bad information, not associating with positive communities/individuals, entertainment overload, schooling instead of education ) — so, let’s counter that by mentoring with those who have your best interests in mind, plugging into gold medal quality information, and changing your thinking. Mentorship matters.

Enthusiam, let alone excitement, are so crucial. Frank Bettger taught us this so many years ago in his remarkable book, ‘How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling’. Have vivid, clear goals that you are chasing at all times. Be in the race to the top. A winner is up even when she is down – you must pour the gas on the dreams, and act enthusiastic even if you don’t quite feel all the way there 🙂

Lastly, we back up to the U.  That is you. Yourself. (and I!). We are our most valuable asset, yet we often take our trillion dollar on board computer known as our brain (primarily the subconscious/unconscious = a goal setting device) and feed it the equivalent of junk food, yet we expect the best of our sports teams and celebrities (?).  This is entirely upside down.

There’s nothing amiss with having a favorite player, team, or even a star actor, but why do so many tolerate mediocrity in their own day to day lives?  This must be fixed at the core. We control our decisions and our choices. Never play the victim, or bring out the victim card; if you do, the success card is off the table, and will not be in the deck. Why? By doing the latter, you’ve donated it to the person next to you who is reading to be a leader and borrowing the experiences of those who have results; the person in the car in the next lane who is using her vehicle as a rolling university; the man who is attending seminars and conventions and rubbing shoulders with eagles/climbers/creators who want to get better.

It is an honour and a privilege of mine to lead others to their oasis of success. And, I hope this recap, with my own analysis attached, helped the reader, even if just a little. Blessings!

Aug 032013
 
Mindset -- Thick skin, soft heart > Soft skin, hard heart --

Your mindset is a very large input factor – its impact is much like a rock that ripples the standing, still waters on a lake once a person skips it across the surface.

So, after hearing a talk by a very accomplished business owner/entrepreneur about 6 weeks ago, and re-visiting my notes from her ** talk, I was inspired to blog about some of the contents of her talk, adding some of my own color to her words.  It was a very enlightening perspective!

First >

Being offended.

Have thick skin & a soft heart when it comes to being offended. Our culture is far too close to the soft skin, hard heart than it should be, which causes needless friction in relationships. Let alone, one’s mindset is impacted, as he/she is always either carrying a chip on his/her shoulder(s), or is always being overly concerned about what to say & when to say it. Manners matter, yet having empathy and grace are better.

Second >

Credentialism.

If someone has more credentials, certifications, or other ‘flair’ than the person next to you, please don’t have the mindset that this individual is more intelligent, smarter, or more impactful to society. There’s nothing at all amiss about pursuing these as you go after what you want ( ‘Define’ step ), however, your mindset must be centered on the value of people as far more than their career/occupation/job. The latter is just a small part of our lives. Let alone, the fact that self-directed (liber/leadership) education doesn’t bring with it any of these “tokens”, however, this path is just as valuable,and unquestionably so.

Third >

Being an employee & lacking understanding of being an owner/entrepreneur.

As with the second, neither of these pathways are “wrong”, however, oft-times, with the last century having been a force-shift culture rather than the previous 125 years, there is a mindset that someone who is an owner has to put their entire life on the line by signing a stack of papers, or having a name on a building. Let alone that entrepreneurship is ‘risky’, or requires a ton of time to get ahead versus a 40 hour employee’s average week. Not the case!  Here, again, mindset makes all the difference. Have thick skin if you are an owner facing questions like this; have a soft heart if you are dealing with an owner who is chasing his/her dream of freedom

Fourth >

The desire to always win an argument.

Dale Carnegie taught us all about four score years ago that one never really wins an argument. Sage wisdom from the past, as usual, is timeless. However, when your skin is not thick, you may be far more defensive, less humble, et al., so I can clearly can tell why she included this in her talk about mindset.  Instead of winning an argument, and losing the battle, let alone the’ ‘war’, how about digging into people skills books, audios, and surround yourself with those whom will make you better?

Fifth >

Image.

One possible way to approach image is to compare it to one’s reputation, as opposed to what one truly is, inside-out. A person is far more than how he looks on the surface, how much schooling/education she has, etc. Being materialistic, judgmental of someone’s choice of clothing without knowing details, critiquing his way of talking; all of these are image-conscious. It’s far more valuable to re-focus your mindset on something that will edify and glorify others.

and, lastly, Sixth >

Excuses.

We’ve all made them; in fact, Dr. David Schwartz, in his landmark book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, dedicated a whole chapter to ‘Excuse-itis’!  So, let’s not reflexively judge others, nor beat ourselves up if we’ve come up with excuses. These are signs of the latter from this blog’s subject – a hard heart and thin skin. Rather, turn the excuses into reasons! And, have a thick skin and grace when it comes to dealing with others who have not yet reshaped their mindset to one of solutions, rather than problems.

_________

** – all credit for the outline/core themes from this post to Mrs. Terri Brady. Her talks are always a value add to my life. Visit her blog @ http://terribradyblog.com for an excellent dose of success, wealth, and interpersonal development thinking.

Jul 112013
 
Offense, Defense, & 'Playing' Field ... for Finances / Economics

Economics. Finances. Government budgets. Money. Investing. Spending. Bills.

What emotion(s), thought(s), or image(s) spring to mind when you heard these words?

Fear?

Confusion?

Uncertainty?

Confidence?

I hope that you can answer in a very positive way, however, with the way our culture and society have been so heavily commercialized, flooded with PR/marketing/advertising, and political mumbo-jumbo ( to put it mildly ), I would suspect that the emotion, thoughts, or otherwise would veer rather strongly to the negative, or perhaps just indifference.

Then, let’s introduce an equation which is far from original, yet can help dispel many many myths, confusion, and other maladies which are preventing the mass of our great republic from being able to earn their freedom  – financially ( from being a slave to debt & time ), spiritually ( to be able to donate freely to charities and church/faith organizations, if desired ), socially ( to be able to share wealth with those less fortunate, inc. struggling families , single parents, et al. ), and personally ( becoming educated and empowered, instead of programmed & trained to borrow, spend, and not invest in ‘You, Inc.’

 

INFORMATION  ~~~>  THINKING ~~~> ACTIONS/HABITS ~~~> RESULTS

 

May I take the liberty to recommend digging into some world class, gold medal information which is a compilation of nearly two decades of wisdom gained, education earned, and lessons learned through the vehicle of PDCA? (plan/do/check/adjust-act)?

Please watch this short vid clip

& click through the various options (workbook, forms, full package/set)

It would be a privilege to share with anyone how much this information has changed my economic & financial thinking from the inside-out. I will never look at money, budgets, investment, or spending/expense the same again. For the better. Way better. Immeasureably better.

Have a terrific evening & enjoy every minute of your day. Its a blessing to be alive & well!

Mar 232013
 
14

This was so eye opening to me, that I immediately had my next blog post topic!

So yes, we’ve all heard of rules before. Many times. Often. However, what about these kind of “rules” , those which have a strong root in past history, and can surely be re-applied as history’s rotating cycle has brought us into a ‘4th season’ and on the upcoming brink of a ‘1st season’ ?   Most definitely worth discussing!

These 14 are derived from C.E. Sargent’s classic read, ‘Our Home‘ , which is a Top 100 recommendation on the TJed Teen/Youth list, thereby making it a must-read, regardless of if you grew up in this classical educational tradition, are now embarking on it, or will be in the future.

One/1 :  Embrace the New, then Embrace the Now.

“Those who pine away for the old will not succeed, nor will those who wait around for the old days to come back.”

Two/2 : Spend evenings and Sundays with family.

Community’s cornerstone is the family unit. When endless entertainment, excessive trading of time for money, dissolution of family, or other issues arise, it’s surely best to address these at the root.

Three/3 : Strengthen your selfculture.

This is the antithesis of popular culture; it runs counter to the concept of peer pressure (fitting in with the crowd, looking for approval, being right with others)

Four/4 : Articulate and write out your individual rules for life.

Who are you?  Leaders are not conformists, except to core morals & goodness.

Fifth/5 : The focus of families is on raising adults & the focus of education is to prepare young people to be good parents & informed citizens.

Opportunities abound to offer leadership and other crucial chances to impact society positively to those age 12 & up; responsibility is borne from the need to help the family succeed.

Sixth/6 : Meaning is a central component of learning.

Replacing the tunnel focus on ‘getting ahead’ & prosperity for self. Gratitude, mistakes as growth moments, & persistence shine through.

Seventh/7 : Spend time serving the less fortunate/vulnerable in society.

Service ahead of self (entertainment all the time) and boredom are moved aside. This creates real community and rebuilds social capital.

Eighth/8 : Marriage as a central, vital project/focus.

This evolves from putting working & parenting ahead of your spouse. Family is strengthened, tying back to the fifth rule above.

Ninth/9 : Pursue & complete a true leadership education.

Also known as an ‘Impact’ education, this replaces 1:1 the previous focus on job & career / professional track. Initiative, ingenuity, tenacity, creativity, and persistence, amongst other skills/values are at the core.

Tenth/10 : Entrepreneurship.

A must. Period. Even for those who have apparent security in their job/career, many find that the security translates to prosperity or fulfillment. The views of entrepreneurs changes over the seasons; the best to emulate is “build(ing) a business to change the world.”

Eleventh/11 :  Produce wealth.

The best time to produce wealth? Build it when the community, including your family (to maintain standard of living), your country, and society need it the most — in times of economic calamities and challenge. The response is to become a producer, which is far more valuable than a dependent, victim, employee, or consumer.

Twelfth/12 : Developing Creativity and Inventiveness.

Doing so helps address society’s problems & ties back to the 11th rule in producing something(s) of value. Opportunity springs from challenges in offering people what they need, as well as want, even in times that it seems far more difficult to do so.

Thirteenth/13 : Inner resiliency.

Winston Churchill is a wonderful role model for this rule. He was able to remain optimistic and enthusiastic even when life was very very hard. Leadership dovetails perfectly here with effecting positive change.

Fourteenth/14 : Growing your ambition.

Being clear to define ‘ambition’ in the right context for the season/time, as either/both of these >  Making sure the right side wins. Making sure the right changes happen.

The quality of the education and leadership determines at the heart what will result from the winning side’s victors and after the change(s) take place.

 

Did this information hit you as mentally hard as it did me?  I have come to believe more and more that the times we are in are far from what the self-anoited ‘experts’ are saying is a ‘great recession’; on the contrary, it is far, far deeper than that. However, without reading, studying, and listening, let alone associating with those who also do these things, its clear why a fair number of those in America & the West have agreed, at least on the surface.

Comments are most welcome. Thank you, as always, for reading, and God Bless.

————————————————-

* Chapter 7 in the terrific book, ‘Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” was my primary reference for the above; some of the comments below each rule are mostly my own, tying in from other books.

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.