Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The things I've Learned About Blogging in 2019

Back in 2018, when I had 40k views, I set myself a goal to have an additional 10k views (total of 50K) for the year of 2019 and I'm happy to report that as of 2 months ago that goal was reached. Granted, it was a pretty conservative goal but it's the best that I could do given that I'm not currently able to blog full time - I sill manage to learn a few things in the process.

The things I've learned about blogging in the year 2019:
  • Be Consistent - is updated every Wednesday without fault and I found that it's been a key factor in keeping steady pageviews weeks after weeks.
  • Be Your Best Promoter - What I consider the best blogs of 2019 have been promoted to my friends via Facebook or at any opportunity that I had. This generated interests in my immediate circle of friends and, at times, I was even able to reach friends of friends.
  • Read/Exercise/Get out of the comfort zone - In order to find things to write about you need to bring oxygen to your brain (exercise), work your mind (read) and work on your creativity (get out of the comfort zone). All of these things have helped me find inspiration.
  • Goal/Track - Set measurable goals and keep track of them. If it looks like you're not going to reach your goal, adjust what you do so that you will.
While I achieved my goal of 10K views for 2019, I feel like I was too conservative. I wasn't enough of a stretched to make it happen so for 2020 I have a goal of 20K views (for a total of 70k). What will this journey teach me? Stick around to find out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Why I'm Proactive

"People place confidence in the fellow who acts. They naturally assume he knows what he is doing." -David J. Schwartz

Being proactive, for those of you who doesn't know what it means, is basically being able to add value to the company/project without being told to do so - it's about you figuring out the next steps instead of your superiors having to do it for you.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been proactive to some extend but I wasn't always adding as much value as I could due to lack of experience. Most performance reviews I've had at work as referred "proactivity" as being my biggest strength but what most people don't know is that I'm only proactive because I hate being told what to do.

You read that right - I'm proactive because I don't like being told what to do. To me, having a superior sit down with me and go over my next task is a bigger pain than just having me do that sort of work. First of all, in most cases, I have a clearer picture of what needs to be done than my superiors do and I consider it a waste of time to try to explain to them that how they want me to work doesn't really make sense in the context that we're in... So I just do it.

Here's another "secret" of mine: While I have an idea of what the big picture is I don't necessarily know all the steps/task to get there before I start. This is the crazy part to me because when I look at a proactive person, from the outside, I feel like they have a clear picture of every steps in order to get the task done but it's rarely the case (at least to me). Most things are figured out on my way to task completion.

How to be proactive?
On my proactive journey, I've identified 4 things that help me be proactive. Those are:
  1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes - One of the reasons why most people aren't proactive is because they're afraid of making mistakes. By having a superior figure out the task, it becomes easier to put the blame on them when the results aren't as expected. Proactive people tend to have to take the responsibility of failures because they're the ones that came up with the steps.
  2. Understand the bigger picture - In order to developed effective steps towards a task completion, you need to understand the bigger picture. What needs to be done and what is your role in it? This obviously becomes clearer the longer you are on a project.
  3. Hate being told what to do - I mentioned this before but when someone tells me what to do, they are also indirectly telling me "I don't trust you with this so do it my way". Since I don't want to be told what to do my mind automatically focuses on the next steps.
  4. Have a creative mind - Having a creative mind does help with being proactive since you need to be creative to come up with tasks that may not of been done before. Reading, writing, drawing and other creative endeavors can be help develop a creative mind and ultimately help with proactivity.
Are you proactive? What makes you proactive? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Time Tells Us What We're Not

A few months ago, I wrote a blog following a pretty powerful quote that I came across. The quote is:

“We spend most of our twenties discovering all of the hundreds of things we can be. But as we mature into our thirties, we begin to discover all of the things we will never be. The challenge for us as we reach our forties and beyond is to put it all together-to know our capabilities and recognize our limitations-and become the best we can be.”
-Catherin B. Ahles

Today I want to expand on that quote some more.

When we're faced with too many decisions to make we can become paralyzed and unable to decide. Knowing this, perhaps one of the reasons why kids don't know who they are is because the possibilities available to them are endless.

As we get older we figure out who we are by what we no longer can "be".

At 30, for example, I can't be a NHL player no matter how hard I try. When someone asks me "who are you?" I can answer, with certainty, that I'm not an hockey player.
The kid doesn't know if he's going to be a hockey player yet though. That option, among many others, is still available to him - so how can he decide, with certainty, "what he'll be when he grows up?". Most kids don't know who they are, let alone who they'll become, and that's okay because they'll figure it out as they get older and understands more about the world they live in and its limitations.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Beyond Self-Help

I've been consuming self-help type of materials for the better part of 10 years. In the last few years there's been a shift in my thinking that made me want more "meat" out of my self-improvement diet. The nicely packaged quotes and processes were no longer enough to sustain me.
While I haven't turned my back on the self-help genre, I have now included more of the below subjects in order to define my own path rather than follow someone else's. The subjects are:

  • Philosophy - The study of fundamental truths, which includes religion/spirituality, is Self-Improvement in it's "raw" form. It's undigested information and that may be difficult to read for those just starting out on their Self-Improvement journey.
    "Living issues in Philosophy" book by author Harold Titus and Marilyn Smith is a great place to start as it will introduce you to many great thinkers and ideas.
  • Psychology - One of the most important thing about success is the understanding of self. Once you understand yourself, you have a better understanding of others which will prove to be a great asset to you on your success journey.
    "Personality PLUS" book by Flaurence Littauer is a great place to start as learning about personalities will help you better understand yourself as well as others.
  • History - History can provide perspective and inspiration. It's even better if it is combined with Philosophy and Psychology as it help understand the reasoning behind the action of the great men and women of the past.
    Here, you may want to start looking for information about the person of history that you're most interested in. For me, it started with an "Alexander the Great" biography closely followed by "Ghost on the Throne - The death of Alexander the Great and the bloody fight for the empire his empire" book by James Romm.

While there are no particular order for which subject you should start with I would recommend that you save History for after you've developed an understanding of Philosophy and Psychology as you'll get the most out of your history reading that way. The goal here is simply to find your path towards success and the above subjects, mixed with your own experience, are sure to help.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Emotionally Distant

In a relationship, the physical location of your partner doesn't matter as much as how close you are, from an emotional perspective, with that person. Being emotionally distant is worse than being physically distant. The emotional distance can be such that those involve may start living separate lives even while living under the same roof.

It has been said that time heals all wounds but feeling emotionally distant is like the wound getting re-opened and made worse over time. If no action is done by either party to close that gap then time will make things worse - not better. It's a vicious cycle that's difficult to break.

If you are in an emotionally distant relationship remember this:

"The grass is greener where you fertilize it." -Lana Hamilton

This isn't the time for you to be thinking about getting off the ship. If you don't know how to close that gap it will happen again in your future relationships. Now is the time for you to be looking for help - the following are suggested avenues to consider:
  • Couple Counseling - Couple counseling may help you identify the problem as well as develop a plan tailored for you and your partner to work on. This, obviously, requires your partner to be "on board" with the idea as well.
  • Books - For some, counseling is out of the question but another good way to get ideas on how to fix problems in our lives is via books. "The 5 love languages" and "Love & Respects" are good books to help give idea on how to heal relationships.
  • Far away Vacation - Being in an entirely new environment will force you to communicate to your partner in order to get around places. The forced teamwork may, in some cases, help renew the love. It is also possible to participate in "couple's retreat" type of vacation that are specifically tailored to help couples.
  • Share with A Friend - Share your problems with a friend that you know will help you fix the current relationship and not entice you to end it. What is good to have is a different perspective of the issue and some friends are good at giving you those while others will just tell you to "call it quits". While it's true that there are plenty of fish in the sea it's not necessarily the time for you to start fishing again.

Remember that changing partners will only fix the problem momentarily. It's important to identify, and attempt to resolve the issue, in your current relationship so that it doesn't happen again in the future. If you're able to figure it out you'll feel closer to your partner like never before. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Society in 3 Phases

Biologically, there are 4 phases we go through each with their own unique set of changes. You start off as a baby, then you become a kid, teen and finally you're an adult.
From a society's perspective, most of us goes through 3 phases throughout our lifespan. The name of each phases are descriptive enough that we can all kind of understand what they entails. The phases are:

  • The learning Phase: Everything about this phase screams "learning". The child is born and he his taught by his parents, teachers, mentors and work associates. This is when we learn the most about living on this Earth and our place within society. It is my personal opinion that this phase should last a lifetime but the reality is that people often decide to stop learning after this phase is over. This phase usually ends at the age of 30 years old.
  • The Doing Phase: Now that we know who we are and how we'll contribute to society it's time for us to "do" what we've learned in the previous phase. At this point, we're well into a career and we likely own a house with a family. This is also the time for us to be thinking about our future phase as well as the future of our own children. This phase generally goes from the age of 30 to 60.
  • The Retiring Phase: This is the time for us to sit on the bench and let other players jump into the field of life and make a living of their own.

It's obviously not a cut and dry process. Some learn for longer through career changes while others skip the doing phase entirely... generally speaking, these are all the things that we're expected to do during our lifetime as a productive member of society. I think that by visualizing our lives in those 3 phases it helps us understand the bigger picture and plan accordingly.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Talent and Practice

Natural Talent or Practice? Which one is needed the most to succeed? The short answer is that we need a little bit of one and a lot of the other.

Natural talent is practically what you're stuck with as far as body/mind goes. It's what you were born with - it's all about your genetics. It plays a part especially in sports. If you were born with no legs, for example, then chances are that you won't make it in the NHL no matter how hard you tried.
Once you have the minimum required natural talent, then you need to practice. If you were 7 feet tall, for example, and couldn't dribble the ball then you wouldn't make it in the NBA.

I used to believe that everything in life could be achieved with hard work but now I understand that working hard can only go so far. In anything that you endeavor, you need a minimum of natural born strengths in order to reach the top of the field. If you're not a people's person then you'll likely won't make it in business unless you change that about yourself.
Unlike sports where height/weight/body parts matters, you could still succeed in business by learning the necessary skills but it won't be as easy for you as it would with someone that has the right skills from the start.

Figure out what you want to do with your life and then ask yourself if you have what it takes to achieve it. Do you need to be taller? Then you need to pass and move on to the next goal that you have.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Universe Has No Purpose

We once believed that the Earth was at the centre of the universe and everything else revolved around it.
Once our eyes were opened to the fact that the Earth is but a pebble around a star among so many other stars, some of us adapted their beliefs to say that the Universe was created to satisfy our curiosity and effectively put themselves at the centre of it all once again.

Do we seriously believe that the fate of humanity is somehow tied to the Universe? That the Universe was created for us and that once our time has come to pass that the Universe will also cease to exist?
Isn’t it more likely that the Universe just “is” and we just happen to have developed an awareness to it. Isn’t it more likely that the fate of humanity has no bearing on the Universe’s Health?

Just because we know a handful of things doesn’t mean that we’re at the centre of anything. We pride ourselves for being creatures with intellect and yet we’re blind to our own arrogance in regards to our place in this Universe.
The fact that we’ve developed mastery towards our immediate environment doesn’t necessarily mean that it was placed there for us to play with.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

GM Labor Strike and the Rise of the Machines

I recently came across an article about GM workers being on strike. As usual, money was at the forefront of the negotiations but something else came up that struck me the wrong way. Apparently, one of the reason for the strike was for the workers to keep their jobs following GM's longer term plan that would have most of the manual labor done by Engineers on computers.

What we have to understand here is that there are no strikes that can fight off progress. Manual labor, in factories and elsewhere, is going away to give place to machines.
If you are in such field now is not the time for you to put your head in the sand. You need to plan the next 5-10 years accordingly - adapt to the change because you won't be able to fight it off. Don't be afraid of those future "aggressors" that are sure to come. Think and plan ahead.

If GM doesn't do this their competitors surely will.

Why isn't this good news? We should be rejoicing at the news since this means that many, mindless jobs, will be taken over by machines while workers will be able to pursue something that is, perhaps, more fulfilling and meaningful. We don't see it that way because most are content in that position or are genuinely loving what they do.

I've been through a few layoffs myself and each time I was part of them it was ultimately for the betterment of the company. Here's the thing though; I'm not a machine and manage to learn some new skills and found myself a new, better, opportunity each time.

You can too!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Having Money Doesn't Make You Evil

As I'm writing these words, we're in the middle of an election here in Canada and some parties have chosen to include the "We're going to tax the rich more" in their platforms.

I'm tired of seeing this in every election because it sounds good on paper and nowhere else. I'm part of the middle class and I don't want to see the "rich" getting more than their fair share of taxes. Most of those "Rich" folks offer goods and services to the masses. If they end up paying more for taxes, they might also have to charge more for said goods and services and we'll end up paying for it down the line. They may, also, have to let go a few employees in an attempt to recoup that new tax money.

This is an obvious attempts by politician to rally the people but money is neutral and having money, or not having any, doesn't make you an enemy of the people. As far as I'm concerned, Canadians are all in the same boat. It's not about US vs Anyone ... it's about us together trying to build the best Country possible.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Here We Go Again - "We've Grown Apart"

"We've grown apart" is a sad excuse for a break-up considering that we all change as the days turn into months and the months turn into years. Nobody can say that they are the same today as they were 10 years ago. So why are we using the "We've grown apart" as the reason for a break-up? Are we expecting that we, or our spouse, will never change?

Of course you will feel that you've grown apart from your partner if you stopped noticing, and adapting, to the changes. Don't assume that what your partner likes, or dislikes, today is the same as yesterday.

"The grass is greener where you fertilize it." -Lana Hamilton

It's important to pay attention to the small things and to find things to like about our partner because we could just as easily find new things to hate about them.
Remember that changing partner doesn't necessarily means that the problems will go away ... it will just be different problems. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the road - it's greener where you fertilize it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

"Rules" of Art

While art is supposed to be fun for the artists, there are obviously going to be times when it isn't. Art is not as fun, for example, when you're approaching a deadline or when you are doing something outside of your comfort zone but you still love it anyway.

In school, we teach children that human creativity has boundaries. That the proper way to color is “within the lines” but art is a subject where we should keep rules to a minimum because the greatest discoveries were found outside of them.You create something and you let the world decide if they like it or not.

My favorite form of art is writing and I will be the first to admit that I'm not worried, at all, about the rules that pertain to it (and it probably annoys some of you).
What I care about the most, when I write, is how it makes me feel. To me, this is ultimately an enjoyable experience that would be a chore if it mean that I had to spend hours upon hours learning about the many intricacies of "proper writing."

Don't get me wrong; the more I write the more I want to be a better writer. Instead of having a teacher force the rules, however, I search for the rules myself. Having that "hungry" type of mindset makes the learning experience more enjoyable. The best way to learn is when there's a desire for it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Customer is King - Seek out Bad Reviews

"Customer is King" has always been true in business and even more so today. A customer's entourage is unknown to a business and in today'social media world, it's impossible to know the extend a customer can reach.
One bad user experience, turned into a Facebook post, can go viral and make your business loose thousands of dollars in the process. It's therefor important for any business to have processes in place to look for those bad experiences in an attempt to repair them. The below are a few suggestions of processes as well as where you should be looking for the negative feedback:
  • Don't Let A Customer Leave Angry - It is better to fix the issue immediately than trying to pick up the pieces later. Make sure that you've done everything you could before the customer leave the premise.
  • Feedback Section on Company Website - A customer may not share his bad experience on social media platform if he can reach out to your business directly.
  • Social Media Page - On social media, customers can share their experience either via a personal post or directly to a business page. Similar to the Feedback Section on a Company Website, have a social media page so you can better monitor user experience.
  • Yelp - Yelp is a review application. If you look for your business on there, chances are that you'll be able to see some reviews. Look out for the authors of negative reviews to help resolve the situation.
  • Third Parties - If you're selling a product to third parties, be sure to monitor their website for the reviews.
  • Google Map - If you have a business, then chances are that you placed yourself in Google Map so that people can find your location but did you know that it's also possible for customers to leave reviews on there?
  • Google Search - Search for your company online in an attempt to dig out bad reviews from other sources.
It's important that you know how your business is doing since your success depend on the customers. Seeking out the authors of bad reviews, in an attempt to fix the problems, may not resolve every issues but there are still benefits in having other customers seeing that you're actively trying to make things right.

Go above and beyond for your customers - you can't afford not to!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Thirties and Beyond

“We spend most of our twenties discovering all of the hundreds of things we can be. But as we mature into our thirties, we begin to discover all of the things we will never be. The challenge for us as we reach our forties and beyond is to put it all together-to know our capabilities and recognize our limitations-and become the best we can be.”
-Catherin B. Ahles

Being 3 years in my thirties, I'm becoming increasingly aware of my own limitations.
When you're young the world is yours to conquer: Everybody tells you to reach for the stars and that everything is possible (it is). After you reach a certain point in life, however, some doors are starting to close on you.
At 30 years old, for example, is not exactly the time for me to be training for the NHL. That train has left the station and I missed it (if it would of been a dream of mine).

We've often heard people saying that it takes 10 000 hours to master something. Since we only have a limited amount of "10 000 hours" in our lives, and our bodies decays over time, we have to plan according to these limitations.

"Gaining knowledge is what makes growing old worth it"
- Jiraiya Sensei

While I may not be as energetic, in my early thirties, as I was in my early twenties - I am definitely smarter. What ever goals I have for the rest of my life needs to take this into consideration. The same goes for your goals.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

My 3 Laid Offs

I was laid off 3 times in my short career in the IT field. While being laid off is a stressful event in itself, there were times where it was more stressful than others.

  • The first time I was laid off was in 2008. I was fresh out of College and barely made a mark in the software development field. The company I worked for had hired me to take on the SEO role of a new project but it soon went downhill. The company, which had no other opportunities for me at the time, had no choice but to let me go. Since I had done good work for them, however, they helped me find my second job in the iT field by giving me a heck of a reference.
  • The second time I was laid off was in 2010. The company I worked for closed its doors soon after it was bought out by an American company. Some were offered to relocate but I was against the move to the States.
  • The third time I was laid off was in 2015. It was 2 months after Christmas - which is usually a slower time for any IT companies. I was on the “bench” for a few weeks until they finally gave me the boot. After roughly a month, they called me back in once things picked up again.

Here’s the thing; out of the 3 times I got laid off, only 2 were very stressful to me. Why? Well the first time, I was fresh out of college and in debt. If I didn’t find work quickly it would mean that I had to move back to my parents and start over. The second time? I had just purchased a new car and was still struggling financially.
Finally, the third time was not stressful at all for a very simple reason - I was debt free by that point and had amassed enough money to go a while before needing another job again.

I know that money doesn’t bring happiness but neither does poverty. There’s nothing that gives you peace of mind as having money in the bank and there’s nothing as stressful as being in debt.

My experience with the many laid off has made more disciplined with my money. I will always make sure that I have something stashed somewhere for a rainy day. I encourage you to do the same.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Lost of Honor

Last week, I talked about meeting my uncle after a decade of absence due to some wrong doing he's done. The man has lost his honor literally in an instant.

Google defines honor as: "High respect; great esteem. Adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct."

Whether you care about honor or not it is there following us like a shadow. Every decision we make affects it ever so slightly and a wrong move can destroy everything.

"A hundred years cannot repair a moment's loss of honor."

When you loose your honor, there's not much you can do to get it back. Your entourage will not let you forget it and perhaps the only way to get away from it is to move to a new place in an attempt to start from scratch. Your life will still not be peaceful, however, since you may then be filled with anxiety over ever being found out again. It's almost as if you are stuck re-living that moment over and over - something you cannot escape from.

In Japanese culture, when a Samurai lost his honor he would do what is called a "Seppuku" or "harakiri" which is suicide by "abdomen/belly cutting". In doing so, they believe that they would regain some of that honor they had lost.
By understanding what it means to loose your honor one can somewhat understand the reasoning behind removing one's own life.

Now if you are in such situation, I'm not suggesting that you do a Seppuku but you should be spending the rest of your life attempting to fix what you have broken. Maybe, if you've done the right things and you're lucky, people will move on.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Learn From Other People

I recently saw an uncle of mine I hadn't seen in almost a decade. The main reason why we lost contact is because it was found that he had done unspeakable things to a member of the community. In an instant of weakness he practically lost everything he had spent his entire life to build.

Now, a decade later, I was again faced with the man I had once seen as a father figure. I didn't like what I saw... What I saw was a broken man; a man that desperately wanted forgiveness and for people to forget what he had done. Alas, I doubt he will ever see the day of peace he is so desperately seeking.

"It's good to learn from your mistakes. It's better to learn from other people's mistakes."
-Warren Buffet

One of the best things about studying other people is that you get to see the mistake they make from your point of view and get to learn from them. By observing my uncle, I've learned that it doesn't matter how good of a person you are or what you have accomplished ... a single bad decision can make it all come crashing down.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Bring Value

Why are people at the top of their careers make more money than those at the bottom? Because they add a lot more value.

I had an argument a little while ago with my father. He was telling me how stupid it was for professional athletes to be making so much money compared to those working in the medical field. What my dad failed to understand is that the reason why the athletes make so much money is because they are adding a little bit of value to a lot of people.
While doctors offer a better service to society, the reality is that they are limited in the amount of people they can help during a given day. A professional athlete, on the other hand, entertains millions of people and his salary is a reflection of that.

If you think of Sydney Crosby, Michael Jordan or John Cena ... everyone of those people are at the top of their game and help the company/brand they work for make billions of dollars. If those companies want to keep making billions of dollars then they have to take care of their top assets. If Sydney Crosby was to switch team, for example, that could have a huge negative impact on the brand.

"Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you make in payment."
-Bob Burg

How can we add more value?
The short answer is by being more valuable. In the words of Ortega:

“... we distinguished the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter the one who makes no demands on himself, but contents himself with what he is and is delighted with himself. Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence, and not the common man who lives in essential servitude. Life has no savor for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental. Hence he does not look upon the necessity as serving as an oppression. Nobility is defined by the demands it makes on us - by obligations, not by rights. Noblesse oblige. “To live as one likes is plebian; the noble man aspires to order and law” (Goathe).”

The reason why there are so little people at the top of any field is because not a lot of people are willing to put forth the effort necessary to be at their most valuable. Some find comfort along their journey and never really improve beyond that point.

I have this to say to those of you who have found comfort: We are all students in the school of life. Learning doesn't end when school does - it ends when the student is dead. Learn until the day you die.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Be Calm

One of the greatest skill you can master is the ability to remain calm in all situations.
When I was younger, I used to think that this is something that would come naturally as we age but experience has thought me otherwise. If you look around you, you will see people in their last phase of life that still act rashly in situations that do not warrant it.

Why is it important to "Be Calm"?
Logically speaking, you make better decisions when your mind is calm then when it isn't. When you act rashly, things can escalate quickly to the point where you're acting completely out of character. After the fact, once your mind is calm again, you realize the error of your ways; only too late. You then need to figure out how to live with the mess you've created (but could of been avoided).

How can I be more "calm"?
In my case being calm is a state of mind that I have to work similar to a muscle. There are 3 things that I need in order to have a calmer mind. Those are:
  • Read/Meditate - While I do not practice meditation in the true sense of the word - reading is a form of meditation and I read constantly. I prefer non-fiction and my favorite subjects currently are Self-Improvement, Philosophy & History.
  • Diet - This may be an odd thing to add to some but the diet does play a part in how you feel. You are what you eat and if you eat junk - you will feel it. What you eat has an impact on how you feel and therefor must be considered here.
  • Fitness - Working out is a good way to release stress. If you are stressed, you are more likely to act rashly in any given situation. If you remove the stress then it goes without saying that your mind will be calmer.

This isn't a quick fix solution or one that you only do a couple of times with benefits that you can enjoy forever. It requires constant effort.
Also this is definitely not full proof. There are still times where someone will "push my buttons" just right which may result in me doing or saying something that I later regret.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

If you feel your mind isn't in the right place - hold your tongue. You can't take back the words once they're out of your mouth.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My New Gym Bag

I've been working out most of my life and during that time I've been using garbage bags or gym bags, that I got for free from one place or another, to carry around my gym clothes/shoes/items.
I've used one of those free gym bags up until recently. The bag was full of holes and wasn't really useful to me as a gym bag anymore.

It was time for an upgrade and for the first time ever; I decided that I would actually buy my next gym bag. I had 2 criterias:
  • Rugged - The thing has to be able to handle my workout lifestyle both at the gym and elsewhere. I want to be able to kick that thing around without worrying about it. I want the thing to last me years.
  • Size - Big enough to carry everything related to my workout or whatever physical activity I want to do.
After a few weeks of looking online, I came across "TOBWOLF Waterproof Gym Duffel Bag, Travel Luggage Backpack for Men and Women" and it's so good that it made me regret not buying a decent gym bag earlier. It not only meets my meager criterias, it also includes things that I didn't know I wanted from a gym bag.

If we go back to my criteria:
  • Rugged - The thing is built to last. High quality material stitched together nicely with high quality zippers for the pockets.
  • Size - Not too big, not too small - I'm able to carry my shoes, belts, braces, books, water bottle, earbuds ... everything that I need on any given day at the gym. It is big enough that I could put a basketball in if I wanted to.

Now if we talk about things I didn't know I wanted:
  • Separate compartment for shoes - This is a neat idea. Shoes can get stinky so they added a pocket specifically for shoes with some breathing holes in it.
  • Water Resistant - Want to bring the bag near water? No problem - it's made with water resistant material.
  • Wet Pocket - A pocket was added to put wet items in so that it doesn't touch anything else in the bag.

One thing I wish the bag would of included is a dedicated water bottle pouch that is big enough for a 1 liter bottle. So no, it's not a perfect bag (no bag is) but it's definitely better than any bag I ever owned.
If you're in the market for one, you should check it out!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Good Books can be Read More than Once

"You are what you think you are. Think more of yourself and there is more of you."
-David J. Schwartz
A little while ago, I went on a few dates with a woman that I felt was out of my league. I didn't flatout tell her this but since it was on my mind she could feel it through my actions.

Soon after, I picked up "The Magic of thinking BIG" book, from David J. Scwartz, (for like the sixth time in the past 10 years) and I'm still amaze at how much I'm getting out of this book. While the book didn't change since it was created; I sure did which explains why I'm getting totally different messages each time I pick it up.
What I got from the book, this time, was simply that I need to focus on the big picture if I want to have the necessary confidence to go through my daily affairs. By focusing on the end result, it gives you the perspective in the present.

Would I be with that person today if I would of applied that philosophy? Who knows? Life is still amazing though so be sure to live it fully!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Loosing Weight

Loosing weight is difficult when you don't know how to go about it. What most people don't realize is that going to the gym to exerciser is the easiest part - the diet is the hardest.

The Diet:
I'm not a believer in diets that cut out a specific food groups in order to achieve weight goals. Currently, the "Keto" diet is all the rage but I can't see how it can be sustainable, longer term, considering that your body needs the nutrients that the diet is removing. You can only go so long, without a food group, before you start noticing problems.
No energy? Body aches? Feeling depressed? Those could all be problems related to the diet. The best diets include items from every food groups sized according to your goals.

The Exercise:
It is possible to loose or gain weight simply by dieting but it's best to accompany a diet with a good exercise regiment tailored to your goals. Remember that the diet needs to compliment your workout - not go against it. If your goal is to loose weight, and you're not noticing any changes after 3-4 months, it could be because your calorie intake far exceed the calorie burnt during your working. You can't outwork a bad diet because it's easier to consume calories than it is to burn it. It can take 30 minutes just to burn the calories you got from eating a cheese burger. Think about that next time you eat a burger and you're trying to loose weight.

The Rests:
Resting is important in order to loose weight and is probably the easiest thing to implement. When we rest, it not only regenerates our energy but it also helps with healing our broken muscles.

The Discipline:
Another thing to consider during your wellness journey is the discipline required to reach your health goals. Weight goals are the easiest to make but they are also the easiest to break. "Cheat meals" can turn into cheat days, weeks, months and next thing you know you've quit on yourself entirely.

Loosing weight is possible. Set the goal, follow your diet, exercise appropriately and do it even when you don't feel like it and you'll do it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Aren't We All Created Equal?

Its been said before that all men are created equal but we've created a world where hierarchy exists. If there's an hierarchy, can a man still be considered equal to another?

Everywhere you look, there's a ladder with someone at the top bumping his chest showing the world that he's all that and a bag of chips.
We have create money to figure out who among us contributes the most to society. We have trophies that rewards the fastest, the best teams or the smartest individuals. We keep track of people that can put "the most cigarettes in their mouth", who are the "fattest" or who "sleeps the most" in the book of Guinness World Records.
When the Titanic sank, recovering the bodies of the wealthy took precedent over those that weren't wealthy.

Everywhere you look there's someone that wants to show the world that there's something special about him.

Essentially, we are all equal: We are all equally flawed as we've created a world where our worth is defined by how much better we are compared to others.
Most definition of success is to be "at the top" of something and you're considered a failure if you are at the bottom.

There's nothing wrong with being at the bottom and you are not a failure, as a human being, for being there.

The most annoying thing about this hierarchy is that it is forced unto us. Being a human on this planet means that we are part of it - we don't yet know how to live without, or beyond, it.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what society tells you. Winning is primarily an inside job before it is an outside one. True success is being at peace with yourself.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Runner's "High"

According to Scientific America , "a Runner's High is a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain."
I'm not the biggest runner around. When I do cardio, i'm usually only on it for 30 minutes in order to put a "check in the box" and call it a day. In other words, I don't care for it that much but I have experienced a Runner's High and totally understand why some of you like to run that much.

What did it do to me?
I'm a pretty anxious person and that reduced anxiety, mentioned above, was definitely felt. It's almost like the clouds in my mind had gone and I could think clearly for the first time in a while. As a kid, I would get that feeling while playing soccer but never really paid attention to it.
The feeling started to fade roughly an hour after the workout. As I write these words, it's been roughly 8 hours since I was at the gym and only have distant memories of how it felt.
I remember feeling like that as a kid while I was playing soccer but I never really paid attention to it until today. As we get older, we get less and less of those euphoria moments because life doesn't really push us to move all that much.
But I get it.

I "get" why some of you crazy folks are running for hours on end. You guys are chasing the feeling.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

How Mature are your Finances?

Budgeting, saving, investing can be difficult to some. Personal finances is almost as important as a family member and it needs a higher degree of attention than what most people are currently doing. In this blog, I will compare finance to the 3 stages of human life.

  • As a Baby - This is where your personal finance is the most vulnerable. Money is your master - the slightest life mishap can derail your life significantly. As a baby, your personal finance needs to be nurture and taken care of. This means that you have to make sure that a big chuck of your money goes towards your savings and paying off debts. This is when you start figuring out a budget that works for you.
  • As a Teen - As a teen, you personal finance is starting to be comfortable. You have savings, your debt is reduced to a minimum and you started looking at insurance to protect what you've accumulated. Unlike the baby phase, if you were to loose your job at this point you could go a few months before needing another one.
  • As an Adult - Money is your slave. Your personal finance is matured to the point that you no longer need to check on it every second day. Some of your money has been invested and is working for you. Your budget is optimized. If you were to loose your job at this stage, you have other avenues that generates money for you. You could take a job that pays you less and still have a comfortable lifestyle or you could retire altogether. You have insurances to protect your assets.

The finance of most people never really leaves the baby phase. Some are able to reach their teens but only a few is ever going to reach adulthood. Which stage do you identify your finance?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Less Self-Help & More Philosophy

I get pretty annoyed with LinkedIn nowadays because most post you see on there are from some random people giving some superficial "a la Self Help" type of advise. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have so many people dedicated to personal improvement but my problem is that they don't seem to be adding anything new to the conversation. If all they do is share 2-3 quotes then what's the point?

Stop putting 2-3 quotes together and calling it a day (I can be guilty of this too).

There was a time in my life where I spent roughly 3K a year on self-help materials. I read/viewed/listened to my fair share of them. What I want now is to listened to people that have actually put some thoughts into what they say. Give me your perspective rather than reading the back of a book.

When I travel, I always bring the same book with me. "Living Issues in Philosophy" as been my travelling companion ever since I bought it for a buck 10 years ago - best book I ever purchased.
The reason why I like this book is because it takes a deep dive into various philosophical ideas. Think of it as Self-Help on steroids.

I see the self help industry as a deluded form of philosophy and maybe that's the problem. Just a bunch of superficial ideas duck tapped together for the purpose of making the reader happy by giving him hope. Hurray! It works and it sold well but it ultimately didn't change anything.

We need to figure out what it means to be human, find out what our core values are and continuously listen to them. To me, this is only achievable by reading philosophical material.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Lies The Banks Tell You

Financial institutions have built a reputation of trust with their customers but not everything they say makes financial sense. Remember that they are primarily a business and their goal is to make money off of you. The following are some of the lies they may tell you in order to get a few extra dollars out of your pockets:
  • A House is An Asset - If you have a good credit score, it's possible that the bank will try to entice you to take out a better loan, than you originally intended, for the purchase of a house. They will tell you that a house is an asset; that it ultimately will make you money in the long run. This isn't true... An asset is something that put money in your pocket every month. A house is certainly not putting money in your pocket every month unless you rent it out.
  • You're Richer than You Think - No you're not! This used to be a motto for a Canadian bank and it's just plain false. Banks will usually tell you this so that you take some of your money to invest. While there's nothing wrong with investing in itself, you should never invest money that you need to live - only the money you can afford to loose.
  • Credit Score - The entire credit score system was created by the bank. it is a number that they put next to your name to determined how likely you are at repaying your debts. Your goal shouldn't be to raise that number but to get out of debt entirely. You won't have any issues getting a loan if you have money in the bank.
  • Insurance - Don't get me wrong, insurances are good to have but banks don't usually care whether or not you're already covered at your work or if you have insurances with other companies. Be sure to read the contact before signing it.
Remember that even though banks have our money, it doesn't mean that they have our best interests in mind. Be aware!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wake up Earlier!

We all have 24h in a day. What we do with those 24h basically determines the types of person that we'll become. Those that wake up earlier have a few hours head start over everybody else. The following are things you could be doing if you woke up earlier:

  • Plan the day - Since most people are asleep, you can use this uninterrupted time to think about the day ahead.
  • Power workout - Working out needs to be part of everyone's routine in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle in life. Mornings are the best time to do this as your body has the most energy.
  • Work on a new skill - Do you want to learn a new language? Learn how to draw? Learn something specific to your work? It's easier to learn something in the morning vs after a busy day at work.
  • Press your suit - Got an important meeting today? Make sure you look your best by pressing your suit.
  • Prepare meals for the day - Food is the fuel of the body and it can be difficult to eat healthy when we're on the go all the time. Mornings could be a good time to prepare the nutritional meals for the day.
  • Read - Warren Buffett, one of the richest man on the planet, read 500 pages a day. Imagine how many books you would go through if you read 500 pages a day!

If you're looking to improve your life then waking up earlier, to work towards your goals, is a must. Those few hours, compounded over time, has the potential to change your life. Stop snoozing!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

It's Time to Work!

The mentality today is that we need to enjoy life while we're young instead of waiting until we're retired. It's not a wrong way to see things but whether we like it or not, we have to contribute to society and the best time to do so is in our youth. When we're young, we not only have the most energy but we also have a greater ability to learn.

Those that feel like they're missing out on life or are selling away their youth to the corporations feel this way because they are not working at something that is true to them - they are not following their passion. Work at something you're passionate about and you will not feel like you're wasting your life.

Our time on this planet is limited and there isn't any nobler pursuit than to work towards something that we're passionate about and that can potentially leave a mark long after we're gone. Whether we like it or not, this will require some type of work.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Confidence is not Truth

In dealings with people, confidence is everything. Anything said with confidence can be perceived as truth even though the two aren't related.

We've all got scammed at one point or another by someone who told us something that sounded like it was the truth because it was said with confidence. "I don't feel like he's lying" so we thought.
In a more extreme case, Hitler was using this approach to convince an entire Country that Jews were bad people and they should die. It makes no sense if we approach what he said from a logical point of view but it was repeated, with confidence, so often that people started believing in it.

Salesmen are thought to believe in what they are selling. To be sold on the product themselves if they ever wish to sell it to someone else. To believe in one's product is to have the ability to communicate its positives with such confidence that the listener will be sold on the idea as well.

What we have to do, as the listeners of those messages, is check the facts and form our own opinions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

We've Made Christianity Ugly!

The Christian religion (and others), which is ultimately meant to be a way to achieve inner peace, has become nothing more than an ugly business for personal gains and abuse: I’m tired of it all!

Ultimately, there are 3 categories the Christian religion business falls into. Those are:
  • Legal/Official - Include the papal and all of its derivative. Have a look at the buildings the high officials lives in and tell me the Christian religion isn’t a business. It makes for a pretty ugly business when you consider the years of abuse, by priests, that's been happening all over the place.
  • Entertainment - Joel Osteen, John Gray are religious personalities that profit heavily from their “service”.
  • Scam - The likes of Peter Popoff who asks audiences to pay thousands of dollars to see live miracles. These are the worst of the bunch since there are doing it solely for the purpose of making money and their services generally lacks any real Biblical content.

While I understand that some of the money earned has to go towards paying one’s bills - it’s not supposed to be paying off 5k shoes, fancy cars and mansions.
Is it so bad for me to expect preachers to be living a similar lifestyle than Jesus did? Or at least have a similar lifestyle than the average person listening to the sermon?
Some may see this as jealousy, and maybe in a way it is, but it's also common sense to me. The expectation of the money given to a Church is that it will fund worthy causes - not pay off someone's Rolex.

What is perhaps the most ironic in all of this is that we keep selling religion as this beautiful thing but it is the cause of many evils in our history. There were times when women were burnt for religious sake, we fought wars in the name of it and committed all sorts of lewd acts under its protection.
These are hardly the history one wants to remember on his path of inner peace but it is there non the less.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

How They Control Us

The mass media is how we’re being controlled and we’re easier to control when we’re uneducated. No, it’s not about getting masters degrees or attending schools… it’s more about getting a basic understanding of a multitude of subjects to help us get through life without getting taken advantage of (at least not as much). Some of the subjects to consider are the following:
  • Finance - people are quick to take advantage of those that are financially illiterate or irresponsible. There are always things to learn about finances.
  • Politics - It’s not that complicated and learning about it will allow you to make more informed decision of which party you should elect.
  • Relationships - Learning how to get along will help get us opportunities that we couldn't’ get otherwise.
  • Philosophy - You certainly don’t need to be an Aristotle but to know about philosophy, and develop your own life philosophy, can help be at peace with the world.
  • Spirituality - Speaking of being at peace, figuring out who you, and accepting it, is also important.
I once heard that thinking was the ability to see with the "mind's eye" and that in order to open that eye we needed to be learning beyond what we're thought in schools. Did you ever get a course on Finances in school?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

End of the Mom/Pop Corner Stores?

A global economy means that locals stores are competing against stores anywhere in the world via the internet. In a pity attempt to find relevance, it's not uncommon to hear people say that we should be "buying local!" and I can't help but ask "why?".

If you are in business and you are currently begging your customer to buy your products or services ... well you either need to change or face the fact that your business is doomed to fail.
In a free economy, the strongest always wins but strongest can be anyone. The internet not only put another nail on the mom/pop shops' coffin, it also opened the door for great ideas to reach more people than ever. You can literally make money by filming yourself and putting it on youtube.

This "revolution" is not the first of kind. It isn't the first time that the mom/pops type of shops have had to fight a war. Previously, Walmart came in and put a lot of those type of business obsolete. They had a better system than anyone else - hence why they pretty much won that battle.
We could say that Amazon is currently winning because it pushed the idea of Walmart even further. Walmart is now trying to find relevance in this new market.

This shift is beautiful and it is normal. It is up to any entrepreneurs to come up with better ideas to change the world. Keep inventing!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Health Conversations in Moderation

We all have that one or two person in our lives that talk about the things that are going wrong in their lives constantly. Generally older, those people usually don’t do much during their day and focuses too much on the negative sides of their lives rather than the positive one. They literally have nothing better to talk about because they don’t see much going on with them.

We have to remember that talking about diseases, aches or ailments are only interesting to the person that has them and there’s nothing to gain from sharing it other than an attempt at compassion or pity. These negative talks can also suck out the energy in the conversation.

In moderation, those type of conversation are fine. After all, it’s important to share how we’re doing to our friends but it shouldn't be all that we’re talking about.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Are We Tough Enough?

*French troops storming Redoubt 9 during the Siege of Yorktown

It's not too long ago that warfare required men to stand in line waiting to get shot at while listening to your orders via flutes and drums or looking out for flag signals. Unsurprisingly, some men would flee the battle and were considered lesser men for doing so. (Although we could argue that they were the smartest people of the bunch... why in the world would you stay in line waiting to get shot?)

Those that didn't flee are among the toughest, most courageous, men in history. They believed so strongly in their cause that they were willing to take a bullet for it.

Where are those courageous men today? We grew to be selfish individuals - we don't stand up for things that doesn't affect us even though it would be the right thing to do.
We are quick to push the responsibility to someone else. You'll hear things like "The Government should do something about this."

Well... why don't you?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Debt Free is Possible

Back in 2010, I wrote an article about some financial struggle I was going through. I remember being heavily in debt and hating the fact that I "had" to work to pay it off. I couldn't just leave my job, I felt like I was stuck and being let go would of destroyed pretty much all that I had accumulated up to that point.

Fast forward 9-10 years and I'm happy to report that I've been debt free for the last few years now. If I could do it, so can you! Granted, I don't own much but it turns out that I do not need much in the first place. As long as I have my books, something to write with and some video games for when I need to shut my brain off - I'm good!

“We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.” -Dave Ramsey

Perhaps one of the biggest things, to get debt free, is to stop listening to what society tells you to buy. No, you do not need a new vehicle every 2 years. You do not need a house you can't afford to live in. You don't need to be spending every penny you own. You do not deserve anything (Marketers be like "Buy this couch - you deserve it!")

One of the biggest eye opener for me was when I realized that being in debt meant that I was sacrificing future time for something today. I hated the idea of surrendering my future - I wanted freedom.
Debt is financial slavery. The only reason why it is accepted today is because people are free to choose whether or not they surrender their lives to the mighty dollar. In some cases, however, this is not really a choice and I consider myself fortunate that I was influenced in the right direction early on in life.

Being debt free requires sacrifice and discipline but the freedom you get from it is priceless. Make the choice to be free!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Experience brings Wisdom

"We cannot assume that, by gathering more and more "facts" a person necessarily gains understanding and wisdom about his life and the world in which in lives." -Harold H. Titus/Marilyn S. Smith

We can certainly appreciate listening to someone that has mastered something. We might ask ourselves, how did he become so wise? Some are wise at a specific subject at an earlier age than others. Why is that?

Wisdom doesn’t come with age - it comes with experience. The only reason why we associate wisdom with age, or time, is because it takes time to acquire experience.
Someone that doesn’t do anything worthwhile with his time will not acquire relevant experience and therefor will not be wise as much as someone who deliberately thrive to improve.

The time it takes to acquire wisdom in anything can be shortened depending on your discipline. There are a set of rules that one must follow to acquire wisdom. Those are:
  • Focus - Find out what you want to be wise in. You only have 24h in a day and a set amount of days. What do you want to master? Found out what it is for you.
  • Study - Obviously, learning about the area you want to be wise in is a must.
  • Practice/Do - Books can only teach you so much about anything. At one point or another you will have to test out what you've learned to see what works and what doesn't.
  • Teach - There's no better way to learn something than when you have to teach it to someone else. Formulate what you've learned in a way that will be easily understood by the generation that follows yours.

In what areas do you want to be wise in?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Should Cigarettes be Illegal?

Tobacco companies were recently sued by a handful of individuals because cigarettes are bad for your health. First of all “duh?”. Second - Why is this still on sale? Why are people still smoking?

It is now legal in Canada to smoke Cannabis. Cannabis is often used in the medical field to treat various diseases such as anxiety and glaucoma. If you smoke cannabis responsibly there's not much that it does to you in the long run. Cigarettes, on the other hand, have been proven to cause various diseases. Tobacco companies have been putting all sorts of chemicals in them to intensify the addiction smokers have towards cigarettes - making it very difficult to stop once you start.

Why do people even start smoking today knowing all of the negativity surrounding cigarettes? I remember as a teen, those that smoked were considered "rebels". It was a way for them to show their disdain for society. It was "cool" and maybe it still is for teens of today.
Now that I'm an adult, I get a totally different feeling when I see people smoke. When I see a teen, I think to myself "well he doesn't know any better" but when I see an adult smoke I always ask myself "why? what's your excuse?"

Why is it not illegal?
Back in the 1920s, some countries had made it illegal to buy alcohol - it sure as heck didn't stop people from drinking and it basically just added fuel to the ever expanding black market.
Cigarettes would have the same result. By having it legal, the government can at least get a cut of the profit, via heavy taxes, and regulate its use.

I do find it kind of silly for people to smoke, knowing full well the risks involved, and then sue tobacco companies when health problem arises. I mean, have you ever seen a box of cigarettes before? The potential health issues are written on the box itself.

Stay away!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Feelings to Control

Before we goes to the heart of this post, it is important to differentiate between Feelings and Emotions since most people seems to interchange or confuse the two.

What’s an emotions?
According to , emotions “are associated with bodily reactions that are activated through neurotransmitters and hormones released by the brain…”

What’s a feeling?
According to, feelings are “originating in the neocortical regions of the brain, feelings are sparked by emotions and colored by personal experiences, beliefs, memories, and thoughts linked to that particular emotion. Strictly speaking, a feeling is the side product of your brain perceiving an emotion and assigning a certain meaning to it.”

A clearer example of the difference between emotions and feelings is when you’re getting slapped. Emotions is the pain that originates from it while feelings is how you react to that pain.

Humans can control their emotions...
This means that humans have control over their feelings which can cast doubts on the sincerity of them. Seeing someone cry doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s sad.
Actors, who are masters at controlling their feelings, uses their acting skills for the purpose of entertaining an audience. They cry when their fictional son dies so that we also feel sad about it.

Some uses their feelings as a way to exercise control over people for malicious reasons. They show remorse even when they do not feel like it. They cry when they do not feel like crying.

Why do they do this?
They do so for their benefits. Because they don’t want to take responsibility. Because they want you to think that they are innocent.

How can you tell if someone is controlling you?
Some are better than others at controlling their feelings so it’s not always possible to tell if they are sincere or not in the moment. In some cases, the more time spent with someone the better you’ll become at identifying how sincere the feelings conveyed are.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Entertainment Addiction is Making Us Anti Social

It is not social media as much as entertainment in general that made us antisocial creatures. We would rather stay home and entertain ourselves than entertain guess in our own home or go at social gatherings.

After a certain age, it is normal for most to start loosing relationships in to focus on more important ones. Everyone needs a friend, however, and there's a problem when there are no one to interact with.

When did socializing become such a burden? Since we are social creatures, what does this mean for our overall health? What part does it play in our mental Health? Could it be the reason behind the rise in people with depression?

Entertainment is an addiction, and like addictions, it makes us more distant from others. The problem with the entertainment addiction is that it seems to go unnoticed for longer periods. Since we're not injecting ourselves with a chemical, or drinking a substance, we don't associate it as an addiction.
We just sit and watch another episode, play another level, listen to another track, check on another web page... it is a problem when you would rather do these things than to go socialize.

A life of fulfillment is not filled with addictions. There's a time to socialize and a time to for entertainment. Put limits on yourself so that you don't miss out on this journey.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Subtle Employee Retention Tactics

Companies uses a multitude of subtle tactics designed to retain employees. These are by no means secrets but they may not be obvious to some. I’ve identified a few for you below:
  • Insurances. Dental/Vision/Medical … insurances, which you pay part of in most cases, are an obvious hook for employee retention.
  • RRSP/401K. The RRSP/401K offering from companies varies but it’s another way for companies to entice new-comer and retain older ones.
  • Seniority. Senior resources may have a more advantageous parking spot, take priority when it comes to taking vacations or get first dibs on incoming projects.
  • Raises. Small raises, every year, is another way to keep employees around for longer.
  • Additional Vacation Days. Some companies will give additional vacation days based on the years you’ve worked for them.
  • Severance package. A severance package is basically money the company gives you when you leave. Some companies, for example, will give a month’s pay per year you’ve worked for them. So if you decide to quit (or you got a layoff), after 10 years, you get 10 months pay from the company.
  • Work from Home. Working from home can also be a way to retain employees. This can be even more appealing with employees that have kids.
  • Social Activities/Employee Moral. Paid company event such as Bowling, Paintball or night at the bar, which are aimed at keeping the moral of the employees high, are also ways to keep the employees around for longer.
  • Bonus. Bonuses, in all of it’s form, are also ways to keep the employees around. This also help motivate the employee to accomplish more. It can be in the form of “Employee of the Month”, extra vacation, money, miscs gifts ...etc

What other subtle tactics have you noticed in the workplace? Obviously, it is sometime not enough to keep employees but it’s not difficult to know why they were put in place.

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