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.

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.

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