Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thy Brother’s Keeper

“Being thy brother’s keeper”, so often we have heard this term, whether in the biblical sense or in our everyday lives. Yet it is a saying not too often practiced to many of us detriment.

What does it really mean to be thy brother’s keeper? In my opinion I think it means uplifting each other when we fall, carrying the burden when it becomes to heavy for them to bear; even as simple as bringing joy to a saddened soul.

However, what is mostly practiced is selfishness and a sub-conscious desire to hurt others, and pulling down thy brother or sister. Either in an attempt to keep them from surpassing you, to keep them at the level you are at, or to keep them from reaching your level. Whatever the reason may be it doesn’t make it right.

Maybe that person feels threatened by competition, could be lack of self esteem, or some inner hurt caused by a past experience why they feel the need to do so. As the saying goes “misery loves company”.

Ironically, what many do not realize is that collaboration is better in achieving anything than competition. Collaboration enables a common goal to be achieved quicker, greater quality and with greater desirable results. Collaboration builds character and cohesiveness amongst the people involved (it may sound corny and cliché, but it doesn’t take away from it being true). Collaboration builds pride, trust and compassion, which is important in the betterment and furthering of any nation or community.

Competition is good, if it’s in a healthy sense, where you strive to become the best at what you do, and nothing is wrong with that. Where competition becomes unacceptable is when one becomes so competitive to the extent they feel the need to pull down others in order to be seen as the best; which in a sense doesn’t really make you the best, it just puts you ahead of everyone else. In the end whoever may have been dragged down, but they will still be the better than you are.

Bearing others burden shows them that there is still someone who cares and that love really does still exist in the world; again sounds corny but there is still great truth to it.

Understanding and helping rather than criticizing and scrutinizing help us all to realize a nation we can be proud to be a part of, and it helps to uplift not only the people but the overall nation as well. Just think if everyone were to uplift instead of bringing down, then instead of one person reaching the top, only to be quickly replaced by another eventually, if we were all to rise together then we will all be at the top and as such things will be better. It may be slower than if we went at it ourselves, but in the end it is more rewarding for all to be at the top.

I read an article the other day and in it the writer stated, “Real leaders don’t point out the wrong, but find ways to make it better”.

I urge us all to leaders, uplift our brothers and sisters and be each other’s keeper.

All the Best.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making the Right Decisions (Being Business Smart)

“Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Who could ever really say no to that? Everyone wants to be rich, whether for personal gain or otherwise we all like the thought of having a bit of money piled up in our bank accounts.

However, many do not know or understand the basic principles it really takes to obtain riches.

Becoming rich or for those who want more, wealthy, is a nice thought, but do you really have the discipline to endure the sacrifice it is going to take to get to that goal? Before you think about how you want to come across many riches, ask yourself if you are ready for the many hardships and struggles that will come and is needed before you begin seeing a single cent.

The wonders of cable television have led most to believe that riches is denoted by flashy jewelry, fast cars, or popping champagne bottles in the club all weekend, and it exemplifies this through music videos (not rap music but all music). Ladies and gents sadly I am hear to announce that this is an illusion, if anything that depiction is the complete opposite of what “rich” really is or how it is acquired.

With that being said, there are a few basic principles that most, if not all, follow in order to obtain riches, and it all begins with Making the Right Decisions.

Firstly…sacrifice. This is the step that most fail at, simply because of the inability to give up the lifestyle one currently indulges in. Ironically, ones lifestyle has to become less than it is now in order for it to become better in the future. You have to spend less than you are now and enjoy less of the things you are use to. “Pour example” (for example), less groceries at the supermarket; no more Friday night hangouts with your friends that require you to spend unnecessarily; fewer or no night outs at the clubs; no more indulging at lunch time at that fancy restaurant you love so much. Now it’s homemade sandwiches and leftover dinners for you. Basically, the point is you must now move from a life of want to a life of need, only spend on absolute necessities. If your clothes aren’t torn there is no need for new ones (same goes for the shoes ladies).

Just so you know: if you are unable to apply this first principle then it’s pretty much pointless to read on. Discipline is key in obtaining any form of riches or anything good in life for that matter. Whether on a level of content or ultimate satisfaction, just ask the many who already have it and you’ll see, what it began with is sacrifice and discipline.

With the extra money now available at your disposal this is where you must now take that money and turn it into savings. It is important to note you will not see the extra money if you minimize spending on one aspect of your life and maintain or increase on another. The sacrifice has to be right throughout, not taking up new expenses, and effort must be made to distinguish that money as money to be saved ONLY, and not spent, not even for necessities. “It’s okay, we don’t need the loaf of bread this week, we still have some crackers left over” (sacrifice and save).

The next principle is investing, and investing wisely. People Lotto is not investing nor is any get-rich-quick scheme. Investing entails an advised business decision (like owning your own business) where the risks are calculated. Meaning, that there is a strategic plan, research has been done on the business’ feasibility and market, and the right people included, ensuring the greatest possible chance for success. In a sense, not foolishly throwing money away without knowing in greatest detail what you are getting into.

You should also develop the habit of investing small and aiming for big returns. Just because you have the money to invest doesn’t mean you should throw it all away in one investment. Try your hand at one thing with as little capital as is needed. That way even if the business fails you won’t be left in a state of bankruptcy, but still have enough to survive for a few more months, and some to invest in another venture that may work for you. Common business principle: spend the least and expect the most.

Now here’s the final and trickiest part. Once the business or your investment starts booming what is the first thing most people will do? Go out shopping, spending elaborately on latest cars, clothes, house and any other expense that is completely useless and completely unnecessary.

A wise businessman/woman knows the importance of ‘turning over’ profit. This means taking the excess money that has been made from your business and putting it back into the business or in another investment to ensure that there is a consistent flow of money coming in and out of your business (cash flow). Then once this has been done, taking that increased profit ‘turning’ some of it again and saving some as your accumulated ‘wealth’, so to speak.

It can be further explained in a model I came up with called the ‘Saving to Spending Ratio (SSR)’, but that’s for another day. It basically explains that an increase in money earned, can allow you to slowly amass wealth by maintaining your current lifestyle or spending habits even as your bank account grows. It is a principle that can be applied even to employees who may have gotten a promotion or an increase in salary, where the spending habits remain the same even though there is a salary increase.

There are greater depths to business and business principles that one needs to know in order to become greatly successful and wealthy, but with those outlined above at least you will be on your way to realizing the dream of those millions. However, be aware that money doesn’t equal happiness, it’s simply a means to make life a bit easier to live.

By the way, did I mention those annoying rainy days?

All the Best.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Making the Right Decisions (Relationships)

“How do I know if they are the one for me?” It’s an age old question that has plagued us all since the initiation of courting. Truth is you can’t; you will never be able to tell if the person you are interested in is the right person for you, not initially at least. So the best thing to do is take a chance and jump right in.

However, before you jump without your diving equipment let me introduce you to a few principles to help you with deciding who “the one” is.

One of the most common mistakes made by many in getting involved in a relationship is impatience, the inability to take the time to get to know the person in order to see if they are the best thing for you, best thing at that time, and the best for the type of relationship you are looking for.

Getting to know the person does not mean knowing what their likes and dislikes are, or knowing that they like the colour green, or knowing which fast food restaurant they like to eat from. It means getting to know the person on an intimate (not sexually) and personal level, where you feel so connected to the person that it is as if you are family or best friends; keep in mind this is during the courting and dating stage, not during the relationship (just so you know: just because you are good as friends doesn’t mean you’ll be good in a relationship). The point is not to know more so you can get closer to the person, the point is knowing as much about the person, the good and the bad, so that you are better able to make a conscious and rational decision on whether or not this person is the one for you. Most times what is done is we are exposed to the good and jump in without getting to know the bad as well Hence, when the bad starts to surface we are caught in a state of shock and disbelief, and certain expectations for the relationship are now dwindled to nothing more than a physically attraction, if so much. When you are exposed to both sides then it is now up to you to decide to accept the person despite their faults, or just admitting it is too much for you and move on. For it is with the acceptance of the bad that you will better be able to weather the storms of the bad times, since you would have already known what you are getting yourself into. The bad times are usually the test of the relationship’s strength, and if it is really worth the trouble…not the good.

Feelings are important, but most times feelings can quickly cloud your better judgment without you realizing it. Whichever situations you enter into always has to have a balance of both the logical and emotional. Give yourself enough to feel strongly about the person that you want to know more about them and get closer to them, but on the same note being cognizant enough to know when to detect the warning signs of a bad relationship and immediately remove yourself from the situation.

One of the principles that I find works in trying to decide if the person you are attracted to is the one for you is asking yourself this question, “Can I see myself being with this person for the rest of my life? i.e. getting married and enduring until “death do us part”. Many may see this as being a bit too much to be thinking about for a relationship, especially if it is young. However, ask yourself, isn’t the point of one getting into a relationship with someone is to have a lasting, fulfilling life with that person? So if not to live a fulfilled lasting life that you can share with the person, then what is it you are getting into the relationship for? It’s not that you are thinking about getting married to the person at the time, it’s just to help you make a decision you will not regret later on, should that become the case.

Another principle is asking yourself, “Why do I want to be with this person? What is it about this person that separates them from everyone else?” The common misconception is they do things to make you feel good or do things that no one has done for you. Anyone can make you smile and laugh. Anyone will go out of their way for you if they care about you. Anyone will get up 1 p.m. in the middle of the night, come all the way over to your house and hold you when you are scared. Also, anyone can give you the best sex you ever had. These things do not count. What I am referring to is someone who has a particular trait or characteristic that is either non-existent in others or is a rarity. Something that they possess about them that almost no one has or could ever have; because this person is someone you will consider to be special, so they should have a special trait about them that gives you a reason why you would choose them out of everyone else. Search for someone who can add value to your life, who can make you a better person than you are now, and who you can do the same for.

One final principle to follow is, weighing the pros and the cons. Even the simplest of them should be weighed, no matter how trivial and insignificant it may seem. Remember, it is usually the small things that lead to big problems and not the big ones. Measure them and see which weighs more. Not in terms of numbers and amount, but in terms of which carries more weight. For example a man who may not be able to take you to trips around the world, may not be able to buy you the nicest things, doesn’t dress the nicest, and doesn’t take the time to groom that much when he goes out. Yet he cares about you more than even your closet friend ever would, and goes out of his way to ensure your happiness before his…that’s a keeper ladies. A lady who doesn’t have the most beautiful face or figure, or may not dress so that her man can pose with her; yet, she has always been there for you through the good and bad, a woman like that is irreplaceable gents. These are the signs of someone who will truly love you no matter who you are or what you have in your life, they love you for you and nothing else.

On the same note, know that love isn’t enough; it is the most important element, but not the only important one. For if the cons outweigh the love then it is pointless to get involved in such a relationship.

The reason many relationships end up failing is because people get into them for the wrong reasons, do not get into one because you are trying to fill a void left by a past relationship. Do not get into one because the person who you want is unavailable so you cling to the next best thing. Do not get into one for companionship. Do not get into one because you enjoy spending time with the person, which at times is simply a spur of the moment feeling that will easily diminish over time. Do not get into a relationship for the sake of getting into one or because your friends are in one so you have to be in one as well.

This is a topic that can’t be discussed in one posting, but this should be enough to help you along your way.

Remember relationships aren’t a “test and go” experiment, neither is it a competition of numbers, it is to share important aspects of your life with someone you love, can confide in and who will forever be there and accept you for the good and the bad, yet correct the bad to help you grow into a better person.

All the Best.