Ever ask yourself: “How in the world did I get here?” If your current situation isn’t a good one, generally there is a huge emphasis on the word “here”. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked myself this same question over the past 4-5 years. Fortunately a few of the times have been positive, like when I stand out on our front-deck and see our beautiful mountain view or when I look at my work queue for my blog consulting business that is now booked out 4-weeks. For the most part though, the last 3 years or so have seen that question in a less positive light and particularly with my personal finances.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
One of my favorite life quotes isn’t from Mark Twain, Buddha, Abraham Lincoln or any other famous historical human. Instead, it’s from a little green guy who lives on a planet named Degobah. While this little green guy named Yoda from the Star Wars movies is full of awesome and inspiring quotes, my favorite is:
Do or do not, there is no try.
Simple words yes, but powerful meaning they have, hmmm? Okay, I’ll stop talking like Yoda. Seriously it’s a great quote and one that my children can quickly quote as well, as I constantly remind them of it every single time they say “I’m trying”.
One of the various ways I earn income here on Gather Little by Little is through affiliate offers*. I made the decision early on before I even monetized this blog to only recommend products I use. If I don’t use or like them, you won’t see them recommended here through affiliate offers (i.e. reviews and articles).
One software package that I really like and recommend here on Gather Little by Little is You Need A Budget. YNAB not only helps me personally manage my budget, but is also one of my top performing affiliate programs.
For those of you who might not be paying attention, Valentine’s day is this Saturday. I’m not a huge fan of it myself, but it’s important to my wife and thus important to me. Valentine’s day is a great time to make a deposit into your emotional bank account. Emotional bank account you ask? Let me explain…
The emotional bank account
I took a Stephen Covey 7-Habit’s class a few years back and one of the many things I learned from the class and the great instructor we had was the concept of an emotional bank account.
For most of my adult life, I thought credit cards, debt, and living paycheck to paycheck were the norm. I lived on this assumption not because I actually knew it to be true, but because I wanted to make myself feel comfortable. I wanted to justify my way of living. I enjoyed having stuff and buying things when I wanted to. I enjoyed deciding that I wanted something now and just going and buying it. At the time, the pleasure was greater than the pain. At some point though, the pain will surpass the pleasure. That finally happened to me.
Patrick from Cash, Money, Life has been writing a series recently called How to Become A Millionaire. The series is a great read that provides some dead-on information on the basics for becoming a millionaire. I often read through my the blogs in my feed reader early in the morning. I then throughout the day ponder the various topics and content I’ve read that morning. Patrick’s posts have been giving me a great deal to ponder over the past few days.
At the end of his first article, Patrick asks a question that really made me think: What will your millionaire story be?
Athletes, musicians, actors, artists, etc. become experts through practice. Contrary to common belief merely doing something everyday doesn’t qualify as practice. Practice is time set aside to focus on doing something in order to get better. For example, in my fulltime job, I manage projects and people everyday, but that doesn’t make me an expert.
This whole concept and distinction of doing something vs. practice came to my attention while reading a blog I’ve been reading for a while, Coding Horror. In that article, Jeff quotes an article from Scientific American called The Expert Mind that says:
Who’s watching, Tell me, who’s watching, Who’s watching me
Somebody’s Watching Me, Rockwell, 1984
I love going to church and listening to our pastor’s sermons. Funny, I remember a time when I would literally count down the time to when church service was over. Now that I am older and and a more mature Christian, I’ve really come to appreciate the sermon each Sunday and really get a great deal from them. To be honest, many of the sermons influence articles I write here on Gather Little by Little, and this is one such article.
Mrs. Micah started a challenge called the first step challenge. The challenge: Find one step you can take to make your financial system better or more organized. I am a huge fan in the old saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
There is no big “fix-it” switch
Too often people realize they need to change and begin to think through how they want to change and what they want to become. But the challenge seems too big. Looking at what they want to do as a whole is just too much.