Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Learning Outside of Careers

The average life expectancy is 75 years old and I don't know about you but life seems to go by faster the older you get. There's more to life than just to live. Knowing this, I would consider it a great shame to die with the only knowledge being that of my chosen career path. There's simply more to life than whatever we are learning in our careers.

It's been said that it takes 10 000 hours to master anything. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant for this discussion. What we need to keep in mine is that we only have a set amount of hours that we can dedicate to our activities as well as our learning endeavors. This means that we won't be able to master everything.
If you're like me, and wish to learn all that you can before dying, then where do you even start? Which book? Which audio? Which video? The answer is quite simple: Get the information directly from the experts.

"Listen to those with the fruit on the tree".

You may not be a philosopher but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a economist but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a carpenter but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a mechanic.... (you got the point?)

We're decades into the information age now. This means that the information is out there for who ever wants it. We can pretty much learn everything that we want from the devices we carry in our pockets. There's no excuse so get to it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It's A Pandemic - Stay Home!

"It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself..."
-Charles Darwin in his “Origin of Species” book.

There's a difference between courage and stupidity and we're seeing this first hand with the blatant disregard of public safety some people are exhibiting by not altering their daily activities following the pandemic state of the Covid-19/Coronavirus. We have to keep in mind that this Pandemic started with one person.

Even though you're not afraid it doesn't mean that you, or the people that you come in contact with, are immune to the disease.
Even though you're not at risk of dying it doesn't mean that the people you come in contact with won't die.
Even though you live somewhere that doesn't have many infected it doesn't mean that it won't change rapidly.

I saw a funny, but true, comment on Facebook that said "Your grandparents were called to war. You're being called to sit on your couch. You can do this."

We'll make it through the Pandemic but the amount of death will largely be determined by how many people are able to adapt to the quarantine restrictions. We're past the point where we can simply wash our hands and call it a day. We need to separate ourselves from the masses, as much as possible, and follow the guidelines put in place by our respective Government.

The question isn't whether or not we'll get through this, because we will, the question is will it be 50,000 deaths or will it be 1 million? We all need to do our part in order to contain this as much as possible and It starts with you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Sales Traps

Always be careful with people that benefits from having you think a certain way. I have a friend who worked for "Dealership A" and every time I would talk to him he would tell me how good cars from "Dealership A" were and how better the brand of "Dealership A" were superior than other brands. 5 years into his selling careers with "Dealership A", my friend decided to switch over to "Dealership B" and when I talk to him now all the positive things that he used to say about "Dealership A" is now being said of "Dealership B".

Good salesmen believe in the product that they are selling no matter if the product is actually good or not. Salesmen benefits in having you believe certain things about the product that they are selling. This statement is true for any field where salesmen are involved.

This isn't good or bad but it is something to keep in mind when you are in the market for something. Before buying anything be sure to do your own research rather than take whatever the salesmen are telling you face to face.

Another example of this is when buying a house. Is a house a good investment? If you ask a financial adviser, a financial adviser IS a loan/insurance/investment salesman, he'll tell you that it's a great investment when the reality of it is that it's not as good of an investment as the financial adviser is telling you that it is. If you want to make it a good investment then you have to do your research.
It is a GREAT investment for who ever is giving you the loan because if you stop paying the loan they get to take the home away from you - they never loose.
You, on the other hand, can loose much if you consider that the value of the house fluctuates (2008/2009 was an especially troubled time for the house market) and that you have to pay for the upkeep of it. In the best of circumstances, you can make a profit from selling but it's often not as good as you would think when you factor in the upkeep cost.
Most people don't do market research when buying a house because they either want to just own a place to live in or because they wrongly assume that the house they bought will always go up in value.

When your money is involved you can't be too careful. Remember to be careful with those that benefit from having you think a certain way. If you do your research you'll realize that not everything that salesmen support are actually good and that you're the one loosing as a result.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Invest Without Loosing

I recently finish reading Tony Robbin's "Money Master the Game" book for the second time and got more out of it this time around because I have a more mature investment portfolio.
One of the rules of investing is to never invest money you can't afford to loose but did you know that there are types of investments where your guaranteed to get back the money you put in? In his book, Tony Robbin shares many such ideas where you put money somewhere that is guaranteed not to loose with a chance of making more. One such idea was to invest in copper coins - you can either sell the coin for the copper value (if more than a cent) or use it at face value (of a cent). It's sounds kind of crazy but I've actually seen someone in the news do this and it was working for him.

Those aren't risky investments so they don't bring in as much either but the fact that you can't loose it can be liberating for some. If you decide to use this strategy with bank investments, rather than such things as copper coins, then the catch is that the bank will only give you 1-4% on your investment and keep the rest of the money that it can potentially make.
Since we're overdue for a recession, and that the Coronavirus seems to be slowing the economy down to a standstill, now might be a good time to look at those types of investments or wait until the recession hits and then buy more. We have to remember that recessions brings opportunity as much as it brings downfalls. It is wise to wait until the stock market hits a low before buying stocks. Many do the opposite where they buy stocks when the market is at the highest and sell it when it's at its lowest out of fear that they will loose more money. If you follow the "don't invest what you can't afford to loose" philosophy then you shouldn't have to sell your investment portfolio when the economy is in a low.

Tony Robbin's "Money Master the Game" book is a must read if you are new to the investment world. You can buy it on Amazon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

It's My First Time Filling My Tax Return

In all my years of being a productive member of society I have never filled out my own tax return out of fear. My biggest fear was to mess it up so much that the Government would come bursting through my door and arrest me.
Because I was afraid, I spent close to $100 a year on "experts" to fill my tax returns. Over 10 years that's $1000...

$1000 is a lot of money so this year I decided to fill out my own return and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to fill them out. Don't get me wrong, I still had to do some research online to figure out some of the terms but I think I got through it okay for my first try. If you have your T4, RRSPs receipt, and have little else to declare then you should try one of the free tools online this year(Turbo Tax & HD Block). If you can't figure it out you can always revert back to your old method.

I used HR Block this year (FREE) and I doubt that I will ever pay someone else to do my taxes again (unless my tax return becomes more complex).

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

My Next Books

If you're a reader than chances are you wonder which book to buy next even though you may have a hundred books that you still haven't read in your library. During such episode I asked myself which subject I should invest in and "Astrophysics" came to mind (for some reason).

My philosophy, when choosing books of a subject that is unknown to me, is to look for those that are at the top of the field and see what they have either wrote or what they've read.
If you do a search on astrophysics online chances are that the name of "Stephen Hawking" is going to come up since he's a renown astrophysicist, thinker, and author. He passed away in 2018 but luckily is books have lived on and are still widely available.

Needless to say that my choice of books was made clear to me - I ordered 2 of Stephen Hawking' earliest works (A Brief History of Time & The Universe in a Nutshell) on amazon and I can't wait to get them!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Our Selves

In the age of social media, where everyone can choose to share anything about their lives online, it's important for us to reflect on the type of image of ourselves that we wish to project to the world. We typically have 3 "selves".
  • Personal - Your personal life is what happens within yourself - it whom you really are inside and when nobody else is around.
  • Private - This is the person you choose to be around your friends and family.
  • Public - This is who you are in public. You may refrain from talking about specific subjects or be on your best behavior while in public as you know that your reputation is at stakes.
Think of an onion where Personal is at the center and the subsequent layers are Private and Public.
The difference between our personal self and our private self is sometime minimal but may be vastly different than the person we choose to be in public. Who we are in Personal and our Private life isn't necessarily what we want people in our public life to know. Knowing who we are in our personal and private life can help determine what we want, or don't want, to go into our public life.

I'm one to believe that if you have evils in your personal or private life that it will eventually be found in your public life. If we think of Tiger Woods, or Bill Clinton for example we can clearly see that the mistakes they've made in their private lives has had a negative impact on their public life and ended up costing them much.
The opposite can also be true where someone has a bad public life but is actually good in his private and personal life but we don't typically learn about those situation as much because private/personal matters are typically not talked about.

If you decide to share bits and pieces or your life just think about the consequences that may come as a result and keep in mind that what you post online can be viewed by anyone - forever.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Suggested Books from Leadership & Liberty

The Leadership & Liberty books contains blog posts from Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. It's an okay book but what I like the most about the authors is that they are providing a list of suggested readings. The book they suggests are among the bests I have ever read and thought I would share it with you guys.

Attitude and Success
  • See You at the Top, Zig Zigglar
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino
  • Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations On and Off the Cour, John Wooden
  • The Psychology of Winning, Dennis Waitley
  • Life is Temendous, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones
People Skills and Principles
  • How to Have Power and Confidence in Dealing With People, Les Giblin
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Personality Plus, Florence Littaeur
  • Bringing Out the Best in People, Alan Lloyd McGinnis
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covery
  • It's Your Ship, Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
  • The Cycle of Leadership, Noel Tichy
  • The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle, James C. Hunter
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell
  • Launching a Leadership Revolution, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
Historical Leadership Illustrations
  • The Founding Fathers on Leadership, Don T. Phillips
  • Scuttle your Ships Before Advancing, Richard Luecke
  • Churchill on Leadership, Steven Hayward
  • Character Counts, Os Guiness
  • The American Leadership Tradition, Marvin Olasky
The History of Liberty
  • The Future of Freedom, Fareed Zakaria
  • The 5000 Year Leap: The Miracle That Changed the World, W. Cleon Skousen
  • How the West was Lost, Alexander Boot
  • The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk
  • The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas
  • The Economy in Mind, Warren T. Brookes
  • Economics in one Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
  • The Making of Modern Economics, Mark Skousen
  • Human Action, Ludwig von Mises
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Politics and Governance
  • Politics: Easy as P.I.E., Bob McEwen
  • The Revolt of the Masses, Jose Ortega y Gasset
  • The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek
  • The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin
  • Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert H. Bork
I have only read but a few of the books mentioned above. This list is for my own safekeeping as I'll be sure to pick those up and read them. How many of those books have you read?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How I Built my Book Collection

My experience is pretty niche when it comes to building a book collection. After graduation, I moved to a new city where I was approached by a man that had a business proposition for me. I listened attentively to what he had to say and decided to join his business venture. The business venture in question offered a leadership system that included books, cds, seminars and a mentorship program. In the span of a few days, I was literally drowning in good books - everything that anyone suggested in the organization are still part of the best books I ever read.

What do you need to start building your own book collection?
  • Which genre you want? - The most important thing you need is to know which genre you want. Since I wanted to learn new skills, the business opportunity I mentioned above was the perfect opportunity for me to build my "self-help" library (an opportunity I fully took advantage of).
  • Association - Once you know the genre, associate yourself with people that love the same genre as you. Through discussion with them you'll learn what they liked and disliked and through this process you'll find books to start with.
  • Look for References - Some books include references of other books or work that help in the creation of the book you're currently reading. Going through this list may help you find your next purchase.
  • Ask the Seller - Some people working at bookstores may be able to find your next favorite.
Once you built yourself a small library, of about 100 books, it'll be easier to add to your collection. If you're looking to build a digital library, there are free (legal) books available online on the website.

Happy Collecting and Reading!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Are Family Gatherings Disappearing?

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic as of late in regards to my family. What I'm noticing is that my aunt and uncles are meeting at least once a year. They've built this tight knit bond throughout their lives and it's been great for them. What I'm also noticing is that their sons/daughters, including myself, have not been so keen to keep in contact with each other. I fear that once the "baby boomers" generation of my family will move on to the next life that there won't be anyone to take over the family gatherings.

On my mother's side, the family had built camps near a river where we would meet, for a week at a time, every summer. The week would be filled with fun and games but what I remember more vividly is the family "prison". The prison, which was at the center of all the camps, was a place where you could put family members for "misbehaving" (swearing, lost at a game, and other silliness..) or you could pay to have someone arrest them. To get out, someone also had to pay and the money raised was use to help pay for the food and activities. It was a pretty fun, and original, way to raise funds for the events.

These events stopped about 25 years ago as key people have either move other places or passed away.

On my father's side, there's a big family BBQ every year during the long weekend in August. This has been going on for as long as I remember and I wouldn't miss it for the world. While not as elaborate as what we had on my mother's side it is still great fun and a perfect opportunity to get in touch with those that you don't get to see as much.
The BBQ has been going strong for at least 40 years but I fear we're nearing the end of that event as well as most key people are reaching an age where their bodies are failing them.

The BBQ on my father's side, and the odd gatherings during Christmas time, is all that's left. Realistically, the children of the family are not setup to take over those events.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Individual Truth?

I was reading the book Beyond Good and Evil book by Friedrich Nietzsche over the weekend. It's a very difficult read for me but I did come across a little paragraph that made me think about the current events happening in the States.
"There are truths which are best recognized by mediocre minds, because they are best adapted for them, there are truths which only possess charms and seductive power for the mediocre spirits..."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Doesn't it pretty much sums up what is happening in the U.S. with the division over the President? How is it possible for something to feel true to someone but not for others? Isn't truth universal?

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
-Joseph Goebbels

Before saying that the quote above isn't true consider this: Hitler was able to convinced an entire nation that the Jews were evil and should be eradicated. Any rational mind knows the Jews aren't evil but Hitler kept repeating it to the populace until the majority came to believe it.
More recently, Trump kept repeating that he would build a wall and have another Country pay for it...

Truth isn't universal and people can believe pretty much anything if it's said just the right way and often enough. This doesn't only applies to Dictators but also to what we tell ourselves on a daily basis. I once heard Tim Marks, a speaker and author, say "Know why you believe what you believe" - ain't that the truth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

My Journal's History

Over the Christmas break, I manage to find some old journals of mine and it was kind of nice to see the progression of my writing throughout the years similar to the type of progression that can be seen on this blog.
When I first started writing in a journal, I didn't really know how to go about it and had complicated systems such as different type of icons depending on what was the subject of the day was or had specific sections reserved for things such as "quotes of the day".
My older journals were basically just about quotes I found interesting during my reading. There wasn't much in terms of personal experiences or thought process which is kind of a bummer because it would of been nice to see what I was thinking then compared to what I'm thinking now.

Nowadays, my journals are pretty straight forward. I start off every day by writing the date and write about pretty much everything that comes to mind whether it be an interesting interaction I had or a thought following something I read. When I write, I always use a BIC pens and recently been using those 4 color ones so I can change color when ever I change the subject.

What I found throughout my years of writing journals is that I used to write less when I had a complicated system. I used to put all this pressure on me to make the best journal possible and it was getting in the way of my writing. The simpler the system the better it is.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Religion Is Love

I was at a funeral not too long ago and the priest said something that stuck with me. He said that the most important thing you can learn in this life is how to love.

Religion is meant to be a guide on how to achieve love. One of the most famous quote of the bible is Matthew 22:39 that says "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Most of the 10 Commandments, for example, are a reflection of love:
  • 4 - “Honor thy father and mother.”
  • 5 - “Thou shalt not kill.”
  • 6 - “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
  • 7 - “Thou shalt not steal.”
  • 8 - “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
  • 9 - “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
  • 10 - “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

Some people consider themselves Christians but are quick to place judgement on those that have a different sexual orientation than the norm. They will say things like "My God is saying that what you do is a Sin".

Your God is also saying that you should love your neighbor.

Your God is also saying that only God can judge.

We need to stop pretending that the Bible, and other religious texts, are about hatred as this isn't the case. We have to stop using religion as an outlet for our hatred. We hate because we don't know how to love - not because religion thought us how to hate because it doesn't.

Where do I stand on religion:
When I read religious texts, I approach it from a philosophical perspective because I consider them philosophical work rather than words of a God. When ever I talk about religion, I have both positive and negative things to say about it. I don't believe everything that I read from any religion.

I want to be the best person that I can be a parts of religious texts are helping me with this.

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