My wife has fallen in love with all things related to Hamilton the Musical. While I admit to being skeptical about blending 18th century history with rap, I have to admit it seems to work.
However, one thing stuck me with many of the songs. The first time I heard them, I felt I'd heard them before. I don't know enough rap to place it, but one obvious one stuck out to me.
Reminds me of:
I should probably cut Hamilton some slack. We see the same common themes in stories and movies all the time. I would be a hypocritical Rocky fan if I didn't acknowledge that the Italian Stallion got one shot. Thankfully he didn't rap about it.
I started thinking about the concept of getting one shot. It disturbed me.
Why must we only get one shot? Who made up that rule?
When it comes to opportunities, why must life be like Oliver Twist:
As I've come to learn over the last 10 years, many of the answers to life's problems can be solved by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You just need to know how to read and interpret the verse.
Today's inspirational quote comes to you from Chosen 7:22
"So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
We might not be Slayers with a powerful Witch and a magical scythe, but the point is simple... Why believe that you've only got one shot?
Change the rules... create multiple shots. The better you get at something the harder it is for someone to NOT give you a shot.
When Steph Curry perfected his shooting technique he not only made himself indispensable for Golden State... he ensured that all the other NBA teams would give him an opportunity if something were to happen down the line.
I feel like this is getting over preachy and motivational, so I want to bring this back around to personal finance. If you have a sound personal finance foundation, you may find yourself with the flexibility to create more shots.
The biggest problem that I'm facing is that I'm still trying to figure out what I want my shot to be in the first place. I think I need to take some time to figure that out.
This weekend I reposted my article, How To Be Successful in the New Year, which has been an annual tradition for years. The keys to success haven't really changed, but my understanding has over time. Last year, I set out to create a website designed to curate the very best information to help you live the best life possible.
If that sounds a little too ambitious for the "Lazy Man" give yourself a pat on the back. Be Better Now has 50 articles that cover a very small percentage of what I hope to cover. It's not enough to call it a comprehensive plan to living the best life possible, but I think there's enough to get you started down the right path.
In the spirit of the New Year and making resolutions to be the best we can be, I thought I'd highlight a few of the articles and why they may help you:
In 10 years of writing Lazy Man and Money and reading personal finance blogs/magazines, I like to think I've learned a thing or two. This article is my first attempt to put together my best ideas on retiring early/reaching financial freedom. You could read dozens of books on the subject or you can start with the ten minutes of this blog post. It's your choice, but you know which one I'd go with, right?
I realize I'm in the minority where I work from home. I need to structure my whole day to make sure that I don't waste it. It's too easy for me to read about the 53rd player on the Patriots roster who will likely not make meaningful contributions to the team.
For this reason, I wrote an article about what my most productive day would look like. I don't follow it every day, but it's a good guide to have a place. It gives me something to strive for. Even if you don't work from home, I think the idea of planning your best day and getting it in writing is helpful. If you need a little help getting started, take a look at my day and incorporate what you find useful into your life.
Other Productivity Ideas
There are a few productivity articles that aren't so ambitious as the last two which can help you with very specific problems. For example:
Yoga Berra once said "Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical." His purposeful erroneous math makes it memorable, but he's certainly correct about being mentally focused being the key to success (even outside of baseball). With that in mind (pun intended), here are some articles that may help you:
Hopefully you found a couple of things in here that you wanted to learn more about. At the very least, give one of the articles a read. I designed Be Better Now to be more addictive than crack. I might not have succeeded, but the idea was to help push you down a path of self-improvement. I found that once you improve in one area it becomes easier to improve in all areas. Once you gain control of your money, it's easier to parlay that success to gain control of your diet. Once you master the art of having your most productive day, you'll have time to cook meals at home which are healthier and cost less.
I find that self improvement all works together. However, it only works if you are willing to take a step. Are you up for the challenge?
One of the deal sites that I follow mentioned a great deal on Blinkist. I hadn't heard of it before, but the description intrigued me. Blinkist is a website (with mobile apps naturally) that curates top non-fiction books (mostly business and self-improvement) into abstracts that you can read in 15 minutes. From my brief experience it's around 250 words a chapter.
So instead of reading a whole book, you can read the equivalent of a lengthy blog post. Obviously retention isn't going to be the same. But it is better to have read and lost than never to have read at all. Also, you can copy notes or send them to Evernote. The deal is new to me so I haven't tried out all the features. I have just read a couple of books on my phone and web browser. So far, I'd say it's the best thing I've done all week (and it's been an exceptional week for me).
Normally it is $80/yr, but StackSocial has a $30/yr offer. (You might want to set your calendar to cancel so it doesn't renew at the $80 price.) Blinkist has different tiers of memberships, but this is for the top tier that includes audio summaries.
I've already implemented some of the advice in Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking on this website.
If there was a measure of "money well spent", I think this would get my highest recommendation. It's a small investment in time, a small investment in money, and a large return in information. When people say you should invest in yourself, it can be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Getting the information in 1000+ books for $30 just slaps all the other "investments in yourself" in the face.
P.S. If you caught the terrible grammar in the title earlier, I apologize. I had to balance between writing something up really quickly to get the kids ready for the day or skipping informing you on the deal. I made a last minute change in the title and didn't make the article agree. Ugh! In any case, I hope you find the deal helpful.
The National Football League kicks off another season this week. In honor of my favorite sport, I thought I'd bring you some tips from the football world. Some of these are only tangentally financially related, but I found a lesson in all of them.
The Michael Vick dog fighting situation was much talked about but perhaps the best quote was by the Atlanta Falcons coach:
"When you have a crisis involving one of your players, and this certainly is a crisis, I believe you do three things. You mourn properly, you do something positive for someone deeply affected by the crisis -- someone like [Owner Alan] Blank -- then you get back to putting your energies into what was important before the crisis. That's what we've done." - Bobby Petrino
This sounds like solid advice for anyone in a crisis such as this. I'd only add that it's worth it to look into an the ounce of prevention. If they had been following their biggest franchise player, they have known it long before they committed so much money to him.
How to Prevent Adversity
The NBA had a problem with one of their officials betting on games he was officiating, definitely a huge conflict of interest. The NFL Commissioner was quick to address the NFL officials:
"Let's be thankful it wasn't us. But let's react like it was." -- Roger Goodell
Looks like Mr. Goodell here is learning from someone else's mistakes. Sounds like he's going to put preventative measures in place to ensure that it doesn't happen in the NFL.
How to be More Productive
Football coaches script their first 20 plays before the game even starts. Incorporating that idea into his own life, Steve Rubel says he scripts out five things he'll do at the office the next day.
Value of Education
Even if you make millions, education is still important. The USA Today article is about how many players are taking classes at top business schools.
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