Tag Archives: wealth

Wait Watchers

Wait Watchers

Here we sit at the mid-point of the second month of 2012.

There are some of you who have dropped away from the regular workout routines you committed to in January…

Still a few who are still reading the affirmations that were created as the new year began…

While others have resumed their regular routine of worry, work and wonder about how to make this your best year ever…

Today I am here to applaud the quiet minority who have, for likely the first time ever, continued to do the daily little things; read the chapter of the self-help book, exchange the sweet, sugary delight for a piece of fruit, and invest in a new way to think and work…

Which of these scenarios best describes your GPS location today?

Are you waiting for another year to pass?

Are you watching others live the life you secretly wish to experience?

It can be yours…

Get off the couch and begin today to have the health, wealth and freedom that you believe is your destiny.

Stop waiting.

Stop watching.

Live free beginning today.

Peace.

Victim or Victor…

I have long been a fan of the sport of boxing. My Greatest of All Time is obviously Muhammad Ali. One other champion of note is Mike Tyson. In thinking about them, their careers and their impact on the sport and society, it occurred to me that though they both were Heavyweight champions, they had distinctly different responses after their defeats.

Of the five losses in the Ali career, I never recall him blaming the loss on anyone other than himself…never seeking to blame the opponent or undermine their credibility. Yet, with Mike Tyson, his two most compelling losses, to Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield will be forever remembered as him blaming the referee and then for losing his composure and biting the ear of Holyfield.

These comparisons are so inspiring to me as we face such challenging circumstances in America and around the world. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around as we become more aware of the disparities in the wealth of the top 1% of Americans and the remaining 99%. Yet, do we really benefit from feeling like victims…or do we now face, like Ali, that we must strengthen our resolve to regain control of our communities, city, state and federal governments?

Both Ali and Tyson were convicted of federal offenses…yet the difference in what they did after they “paid their dues to society” are as far apart as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. One went from villain to folk hero to icon, the other from feared fighter to foolish freakster to reality television clown. One taking responsibility for his actions, the other not.

As many of us rebuild our lives and seek a new sense of direction personally and collectively, it is my belief that we must be like Ali, and take the position that we are going to bounce back and regain our sense of direction and purpose again. This may require going back to school, spending our money with local businesses versus the “big box” conglomerates, and teaching our children that it is possible to wait for that “new” thing that is being marketed as a must-have-today item.

Choosing a Tyson-like response will reap only more of the self-indulgence that brings about certain doom and despair. Since we have had 30 years of this since Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics, it’s undoubtedly time for a new way to live.

And so in life as in boxing let’s do all we can to insure that at the end of the bout our glove will be raised as the ring announcer says, “And the winner is…”

Peace.

Flip The Script…

Flip The Script…

One has to wonder these days as we Americans prepare for the looming Christmas holiday season, what level of guilt will be heaped upon us by retailers. In looking back at the past ten years, we have gone from being scolded for being a people who had lost our ability to save money, with our ever-expanding credit lines proof of our need to have it now, to being urged to spend money that many people do not have. The good times had rolled…up and over many of us.

Then the rules, and the game changed.

So much so that today, the home I am seeking to keep out of BK…is worth less than when it was appraised in 2000. My credit score is as upside-down as my mortgage…and cash is once again all that matters. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to buy gold at $400 per ounce. Let me check my jewelry drawer for some hidden treasures that I can send in to Cash-For-Gold.

So, with my tongue firmly in cheek, I have come to the conclusion that we are deep in dog poo…because we have been scolded about our need to save money. Yet, GW Bush, after 9/11, told us to go shopping and show the terrorists that our way of living would not be undermined by a few planes slamming into buildings.

Just last week I heard that the path to economic recovery will be traveled when consumers begin spending money again. And unless that happens the chances are good that we will slip into another recession. When did the first recession end? I ask friends, family members and fellow business owners that question, and most agree that the debt storm, and personal budget crisis, has not yet cleared in their lives.

I have a different thought as to how this never-ending financial crisis can be put to bed. Congress can mandate that the banks, some of whom were given taxpayer money in the form of a bailout…give every household a grant of ten thousand dollars. Imagine what you might use that money for; a remodel project in your house (Home Depot and a contractor will benefit), new furniture (Sears and Macy’s would be happy), and maybe even purchase new equipment in your business.

One truth that we rarely hear from the economic experts, is that corporate America needs to reinvest in her people…they are cash rich and people poor. There must be a few people who can answer a customer service question about your laptop, in plain English, and who would pay taxes on that income. Is there an India-based company that hires Americans?

Let’s make enough noise this week for Wall Street, Main Street and Bourbon Street to recognize that we are awakening from our slumber and will not be tricked into believing that red is blue and that we are to blame for the woes of the world.

We are Americans.

Peace.

“Do You Feel Lucky?”

Do You Feel Lucky?

I have taken a little time off from my regular writing…needing to spend some time reflecting on my family, business opportunities and other entrepreneurial endeavors. However, the last few weeks have given me a renewed energy, and focus, as I seek to make sense of the senselessness that is pervasive in our society.

Many of us today wonder what must happen in order to get the elected officials to whom we have given power to make laws to benefit us locally, at the state and national levels, to respond to this continuing financial and jobless crisis gripping our nation. Just today I read an article, where the discussion surrounded the plight of those seeking full-time employment, and it stated that the Great Recession ended in 2009…and my first thought was ended for whom. Warren Buffet? Donald Trump? Mary Smith?

As I mulled over this article and a subsequent conversation with a friend, it dawned on me that maybe someone had truly felt lucky, in a bizarre kind of way…like the criminal whom Clint Eastwood, aka Dirty Harry Callahan, asked while looking up at the barrel of a 44 magnum revolver, “Do you feel lucky?” In that infamous movie scene, the criminal is inches away from a shotgun while Dirty Harry is playing a mind game about whether or not he has one more bullet in the gun pointing at him…and the criminal has a choice to make. Tempt fate and hope that the revolver is empty…or guess wrong and get his head blown off.

As we head into the last four months of this year, I am really beginning to feel as though the middle class citizens of America are looking up at that 44-magnum revolver. We are told one week that jobless claims are down, yet in the next article tomorrow we read that jobless numbers do not include those persons who have stopped looking for work…to whom would that apply? Do they just feel lucky? Did they decide that a job was now going to find them instead of them finding it? Did their numbers come up in Lotto?

No. I believe we are still in the Great Recession…and the government and corporate media mind games are the smoke and mirrors that politicians and economists use to keep the masses confused and hopeless. Pay close attention to the next 10 weeks as the 2012 election cycle gains more attention, as well as the approaching holidays…and make note of whom will be the focus of these who seek to tell us we are really better off today than in 2010. Really? Seriously?

And just like the criminal in the movie…saying “I got’s to know”,when the trigger is pulled, and I flinch in anticipation of the worst, I pray that I, too, can just be a little pissed that I was right all along. And, that I was even luckier than I had imagined…Peace.

Dumb Down Democracy…

Dumb Down Democracy…

As I reviewed the media coverage from this past weekend’s Iowa County Fair debate, and subsequent straw poll for the Republicans who aspire to run for the United States Presidency in 2012, I found a few things rather amusing. Or amazing…

First, how in the heck can anyone truly have a serious opinion about a potential presidential candidate from a few sound bites and scripted clichés espoused at a county fair…in Iowa. Now, with respect to the state of Iowa, a place which is less than 3 hours drive from my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, I wonder how a few fair goers can accurately discern the real value of a person whose only thought is to get you to like them.

Secondly, and even more disturbing, is the media coverage that was afforded to Sarah Palin, yes, that Sarah Palin. The woman who quit her job as Governor of Alaska, in order to sell her book and make a boatload of money. As I saw Palin signing autographs for people over the weekend in Iowa, it struck me…that many Americans would rather have a person whose intellect is questionable, by her own political party, instead of a brilliant, well educated man of color. And the man of color in the GOP who also spoke over the weekend, had fewer than 10 people surrounding him as he sought to mingle with the fair attendees. Sarah Palin had a hundred people within arms reach of her.

So, the media will play quite an important role in helping to shape, by it’s choice of what to give air time to, and what to allow to just evaporate…and they’re hoping that you won’t be paying attention.

We just went through weeks of Congress’ dare gaming regarding a debt ceiling debate, only to have them go on vacation and leave this country in a worse mess than before. Could you do that at your place of employment? That is presuming that you still have a job…

So, in closing, I ask that each of us truly become better informed now, a year before the election of 2012. Talk with your friends and family…so that we can think rationally and discuss sensibly, the real issues that will impact our lives. How corporate tax breaks are padding the cash coffers for most corporations. How the ability of the wealthy to elude fair taxes is a Congress-led shell game of major proportions. And that more of us will continue to slide farther from the American dream into the new American nightmare.

Just remember that I told you so when the swelling numbers of disenfranchised U.S. citizens decide that the time for talking is over…and the revolution will be more than televised. It will be live and in living color. Make sure you realize that the reset button you are so used to hitting on your favorite video game will not be enough. How dumb can that be?
Peace.

We Can Work It Out

“We Can Work It Out”

As the hours count down to a possible technical default on it’s debt by the United States government, and the continued posturing and paralysis exhibited by both parties in Congress becomes more polarized, a song by the musical genius Stevie Wonder came to my mind, We Can Work It Out.

As a parent of two adult children, both of whom too often think they know more about how my life should be lived than I do, and that some errors made in navigating this experience we know as life are unforgivable, I also say, “”Try to see things my way…”

So, today I ask you to consider taking the approach that there might be a better way to resolve our personal and political differences. That “new” path will be found when all parties truly listen to the other side in a genuine effort to understand the truth of the other person’s perspective.

I am prayerful that we all can daily find ways to put aside our own biases, hard-line positions and prejudices in an effort to become free to make peace…nothing else really matters.

We Can Work It Out.

Peace.

In God We Trust

In God We Trust…

On one of my walls is a plaque that I have had for over 30 years. It has seen me through a few moves and a few wives…and continues to inspire me to be more today than I was the day prior.

Before I share it with you I want to make clear that the topic of this post came out of my thoughts surrounding the current debt crisis facing our nation. And the fact that the politicians are invoking as much fear and gloom as they can muster short of causing a panic and mass hysteria on Wall Street. Yet, they make no mention of the statement that is on each and every paper currency printed by the United States treasury.

“In God We Trust.”

The Republicans want us to trust that their perspective of cutting government waste, but not increasing taxes is the righteous way to solvency. They even invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan, hoping that your memory will be so bad to not remember that Mr. Reagan raised taxes on more than one occasion during his presidency.

And the Democrats believe that most of the entitlement programs are sacred cows, and not to be touched…while polishing off their calculators in anticipation of new revenues from increased tax on the wealthy. That is such a slippery slope to climb, in good times and certainly in the midst of a still-comatose economy.

And so my plaque, which has been by my side through all of my tribulations and triumphs the past three decades, has so profound an answer to our dilemma. The piece you are about to read is the full version from which my plaque has excerpts…maybe I can forward this to President Obama and the fools on the hill to read…Peace.

Please click here for the quote.

Victory in The Valley

Victory in The Valley

Isn’t it strange that we often hear religious leaders and the like discuss how wonderful it will be to rise out of our “valley” experiences and achieve our “mountain top” successes?” That mindset would have us to believe that it is only when we have come out of that valley, be it from the death of a family member, loss of a friendship, divorce…all things that can cause us to lose sight of the euphoria that comes from being on top of our mountain, that we can have true happiness. I am proof that the greater lesson is learned on the path, though the valley.

The past two years have shown me that we can have our valley experience and come into a closer relationship with our Creator, and ultimately, ourselves. The journey is what is important…not just the destination.

Maybe I am not the only one who has historically focused too often on those things that I felt I was lacking…and not giving enough thanks and gratitude for that which is right in front of me. Sure, I don’t have my two 42” plasma big screen TV’s anymore, but I have my family who has loved me with the 20” old-school television…until I was blessed last week with a new 32” LCD flat screen that is the BOMB.

They are only happy that they don’t have to squint anymore to see their favorite shows, while I am ever mindful that this is another small step in reclaiming my new life. See, the valley times help them to learn to be patient as we journey towards renewal. There is so much power and truth in that saying, “In God’s time.”

So, take inventory today of where you are and what you are learning in this valley time of life. Celebrate today that you have__________________. Fill in your own blessings.

I look forward to many more valley experiences, knowing that I can walk through it because He has me in His hand and that the mountaintop is just around the bend.

Peace.

Drunk As A Skunk

“Drunk As a Skunk”

Much to the chagrin of my now deceased parents, I have been one to ask the “why” questions….all of my life. I’d like to think that has assisted me more than hindered me; but the jury is still out on that.

And so today, as I sat and listened to a magnificent presentation by David Glover at the AgeSong Emeryville residence, he made a statement that caused me to do just that thing; why, do we say that? The cliché that he stated was, in talking about things we all did as newly minted 21 year-old adults is to get “drunk as a skunk.”

Of the 40 people in attendance, it is quite likely that no one but yours truly took umbrage with that comment and began to wonder how those furry, funky rodents must feel about being associated with the over-indulgence of alcohol beverage. I got home and took a look through Google and Wikipedia, and have yet to find a photo, article or reference to that skunk that got drunk, and thus became responsible for that cliché.

Now before you think that I have lost all of my senses, and am putting too much on this skunk concern, my bigger thought is about how often we say things that we have no real understanding of. I mean, has anyone said they saw the skunk getting drunk? Saw him pulled over by the CHP and given a breathalyzer test? Even been referred to rehab to “kick the habit?” No, none of us has had that experience. Yet, we use that cliché as though we speak from a position of authority. Like we were the designated driver for his bachelor party.

My lesson for this post is that we should really become more mindful, in a new way, with the use of platitudes and clichés, and not just ramble on without considering the origins of that statement. In the meantime, just remember that Diamonds are forever; Tastes great, less filling; When it rains it pours; Where’s the beef; and when in doubt, Just Do It.”

Peace.