Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time is the Ultimate Currency

I used to teach Economics in high school. One of the central ideas I wanted the kids to get is that you control your own lot in life. We started down this path with the idea of resources and trade offs. When you have a job, you trade the resource of your time for the resource of their money. You then take the money and trade it for various other things--goods, services, etc. If your job pays $9/hour and you think you are worth $12/hour, you should quit and find someone that agrees with your assessment of your value. They didn't always like this because it puts the responsibility for their pay back on them. That means it is much harder to complain about your job!

Today I was thinking about stuff while driving and something occurred to me that I never said to those high school seniors (mostly). If time is ultimately your currency, then everyone starts out equally as wealthy. We all have 24 hours to spend each day. What separates us and makes some more monetarily wealthy than others is how we spend our resource of time. Do we spend it learning and studying and honing our skills? Do we spend it thinking of and perfecting ways to get more out of each hour, i.e. process improvement, ways to be more efficient? Do we spend it complaining about how bad things are? Do we spend our time working for someone else and not giving ourselves enough credit? Do we spend our time worrying about how we are spending our time? Do we spend it partying and not really working toward anything?

Time is, by far, the most valuable and finite resource we have. You can never, ever recover it and the effects of how we spend it pretty much last the rest of our lives--good and bad. Next time the jealousy bug creeps in and you wonder how that guy or gal got so much more wealth or success than you, evaluate how he or she spends their time and how you spend your time. Perhaps the trade off they chose to make in order to get to that point is not one you are willing to make. Perhaps they had a flash of brilliance that changed their lives. Who knows. My point is this, before you get jealous or resentful, think about what YOU could accomplish with better trades for your time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Courtesy and Common Decency

So my wife got this new dress. It is quite a pretty dress and she looks very good in it. Problem is that it doesn't fit perfectly in the top area. She didn't realize this fact until she was already at work yesterday. Movement was difficult as she tried to retain her modesty. Not that it was inappropriate or somehow trashy, she's just fairly conservative and it showed a bit more than she wanted to show. A little alteration work on it and it will be fine--very flattering. Oh yeah and she works as a banker. So, while working yesterday she had not one but 4 different guys make at least somewhat inappropriate comments to her about the dress!! One even went so far as to peer over the desk to try to get a better look. That same guy called today to follow up on a bank issue and asked her what she was wearing today!!! If it were a coworker, it would have absolutely crossed into the sexual harassment arena.

My question is this, what in the world would make a guy think it is ok to make comments like that in a professional environment? Does the guy think he is going to get her number by creeping her out? Is it because he is a customer and not a coworker that he thinks he can get away with it?

Guys, show some class. Even if you are looking, keep your comments to yourself. Don't help speed the decay of the moral fabric of our country--and quit hitting on my wife!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


What do Mike Tyson, Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, Dave Ramsey, Burt Reynolds, MC Hammer, Tammy Wynette and Abraham Lincoln all have in common? They were all broke after being wealthy. According to Sports Illustrated, 78% of former NFL players are bankrupt within 2 years after retirement. This goes to show you that those people who "should" have money often do not have money. Appearances are not everything. If I were to ask you what a rich person looked like you probably have a preconceived notion in your head that you would default to. Pretty much everyone does. A rich person has... or wears ... or drives... or lives... . The reality is that you can't judge the proverbial book by its cover. Plenty of rich people drive the same thing they drove years ago. They wear Walmart specials and clip coupons. They do these things because these things helped make them rich. These habits got them there--hard work, frugality, staying out of debt. I see it very often in my job. The smelly guy walks in to the office and wants to sell a $500,000 house that is debt free and pay cash for a different $500,000 property. Or maybe it is on a smaller scale. They want to sell the debt free $150,000 house and travel in the paid for $100,000 RV for 8 months out of the year. My point is this, in our modern world it is a tremendous mistake to judge someone's "value" based on their appearance--maybe even more so than it used to be. Instead, treat everyone as "million dollar clients."

It is rewarding to you to know that everyone got great service and everyone was treated well. No one can say you favored one other the other because everyone was served well. Plus, that kind of attention will only get you raving fans. The other thing I would encourage you to do is to take an honest look at yourself. Do you pre-judge people? Chances are, you do. It is human nature, part of our defense mechanisms to look for potential threats. In the future, try to analyze your prejudices and determine if they are founded or just part of the culture you grew up in. Becoming good at this will change your life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't Hold Back

Last week I wrote about a near death experience and how that made me pause to think about a lot of stuff. How do I treat those closest to me? Do I spend "enough" time with them? Is there ever "enough" time? Does my wife know I love her? Do my kids know that I love them no matter what? Do my friends know I love them? All very good questions for us to visit every so often. Hopefully it won't take a near death experience for you to think about these things. Hopefully, my near death experience is sufficient fodder for you to pause and reflect on life questions. That said, I want to share with you some of the thoughts I've had since then...
  • I want my daughter to marry someone that writes her love letters AFTER they are married. I stole this idea from Jon Acuff. He is writing love letters to his wife this year as a sort of "love dare" type project.
  • I want my son to marry someone that is worthy of him writing love letters to after they are married. I want both of my kids to be patient, insightful, wise, faithful and trusting in God's plan when they choose their marriage covenant partner. I want them to understand what a covenant is and that it is not a temporary arrangement.
  • I never, ever, ever want my kids to wonder if I still love them. I don't even want this to be a possibility for them to think this. I want it to be obvious when I am nice to them, when I am stern with them, when I discipline them, when I am proud of them, when I am disappointed in them. I want all of those scenarios to still reflect my love for them. I know it is possible. My parents did a pretty good job of it and I don't know that they did it on purpose. If I do it on purpose, I should be able to do a great job.
  • I want my model of manhood to be worthy of my son's imitation. Kids look to their parents for everything. They look at them to learn how to treat spouses, siblings, strangers. They look to their parents for ideas on politics, social life, drinking, religion and adulthood. Often times they mimic what they see. Sometimes it is consciously, sometimes not (remember Cats in the Cradle--ooohhooohh, still gives me goose bumps thinking about that song). Sometimes you don't even realize they have mimicked you until YEARS later. I want my example, the things Jonas picks up on early in life and the things that don't show up for years and years, to be one I can be proud to pass on.
  • I don't want to leave things unsaid or with doubt. I see my kids and wife every day. I have lots of opportunities to tell them and show them I love them. I don't see any one of my friends every day. I don't have/make tons of opportunities for them to know how I feel about them. I don't need to waste a single one. Go ahead and say it. You might not get another chance. It's ok if they think you are sentimental or sappy. They will appreciate it whenever the last time does officially happen.
  • You really can't take it with you and you really don't know when you are going to go. I was inches away from dying. If I had over-corrected just a bit more, I would have flipped or run into an embankment. If I hadn't swerved quite as hard or if the drunk hadn't gone on into the ditch, I would be dead. Why horde things? Give freely. Give often. Give unexpectedly. Give lots. Don't worry if they are "taking advantage of you"--that's "their" problem, not yours. You might not get to give it to them later. Christians, 10% is a guideline--it is not a "rate". Don't limit yourself or God's ability and willingness to provide when you provide for others.
I hope these provide some food for thought. Thinking about these things will lead to you DOING something. Doing some of this stuff on PURPOSE will help you make other people have extraordinary lives. Helping other people have extraordinary lives will be rewarding beyond measure.

What are some other ideas that can lead to an action that helps someone else live an extraordinary life?