Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

April 21, 2018

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://ideapod.com/alan-watts-taught-trick-meditation-us-get-wrong/

Have you ever tried to meditate? If so, you’ve probably tried to focus on your breath, or repeat a mantra. This is how I was taught to meditate, and it lead me down the completely wrong path. Instead, I learned a simple “trick” from Alan Watts. He helped to demystify the experience and now it’s so much easier. From meditating in this new way, I discovered that focusing on my breath and repeating a mantra affected my ability to achieve true peace and enlightenment. I’ll first explain why this was the wrong way for me to meditate and then will share the trick I learned from Alan Watts. Why focusing on breath and repeating a mantra didn’t help me to meditate I should clarify that while this approach to meditation didn’t help me, you may have a different experience.

Once I learned this trick by Alan Watts, I was then able to experience my breath in ways that put me in a meditative state. Mantras also became more effective.

For the author, he explains what his problem was:

By focusing on the breath and repeating a mantra, meditation became a “doing” activity for me. It was a task that required focus.

Meditation is meant to happen spontaneously. It comes from remaining unoccupied with thoughts and from just experiencing the present moment.

The key point is to experience this moment without thinking about it. However, when I began meditating with the task in mind to focus on my breath or repeat a mantra, I had a focus. I was thinking about the experience

Watts explains that the easiest way to begin meditation is by listening. Don’t attempt to identify the sounds, and let the sounds hit your eardrums. As you listen, your mind will automatically identify the objects making the sounds, and that’s normal. After you’ve done this process, do the same with your breathing, and finally with your thoughts. Over time, the outside world and the inside world come together. Everything is simply happening and you’re just observing it. Two YouTube videos are included with this article. Meditation is good for allowing yourself to become more in tune with how you are truly feeling on the inside. Meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices are necessary to strengthen your spiritual self. Personally, I think a strong spirit will control your soul, mind, and body. We are spiritual beings with a temporary earthly body, so our focus should be on making the spirit stronger.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/101-simple-ways-to-spend-less-and-save-more-2018-04-13

No matter what you’re saving money for—whether it’s to build up an emergency fund, pay off debt faster or plan ahead for a big vacation or first home—trimming expenses will help you get there faster. The good news is even small efforts can add up to big savings over time. We’ve rounded up 101 simple ways you can get started today. There are many ways in this article to spend less and save more money. I’ve selected only five and be sure to check out these simple ways and apply them to your life. The 101 ways are separated into ten categories: simple hacks, home, shopping, food, bills and loans, work and career, health and fitness, travel, socializing and entertainment, and family, kids and pets.

Get cash back at the grocery store or pharmacy to avoid out-of-network ATMs, which cost an average of $4.52. (You can usually get up to $40 back free when using a debit card.)

Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. This can save eight gallons a day, or 3,000 a year, cutting your water bill.

Instead of going all organic, buy just organic of the items on “the dirty dozen list“—fruits and veggies with the most pesticide exposure.

Take a class with your pals, using Groupon GRPN, -2.52%   or Living Social to score a deal.

Research dog and cat breeds before selecting a pet to learn which are susceptible to certain conditions (which may create big medical bills in the future) and whether or not they shed (which could lead to having to spend more time cleaning or replace furniture).

Each of the suggestions are a good way to help increase your net income. As your net income increases allocate a small portion for either debt reduction, or as disposable income. Plan your work and work your plan. Have a focus for your legacy and eternity.

If you need a financial check-up or prayer be sure to contact me.

This week, I’ve included SPARTAN MINDSET – Gym Motivation – Motivational Video from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG


Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

March 10, 2018

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/309877

You might think celebrities never worry about money or don’t think twice when shelling out for fancy cars and clothes or even basic necessities. But the reality is, many of the most successful entertainers and entrepreneurs didn’t come from wealthy backgrounds. In many cases, even if they did grow up comfortable, they had to survive on their own dime before finding fame or fortune. To help today’s financially anxious young people feel less alone in their money woes, digital investment service Wealthsimple is running an ongoing series called “Money Diaries.” It features candid interviews with actors, authors, athletes and more about their first experiences with money (odd jobs and allowances), scraping by in their 20s, managing an influx of cash when they had their big breaks and more. Many of the celebrities, entrepreneurs and thinkers featured in the series are forthcoming and vulnerable in the anecdotes they share. They don’t take money for granted — they save it and think twice before they spend it. Most notably, many of them acknowledge that money is fleeting.

I’ve included only five quotes:

“After high school, I moved to New York City. That’s what I did. I didn’t have anything lined up, and I started working in restaurants, first as a busboy, and then as a waiter. My relationship with money was very loose. I had no budget, no savings, no credit cards and no bank accounts. I was a cash-only kind of guy. I’d get paid out at the end of the night, spend some of it at the bar, wake up the next day, and check my pockets to see how much money I had left. There was never a budget or any kind of longer-term financial plan.”

-Kevin Bacon

“In cooking school, I’d work weekends in New York as a cook; I think I was paid $40 cash per shift, which was a lot at the time. I made extra money by playing poker and Acey-Deucey, another card game. I may or may not have moved a little product. “I didn’t put anything aside, ever. Money came in, money went out. I was always a paycheck behind, at least. I usually owed my chef my paycheck [for] cocaine. Until I was 44, I never even had a savings account.”

-Anthony Bourdain

“Every once in a while I treat myself with a special purchase. The most extravagant I’ve been is when I bought a Tesla not too long ago. I like the way it drives, and I really like the idea of reducing my carbon footprint. But often, I’ve found, the least expensive things can be the most personally rewarding. Take my wedding, for example. The whole event cost a total of $500.”

-Woody Harrelson

“Over the years, even as I’ve had more money available to me, my relationship with money hasn’t dramatically changed. I’ve never been the type to say, ‘Oh, look, I just made all this money. Now I can go spend it.’ One day, I’ll step out of the spotlight, I think, and just live a normal life. And just because I have money now, doesn’t mean I’ll always have money.”

-Kylie Jenner

“[Because I didn’t have money] I used to eat peanut butter out of the jar for lunch … In four days, everything happened for me. I was at the right place, right time. Now I eat fancy almond butter, but still out of the jar.”

-Aubrey Plaza

As you can see, even celebrities have money concerns. It’s ok to have money, but make sure that money doesn’t have you. Money is a neutral vehicle, but there is a spirit that drives it. Be a good steward (manager) of your money.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-you-need-to-know-before-signing-a-hush-agreement-2018-03-08

Stormy Daniels is suing President Trump, claiming that she isn’t subject to a hush agreement. A hush agreement reportedly barred Daniels, an adult film star — real name: Stephanie Clifford — from disclosing details regarding her alleged relationship with President Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that a nondisclosure agreement or NDA was negotiated between her and Trump’s lawyers in exchange for a payment. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has since said that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket. She now is seeking to argue that the settlement is invalid because “David Dennison,” allegedly the alias used for Trump, never signed it. Daniels used the pseudonym “Peggy Peterson.” But even before Daniels came into the spotlight, a number of women claimed that they signed confidentiality agreements as part of settlements made with Harvey Weinstein. And Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney signed one as part of a settlement following sexual abuse by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, recently sentenced to up to 175 years for his crimes. Here is what consumers need to know:

These sorts of agreements can go by many names, said Donna Ballman, an employment lawyer and author of the book “Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired.” “Nondisclosure, hush, confidentiality — no matter what you call it, they are probably the same thing,” Ballman said.

These types of agreements keep one or more parties from disclosing terms of a settlement. These agreements will disclose what information can, and can’t discuss to the public, and over what period the agreement can be discussed.

In some cases, hush agreements will include non-disparagement clauses that bar someone from saying negative things about the other people who formed the agreement, Ballman said. While recent examples have predominately involved instances of sexual harassment or assault, they can be used for a variety of settlements. Ballman said consumers were most likely to encounter them in product liability settlements or as part of severance packages. Start-ups and inventors may use these agreements to prevent them from revealing proprietary information, while researchers may employ them among participants in studies. Public figures may use them for domestic staff, including housekeepers and even babysitters.

If this agreement is ever broken, then there are more than likely financial consequences. In certain cases if an NDA is in an employment contract, it can be grounds for being fired, and in even rarer cases, it can result in jail time if a court finds that the breach constituted theft of proprietary information. The Weinstein scandal has prompted many to question the use of nondisclosure agreements, particularly in the context of sexual harassment.

Consumers should be aware of their rights before signing such agreements. The National Labor Relations Board believes that non-disparagement provisions that prohibit employees from criticizing a company’s executives publicly are an unfair labor practice. And federal civil rights law supersedes settlements that seek to prevent someone from filing sexual harassment charges, which means you may still be able to file a sexual harassment lawsuit even if you’re signed an NDA. Ultimately, a consumer should seek legal counsel and carefully weigh what information would have to remain confidential under such an agreement and what effects that could have. “Contrary to NDAs that permit parties to do business together or protect proprietary rights, NDAs that hide harassment withhold crucial information from the profession and the public,” Annie Hill, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, wrote regarding the Weinstein allegations.

As the article states, when it comes to any type of legal matter be sure to consult with an attorney, before signing any legal documentation. If you’re interested in learning more about having access to the legal system be sure to contact me. I also will add this thought. What culture says is right may not always be right. Culture constantly shifts and changes, if internally in your heart you know it doesn’t line up with your moral system, then it’s possible that it may not be correct. Be mindful of the company you keep and reach out to them for their thoughts. Don’t do life alone.

This week, I’ve included THE WAKE UP CALL | You Will Stop Wasting Any More Time from the Video Advice YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

February 24, 2018

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/309438

Have you ever wondered how people earn money making videos on YouTube? Talent manager and content producer Reuven Ashtar sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss how his Never Napping clients, ranging from The Sorry Girls, Molly Burke and Amanda Rach Lee to The Icing Artist and Aydian Dowling, became YouTube stars, and what it takes to be successful. People make money through YouTube by having followers watch their videos or through brand deals. Other streams include live events or merchandising. Reuven represents a team of strong content creators, and spends his time managing them and assisting them in creating material. He best describes the Youtubers as individuals that make two short films a week. For the new Youtuber, Reuven advises you ask yourself some questions:

Is it your captive audience you’re trying to please? Are you trying to get a new audience and how can you win? You build an audience over time. You don’t just create one thing.

It’s about consistent growth, and subscribership growth.

The author points out that coming from a journalism background she assumed that it was about 80% on production and 20% on marketing, but in the YouTube the opposite is true. With the power of the Information Age, you can spend your message globally for free. What is your impact on legacy and eternity?

https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/309083

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy breaks down seven simple techniques you can use to improve your memory. Whether you just want to make sure you nail your next presentation or need to have a long-term system, these techniques can help you have the most important information in your hip pocket when you need it most. All of the techniques Tracy cites to improve memory are fairly simple, but many of them require dedication in order to be effective. For example, Tracy’s first piece of advice on how to improve your memory is to over-learn the material. If you are overprepared, then even if you forget tangential points, you will have such a firm grasp on the fundamentals that you won’t need to worry about remembering. Brian states that there are 5 proven strategies that can maximize your retention, and in this video, he states seven techniques. One strategy is reducing the amount of interference around you. Interference is when the information you’ve previously learned is interfering with the information you’re currently learning. To limit interference, he suggests over-learning the material. if you recall the information without a pause for thought then you’ve over-learned it. Other strategies include making the information meaningful and using four color pens. Using colored based inks allows you to use color image-based techniques to anchor images with memories. Also space out your study sessions, and practice whole and part learning. Read the material all at once quickly and then go back and ingest it in parts. You can also recite the material that you’re trying to memorize, and this technique was used by Abraham Lincoln himself. Finally use a study system, have a game plan and act on it. Your incredible brain can take you from rags to riches, from loneliness to popularity, and from depression to happiness, and joy if you use it properly.

This week, I’ve included SELF DISCIPLINE – Motivation for Daily Discipline (Video Advice) from the Video Advice YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG


Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

February 10, 2018

For the sake of consistency, posts will start in the month of February, and be bi-weekly.

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/307049

Whether you’re in the steel industry, fashion or IT, selling is integral to your company’s success. A good sales team, though, does more than just sell product. Sales roles are customer-facing and interact with prospective customers, too. They’re responsible for bringing in and keeping a steady stream of business. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that your salespeople have the potential for greatness — potential you can use strategically to your advantage. At our company, the value of a good sales team has come into sharper focus with every passing year. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, there’s an urgency like never before. Businesses must stand out with a unique and clear value proposition. Having a great product is one way to rise above the crowd, but it’s far from the only way — or even the best. Here are five things your sales team is selling besides product, whether they realize it or not. And if they don’t already, it’s important they begin to ASAP. Those five things are: Your story, your culture, your team, your processes and services, and the truth. For me the order is important, so it’s worth noting that the author stated that the first of the five things is your story. As the first people who speak with potential customers, your salespeople are front-line brand ambassadors for your company. They’re selling your reputation. Even more important, they’re telling the story behind who and what you are, how you got there and where you’re going. It’s important for the sales team to be able to be story tellers. The story of the company should be deeply ingrained into the person’s mind. If the person is passionate about where he works, then he will easily share the company to others both on and off the clock. Even if the person is new to sales then the team should take it upon themselves to educate the person and help the person become comfortable about telling the story of the company. Personally, when I went to interview for a job I wanted, I researched the company and was able to tell the hiring manager everything about the company itself. Last — but certainly not least — it’s vital that sales teams are honest. Too many teams use fabrications and hyperbole to bring in sales. Their people don’t consider the consequences of these tactics until after the fact. Think about it: If you sell someone a lie, especially in today’s digital age, it will come back to haunt your company. It could be in the form of a bad online review or even a lawsuit. This year I’m re-building my life around the Principle of Honesty. It’s not that I was dishonest before, but I will say when you live out this principle, it gives you a level of energy you didn’t realize you had before. Whatever is in the darkness will eventually come to light. Don’t be a slave to the numbers but be true to yourself and your own integrity.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/02/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniaks-simple-formula-for-happiness.html

When Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was young, he defined a successful life for himself — one that, despite its radical simplicity, has worked for almost 50 years. “I thought out my philosophies when I was about 20 years old … How do you do in life? … How do you become a good person?” explains Wozniak, speaking at the at the Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm on January 24. He continues, “It if I died and had all this wealth and yachts and all this stuff, would I be as happy as when I laugh? And I thought about pranks I played and jokes I had told and music I would hear that would make me smile, and I came up with my formula that life is about happiness.” Yes, a formula. Always the engineer.
His simple formula is Happiness equals smiles minus frowns or H = S – F. Woz describes the best way to decrease the number of frowns by decreasing how much you care you are going to frown. When bad situations happen, let the situation go. In these situations, complaining or blaming others is just going to make things worse, says Wozniak. So will judging other people. “And don’t argue. Don’t argue! You don’t win an argument, you just walk away unhappy,” says Wozniak. “You only have to convince one person in life, and that is yourself. I think that he consistently forgives or releases others in a way that allows him to smile more. It’s this attitude that drew him into computers. It wasn’t the money. “I was never into money in any way — finance — to this day I have never used Apple stock app, I don’t buy and sell stock,” Wozniak says. In fact, Wozniak sold virtually all his bitcoin holdings when the price shot up so he wouldn’t be compelled to watch the price yo-yo. “I don’t want that kind of care in my life. Part of my happiness is not to have worries.” Of course, Wozniak is worth millions, by one account as much as $100 million, so perhaps that’s easy to say. But there is one thing that makes him mad, he says: illogical, counter-intuitive machine user experience. Your core values and principles will drive your personal and professional life. I recommend using these values completely. Let who you are in private be who you are in public. Let there be no division, so you can truly experience happiness.

This week, I’ve included Most Powerful Speech Ever Given! – TD JAKES Motivational Speech [MOTIVATION 2018] from the Motivation Archive YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG


Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

December 30, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.inc.com/damon-brown/why-self-sacrifice-is-ultimate-leadership-failure.html
Study after study shows that sacrificing your health, sleep or relationships to get ahead will ultimately destroy you – and any short-term progress you make will be lost in the commotion. Today’s startup culture romanticizes “crushing it” at all costs, but one of the wisest takes comes from the old-school, recently deceased speaker Jim Rohn. Here he is in his classic program, The Art of Exceptional Living:

The best contribution you can make to someone else is self development, not self sacrifice. Self sacrifice only breeds contempt. Self development earns respect… If I work on myself and become more valuable, think of what that’ll do to our friendship.

Self-sacrifice is obviously caustic to you, but it is even more harmful to what you create and who surrounds you. As a leader when you take on a self-sacrifice point of view then you tell those underneath to follow that point of view. In this case, you are willing to sacrifice a long-lasting contribution for a short burst of potential success. Don’t be surprised if others follow your lead in all their work decisions. Self-sacrifice puts more pressure on those around you also. The best way to change this path is to take time for yourself, build an accountability group, and start healthy habits now. It’s important to take these small steps and surround yourself with others that you can communicate honestly and openly with. Not just your business, but your personal life also. It’s even better to have someone you can tell your deepest and darkest areas of your life. Having just one person will release the burden off your consciousness.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-11/how-softbank-s-son-bounced-back-after-the-dot-com-crash

At the height of the dot-com bubble in late 1999 and early 2000, Masayoshi Son’s net worth was surging by $10 billion a week. For three days, he was the richest person in the world, Son said. But before Son had a chance to tell anyone, SoftBank Group Corp. crashed. The company’s shares plunged 75 percent in two months and were 93 percent lower at the end of 2000. The business almost went bankrupt. Son lost much of his wealth. “Somehow, I survived,” Son said in an interview on “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.” “At that time, I said, ‘Now is the time to go next stage, which is the internet will become mobile internet.'”

This hyperlink includes the video interview of Son. The important lesson to learn is how to survive, and how to learn from your past failures.

This week, I’ve included IT’S TIME TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES – 2018 New Years Motivation from the Basquiat Picasso YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

December 23, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.inc.com/matt-given/this-1-quote-from-kobe-bryant-is-all-you-need-to-know-about-his-success.html

On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers retired two jerseys. Magic Johnson emceed the ceremony before a standing-room-only crowd at the Staples Center in the heart of downtown L.A. As the two jerseys, numbers 8 and 24, were hoisted to the rafters, the adoring Laker fans showered applause on the Laker greats who wore them. For this storied franchise with a long list of Hall of Famers, it was a fitting tribute. There’s only one twist to this fairy tale. Both numbers were worn by the same man. During Kobe Bryant’s 20-year career, he elevated a Laker franchise that had already seen the likes of Jabbar and Magic. His record wasn’t without its smudges–he was arrested in 2004 in connection with a sexual assault complaint in Colorado, and while the charges were later dropped, his reputation was tarnished. Even so, he remains one of the very early success stories of players who came right out of high school to the NBA. “Those times when you get up early and you work hard,” Bryant said during the number-retirement ceremony. “Those times you stay up late and you work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working. You’re too tired. You don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.” Bryant’s career has mirrored the path many entrepreneurs travel. By any measure, he has made it. But, don’t be fooled: Understanding his approach to the process is the lesson for any entrepreneur. It’s Kobe’s legendary work ethic, which has possibly landed him a position in the NBA Hall of Fame. Even during the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, Kobe would do pre-dawn workouts prior to official practices starting. Now out of the league, Bryant appears to be shifting his attention to the business and entrepreneurial world. He has been known to text successful business friends at all hours of the night and cold call others who catch his interest via a tweet or article.

Bryant told Bloomberg Businessweek:

I’ll just cold call people and pick their brain about stuff. Some of the questions that I ask will seem really, really simple and stupid, quite honestly, for them. But if I don’t know, I don’t know. You have to ask. I’ll just do that. I’ll just ask questions and I want to know more about how they build their businesses and how they run their companies and how they see the world.

It’s this work ethic and intensity, which will accelerate his business experience.

 

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-where-we-are-in-the-life-cycle-of-crypto-currencies-2017-12-22

A few months ago, I had lunch with a former trader who told me: “This is my third asset class. I have traded commodities, then derivatives and now it is crypto. However unlike the precedent waves, Wall Street is late to the party and early investors are very different. They are very technical and sometimes often see crypto/decentralization as a religion. They don’t want a yacht or a Lambo; They want to hodl their tokens.” I think he was right. We are at the birth of a new asset class. As Andreessen Horowitz puts it, “cryptocurrencies are a new asset class that enable decentralized applications”. Or something like that. Some much smarter people than me like Chris Burniske and Adam White already wrote about the birth of the new asset class few years ago. In this post, I highlight the different stages of the birth of the crypto asset class through a simple framework of technology adoption. In a second post (to publish on Medium during the last week of December), I shall discuss why institutional investors are keen on crypto. Finally. I address the adoption challenges for institutional investors.

Paradigm shift->Believers->Converts->Speculation->Retail FOMO->Institutional money->BURST

The first adopters are believers. According to this article as of December 2017, cryptocurrency is in the speculation phase. It should be noted that two advanced projects are still considered to be in “beta mode”

  • Bitcoin: It has become expensive and slow to transact. Even though the number of transaction grows, it is very far from being able to be a real medium of exchange. The recent forks try to provide alternatives and new updates such as lightning aim to enhance the network capacity.
  • Ethereum: The only disruptive-use case ethereum has brought so far is token launch/initial coin offering. It has somehow disrupted early-stage financing. But that’s pretty much it. When people starts to trade/purchase too many “cryptokitties” (a pokemon-style game run on ethereum), the network clogged. Yes. I know. Awkward. But cool updates like lightning, sharding etc.. are soon coming to market.

The author believes there is possibly even more money that can be poured into this asset class. Personally, I do own cryptocurrency, however these articles remain my objective review of topics that are interesting, and I encourage you to do your own research.

This week, I’ve included Best Motivational Video 2018 – Speeches Compilation 6 Hour Long – Motivation By Mulliganbrothers from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

December 16, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-inventor-of-the-401k-says-he-created-a-monster-2016-05-16

Most religious men find the answers to their prayers in scripture. Ted Benna found them in the U.S. tax code. Fed up with clients only interested in getting the maximum tax break for themselves while doing as little as possible for their employees, he began to feel he could either remain a workplace benefits consultant or a Christian, but not both. In fact, just weeks before his life’s eureka moment came in September 1980, he thought about leaving the Johnson Companies, his suburban Philadelphia firm, to take a job at a local Christian college. Instead of quitting, Benna, 74, helped turn a little-noticed new subsection of the tax code into the least likely of household names: the 401(k). With a 401k you can put aside pre-tax earnings with a company match up to a certain percentage into a retirement account. This retirement account is managed by a financial services company that will invest your money into the stock, and bond market and overtime build your retirement. This process would replace the typical pension plans that companiess had used for years, and put the financial responsibility on the employee to take care of their retirement. In fact, the original purpose of section 401(k) was to limit the use of executive cash-deferred plans. The Johnson Cos. administered 50 401(k)s in 1982, mostly to its own employees. Today Americans have some 50 million plans holding roughly $3 trillion in assets. Benna’s firm earned its money on the record keeping for the plans (with the help of a $65,000 Wang computer), but outsourced the actual investing component to the Vanguard Group, back when the future mutual-fund giant was still in its nascent days. “Ted was the moral standard within the company and thought it was a conflict for us to also handle the investments,” Wright said. “He believed in doing the right thing.” But like many critics, in recent years he began to think 401(k)s might not be the right thing. He’d created “a monster” that should be “blown up,” Benna lamented in 2011. The 401k plans themselves have grown so complicated. They’re filled with hidden fees, and have so many opportunities for bad decisions that the financial industry benefits more than the savers. “For all its issues, the 401(k)’s biggest value is that it turns spenders into savers,” he said. “Not that I spend much time basking the glory of the 401(k). What matters most to me now is spending time with my grandchildren and my horses.” I think that this forced process of making spenders into savers by the government can be risky, and there needs to be a re-examination of what components are missing from the public education system. Financial education is topic that should be, but isn’t often talked about in homes. In my profession, I see a lot of people that don’t understand the importance of managing credit and risk. I believe a person should look to build multiple streams of income, and not be 100% dependent on their job and the government to take care of them. It’s about taking personal responsibility and learning, and not just handing your money over to someone.  Personally I do have a 401k, but I also look for opportunities to build my income producing asset column, and fight to lower my own consumer debt. I do these things with two things in mind: legacy and eternity. What’s your why?

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/use-self-made-billionaire-ray-dalios-2-minute-rule-to-radically-improve-your-meetings.html

Why do so many of us hate meetings? There’s no shortage of reasons, from wasting time in entirely unnecessary get togethers, to overlong scheduling, and meandering conversations. But somewhere towards the top of nearly everyone’s meeting pet peeve list is oafish meeting behavior. I’m sure you’ve experienced the type of thing I’m talking about – the spotlight hogging, endless interrupting, and under informed bloviating that can make getting together with colleagues about as much fun as watching paint dry. So how do you ensure everyone gets a turn to speak, but that the loudest of the group don’t monopolize the meeting and drown out other good ideas? Ray Dalio, founder of $160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and self-made billionaire, has a simple rule that can ensure everyone gets their time in the spotlight. On the TED Ideas blog recently Dalio shared nine rules for meetings from his new book Principles: Life and Work . The entire post is definitely worth a read if your organization struggles to keep meetings under control, but one idea stands out as both exceptionally useful and dead simple. Dalio calls it “the two-minute rule”:

The two-minute rule specifies that you have to give someone that uninterrupted period to explain their thinking before jumping in with your own. This ensures everyone has time to fully crystallize and communicate their thoughts without worrying they will be misunderstood or drowned out by a louder voice

This concept isn’t new, and it was instilled in us at an early age. But these two minutes of freedom will allow a person to express his thoughts without interruption. You may need to enforce this time constraint, but make sure you know your team knows this constraint is in force going in. if you’re in leadership/management role, give it a try and see if it changes your work environment. The purpose is to ultimately bring the team together, and find the areas that can be improved together.

This week, I’ve included The 13 Truths – Matthew McConaughey [MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH] from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

December 9, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

https://www.inc.com/tom-popomaronis/the-scientific-7-step-formula-that-will-transform-anyone-into-a-morning-person.html

Do you wish you could get up in the morning with ease? Sure you do. If you haven’t been able to crack the morning code yet, there’s a scientifically-backed recipe to help, thanks to behavioral psychologist, Jo Hemmings. Hemmings shared with Mail Online that she specifically crafted the steps to shake up the body. So, prepare to have some serious ammunition that is guaranteed to win the morning fight naturally instead of grumbling and downing java for energy. The seven steps are: sleep on the left side of the bed, wear yellow, set your alarm to an upbeat song, exercise, do a headstand, take an [ice-cold] shower, and eating breakfast (slow energy release). These seven simple steps are worth trying to see if it can change your morning routine. The morning is how you face the day, and it’s good to try new things that will help you power through the day.  Those quiet moments as you face the day are your moments. Cherish them and squeeze every opportunity out of them.

https://www.inc.com/adam-robinson/at-my-first-startup-i-lost-120000-couldnt-meet-payroll-heres-what-i-learned-about-staying-afloat.html

It was early on a Monday morning when I received the call.  It was Marcy, one of our consultants, and she sounded a bit concerned. “Adam, I didn’t get paid today.” I told her that I’d investigate and get right back to her. When the customer service rep from my payroll provider told me that the bank declined our payroll debit, a lump formed in my throat. Frantic, I logged in to view the company’s bank account. The balance: $0.00 On Friday, there had been over $120,000 of cash in that account. Monday morning, the account was empty. I was stunned. What in the world just happened? I was a first-time entrepreneur, and had I been asking myself the tough questions about our business along the way, I would have seen quite clearly that a freight train was bearing down on us. Here are the six questions I should have asked: Do I have the right relationship with my bank?, How many days can I run this business without new cash flow?, Do I have a customer concentration issue?, Do I have the right business model?, Is everyone on our payroll delivering tangible value?, and Do I need to be spending money on that? As a credit analyst, whenever I’m looking at a business loan request, I’m also asking two of the questions that the author asks. How long will it take for the borrower to receive their accounts receivable? If a business’s accounts are stretching out paying the business from 30 to 60 days to 90 to 120 days, then the business may be having issues collecting from its customers. Another factor I look for is the customer concentration. If a borrower has two accounts that make up over half its revenue, then the company is a risk in my opinion. If you’re looking to save or improve your business, then ask yourself these questions, and be aware of the following lessons: Once the stuff hits the fan, it’s too late to make friends with your banker. My weak collections process created major cash flow problems. I hadn’t built a predictable model for landing new business. Running a high-growth, receivables-based business with low profit margins is a recipe for disaster.  Had I rightsized my organization sooner, I would have had sufficient cash to cushion the impact of a slowing economy, and Little expenses add up to a big cash drain.

This week, I’ve included NEVER GIVE UP – Motivational Video – BEST MOTIVATION FOR 2018 from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 14, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-gold-opposites-why-you-might-want-to-stock-up-2017-10

Bitcoin is frequently compared to gold. But it’s not an either/or proposition… and I’ll tell you why. Indeed, gold and bitcoin are the only two widely distributed, decentralized methods of exchanging value as currency. There is no central authority issuance like there is with U.S. dollars or any other fiat currency. Likewise, neither bitcoin nor gold can just be “printed” at the push of a button by an anxious central banker. You have to either earn your gold by mining it – which is also what you do to get bitcoin, but with computers instead of picks and shovels – or you can pay cash for it. But there’s one big difference between the two…Gold is the very opposite of new technology. Gold is a physical, tangible and real asset. Gold is a physical tangible asset that has held value for thousands of years. Bitcoin is a code that is store on the internet, and if you lose it, then you lose your bitcoin. I’ve had friends that have lost their private key and as a result have lost access to their bitcoin. Bitcoin is built on blockchain technology and the distributed ledger system and it’s not easy to explain to the average person. Bitcoin will never be gold. Gold is the standard when it comes to being a store of value and medium exchange. But… you should still own bitcoin.  Bitcoin is the ultimate in freedom of asset ownership. The government can’t confiscate it from you, as it did from owners of gold in 1933 in the U.S. under Executive Order 6102. You can cross national borders with bitcoin in your possession on a USB-stick device, a piece of paper… or if you can memorize your private key, with no physical object in your possession of any kind. Whether your bitcoin is worth US$100 or US$100 million, it makes no difference to how you move and store it (which is clearly not the same with gold). You don’t need a trusted middleman to send it, and you can move it around the world, securely, in a matter of minutes. And if you’re looking for gains… bitcoin is a lot likelier than gold to be up 1,000 percent three years from now. Even though its price has soared over the past few years, it’s still nowhere near mainstream yet. So gold and bitcoin both deserve a place in your portfolio. Gold has stood the test of time and is a medium of storing value. Bitcoin’s time, on the other hand, is just beginning. Blockchain is the future, and when you have an opportunity to buy the future and tuck it away, you should take it. If you’re interested in learning how I purchase bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, feel free to contact me.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-spot-stock-market-bubbles-2017-10

They don’t ring a bell at the top and tell you to get out, but I have to say that I’m pretty sure that I can hear something. I’m not sounding the alarm on the entire market, but I think it is past the point where buying certain very popular technology companies is a good idea.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that you do not want to own this group of companies today. More on that in a moment. First, let’s look back at some helpful history… I mentioned that there isn’t anyone who rings a bell for us at the top to tell us that it’s time to sell. That isn’t fully accurate, because there are always signs.  The trouble with those signs is that while they are very obvious with the benefit of hindsight, they aren’t so easy to see in real time. In 1929, JFK’s father Joseph Kennedy Sr. picked up on one of those subtle signs and didn’t just get out at the top, he scored a massive windfall on the way down as well. Kennedy had made a lot of money in the 1920’s with the market going up, but it was when he was getting his shoes shined one day that he changed his strategy and made even more money. What happened? While sitting in the shoeshine chair, Kennedy Sr. was alarmed to have the shoeshine boy gift him with several tips on which stocks he should own — yes, a shoeshine boy playing the stock market. This unsolicited advice resulted in a life-changing moment for Kennedy Sr. who promptly went back to his office and started unloading his stock portfolio. In fact, he didn’t just get out of the market, he aggressively shorted it — and got filthy rich because of it during the epic crash that soon followed. They don’t ring bells at the top, but apparently when shoeshine boys start giving stock advice it is time to head for the exits. Why was this moment important? Because someone with no education of the financial markets was gambling with the market, and if the average person with no financial experience is gambling, then when the market starts to turn down, those with financial and emotional intelligence can make a lot of profit. The author goes on to express his concern with the high level of concentration in technology companies specifically FANG+.  In fact, there is the NYSE FANG+ index comprised of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Alibaba, Baidu, Nvidia, Tesla, and Twitter. From September 2014 to 2017, these group of stocks have had a 28.44% annualized return. The author would’ve owned these stocks three years ago but would he own them today? No!  As a group these stocks are frighteningly expensive today. That is generally what happens when stocks go up that fast, they become much less attractively valued. Rather than just take my word on that, let’s look at some facts. Here are the current trailing price to earnings multiples for each of the members of the NYSE FANG+ index:

  • Facebook – 37 times
  • Apple – 17 times
  • Amazon – 242 times
  • Netflix – 215 times
  • Google/Alphabet – 35 times
  • Alibaba – 62 times
  • Baidu – 47 times
  • NVIDIA – 51 times
  • Tesla – Doesn’t even turn a profit
  • Twitter – Doesn’t even turn a profit

 Individually these stocks range from expensive to absurdly expensive. On average though, I’d have to say the valuation of the group is close to the absurd. The average price to earnings ratio of the eight companies that actually have earnings is 88 times. Yikes! Does it mean these companies are bad companies and are going to collapse? No not necessarily, but are these prices possibly too high? Only your fundamental and technical analysis can give you the answer. Again, having financial and emotional intelligence is important when building wealth. As volatile as the stock market, you should watch the prices of the cryptocurrencies, and you’ll see truly volatile swings. Markets are controlled by supply, demand, and emotion. Carefully monitor the market and understand these tech companies to find your entry point, and always ask yourself what is your exit strategy? What are your plans with the capital gains?  Are you willing to lose it all?

If you are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section. Also, learn more about the self-lending principle in the mustard seed section.

This week, I’ve included HOW BAD DO YOU REALLY WANT IT? [SUCCESS] – Motivational Video from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

October 7, 2017

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles below

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/disposable_income.asp

Although it is not the only factor in deciding how wealthy an individual is, disposable income does have a significant influence. If you have little or no money after taxes and expenses, then it is hard to save and invest for the future. In this article, we’ll look at four ways you can increase your disposable income. The four ways are get a raise- or a second job, start a business, investing income, and spend less. Getting a raise is one of the easiest ways to increase your disposable income this can be achieved by continuing your education, taking a pay cut in exchange for performance bonuses, and there are other guides that can help you in getting a raise. Another way is to get a second job, however the draw back to this approach as an employee as your income increases you will be pushed into a higher tax bracket. Starting a business is another way of increasing your disposable income. The difference between having a small business vs a job is that with a business you can lower your tax liability. Some of your business write-offs can even be claimed against other income sources, but you have to follow the rules carefully. (See also: Capital Gains Tax Cuts For Middle Income Investors.) The major drawback of starting a business is that there is no guarantee of success or income like there is with a raise or a second job. Starting a business takes a certain type of person, one with the motivation and the ability to handle the details involved in implementing an idea. The time, effort and nerves that it takes to run a business (that has no certainty of success) means that very few people will take this route.

Investing income is considered a form of passive income. This is a misnomer because it does take active effort to create income from investing – you have to research investments, build and maintain your portfolio, etc. – but it is generally considered to take less effort than, let’s say, shoveling concrete day in and day out. Investing income can come from stocks, bonds, real estate, or many other forms. The common theme is that they ideally produce a return on the money you put into them. (See also: A Guide To Portfolio Construction.) Creating income through investing is a process of accumulation. Even if you consistently get a return on investments (ROI) of 20%, if you only have $1,000 in the investment, you will add a little less than $200 to your yearly income after any fees and taxes have been paid (and there is no guarantee of consistent returns of even 10%). Searching for stocks with a history of dividends, sometimes called income stocks, can help create some income now, but it will still not be as rapid in results as a second job. As you put more money in, however, more money comes out in the form of returns. Investing is a great way to increase your disposable income in the long run, but it won’t do wonders for your immediate situation unless you have a huge chunk of capital just sitting around. Investing takes patience, time and discipline (it is also subject to taxation). That said, it is one of the surest ways to gradually add to your disposable income without exerting yourself too much. Finally, spending less will increase your disposable income.  Having a budget and knowing how much exactly comes in and how much exactly goes out and when it goes out is key to setting aside more money for investing. Each of these four steps should be a part of your life strategy. It’s your money and the choices are yours. What is your vision and what is your legacy?

http://www.businessinsider.com/shopify-citron-andrew-left-business-dirtier-than-herbalife-2017-10

Andrew Left is back at it again. The Citron Research founder tweeted on Wednesday that the Canadian e-commerce company Shopify was a “business dirtier than Herbalife.” He also posted a seven-minute YouTube video outlining his bear case, titled “Citron Exposes the Dark Side of Shopify — The FTC Will Take Notice,” and posted a report to his firm’s website. In the video, Left lays out the big question he has around the company: Outside the roughly 50,000 verifiable merchants working with Shopify, who are the other 450,000 the company says it has? According to Left, many of them are, among other things, influencers paid to promote the company. “Shopify, a company that has mastered the good ol’ get-rich-quick scheme,” Left says in the video. “What’s never discussed by Wall Street is the real business behind Shopify.”  Left set a target price of $60 on the stock which was 49% below the closing price on Tuesday and on Wednesday the stock dropped by 14%. Whether or not his claims are true, when he speaks the market listens and responds in kind. But Left is perhaps best known for his damning October 2015 report that accused Valeant Pharmaceuticals of being a “pharmaceutical Enron,” and he helped bring up questions regarding the firm’s accounting and relationship with the specialty pharmacy Philidor.  I’ve included the link to Citron Research here: http://www.citronresearch.com/ If you’re going to increase your knowledge in any asset class, you need to learn from people wiser than you, and trust in your God given gifts. Living in the Information Age, you have full access to as much information as you could possibly want. Carve out a half an hour to a few hours of your day to increase your knowledge and look for scenarios to apply it. Keep it simple, how can I make money, how can I money make money, and how do I repeat steps 1 and 2 to infinity?

If you are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section. Also, learn more about the self-lending principle in the mustard seed section.

This week, I’ve included YOU CAN ALSO BE GREAT” – Elon Musk Motivation – Motivational Video from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

 

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Proverbs 28:26 MSG