Archives for January 2012

The Times They Are A-changing

Get used to it.  Times change.  The older you get, the harder it is to accept.  But the pace of change is accelerating and there is no reason to believe that is going to change.  I was reminded of this when I saw this image over at WGRD:

Will we still have paper books in 2022?  Will we still hold telephones in our hands?  Will movies still be projected onto screens?  Will these all be just anachronisms? Who knows.

Get ready for a wild, scary and exciting ride.

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Perseverence – Never Give Up

I was inspired by American Top 40 Countdown.  You might have heard of the band Lady Antebellum (Yes, it is a band, not a person).  Nevertheless, there is a lady in the band: Hillary Scott.

Hillary failed twice at American Idol.  Yes, she tried and did not make it past the first-stage auditions.

So she tried again.  And the second time, she also failed to make it past the first-stage auditions.

Don’t worry, Hillary.  You join a n auspicious line of “losers”, including Abraham Lincoln:

  • Started a business – bankrupt.
  • Ran for state legislature – lost.
  • Applied to law school – rejected.
  • Started a business – bankrupt.
  • Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • Engaged when his sweetheart died – heart broken.
  • Had nervous breakdown – bed-ridden for six months.
  • Ran for speaker of the state legislature – lost.
  • Ran for elector – lost.
  • Ran for Congress – lost.
  • Ran for Congress again – won.
  • Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • Sought the job of state land officer – rejected.
  • Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • Sought Vice-Presidential nomination – lost.
  • Ran for U.S. Senate again – lost.
  • Elected president of the United States.

READ ALSO: Define success

And Canada’s John Diefenbaker:

  • Moved to Wakaw to practice law – locals refused to rent him office space.
  • Ran for village council – won.
  • Ran for Parliament – lost.
  • Ran for Parliament again – lost.
  • Ran for provincial legislature – lost.
  • Ran for mayor of Prince Albert – lost.
  • Elected provincial party leader by default (nobody else wanted the job)
  • Ran for Premier – lost and lost his seat.
  • Ran for Parliament – won.
  • Ran for federal party leader – lost.
  • Ran for federal party leader – won.
  • Ran for Prime Minister – and won three consecutive elections.
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Don’t Squander a Balance Transfer

Debt sucks. It’s like a black hole into which is sucked not just your money, but your freedom as well. I would much rather be owed than to owe. When you are beholden to someone, you are at their mercy. They own you.

In the case of credit card debt and credit line debt and other loans, there is a huge financial implication, but the principle is the same as any other debt. You are beholden to the credit card company or loan issuer, and no matter what else you want to do with your money, you better pay them off first.

Being debt-free is one element in increasing happiness, so paying down debt – especially high-interest credit card debt – is a big practical opportunity. But paying down debt is tough, especially when each month the interest is using up so much of the money you would want to use to pay down the debt.

Enter the balance transfer credit cards. This is typically an offer that would read something like this:

Transfer your credit card to us, and for the next six months you will pay no interest.


Transfer your credit card to our card, and for the next 12 months you will pay just 1.9 percent interest.

This sounds pretty seductive, especially if you are now paying 14 percent or 16 percent or more. Just think of all the things you could do with that extra $300 or $400 or $500 a month that you will save on interest.


Don’t think about “all” the things you can do with the money you save on interest. Think about just ONE thing you can do – pay down the debt.

If you are saving $300 per month, that means you have $300 to pay down the debt. At the end of six months, you will have paid off $1800 of debt. Why is this important? Because at the end of six or nine or 12 months, full interest rate will kick in. If you can pay a lot of the debt down while the balance-transfer effect is on, you’ll be much less indebted in the future and you’ll be much better positioned to continue paying down the debt so that you will never be owned by anybody again.

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Just who are you anyway?

What do you rely on for your happiness?

Do you make your own happiness? Or do you wait for it to come to you?

Do you create your own future? Or do you rely on tarot readings an fortune tellers?

Do you blaze your own path? Or do you follow people around you?

Do you work alone? Or do you prefer to run with the crowd?

These are not right and wrong answer questions. These are questions about who you are. Knowing who you are is important for making decisions in your life.

No matter how much you might fall in love with somebody because you share interests or because you like how they look or talk or smell, if you want to build a lifetime together, the person had better be compatible at a much more fundamental level.

Your next job might seem like fun because of the subject matter. Or the pay. Or because of location, or the company’s reputation. But if your position is not compatible with your personality, you will neither excel at you job nor enjoy it very much. It is one of the great urban legends that if somebody is a good vice president, they should be promoted to president. It takes a totally different personality to excel at being number one than at being number two.

You don’t have to be psychic to find your ideal place in the world. But you do have to know yourself.

READ ALSO: Define success

READ ALSO: Priorities


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Pain Is Our Friend. Really.

Pain is good. We suffer pain because we don’t understand it. And because it hurts (that explains the “suffer” part).

Pain serves a single, dedicated purpose in our lives; it is a warning. We place our hands on a hot stove and the pain makes us remove our hand before too much damage is done (hopefully). Imagine if we could feel no pain. There are some people who can’t. They often cause damage to themselves, and they have to tip-toe through life to avoid damaging themselves even more.  They simply have no warning system.

When a door squeaks, it is calling out for oil. When your elbow hurts, it is calling out for…a doctor?

Perhaps.  Or perhaps to stop making that movement that hurts so much.

Don’t “suffer” your pain. Embrace it. Love it. Listen to it and follow its advice. It is giving you a valuable warning.





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The Sun Always Shines

The sun is the giver of life. And it is always there.

Yes, even on cloudy days. Even when highly overcast, there is sun. That huge ball of fire so unimaginably far away pierces through outer space and even through the clouds.

Ever since setting up our solar power generation, I have been highly focused on the ridiculous lack of sun these past two months – most likely a world record for this time of year.

But the sun has been shining through and we have been generating as much as 40% of solar capacity on overcast days. While this is a minor victory for solar power and a pain in the butt for people looking for excuses to ignore sunscreen warnings about cloudy days, it is of some comfort to anybody who feels like the sun might have abandoned them.

Yes, even on dismal days, there is a sun smiling on you. And if you don’t wiggle your way out of putting on the sunscreen, it’s a happy smile indeed.

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Fable of the Porcupine Family

It was deep in the midst of January, and the cold was taking its toll on Hidden Valley’s wildlife community.

The Porcupine Family was hunkered down, trying to keep warm by cuddling close to one another. Like this, they were able to cover themselves and protect each other from the cold, much the way penguins do in Antarctica.

Alas, the quills of each porcupine wounded its closest companions. Before long, each of them had had pretty much enough and they decided to distance themselves one from the other.

But cold is cold and freezing is freezing and they slowly began to die – alone and frozen. So the Porcupines had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or succumb to a slow and painful death.

Wisely, they decided to get back together. It was not easy, but they learned to put up with the little wounds caused by such a close relationship with their companions, in order to receive the living warmth that came from the others. It was like this that the Porcupine family was able to survive the cold winter.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people closer together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of the others and can admire each other’s endearing qualities and find happiness together.

READ ALSO: OZ: the fantasy or the reality

READ ALSO: The Four Candles


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