Pay Now, Pay Later

Nothing is free. When not using money, we use time, energy, and attention - things infinitely more scarce than a dollar. 

Every day we are faced with decisions to make. Do we exercise now or wait until a nebulous "later?" Do we save that piece of our income or do we tell ourselves that we'll make it up down the road? Do we make the time to give our full attention to our partner and children or do we tell ourselves that once this fill-in-the-blank is finished we will make it up to them?

When we delay what we know we should do, it is no different than using a credit card and promising ourselves that we'll pay it off quickly. We want to believe that, but the credit card companies make a fortune from interest payments for a reason. 

When we neglect our health, we are forced to pay for it later. When we neglect our finances, we must pay later. When we neglect our family, we pay later and so do they. When we neglect our true desires, our reasons for being, we pay the ultimate price.

Money and the objects we spend it on are physical representations of our values. So to, is every other aspect of our life. Good health? We must spend the requisite time and energy on our bodies. Good financials? Spend the money up front - pay yourself first. Good family? Invest early and often. 

Everything compounds and every day we have a choice. Will our compounding move us closer to our dreams or bury us alive? 

What to do When You Don't Know What to do

Do something, take a step forward.

If you're in sales and you have no idea how you're going to hit your sales target, just talk to someone new about what you're doing. Don't worry about your pitch or the numbers or anything - just have a conversation. And then another, and another. 

If you're an artist and you're frustrated with your work or lack thereof, just make something and show someone.  Don't worry if it's good or bad just make it and see where it takes you.

If you're a 20 something (or 30, 40, 50 etc) not sure of where to go in your career, just try something new. Work at something new and see if something's there. If it's a dead end - try again. Steve Jobs was absolutely right when he said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards"

If you're out of shape and  feeling unhealthy - move your body, eat something that's good for you today - right now. Don't stress about a diet or finding a trainer, just focus on doing something right now that is good for you.

If you're constantly feeling strapped for cash and you don't know how to start saving money, set a dollar aside today. One, single dollar - $1.00.  I don't care if you're making a good income, if you're constantly living pay check to pay check, you need to feel what it's like to have extra money set aside. It doesn't matter if you use a piggy bank, shoe box, savings account, checking account, or money market mutal fund, put a tiny amount aside on a regular basis. By starting small, it's painless and you'll build that muscle. Bottom line is - just start, right now.

What about if you have a personal website and you aren't happy with your ideas, and you think your writing sucks at the moment? Do what I'm doing right now and write something. Talk about something you care about and put it into the world. I figured I should probably follow my own advice.

Of course we all know that life is short and time is limited. We should also know that waiting for outside events or a bolt inspiration to magically change our situation is stupid. So here's my blog post. What are you going to do today to move yourself forward?

The Best Revenge

There are a million quotes about revenge, but when it comes down to it, the best revenge...isn't revenge at all. 

The best revenge is to not be like that.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius said it best. In a time when hate and fear are near all-time highs in American politics, it's important to keep this idea in mind. How do you respond to people who are ignorant, angry, and fearful of people not like them? Try getting into an argument with one of these people and see how well that works.

At the recent Trump rally in Chicago which turned violent, protesters tried that exact method. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that those protesters, no matter how well-intentioned, didn't convert any die hard Trump supporters to their way of thinking. No, let's go back to good ol' Marcus Aurelius. 

If the other person is ignorant, be informed. If the other person is angry, remain calm and optimistic. If the other person is fearful of outsiders, be tolerant and accepting. If the other person is spreading lies, speak the truth. Don't argue. Don't debate. Don't resort to violence. Simply do what you think is right. Don't "be like that."