The Point is Be YOU

This is almost a little bit of an embarrassing post. But I have something to confess…

But sometimes I do things just cause everyone else does them. And really, there’s nothing wrong with that in theory. If it’s working for others, then maybe it’s worth a shot! But it’s definitely not worth sticking with if it’s not working for YOU.

Cause the point is to be YOU. Not them. Maybe your mentor is awesome but you’re not supposed to be them. You’re supposed to be you. Seth Godin is cool and has a lot of good information but you’re not him and never will be. You’re you.

For example, I started drinking coffee because I thought it was cool. I saw people I wanted to be like drinking coffee so I picked up the habit. I didn’t particularly like the taste so I covered it up with cream and sugar. And then started buying cappuccinos and lattes and expensive drinks at Starbucks. Not because I needed it. But because I convinced myself I did. And who with any sense of style would buy a coffee drink from anywhere other than Starbucks??

Now that I have decided a few things about my own life (forgetting what others think about me) I’ve decided for the most part I’d rather sit at the bar in my kitchen with a glass of water (saving time and money. 😉

I also think it used to be cool to get little sleep and push myself to the max because that’s the only way you’d ever be productive (I’d heard that from someone “successful.”) But now I see that sleep and productivity actually go hand in hand (for me anyway.)

It’s always nice to look at other people who are where we’d like to be one day and then try to implement everything they do in their lives into our own. But more than likely we have an entirely different path to take. Learning from others is powerful. My last blog post was even on how Knowledge is Power, but there’s a fine line from learning from others and then trying to be others.

Find what works for you and run with it. Be open to making mistakes and be willing to give it a go again. You can be just as successful as the guy who pays $4 for his latte and stays up all night supposedly “working” if you really want to. It’s just up to you. =)

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Knowledge is Power

I love books. When I moved out of my parents house I asked them if they would like to bless me with a new bookshelf for my new living room.

They did.

And it’s full.

It’s not always that I read books twice but there’s something about having them in my hand and readily available to me. To underline and highlight. To write notes out to the side. To flip back through and read the good stuff. Just to know that I own the book and have read it brings me great joy.

But besides all of that I think the reason I buy and keep books is to see with my eyes what I have read. Sure, there are other books I have read but if I really loved it I probably kept it. And there are plenty of them.

All filled with knowledge.

We should never stop learning. It’s what helps us be someone tomorrow that we weren’t today. We can learn from our own mistakes and successes or from others’ mistakes and successes. But regardless, it has to be a purposeful thing. Lots of experiences come and go but many times I think we don’t take the proactive step to learn from them that we should.

We’ll probably find ourselves walking around the same situation later on, and perhaps doing the exact same thing (that didn’t work.) But if we could take that experience and really internalize it, everything could change.

Tomorrow would be a step forward instead of a step backward.

The same thing applies to the books (or blogs or magazines or articles or ebooks or whatever!) that we read. It takes this non-renewable resource called TIME to participate in reading these pieces of information so we need to be kind of picky about what we read.

It’d be easy to subscribe to all the “cool” blogs out there on business, entrepreneurship, health and personal finance but I don’t have that kind of time! So I subscribe to a few and really try to soak up that information.

Knowledge is power. Soak it up. But don’t just read those things and learn from them to be cool or FEEL smart. Instead, learn in order to BE smart.

Goals Aren’t the End All

Today is all we have. Regardless of worries about the past and the dreams we have about the future, today is it. And sometimes I look out that window and want to really live a little bit more.

I want to show my love to my family and my friends a little more. To everyone, really.

I want to be quick to forgive. To go out of my way to be kind.

To do a little more than I did yesterday for the people in my life.

Because regardless of financial, health or career goals what matters at the end of the day is love. And the people in our lives. And that they know they have our love.

Goals don’t have feelings or souls. People do. And those people need us.

Maybe today we should just focus a little bit more on the people around us and a little bit less on ourselves.

Grocery Sense: What NOT to Buy

Pardon my rant here. I really am not better than anyone else, and I don’t want to ever come across that way. But some things kind of get me going. =)

My roommate and I went to Wal-Mart last night (because Aldi was closed) to buy groceries for the week. We have our little list of 10 items, and we go in search of them. All the while my attention is being drawn to these young couples with kids hanging off their carts.

But it wasn’t the kids that caught my eye.

It was the food inside of their carts! It looked nothing like the picture above, that’s for sure!

I am 100% sure I make some grocery buying blunders sometimes. The occasional box of cookies or the occasional 2 liter of Pepsi but I have to admit that I don’t make these kind of mistakes on  a regular basis….

-Bottles of soda and fake juice hanging all along the edges of the cart
-Boxes and boxes of name brand sugar cereal
-4 or 5 frozen pizzas
-Boxes of different kinds of cookies
-Honey buns and, of course….
-Lots of frozen dinners

I’m sure this wasn’t all of it but my guess is that if people would take a little TIME to really cook that they’d be healthier and also save a little cash money. I know we all live busy lives, but I’m sure if we’d take a good look that we’d see it’s definitely worth it.

Maybe I’m wrong…I know I’ve only been living on my own for a week but I know my parents cooked from scratch way more often than putting some pre-cooked chicken wings in the oven and also tended to not buy the boxed brand named cereal when they could get the off-brand bags for a better deal. And soda, well….it’s just bad for you.

I’d say that the craving I get most often to waste money on at the store is some good ice cream. Yumm…there’s just nothing like it. Especially Braum’s ice cream. You might not have them in your area but if you did you’d wanna go on a weekly basis!

It’s amazing how much health and money sometimes go hand in hand.

What do you think? What are some big money and health traps at the grocery store?

Things To Do Everyday

Everyone has different and various goals at different times in life and we usually spend most of our time investing in those goals. But there are certain things that regardless of what our goals are it would benefit us to participate in every single day. Even if only for a few minutes. They are the foundation to the rest of life and will help you live a better life overall.

1. Be quiet.
Whether it’s one hour or five minutes, take time to just be quiet. Listen. Look out a window or close your eyes. It’s in this time that God will speak and you’ll hear more about your purpose and direction for the day.
3. Write it down.
Make it a habit to write things down. Whether it’s writing down what you heard while you were being quiet or just writing things down throughout the day that come to mind you will need to remember lately. Writing things down is such a stress reliever. You don’t have to worry about it anymore–it’s on paper.
3. Get moving.
Personally, I’ve joined a fitness club and try to go everyday. Some days I spend 30 minutes there and other days I spend 1 1/2 hours there. But regardless I try to get myself moving some everyday. It does wonders for your health and well-being and the endorphins released will definitely make you feel better overall.
4. Eat right.
I’m not the expert here, and I definitely don’t do as good as I should some days. But the key is just to be aware. Be aware of what you’re eating and deliberately choose healthier options each time you go to eat. Make sure you’re hungry and aren’t just snacking mindlessly and that what you’re putting into your mouth has some good nutritional value. Apple or cookie? Try to choose the apple more often. =) Same thing as with exercising, you’ll just feel better knowing that you’re eating a little healthier.

5. Do something new.
This isn’t easy because our days are filled with things that are “old.” Who has time for something new?  But just try something. Whether it’s saying hello to someone you’ve never met before or picking up trash you see on the ground or taking a walk in a new park–take a few minutes to do something you’ve never done before. You’ll feel enriched and probably learn something you didn’t know before.

Those are just a few things that came to mind that we can all do every single day to help build a better life.  Do you have any more ideas or thoughts on these?

Pay Day Ritual

Today I heard some disheartening news. “Paying yourself first doesn’t always work.”

The term “paying yourself” refers to the awesome principle of saving.

Thankfully I didn’t believe that news, and I never will. I hope you don’t either. Paying yourself first WILL work. I don’t know what your bills look like every month but if they equal your paycheck then you need to cut some of them down. Sell the car. Cut the cable. Turn off the air conditioner. Just find a way to get some extra in there. THEN it is always possible to pay yourself first.

I love paydays. I love them because I get to “get stuff done” in the financial world on those days. I usually wake up early on Pay Days and see my paycheck deposited into my checking account. Then I go about doing the following things…Save. Pay. Spend.

Save

I dish out money from my paycheck into different savings accounts. I know how much I can dish into these savings account because I have this thing called a budget (it’s rad.) And I put my savings into my budget. It’s basically just another bill. But it’s a bill I get to pay MYSELF! 😉 I do this first so I don’t have an excuse later on to back out of it. Some people even have it automatically taken from their paycheck and put in another account, but I enjoy doing it manually for some reason. 😉

Pay

This is about the necessary evils called bills. We hate them but we love them because they are the way we get to LIVE. Regardless of the due date of a bill, if I have the amount that is owed, I pay it on payday. Most of my bills are paid out of the second paycheck of the month but the big one (rent) is paid out of the first. A lot of things are automatically taken out of my checking account so I don’t have to worry about it but there are a few I manually pay. And payday is a great time to do it. Why spread out paying bills over a period of days when you can just spend a few minutes in front of the computer getting it all done at once??

Spend

Well, everything else is left to spend! It’s so simple. This is where you buy groceries and gas and movies and everything else you love to spend your money on. A budget will help you make sure you have enough left over for all of this. This is money you CAN spend guilt-free because you’ve paid yourself, you’ve paid your bills and now you get to just live.

Super easy right? Save. Pay. Spend.

Of course, some don’t feel their paycheck is big enough to handle all three. That’s when we begin to just “pay” and “spend.” But like I said earlier–find a way. Even if it’s saving $10 or cutting the “spending” down to the necessities. I promise saving will pay off in the end. I’m no expert but I’ve begun to do this, and it’s extremely rewarding.

Remember–no age is too young or too old to start. But of course, the earlier you start the better!

Do you have a ritual you participate in on payday? 😉 What do you think of the “Save. Pay. Spend.” concept? Does anyone else have any good ideas?

Creative Destruction

So I am taking my first college Economics course this term and am absolutely loving it. There are so many different economic theories and principles I have heard about and am now really beginning to understand. One of those is creative destruction.

Creative destruction is basically a theory about innovation and progress. In order to continue moving forward and truly create sometimes, if not always, it’s necessary to destroy something that was created in the past. When we make things better sometimes we have to make other things worse.

Creative Destruction in Action

Polaroid cameras. They were awesome at the time. And Mr. Polaroid or whoever invented it surely raked in some substantial profit. But since its invention someone else has invented an even better product that accomplishes the exact same thing: digital cameras. They have now taken over the market, and though Polaroid cameras are still around, they have, in a sense, been destroyed. Why? Because of creative destruction.

Yes, it’s sad. But it’s necessary to keep moving forward.

I think about my own life and where I need to exercise some creative destruction. What worked back then but needs to change now to be more efficient? And what do I use on a daily basis that I could exercise some “creative destruction” on to create something even better?

Sometimes we just settle for what works. Polaroid cameras worked just fine. But if we’ll spend a little bit of time thinking we can create something even better that will save time, energy, money and blow the past totally out of the water.

Have you exercise creative destruction lately? How’d you do it?