Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ONE Answer

People are funny creatures. I say that a lot but it is true. We do things all the time that we know are wrong. This particular blog is about that phenomenon. We are constantly looking for the "right" answer. I know this could go into deep religious discussion but please try to refrain from steering it that way. We don't even have to get that philosophical. Look at politics, marriages, game shows, our obsession with science, etc. Humans constantly bicker over whose answer is "the right one".

Take politics, we are, for all intents and purposes, right now, a two party system. I know there are groups outside those two parties that have tremendous influence and may eventually become major players, but for now, we have two main parties. Both parties point fingers at the other party saying how they are "wrong". The parties insist that they have the answer to fix everything. Neither party can admit that it is possible both could be right, both could be wrong or there is somewhere in between. And it doesn't even matter which particular stump they are standing on!

Looking at marriages, we tend to want to mold our spouse into carbon copies of ourselves on certain issues because we are right and they are wrong. We leave out the possibility that they are right too, just raised differently.

Why do we do this? I think it is because we want verification of our own insecurities. In other words, if I can make you see the light that I was correct and you were wrong, I must, in fact, ACTUALLY be right. I think I am right, but if I win the debate, I have PROVEN I am right and I feel good about myself.  It makes us uncomfortable to think we could be wrong, or worse yet, the other side could be right ALSO.

What do we do? I think the first thing we do is accept that FACT that we can be wrong. We also accept the fact that, just because we were taught something growing up, doesn't make it infallible. This is a hard lesson for folks. We also need to constantly seek the company of people older, wiser and more intelligent than ourselves so that we can stay humble and continue to grow. Don't surround yourself constantly with people just like you!!!

That's all I have today. Go Blue and be nice to each other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How Old is Too Old?

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately for some reason. I know this is a touchy subject for people and one that is nearly impossible to NOT get emotional about. I am trying to approach this from a "what would I want" and an objective standpoint. Tell me what you think.

As people age, their bodies fail. We all know this. As time goes on, medicine "improves" and our ability to fight ailments, sustain life and reverse aging increases. Is this really a good thing? That is the over all question of this blog entry.

Do we really do anyone any favors by sustaining their lives when they are completely invalid and have virtually none of the faculties they used to have, mental, physical, even emotional? At what point do we cross from keeping them alive and sustaining a quality life to prolonging the inevitable and potentially inflicting more pain (not just physical)? How big of a role does the health care industry itself play in this? In other words, they play into our emotions to sustain a miserable life in the name of being "humane" and make big bucks doing so.

Think about it, you are a fully functioning, completely independent 60 year old. You have a massive (fill in the blank with some terrible physical episode) that causes permanent damage and ensures you will never be able to be independent. Do you really want to be sustained? Fast forward, you are the same only 80 when you have this episode, do you want to be sustained? Do we sometimes sustain life for us rather than for the sick person? In other words, who is this life sustaining medicine really for? Sometimes I think it is more for the healthy ones who are unwilling to let go.

I am not condemning the behavior, I totally understand. But, is it really humane? I know the obvious argument is, well what if they could have gotten better? What if there was a miracle cure of some kind. I get that, really, I do. But, realistically, how long can someone hold out for this? How long before we are really just causing misery instead of holding on to hope?

I am undecided on this issue. I don't know the "right" or "moral" thing to do. I do know that it should be discussed. I also know that it makes people uncomfortable to think about because it reminds us of our mortality. I would never want someone to "quit" but at the same time, I don't want people to suffer if there is no chance of recovery. I am not advocating purposely ending someone's life (like a Dr. Kevorkian thing), but perhaps consciously NOT sustaining life.

Ok, your turn. Please be respectful. People carry a LOT of baggage in this area for an assortment of reasons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is a Professional?

I interact with lots and lots of people on a daily basis. Most of the people I interact with call themselves professionals. Some truly are, some really are not. This blog is basically an exploration of what I think defines someone as a professional. Feel free to disagree, agree, discuss, call me names, whatever. It will be delivered in bulleted list format.

A professional is:
  • An expert in his or her field--a true professional understands his or her field and continuously hones their knowledge, skill set and ability. The professional never settles for "good enough" when it comes to self improvement. At the same time, the professional knows that they can't know everything, be the best at everything, etc. and always leaves room for correction. They are open to suggestions!
  • A great communicator--because the professional is an expert, he or she knows the field well enough to tell others about it. The professional can communicate to lay persons in such a way that they can understand it. The old saying--"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." is 100% false. Those that can, do and should be able to teach it as well. If you can't explain it, you might not be as good at it as you think you are.
  • Focused on growing instead of maintaining--again, never settle for good enough. A professional looks for ways to improve business and to grow the business. A professional tries to streamline the process, looks for ways to make things more efficient and focuses on the parts of his or her business that will grow while eliminating the rabbit holes.
  • Not afraid to take calculated risks--and they know how to calculate the risks!!
  • NOT willing to take advantage of his or her clients--This is important. I know nothing about HVAC. Any HVAC person knows that I know nothing about HVAC. It would be very, very easy to take advantage of me. I only trust professionals, however, that won't do that.
  • Courteous of your time and resources--a professional will respect you and your time. They will not try to spend all your resources just because you trust them. They call you back! It is amazing to me how much money is spent by people to advertise their name and phone number and then they won't even call you back!!!
  • able to anticipate needs/wants--a professional has been there, done that and can often anticipate what you will need or want before you ask for it. They can also read your reactions (most of the time) and will make good suggestions to help you better reach your goals. They are also focused on that, YOUR goals, not their own.
  • consistent--a professional doesn't change with the seasons. They are confident and knowledgable enough to give you the right answer the first time. They may amend their answer later, since they are always growing, but they don't just flip flop all the time.
  • not afraid to say "I don't know"--they are self assured enough that it doesn't scare them to have to find an answer or ask for help. It does not hurt their ego to need help. This is huge--it is impossible to know everything and a true professional acknowledges this fact. A true professional does know, however, how and where to find answers.
  • not lazy--man, there is nothing more annoying to me than lazy people who expect to be treated as professionals.
 This is my list. What else, in your mind, defines someone as a professional?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I have written about "success" in the past. What is it, how do you define it, how should we view it, etc. In this blog I want to look at another aspect of success. What determines whether or not a specific person will attain financial success?

It's interesting to listen to people talk about the success of others. I think these conversations offer a direct window into the talker's personality and general disposition on success. It is also really interesting to hear someone discuss the success of someone they only know about through the media. How can they possibly know all the events that led to someone's success?

This is one of those "age old questions." If we can determine what makes someone financially successful, theoretically, we can mimic the actions and thus repeat the outcome. The problem arises in cooking one's success down to a list of actions, providence, connections, etc. that is repeatable. Here are some things I have seen people "blame" other people's success on.
  • they were born into it--i.e. it was nothing they accomplished
  • God blessed them randomly
  • they are of a certain race/religion/sex/creed/ethnicity
  • they cheated others to get there
  • they were "just lucky" (many variations--right place, right time, pure luck, happenstance that something caught on, etc.)
  • they worked their butt off
  • they made the right connections
  • they kissed the right rear ends
  • they earned it (though I don't hear this one enough)
So which of these is "typically" responsible for success? I tend to think that it is never one or two things that lead to a person's success. Take Bill Gates. What did he do to become financially successful? He invented/created/devoloped something. Did he do it alone? Was he just walking along and "WHAMMO" he has this computer and operating system and whatever else? How did he get the knowledge necessary to develop his ticket to success? Once he had it, how did he know what to do with it in order to actually turn the product into $$$? How did he know how to sustain growth at his upstart company?  How did he finance his upstart company? What made him more successful than the Commodore people and the Tandy people? There is always more to it than just having a great idea.

My point is this, we tend to look back at the long, long road some successful person has traveled and pick a few "milestones" in that person's life that we think are the only important episodes in their success. We do that because it gives us hope. If we could just have that golden idea...If I could just meet that angel investor...If the right person would notice me...If, if, if. The truth is, in order to attain that success we want, we have to take thousands and thousands of baby steps toward the goal. Hopefully we never actually reach it. Successful people never stop developing. That's why they are successful. Notice I didn't say "never stop working." Working and developing are not the same. The cool thing about developing is that you don't have to pick one single, narrow path to focus on. You CAN do that but you don't HAVE to. Some of the best ideas are offshoots of offshoots of other ideas. You just have to be open to receiving those ideas when they come. In the meantime, connect to people, be curious, develop yourself. You are the most valuable resource you own.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What to do, what to do...

I have so much buzzing around in my head to write about tonight. I normally try to do my blog in the morning on Wednesday. It was not feasible to do that today so I am trying to write it now. Problem is, my head is clouded with so much info that I want to write about that I can't focus on one thing.

Big topic is the whole Chick Fil A thing. Here is my take, this whole debacle has done absolutely NOTHING to actually further anyone's agenda and has definitely not done anything to further God's kingdom. The end.

Primary elections are tomorrow. I know who I am voting for and who I am definitely NOT voting for. I hope you do as well.

Led a discussion in college class tonight about social media and if it is a useful tool in evangelism. Interesting topic. We ended the discussion with basically the idea that the Bible teaches about how to use social media--Do everything in love. 1 Cor. 16:14.  Also posed the question--Is it Biblical to "stand up for your Christian rights"? Would Jesus have encouraged us to fight for our "rights as Christians"?

Real estate is still going strong for me. I am on track to close 30+transactions this year. God is good.

Also, the realization that my son is 5 and going to kindergarten is very, very real. I HAVE to embrace this time as it is slipping away very, very quickly. Guilt is pressing on me so much right now. I just want him to look back when he is 20 and say, "man, my dad was a hard worker but he always had time for me." I want my actions to communicate to my children just how precious they really are. It is very hard to balance time with them, with Cindy and with my clients.

That about sums it up. Oh yeah, and glad I didn't buy Facebook stock. Good night.