Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"We need to talk"



If you’ve been in a relationship, then you likely heard the phrase “We need to talk” or “I need to figure things out”... this is a very bad sign. Usually, a “decision” has been made and that decision will be shared whether you like it or not. It’s definitely not a good moment to go through but we all have to go through those every now and then.

Things to remember:
  • This is serious. Remain calm and remember that your partner likely spent a lot of time thinking through everything. This is a serious discussion. This is not the time to be a smart ass and make jokes.
  • Listen attentively with a spirit of understanding. This isn’t the time to criticize, condemn or play the blame game. There’s an issue at hand and you need to know what your role was in all this.
  • Be at peace with the fact that this may be the end of the relationship. Hearing this type of news is obviously going to shake you to your core (if it doesn’t then maybe that’s why it ended?). Remember that the stress generated from the news will make you act rashly. What you say, or do, in the moment may sound right but you will likely end up regretting it later.
  • Ask for a timeout from the conversation. Take your things and go for a car ride, clear your head and choose your next words carefully.
  • Do what it takes to make the relationship works but remember that, if it was to end, you will survive.
Now here’s the thing, I know all of the above but in the spur of the moment it rarely goes like that and there are always things that I have said that I ended up regretting. We can still try to apply these things but we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if we fail at them… maybe let’s pay better attention during our relationship so that we do not come to these situations?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Truth and Nothing But



I’m all for someone telling things for how it is as long as it is the truth and nothing but. There are “journalists” out there that created a reputation of “telling it as it is” but the message they share are filled with lies and misinterpretations for the purpose of shocking the consumer rather than informing.
Some will go as far as showing pictures, or a video, as proof of what they are saying. While it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, we still have to remember that we can make a picture say anything we want.

What is the reason behind the person sharing the news? Does that person want to make the world a better place by exposing something that isn't right or does that person only want to create more chaos?
“Fake news” isn’t a recent problem (anyone up for a witch hunt?) and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon. Our only line of defense against it is to be informed - to take any news with a grain of salt. To not spread it as it may be all a lie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hurray for Bank Fees! (Said No One)



Remember the time when we were able to put money away in a saving accounts and actually make money off of the interest rates? In today's world, not only are interests rates a joke but you also have bank fees that are way higher than the interests you get from your savings.
Got 10k saved up but you made 3 transactions during the month? Well you likely made 25 cent in interest but had to pay a few bucks for those bank/transaction fees.

I once confronted my bank about this - asking them what were those fees. They said "It's to maintain the buildings, pay the employees and all sorts of things". The thing is, they are already making money from my money by lending it to other people. Why do they need to charge me, again, for the privilege of using their banks?
I also asked if I had any options, apparently, I can pay 20 some bucks a month for a subscription to the bank that would give me some free transactions. Wow - what a deal?

How much profit does a bank need to make in order for them to say "You know what? That's enough. Let's focus on making the customer happy now." Enough is enough!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bad Publicity



Ever been on a website where an ad just started playing in the background? The ad is a video and it shifts the content you’re reading or takes over your entire view area. Aren’t those annoying?

Not all publicity is good: there is such a thing as bad publicity. If the goal of an ad is to paint a positive picture of a company then this kind of strategy is failing. The feeling I get, from those type of ads, is one of frustration. I’m asking myself “Why are you pushing this on me?” Is this the type of feeling those brands are looking for in their potential future customers?

I doubt it.

The goal of an ad is to make people happy and to associate that happiness with the brand. I shut off when ever I see these types of shady tactics being forced on me.

Is it the same for you? Do you just shut off when you see these types of ads or do you enjoy them?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The AI Revolution



Some see the future as a bleak, dark, place where robots will dominate the workplace leaving many without jobs while others, like myself, see it as an opportunity for humans to achieve greater intellectual heights.

I have a test automation background and the entire field's philosophy is "if you have to do it more than once - then automate it so you don't have to do it again". The time I saved from my automated script is spent on something else that's just as productive and beneficial. To me, the same type of approach can be used when (not if) the AI revolution occurs.
Most of us are asleep, we run our lives with our eyes closed. We wake up, go to work, go to sleep & repeat. When the job is manual/tedious in nature then it should be done by a machine so that the person doing the work can do something that will use his mind more.
The brain is the most complex part of our body - it can and should be challenged rather than be stuck in a routine.

Will some be forced into this future? Of course but I also believe that it is for the greater good of the specie. We will need time to adjust. Let's not fear it but look forward to it. Lets not have any one of our individual brain power go to waste. Lets learn every day.

How do you see the future?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Problem with Saving Apps



Apps, like Mylo, that are designed to take some of your money from each purchases and invest it for you are a great idea. It’s an neat idea to trick people into saving money. However it does little to help us build the discipline required for financial success. It's a step in the right direction but there's still work that we have to do on our part in order to be on the right track.

At the end of the day/year/goal, what you do with that money save will be the determining factor of your financial situation. Will you use that $4000 you saved with the help of the app to buy a new TV? Or will you leave it in the app so that it can keep growing?

The decision is yours. The apps can help you but you are still the person who’s in control of it all. Get better with your finances by gaining the financial discipline necessary for it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

School Grades Doesn't Mean Much



Parents put a lot of emphasis on their child’s grades. They somehow associate the grade with how successful the child will be at life. Whether or not the child passed English or Math or any other subject doesn’t determine how successful he’ll be in life.

Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, is a college dropout… and he’s still done pretty good for himself.

“Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
-Jamison Wooden

The grade a child gets on a paper is not as important as the effort he put towards it. A child that did a A+ without working is not in a better position than the one who worked hard for his C. Later in life, it's the work ethic that will be the most valued. I worked with Grade A students as well as Grade C ones and I can't really tell the difference between the 2 but I can certainly tell who works harder than the other.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Knowledge and Communication



We all have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips but it doesn't seem to make us any better people. I would argue that having this “power” has made us more arrogant than ever. We never seem to approach communication with a spirit of understanding but rather a spirit of “I know more than you - here let me show you”.

“All great victories in life begin with a victory over self.” -Orrin Woodward

Arrogance doesn't add value: It sucks out the life of a conversation. What, then, is require for us to become better conversationalists? To me, it is clear that simply having access to all the knowledge in the world isn't enough. We must also spend the time to learn about ourselves and how to interact with others. What's the point of knowing the distance between the Earth and the Moon when we can't share this information in a spirit of understanding?


One of the best communicator to ever live was Socrates. He communicated by asking questions to not only better understand the subject himself but also share his thoughts through this approach. What better way to gain understanding than to have the communication filled with questions on both sides? It does sound better than simply sharing facts doesn't it?

Let's be more like Socrates in our conversations.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The 6 Areas to Consider for True Success



“Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
-Jamison Wooden

Success means different things to different people but there are areas to consider in order to achieve true personal success. If one, of the following 6, areas is not part of the equation then it may be hindering your success potential.
  • Financial: Obviously, there’s a financial part of true success. Anybody that wants to be successful has to master his finances. Being debt free is the first step.
  • Health/Fitness: If you focus on all other areas but forget your health, you won't be able to enjoy the life that you've built. If you have health problems, it will be more difficult for you to focus on anything else.
  • Relationship:Robert Putnam once said “Happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of one’s social connections.” If you gain all the success in the world but lost all of your relationship connections in the process then it will feel empty.
  • Spiritual: I've touched this already here. Spirituality is finding your moral compass either by following a religion or by other means. It’s to have a general understanding of the universe and your place in it - to be at peace with it.
  • Freedom: This is may be outside of your control. To be successful in anything, you must be in an environment that allows it. Success is easier achieved in a free Country than it would be in a Country that isn't free.
  • Education: Success in life is a matter of education. It is easier to be successful in a Country that has a good education system than to be successful in one that doesn't allow it.


Do you have another area that you feel should be added here? Share in comments!

Revised on November 9, 2018.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Adaptability: Plan Vs Unplanned Changes



I’ve recently came across an article of a CEO looking for employees that were “adaptable.” I always worry when someone ask me the question “Are you adaptable” in an interview. To me, there are 2 ways of seeing this question. You either need to adapt because there are plans to expand/grow or you need to adapt because the company is a mess and doesn’t know where it’s going.

I’ve been in the consulting/service field for almost 10 years now. Adaptability is the name of the game. You never know what project you’ll be on, what type of people you’ll end up working with, what systems you’ll be using … for the most part, everything is changing. That unpredictability is expected for the type of field it is.

In the case of a product companies, however, unplanned changes doesn’t have its place. Of course employees will still adapt to whatever mess is thrown at them but in the end it is not for the greater good of either parties.
The company needs to know where it is at and where it plans to be in 1,2,3...years to allow the employees to provide adequate suggestions on how to get there based on their individual expertise.

If you’re a product company, a clear plan is what you need if you expect your employees to adapt to the changes. You have to share the big picture.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Get "FIT" Quick Schemes



We’ve all heard of get rich quick schemes but did you know that we can also find get fit quick schemes as well? While they are not illegal, they are nonetheless scams for the sole purpose of a quick buck. The problem with those programs is that they sell the exercise first. They forget, or simply omit, to talk about the core issue; the diet.

This will come out as harsh. To me, every fitness plan that doesn’t discuss the importance of dieting is a scam. Being fit is 80% what you eat and 20% what you do as far as exercising goes. Of course you will see some result from doing P90x, Zumba, PiYo or whatever other fad routine because it burns calories on whatever diet you’re currently on.
If you don’t eat right, don’t expect to see much result anytime soon - at least not as fast as if you’re complimenting your exercise with a good diet.

By “a diet that complements your exercise” i mean to have food that support your weight goals. If you want to lose weight, then you want lower carbs. If you want to gain muscle mass, then you need protein. If you want to bulk, then you need your proteins as as well as the calories that supports it.

It’s not that difficult to understand once you spend a few hours doing some research on this. Just don’t be fooled by those that tells you you’ll be ripped in 3 months just from working out - it simply isn’t true IF you don’t have the diet to support it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Financial Discipline Gives You Choices



“If you don’t learn to spend less than you earn, it won’t make any difference if you earn twenty thousand dollars, fifty thousand dollars, or one hundred thousand dollars per year. Your spending would simply rise as your income rose.” -Dwight Nichols

The “get now pay later mentality” gives you an illusion of choice. Sure, you get the item as advertised but you sacrificed future time for it and in the end it isn’t worth it. What if that future time is needed to combat an illness or help a friend in need? Time is limited - what will you do then?

I recently decided to change city. I woke up and felt like I was in a rut and I missed my family. On my way to work that day, I decided that I would quit my job and move to be closer to the family.
Now here’s the thing, because I was financially stable, I didn’t care whether or not I had a job at the new city. I didn’t think about it because I knew that even if I didn’t have anything I could still go on. It wasn’t the end of me and I would lose nothing from doing so.

People that are heavily in debt do not have that choice. If they decide to move to a new city, they have to think about what they will be doing once there. If they do not find work, they can’t go. One has to wonder - was that “get now pay later” couch worth it?

Learn to say no to yourself. If you have to finance it, you shouldn’t be having it. “I need a car though” - sure you do, but does it have to be the latest model? Live within your means.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

An Eye for An Eye



“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Pride oh good ol’ pride. I have pride, you have pride - everyone has pride hence why the first thing that comes to our mind, even for a fraction of a second, when we’re hurt, is revenge.
The good feeling we receive, from exercising our revenge, is usually short lived. We tell ourselves that we should of been the better person and let it go.

What is revenge but a futile pursuit to get even with someone? Why does revenge sounds like the proper course of action when it truly isn’t? What usually happens, when we get back at someone, is a feeling of emptiness. When will we learn that the strongest man isn’t the one that seeks revenge but the one that can forgive?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Addiction Deception



According to the psychologytoday.com website, an addiction is “Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.”

The problem with addictions is that we don't realize the negative impact it has in our lives since we feel good when ever we succumb to it. In the west, we have a level of comfort such that it's easy for us to develop all sorts of addictions. At the click of a button, we can access tv shows, play video games or watch material geared towards adults. We have easy access to liquor, fast food and all sorts of other items that can consume our lives.

None of these are problems if we limit our exposure to them but it becomes a problem when it starts to consume our thoughts during the day.
It is a problem when we skip social interactions in favor of them.
It is a problem when we turn to these things the first chance we get.
It is a problem when we have fight we people close to us because of it.
Maybe the biggest problem is with the illusion that we have control over our addictions. We tell ourselves “I can quit anytime”. Deep down we know this to be a lie.

Don't be deceived by addictions. Identify them and fight them off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Believe in Anything



I was once told that the problem with those that don't believe in God is not that they don't believe in anything it's that they believe in everything.

I don't believe this statement to be true. There are plenty of God believers that have just as far fetched beliefs as the non believers. Haven't you heard of these parents who decided to pray to heal their child instead of seeking medical care? Or how about those believers paying 10 000$ to attend a church service by a known scam artist?

Don't be silly. Being stupid is not a matter of if you're religious or not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Shopping and Unhappiness



One of the ways to get debt free is by being discipline with money which is more difficult if you’re going through some tough times as we tend to associate things with happiness.
Going through a break-up? On a stressful project? Maybe this new toy would help with the unhappiness or stressful feeling I have.

While the new toy may alleviate the feeling it is short-lived and we’re often left with buyers remorse.

If you know you are the type of person that use shopping as a way to deal with negative life’s situation then stand clear of your wallet during down times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Age is Just a Number?



We've all heard the phrase “age is just a number” which usually is geared towards a relationship with a big age gap or when a older person does something a younger person would be more likely to do.

Age is just a number as long as you take care of your body. If you don't eat properly, don't exercise, consume drugs or alcohol you will not only look older but your body will make you feel older through the potential issues that may arise from such life choices.

Your body is your temple - take care of it as such.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Free eBooks on Gutenberg!



If you have a tablet, or downloaded a book app, then you probably came across those 70+ year old royalty free books that you could download at no cost. Most of these apps, however, do not come close to the amount of free book available at Gutenberg.org

Looking for Beowulf? Shakespeare? Newton? You'll find all these at Gutenberg and more. New books are added every year!*

Check it out here.

*Copyrighted material becomes public domain 70 years, or so, after the author’s death. All books available on Gutenberg are considered public domain hence why they are free. For more information on copyright laws click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

DNA and Destiny



It has been said that it is possible to predict some forms of diseases by looking at our DNA. If this is the case, then can we say that it is possible to predict our future just by looking at our DNA?

According to the Helix company, which specializes in improving people's lives through DNA, this is a yes/no type of question. As far as the body is concerned, it is possible to predict some form of diseases, or the eye color your baby might have, but it's not possible (at least so far) to predict what someone would do as a career or if he'll own 3 cats once he's 37 years old.

One does have to wonder, however, what other secrets can be found in our DNA?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

One of The Best Commercial of All Time?



In a world where everything is accessible to everyone from a click of a button, it is becoming increasingly difficult for marketeers to come up with ways to keep the attention of the viewer long enough to spread their message.
For an ad to be effective, it needs to have an element of surprise followed by something that will make the viewer happy and then, somehow, associate that happiness with the brand.

One of the best ad I've seen that does this is the Pedigree Dentastix commercial. It shocks the viewer, it makes them happy and it associates the brand with that happiness.

Marketing is happiness. What commercial made you happy?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Can Going to The Gym Fight Depression?



Can the Gym help fight off depression? Is lifting weights & doing cardio all it takes to keep depression at bay?

"It is common to hear people say, “I just want to be happy.” And who does not? It’s certainly much better to be happy than sad. Good times are better to experience than bad. But pursuing happy is a little off the mark. It is like trying to grab smoke. Whenever we make happiness our goal, we set ourselves for a futile chase. First, we do something that we think will make us happy. Then, once that pleasure is through, we move on to the next. Usually, the pleasures have to escalate to continue to satisfy, and we find ourselves in an endless climb. From pleasure to pleasure we go, never really finding happiness."
-Chris Brady

Shaolin Monks believe that the mastery of the mind comes from the mastery of the body through physical exercises, or working through pains, as well as resisting temptations.

I certainly have experienced mood benefits from working out but I do not believe that this is all it takes to "cure" depression. (By the way, if you are depressed, seek professional advice.) In order to fight my daemons, I need a good diet/exercise to be healthy, good relationships to share life with, spirituality/religion/meditation in order to find inner peace and financial security (for obvious reasons).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Should the Government Fund Artists?



I recently came across and article that said the government would increase funds for emerging artists. Have we stopped to ask if artists should be government funded in the first place?

The reality is that we are swimming in art. Everywhere we look, there's a car, a billboard or an item that was designed by an artist. This stiff competition is what makes it difficult for new, emerging, artists to make a name for themselves.

The free market work as follow: Provide value and you shall get paid. If an artist is not able to live off of his work, then he is not able to produce anything that others find valuable. Why should they receive any compensation? Are there any other field of work where someone gets government compensation for not providing value?
Compensation, with no value provided, sounds like employment insurance to me.

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life."
-Captain Jean Luc Picard

Everyone is an artist to some extend. This post is not meant to discourage but to challenge the artist. Do what ever it takes to make it even if you have to work some menial job in the process. Eventually, maybe, people will understand your art and see the value in it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Scams



Every field has its fair share of good and bad information. Anyone, looking to make a buck, will say anything and make it sound like it’s good advice when experts knows it doesn’t hold any ground.
This post is to stress the importance to do your research as to minimize the risks of getting scammed. Get in contact with experts in those fields and ask questions.

Know what you are buying into.

Religion Scam
Spirituality is an important part of the human experience but it doesn’t necessarily need religion to develop to an acceptable level of inner peace.

Is there a God? Nobody knows but we can say that there are thousands of different religion out there so who’s right? It doesn’t matter. Religion is a philosophy that attempts to teach good values to live by. It’s to bring order, a system, or control to this chaotic world. It is not something we should be following blindly since the texts don’t always reflect the times we live in: think sexuality or the “animal sacrifices” requirements of some of those religions.

Some makes more sense than others, some are scams for the purpose of making money.

Interestingly, religion comes at a cost. We have made it a business.

Beware of the Religion scam.

Psychic Scam
Have you ever heard of a psychic that won the lottery? No? That’s because there are no such things as people with psychic abilities. Then why do some people believe they have psychic abilities and, more importantly, want other people to believe they do?

Doing a quick research online will give you the answer. I found a site with a number that i could call to talk directly to a psychic. It would cost me $19.99 for a 5 minute conversation with one. Peter Popoff, a “Faith Healer”, charged 1000$ to people that attend his “service”. The man has an estimated wealth of 25 million.

Do I need to elaborate more on this? Psychic is a scam for the purpose of making money and, similar to religion, the government seem to turn a blind eye to anything related to it (since it’s advertised as being for “Entertainment Purpose”).

If you’re curious, James Randi did a pretty amazing job in the last 30+ years debunking all those supposed special abilities and more.

Beware of the Psychic scam.

Self-Help Scam
Self-help is a relatively new field that some believe has been popularized by Napoleon Hill with his famous “Think and Grow Rich” book. These types of materials can help give a different perspective on things but many are empty in their content. They are often written by businessmen and include “steps” that one can follow to achieve their goals but how is it that no 2 books are the same? Why are there some with a 10 steps approach to goals while the other only has 5? Shouldn’t there be one set of rules that one could follow?

Those books are based on the author’s experience and, while the steps worked for them, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you or that they hold any ground.

If you are looking to make improvements in your life then you first need to understand who you are. That’s more easily achievable by studying philosophical or psychological works vs some unknown businessman that made a book about his experience.

Again, there’s a lot of money to be made in Self-Help field. And again, there’s not much of a check whether or not the information found holds any ground.

Beware of the Self-Help scam.

Magic Jewelry
Have you ever heard of the new bracelet/necklace/rocks that balances your “energy”? Gives you better posture? Or w/e else crazy claim they make…

There are no scientific evidence to backup any of those claims. What makes the rock at the store any more magical than the one you can find in your backyard? How can a stainless steel bracelet help with your posture?

It can’t - it’s as simple as that.

Beware of the Magic Jewelry scam.

Supplements Scam
Look, we all want to live long and healthy lives and many companies makes all sorts of claims about the benefits of their supplements. It’s to the point that we no longer feel safe from just eating food - we also need to add the supplements “just in case” we’re missing some vitamins.

There are no clear evidence that supplements help our bodies in any way. Most of the research that says they do are secretly sponsored by those supplement companies. The vitamin industry is obviously huge. More often than not consumers are paying top dollars for a label. If you are already eating moderately well, you do not need to supplement your diet.

Beware of the Supplement scam.

Fitness Devices Scam
I’ve been going to the gym consistently for the past 10 years and I’ve seen all sorts of contraptions that claimed to make someone fit. Let’s face the facts here, the diet is what is important when you want to be fit. If you buy these devices, and still have a poor diet, you will not see much results.

Being fit is about the diet more so than the type of devices that you use.

Beware of the Fitness Devices scam.

Fitness Plan Scam
Want abs? Then do these exercises and see them in a month!

Again, it doesn’t matter what you do at the gym as much as what you eat. If you follow the exercice plan and still eat burgers every day you will not see any results. Keep in mind that some of those fitness plan promoters are using steroids or other unhealthy alternatives to get to the body they are advertising.

You also want to do some research on something called “muscle memory” which is your body remembering the exercices that you do making them less effective. So it’s good to shake things up and adapt your fitness plan as you progresses.

Beware of the Fitness Plan scam.

Diet Scam
A follow up to the previous point, it is not uncommon to see miracle diets in magazines our books. Follow it and you will lose the fat! The problem with most of those diets is that they starve you. Your metabolism slows down when it doesn’t have a steady stream of good, healthy, food. When your metabolism slows, the fat is more difficult to get rid of. The diet may of worked for them but it may not be what you need.

Also note that food affects your mood. If eating that one type of vegetable, to follow that new fad diet, puts you in a negative mood - it may be that your body is telling you that it needs something else. It’s important to have a balance diet.

Beware of the Diet scam.

University/College Scam
It is not uncommon for an University to claim that 100% of their graduates have found work in their respective fields. After my graduation, I was interviewed to found out if I was, in fact, working in the field of computer science. I had told them that I was not since I was only working in a call center at the time and that it required no certifications to do so. They still put me down as a “success” because call centers had computers.
This is when I realized that Universities/Colleges were stretching out the truth in order to generate more sales via boggust statistics. The Universities/Colleges are conducting those “market research” themselves and have total control of the data. I also found, during my University/College days, that some of my courses were taught by people who had no clue what they were talking about.

Education IS important but we can’t just blindly trust an institution that has “University/College” in their names. I mean, have you heard of the Trump University before?

It also doesn’t make much sense to pay thousand of dollars for a course that can now be found online for a fraction of the price.

Beware of the University/College scam.

Extended Warranty Scam
Ah yes, the famous extended warranties. Every companies has them nowadays and you will be asked for it whenever you buy electronics. This is an attempt to get a few extra bucks out of you.
If your product doesn’t break within the first few days, it is very unlikely that it will before the extended warranty ends.

Beware of the Extend Warranty scam.

Conclusion
I hope by now that I was able to inform you of some of the scams going on in the world today. There are, obviously, many more. What scams have you came across?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Books I Have Read More Than Once



A good book is not something you simply read once. I have read a lot of books over the years (and bought a great deal more) and some managed to sneak onto my read list more than once.
Obviously, the reason for this is because I've enjoyed them quite a bit the first time through and felt that the information was valuable enough to warrant a second read through. Interestingly each read felt like it was the first time I ever picked the book.

Books I have read more than once:
  • "Resolved 13 Resolutions for LIFE" by Orrin Woodward
  • "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carengie
  • "The 5000 year leap" by W. Cleon Skousen
  • "1913" by Oliver DeMille
  • "Financial Fitness" by Life Leadership

Do you have books that you've read more than once?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The "Raising the Credit Score" Goal



A credit score is a number the bank puts next to your name to determine the level of risk involved when lending you money. The better the score, the greater your chances of getting bigger loans.

Knowing this, I’m baffled when I hear people say “I got this loan because it’ll help with my credit score”. Really? You surrendered future time (this is what a debt is) for the sole purpose to raise a number that will allow you to, potentially, surrender more of your time to the bank?

"Money in the bank gives you a very safe foundation of courage when bargaining for the sale of your services. Without money, you must take what you are offered, and be glad to get it."
-Napoleon Hill

Nobody should have “raising the credit score” as a goal. How about having a goal that would allow you to be in a financial position for you not to require a loan for everything?
Time is more valuable than money. Exercise caution for everything that requires you to surrender future time for something now. You can always make more money but you can’t make more time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Need More Confidence?



The majority of books I read on the subject of confidence doesn't address the root cause of the issue. The band-aid, "fake it until you make it", approach is not a viable long term solution.

When I speak to somebody that lacks confidence, I always feel like he's hiding something but I also know that he may just be trying to be what he thinks I want him to be. It's uncomfortable for him and it makes the interaction uncomfortable for me.

Lack of confidence comes from attempting to fit into a mold created by someone else. Are you passionate about what you do? Do you give it your all to a worthwhile goal?
Have you ever seen someone that works hard towards his goal lacking confidence? If you are true to yourself, you will be confident.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Delete Your Google Activity/History

Facebook was scrutinized recently for the type of data it kept from every individual using their services. Did you know that Google keeps even more data than Facebook?
Google kept some of my history from 10 years back. Does Google really need to keep that information for that long?

If you wish to delete your Google Activity/History, you can do so by doing the following:
  1. Go to https://myactivity.google.com
  2. Log in with your Gmail account.
  3. Select the "Delete activity by" option from the left.
  4. Select "All time" in the "Delete by date" Dropdown.
  5. Click on the "DELETE" link/button.
According to Google, this will erase all activity of your gmail account. Does it keep other information on your activity outside of this? Probably - only Google knows.
Everyone should know about this. Spread the word!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An Unofficial Look at Today's Ads


Sometimes, the best way to determine how good we, as a society, are doing financially is to look at the advertisements the big corporations is trying to sell to us. After all, their goal is to appeal to the majority. Is it just me or is the "evolution" as follow?
  • In the distant past - "Want this TV? It's the best money can buy!"
  • Not too long ago - "Want this TV? Buy it now and pay later!"
  • More recently - "Want this TV? Bad Credit? No Problem!"

Granted, it's not exactly how things are advertised to us but you have to admit that we do hear about "Bad Credit? No Problem!" more often than we used to say 5 years ago. It almost feels like we have bought too many items on credit and now it is time for us to pay. Since we can't afford all the payments... well here we are with the bad credit.

If you're looking to improve your finances, the Finance section of this site may have some tidbits of information to help you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I've been HACKED!

Folks, one of my many accounts was hacked. Thankfully, I manage to get it back but many aren't so lucky. I still have no idea what that hacker took from me if anything...
It's my fault. While my password wasn't listed on the most used passwords list it was still a fairly simple one. It followed none of the strong password guidelines as defined by IT security experts.

Nobody is 100% safe from an hacker that knows what he's doing but there are steps that we can take to make it more difficult.

Common Guidelines*
  • Use a minimum password length of 8 or more characters if permitted.
  • Include lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters, numbers and symbols if permitted.
  • Generate passwords randomly where feasible.
  • Avoid using the same password twice (e.g., across multiple user accounts and/or software systems).
  • Avoid character repetition, keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors' names or dates).
  • Avoid using information that is or might become publicly associated with the user or the account.
  • Avoid using information that the user's colleagues and/or acquaintances might know to be associated with the user.
  • Do not use passwords which consist wholly of any simple combination of the aforementioned weak components.

I have learned from my mistake and I'm hopeful you have too. Update your password with stronger ones:TODAY!

*Guidelines can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tips on How to Overcome Writer's Block



Writing is one of the most fun activities you can do. There are times, however, when we get mental blocks. No matter how much we try, no meaningful ideas seems to come out. The below are some suggestions that may help you get out of those "dark times". They have all proven useful to me to some degree.

  • When you're inspired, write until all the ideas are out of your head. You may have a couple of blogs worth of materials after each of those inspirational sessions.
  • Expose your min to new ideas. Watch a documentary. Read a new book. Attend a class.
  • Force it. Write anything until the ideas comes.
  • Take a nap. It's possible that you've had a difficult day, get some energy back with a nap.
  • Use a pen/pencil with paper. The act of writing is often all I need to get started. It's a feeling that can't be replaced with a keyboard.
  • Schedule blog posts in advance. Not only will this remove some of the stress. It will also insure you have a steady stream of posts in the event you couldn't write for a while.
  • Exercise. A walk is sometime all I need to clear my head.
  • Have a balance, healthy, diet. Food is what gives energy to the body. If your physical health is bothering you, those are thoughts that could of gone towards a blog post.


Hope these tips helps to put you "in the zone". What do you do to overcome a writer's block?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Financial Slavery is a Choice

"Wars in old times were made to get slaves. The modern implement of imposing slavery is debt."
-Ezra Pound

In a free market, slavery is a choice. Some people are unknowingly, or encouraged, to surrender their freedoms in exchange for something now.

“It’s hard to build assets when you yourself are someone else’s asset.”
-Beyond Financial Fitness

Debt is the new shackle that binds people to their work. Lenders prey on the unfortunate, or the financially undisciplined, by promising low interests. By giving the item now and paying later. By “Financing dreams” (actual Bank ad). By telling them “you are richer than you think” (another Bank ad… I mean, how can a bank, who sees first hand how in debt people are, say something like this?)

"The Solution to money challenges and a wrong view of money begins by learning about money. There is probably no way to skip this step and still obtain the results you want. Learning about money and finances is essential."
-The 5s of Money

This system works because we allow it to. It’s so ingrained in our society that our entire economy is dependent on it. This has to stop. We have to retake control over our finances. We need a budget and be disciplined enough to follow through. The below books helped me on my journey and I have no doubt they will help you in yours.



This video, by Youtuber "Primed", does a good job at explaining the differences between the activities of the Rich vs Poor.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Don't You Want More?

“One of life’s biggest lessons is that it’s not success that creates happiness, but what one becomes on the journey by pursuing a worthwhile goal or dream.”
-Orrin Woodward

I've been living frugally for some time now. I'm debt free, I live in a small apartment, drive a small car and I don't have many bills.

I sometime have people ask me "Don't you want more?" The answer is "yes". I do want more but, for me, It's not about better and bigger things. What I want is more freedom. I want to buy back my time.

Time is money but money is also time. If I spend my money on bigger cars, that's less money that I have to buy back my time.

I do not want to work until the day I die no matter how much I love what I do: there are other interests that I would like to fully explore.

"... You would be very upset if someone gained access to your bank account and stole all your money. Most people, though, don't blink an eye when all sorts of culprits sneak into their lives and steal their time."
-Quote from "The Ten Natural Laws" book by Hyrum Smith

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"The 5s of Money" Book Review



"The 5s of Money" book, which is part of the LIFE Leadership Personal Finance series, is a scary read for all the good reasons. It paints the picture of the current financial situation and it's quite an ugly site. There's hope, however, as the book also gives tips on how to better your finances.

The following are the 5 "s" of money (with my thoughts):
  1. The Stats (This is bad. Real Bad...)
  2. The Struggle (Oh no. Really?)
  3. The Source (Phew. There's hope!)
  4. The Solution (Yes!)
  5. The Strategy (I can do this!)
  6. The Stress (not part of the book but maybe it should of been called "6" s?)

The Bad:
It is quite short at only 100 pages. It took me about 1 hour to read cover to cover. They could of easily expand it but the book is obviously meant as an introduction to the fantastic Financial Fitness course.

The Good:
The book does a good job at painting the grim picture of today's financial crisis and why it's important for you get your finances together before it's to late. It's an easy read with tips to get you started on the path of debt freedom.

Conclusion:
Do you want to better your finances today? Were you thinking on taking the Financial Fitness course but don't want to shell out the $150 (or so) for it? Get this book. It's the perfect introduction to debt freedom.

The book can be bought here:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Nobody Cares About Your Dreams



“One of life’s biggest lessons is that it’s not success that creates happiness, but what one becomes on the journey by pursuing a worthwhile goal or dream.”
-Orrin Woodward

I sometime hear people say "yolo" (you only live once) just before doing something stupid. We should use yolo as a reason to do something great - not as an excuse to do something stupid.

Nobody cares about your goals and dreams as much as you do and you only have this lifetime to achieve them.

I used to work with a guy who kept saying that he's going to have his own business by the time he reaches 30 years of age. Guess what? Life got in his way. He's now 34, happily married with kids but he forgot all about his dream. Yes, maybe his dream changed but what likely happened is that he became content and had no reason to work on his dream.

"Deep down inside, we don't seek the meaning of life, but the experience of being alive."
-Joseph Campbell

There's nothing more exciting than to work towards your dreams. If you feel stagnant in life, or simply going through the motions, then chances are you are not working towards a dream.

"The individual, it is said, should be free to pursue his own interests as long as he keeps the peace and does not interfere with the rights of others. He should be free to make as much money as he can and to spend it as he sees fit. There is a need for men who are industrious, resourceful, thrifty, and self-reliant, and who have initiative and a spirit of adventure."
-Harold H. Titus / Marilyn S. Smith

What we need today is more people that comes alive as a result of the pursuit of a dream.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-Howard Thurman

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The BodyBuilding Industry is a SHAM

Bodybuilding is one of the best sports in the world but it should surprise no one that the industry is filled with Steroids, HGH or other substances for the purpose of making muscles bigger. Yes, the likes of Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Phil Heat... are sights to behold but at what cost? Is this the kind of image we want to project to the world? That it is okay to take unhealthy substances for the purpose of looking good?

I understand why the pros are doing it. Obviously, there's a lot of money involved here but Bodybuilding is the only sport where it is acceptable to take Steroids and those other substances. It's illegal in every other sport!
There are some bodybuilding competitions out there that does drug tests. They advertise themselves as being "all natural" - why not have this kind of philosophy across the board?

Most of those big bodybuilders don't live past 50. Rich Piana passed away last year at the age of 46. Those that do live passed 50 develop all sorts of health problems. The below video shows retired bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman getting back at the gym after a back surgery (one of several) he received earlier this year.



I say no. The purpose of bodybuilding should be to look the best that we can from a healthy, natural, perspective. The body has its limits, to use drugs to push them further defeats the purpose. Of course we can push our limits with drugs but why not see where we can go without them?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Yes! You Should have Invested in Weed Companies

It's no secret that Cannabis is going to be the next big industry in Canada since it's going to be legalized later this year. The reason why you're here is because you're wondering whether or not you should have invested (or should invest) in a Cannabis company. The short answer is YES!
However, even though it is the next big industry, it doesn't guarantee that you'll be making money from that investment.

I sometime hear people say that if they could go back in time they would invest in Microsoft, Facebook, Apple... It's easy for us to say these things today because of how successful all those companies are. The truth is, when they first started, nobody could predict how big those companies would become and many failed.

The same is true today with, the soon to be legalized industry of, Cannabis. There are many companies looking to hit the market hard but only a handful will succeed - and only one will be at the top. That is the risk that you need to mitigate.

Things for you to keep in mind:
  • Rule 1 of Investing: Never invest money that you need to live. This is not the time for you to refinance your house or buy stocks with money you should be paying your bills with.
  • It may be too late for you. Stocks will go higher in price the closer to the legalization date. The best time to invest was when the Prime Minister originally announce the plan to legalize it. You are loosing potential profit for each additional day you are waiting.
  • Seek professional advice.
  • Don't go in thinking you can beat the market.
  • Do you research on each Cannabis companies and pick the one that make the most sense to you. Some things you may want to include in your research are:
    • Look at who's leading the company. Has he lead any other companies successfully? Does he know the industry?
    • Look at their plans for the next 5 years. Do they have any partners?
    • Look at the type product they're making and their marketing plan.
    • Look at the amount of money they currently have invested in the company.
    • Look at the amount of money they have saved up.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Great Minds Shaped Us



Society has progressed considerably ever since mankind's ability to save their thoughts on paper but there are people from history that stands out for pushing the boundaries unexpectedly further than it logically perhaps should.

Where would we be without the philosophical foundation left by Socrates, or Newton's formula for the rotation of planets around our sun, or the theory of relativity left behind by Einstein?

Isaac Newton's equations, for example, helped put man on the moon in 1969 - almost 250 years after he passed away. Without him, maybe man would still be looking at the moon without knowing that it is possible to go there.
Looking back, we can easily see that Newton's equation was found before its time. That his influence pushed humanity forward significantly and that it took 250 years, of accumulated knowledge, to use his equations to the fullest of its potential.

One has to wonder how can we produce more of those great minds. I think we can all agree that the education available today, while not perfect, is better than at the time of Isaac Newton. Therefor, education alone isn't solely responsible for the creation of great minds. What is? Is it possible to create a systematic way of harvesting great minds: With each generation significantly pushing our understandings vs only challenging what's already in place?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Age Doesn't Always Equal Wisdom



"Wisdom is the one thing that makes growing old worth it."
-Jiraiya

Age doesn't always equal wisdom. If you do not actively work on yourself, every day, most of your thinking will be the same in 5 years as it is today - only then you will have grayer hair.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
-Benjamin Franklin

In today's information age, it is not okay to fall behind with your education. Have a plan that is in alignment with your life's mission and make the next 5 years count. Education should only end the day that you do; it's a life long assignment.

"In youth we learn; in age we understand."
-Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

Monday, April 16, 2018

What is Discipline?



Discipline is an accumulation of small actions.
Discipline is to follow-through on the promises you've made to yourself.
Discipline is waking up when your alarm goes off.
Discipline is saying no to the good in order to achieve the great.

Discipline requires attention.
Discipline requires time.
Discipline requires effort.
Discipline requires sacrifice.

Success requires discipline. Make Discipline an habit.


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