five people meet in heaven

Throughout your life, have there been any situations where you have no idea why a certain result occurred?

Do you think there are any events from your past that didn’t have a big impact on your life, that potentially had a big impact on another person’s life? Why do we as humans view the world primarily from our own perspective and not consider other people’s views?

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom writes a fantastic story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about life after death and the meaning of our lives here on earth.

Everything you do and every interaction you have has an impact on someone else. We should be purposeful in our interactions with others to make the world a better place.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a novel which follows the life and death of a man named Eddie. In the novel, Eddie is killed and sent to heaven, and when arriving in heaven, he meets with the five people who had the most significant impact on his life when he was alive.

The rest of this post includes a summary of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, my takeaways, and my recommendation for you. Enjoy!

Summary of The Five People You Meet In Heaven

The beginning of The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a little bit sad. Eddie is an 83 year old man working at Ruby Pier. Ruby Pier is a fantastic attraction and amusement park for all ages and Eddie has been a ride operator and mechanic for many years.

Today is the last day of his life. Eddie doesn’t know it, but one of the rides will fail and he will be crushed by a passenger cart while trying to save a young girl.

After death, Eddie goes to heaven and meets 5 people. Instead of experiencing a lush garden of paradise, Eddie finds Heaven to be a place where your earthly life is explained to you by a number of people. Each person helps Eddie understand different parts and the unseen connections of his life. In addition to helping Eddie, I found that the lessons those people leave can apply in our lives.

The First Person Eddie Meets in Heaven

The first person Eddie meets in Heaven is the Blue Man. The Blue Man was part of the freakshow attractions at Ruby Pier, where people could stare at others who were not normal. The Blue Man became blue because he drank silver nitrate (poison) in an attempt to help him with stomach problems. Over time, the poison changed the color of his skin!

The Blue Man tells the story of his death. One day, The Blue Man borrowed a car to practice his driving. Eddie was a young boy and was playing baseball in the yard. Eddie missed a ball and went to chase after it in the street. The Blue Man nearly hits Eddie, but swerves and keeps driving. The Blue Man is bothered by the event and stressed out. He has a heart attack and crashes in a nearby alley while Eddie is safe.

The Blue Man goes on to tell Eddie the lesson to be learned from this event. “…there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

We are all connected – every act we perform will have a direct impact on someone else. We may not realize it, but someone will be affected. You never quite know what the impact of a simple good deed will do for someone else! 🙂

“…there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

The Second Person Eddie Meets in Heaven

The second person Eddie meets is his captain from the Vietnam War. While in Vietnam, Eddie and his fellow soldiers were captured. For months, they were held in captivity and forced to work in a coal mine. Finally one night, Eddie was able to distract the guards with his juggling skills and the rest of the men took out the guards.

After the escape, the soldiers burned down the village with gas and fire. As the village was burning, Eddie thought he saw a shadow in one of the burning huts. He screamed out to it but couldn’t hear anything. He was very worried he was burning someone, and wouldn’t move. To get him out of there, the captain shot Eddie in the leg and they got out of their safely.

The captain then shares his story. Once Eddie was discharged due to his leg injury, he returned home. The captain kept going with the team and one day, he was driving down a path and came to a gate. He went to open the gate and walked around. On accident, he stepped on a land mine and was blown up.

Eddie was distraught at this point and didn’t understand why the captain had shot him or why the captain died in war and he didn’t. The captain said, “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.” The captain sacrificed his life for the rest of his team. Sacrifice isn’t bad if it’s helping others.

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”

The Third Person Eddie Meets in Heaven

The third person meets is Ruby – the Ruby of Ruby Pier. Ruby explains to Eddie his relationship with his father. Eddie and his father’s relationship was far from great – actually, they didn’t speak for years on end!

Eddie had been so angry with his father because he thinks his father has ruined his life. He blames his father for all the bad things that has happened to him.

While Ruby admits that Eddie’s father had been absent during his life, she says, “Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside.” Ruby shows Eddie how his father died – attempting to save a man’s life. At this point, Eddie realized how great a man his dad was, even with his quirks and felt sad he showed anger towards him.

“Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside.”

The Fourth Person Eddie Meets in Heaven

The fourth person Eddie meets in Heaven is Marguerite, his wife. Marguerite was the only woman Eddie ever loved.

Eddie and Marguerite’s marriage was not great – Marguerite put up with a lot of Eddie’s bad behaviors and emotional distance. Eddie still loved Marguerite with all his heart.

Upon seeing her in Heaven, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He missed her so much and was happy to see her. They talked about their past and how things ended. She became sick at 47 years old and passed away. Eddie wishes he could have spent more time with her on Earth. Marguerite explains, “Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different from, that’s all.” If you love someone, even from afar, even if they are gone, it’s still love.

“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different from, that’s all.”

The Fifth Person Eddie Meets in Heaven

The fifth person Eddie meets in Heaven is Tala. Tala is the girl who was in the fire and was the shadow that Eddie saw. Tala is a young girl and badly burned. She was told by her mom to hide in the hut when the soldiers were burning the village.

The events in Vietnam are certainly sad, but Tala has a different view on it. Throughout his entire life, Eddie had been influencing and helping kids stay safe through his work. He walked around Ruby Pier and made sure all the rides would not break down. Tala explained that Eddie’s salvation lies in the work he did: keeping children safe.

We are all right where we’re supposed to be. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Focus on our own work and let the world take you where it needs you most.

“We’re all right where we’re supposed to be.”

Takeaways from The Five People You Meet in Heaven

With all books I read, I look to have a few takeaways and action steps.

I’ve been studying emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills for a few years now, and I’m realizing more and more that to be successful with people, it is crucial to view situations from the other person’s point of view.

To interact effectively with others, I don’t need to be a smooth talker or someone who knows everything.

Rather, I will look to be a person who asks good, penetrating, and thoughtful questions and who is a good listener. Also, I will focus on reading body language and adjusting my actions accordingly to make the other person feel comfortable.

When I die, I want to look back and say I had a strong and lasting impact on people. I’m still working on myself and trying to get better so I can fulfill my goals.

Our Recommendation for The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Mitch Albom is an outstanding author and The Five People You Meet in Heaven had a significant impact on me. I’d recommend any of his books and believe they will have an impact on you as well.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is an easy read and appropriate for all ages. Everyone is born, lives, and dies – the takeaways you might potentially have are endless.

As I mentioned above, my main takeaway is every event and every situation is connected. What happens through your eyes can be completely different than what happens through someone else’s eyes. People have different perspectives, different experiences, and come from different places; it is our duty to realize this to lead our interactions to  see the world through other people’s eyes.

A book review of The Five People You'll Meet In Heaven
A book review of The Five People You'll Meet In Heaven
48 hour fast

Performing a 48 hour fast can be a scary thought, but with the right tips and plan, you can successfully make it through your fast. With this article, you will learn how you can make it to 48 hours without breaking your fast, and learn about the benefits of fasting.

Over the past 4-5 years, one of my constant experiments has been with my diet and eating habits. I’ve tried fasting, but never had done long fasts before.

Back in college, I was lifting 5+ times a week and doing other exercises to get in great shape. At the same time, I was trying to hit certain nutrient and calorie levels to sustain my growth, and started down the rabbit hole of “exercise science” (the same thing as bro-science?).

At some point along this path, I came across intermittent fasting and was intrigued. Not eating for more than 12 hours?? Would I die? I can’t skip breakfast! Who are these mad people who don’t eat!

Getting outside of my comfort zone has shown to bring growth, and I decided I would skip breakfast the next day. A few months later, I did a 24 hour fast and after a while, fell into a eating pattern where I don’t eat breakfast anymore.

Fast forward to last month, and I challenged myself with a 48 hour fast.

I successfully completed this 48 hour fast, and in this post, I’ll be sharing with you my experience, as well as talk in general about intermittent fasting and my eating habits over the last few years.

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Everyone’s body responds to things differently and just because I’ve had a good experience doesn’t mean you will. Please consult a real doctor if you have concerns or interest about this subject.

What is Intermittent Fasting and What is Fasting?

Let’s start with what is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is all about restricting the amount of time you spend in an eating state, and increasing the amount of time you spend in a fasted state.

All of us fast while we sleep, but if we extend that fast out a few more hours, that’s where some magic starts to happen.

By fasting, you are able to cleanse your body and cells. This cleansing process is what makes fasting so great.

“But I could never skip breakfast!!! I wake up sooo hungry!”

As I mentioned in the introduction, I don’t eat breakfast anymore and now will have my first food around 11 AM.

Intermittent fasting is actually not that hard to do. While it’s a challenge at the beginning due to the mental barrier of not eating, you get used to it and there are benefits to this as well.

One other thing is while fasting, you are allowed to drink water, tea and coffee – these are 0 calorie drinks which are very helpful in keeping you “full” and your mind off of food.

Why is fasting good for you and what are the benefits of fasting?

Here’s a slightly snarky, but legit question for you to ponder: what kind of eating habits did our hunter-gather ancestors have? Were they able to go down to the local grocery store and pick up whatever they wanted?

Humans have been fasting for many years – for a variety of reasons – and don’t need 3 meals a day. I don’t know if it’s some marketing ploy or what, but our bodies naturally can handle large periods of non-eating without loss of strength or energy.

What happens to our bodies in a 48 hour fast?

When our bodies go into a fasted state, a number of things happen. Our bodies are very good at cleaning themselves out, but when you keep putting crap in, then the there’s no time for our bodies to get the crap out!

By restricting the time we are eating, our bodies are able to focus in on cleaning out our cells which will lead to detoxification.

If you aren’t eating for 16 hours, then for that 16 hours, you body is going to work making sure you are cleansed. Ratchet that time up to 24, 48 or more, and you (theoretically) should be removed of many of the toxins you’ve accumulated.

A number of other great things happen as well though are outside the topic of this post (Read more about these health benefits here).

Why I Decided to Fast and My Eating Habits Over The Years

As I mentioned in the introduction, I’ve been challenging my own eating habits the last few years.

In the spring of 2015, I started experimenting with intermittent fasting.

Growing up as a child, my parents always told me I needed to eat breakfast. I was influenced as well by the marketing of always having to eat cereal or other carb-loaded and sugary things in the morning, or else I would DIE of hunger and not grow up to a strong adult.

Throughout college, I had the full meal plan and continued to always eat breakfast until 2015. I challenged myself at some point that I would skip breakfast and not eat until lunch.

It was certainly tough that first morning. 9 AM rolled around and all I could think about was food. I was drinking green tea and a lot of water, but I was still “hungry”. Later in the morning, I had a meeting and focused in on some work. All of a sudden, it was noon and time for lunch. I made it! I was still alive!

At this point, I thought this was pretty cool and started to do it every morning.

After a short while, I wanted to keep testing. What about a 24 hour fast? Could I do it?

I ended up doing a few 20+ hour fasts and realized that hunger is largely psychological. It’s 11:32 AM as I write this now and I haven’t ate yet today. I’ve had 4 big glasses of water, but am not hungry.

I don’t eat breakfast anymore, but my health and diet habits have become a little bit less of a focus recently.

This brings us to August and my 48 hour fast. I needed a change and wanted to push myself to the next level.

The Big Challenge: a 48 Hour Fast

I was feeling a little bit chubby and tired in the middle of August. Even with my usual 14-16 hours of fasting, I wasn’t getting the exercise required to stay in shape.

To shock my system, so to say, I decided I would do a 48 hour fast.

“48 hours without eating, Erik?? What are you thinking?”

Part of life is about pushing your boundaries and getting outside your comfort zone.

At 5:22 PM on a Sunday night in August, I finished up my dinner and started my 48 hour fast.

After waking up the first day, I was fine and had my usual energy levels. Around 11 AM, I started getting hungry and this wasn’t helped by a few people around me at work heating up their lunches and eating at their desks.

I went on a walk around noon and that afternoon, and during this time, was drinking lots of water and had 2 cups of coffee. I was feeling good and not too hungry.

That night, while my girlfriend ate dinner, I avoided the kitchen and got down to work. Lots to do and no distractions for me!

Around 9:30, I decided it was time for bed. I hadn’t ate all day but was still feeling energized. When I laid down in bed, thoughts ran through my mind… “what would I feel like when I woke up? what if I woke up and was starving? should I be nervous here?”

I fell asleep and had a great night of sleep…

36 Hours in with a TON of energy

The next morning, I woke up at 5:05 AM. I sat up in a little bit of a stupor and thought to myself, “Whoa, I feel amazing.”

I had so much energy, I decided I would record that week’s podcast episode in the moment about Fasting, Side Hustles and a BIG Announcement. It was 5:30 AM, and I was so excited talking about my fast during the fast. I talk about it the first 15 minutes of the podcast episode.

My energy levels were unbelievable and I didn’t even need coffee.

That being said, I wasn’t doing a strict water fast, and did opt for coffee throughout the 48 hour fasting period.

When I was recording the episode, I was drinking water and a cup of coffee, and after finishing my recording, I got ready for work and headed off on the bus.

Things were looking good. 8 hours to go.

Hitting a Wall but Pushing Through

Again, around 11 AM, I started getting really hungry and I started suffering a little. Getting up at 5 the last two days wasn’t helping, nor was the stupid work I had to do.

That second afternoon, I was feeling down, a little weak and a little bit tired.

I finished my 48 hour fast with an apple, banana and some tacos at 5:30 on Tuesday – 48 hours after I started.

Reflecting on the 2 day fast, I was worn down but hanging in there.

After eating at 5:30 PM, I felt a little better but was still feeling tired and a little down (probably since I woke up at 5 AM both Monday and Tuesday though let’s be honest).

Going to bed the first night with an empty stomach was interesting, but I’d been drinking a ton of water all day – so really, it wasn’t an empty stomach. I woke up the next morning with a TON of energy.

I was very hungry both days around 11 AM. This was 6 hours into my day on both days. In both cases, I drank more water and went on a walk through the Downtown Minneapolis skyways. By 12:30 PM, I was able to focus in again. With this combination of focus and energy, I was able to get a ton of work done and was loving it.

Overall, I’d say it was a good choice to do this 48 hour fast. It was an amazing experience and was very happy about this endeavor.

6 Steps and Tips for Completing Your First 48 Hour Fast

If you’ve decided to give a 48 hour fast a chance, here are some tips for getting the 48 hour fast done:

  1. Start with a 24 hour fast a week or two before the 48 hour fast
  2. Eat a big meal around 4-5 PM before starting your 48 hour fast
  3. Use sleep to your advantage
  4. Drink plenty of liquids to keep you full over the two day span
  5. Stay positive, listen to your body, and be strong
  6. Make your first meal back simple and healthy

Whether you are going for a 12 hour fast, a 24 hour fast, a 36 hour fast, a 40 hour fast, or a 48 hour fast, these tips for getting through your fast will be beneficial for your fasting goal.

Let’s dive into each of these tips for completing your first 48 hour fast in more detail.

1. Start with a 24 Hour Fast to Prepare for Your 48 Hour Fast

First, if you’ve never done a longer fast before, you should start with a shorter 24 hour fast. This way, by doing a shorter fast, you can get an understanding of how your body might respond to fasting.

There are a number of interesting feelings I experienced when I fasted for the first time, and the first time I did it, it definitely was stressful and nerve wracking.

But after doing it a few times, I now know how to cope with those thoughts and feelings.

If you can successfully complete a 24 hour fast, but you still aren’t comfortable with trying for a 48 hour fast, maybe it makes sense to try doing a 36 hour or 40 hour fast.

2. Eat a Bigger Meal at 4-5 PM Before Starting

Once you are confident you can do a 48 hour fast, then I’d recommend eating dinner a little bit earlier and if you are nervous about the fast, make it a big meal!

I suggest an earlier dinner because the second afternoon can be very difficult, and having a 5 PM cut off versus a 7 PM cutoff can make a world of difference mentally.

3. Use Sleep to Your Advantage

Something which is overlooked when fasting is it’s a lot easier to kill time if you are sleeping.

While I had a ton of energy that second morning, it may have been better for me to sleep a little more to help pass the time.

4. Drink Plenty of Liquids When Fasting

Next, make sure you are drinking a lot of water during your fast. First, this will help with flushing your system, but also, by drinking a lot of water and other liquids, you can feel more full.

Drinking water is very important for general health, but even more important when you aren’t eating and trying to stay sane.

5. Listen to Your Body When Doing Your 48 Hour Fast

Finally, there will be moments when you want to eat and don’t want to push through. Staying positive, drinking water, and resting could be best here – but also, if you become shaky or actually NEED food, then it is totally okay to end your fast.

Being self-aware is incredibly important for success in this world, and being healthy rather than fainting or becoming sick because you tried to push through is a better scenario.

6. What to Eat After Breaking Your 48 Hour Fast

After reaching 48 hours, ease into eating with some fruit or vegetables, and then once you know your body is ready, you can eat a bigger meal.

After your 48 hour fast,  you don’t want to go too fast into eating a big meal (even if you are super hungry at this point)!

Your body was getting used to not having a lot, and it might reject your meal if you eat too fast or too much.

I found I was fine after eating a banana, but I’ve read about other people who after 72-96 hour fasts who come back to fast and having to throw up their first meal because they over did it.

Let’s not do that and take it slow to start after breaking our 48 hour fasts 🙂

Takeaways from This 48 Hour Fast

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about the story of my 48 hour fast!

I have a few takeaways for you about fasting in general and my experience of this 48 hour fast.

First, eating in general is largely psychological. When you wake up, you aren’t hungry – you are thirsty. Drink some water and see if you are still “hungry” and “can’t go without breakfast”. I used to not drink water or coffee in the morning until after my meal, and now I drink it when I wake up and feel great!

Second, again, think back to our ancestors (hunter gatherers). They didn’t have a grocery store and they certainly didn’t have the luxury of eating 3 meals a day. Why is this narrative pushed? Is it a marketing ploy to sell bacon and cereal (I do love breakfast foods though…)

Human biology is undeniable…

I’m definitely going to be doing another 48 hour fast in the near future, and plan on pushing the limits to a 3 or 5 day fast as well! The experience I had at the 36 hour mark was unbelievable, and literally felt like I had tapped and unlocked my full potential. It was sooo powerful.

I’m glad I’ve started fasting, and if it makes sense for you, I’d say give it a try! Even skipping breakfast once in a while could lead to some great health benefits.

Readers: have you ever tried fasting? What are your takeaways from reading about this? Do you think you’ll try something like this?

Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
Health. Wellness. Intermittent Fasting. Fasting.
How to successfully complete a 48 hour fast
How to successfully complete a 48 hour fast
How to successfully complete a 48 hour fast
How to successfully complete a 48 hour fast
How to successfully complete a 48 hour fast
steps to financial freedom

Achieving financial freedom is a big goal, but a goal that can be achieved through consistent efforts over time. Becoming wealthy is possible with the right formula and process. In this post, you’ll learn about steps to financial freedom and financial success.

Are you looking to become financially free? Does financial freedom sound amazing to you? What if you could become financially free?

What if you could skip your commute and spend time with your friends or family uninterrupted all day? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Make no mistake, financial freedom is quite a lofty goal, but is possible. If you decide financial freedom is what you want, there are a number of personal finance habits you can cultivate to become wealthy.

If you want to become better with your personal finances, you’ll definitely want to read this post all the way through.

In this post, I’m going to share with you a seven step plan to get to financial independence – the ultimate personal finance goal.

First though, let’s talk about what financial freedom is and why becoming financially free should be a goal of yours.

setting goals and dreamsWhat is Financial Freedom?

Before talking about the steps for achieving financial freedom, let’s talk about what financial freedom is and why you should care about financial freedom.

Financial freedom, or also known as financial independence, is the ability to do what you want with your time and energy without having to worry about money at all.

Being financially free could mean having enough money saved up in bank accounts and investments where you don’t need to work anymore.

Financial freedom could also mean owning a number of businesses which provide you with enough cash flow where you have your bills paid each month without having to work.

Becoming financially free is something everyone wants deep down (whether they consciously know it, or subconsciously know it), but not everyone knows how to get there, or knows why it would be empowering.

For me, financial freedom means being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. No silly corporate meetings, no talking to pushy co-workers, no commutes – only working on hobbies and my passions.

What do you think? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to wake up each day and do what you are passionate about?

This is what financial freedom is all about. Now, let’s get on to the steps to financial freedom.

The 7 Steps to Financial Freedom

You may have heard of the seven steps to financial freedom before. Maybe you haven’t. There are two versions of the seven steps to financial freedom I’ve come across over the past few years.

One is by Dave Ramsey and the other is by Tony Robbins.

Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom

The first seven steps to financial freedom is from the one and only, Dave Ramsey.  Dave Ramsey, for those of you who don’t know, is a personal finance and money management expert with a radio show and many courses and workshops that help people get their finances in order.

Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom are:

  • Baby Step 1 – Build a $1,000 emergency fund
  • Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the debt snowball
  • Baby Step 3 – Save 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
  • Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
  • Baby Step 5 – College funding for children
  • Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early
  • Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give

I like these, and completely agree that for most people, these steps are great for building wealth and reaching financial freedom.

If a person doesn’t have $1,000 in the bank, then that should be goal number one on the way to financial freedom. Next, pay off your consumer debt and start saving for the future.

Finally, become fully debt free and share your wealth with the less fortunate.

If you follow these steps, you will be wealthy – I have no doubt.

Tony Robbins’ 7 Steps to Financial Freedom

money master the game 7 steps to financial freedomThe second set of seven steps to financial freedom are from Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins wrote Money: Master the Game a few years ago and goes over his seven steps to financial freedom in it.

Tony Robbins’ 7 steps to financial freedom are:

  • Step 1 – Make the most important financial decision of your life (Decide to be the investor, not a consumer.)
  • Step 2 – Become an insider: know the rules before you start investing
  • Step 3 – Make the game winnable through knowledge
  • Step 4 – Make the most important investment decision of your life (dollar cost average, asset allocation)
  • Step 5 – Create a lifetime income plan (consider insurance and annuities for income)
  • Step 6 – Invest like the 0.001 percent (model the portfolios of hedge funds)
  • Step 7 – Just do it, enjoy it, and share it!

I read Money: Master the Game a few years ago and I really enjoyed it.  While there was quite a bit of fluff, there were many actionable tips and takeaways for me to implement in my life.

Step two of Tony Robbins’ steps is all about managing fees, how financial advisers may not be the best route to go, and buying and holding are all things to know and consider before investing.

Finally, he talks about alternative routes to income and wealth once we have a substantial nest egg. It’s one thing to have a lot of money, but it’s another to have a lot of money that is protected from disaster.

I want to be unique with my content and ideas. Both of these plans have a lot of merit, and I’ve built off of them and created my own seven step plan to financial freedom for you.

Our 7 Step Plan to Financial Freedom

Coming up with a seven step plan was tough. Everyone’s situation is different – and with anything you read or consume, it’s important to take a step back and see how it can fit into your life.

All I can share and point to is my seven step plan to financial freedom. The following list is what I’m personally trying to do to grow my wealth, and get on the way to financial freedom:

  1. Build an emergency fund
  2. Pay down consumer debt
  3. Save 10% of my income
  4. Learn about investing
  5. Invest in yourself and grow your income
  6. Stay consistent
  7. Give back with your time or money

Let’s go into each of these in more detail.

Step 1 for Financial Freedom: Build an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is most important for your personal finance success.

It’s truly tragic – around 70% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in their bank account.

What happens when the furnace or AC goes out in your house? What happens if your car breaks down, or you get sick? There’s so many unplanned emergencies to account for.

Having a safety net will be beneficial for your financial well-being, and will also be great for peace of mind.

Saving up 3 to 6 months expenses, or even having $5,000 saved is a great starting point for your emergency fund.

Step 2 for Financial Freedom: Pay off Consumer Debt

Debt sucks. Debt is a restriction on your life, and does not allow you to live the life you want and deserve to live.

Getting out of debt is possible by spending less money, and applying debt payoff strategies.

After getting your debt knocked out, you can start focusing on offensively building your wealth.

Step 3 for Financial Freedom: Save 10% of your Income

After building an emergency fund and destroying your debt, the next steps are to start saving. Take 10% of your income, and start saving it for the future.

After paying off your consumer debt, take that money and start directing it towards investment and savings accounts for the future.

Get your savings rate up!

Step 4 for Financial Freedom: Learn about Investing

You need to learn how to invest.

Financial freedom isn’t going to come through investing in CDs. The only thing guaranteed about a CD is you are guaranteed to lose money due to inflation! (Okay, in some situations and rate environments they are okay – but not right now)

Do you want to be an active investor or passive investor? Active investors should look at starting businesses or buying real estate. Do you want to sit back and watch your money grow without much work? Stick it in the stock market.

These questions are worth asking yourself.

After figuring out your goals, next learn about the different fees, downfalls and traps in your chosen market.

For example, paying a financial adviser 2% over 30 years could amount hundreds of thousands of dollars lost!

With these information, you can wisely grow your wealth and become wealth over time.

Step 5 for Financial Freedom: Invest in Yourself and Grow Your Income

The best investment you can make is in yourself.

Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.

If you are looking to make more money and be successful, then you will have to work on yourself.

If you increase your income, you will be able to save more. By saving more, you will be able to increase your investments.

All of these steps go back to investing in yourself and improving as a person.

Step 6 for Financial Freedom: Stay Consistent

Paying off debt and then going back into debt isn’t going to help on the way to financial freedom. Saving $5,000 in one year isn’t going to amount to much.

BUT, saving $5,000 a year for 30 years and investing it in something returning 5-7% a year can grow to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Consistency is the key to everything.

Step 7 for Financial Freedom: Give Back

No matter how wealthy you become, there’s one thing you should always remember: IT DOESN’T MATTER UNLESS YOU SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.

Giving you time, money, and knowledge can help others achieve their goals and dreams.

We make a living by what we earn. We make a life by what we give.

With these 7 steps, you will be on your way to financial freedom. However, if you are still struggling to get past step 1, below are 2 easy steps you can take for personal finance success.

2 Easy Steps to Take for Financial Success

Make no mistake, becoming better with your money and personal finances can seem tough.

However, there are two easy steps you can take for overnight financial success:

  1. Tracking your income and expenses
  2. Learning about personal finance

Step 1: Track Your Income and Expenses

What gets measured gets managed.

Knowing where you are financially is so important to financial success.

Consider the following example of two people: Mark tracks his income and expenses every month, and Lisa doesn’t track her income or expenses at all.

Mark wants to retire in 15 years, and has identified that by saving $500 a month, he will reach his goal with average market gains.

Lisa also wants to retire in 15 years, but doesn’t know she needs to save $500 a month, and as a result, is only putting $250 into her retirement account each month.

Mark saves $400 a month right now, but has identified he can cut $100 out of his food spending each month and put that towards retirement.

Lisa spends $300 a month on random shopping expenses (of which she doesn’t know the dollar amount), and doesn’t realize that she doesn’t need these random shopping expenses.

Who do you think will be successful? Mark, who tracks his financial situation, or Lisa, who doesn’t track her financials at all?

I’m going to guess Lisa will be mighty disappointed at the end of the 15 year period.

income statement balance sheetHow to Track Your Income and Expenses Each Month

Each month, I pull all of my transactions from my Mint account into my income statement spreadsheet.

I categorize my transactions and see exactly where my spending and savings rate landed during the month, and look to see if there are any trends forming.

You could download these transactions from your bank directly, you could use similar tools to Mint, or you can analyze your income and expenses through your online banking application – all are acceptable.

For me, I see the importance of tracking my income and expenses by looking at my spending in various categories. I typically spend $300-400 on food and drink a month.

I know this as I’ve spent $300-400 a month for the past 18 months consistently. Some months are worse than others, and in those months, I may spend closer to $500 on food and drink.

If I didn’t know how much I was spending on food in a given month, maybe I’d continue to spend that amount month over month, or even start spending more.  Let’s say, somehow, I started spending $300 more a month on food and drink because I wasn’t tracking it.

Now, all of a sudden, I could end up spending an additional $3,600 a year ($300*12 = $3,600) on food and drink, just because I’m not keeping track of my expenses!

That’s a lot of money that could be better served somewhere else.

Tracking our cash flow also makes us think more about our finances.  If I wasn’t tracking my expenses, I wouldn’t have this mental trigger to keep my spending down on food and drink.

There are a number of tools and apps you can use to track your income and expenses.

If you aren’t already tracking your income and expenses, and you don’t want to click through to my other post, I have a spreadsheet for download which you can get by putting your email into the box below.

Step 2: Be Consistent, and Learn with Books, Blogs, and Podcasts

prioritize and track financial goalsConsistency is the key to being successful in this world.

Consistency involves working, learning, and growing a little bit each and every day on the way to your goals.

It’s not enough to invest $100 one time and let it sit.  It’s not enough to cut expenses one month, and then revert back to your previous spending habits.

I can guarantee you short term success will not lead to long term success unless the short term actions are internalized and made into long term habits.

Consider this example: would you rather receive $1 million dollars today, or would you rather take a penny, but have it double every day for a month? Naturally, most people would say, “Give me the million bucks!”

But if we step back and actually analyze the other side, we can see what a big mistake that might be.

The first day, you have 2 cents, the second day, you have 4 cents, the third day, you have 8 cents… two weeks in, you have $81.92. Well, guess what? At the end of the month, you’d end up with over $10 million dollars. You only started off with a penny, what happened?

Yes, you started off with a small amount, and for a long time, you didn’t have much, but 30 days later, boom, $10 million bucks – much more than $1 million!!!

This is the same concept as the power of compounding over time.

If you save $10,000 a year for 30 years and achieve a 7% rate of return, you will become a millionaire.

This is a mathematical fact.  It’s the power of consistency and compounding at work.

Applying Consistency and Learning in Your Life

The penny example we just went through above can be applied to the base of your knowledge on personal finance, not just investing or savings.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a personal finance expert.

I have no idea the intricacies of Roth IRAs, 403(b)s, or how 1031 exchanges work in real estate. That being said, I know that I could learn any of these things if I wanted to. There are millions of words published in text and voice out in the world and on the internet.

While hopefully this site will be a great starting point for you, there’s so much more out there. For example, there are so many personal finance resources which all have something to offer.

Reading these different personal finance blogs, listening to podcasts, and reading books are great ways to increase your financial knowledge.

If you want to become an expert on the stock market, take a step today. Maybe you want to build your understanding on different forms of debt – take a step today.

For you, if there is anything you want to accomplish this year, or in life, just take a step. That’s all you can do initially.

No one goes from 0 to 100 in an hour or a day.

But, by going from 0 to 1 to 2 to 3, you can get there over time.  It’s about taking baby steps to start, and as you get more comfortable, you can increase the pace – in other words, you sometimes have to slow down to go fast!

What you do today matters. What you do every day matters.

Successful people are those who understand that the little choices they make matter, and because of that they choose to do things that seem to make no difference at all in the act of doing them, and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.

financial decision makingStart Tracking and Improve Your Financial Situation

Tracking your income and expenses, and having a hunger for knowledge, will get you firmly on the path to financial success.

Start with identifying your why, then start tracking your income and expenses with a spreadsheet or online tool – and continue to learn about personal finance, investments, and building wealth!

Having these two steps in mind will guide you on your path to your financial goals.

Over time, by having your why and a plan, you will be able to make smart financial decisions and stay on the path to personal finance success.

Get on the Path to Financial Freedom and Become Financially Free

With the information presented in this post, you now have three different, seven step plans to financial freedom to draw inspiration from and put into action.

After reading this, take a step back to reflect on these different plans, and how they may align with your own plan.

If you aren’t quite yet on the path to financial freedom, implement the 2 easy steps to take to become better with your finances, and you’ll be in a better place financially soon.

Take action today and get on your way to financial freedom!

7 Steps Towards Financial Freedom
7 Steps Towards Financial Freedom
7 Steps Towards Financial Freedom

finding balance

Having balance in life is very important. Working too much and always being on the go can be detrimental for you. Likewise, being lazy and ignoring responsibility can make it hard to achieve your goals. In this article on living a balanced lifestyle, you’ll learn about 8 tips you can apply to live a balanced life and how to find the right balance in life.

Becoming better as a person, or becoming better in a certain interest can be overwhelming. Balancing new information, past experiences, and the rest of your life can be difficult.

Balance is something I think about most these days when looking to live a fulfilling life.

Being balanced in life can help solve so many problems.

I ask myself, “am I in balance or do I need to reassess where I’m at in my life? Do I need to take a break, or should I push through?”

How to live a balanced life and how to find the right balance in life is hard, but can be done with the right guidance and patience.

What I’ve learned is balance is incredibly important in life, and in this post, I’ll be sharing with you why balance is so important, how to find the right balance in life, and 8 tips you can use to create more balance in your life.

Finding The Right Balance is Very Important for Success

Balance is one of the most important things to create in your life. This may be obvious, but having the right balance is very hard to do in practice.

For example, too much work will result in becoming burnt out.

Too much play will result in no work getting done.

Spending too much time with friends could lead to a lack of identity.

Spending too much time alone could lead to loneliness and one way of thought.

Too much sleep can lead to a number of health issues.

Too little sleep and your energy and work will suffer from lack of clarity and focus.

Doing too much exercise will lead to overuse injuries, and sitting on the couch all day will lead to small muscles and droopy skin.

You probably know the saying, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing? Well that’s what we are talking about here 🙂

Balance is key and important in life because with many things, being extreme is typically a detriment to living our lives the right way.

Many of these things we know, but don’t take action to find the right balance.

balance in lifeThe Many Areas Where Balance Can Be Ruined

While it might be impossible to be completely balanced in life, there are many areas, some of which we’ve touched on earlier, where balance could be ruined.

Being completely balanced in life is almost impossible, but these areas can give us a better picture of what to focus on if we want to find balance in life.

The areas where you need to focus on balance the most are the following:

  • Being Out of Balance at Work
    • Getting yelled at by your boss, working 80 hour weeks, or not having work at all might not be the best for your long term well being.
    • Balance at work is having time for development, some busy times, some fun times, and opportunities to do what you want with your time (as ultimately, you spend more hours at your job than you probably do anything else other than sleep!)
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Sleep
    • Always being tired, because you go to bed too late, or sleeping in every day might not be optimal. Over time, over and under sleeping can take a toll on your body and mind.
    • While on the weekends, it is nice to sleep in once and a while, doing so every day can affect your focus and productivity.
    • Likewise, too little sleep, and you really will be dragging!
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Health and Exercise
    • This might be an obvious one: sit on the couch all day, and you’ll quickly find yourself out of shape. Work out all day, and you may get injured from overuse.
    • A balance between activity and rest will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Eating Habits
    • Another seemingly obvious one: eat only junk food, and you’ll get a stomach ache. Eat too much, and you’ll start to put on pounds. Eat too little, and you’ll lose muscle. What about too healthy? Eating too healthy… well, some things can be good in moderation!
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Relationships
    • Sometimes it’s great to see your friends, and sometimes to great to be alone.
    • If you are with your friends all the time, work and responsibility will be put aside.
    • If you spend a lot of time alone, sometimes that will keep you narrow minded and not in touch with reality. There’s a lot of world to see out there people!

Like I said above, there are many things in life we need to balance, and this is just the start to finding the right balance for a great life.

Finding balance is an exercise in self-awareness and knowing where you are in life.

I’m going to share with you where I am in my life with my thoughts and actions, and then will talk about the tips for you to find balance in life.

finding balance

Finding Balance and Trying to Live a Balanced Life

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to find balance in my life in my work, my play, my exercise, my diet, my sleep, and my hustles.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance in my work and play, and also in my sleep.

I’m pretty busy, with a few side hustles, and a day job.

During this past winter, I got into a habit of going to bed between 11:30 and 1, and getting up at 8 am, right before scrambling off to work. With the usual winter morning darkness, I struggled to wake up at any time earlier than 7 (even if I went to bed early), and decided that it would be better for me to stay up later and sleep in.

Now, I’m finding that with the sun coming in at 5 am, I’m able to wake up if I need to, and also sleep in if I please.

Some days, if I’m really busy, I’ll get up at 5 am. Other days, if I’m tired, I’ll sleep in and get up around 7:30 or 8. I’ve found a balance between more sleep and less sleep.

Similarly, I’ve found a balance in my diet and exercise, where I eat well most of the time, and exercise a few times a week. With this, I’ve stayed relatively in shape, and am still able to play pick-up sports and not be too tired.

I’m sure you have some of the same thoughts about activities in your life.

You want to become a Rich? Drop the 9 to 5 and Start Working 95

About a year ago, I came across an interesting article talking about Grant Cardone, a super salesman, entrepreneur, and millionaire. In the article, he says, “Most people work 9 to 5. I work 95 hours (per week). If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since, if wealth accumulation is my goal, then it’s crucial for me to start putting in more and more hours to get to this goal.

I want to become financially independent. At the end of the day, ultimate failure to me is not being able to support myself and my family.

If I could have 1 thing in life, the ability to provide for my family is the only thing I could ever ask for.

As my wealth and abilities grow, my tune has started to change. I feel very confident I can become rich without sacrificing as much in the short term.

I can sleep 8 hours, exercise, see friends, and still reach my goals.

My mindset towards grinding has changed through reflection and reading.

My friend Matt, the founder of Optimize Your Life, talks a lot about finding balance in life. Matt says,

“If we want both success and happiness, we need to make sure to give attention to all of the different areas of our lives. We cannot ignore our marriage to further our career success. We cannot ignore our health to have more time for our relationships. Ignoring our finances to further our friendships will not lead to success.”

I’m trying to find balance in my life right now. I have my goals and my purpose. There’s so much I want to experience, to learn, and to do.

At the same time though, I need to be cognizant of what is also important to me: my relationships, my health, and my finances.

Now, I want to discuss an interesting topic: the pressure of expectations.

How to Deal with Expectations When Trying to Find Balance

In a number of conversations I’ve been having with friends about their thoughts on their goals, I’ve been bringing up balance and trying to discuss the expectations around the situation.

When I set out to do something, a lot of it is from within and what I want to do with my life. Maybe I’m a little bit of a rebel, but these days I try to stay grounded and not influenced by outside opinions or expectations.

I stand up for what I believe in, and stand down for things I need more information on.

With some of the struggles of balance I’ve been learning about with others around me, I try to understand a little more and ask if the struggles are coming from the inside or outside.

Are you driven from within to go and accomplish your goals, OR are you driven to accomplish your goals because you are trying to impress others and make other people happy?

I’ve found that rarely will looking to impress others leads to a happy and fulfilling life.

At the same time though, at work, there are tasks I have to get done for others and I’ll do those happily because my paycheck helps me achieve my financial goals.

After figuring out if the pressure is internal or external, you can start to go down the question rabbit hole.

If the pressures are external, is there anything you can change about the situation to reduce this pressure? Could you change jobs? Change scenery? Is the community you are surrounding yourself with the right community?

If the pressures are internal, why are you expecting so much out of yourself? Could you do more? Are your priorities in the right place? Are there things you could be doing which would allow you to work smarter, not harder?

Starting with this question can help with the question of how to balance your life to better align your actions with a less stressful and more fulfilling experience.

Now, let’s get into the tips for creating balance and living a balanced life.

8 Ways You Can Find Balance in your Work and Leisure

Are you looking for more balance in your life? Are you looking for the right balance for happiness and success in your life?

Here are 8 steps you can take to live a more balanced life and to find balance in your life:

  1. Breathe and relax
  2. Figure out what’s important to you
  3. Take actions to reduce noise in your life
  4. Become more self-aware and understand yourself
  5. Understand the purpose of setting goals
  6. Let things go
  7. Understand progress takes time and it’s okay to take breaks
  8. Live life at your own pace and adjust over time

Let’s dive into each of these 8 balanced living tips below.

1. Take a deep breath

First, take a deep breath and collect yourself. Everyone gets stressed out from time to time, and that’s okay.

Breathing allows you to slow down, get your bearings, and relax.

Your brain needs air to think and process information! Give your brain what it needs! 🙂

By relaxing, breathing and slowing down, you can then start to think rationally and game plan to achieve the balance in your life that you want.

simplify life2. Figure out what’s important to you

Next, it’s important to figure out what matters to you, and to assess where you are in your life right now.

What’s causing the imbalance in your life right now? What would your life look like if you were in balance? How would you feel?

Figuring out what is important to you and aligning your actions with your goals and wants is something I think is a necessary ingredient to happiness and fulfillment.

3. Take Actions to Reduce Noise in Your Life

Many times when we get out of balance, it’s because we have taken on too many things with work, at home, or with friends.

Reducing noise can help you focus and allow you to not be distracted or overwhelmed with negativity and stress.

For me, I’ve removed noise by not watching the news or TV, by unsubscribing to marketing emails, and through spending time only on things I want to do.

What makes you happiest? How are you spending your time? Is your time being spent in a way which brings you happiness, or is it being blocked by other things in your life?

By reducing noise, you can start to do more of the things you like, and spend less time on the things you don’t like.

4. Become More Self Aware will Lead to What You Want in Life

After you’ve taken a deep breath, reduced noise, and came up with a thought for what you want in life, now it’s time to make some adjustments.

Self awareness, maturity, emotional intelligence – all of these things develop over time and have been a constant struggle for me.

There are times where I get wrapped up in a conversation and all of a sudden, I lose focus for a second and get annoyed by some minor comment or action. I’m sure there have been times where you’ve had a similar experience.

It’s tough to always be on and present in the moment but can be worked on.

Similarly, I’ve had experiences where I’m so focused on getting my work done and I lose track of time. All of a sudden, an hour later, I notice I’ve been sitting for a few hours straight – something not good for my health.

Or if I’m exhausted and keep pushing. It’s okay to take a break and sometimes very necessary! There’s no point in pushing through exhaustion if it will lead to a cold or the flu.

If the people around you can’t handle you taking a break when necessary, then maybe it’s time to surround yourself with other people (people with demanding and unrelenting bosses, I’m looking at you 😉 )

My point with this post is to focus again on that it’s okay to relax and have a break from the grind. Of course, action is important, but again, balance is what will lead to great success.

5. Understand the Purpose of Goals

I want success in my career and finances at a relatively younger age, and through these overarching thought, I’m someone with a lot of goals and ambition.

Some of my goals are a little over the top, and if I don’t hit one, sometimes I feel down.

That being said, here’s the thing: life happens. It’s okay if I miss a goal, or a sub-goal.

Goals are so incredibly essential for someone who wants success.

One of my main mantras and principles which I live my life by is “simple daily actions and disciplines WILL result in massive success over time”.

Do some sort of exercise each day and I’ll be fit.

Read each day and I’ll grow my knowledge base.

With this philosophy in hand, ideas become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become my or your life.

At the same time, it’s okay to take a break if you need it.

Going 100 miles an hour to get to some arbitrary mark or goal might not be the most beneficial or sustainable if it’s going to rob you of your energy, time, health, relationships, or focus.

It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to not always be on with your A game.

6. Let The Little Things Go

Speaking a little more generally here, it’s okay to not always be on in terms of personality, exercise, relationships, money or work.

One of the keys to my success has been the ability to let things go and move on to other things that matter.

Some people might call this apathy, but the ability to simply shrug things off is a great ability to have.

There are so many triggers out there waiting to get you… social media notifications, controversial news headlines, an accidental bump by a passing stranger…

The other week after work, I was walking to my bus. To my left, there was the patio of a bar downtown and to the right, the tall office building.

Up ahead, I saw a guy walking and talking on his phone. The interesting part here was he was talking on his phone and walking backwards on a busy sidewalk.

As we got closer, I was minding my own business just going to my bus. We ended up bumping shoulders a little bit because the sidewalk was tight.

After a few seconds, I was crossing the street with a bunch of other downtown walkers and I hear, “Hey! Watch where you are f***ing going you b****!”

I could have turned around and yelled back. Maybe I should’ve said something first.

I just kept walking and didn’t let it bother me. It was after work, I just wanted to get home safe, and if someone bumps into me on accident, I’m not going to get worked up over it.

While obviously that guy should’ve been watching where he was going, accidents happen. Recognizing accidents or random meaningless things are happening to you and being able to move on is a great skill to have.

There are many things we can’t control in life, but also many things we can control.

7. Understand Progress and Finding Balance Takes Time

Nobody is an overnight success.

Things take time to develop and take shape.

Working through the struggle and working towards balance will take time, but it definitely will be worth it 🙂

As I’ve looked to simplify my life a little more, I had a thought which I’m going to share with you now: you can take a break if you need one.

There’s a quote I’m sure you know: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Your six-pack and dream body is not going to get created from 100 push-ups done 1 day.

You probably aren’t going to become a millionaire in the next month.

Just by mindset, you might not be able to overcome your fear of public speaking.

However, do 100 push-ups for 30 days in a row, and you’ll see progress. Save and invest $500 a month for 20 years, and you’ll be close to a million dollars. Practicing your public speaking over time will lead to more confidence.

Things take time, and being patient will lead to you feeling good about your progress.

8. Live Life at Your Own Pace

Finally, it’s important to live life at your own pace if you want a balanced life.

When looking out into the world, it seems that everyone is going one million miles an hour and you need to do the same.

Even though I’m someone who prefers taking action and getting out into the world, first, it’s important to start by asking and understanding what YOU love doing and what will bring YOU joy.

You and I only have one life (as cliche as that is, it’s true).

The key to balance is living life at your own pace. 

Figuring out that pace might be a little bit rough at first, but it will be worth it for living a fulfilling life.

There is absolutely NO reason why this should make you feel like you should live at a faster pace (if that’s what you want).

If you want to take it easy on a weekend, do it! Splurge on that ice cream shop down the street! Do what’s necessary to keep you sane and happy!

At the same time, if you are goal driven and want to live intentionally, then it’s important to get back to work after you’ve had your fun.

Balance is so critical in life for leading a fulfilling and happy life. Balance in all areas (relationships, work, money, stress, etc.) can be managed, but will require you to turn inward and seek the truth from within your powerful mind and spirit.

What’s important? What isn’t important? What makes you happiest?

Balance has been on my mind and will continue to be on my mind. I’ll figure it out and I hope you will too.

While you can be successful without balance, it will be very tough to sustain that success as a large wind can blow you off the balance beam at any time.

Figure out what’s important to you and look to find balance between work and play, friends and alone time, creation and consumption, healthy food, exercise, and junk food.

Find Balance in Life and Live a Fulfilling and Great Life

Now, it’s time to take actions to figure out what’s important to you and how you can reduce the noise of what’s bothering you to let the signal come through.

Take a deep breath and collect yourself. Everyone gets stressed out in life from time to time (and that’s okay).

What’s causing the imbalance in your life right now? What would your life look like if you were in balance? How would you feel?

Many times when we get out of balance, it’s because we have taken on too many things with work, at home, or with friends.

Out of these things, what’s important? Is there anything you could remove to get back your time and energy for what matters?

After reducing the noise in your life, think back to what what’s most important to you and your life. Focus in on what makes you happiest, and you’ll start getting back into balance.

Unfortunately, this process may take a few weeks.

Rarely will things happen overnight.

Maturity and patience is required here as things take time to develop and take shape. Working through the struggle will be worth it though 🙂

Readers: how do you keep balance in your life? How do you decompress? Do you find there needs to be a balance between work and play, friends time and alone time, and creation vs. consumption?

Living A Balanced Life
Living A Balanced Life
good to great book review

What differentiates good companies from great companies? Why do some companies grow over time, while others seem to stay stagnant? How can a good company become great?

In today’s world, there are many solid companies.

Each quarter and each year, they are profitable, but they aren’t amazing. They are good, but aren’t going to be your portfolio’s all stars.

What is stopping companies like these from becoming the media’s darlings? Maybe, asked a better way, what is keeping these companies from going from good to great?

Good to Great, by Jim Collins, presents the conclusions after studying a certain subset of publicly traded companies to identify key attributes of how companies go from good to great.

Collins wanted to answer the question, “How can good companies, or even bad companies, achieve enduring greatness?”

The rest of this post includes a summary of Good to Great, takeaways from Good to Great, and a reading recommendation for you.

Book Summary of Good to Great

For many years, Jim Collins wondered if there were any companies that went from mediocre to great, and what made this transition possible.

He started forming the following research question:

If these companies existed, what were the defining attributes which allowed these companies to outperform their competitors and the general market?

In the late nineties, Collins and his team of researchers set out to answer this question.

First, they had to define what exactly mediocrity looked like, and what greatness looked like. They didn’t want to study companies that were always great – he did that in his book Built to Last.

Instead, he wanted to look at a set of companies that made a leap from average or below average results in the stock market, to great results which needed to be sustained at least 15 years.

What was surprising, was these good to great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than the results delivered by an index of the world’s greatest companies (Coca-Cola, GE, Intel, etc.)

Next, the research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great.

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study.

After sifting through an absurd amount of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness.

How can Companies go from Good to Great?

After the study was completed, the research team found 7 main conclusions:

  • Good to Great companies have level 5 leaders in their organization
  • Good to Great companies get the right people on board, and then act
  • Good to Great companies confront the brutal facts
  • Good to Great companies apply the “hedgehog concept”
  • Good to Great companies build a culture of discipline
  • Good to Great companies employ technology effectively
  • Going from good to great can take a long time

Let’s dive into the key findings in  more detail.

Good to Great Companies have Level 5 Leaders in their Organization

The first finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies employ level 5 leaders in their organization.

Level 5 refers to a five level hierarchy of executive capabilities, with level 5 at the top. Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. These leaders are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.

Level 5 leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility.

The comparison CEOs often did just the opposite – they looked in the mirror to take credit for success, but out the window to assign blame for disappointing results.

Another finding in the study was how larger than life celebrity leaders who ride in from the outside are negatively correlated with going from good to great.

Ten of eleven good to great CEOs came from inside the company, whereas the comparison companies tried outside CEOs 6 times more often.

Good to Great Companies get the Right People on Board, and then Act

The second finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies get the right people employed, and then act.

The good-to-great leaders began the transformation by first getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus), and then figured out where to drive it.

The comparison companies frequently followed the “genius with a thousand helpers” model – a genius leader who sets a vision and then enlists a crew of highly capable “helpers” to make the vision happen. This model fails when the genius departs.

The study uncovered three practical disciplines for being rigorous in people decisions:

  • When in doubt, don’t hire – keep looking. (A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people)
  • When you know you need to make a people change, act. (First be sure you don’t simply have someone in the wrong seat.)
  • Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems. (If you sell off your problems, don’t sell off your best people.)

By having the right people on your team, you can accomplish so much.

Good to Great Companies Confront the Brutal Facts

The third finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies confront the brutal facts of their situation.

All good-to-great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality.

When you start with an honest and diligent effort to determine the truth of your situation, the right decisions often become self-evident. It is impossible to make good decisions without infusing the entire process with an honest confrontation of the brutal facts.

Creating a climate where the truth is heard involves four basic practices:

  • Lead with questions, not answers
  • Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion
  • Conduct autopsies, without blame.
  • Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored.

Leadership does not begin just with vision. It begins with people willing to confront the brutal facts and to act to make things better.

Good to Great Companies Apply the Hedgehog Concept

The fourth finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies apply the Hedgehog Concept.

Going from good to great requires a deep understanding of three intersecting circles:

  • What you are deeply passionate about
  • What you can be the best in the world at
  • What drives your economic engine

The key is to understand what your organization can be the best in the world at, and equally important what it cannot be the best at – not what it “wants” to be the best at.

The Hedgehog concept is not a goal, strategy, or intention, it is an understanding.

The good to great companies are like hedgehogs – simple, dowdy creatures that know “one big thing” and stick to it.

The comparison companies are more like foxes – crafty, cunning creatures that know many things yet lack consistency.

By sticking to doing what the good companies know how to do, they set themselves up for greatness.

Good to Great Companies have Built a Culture of Discipline

The fifth finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies have built a culture of discipline.

To continually succeed and have sustained great results, companies depend on building and maintaining a culture full of self-disciplined people who take disciplined actions.

These disciplined actions need to also be consistent with the three circles of the Hedgehog Concept.

Bureaucratic cultures arise to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline. Typically, cultures which lack discipline arise from having the wrong people on the bus in the first place.

If you get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off, you won’t need to worry about bureaucracy.

Good to Great Companies Employ Technology Effectively

The sixth finding in Good to Great is how Good to Great companies employ technology effectively.

Good to Great organizations think differently about technological change when compared to mediocre ones. How a company reacts to technological change is a good indicator of its inner drive for greatness versus mediocrity.

Great companies respond with thoughtfulness and creativity, driven to turn unrealized potential into results. On the other hand, mediocre companies react and jump around, motivated by fear of being left behind.

Good to Great organizations avoid technology fads and bandwagons, yet they become pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies. The idea that technological change is the principal cause in the decline of once-great companies (or the perpetual mediocrity of others) is not supported by the results from the study.

Certainly, a company can’t ignore new technologies and hope to be great, but technology by itself is never a primary root cause of either greatness or decline.

Going from Good to Great can take a long time

The last finding in Good to Great is how going from good to great can take a long time.

Good to great transformations often look like dramatic, revolutionary events to those observing from the outside, but they feel like organic, cumulative processes to people on the inside.

The confusion of end outcomes (dramatic results) with process (organic and cumulative) skews our perception of what really works over the long haul.

No matter how dramatic the end result, the good-to-great transformations never happened in one fell swoop.

There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment.

This just shows and proves once again how overnight success is 10 years in the making.

“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman

Takeaways from Good to Great

With every book you read, it is a must to have takeaways and actionable items to implement in life.

I really enjoyed Good to Great. As someone who is looking to work his way up in Corporate America, but also looking to pursue different entrepreneurial interests, Good to Great had a lot of fantastic points that I want to incorporate in my career going forward.

One of the most important things I’ve noticed in my career so far, both in my entrepreneurial efforts and at my day job, is having the right people in your organization.

Good to Great confirmed my assumption that having the right people is most important. Once you have the right people, then you can start to build towards your end result. Without the right people, you aren’t going to be able to do it.

It’s critical to find people who are going to be there for you and who are going to grind each and every day. People who don’t carry egos and want to be a part of something great.

Another takeaway for me was applying the Hedgehog Concept.

Essentially, I need to do what I know how to do, and do it well. Everything else is not important.

So many times I have a great idea, but need to stop and ask myself if I should be the one to take action on it.

Our Recommendation for Good to Great

Good to Great is a fantastic book for entrepreneurs and people interested in business.

If you are a business person or a manager in a corporation, Good to Great is a must read. Good to Great gives you a road map to building a great company.

If you are interested in business and history, Good to Great is a great history lesson of many public companies. If you are someone who is an investor, or manages others and is looking to build and grow your organization, Good to Great is a book worth reading.

There are so many amazing great tips and points Jim Collins makes which can be applied across a number of industries.

Check out Good to Great for more details on this book.

become debt free with avalanche method

Getting out of debt is a great goal. When starting on your debt pay off journey, things can look tough. By making a debt pay off plan, and using the debt avalanche, or debt snowball, method, you can get out of debt faster and get on to living your best life.

What would life be like if you didn’t have debt? How would you spend your time? What would the freedom feel like?

Being in debt restricts your ability to be free.

Being debt free allows you to do what you want – without being tied to the expectations of a bank or another individual.

Many people ask, “How can I become debt free? What are the steps to becoming debt free?”

In this post, I will be answering those questions, talking about what debt actually is, and providing you two great strategies for eliminating your debt. You will learn how to become debt free using the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Let’s destroy that debt!

personal finance is personal

What is Debt?

First, what is debt?

Debt is money that you owe someone else. That someone could be a bank, another business, or a friend or individual.

For repayment, there are terms and conditions associated with certain kinds of debt.

For example, banks lend individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house and allow those individuals to pay back the money over 360 months (30 years).

In addition, there is an interest rate associated with your debt. This interest is the “cost of the loan” to you – no one is going to give you money for free!

Each month, you will have a payment and this payment will be part principal pay down, and part interest.

get out of debtA Debt Payment Example

Let’s say you have a $20,000 loan with a 6% interest rate and a 10 year term. Using an online calculator, your monthly payment will be $222.04.

Over 10 years (120 months), this will cost you $6,867.01 in interest. If you pay $100 extra a month, you can cut the time you are paying off your debt to 6.25 years (75 months) and you will pay $4,008.09 in interest. By paying an extra $100 a month, you will save yourself $2,858.92 and will be debt free 3.75 years ahead of schedule!

As shown above, by paying extra each month, you can save money and reduce the amount of time to debt freedom.

In addition, once the debt is gone you effectively give yourself a raise; you have more money falling to the bottom line each month for you to save, invest, donate, spend, etc.

Another thing to note: debt is legally binding. If you don’t pay back your debt, there are many negative consequences that can happen:

  • Your credit score will tank and it will be more difficult to have a high credit score. Creditors report your delinquencies to the credit bureaus which are responsible for determining your credit score.
  • You could be sued. Creditors gave you money for you to use and then pay back over time. If successful, the creditor and court can have your paychecks garnished until the debt is repaid – which means you take home less money each month.
  • You might have to declare bankruptcy. Even though you will be able to get out of your debt, your credit will be ruined and your ability to get new credit will be destroyed.

Being responsible with your debt is very important because there are actually some benefits of having debt.

Is all debt bad? Is there such a thing as good debt?

In general, I believe debt is bad – and many other personal finance bloggers and experts believe debt is bad as well.

That being said, I do think there are cases in which debt can be a good thing. (Remember, personal finance is personal – some people hate debt and believe all debts are bad.)

There are two conditions to meet for my classification of “good debt”:

  • First, look at the underlying asset you are buying or receiving.
    • If this underlying asset has the potential to appreciate, or increase in value, in the future, then it’s acceptable, “good debt.”
    • Some assets I’m referring to in this case would be a house (houses have potential to appreciate over time, and provide you shelter), education (you have to be careful here, but more education can result in higher pay), or a business (a start-up loan).
  • Second, look at the interest rate.
    • There is an opportunity cost calculation to do.
    • Follow the financial theory: if your after-tax return on investments is greater than your after-tax cost of debt, then it’s acceptable to keep your debt.

Everything else is bad debt.

Credit card payments with an interest rate of 20%? Bad debt.

A home loan at 4%? Potentially good debt.

A student loan at 8%? I’m going to go with bad debt. There is, of course, the option to refinance student loans to get a more favorable interest rate.

A car loan at 2%? This one is tricky – cars are depreciating assets, but the interest rate is so low it’s probably fine.

Again, personal finance is personal and depends on your goals. If wealth is your goal, it’s okay to carry some debt. If freedom is your goal, crushing your debt should be your #1 priority.

Strive to be Debt Free and Free Yourself

The word mortgage is derived from a “Law French” term used by English lawyers in the Middle Ages meaning “death pledge“, and refers to the pledge ending when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.

Literally, mortgage = death pledge.

“A man in debt is so far a slave.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Debt is horrible: it is mentally draining, financially draining, and affects your entire life if you are weighed down by the large barbell of debt.

I want you to experience amazing freedom. Make getting out of debt a goal, and I’m certain you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders once you reach that goal.

Think about it: with no debt, you wouldn’t be a slave to the bank, or to anyone. You’d have more money at the end of the month, and with more money, you’d have more options.

Unfortunately, today, I had to wake up and go to work because without my income, I couldn’t pay my mortgage. Until I sell my house, or pay off my mortgage, I have to continue working.

Two Strategies to Become Debt Free

There are two main strategies to become debt free fast. The two methods for becoming debt free are the debt avalanche method, and debt snowball method.

These methods are pretty straightforward. First, compile a list of your debts and their interest rates. After compiling this list, you will then pay a little extra towards a certain debt as determined by whichever method you pick.

By paying a little extra each month, you will be able to take advantage of some huge interest savings (as we will see a little bit later in this post).

become debt free with avalanche method

The Debt Avalanche Method

Using the Debt Avalanche Method, you pay off your debts by paying extra toward your debt with the highest interest rate first.

Once you have paid off the highest interest rate debt, you put the entire paid off debt’s payment plus the same extra amount towards the next highest until all debt is paid off.

For example, let’s say you have two debts: one at 20% interest rate, with a minimum payment of $200, and balance of $2,000, and the other debt with a 10% interest rate, a minimum payment of $150, and balance of $1,000. You decide you can put an extra $50 towards your debt a month.

Using the Debt Avalanche Method, you would put $250 towards the first debt and $150 to the second debt.

Over time, the first debt will be paid off faster than it would if you just paid the minimum payment. If the first debt is paid off before the second, then you put all $250 towards the second debt, for a total of $400 a month, until the second debt is paid off.

The Debt Avalanche Method is the mathematically optimal debt pay down strategy.

The Debt Snowball Method

Using the Debt Snowball Method, you pay off your debts by paying extra toward your smallest balance debt first. Once you have paid off the smallest balance debt, you put that payment towards the next smallest until all debt is paid off.

Many people like the Debt Snowball Method because psychologically, you can generally see your debt accounts disappear faster. If you have a $1,000 loan and a $5,000 loan, it feels good to have the $1,000 loan gone.

Let’s go back to our example with two debts: one at 20% interest rate, with a minimum payment of $200, and balance of $2,000, and the other debt with a 10% interest rate, a minimum payment of $150, and balance of $1,000. Again, you will put an extra $50 towards your debt a month.

Using the Debt Snowball Method, you would put $200 towards the first debt and $200 to the second debt, because the second debt is smaller in balance.

The Debt Snowball Method is not mathematically optimal, but is still better than applying no strategy at all.

Your Savings by Paying Extra Each Month

I created an example where the user had 2 credit cards, a mortgage, an auto loan, and a student loan totaling $246,500.

  • Credit card #1 has a balance $3,500 and an interest rate of 23.49%
  • Credit card #2 has a balance $10,000 and an interest rate of 20.19%
  • The mortgage has a balance $200,000 and an interest rate of 4.00%
  • The auto loan has a balance $8,000 and an interest rate of 5.00%
  • The student loan has a balance $25,000 and an interest rate of 7.00%

By paying an extra $25 a month and applying a debt pay down method, in this example, there is potential savings of at least $49,915!

debt paydown faster

How is this savings achieved?

Looking at the left hand side of the figure below, you can see in the Avalanche method, we are paying off the highest interest rate debts first.

Looking at the right hand side of the figure below, you can see in the Snowball method, we are paying off the smallest balance debts first.

By paying just a little bit more, debt can be eliminated quick, and our user became debt free with some solid cash savings.

debt pay down order

I’ve also included some statistics if you increase your extra debt payments by $100. The difference is fairly substantial just by paying an extra $100 a month!

In our example, the user started out with $246,500 in total debt. If no method was used, it would take 290 months (just over 24 years) and cost $371,109 to become debt free.

By paying $25 extra a month, the user is able to save nearly $50k, and chop off 140 months (nearly 12 years) off their payment plan! If the user could find an extra $100 in their budget, they could save an additional $12,000 and be debt free 158 months sooner!

With either choice of debt destruction method, you will save money, and be on your way to financial freedom!

Destroy that Debt! Become Debt Free

While the tone of this post was mostly to eliminate your debt, there are times when having debt makes sense.

Remember, personal finance is personal, and if it makes sense for you to take on debt for a certain period of time, then as long as it fits into your future goals and plans, then do it!

Right now, I have $12,000+ sitting at 0% for 3 years for some windows I got back in November. While yes, it’s a $12,000 expense, since it is 0% interest, I don’t pay an extra dime on interest, and when I pay it off in full in 28 months, I’ll be quite happy.

I ran the numbers and it made sense to me. Those windows have made this Winter in Minnesota much nicer, and they have also increased my home value.

Debt is something that can be used wisely and something you should be very careful with.

You now have a great resource for answering the questions: what is debt, is there a difference between good debt and bad debt, and how you can become debt free using the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Readers: what is your opinion on debt? Are there good and bad debts, or is all debt bad? What debt elimination method do you like better?

 


Pay Off Debt Faster With This Debt Destruction Tool

Pay Off Debt Fast With The Snowball Or Avalanche Method
Pay Off Debt Fast With The Snowball Or Avalanche Method
Pay Off Debt Fast With The Snowball Or Avalanche Method
24 hour fast

Performing a 24 hour fast can be a scary thought, but with the right tips and plan, you can successfully make it through your fast. With this article, you will learn how you can make it to 24 hours without breaking your fast, and learn about the benefits of fasting.

Ever since graduating college, I’ve been looking to experiment and explore new ways to live my life to the fullest. Eating habits is one area I’ve focused on over the number of years, and in particular, experimenting with intermittent fasting has lead to some interesting results.

Typically, I’ve stuck to a pretty relaxed 16 hour fasting window and 8 hour feeding window since starting intermittent fasting, but every once in a while, I do a 24 hour fast (and once I did a 48 hour fast!)

If you have never fasted before, approaching a 24 hour fast might seem like a huge task to take on.

When I started, I barely could make it past 9 AM before I “needed” to eat. Now, after a few years of practice, I rarely eat before 9 AM.

Maybe you are curious about fasting and want to explore your relationship with food. It’s possible you are looking to lose weight and want to see if fasting is worth giving a shot.

Whatever your reason, I hope this post gives the information you want and need regarding fasting.

In this post, I will talk about the benefits of fasting, and also share with you a number of tips for you to apply if you are interested in a one day fast.

24 hour fast

What are the Benefits of Fasting for 24 Hours?

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Everyone’s body responds to things differently and just because I’ve had a good experience doesn’t mean you will. Please consult a real doctor if you have concerns or interest about this subject.

When you think about fasting, you probably think about people who are starving and are suffering on purpose for no reason.

With the ability to go and buy whatever you want at the supermarket or grocery store, why would you ever want or need to fast?

Believe it or not, fasting has a lot of great benefits.

Being in a fasted state can bring a lot of good, and by increasing the amount of time you spend in a fasted state, the benefits can bring some great results.

Two of the big benefits of fasting are that fasting could help you lose weight, and fasting can help with detoxification.

If you are always eating, your body does not have the ability to perform some of it’s natural functions – namely, cleaning itself and getting rid of the junk.

By fasting, you give your body space and time to heal itself.

Fasting for 24 hours is a way to tap into these benefits without having to do too much outside of your daily routine.

The benefits of fasting start happening after 12 hours, by getting 24 hours of no eating in, you can help reset your body.

Now, if you are interested in doing a 24 hour fast, the next section will go over some tips on completing your first 24 hour fast.

7 Steps and Tips for Completing Your First 24 Hour Fast

If you’ve decided to give a 24 hour fast a chance, there are a number of things to consider and think about when going through your first 24 hour fast.

Below, I’ve listed 7 tips for you to apply during your fast so you can successfully complete your fast.

  1. Start with a 16 hour fast a week or two before the 24 hour fast
  2. Eat a big meal around 4-5 PM before starting your 24 hour fast
  3. Use sleep to your advantage
  4. Drink plenty of liquids to keep you full over the two day span
  5. Stay busy during your one day fast
  6. Stay positive, listen to your body, and be strong
  7. Make your first meal back simple and healthy

Let’s dive into each of these tips for completing your first 24 hour fast in more detail.

1. Start with a 16 Hour Fast to Prepare for Your 24 Hour Fast

First, if you’ve never done a longer fast before, you should start with a shorter 16 hour fast. This way, you can get an understanding of how your body might respond to fasting.

There are a number of interesting feelings I experienced when I fasted for the first time, and the first time I did it, it definitely was stressful and nerve wracking.

But after doing it a few times, I now know how to cope with those thoughts and feelings.

Starting slow with a 16 hour fast will allow you to experience some of the feelings involved with fasting and will help when you give the full 24 hours a go.

2. Eat a Bigger Meal at 4-5 PM Before Starting

Once you are confident you can do a 24 hour fast, then I’d recommend eating dinner a little bit earlier and if you are nervous about the fast, make it a big meal!

I suggest an earlier dinner because the second afternoon can be very difficult, and having a 5 PM cut off versus a 7 PM cutoff can make a world of difference mentally.

Typically, I get off work at 5 PM. If I can go home and eat right away, this is a lot easier than if I have to wait until 7 or 8 PM.

3. Use Sleep to Your Advantage

Something which is overlooked when fasting is it’s a lot easier to kill time if you are sleeping.

If you eat at 5 PM the night before, go to bed at 11 PM, and wake up at 7 AM, you only have 10 hours of fasting left before hitting the 24 hour mark.

If you can, adding in a 30 minute to 1 hour nap will cut another hour off the clock.

Eating earlier and going to bed earlier can make this even easier – finishing dinner at 4 PM, and going to bed at 10 AM can lead to a short fast during the second day!

4. Drink Plenty of Liquids When Fasting

Next, make sure you are drinking a lot of water during your fast.

First, this will help with flushing your system, but also, by drinking a lot of water and other liquids, you can feel more full.

Drinking water is very important for general health, but even more important when you aren’t eating and trying to stay sane.

Other liquids you can have are black coffee and unsweetened tea.

Coffee contains proteins which suppress your appetite, and this can help with hunger pains. One thing to note though is coffee leads to elevated cortisol levels, which makes it harder to burn fat.

Green tea is another drink that you can utilize when fasting. Green tea has some caffeine, helps suppress your appetite, and in addition, drinking green tea does elevate cortisol levels.

In general, whatever you decide to drink, just make sure it doesn’t have any calories, and also that you are staying hydrated throughout the day.

5. Stay Busy During Your One Day Fast

Have you ever heard the expression, “time flies when you are having fun?”

Time does fly when you are busy and occupied with work or play. If you decide to do a 24 hour fast, it will be a lot easier if you can stay busy and occupied throughout your day.

One of my worst fasts ever came when I had nothing going on during the afternoon at work.

From hours 18 to 23, I sat at my desk and, more or less, just thought about how hungry I was and calculated how much time I had left until it was time to eat.

On the other hand, you can go a long time with not thinking about food if you are busy and actively engaging your mind and body.

Also, a lot of times I’ll eat just because I’m bored or anxious. By staying busy, you won’t get bored and feel tempted to eat.

Staying busy will help you get through your fast much easier.

6. Listen to Your Body When Doing Your 24 Hour Fast

Finally, there will be moments when you want to eat and don’t want to push through.

Staying positive, drinking water, and resting could be best here – but also, if you become shaky or actually NEED food, then it is totally okay to end your fast.

If you are someone who is sensitive to not eating and have troubles with blood sugar levels, fasting might not be for you.

For people who check with their doctors and know the potential dangers of fasting, listening to your body will be very important for completing your fast successfully.

If you get a headache (which is very common and a sign your body is flushing out toxins), drinking more water will be critical for your success.

Being self-aware is incredibly important for success in this world, and being healthy rather than fainting or becoming sick because you tried to push through is a better scenario.

7. What to Eat After Breaking Your 24 Hour Fast

After reaching 24 hours, ease into eating with some fruit or vegetables, and then once you know your body is ready, you can eat a bigger meal.

You don’t want to go too fast into eating a big meal (even if you are super hungry at this point)!

Your body was getting used to not having a lot, and it might reject your meal if you eat too fast or too much.

Best of Luck During Your 24 Hour Fast!

For the past 4-5 years, fasting has been a piece of my life and becoming a little bit healthier each and every year.

After fasting, I feel more focused and ready to tackle the next tasks in my life.

Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Whether to experiment with fasting, learn more about your relationship with food, or to help you finally complete a 24 hour fast, hopefully this article has been valuable to you.

If you want to lose weight, fasting might be beneficial for you. Since fasting reduces the number of calories you take in for that day, you will be in a caloric deficit. However, there are other factors you need to consider before truly knowing if a 24 hour fast will help keep the weight off!

I hope you have a great 24 hour fast!

earned $115,000 at age 26

Making more money in your 20’s is very important when trying to build wealth and improve your financial situation for your financial future. Earning more and growing your salary is all about providing more value over time to your customers, clients and coworkers. In this post, you’ll learn how to make 6 figures before age 30 and receive many ideas to grow your income over time.

To improve your financial situation, you can either make more money, or save more money.

While cutting expenses is great, and will probably work for awhile, it will only get you so far. Saving money is not enough to build a financially secure life.  If you’re going to become financially stable, you need to find a way to increase your income.

Crushing your 20’s can lay an incredible foundation for future success. By earning more money in your 20’s, you can create an amazing financial base for your future goals.

Are you looking to make more money? I want to help you grow your income and become financially successful.

If you are an income minded millennial, and a young adult focused on making more money, you NEED to read these tips.

In this post, I will be sharing with you tips to making more money and becoming a high earner in your 20’s. I’m going to look to answer your money making questions and provide you answers on the following topics:

Let’s get started with why focusing on value will help you increase your worth, and allow you to raise your level of pay.

Increasing your income at your job and in your career is possible over time, but will require patience.

Becoming More Valuable Will Lead to Increasing Your Income

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” – Albert Einstein

Increasing your income, salary, hourly rate, and earnings comes down to a simple variable: value.

If you can create and provide tremendous value and results, you WILL grow your income.

make more money

What is value?

For getting paid to do work, value is the monetary and assessed worth of a service.

Becoming more valuable, and increasing the worth of your service go hand in hand. Creating value in yourself, for an employer, or for others is not too complicated, but it can be complex.

How can you create value for others, or an employer?

There are many people we interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

With each person we interact with, there is an opportunity to either add to that person’s life, subtract from that person’s life, or leave that person’s life be.

Think about this for a second: how would you feel if you could add to every single person’s life you came across. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If everyone walked away from interactions with you saying, hmm, I really like that guy/gal.

It’s not going to be easy to always be providing value. However, through becoming a servant and giver, you can receive anything you want in the world.

Value in the business and money making world is a combination of skills, likability and experience.

Becoming a person of value and putting the best version of yourself into the world will lead to a higher wage.

financial decision makingHow to Create Massive Value at Your Day Job

Increasing your income at a day job comes from 3 things in particular:

  1. Providing Value to the Entire Department through creating Efficient Solutions
  2. Securing a Job in a Highly Visible Department at a Reputable Company
  3. Working on Communication and Leadership Skills

Let’s discuss more in depth each action to help you understand examples for growing your income.

1. Create Solutions which Benefit Everyone in the Team

“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman

Some work situations are difficult to navigate. Many people are trying to back stab you, and nickel and dime their way to the top.

Backstabbing is a not a sustainable strategy.

Instead, I look to GIVE, and provide solutions which make processes more efficient. This will help the company save more, allow others to work less on busy work, and more on important work.

In my first year in my current role, we needed numerous codes to run testing on our models. Many of my teammates had their own code for these models, but there was not a unifying set of codes which could be used across all models. In addition, we were interested in adding a few more tests which would require new code.

I was up for the task.

One thing I’m very good at is creating scripts which are usable for multiple situations. I ended up adding 4 different sets of code for the 10 team members over a 3 week period, and became a friend to everyone.

I ended up helping everyone and ended up saving potentially 10-20 hours per person.

Being a servant to your team and wanting to help others is definitely a recipe and strategy to follow to be more successful in your career. I look to serve others and add value in any way I can, and I hope you will as well.

Now, my managers have shown their appreciation for my work through raises and promotions.

Projects like these have definitely helped my case for a higher salary over the past few years.

2. Work at a Great Company in a Highly Visible Department

My current job is in a department which gets a lot of scrutiny from various regulators at the federal level. The department I work in builds statistical models (different varieties of regressions), and requires skilled programmers and statisticians to create robust models.

In the banking industry over the past 10 years, there has been an increased need for compliance in a variety of areas. Combining the high scrutiny with required programming skills, you get a very specific skill set with few people fitting the mold. This allows for a higher level of salary across the department.

In addition, the company I work for is a Fortune 500 financial institution.

All of these factors can contribute to a higher salary over time.

Working for a company which is not growing, or does not provide you opportunities for more responsibility, will, unfortunately, limit your earning potential over time.

working on communication

3. Focus on Communication and the Soft Skills

A few years ago, there I was, age 24 and sitting in a room of 30 people presenting our models to regulators.

To my right, I had a few team members – some senior analysts and managers – who weren’t presenting.

I’m not bragging, I’m telling you the raw facts of the situation. I was chosen by the head of our department to present because of my communication skills. I’m able to translate technical concepts into every day speak, and help others understand more easily.

I’ve been working on my communication skills for a number of years – through everyday conversation, by creating this website, by podcasting, and by learning about interactions and conversation over time.

Communication is only possible if the other person understands what you are trying to tell them. Focusing on the other person is of utmost important in communication.

To conclude on this point, through increased responsibility and solid communication skills, I’ve been able to increase my value and increase my salary.

Now, I will share with you 8 important skills you can learn to help grow your value and increase your salary.

10 Important Skills to Learn to Grow Your Salary

To grow your income and increase your wage at a job, there are many skills, thoughts and abilities you can work on and improve upon.

However, through my experience and learning, there are 10 important skills which have lead to my success. Making more money at your job is possible, and some of these skills will be good to learn, while others might not be as important.

These 10 skills are broad, but can certainly be applied to other disciplines and fields of work:

  1. Communication
  2. Discipline
  3. Teamwork
  4. Big Picture Thinking
  5. Leadership
  6. Sales
  7. Customer Service
  8. Time Management
  9. Problem Solving
  10. Job Specific and Technical Skills

Why are each of these important? Below is a description of each skill necessary for increasing your income, and tips on how you can increase your abilities.

1. Communication

Communication is arguably the most important skill to have and focus on growing in a person’s life and career.

In every day life, we interact with many different people.  If you can’t communicate your thoughts and feelings in a coherent way, you will struggle.

Similarly for your career, written and verbal communication is so critical.

Being able to listen to instructions and ideas, and then go out and execute or instruct others effectively is part of almost every job out there.

As I discussed above in my income story, when I was 24, I found myself in a conference room full of people presenting because I knew the material, was confident in my understanding of the material, and could clearly express what was necessary.

Even though there were senior members in my department around the table who knew the material as well as I did, I was chosen because I was confident and clear in my verbal communication.

I’m a natural introvert, but I’ve improved my communication over time.

A few ways to improve your communication include:

  • Writing in a journal or blog
  • Recording yourself speaking on a topic, start a YouTube channel, or start a podcast
  • Reading books on communication and practice with friends out in the world
  • Joining a local Toastmasters club

Communication is so critical, and it’s essential for success in the world.

2. Discipline through Consistent Efforts

Success is the culmination of days, weeks, months, and years of work.

Being a servant at work for a month, and then taking a month off will not lead to increased pay. Working on yourself and taking a break won’t lead to self improvement.

Showing up day after day, week after week, and month after month, will lead to getting what you are looking for: more responsibility, more knowledge, and more pay.

Consistency and discipline are things we as humans know what to do, but sometimes lack.

Consistent daily efforts added up over time WILL lead to success.

Implementing a strong work ethic and mindset geared towards doing a little bit each day can get you on the path to increasing your skills and income.

3. Teamwork is Critical for Success in the Workplace

Being able to work on a team is another skill employers want.

Being an effective team player means being able to work with people from diverse backgrounds to best get the job done.

A good team player is reliable, genuinely committed to the task at hand, is respectful of others and is always ready to help.

A team player doesn’t care about getting credit, being right or “winning” – they only care about how to best get the job done.  Doesn’t that sound like an employee you’d want to hire?  😉

patience at work4. Big Picture Thinking

Big picture thinking is a rare skill. If you want to connect with your manager at a higher level, big picture thinking is a must.

Big picture thinking is the ability to take in many different pieces of information, understand how all of the pieces of information work together, and then provide a strategy to produce a favorable outcome.

Maybe, you have a strategic role that requires big picture thinking and you are fine in this area.

But, many people are still in the lower levels of an organization. It’s a difficult place to practice big picture thinking on a daily basis if your primary job functions are relatively static or routine.

However, through playing strategy games, learning about strategy, and taking a step back from the detailed processes can lead to improved big picture thinking.

Big thinking can bring big results!

5. Leadership

As with being a big picture thinker, leadership is a quality many want but few posses.

But leadership is an essential skill to have in business, because leaders:

  1. Create an inspiring vision of the future
  2. Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision
  3. Manage delivery of the vision
  4. Coach and build the team so that it is more effective at achieving the vision.

A true leader is one that encourages us to do our best, helps us when we need it, is honest, trustworthy and confident.  A leader knows when to push and when to pull back.  They inspire us to do our best and their vision takes us where we want to go.

A good leader is indispensable to any organization.

6. Sales and Marketing

Even if you don’t work on the revenue side of a business, learning some sales and marketing strategies can benefit you in a few ways:

  • Getting buy in on an idea or project from your managers and co-workers
  • Raising awareness effectively of a new project or feature
  • Selling your abilities and skills to get paid your worth

If you understand sales and marketing, you can apply sales concepts into your work and watch as other people start to buy into what you are saying.

Learning sales and marketing can be done through reading different books, watching videos, or trying to sell a product yourself!

As a friend once told me, without sales, you have no business! With sales, anything is possible!

7. Customer Service and Likability

At work, your customers could literally be the customers of the business, but they also could include your managers, regulators, auditors, other members of the organization, or anyone you come into contact with on a regular basis.

When you walk into a store, how do you like to be treated?

I’m guessing you’d like to be treated with respect, to have your questions answered in a clear and concise manner, and get on with your day stress-free.

Again, this isn’t rocket science, but if you don’t have much experience, start trying to become more friendly to people around you. Once you are on the job, you can continue these practices.

Likability is a huge component in raising your value as an employee or worker. Working on your customer service skills will lead to increased likability, and will help with increasing your pay.

8. Time Management and Planning

Meeting deadlines and expectations is a necessity in the world – but some people still don’t prioritize time management as much as they should.

Growing up, time management was stressed to me as important, but my parents seemed to dictate what I did and when around their schedule.

When you look to increase your income, all of a sudden your life becomes a balancing act between your day job, your side hustles, your personal development, your family, your friends, exercising, and relaxation time.

Being able to balance these things requires higher level thinking (something we just talked about), as well as the ability to prioritize and execute on your plans.

9. Creativity, Design and Problem Solving

A skill listed on many job listings is problem solving.

In jobs which are straightforward and grunt-ish, it’s very difficult to work on problem solving on the job.

However, for business owners and managers, thinking outside the box is a must. If someone can help solve a problem, they are instantly more valuable to you.

A few pieces of problem solving include creativity and designing a solution for the situation at hand.

Learning how to problem solve can come through playing games, doing puzzles, and studying strategies for problem solving.

Becoming more creative and working on your design skills can come from TRYING things. If you want to be UNIQUE and ORIGINAL, you need to triple your output.

It took Thomas Edison 1,000 attempts to make a light bulb. Do you think you’ll get it right on the first try? I know my first attempt at creativity was a fail…

Becoming a better problem solver will lead to increased value and over time, more pay.

10. Job Specific Knowledge and Technical Skills

The 9 skills I’ve listed above can help in many situations, but ultimately, the job you do will have some job specific knowledge and skills required.

The knowledge needed will depend on your job. This is obvious, but worth mentioning.

If you want to be a doctor, you’ll need to go to medical school. For a lawyer, law school.

For other roles, like becoming a electrician, carpenter, or plumber, a trade school, getting the appropriate certifications or becoming an apprentice can help you learn the necessary skills.

In many office roles, programming and the ability to make processes efficient is a great skill to add to your talent stack.

The Microsoft suite has the ability to automate processes with code (VBA) or with features (mail merge and Excel functions). You can learn how to use Microsoft Excel better with a site like Excel Easy, and learn pivot tables, VBA, or just basic functions to help make things more efficient.

Something I did this past quarter was automate reporting for a manager in our department. She was spending 10+ hours formatting charts and tables after manually copying and pasting in data (what a headache!). I added a few buttons to the Excel sheet, wrote some VBA code, and now, the process takes less than 5 minutes once the data is right.

If you don’t use Microsoft products, then learning how to code might make sense.

At my day job, I use SAS, Python and Javascript – these I either learned on the job, or at home by using sites such as Code Academy or learning from YouTube. R, Java, C, C++, Ruby, or C# might make sense to learn depending on your goals and wants.

Over time, adding new skills to your talent stack will lead to increased earnings. These skills can come from certifications, doing side projects, or getting more formal education.

Create Multiple Income Streams to Increase Your Earnings

Unfortunately, increasing your income at a day job can only happen so fast. There are budget restrictions, managerial approvals, and advancement structures which get in the way of growing your wage.

For example, in many jobs, there are strict time tables for advancement. After 2 years, you can become a senior analyst. With 5 years of experience, a manager. After 8 years, a senior manager.

Even if you have the ability to become a manager after 3 years, your pay and responsibility will be capped.

Fortunately, through side hustling and making money on the side, you can grow your earnings this month!

Side hustling is tough and not for everyone. However, if you are looking to grow your income fast, then side hustling is a must!

Below, I’ve created a list of side hustle ideas for your to possibly start to make more money this month.

make-more-moneyThousands of Side Hustle Ideas to Make More Money

There are thousands of ways to make money in this world.

Finding a side hustle which utilizes your existing knowledge is a great way to make money.

Below, I’ve listed a number of skills and interests which can be monetized. Maybe one of these will fall in line with your skills and you can start to work to monetize your life.

I hope that with the list below, you will have some ideas for earning some extra cash.

  1. Tutor Students
  2. Help with Yard Work
  3. Edit Audio or Videos for Others
  4. Build Furniture or Make Household Items
  5. Referee Sporting Events
  6. Start a Business
  7. Help Others with their Businesses
    • Bookkeeping
    • Web Design
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Content Creation
    • Graphic Design
  8. Rent Out Your Spare Things
  9. Sell Your Stuff and Become a Merchant
  10. Help Move People Out of their House
  11. Edit Resumes
  12. Invest in Income Producing Assets
  13. Deliver Things in Your Car or Bike

Below is a description of each of these side hustle ideas. Maybe one of them will catch your interest and be the side hustle for you!

There are so many ways to make money in this world!

1. Tutor Students

If you have knowledge in math, writing, science, or history, you could become a tutor for high school or college students.

Many students need help with catching up to other students, or getting to the next level, and tutoring can help fill those gaps.

2. Help With Yard Work

Many people don’t like doing yard work – especially when it’s just snowed ten inches and they don’t want to go outside!

Getting outside and shoveling or mowing people’s lawns can earn you a decent amount of money for just a few hours of work.

When I was younger, I mowed 3 yards a week and was paid $20 for each lawn. For $60, I worked about 3 hours a week. Again, I was able to get some exercise and help out in the community. If you can handle some extreme conditions, mowing, raking leaves, or shoveling could be for you.

3. Edit Audio or Video

Video and audio quality is so important for businesses looking to attract views and listens online.

If you know how to do sound quality, video production, or sound mixing, you could secure a fun side gig helping others make amazing videos and sound clips!

4. Build Furniture, Do Repairs, or Make DIY Household Items

If you are handy, you could custom build things for others, or help friends with repair projects for pay.

Maybe you are someone who is DIY obsessed. If you love doing crafts, you could make custom crafts and sell these at local craft fairs or open an online store.

There are so many things people need help with around their house, and also, people love custom and handmade products.  You could fill a need with your skills and abilities.

5. Referee Sporting Events

When I was in high school, I refereed elementary school basketball each weekend during the Winter.

For an hour of work I got paid $15 a game, and got some exercise as well.

If you love sports, this could be an easy money maker for you – a few hours a week in exchange for some exercise and helping out your community.

6. Help Others with Their Businesses

Are you good with Excel or have a knack for social media? Business owners are paying top dollar for virtual assistants, marketers, and other helpers to grow their business.

Offering your skills for a certain hourly percentage could bring in some serious cash.

If you want to work online, I’d recommend looking at Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer.

Below are 5 side hustle ideas for helping small businesses:

  1. Web Design
  2. Bookkeeping 
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Management
  5. Graphic Design

A. Website Design

make money on the side

Every website that is created on the internet utilizes HTML, CSS, and Javascript to present data and content to the end-user. Learning how to use Javascript and other programming languages can be very lucrative for your career.

For many websites, the goal is to sell the user on some product (information, a physical or digital product, or a service).

There is a lot of technical information you need to know, but website design is a skill not many small business owners have. With that said, if you are a small business and you don’t have a website, good luck!

Small business owners are always looking for an edge over their competition. A nice looking and functional website can be the difference between a deal and a lost deal.

Web design could be a great side hustle for you if you enjoy programming, design or marketing, as these skills all lead to a great looking website!

B. Bookkeeping

When I was in college, I worked as a bookkeeper for a hotel management firm. It wasn’t sexy work, but it was extremely necessary for the business.

All small businesses need to have tax records, receipts, and documentation on their various financial activities, and many small businesses owners do NOT want to do this work.

It is tedious, it is a grind, but it is completely necessary and really only requires organization, data entry skills, and some finance and accounting knowledge.

Bookkeeping would be a great side hustle to get into for someone who is currently, or is looking to go towards, working in corporate finance or accounting in the future.

C. Social Media Management

Similar to websites, social media is another one of those must haves for small business owners. If you do not have a social presence, then the business brand will potentially look less desirable.

There are many different social platforms, each with a unique strategy and feel for connecting with potential customers and users.

The main social media platforms I will focus on discussing here are Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Managing the social media accounts for a business involves coming up with a strategy for engagement, scheduling out posts and content on the different platforms, interacting with followers and potential customers, messaging any potential partners, managing paid advertising campaigns, and executing on the engagement plan.

Many small business owners want to focus in on what they are good at, and social media might not be their expertise.

Roles that could come from this idea are Facebook ads managers, Google Adwords Manager, and Twitter and Instagram profile building.

Social media management could be a great opportunity for someone who is talented at marketing.

D. Small Business Content Management

Going back again to how important a strong website is, content is king when it comes to showing your brand is knowledgeable and worth trying.

Many small business owners are not experts in writing content, or determining which content is best for their audience.

A small business content manager is responsible for helping manage the existing content on the website (optimizing and cleaning up old posts), ensuring new web pages are strong, and communicating with all authors, editors and social media managers to make sure the message is consistent across platforms.

Some of the roles that come out of this idea could be website manager (webmaster), content site auditor, editor, and writer.

If you are good at writing, or enjoy some of the technical aspects of editing and formatting, content management could be a great side hustle for you.

E. Graphic Design

Every website needs a logo, every social media platform is image heavy, and how well printed and digital content is received is based on how visually appealing it is.

If you are good at graphic design (either in Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), helping small businesses with their image creation could be a decent way to earn extra money on the side of your day job.

I’ve paid $20 for logos in the past, and now that I’ve also created a few logos myself, I could imagine myself being able to do 1-2 logos an hour.

If you can get involved with managing multiple pieces of the business and become responsible for a number of designs, this side hustle could easily scale up to a handful of hours per month.

There are so many ways to help small businesses out. Searching and finding what you will like to do most, and how you can be helpful can be done through communication and networking.

Now, back to the non-small business helping money makers.

money making7. Rent Out Your Spare Things

Over the past few years, I’ve made over $40,000 in rental income from house hacking. In July 2015, I bought a house with two spare bedrooms. Each of these rooms I rented out for $600+, and now, have made over $40,000 over time.

House hacking, the act of renting out your spare rooms to monthly renters, or to people using a service such as AirBnb, can be a great income generator. If you aren’t using those rooms, why can’t someone else use them and pay you for it, too?

There are also ways to rent out your car and other things, like appliances, storage, and parking.

These rental options are great since the incoming money is passive income once set up!

8. Become a Merchant and Sell Your Stuff

Over the years, people tend to accumulate stuff – I know I have. This stuff sometimes will end up sitting on a shelf in your basement or closet for years, never to be used.

Why do we hold on to these things?

Selling this stuff will free up space, and will put cash in your pocket.  It’s a no brainer.

Don’t have stuff to sell?  Buying under-priced things at garage and estate sales and flipping them on eBay has 8. proven quite profitable for many people.

Becoming a merchant sounds intimidating. However, it can certainly be done by going to thrift shops and finding under-priced items you can flip for a profit.

9. Start a Business

Coming up with something simple to sell isn’t that hard when you fully immerse yourself in the product development and brainstorming process. Satisfy the needs of others and you’ll be able to make money.

There is no guarantee of making money when starting a business, but it is a possibility if you have the right product, connection and skills.

10. Help Move People Out of their Homes

If you are physically up for it, moving people out of their homes is a great way to pick up some extra cash. It’s definitely hard work and not for the faint of heart.

It does pay quite well though – in college, I had a few gigs with my friends moving people, and we charged $15 an hour.  After the tip, it was closer to $25 an hour!

passive income11. Invest in Income Producing Assets

Investing in income producing assets should help boost your income.  DIY minded people who are handy can buy real estate in a nice location, fix up whatever is necessary, and rent the property for a monthly income.

Real estate is just one of the many income producing assets a person can get involved in – and the hours associated with this side hustle is typically quite low.

12. Deliver Things in Your Car or Bike

Driving for Uber or Lyft, or making deliveries of food on the way home or on the way to your destination for Doordash or Postmates are all effective ways to multitask and earn some money.

There are so many ways to earn extra money through hustling on the side of your main occupation or job.

Do any of them seem interesting to you?  Start with one or two and see how it goes – you may find yourself earning enough income to one day quit your day job!

As I mentioned above, there are so many ways to increase your income and earnings through side hustling!

13. Edit Resumes

Helping people with their resumes and job searches by reviewing and editing their resumes could be a great side hustle.

If you have experience as a hiring manager or interviewer, this would be a great side hustle for you.

Now, let’s talk about some real world examples of side hustles which I’ve featured here on this blog.

Real World Examples of Side Hustlers and Side Jobs

On The Mastermind Within, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to feature some amazing side hustlers in my Side Hustle Spotlight series.

These side hustlers are making great money on the side of their day job. Here is a list of the side hustle interviews I’ve featured so far:

Hopefully, these amazing interviews give you inspiration to start your own side hustle (and if you do, I’d love to hear about your side hustle!!)

Now, I have a few common income questions which I will answer before wrapping this post up.

Do Advanced Degrees or Certifications Matter for Growing Income?

Advanced degrees are quite valuable, for both personal development and career enrichment. By obtaining a graduate degree, you can expect the following:

  • Personal growth
    • You should grow intellectually, but through your experiences you might also enhance your emotional capabilities.
  • Wealth
    • On average – across employment fields and U.S. state lines – Graduate degree-holders earn about 30 percent more than workers with merely a bachelor’s degree. (I was able to increase my salary $20,000 through my graduates studies!)
  • Connections
  • Recognition
    • Those with graduate degrees often enjoy higher social status than others. Master degrees and Ph.D.s are prestigious and earn praise and respect as a result.

At the same time, you don’t necessarily NEED an advanced degree for higher income. It really is dependent on your GOALS and your dream job.

Some of the most successful people I know didn’t go to college. Other successful people I know have multiple degrees.

Real world experience and knowledge are what will make you valuable at the end of the day. If you can provide enough value, you can do whatever you want, and make whatever wage you want.

If an advanced degree makes sense for you, go for it! At the same time, you could reach your goals without one.

How Important is a Growth Mindset for Making More Money?

growth mindsetPersonally, I try to live my life with an abundance mindset. Living with a growth mindset can lead to amazing results.

Life is not zero sum: You can win, and I can win.

With an abundance mindset, I believe I can do anything in the world, become anything, and have anything.

With an abundance mindset, I know that you can improve our financial situation through increasing our income – there’s unlimited potential on the upside for income.

Provide value in places you haven’t provided value before and you will be compensated.

With a little more money each month, you’ll be on to bigger and better things.

There are billions and millions of dollars out there in the world today – do you think it’s possible we can skim a little bit off the top and make our financial lives a little better than the day before?

increase-incomeWhat Kind of Company Should I Work For to Increase My Income Potential?

Let’s be honest here: some situations have no ceiling and no chance for advancement. Part of emotional intelligence and being aware of your situation will allow you to realize this and get the heck out of there.

In my first role, I saw that it would take a while for me to gain the necessary skills to get to the next level. Even though they valued my work and I created some cool automation and Excel reporting, I didn’t fit in with the group’s vision.

I started looking after my first year, and found a job that had room for growth and the ability to advance in a shorter period of time.

During my second summer, I mentored an intern and this year, I’m leading a group of roughly 15 in learning Python and building multiple pieces of code to compare to our current production runs.

In my first job, I wouldn’t have gotten either of these opportunities. These opportunities have lead to more responsibility and higher pay.

If you value having a higher wage, then getting into a situation with opportunities for advancement, training and responsibility will be very beneficial for growth.

Next, I want to share with you a few books which have been beneficial for my income growth.

Resources to Further Your Personal Development for Income Growth

“Your level of success is rarely exceeded by your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

Education doesn’t not stop after high school. Becoming a successful person and growing your earnings will require personal development.

Below are 7 books which have made a profound impact on my career growth, and have allowed me to increase my value and earn more money.

Skill with People, by Les Giblin

Your skill with people determines the quality of your social life, your business life and your family life. 

Interacting with other people is extremely important in today’s world. Communication is the #1 skill many employers and people look for (we discussed this above!)

To be able to navigate a variety of social situations – disagreements, negotiations, friendly conversations – is a skill we can all work on.

Skill with People, by Les Giblin, provides you with actionable advice to help you in your interactions with others.

Skill with People goes over many practical tips to dealing with people, ranging from talking to people, to making people feel important, to critiquing some successfully, to making a good impression.

Check out Skill with People.

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson

Humans are creatures of habit.

Every day, we make simple decisions: what to eat, should we exercise, should I call my parents, should I read my book, etc. Are the decisions you are making helping your life? Or are they detrimental to your life? Are they bringing you closer to your goals? Or are you still a long time away from achieving those goals?

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, walks us through a strategy to achieve success in anything we want in life. Do you want to lose weight?

Well, first, you have to start. You have to be consistent. Small and simple daily disciplines will lead to massive success and happiness.

The Slight Edge will help you get to your goals and dreams.

Check out The Slight Edge.

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

What matters more for success, IQ or EQ?

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue. Until the book Emotional Intelligence came out, we could only guess why.

Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence. Goleman shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

The best news is that “emotional literacy” is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility.

Emotional intelligence is a piece of communication, the most important skill for success. Learning emotional intelligence is critical for increasing your value over time.

Check out Emotional Intelligence.

Stealing the Corner Office, Brendan Reid

Why does your co-worker who seemingly does less work get the promotion? What skills and strategies are they using which are helping progress their careers?

In Stealing the Corner Office: The Winning Career Strategies They’ll Never Teach You in Business School by Brendan Reid explores the dynamics of career advancement in Corporate America.

Stealing the Corner Office is a fantastic guide for advancing through the ranks in Corporate America. Reid, a seasoned executive, offers a collection of controversial yet effective tactics and strategies for people who want to learn the real secrets for moving up the corporate ladder.

Check out Stealing the Corner Office.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

One of the most influential books on personal development and human relations, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must read.

For more than sixty years, How to Win Friends And Influence People has carried thousands of people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

In How to Win Friends And Influence People, you will learn:

  • fundamental techniques in handling people
  • ways to make people like you
  • tactics to win people to your way of thinking
  • strategies to change people without arousing resentment

Check out How to Win Friends And Influence People.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip & Dan Heath

Decisive-How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip and Dan Heath, is all about improving your decision making.

In Decisive, you will learn about the villians and common pitfalls many people struggle with in making decisions, and a framework to enable better decision making.

These villains are:

  • Narrow Framing – People naturally view a problem as “this or that”
  • Confirmation Bias – People naturally will seek information that support their beliefs and this tends to warp their understanding and perspective
  • Short-Term Emotion – People are influenced by emotions that will fade over time
  • Overconfidence – People generally will have too much faith in their predictions

Decisive will help you get past these villians and make smarter decisions.

Check out Decisive.

The Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman

When Josh Kaufman was in his undergrad years in college, he had secured a management position at Proctor and Gamble by his second year. This position was typically reserved for newly graduated MBA’s.

After graduating from college, he considered going to get an MBA, but decided against it. He realized the return on investment would not be great – he already had a job that usually required an MBA. Instead, he set out to pursue self-education in business.

By reading and studying over 100 books in finance, accounting, management, people skills, psychology, etc., he was able to accumulate a vast amount of knowledge.

Through his learning, he created The Personal MBA, a book which covers all of the topics an MBA would cover for a fraction of the cost.

Check out The Personal MBA.

With these resources, you can learn and apply your amazing knowledge to reach your full potential, and earn more money.

Increase Your Income and Welcome Endless Possibilities

Over the past few years, there have certainly been many times where I was frustrated with my level of income, or lack of side income.

In 2013, my income was $20,000 – high for still being in school, but not where I wanted it to be.

In 2015, my income was $63,000 – high for 22 years old, but not where I wanted it to be.

I wanted more, and wanted it in those moments of frustration.

What I realized though is no matter how much I wanted something, unless I internalized those emotions and did something about it, nothing would happen.

I started focusing on what I could control: my thoughts and actions.

A few years later, I’ve improved my financial situation through improving myself, and have increased my income.

Reading books and blogs, watching videos, talking with successful people, learning, and then applying and trying things in the real world. All of these actions have been critical to my growth.

What did I learn about and then go out and apply? How to communicate more effectively, how to think a little bit bigger, and how to be consistent. I learned new programming languages, learned some marketing and web design, and joined different communities who needed help with different tasks.

Showing up is half the battle – I could have just as easily stayed at home, been content in my current role, and just met expectations. But, instead I made the choice to push the envelope and become better. But it wasn’t a one time choice; rather, a daily, weekly, and monthly choice.

Doing a little bit each and every day is so critical to working your way towards a higher income.

It will take time – patience will be required.

However, once you gain new skills, increase the level of your current skills, and provide value to the right people, the sky is the limit 🙂

I hope this post has been inspiring for you as an income minded millennial pursuing a higher salary.

Please let me know if you have any questions and how I can help you on your income growth journey!

How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.
How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.
How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.
How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.
How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.
How to increase salary. Six-figure salary. Make more money.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Earning More Money
A Comprehensive Guide to Earning More Money
A Comprehensive Guide to Earning More Money
patience

Patience is a virtue and a skill which can unlock great benefits in your life. By working on patience and looking to become more patient, you will create many favorable situations for yourself.  In this post, you’ll learn about the benefits of being patient, the importance of patience, and ways you can be more patient in life.

Over the past few months, I’ve been meeting a lot of amazing women and going on a fair amount of dates. Something I’ve had to work on is being patient with some of the women I meet. I tend to get excited to hang out again, while they are slower to be open to seeing me again.

This push and pull is part of the dating game these days, and patience is very important for letting attraction build naturally.

I’ve been thinking a lot about patience recently with my focus on going out with new women, but I’ve also been thinking a lot about patience with regards to my level of physical fitness.

how to become patient

When looking to get into shape, there’s a lot of pain, sweat and suffering that goes into every workout.

4 sets of 10 of a certain exercise leads to no visible results the next time you look in the mirror. Doing it another day leads to more nothing after the next exercise.

Over time though, your body starts to change and you do see the results. With consistency, action, and patience, you can reach your fitness goals.

While you might not see the results in the first week or month, over time, you can get there.

Why is patience so important? What are the benefits of being patient? How can you be more patient and what are some ways to become more patient?

In this post, I will share with you why practicing patience is important for success, what are the benefits of being patient, and some tips for becoming more patient in life.

patience

Why Practicing Patience is Important for Success

Patience is very important for success in life.

But first, what is patience?

Patience is defined as the the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

Patience can be thought of of as being zen, and being unaffected by the crazy world around us.

When we are impatient, or not completely in control of our lives, we can get distraught, distracted and discouraged.

Think about a time when you were frustrated by the lack of your progress in a certain area.

Becoming frustrated didn’t lead to instant results, and may have even made the situation worse.

I know this has happened to me, especially in sports when trying to perfect a new swing and technique.

Recently, I’ve been rock climbing a lot, and as I’ve improved and gotten stronger, I have had to learn a ton about keeping a tight core and positioning my body in ways which will help me keep more balance.

It’s very frustrating when I fall off the wall because I’m slightly out of position. Instead of getting frustrated though, I need to stay calm, be patient, and keep working on the moves.

By being patient, we can stay calm, cool and collected, and keep on the path to achieving our goals and getting on to our dream life.

What are the Benefits of Being Patient?

There are many benefits of being patient in life.

Some of these benefits of practicing patience include:

  • Helping you focus on longer term outcomes and goals, rather than short term pleasure
  • Helping you with making good choices, rather than making impulsive decision
  • Forcing you to show empathy and kindness towards others

By being patient, you will become a more peaceful, empathetic and kind human over time, and also, with a clearer mind, you can start to make better and rational decisions.

Being patient involves slowing down, understanding where others are coming from, and making a rational plan.

Becoming more patient doesn’t mean you are throwing emotions out the window – it just means that there are a time and place for certain emotions, and a time and place for being level-headed.

Now that we’ve discussed why being patient is important, let’s talk about some tips for becoming more patient, and also give some examples of the importance of being patient in different situations.

7 Ways to Be More Patient in Life

Below are 7 tips for becoming more patient in life.  The overarching thought of becoming more patient is slowing down in life and looking to live intentionally.

Whether you are trying to be more patient in the workplace, be more patient at home, or be more patient in general, these 7 ways to being more patient will help you with your goal.

The 7 ways to be more patient are as follows:

  1. Slow Down
  2. Breathe
  3. Focus on What’s Important
  4. Communicate Your Thoughts with Others and Yourself
  5. Use Affirmations to Get in the Right Mindset
  6. Understand Time Can Heal
  7. Be Mindful of Your Progress and Current Situation

Let’s get into each of these tips for becoming more patient in more detail.

slowing down for patience1. Becoming Patient Involves Slowing Down

Going one hundred miles an hour isn’t always the most optimal way to get to success.

Figuring out the right balance between when to push and when to pull back is tough, but is helpful for assessing the situation at hand.

Slowing down could mean taking a step back from the situation, pausing for a few seconds, pulling over on the side of the road, and once there, thinking to yourself, “What’s the best step I can take next?”

2. Breathing Will Help With Patience

Our bodies run on oxygen and getting this oxygen in times of need can be very helpful.

After slowing down, taking a few deep breaths can help with patience. There are many benefits of breathing, one of those benefits being that it quite literally is lowering your stress hormone cortisol!

By taking a few deep and slow breaths, you can reduce your level of stress, and work on making your next step a good one.

3. Focus on What’s Important

After slowing down and taking a few deep breaths, it’s important to figure out what is important and then act on this plan.

Another way to think about this step in becoming more patient is to completely ignore what you are stressed about and focusing on other tasks.

I know that if I’m stressed about a mistake, a misstep, or lack of progress, if I start doing something else, I can forget about what I’m stressed about and move on.

4. Communicate With Those Around You and Yourself

Frustration and anxiety can be internal, or external. In either case, asking the right questions of others or yourself can be helpful.

Asking, why am I stressed, or why am I not progressing, rather than getting frustrated and not doing anything about it, can be helpful.

Likewise, asking those around you about your situation can be helpful. Also, asking questions and looking to understand the other person’s position can help.

If you are frustrated with a child who keeps whining, trying to understand why they are whining can result in a better situation than complaining or yelling (though every situation is different – tough love could make sense too!)

The key here is to try and gain information you can use in a logical and rational way. There are times to be emotional in life, but when looking to become more patient, being calm is better.

5. Use Affirmations to Get in the Right Mindset

“I am a patient person.”

When you wake up tomorrow morning, say this 3 times.

“I am a patient person.”

“I am a patient person.”

“I am a patient person.”

Affirmations are incredibly powerful because you can quite literally reprogram your brain to think the way you want to think.

Getting in the right mindset is incredibly important for life in general, and is especially critical for becoming more patient.

6. Understand Time Can Heal

tips to be more patientUnfortunately, time can sometimes be the best medicine for stress and anxiety. Giving yourself a break for a day, or week, can help your situation in times of impatience.

One example here is with training to get in shape.

Did you know your body actually grows when you are resting, rather than when you are in the gym?

Listening to your body and resting is sometimes the optimal way to proceed. If you are hurting, pushing to get one more workout in before the week ends might actually do the opposite of healing.

In a similar way, giving space to others when they aren’t living up to their responsibilities or doing what you want can work.

This is especially true in relationships, and is something I need myself as an introvert – space.

By giving space, you allow time to heal your frustrations, give the other person time to think, and after a while, you can revisit where you are going.

7. Gain Perspective on Where You’ve Came From and Your Current Situation

Looking back on where you have came from is a very powerful way to remain patient. This is something I experience when I look at my financial situation.

When I get stressed about money, and wish I had more, I look back on where I’ve came in the past 5 years and feel good about my progress.

I also think about those around me, and how many people would want to change places with me, and this also helps me gain a better perspective on my thoughts.

Seeing where you’ve came from, looking at those around you, and slowing down can help you with patience.

Now that we have talked about these tips for becoming more patient in life, let’s talk about the application of patience in a few different areas of life.

How to Find Patience in Different Areas of Life

You just learned about 7 tips you can take to apply in your life to become more patient, but now I’m going to share with you a number of situations where patience can help.

These situations are areas that I struggle with patience, and hopefully by sharing these situations with you, you can start looking at your life and make adjustments for the better.

The 4 situations I will share with you regarding patience are:

  1. Patience with Other People
  2. Patience with Exercise and Fitness
  3. Patience in the Workplace and in Your Career
  4. Patience with Money

Let’s dive into each of these four areas of life and talk about how being patient can help.

patience in relationships1. How to Be More Patient with Other People and in Relationships

As I discussed in the introduction of this post, I struggle with patience in my relationships from time to time (especially new relationships).

When meeting a new and attractive woman, I have to remind myself that I need to stay focused on my mission and purpose in life. When learning about someone else for the first time, there are a lot of things to get comfortable with, learn and do before attraction and comfort set in.

Having patience in my new relationships involves slowing down and having a longer term focus on my actions.

For existing relationships, friends, and co-workers, patience really boils down to understanding that other people have different goals and wants, and communication and empathy are very important.

Communicating with others when you have differences is the key to good relationships. If you can slow down, compose yourself, and understand where the other person is coming from, then you can navigate different social situations much easier than if you get upset.

2. How to Find Patience in Exercise and Fitness

Losing weight, “getting in shape”, improving in a sport, and gaining strength all require patience.

No one becomes an Olympic athlete overnight, even with so many diets and workout programs promising a quick fix.

Finding patience in exercise and fitness comes from an understanding that the body cannot change over night.

Weight is a simple “calories in minus calories out” equation, and while fasting can be beneficial, eating and getting the proper amount of nutrients is very important for general health.

Consistency and action are truly the most importance traits to cultivate when looking to get into shape, and by understanding this, you can develop patience towards your body.

patience at work3. How to Be More Patient in the Workplace

A very common question is how to be more patient in the workplace and how can I be more patient when I’m working.

One of the most frustrating things in my career is the lack of progression in responsibility and results, and how certain people at work can have no awareness of how they are working with others.

With working with annoying co-workers, if it’s really bad, then there are times when leaving your current role needs to be an option on the table.

If the situation is not that bad, then practicing empathy, breathing, and taking a long term view on why you are going to work is important here.

Sometimes, a crappy job in the short term is necessary to build skills, build savings, pay down debt, or provide for your family.

With waiting for a promotion, recognition, and results, understanding the goals and views of your organization are important for gaining perspective on the situation.

Again, some companies are not great companies and do not have a plan in place for you.

However, by communicating your goals and wants with your manager, and understanding the big picture, you can find clarity in the situation.

4. How to Find Patience with Money

Finally, if you are struggling with patience and your personal financial situation, there is hope.

I want to become rich at a young age. Becoming rich and financially free in my 20s or 30s would be an amazing accomplishment, but unfortunately to do so, I need to (a) make a lot of money, and (b) save a lot of money.

Becoming a millionaire, creating passive income, and becoming financially independent does not happen overnight.

Most months, my savings go up a few hundred dollars, and other months, a few thousand dollars.

$1,000, while a lot of money, isn’t enough to retire on, or enough to fall back on in the world today.

I sometimes get impatience at my lack of progress, but when I zoom out, I see some great results.

Falling back on this progress, and also understanding how time multiplies money via compounding, I find peace in my situation and keep going forward with my financial plans.

Start Working on Being More Patient Today

Practicing patience with yourself and with others will pay dividends for you in your life. Working on becoming more patient can result in great success, but it will take work.

Breathing, focusing on other tasks, communicating with others involved, becoming more self aware, and understanding sometimes time will cure things are great ways to become more patient.

Over time, through working on becoming more patient, you will become a more patient and positive person.

With this post, you now know a number of ways to be more patient, and how to become more patient in the workplace, become more patient at home, and become more patient in your daily life.

As we talked about, the importance of patience can’t be stressed any more, and with many benefits of being patience, you can’t not work on becoming more patient this year.

Slowing down and practicing patience can lead to less stress and more happiness. Will you give patience a shot?

Readers: how do you practice patience and how do you work on becoming more patient with those around you and yourself?

Thank you for reading!

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason is a timeless classic. The Richest Man in Babylon teaches the value of saving, overcoming poor habits, such as procrastination and getting into a mindset to take advantage of opportunities.

I was drawn to read The Richest Man in Babylon because many people and bloggers recommended it as one of the top 10 personal finance books. I finally got around to it and I’m glad I read it! It was a quick and enjoyable read.

The rest of this post includes a summary of the book, my takeaways, and my recommendation for you. Enjoy!

Summary of The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is a series of parables about personal finance. The parables take place in Ancient Babylon. The main story is about how an average man became the richest man in Babylon. He accumulated wealth by being disciplined with his spending, investing his savings, and working to increase his income.

Each story has a lesson and a moral. The lessons and principles in The Richest Man in Babylon are simple and easy to understand.

In addition to the many principles and lessons in The Richest Man in Babylon, The Five Laws of Gold are presented. The Five Laws of Gold form the foundation for your relationship and mindset with personal finance. Everyone should follow these laws:

The Five Laws of Gold

  1. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
  2. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks in the field.
  3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
  4. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

These laws of gold are more important than gold itself. By following each of the laws, you will become wealthy. Translating into layman’s terms:

  1. Save a minimum of 10% of your income
  2. Your investments will grow and the returns will compound over time.
  3. Always have insurance (FDIC insurance for a bank, for example) for your money
  4. Don’t invest in things you don’t know about
  5. Understand the balance between risk and reward. If you try for 50% returns, you won’t last long.

Takeaways from The Richest Man in Babylon

Personal finance is about being disciplined in your approach to your finances. If you want to have money, learn to discipline yourself now and not later. Most lottery winners are bankrupt within a few years and mostly because they lacked self discipline. Therefore, the problem is not the lack of money, but how it is managed.

Currently, I track my income, expenses, and net worth over time. I’m saving roughly 45% of my income – I’m doing well on the saving and investing front.

One area of improvement I could work on is being properly insured. I chatted with my insurance agent last week and she suggested I get an umbrella policy and more life insurance. While I understood what she was selling me on, but I didn’t feel it warranted the monthly expense. I will check into this some more.

Our Recommendation for The Richest Man in Babylon

Yes, please read The Richest Man in Babylon. If you like storybooks, books written in old time language, or personal finance books, The Richest Man in Babylon is the book for you.  The Richest Man in Babylon teaches the values of saving, overcoming poor habits, such as procrastination, and getting into a mindset to take advantage of opportunities! Give it a shot. The lessons in The Richest Man in Babylon will change your financial life!

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I could share my thoughts with you.

Do you like story books or instruction manuals? Are you saving at least 10% of your income? What are your thoughts on umbrella policies?