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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Some Hard Things You Need to Hear

The list below is a highlight of some advices I’ve ever been given. Some hard things I remind myself of often … some hard things we all need to hear sometimes.

  1. When you hear only what you want to hear, you’re not really listening.  Listen to what you don’t want to hear too.  That’s how you grow.
  2. Fantasizing about other times and places can be dangerous.  Don’t cling so tightly to the past, or dream so fervently about the future, that you miss out on the real value and beauty that is here and now.  Don’t live entirely in your head.  Don’t miss your life!
  3. You often waste your time waiting for the ideal path to appear.  But it never does.  Because you forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting.
  4. You will never feel as confident as you want to feel.  Stop believing that you should feel more confident before you take the next step.  Taking the next step is what builds your confidence.
  5. Distractions will get the best of you if you let them.  Study your routines, figure out where your time goes, and remove distractions.  You become a true master of your life when you learn how to master your focus—where your attention goes.
  6. There’s a big difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion.  Know the difference.  Life is too short.  Invest in the activities (and relationships) you deeply care about.  Value what you give your energy to.  Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.
  7. Self-neglect is super common.  Realize this!  Your needs matter.  Do NOT ignore them.  At times you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not just what’s best for everyone else.  There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care and self-love.  We can’t give what we don’t have.  Enrich your life and you’ll be life-giving to others, too.
  8. You don’t give yourself enough credit sometimes.  Remember that time you thought you couldn’t make it through?  You did, and you’ll do it again.  Don’t let your challenges get the best of you.  Appreciate how far you’ve come. You’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too.  Give yourself credit for your resilience.
  9. Your response is always more powerful than your circumstance.  A tiny part of your life is decided by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is decided by your responses.  Where you ultimately end up is heavily dependent on how you play the hands you’ve been dealt.
  10. Everything gets a bit uncomfortable when it’s time to change.  That’s just a part of the growth process.  Things will get better.  Be patient.
  11. Patience is not about waiting.  Patience is the ability to keep a positive, focused attitude while working hard to move your life forward.
  12. New, good habits don’t form overnight.  It takes roughly 66 days to form a habit.  So for the next nine weeks, look at the bright side of your life, and you will rewire your brain.  Then apply this same principle to other areas of your life. 
  13. Mental strength is incredibly important, and easily overlooked.  Go to environments that expand your mind.  Spend time with people who truly inspire you.  Read books.  Learn.  Grow.  Get better.  Your life is your choice.
  14. Old patterns are hard to break.  Be aware.  Act consciously and consistently.  Don’t fall back into your old patterns.  Toxic habits and behaviors always try to sneak back in when you’re doing better.  Stay focused.
  15. Sometimes it’s better to let go without closure.  Actions and behavior speak volumes.  Trust the signs you were given and gracefully press on.
  16. If you always play the victim, you will always be treated like one.  Life isn’t fair.  But you don’t have to let the past define your future.  Try to take life day by day and be grateful for the little things.  Don’t get caught up in what you can’t control.
  17. Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances you want.  Life gives you the circumstances you need … to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
  18. When you really pay attention, everyone and everything is your teacher.  Take time to observe and listen.  Take time to learn something new.
  19. No one wins at chess by only moving forward.  Sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  This is a perfect metaphor for life.
  20. Your hardest challenges will teach you your best lessons.  There is an opportunity in every difficult situation to understand yourself more deeply, and also to improve your life.  Take one small step at a time.
  21. The vast majority of your stress is self-inflicted.  And the most powerful weapon you have against stress is your ability to choose one thought over another.  Learn to manage your thoughts, before your thoughts manage you.
  22. Your mind will forever produce negative thoughts.  So the goal isn’t to get rid of all your negative thoughts.  That’s impossible.  The goal is to change your response to them.  In fact, the strongest sign of your inner growth is realizing you’re no longer worried, stressed or pained by the things that once used to drain you.
  23. Calmness is a superpower.  The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.  Once you begin to value your inner peace over your need to react and be right, you will in fact experience more inner peace, and happiness.
  24. You are holding on to things that hold you back.  When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting.  Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter that makes it complicated.  Not everything and everyone you lose is a loss.
  25. “Busy” is mostly just an excuse.  In a world with so much noise and clutter, you must make room to hear yourself and others.  Embrace silence and space.  Breathe and listen.  Be where you are.  You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every step and experience is necessary, and can be enhanced with your presence.
  26. You ignore your inner voice too often.  Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice—your own soul.  Too many of us listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
  27. You often seek validation from the wrong sources.  You will never find your worth in another human being—you will find it in yourself, and then you will attract those who are worthy of your energy.  So stop waiting for others to tell you how impressive you are.  Impress yourself.  Show yourself that you can grow and get better.  It’s never about competing with others.  In the end, it’s just you vs. you.
  28. Popularity is irrelevant.  Forget popularity.  Just do your thing with passion, humility, and honesty.  Do what you do, not for an applause, but because it’s what’s right.  Many of the kindest gestures you’ll ever make, and the most important things you’ll ever do, will never be seen publicly.  Do them anyway.
  29. You have been impressed with some people for the wrong reasons.  Be less impressed by money, titles, degrees, and looks.  Be more impressed by generosity, integrity, humility, and kindness.
  30. People will not always tell you how they feel about you.  But they will always show you.  Pay close attention.
  31. Your expectations of others cause you unnecessary pain.  Don’t lower your standards, but do remember that removing your expectations of others is the best way to avoid being disappointed by them.
  32. You will end up heartbroken if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them.  Not everyone has the same heart as you.
  33. Life is too short to argue and fight.  Remember to be selective in your battles.  Peace can feel better than being right.  You don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to.  Count your blessings, value the people who matter, and move on from the drama with your head held high.
  34. You will gradually attract people that think and behave like you.  If you want to be surrounded by positive people, you need to be positive too.  And the opposite is also true.  So do your best to surround yourself with people who push you to be your best.  Less drama—less mess.  Just higher vibrations and intentions.
  35. You need to learn to be more human again (we all do).  Don’t avoid eye contact.  Don’t hide behind gadgets.  Smile today.  Ask about people’s stories.  Listen. 
  36. Sometimes you subconsciously dehumanize people you disagree with.  Be careful.  In our self-righteousness, we can easily become the very things we dislike in others.  Ultimately, the way we treat people we disagree with is a report card on what we’ve learned about love and compassion.  Every single person you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.  Know this.  Respect this.  And be extra kind.
  37. “Bad” people can change for the better.  If somebody is working on themselves and changing for the better, it’s unnecessary to keep bringing up their past.  People can change and grow.
  38. Forgiveness is necessary for personal peace.  Forgive others, not because they absolutely deserve forgiveness, but because you absolutely deserve peace.  Free yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.
  39. Life will take things from you, and give things to you, gradually and continuously.  It’s funny how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn’t live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted.  Do your best to embrace life’s uncertainties.  Some of the best chapters in your life won’t have a title you feel fully comfortable with until later.
  40. Everything you have right now is in the process of changing again.  Look around, and be thankful for your life right now.  For your health, your family, your friends, and your home.  Nothing lasts forever.

Which point above resonates the most with you right now?

What Money Can’t Buy

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You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.

Here is my collection of what I  believe money, No matter how much you have, can’t buy.

  • A First Kiss from Someone Special – The sweet rush of butterflies in your tummy when you kiss someone special for the very first time.
  • The Realization of True Love – The warm feeling you get many years after your first kiss when you realize you married the right person.
  • Beauty – Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • True Friendship – Through thick and thin, they stood by your side.  They were there when you had nothing but them.
  • Peace of Mind – It can only be acquired with an honest heart.
  • Beginner’s Eyes – You’ll never see it again for the very first time.
  • The Joy of Telling an Interesting True Story – One of the most enticing roles we lead in life is that of a storyteller.  There are few things more satisfying than telling a true story that others enjoy listening to.
  • Happiness – True happiness is achieved by doing what you love and being involved in something you believe in.
  • Success – Success is simply excelling at doing what you love.
  • A Single Moment of Time – Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Don’t miss it.
  • A Baby’s Laughter – Babies don’t care about money.  They care about kindness, love, and living in the moment.
  • Surprise Encounters with Long-Lost Friends – You haven’t seen them in years, and you figured you’d probably never see them again.  Then suddenly, there they are standing right in front of you.
  • The Feeling of Self-Accomplishment – You set your sights on a specific goal and followed through until you achieved it.  Now that’s something to celebrate.
  • The Sound of Raindrops Outside – …as you snuggle up on the couch.  Few sounds are more soothing.
  • A Good, Genuine Conversation – Those moments of verbal bonding when the topic of conversation flows seamlessly and all parties involved gain as much as they put in.
  • An Unexpected Compliment – It seems like just another dreary Monday afternoon, but then she walks into your office and says, “I love your shirt.  That color looks great on you.”
  • The Feeling You Get When Your Idea Works – You’ve been struggling to resolve a complex problem all day, but you just can’t seem to get it right.  Filled with frustration, you decide to try one last idea before calling it a night.  You’ve had many ideas before that failed miserably… but this time it works.
  • Randomly Hearing Your Favorite Song – You’re stuck in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic, so you crank on a radio station for a little distraction.  The opening notes to your favorite song instantly chime in.
  • Watching a Live Blooper Unfold in Front of You – As you walk alongside a friend, she trips over her own feet, wobbles erratically, regains her balance, and then tries to play it off like nothing happened.  Hilarious!
  • A Sunny Sunday Afternoon – The birds are chirping, a light breeze in blowing through your hair, and the sun’s rays are warming your cheeks.
  • The Rush of Adolescent Love – Those magical moments of adolescent lust and affection that only you and one other person rightly remember.
  • Being In The Right Place at The Right Time – You’re sitting in the nosebleed seats at a professional baseball game.  The home team batter cranks a monstrous, game-winning home run.  The ball bounces off another fan’s glove two seats in front of you and lands right in your lap.
  • The Recollection of Great Childhood Memories – Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike?  What about wrestling with your dad?  Or climbing trees with your friends?
  • Reminiscing About Old Times with Your Best Friend – Those crazy life experiences only the two of you lived through together.  Like that wild 24 hour road trip to Atlanta, or that drunken night on the 3rd floor balcony of your college apartment.
  • Passion – True wealth comes naturally to those who follow their hearts.  You can’t pay someone to be emotionally passionate about something.  Nor can you pay them to psychologically give-up on their passions.
  • Objects of Sentimental Value – Old family photos, your great grandmother’s music box, that painting your baby brother made for you… some things are priceless.
  • The Comfort of an Old Familiar Smell – You just pulled into your parent’s driveway after being away for a long while.  You smell familiarity in the air, the scent of the pine tree in the neighbor’s yard.  As you head through the front door, more familiar smells consume your senses.  Gosh, it feels good to be home.
  • The Hilarity of an Inside Joke – You’ll never get it unless you were there at its inception.
  • Amazing Talents You Are Born With – Like the mind of a genius or the voice of an angel.
  • The Excitement of Making Someone Else Smile – Because her smile makes you smile back.
  • Exercising Your 5 Senses – Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  Each provides a gateway to rewarding personal experiences.
  • Sharing a Good Laugh with Friends and Family – Some of the most memorable moments in your life will be moments spent in laughter.
  • The Warm Coziness of Your Own Bed – No bed is more comfortable than your own.
  • Watching Wild Animals in Nature – Like a hawk gracefully soaring above the tree line, or a deer prancing across a grassy field.
  • A Home – Money can buy a house, but not a home.  Because home is where the heart is.
  • Waking Up to the Smell of a Home Cooked Meal – You were still asleep, but someone special knew you’d be hungry soon.
  • The Peaceful Sound of Absolute Silence – Shhhhh…
  • Streams of Consciousness and Clarity – You’re ‘in the zone!’  Act while your mind is hot.
  • The Sound of a Light Breeze Through the Trees – It’s the sound of Mother Nature all around you.
  • The Captivating Experience of People Watching – The interesting (and sometimes foolish) things people do never ceases to please.  You can’t buy this quality of entertainment.
  • Watching the Sunrise and Sunset with Your Beloved – Make time for this.  It’s worth it.
  • The Sound and Sight of Ocean Waves – Another phenomenal act of Mother Nature.
  • The ‘Pump’ After a Great Workout – You feel like you can conquer the world.
  • The Blissful Act of Daydreaming – Just being… and thinking… and dreaming.
  • When She Says “I Love You” – …and you know she means it because you can read the sincerity in her eyes.
  • When an Unlikely Someone Remembers Your Birthday – A friend you haven’t seen in over a month calls you at 9AM on your birthday just to say “happy birthday.”
  • Finding Something You Thought You’d Lost Forever – You searched for it for days and finally gave up.  Now, six months later, it basically appears right in front of you.
  • The Inspiration Behind Creative Works of Art – Every piece of art is priceless in the eyes of someone who can relate to it.  The creative inspiration behind these works of art is no different.
  • When Your Pet Snuggles Up Next to You – It’s just soooo cute.
  • A Moment of Eye Contact with an Attractive Stranger – You’ve never seen them before, and you may never see them again.  But a moment was shared.
  • A Long Hug from a Loved One – Those deep, warm hugs you wish you could nestle in forever.
  • Happily Singing at The Top of Your Lungs – Well… You know you make me wanna shout! Kick my heels up and shout! Throw my hands up and shout! Throw my head back and shout! Come on now… Shout!
  • Seeing Your Breath on a Chilly Night – A simple phenomenon that has entertained children since the beginning of mankind.
  • The Feeling of Acceptance – You’re now a part of something greater… and it feels good.
  • Watching the Clouds Form Cool Shapes – Never the same show twice.
  • Cuddling a Newborn Baby – Precious… simply precious.
  • When You Know You Can Trust Someone – You can see it in their eyes and you can feel it in your heart.  They have no ulterior motive.
  • Sitting Around a Bonfire with Your Friends – One of the greatest settings for reminiscing and storytelling with those your care about.
  • Seeing Two Elderly Folks Who are Madly in Love – It’s a sight of love that has surpassed the tests of time.
  • The Beauty of a Moonlit Sky – Few simple pleasures are more satisfying than gazing up into a starry, moonlit sky.
  • The Awesomeness of Skipping Rocks Across Water – It doesn’t matter how old you get, this one never gets old.
  • Watching Lightning in the Distance – Peaceful and powerful at the same time.
  • Slow Dancing in Your Living Room – Dancing is like dreaming with your feet. -Constanze
  • Knowing She’ll Be There When You Get Back – Yes.  There is stability in your life.  And she’s a big part of it.
  • Watching Her Sleep – Just being with her and breathing with her.
  • The Colors of Fall – It’s Mother Nature’s artwork.
  • People Who Make You Smile Just by Thinking of Them – Wherever I am, no matter what I’m doing, just thinking of her makes me smile.
  • The Warm Touch of Your Beloved – It’s the touch no one else has.
  • When You Realize People Are Reading What You Write – Words can’t explain it.  Thank you.
  • The Excitement of a New Comment on Your Blog – I love these.  ;-)

Can you think of anything else money can’t buy?  Leave a comment and let me know about it.

18 Things You Are Wasting Money On

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Money can buy options – the option to do what you want to do instead of what you have to do.  Money is great to have as long as you manage and spend it wisely.  But most of us never do – we waste it and we don’t even realize it.

How?  Why?

Because many of the items and services we buy aren’t worth what we pay for them.

Here are 18 common money wasters to beware of:

  1. Bottled Water – Water is one of the most abundant, freely available resources on planet Earth.  So is air.  If I bottled some air, would you pay 70 to 150 shillings a bottle for it?  I doubt it.  Bottom line:  Buy a water filter for your tap and stop wasting your money.
  2. Magazine and Newspaper Subscriptions – The same exact articles are online for free.  I can read them right now and I didn’t pay a dime.  Why are you?
  3. Printer Ink Cartridges – If you’re buying brand new ink cartridges every time you need new ink for your printer you’re paying about Shillings 8000 a gallon for ink.  Yep, that’s right!  Computer printer ink is one of the most overpriced consumer goods.  For home users, instead of buying new ink cartridges, take your old ones to a store that will refill them for half the price.  For businesses that do lots of printing, consider outsourcing the bulk of your printing.
  4. More House Than You Need – When you buy or rent a house that’s bigger than you need, you end up wasting lots of money on larger monthly payments, higher upkeep costs, higher utility bills, and lots of random ‘stuff’ to fill up the extra empty space.
  5. Insurance – Car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, etc.  Insurance companies love to rip us off.  And while you can’t totally avoid them from a legal standpoint, you can shop around and save yourself a boat-load of cash.  Don’t get comfortable paying what you’re paying simply because you’re used to it.  Make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  6. Premium Cable or Satellite TelevisionHulu.com offers thousands of television shows and full-length movies – all for free.  And Netflix charges very little a month for access to hundreds of thousands of television episodes and movies on DVD, or you can stream them live to your computer.  So if you’re paying more than 1000 KSHS a month, you’re wasting your money.
  7. Retail Furniture – Most people don’t realize that home furniture has a 200% to 400% markup on it.  A typical retail furniture store must maintain warehouse inventory, a showroom, commission salesmen, etc. which all equates to a fairly high overhead.  For this reason it is normal for furniture retailers to maintain extremely high markups.  A typical piece of furniture that has a ‘suggested retail price’ of Kshs 5000 will usually cost the retailer less than Ksh 2000, so even when they put it ‘on sale’ for Kshs 4000, they’re still making over 100% profit.  The best way to save big money on furniture is to buy from an online furniture store with low overhead, buy wholesale, or buy slightly used on eBay or OLX
  8. Restaurants and Prepared Foods – I don’t need to tell you this.  Eating out is ridiculously expensive.  So is buying prepared foods at the grocery store.  Buy both every once in awhile as a treat, but learn to cook and prepare your own food on a regular basis.  It’s not just cheaper, it’s healthier too.
  9. Nutritional Supplements – Protein powders, vitamins, sports drinks, etc. – all of them are overpriced and have been proven by doctors to be mediocre sources of nourishment.  The answer to good health rests not in a once or twice a day supplement solution, but in an integrated approach to good baseline nutrition though healthy eating habits that give us the energy we need to enjoy our lives and the best chance of warding off illnesses.
  10. Luxury Name Brand Products – A car gets you from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’  A purse holds your personal belongings.  A pair of sunglasses shades your eyes from the sun.  A shirt keeps you warm.  If you’re paying premium prices just to get a fashionable brand name labeled on each these products without any regard for how efficiently the products actually serve their practical purpose, you’re wasting your money.
  11. New Cars – See my previous point.  A car is a means of transportation to get you from one place to another.  If you’re buying a new car every few years even when your old car works perfectly fine, you’re likely trying too hard to impress the wrong people… and you’re going broke in the process.
  12. Electronics Warranties – When you buy new electronics a warranty might seem like a decent thing to invest in.  After all, a warranty covers everything from technical problems to spilling soda on the circuits.  But don’t be fooled.  Most of the time the numbers just don’t make sense.  For instance, a two-year extended warranty on a Kshs 40,000 laptop at Best Buy will cost you upwards of Ksh 2,800 – that’s about 70% of the original price.  You’re better off saving your money and taking your chances.
  13. Retail Computer Software – Most retail computer software is marked way up.  You can easily find OEM copies of the exact same software online (on eBay and similar sites) for 25% – 50% less.  Also, look into free open source software alternatives.  For instance, Microsoft Office Professional 2010 costs Kshs 3000 at Best Buy, but you can download OpenOffice.org’s professional office suite which has all the same word processing, spreadsheet, etc. capabilities for free.  And OpenOffice.org is 100% compatible with Microsoft Office files.
  14. Medical Issues that Can Be Avoided – Eat right and exercise regularly!  Keep your body and mind healthy!  Major medical problems drain back accounts, increase insurance rates, keep you from working and earning money, and generally guarantee that you will have long-term financial problems.
  15. Prescription Medication – The previous bullet leads directly into this one.  Prescription medicine has one of the highest markups of any consumer good. The sky high cost of prescription medications is crippling parts of the US economy and keeping necessary medicines out of the hands of those who need it most – people living on fixed incomes with acute or chronic health issues.  Unlike other countries, there are no price controls on prescription medications here in the US.  So we end up paying 200% – 5000% markups on essential medicines and drugs such as Prozac and Xanax.  The solution is to buy wholesale at wholesale resellers such as Costco.  Costco’s prices are typically half the cost of the local retail pharmacy on many popular prescription medications.
  16. Jewelry and Precious Gems – All jewelry is subject to volatile changes in price and high markups.  The industry average markup varies widely – 100% to up to over 1000%.  And jewelers thrive on the uneducated buyer, so do your research.  Also, jewelry is almost always an emotional purchase, so you need to think logically about what you’re getting, how much you’re paying for it, and what your other options are.  And even then, you probably won’t get a great deal.  Buying and wearing less jewelry is always the smartest choice.
  17. Second-rate Entertainment – The best things in life are free.  Stop wasting your money on movies, games, and other second-rate entertainment and take a good look around you.  Mother Nature offers lots of entertainment free of charge.  Go hiking, go skinny dipping, play in the rain, build a bonfire with your friends, watch the sunset with your lover, etc.
  18. Nasty Money-sucking (and life-sucking) Habits. – Smoking, drinking and gambling are all perfect examples of bad habits in which you choose to trade short term pleasure for long term debt and discomfort.  So light one up, shoot one down, and toss another chip across the table.  It’s only your life and livelihood.

Hope you learn lessons from this.

Happy savings.

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World Tallest Residential Building

World Tallest Residential Building

DUBAI, which already claims the world tallest building, has set a new record with princess tower, which the Guinness World Records website said on Monday was the worlds tallest residential building.

Princess tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is 413.4 Metres high and has 101 storeys above the ground dedicated to residential use.

The tower,topped with a crown, is located in Dubai Marina, a man-made canal overlooking the gulf.

Overall,it is 107 floors high and contains a combination of apartments, shops, as well as sports and recreation facilities including swimming pools and sauna rooms.

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