Category Archives: Philosophy

Self Knowledge Enables Financial Wealth

What do most successful business owners have in common?

Or just successful people in general for that matter?

They have in common an understanding of what it is that they want, and the ability to get it.

This idea actually comes from the Financial Philosopher in his post entitled Accidental Influence.

If you want a blog that always keeps you thinking about financial philosophies then that is the blog to read.

Back to self-knowledge…

This is something that takes a long time to establish. You have to become as objective of your life as possible and look at the whole picture.

Often we are caught up in the mundane and common tasks of our daily lives. We have no ability to be objective. We have no time to look at the big picture.

Ability comes from practicing over time, and time comes from making a pursuit of self-knowledge a priority.

If getting to know yourself is not a priority. If all you are after is financial gain. Then you might make it. You might pull off a quick buck here or there.

However, you will just as quickly lose it. It takes a lot of integrity to run a business. And integrity comes from self-knowledge.

Who are you? What are you doing? Where are you going? What are your plans, dreams, goals, etc.? What are your priorities?

Self knowledge springs from these questions like a seed planted in the ground. If it is watered and well maintained it will produce fruit. That fruit being true wealth in the form of good relationships, good habits, and wisdom gained through experience. Financial wealth will come out of the true wealth you are producing as a result.

If you get your foundation right, a foundation built on self knowledge, all other things will follow…

How To Retire Early

A lot of people are curious about this topic. A lot of people wish they could do it. Only a few are.

Retiring Early is deceptively easy, but it takes a lot of what I would call personal development. You have to have the self-discipline necessary. You have to do the emotional work that goes along with it….

How to Retire Early

  1. Work to Make Your Money – This is the only way to do it unless you end up inheriting or winning a ton of money. You have to work to make money. And it actually doesn’t matter how much you make. People have retired early with high and low incomes. It just takes a good strategy to help you retire early.
  2. Be Efficient with Your Money – And by efficient I mean you need to live, or learn to live, frugally. This means that you live below your means. You must make the most of what you have so you won’t need any more than is necessary and you won’t waste your time or money.
  3. Save Your Money – If you spend everything you earn you won’t ever be able to retire. It seems like most people are able to eventually save 10% of there money if they work at it. Many are able to save more. Some are able to save substantially more. Upwards of 70-80%. The more you save the earlier you can retire.
  4. Spend Your Money – Get yourself to the point where you buy only necessary things with the most value. With value equaling a good return for your hard earned money. Buy the least expensive housing, transportation, and food that will meet your needs. Spend your money on educating yourself about how to retire early and live the lifestyle you desire. Refuse to spend money on things that will not improve your life.
  5. Invest Your Money – Money that isn’t doing anything is just paper. Once you have saved and invested enough money (capital) to have the earnings (returns) support your lifestyle, you have successfully retired. This is the concept of a 401k, pension, etc. You no longer work for money, you have Your Money work for you!

Noticed how I capitalized “Your Money”? I do this to emphasize the fact that you are the only one who will get yourself to early retirement. You have the ability to do it. The more you learn, the more able you will be to retire early.

Good luck! Please comment with your success stories below!

Resources: Stories & Learning Opportunities

  1. Joe Dominguez retires at 31
  2. Paul & Vicki Terhorst retire at 35 to become Perpetual Travelers
  3. Billy & Akaisha Kaderli Retire at 38 to also become Perpetual World Travelers
  4. Jacob Fisker Retires at 32 and starts his new work educating people how to retire early themselves.

Wen Jiabao Mentions His Favorite Books in Time Magazine

I just read a great interview of Wen Jiabao in the latest Time Magazine.

It offers a lot of insight into the man who is in charge of China’s economic policy.

The best question the interviewer asked was what books does he enjoy…

I may be wrong about this, but I tend to believe a person can be judged by what they read. One of the first thing I look at when I am invited into people’s homes is what books they have on their bookshelf.

Wen Jiabao first states that he enjoys reading histories, both of Chinese history and world history.

He mentions at the end that he does not read memoirs because he believes there are too many of those written.

What is most interesting is that he actually names two books by name that he reads when he is traveling.

The first one is The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

The second is Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith.

I’ve read the Meditations but not the Theory of Moral Sentiments. I’m actually going to order it here on Amazon soon after I catch up on my current reading list.

It is my belief that reading the classics will always be best, even if I do read a lot of up to date books.

I recently read this again somewhere and it is a good reminder…

You are what you read, you are what you listen to, and expose yourself to. Choose wisely what you read because it becomes you.

Success in Business Just Might Require Giving Gifts

Seth Godin’s latest post is a great one.

The title is Generous Gifts vs. Free Samples

It gives a lot of food for thought…

A lot of learning that occurs in business and life occurs when you turn up the contrast and look at the differences in things.

Seth makes the point that giving away free samples is a great business marketing strategy and you often see a lot of sales occur from this strategy.

It is a give and take approach to life.

Yet Seth makes the argument well that giving a gift is something totally different.

A gift is something you give without receiving anything in return. And he argues that if you think this way about things it will change your whole approach to business and life.

…and it will change you.

Giving a gift is something that is very special, and it is to be much appreciated. If it is in your power to do so then maybe you should think about doing it.

Even if you don’t receive something in return (i.e. a sale or returning customer), receiving good will is not to be underestimated.

I’ll leave you will a quote I am very fond of….

“What Constitutes Success” by Bessie Stanley

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”

The Yin & Yang of Business Success

There is the Tao, which is the way…

It is the way of everything, and yin and yang constitute it.

All things in life move and mesh and complement each other…

There is pushing and shoving, there is accepting and taking…

This philosophy has served me well in life and I continue to think about how this applies to business.

The older I get, and the more I look at success in the world, the more I realize that successful people are two things. They are either lucky, or very insightful to the inner workings of the world, or both…

Take Mark Zuckerberg for instance.

In any other day and age, Facebook wouldn’t exist, and who knows what Mark would be doing.

Mark didn’t make Facebook happen. The people that helped him form his idea didn’t make it happen. The people that helped him start the company didn’t make it happened.

It happened because of everyone. It happened because history was taking us in that direction whether we wanted it to or not. It happened because, if I may utter the word, it was destined to happen.

A lot of things are this way, and I might argue that everything is this way.

It is worthwhile to pay attention to the way things are headed. This is where you can meet with success.

If I may use the analogy. You can either walk beside the river or jump into it. Preferably with a boat of some sort.

Mark jumped into the river, survived Niagara Falls, crossed the ocean, and emerged on the other side a success.

It is up to you to realize that the stream moves faster then you can walk or run. And it’s up to you to find or make your boat.

This is an exercise in thinking about what success is. It is food for thought.

There are no secrets to success. Only people who observed and practiced success, or the lucky ones who fell into the river and survived.

What do you think makes success? I would love to hear your ideas.

Why Classics Will Always Be Best

And by classics I mean written works that have withstood the test of time.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to read all the 1 star reviews of books I’m interested in on Amazon.com. It is amazing to see how well written and insightful some of these reviews can be. Like my last post about critics, if you really think about it, you can see just how valuable critics really are.

Back to the classics…

If a classic is a classic you can tell one thing about it for sure… people are STILL getting a lot of value out of it.

It’s not a classic because it is popular or hyped by all the media, or anything else. It is a classic because it serves its purpose well.

Many of our modern day books will turn into classics. You and I could certainly guess at a few of them. But because there are so many of them to wade through, and because there is so much “fluff” out there, perhaps our time would be better served by simply reading those that are already classics.

A great place to start is the Harvard Classics.

I have read most of the 51 books in the collection, and do plan on finishing all of them within the near future. One thing I can tell you is that this collection will certainly broaden your mind, your outlook on life and the human condition, and will make you a better person indeed.

With a quick search on Google I found one of the best lists for business classics was made by Entrepreneur magazine. They entitle their article Novel Ideas, and they do a great job at reviewing them by saying three things. Why it mattered, why it still matters, and what to ignore. Well balanced advice for picking a business book to read.

I will be posting my own list of top business classics very soon. Please take the time to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss out. 😉

These are the most important people to listen to…

Your critics.

If you can stomach it, if you have the courage, if you want to improve…

Too often we are blind to our own faults, and we get stuck on a plateau.

We have met with just enough success, just enough praise, just enough results, that we stop growing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to listen to your encouragers, it’s great to listen to people praise you and your work, but what is it going to do for you? Make you feel good, and maybe let you know you are on the right track.

And that is worth a lot, but the best people in their field are those that seek every opportunity to improve. And huge opportunities come from your critics.

Now remember there is a difference between a critic and an idiot. An idiot will only criticize you to bring you down. They don’t have much to offer and wish you were on the same level as they are.

A good critic is one with experience and wisdom. Because we are blind to our own short comings and because our fans are too, we often can’t see the hole in our business, political stance, product, service, etc.

A good critic will see the hole and tell you about it. A good opportunist will see the hole and exploit it. We should all be so lucky to have critics that aren’t opportunists. 😉

Think about this for just a few minutes…

Look at what they are saying. Are they idiots or are they good critics offering you a great piece of information to improve yourself, or your business or product?

Only you will have the discernment to know.

And only your heart will help you to determine the final answer…

“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.” – Benjamin Franklin

Shout Out To Jacob @ Early Retirement Extreme

I’ve been reading Jacob’s blog for awhile and this is a guy who is living the life.

At the age of 33 he retired by using a combination of working hard, living extremely frugally (by American standards), and investing wisely.

His blog is full of great wisdom and advice on the above subjects.

Perhaps most people won’t ever aspire to live exactly like him (he doesn’t expect that), but I think we could all benefit from moving in that direction.

In any case, the reason I am writing this today is to let you know he just got his first book published today. I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I am sure it will be just as great as the blog. Here is the link…

The ERE Book Has Been Published!

UPDATE: I’ve read the book and it’s great… Early Retirement Extreme Review

This was written before…

Just last night I had an epiphany of sorts…

I was reading one of Brian Tracy’s great books before I went to bed and I recognized a business idea that I had just read in an ebook by Seth Godin.

I thought to myself, “Huh, who stole who’s idea?”

But then it struck me that both of them probably stole their idea from an even earlier person.

Then when I thought about it further I began to realize that all great ideas tend to be shared by those at the top.

I’ve heard it said before that, “All great ideas bear repeating.

And we all need constant reminders of what is important. That’s what all great leaders do. They help us to remember what is important.

Even though this was written before let it be said over and over and over again till we get it in our heads.

All great ideas are worth repeating. And all great leaders continue to repeat them.

Just Keep On Doing

I have looked at success story after success story…

I have read many biographies and studied the lives of many great men and women…

Over and over again I find that what Benjamin Disraeli said is true… “The secret of success is constancy of purpose.”

Winners are those that have a purpose in mind and never give up…

They are relentless perfecters of their craft, and of their message to the world…

I love the words of Theodore Roosevelt on the subject…

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

This blog that I am writing. This mission to become the most knowledgeable about business that I can be comes from this idea. That if I keep going I will win. I will learn what works best and will make it work for me. I will find a way.

Yet success doesn’t stop with me. My hope is that I can continue to be a success by helping those around me achieve their success. My friends, family, co-workers, and any business colleagues I associate with. By coming together we can all achieve more.

I will leave you with one last quote that is a favorite of mine from a wonderful person…

“You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” – Zig Ziglar