Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Reading List....



June reading list, with summaries…..

1.     Stoicism (Ancient Philosophies) by John Sellars: Solid overview of the development, history and timeline of the Stoic philosophies, to include the many authors who paved the way.
2.     Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: The life philosophy of one of the great stoics, covering birth, life, death and everything in between. Some exceptional quotes to draw on for every area of life.  
3.    On the Shortness of Life by Seneca (The Younger): Quick read on the importance of living and actually enjoying life, with several reminders of how quickly it passes us by when we do not focus on what’s important.
4.    The Silence: What it is and How to Use it: by David V. Bush: Biblically based book on the importance of silencing our minds and being in tune with nature, our community and God.
5.    The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: Encyclopedia of best practices for shortening your workday/week or even ending your current career so that you can pursue your real passions.
6.    The Art of Getting Money by P.T. Barnum: Nice reminder of some of the basics of accumulating and, more importantly, holding onto, a fortune. It’s amazing how these principles withhold the test of time, regardless of changes to political parties or economies.
7.    Escape by Paula Pant: Fast read about the basic principles, including actionable specifics required, to retire early and live the life you want.  
8.    Common Sense by Thomas Paine: Moral and political arguments presented in 1775-76 for independence from England and the establishment of a democratic republic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Epictetus Quote...



“Of things, some are up to us, and some are not up to us. Up to us are opinion, impulse, desire, aversion and, in a word, all our actions. Not up to us are our body, possessions, reputations, offices and, in a word, all that are not our actions” – Epictetus

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day Thoughts....



As a Christian and combat veteran, both of the following quotes ring very true to me on the day we celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice, which allow the rest of us to enjoy the everyday freedoms we take for granted.

“No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G.I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.” –Author Unknown

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May Book Quotes....



I read a fair amount. I say ‘fair amount’ because volume is relative and some of you might read considerably more than I do. During my best year, I was able to get through 78 books, but, over time, I have reduced my reading load to around 2 books per month, focusing primarily on financial literacy, leadership, and fitness. I write brief summaries on each book I read, which I share at the end of each year. Recently, I decided to start listing my favorite quote from each book, which I will share more often. Below are quotes from the books I’ve read to date during the month of May, along with my thoughts on those quotes as they relate to our current situation….

From The Design of Business by Roger Martin: “Design isn’t just about making things beautiful; it’s also about making things work beautifully.” – This pandemic has resulted in our society having to make massive shifts in the way we work, shop and communicate with each other. How can we design our lives going forward so that we are protected, but do not lose those things which are most precious to our livelihoods, relationships, and souls?

From Keys to a Successful Retirement by Fritz Gilbert: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born…and the day you find out why.” – All of us were born for this moment in time, but we have to recognize this and take action. Who will we be for someone that needs us right now? How do we want to be remembered by others when times were tough?

From Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy: “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – I love this quote. With everything going on in the world, this is a critical question to ask, both for ending this pandemic and in deciding what we want our individual futures to look like. Define what success looks like to you and then map out your path to get there….

From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: “…at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.” – The character in the story who makes this quote goes on to discuss one’s ‘Personal Legend,’ which really has me thinking more and more about what I was put on earth to accomplish. What is your ‘Personal Legend’ and what are you doing to achieve it?

We each take different lessons from the books we read, the lives we lead and the lessons we heed. Continue to look for opportunities to learn, grow and get better. Feel free to share any recent books you’ve read, along with your takeaways…

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Life@Sea....




My old Army buddy, Ragnar, staying buff and in shape while keeping America moving….

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli  …

What I’m Listening To/WatchingJocko Willink podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Home projects ....

Where I’m Succeeding: Sticking to the plan(s) ….

Where I’m Struggling Emotional intelligence ….

What I’m Grateful For:  An increased appreciation for the importance of time ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking“Our lives aren’t shaped by our conditions. Our lives are shaped by our decisions.” – Tony Robbins

What I’m Excited About: Opportunity 

What I’ve Been Pondering: How to best serve others during these times 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Deepak Chopra Quote....



Without uncertainty and the unknown, life is just a stale repetition of outworn memories. You become the victim of the past, and your tormentor today is yourself left over from yesterday. Relinquish your attachment to the known, step into the unknown, and you will step into the field of all possibilities. – Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What to do....



I’ve been talking to friends and relatives about what to do while quarantined, unable to work, etc.

Fortunately, I’m working and have a great employer keeping our workspace safe and clean. However, I can relate to the boredom and depression that can result from having a lot of time on my hands. A few thoughts after consulting with friends and looking for ways to keep my son busy during these times:

·       Spiritual/Personal Growth: No time is better than right now to do some self-reflection, get back in touch with your creator and learn something new. There are tons of online courses, most of which are free, to learn new hobbies and skills. Check out the Bible App for some great plans and daily inspiration as well.
·       Physical Growth: One of the things I’m looking most forward to in early retirement at the end of next year is being able to better organize my diet and workouts, as being at the whim of someone else’s schedule has a HUGE impact on both. The picture above is some work I did recently to rip out a drop ceiling and carpet and move some old equipment around to create a home gym. Nothing fancy or pretty, but it eliminates any excuses for slacking.
·       Family Time: Man…We all claim that our family is the most important part of our lives, but when we (and I mean ‘ME’ here) really have more time for those closest to us, what do we do? I admit failing here but have recognized this and am really enjoying dedicating more time to those I care about the most.
·       Finishing Things: I am part of an accountability group and the 4 categories we report on are Faith, Family, Fitness and Finances. Something I’ve learned a lot about throughout this pandemic is the importance of sticking to the plan. Routine is critical to success. Look at all highly successful people and they have that in common. I’ve worked hard throughout this situation to continue to report and be accountable to those I am motivated by and aspire to be more like.
·       Give: Very simply, people around us are hurting right now. Who (what kind of person) will you want folks to tell your grandchildren you were years from now when this is behind us? Find something or someone in your community to help. Put yourself in their shoes. Have empathy. Think about all of the people who have helped you along the way. More important, think about how you want to be remembered and how you want your creator to think of you between now and the short period of time before you meet Him.

I get it. There’s a lot better advice out there and certainly more we can do with our time. Feel free to chime in. And please know that I’m thinking and praying for you and yours during these times. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and feel free to comment and share your own wisdom.



Monday, April 13, 2020

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m What I’m Reading: Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing by J. Scott …

Listening To/WatchingBigger Pockets Money podcasts…

What I’m Working On: The ‘Honey Do’ List ....

Where I’m Succeeding: Focusing ….

Where I’m Struggling Letting go ….

What I’m Grateful For:  An appreciation for a plethora of time I’ll never likely get again with those I value the most ….

Quote That Has Me ThinkingThe purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



What I’m Excited About: A decision .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 1.7 (yes, despite all of this, I’m sticking to the scheduled timeline) ….

Sunday, April 12, 2020

He is Risen....

Someone I respect greatly sent me the following text on Good Friday:

“Happy Easter to you and your family. Maybe it is no coincidence if this 3 day period ends up being the deadliest of the pandemic and deaths start dropping afterwards…..”



As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” – Mark 16:5-7


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Life@Sea....




Ragnar, my old Army buddy, staying in shape, while traveling up and down the east coast keeping America moving forward…..

Monday, April 6, 2020

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading: Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing by J. Scott …

What I’m Listening To/WatchingAfford Anything podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Spring Cleaning (just a more sexy way of saying ‘yard work’ and ‘planting my spring gardens')....

Where I’m Succeeding: Finishing things I WANT to finish ….

Where I’m StrugglingTerry College of Business CFP Program Case Study ….

What I’m Grateful For:  My Grandmother and the legacy/memories she left behind. Oddly, conversations with her ring more loudly in my ears now, more than ever ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

What I’m Excited About: Opportunities to give back.….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 1.75 (yes, despite all of this, I’m sticking to the scheduled timeline) ….

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stevenson Quote....



“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” -  Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Be....

Quit aspiring to be; Simply Be….


Being disciplined is hard. What’s even more difficult are the consequences of an undisciplined life. Creating and sticking to a plan can be painful. However, having to come up with a plan in the middle of chaos can be downright agonizing. Developing real leadership will certainly test one’s fortitude. On the flipside, having to follow a lackey because you left your fate to another will almost certainly result in an unbearable albatross.

Things are hard right now. Our world’s been flipped on its head and our leaders are struggling to shepherd effectively. Throw in the fact that recent times have observed an unprecedented challenge of authority and bipartisanship of all types, and we appear to be on the brink of anarchy.

However, for what it’s worth, I see something different emerging. A reversion back to the mean of sorts….

It’s sexy to be different. Challenging the status quo has become, well, the status quo. Begging for forgiveness instead of asking for permission has become standard. And, for the most part, this approach works when starting out or creating something new. It especially works when life is easy, simple or a previous path has already been blazed in the direction you are heading.

Nobody wants to be told what to do, especially when they’ve been taught to not respect authority or to only respect those in leadership positions who agree with the way you’ve been trained to think (and yes, you’ve been trained to think that way, regardless of how special or how much smarter you’ve been told you are than the rest of us).

This isn’t a plug for any person, political party or methodology of thinking. Mistakes have been made at the medical, political, world, national and local levels. Some of the best and worst decisions have been made by dictators, presidents, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, republicans and democrats. And despite how bad this situation is, I continue to hear folks on all sides of the aisle support those their trained thought process tell them to, regardless of how bad their ‘leaders’ have performed, as well as condemn those they’ve been trained to disagree with. Political parties are spending billions of dollars on television and internet adds to repute those on the other side at a time when our hospitals don’t have adequate amounts of ventilators and our doctors don’t have vaccines or even a treatment for Covid-19.

I have a personal plan. I’m not saying it’s the best plan, but I’ve found that having one to stick to makes life a lot easier when things gets hard. Every day I wake up and immediately ask my creator for guidance. I look to His word, as well as the words of others (by way of books, podcasts, etc.) who have been successful. I think of 3 things I am grateful for as a way of realizing how good my life really is in a world that continually wants me to think it isn’t. I work out daily and ensure that most of what I put back into my body provides optimal fuel and recovery to keep me healthy and capable of defending and providing for those entrusted to my care (thanks, Chad Howse). I live on less than I make and save/invest the rest (thanks, Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan). And this gives me the opportunity to do something that gives me an even greater peace of mind: Give. Because much has been given to me, I give of my time and resources to others, including supporting causes I believe in, like Habitat for Humanity, The Mission Continues (Veteran-led), my local American Legion and my Church. I also help out as individual needs arise, whether it’s a Church member moving or a bill that’s causing more stress to someone than it’s worth. I try to make every day a success by noon (thanks, Gary Keller) and I know that the 5 people I hang around most and the last 5 books I’ve read will likely reflect who I am as a person (thanks, Jim Rohn). I tell those I live with and those close to me how much I love them regularly, including Kadar, who calls me early every Saturday morning to hold me accountable. I meet with Lee once a month for our long mountain hikes, but more important, our conversations, which always leave me aspiring to be more like him. The end of each month and quarter also requires me to report to my accountability group via email as to how well (or poorly) I am sticking to my quarterly goals. Each evening ends with self-reflection and thanks to my creator for allowing me to make it through another day. It’s also where I most realize how un-special I am and how questionable what I’ve been taught over the course of my life actually is. I catch myself reaching back to those gone (My father and Grandma the most, although others know who they are) for guidance, as theirs tend to be suited to any time and situation. These are the moments (during evening retrospective moments) where I realize that my being special isn’t about me challenging authority or being different; it’s about the fears, inadequacies (and similarities) I share with the rest of my fellow citizens. It’s when I’m most vulnerable, relying on God and those who have gone before me for future direction. Strangely, it’s also when I feel most powerful, drawing on those same energies for guidance to lead those I’ll someday leave behind, who carry my DNA, making me somewhat immortal.

I spoke earlier about a reversion to a mean….

It’s easy to be an investor during a bull market. And when the economy is good and you’ve been provided a decent upbringing, it's not all that difficult to find your way in a free market, capitalist society. Finally, everyone’s an expert and no one needs help (or leadership) when you’re young, healthy and surrounded by peace and prosperity.

However….

·       There are no atheists in a foxhole (I’ve been there – this axiom is true)
·       You always find out who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out –(thanks, Warren Buffet)
·       Crises don’t build character. Crises reveal character.

Because of this universal tragedy, people are coming back to the middle, where the majority of us actually reside. Political parties, ideologies, etc. are being shown for what they actually are: divisive entities. We have far more in common than is atypical. We all seek shared truths: ‘What do we come from?’, ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Where are we headed?’

I’m seeing a lot more collaboration than disagreement. I’m hearing a lot more discussion than arguing. I’m experiencing a lot more giving than taking.

Our better angels will prevail. They always do. Our collective wisdom always overcomes our trained disagreements. Our Creator is always in control, despite who we think/wish/hope is in charge.

Keep your head up. Remember that people are watching you right now. Be the person you always said you would be when things get tough.





                                                                                                       


Friday, March 27, 2020

Mitch Albom Quote....



“Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to.” ― Mitch Albom

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Martin Luther Approach...




I totally borrowed this from the Southside Church in Newnan, Georgia (thanks for sharing, Tim!):


Here’s a question many of us are asking these days: 
We certainly aren’t the first generation of Christians to wrestle with that question. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague began its march across Europe. Over 50 percent of Europe’s population would eventually succumb to what is considered by many to be the most devastating pandemic in human history.

During an outbreak in his hometown of Wittenberg, Germany, 
Martin Luther documented his approach to navigating those harrowing days. In a letter to a friend, he wrote:
Martin Luther was practicing social distancing before social distancing was a thing.

But that’s not all he did.
  • He prayed for mercy while acting benevolently.
  • He was available but not careless.
  • He trusted God and loved his neighbor.
As we navigate this season together, let’s keep these three ideas front and center.
Looking forward to Sunday, ONLINE!
Southside Church


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Teddy Roosevelt Quote....



“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coolidge Quote....



Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.” – Calvin Coolidge


Monday, March 23, 2020

Emerson Quote....



“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekly Retrospective....



What I’m Reading: The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea …

What I’m Listening To/Watching: Retirement Starts Today podcasts…

What I’m Working On: Terry College of Business CFP Program Case Study ….



Where I’m Succeeding: Finishing things ….

Where I’m Struggling: My back …

What I’m Grateful For:  Family ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “A major challenge in life is for each person to learn the art of standing guard at the doorway of their mind. Carefully examine the credentials and authority of those seeking to enter within that place where your attitudes are formed.”— Jim Rohn



What I’m Excited About: Joining the local American Legion Volunteer Committee .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 1.93 ….


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rumi Quote....



“Why do you seek water when you are the stream.” - Rumi



Saturday, January 11, 2020

Retrospective....



What I’m Reading: Startup Your Life by Anna Akbari, PhD …

What I’m Listening To/WatchingRetirement Starts Today with Benjamin Brandt podcasts….

What I’m Working On: U.G.A. Certified Financial Planner final case study ….

Where I’m Succeeding: Keto diet…. day 11 of diet and day 6 of being in Ketosis ….

Where I’m Struggling: Staying focused …

What I’m Grateful For:  Family ….

Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Yes, everything you do matters. But everything you don’t do matters just as much. Every little thing you d0 – or don’t do – steers life onto a slightly different course.”— Andy Andrews

What I’m Excited About: Figuring things out .….

What I’ve Been Pondering: The next 2.0 ….