Archive for December, 2009

Gone fishin’…forever! (The Financial Athlete #140)

December 24, 2009

Old Joe, a Lousiana Creole, retired in his 40’s, after serving as an enlisted man in the U.S. army for over 20 years. Upon retiring early, he knew he had enough income to live in a simple home and wear simple clothes and drive a simple car. He would spend the rest of his simple life fishing.

When he was in his 70’s I asked him, “Did you ever go back to work for a while after you retired years ago?”

Old Joe replied with a grin, “I sure did. Once. I needed money to buy a new fishin’ boat. As soon as I got enough money I quit that job and bought the boat.”

Old Joe’s life teaches we don’t need luxury to live a life with financial freedom, and once we achieve financial freedom we can slow down and enjoy this short life. Meanwhile, others who experience financial freedom refuse to retire and work beyond age 100. Their lives teach us to continually challenge ourselves with the work of a craft. A craftsman of any kind — be it a doctor or an artist or an athlete or a businessman or an investor — if willing, engages himself in a long process of self-discovery and self-development.

A photographer not only takes pictures, he captures what is.

A writer not only writes stories, he writes his vision.

A painter not only paints the subject matter, he paints what reflects from within.

A sculptor not only sculpts his artwork, he sculpts his soul.
— by Ao (pastmanvibration)

To be prepared or not prepared, that is the question (The Financial Athlete #139)

December 19, 2009

Two men walk alone into the wild of Alaska. The intent is to live in the wilderness during the cold winter. One is prepared with survival skills honed for years in the Alaskan wilderness. The other is completely ill prepared. In fact, he had never set foot on snow until his arrival in Alaska only a few days earlier. Whose mother should worry more?

Four out of five start-up companies fail. Why? More than likely, it is because they were unprepared. To be prepared involves adequate funding, a solid business plan, experience and passion for the business, not being a spendthrift, and possibly industry connections.

Don’t let the failure rate of start-ups discourage you from starting a business. Just be sure you are prepared before you set off on your business journey.

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” — Buddha

From ordinary to extraordinary (The Financial Athlete #138)

December 17, 2009

Two athletes share the same age, body weight, height, muscle mass, are equally coordinated, and have played the same sport for the same number of years. Yet one athlete is vastly superior to the other in the highest level of competition. Why? Will power.

Will power is the common denominator among elite athletes in all sports. Will power cannot be taught, but it can be “caught” if inspired by a leader.

Genius is not required to become an extraordinary investor. An ordinary person can become an extraordinary investor if she has the will power. Without will power, there can be no self-discipline, no commitment to continuously improve, and no faith in yourself when you are not a winner. However, will power must be balanced with humility. A will power to win at any cost is ultimately self-destructive.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi

Slogans (the original takes) by Bob Marley

December 14, 2009

Too long in the vault, these original takes of Bob Marley’s Slogans are hypnotic. Listen to this song with its timeless message, and you’ll understand why so many call him a prophet.

I don’t think they’re available on CD or iTunes yet. Hear it on youtube:

Losing is Good — part 2 (The Financial Athlete #137)

December 14, 2009

We’ll See (a Taoist story)

An old farmer cherished his horse. One day the horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors said with empathy, “What bad luck.”

The old farmer remained calm and said, “We’ll see.”

Remarkably, the horse returned the next morning with three, beautiful wild horses. The neighbors rejoiced. “What good luck!”

The old farmer kept calm and said, “We’ll see.”

The following day, his son rode one of the untamed horses. He fell off the horse and broke his leg. The neighbors offered sympathy and again said, “What bad luck.”

The old farmer was not convinced this was a misfortune. He replied, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, officials drafted into the military all young men of the village except his son because he had a broken leg. The neighbors congratulated the farmer for his good fortune. “What good luck!” they said.

“We’ll see”, said the farmer.

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When you lose, you ask yourself, “What went wrong?” You ponder this for a long while, arrive at conclusions, and hopefully learn from your mistakes. The experience of losing, then, should be simultaneously “good” and “bad”. But must personal growth be born of pain? Is only losing a teacher and winning never a teacher? The last question is misplaced on the prime mover. Neither losing nor winning is the teacher. You are the teacher.

When you win, ask yourself, “What went right?” Ponder this for a long while, arrive at conclusions, and you will experience greater consistency of positive results. Without realization, winning is also simultaneously “good’ and “bad”.