Intellectual Exercise Machine


by Dave Miller

  Every two or three weeks we gather around a conference table prepared to stretch our minds. The topic is a book we are reviewing. It amazes me to read a portion of the book thinking it was just an empty passage, something to fill the pages, and one sitting next to me finds value I completely missed.

  It started with two people wanting to expand their minds. We wanted to have a group of 5 or 6 contributors with brain elasticity being a prerequisite. Soon we each added a friend that fit the profile. We just added our sixth member, Steve from Texas, a former Merrill Lynch trader.  

 Our goal is to take a good book or article, dissect it, and make it palatable. After we have chewed on it, it is easier to digest. We try to make the material applicable to our lives.

 The depth of material is not the largest factor by far. It is the debate and intellectual exercise that ensue. It makes us widen our thought processes as we hear and discuss our view points. Many times the writer’s view is scrutinized as we illustrate it with our lives.

 As we gather to discuss the book we also stretch each other in our own lives. It’s not unusual to hash out a new business idea after the book review. Success stories, from previous ideas discussed, come back into the group. We all love hearing and telling them. The camaraderie is building.

There are multiple ways this group is advancing the members.

  • We learn to express our opinions.
  • Our ability to listen to opposing ideas is increased.
  • We learn to think through the topic before mindlessly debating it.
  • It’s an intellectual exercise machine.

 I write this article to encourage you to go out and do something similar. Gather a few friends, colleagues, your peers or mentors, and form a group where you can stretch each other. Book clubs are a great way to accomplish this but there are other good ways also. Accountability groups can serve the same purpose.  Breakfast meeting with a few like-minded people will work.

 Do it your way. But do it nevertheless.

Men ought to know that from the brain, and from the brain only, arise our pleasures, joy, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs, and tears. – Hippocrates (about 400 B.C.)

 

 

 

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 6:33 am  Comments (1)  
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We Need More Christian Billionaires


by Dave Miller

  “We need more Christian billionaires, let’s be Christian billionaires.” my friend said. At first I brushed the comment off without any farther thought. But a day later the comment was still ringing in my head. Was there more to that line than I was giving it credit for? Was there a deeper truth I was ignoring?

  I started asking additional questions. How would society benefit by having more Christian billionaires? How many exist?

  The more I looked at it I realized once again it was not the money that made the man. The wisdom and experience would outweigh the money. In order for a person to gain that amount of financial savvy he must immerse himself in knowledge and good judgments. 

  What are deeper ways to benefit society?

  • Philanthropic efforts – This is first thing that most people think of. Even though I think it’s deeper than that, this is still a way to impact people. As always it is risky, because finding avenues that contribute to society in a healthy way is tough. So often money or food is given to poor people and it encourages that society to expect a handout. Nevertheless with a little research good missions can be found.
  • Political clout – People with money have influence. In 1776 this was the case and our foundation was built. Just as the left does damage with its money to expand its agenda, so can a Christian.
  • Betterment to society with experience – We are better off if we can learn from experience, our own or others. Who better to learn from than a Christian? A person with the fortitude to make a billion dollars could contribute to society in incalculable ways.
  • Jobs that have a healthy atmosphere – The work place has a huge impact on people’s lives. If that area can have a Christian vibe to it then it will filter into their personal lives.
  • Wealth building through job creation through efficiency – Better work ethics, which I think Christians (especially of Protestant descent, create better efficiency which equals more competitive prices. This means more business coming your way, and then you hire more employees creating more jobs, thus equaling more wealth. Wealth building is more than having a job, its learning to do a good job.
  • R&D – Research on solar, wind, gas, ethanol or other energy, should not be subsidized by the government. When a private enterprise does the R&D it is usually viable. And if it’s viable, well, then it’s worth doing. If the government gets involved they attempt to create a market in areas that are not viable. They subsidize it and this puts supply and demand out of balance. A mess is created. Again, ethanol is a prime example. Let the private enterprises do the R&D.
  • Educational advancement – When people have money, they like to put it to use in a way that satisfies their worldview. Education is an example on this. A lot of money has been spent on education in the last 150 years. The worldview of these advancements has devastated our educational system. By having money and a good worldview this decline could be reversed.

  Far greater than having a Christian with a billion dollars is the influence and contribution he can make to society. The means of getting there, the knowledge retained, and the intellectual value far outweigh the money in the end.

O Big Brother Thou Art


by Dave Miller

In 1924 on the US House floor Congressman Fritz G. Lanham of Texas read this “Beatitude” in opposition to child-labor laws.

  • Consider the Federal agent in the field; he toils not, nor does he spin; and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his populous household was not arrayed with powers like one of these.

 

  • Children, obey your agents from Washington, for this is right.

 

  • Honor thy father and thy mother, for the Government has created them but a little lower than the Federal agent. Love, honor, and disobey them.

 

  • Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, tell it to thy father and mother and let them do it.

 

  • Six days shalt thou do all thy rest, and on the seventh day thy parents shall rest with thee.

 

  • Go to the bureau officer, thou sluggard; consider his ways and be idle.

 

  • Toil, thou farmer’s wife; thou shalt have no servant in thy house, nor let thy children help thee.

 

  • And all thy children shall be taught of the Federal agent, and great shall be the peace of thy children.

 

  • Thy children shall rise up and call the Federal agent blessed.

Maybe George Orwell read this speech and built the outline for his book “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The essence of the theme runs parallel between the two.

This is the underlining principle that our government wants to bring into our lives. That we feel secure in them. This means more power to the one in charge. Power is more coveted than money.

They can only take the power that we give them. Even if they take it by force with laws, never allow them to take your freedom from your mind.

Related Post: Sarah Palin and Generational Theft

Quotable Quote:

   If con is the opposite of pro, is congress the opposite of progress? – Author unknown.

Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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Pay Yourself First


by Dave Miller

Every month we chose who we will pay. The gas man. Rent. Groceries. Yet we forget about ourselves. There never seems to be any left for me. Why do we lower ourselves to such a degrading standard?

As a business owner if I were to decide to pay my employees last, only if there is money left, I would be jeopardizing my business. The employees would not be motivated. They would probably vacate. So in order to keep employees motivated, I pay them first. I would rather have a creditor calling than lose my employee’s loyalty.

So how can I avoid this lack of motivation in my life? I say set up a savings account and on every pay day put 10% in to the account. Before you pay the bills. This is your pay. I suggest you make this your investment account. A fund for your later use.

If you are saying you can’t afford to do this then change something. Cut spending. Increase your income. Whatever you do, do not say it’s not possible. Do you want to work for nothing all your life? I’m guessing your answer is no. Then stop the madness and get your act together. Adjust, adapt and move forward.

Your motivation will increase as you realize you are building something. It’s not about only surviving the day. There is a bigger picture out there. Pay yourself and you will find it.

To accumulate wealth you need to invest. Many times we look to outside methods to get rich quick. We are grasping for the big break. We heard of a product or method that promised big returns and we are intrigued. Be careful.

Invest in yourself. Every pay-check you get, look at it, decide who you are going to pay.
Hold yourself to a higher standard. Are you last?

Make yourself first by starting to invest yourself

Related Posts:

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Effect of Compounding


by Dave Miller

Albert Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world.

Compounding works for positive and negative. If you are dumping your savings, or future earnings, into the latest high-risk scheme every time a new one comes along you are compounding negative results. But if your build good habits they stick with you and they compound (explain)

What Einstein was referring too was putting money on interest and the interest being put back into the account. As the interest is added to the original amount you then receive interest on the initial investment plus the added interest. As years go by the amount collecting interest grows and grows. All the while you are not spending your money because you would rather have more money later.

Money put into a saving account that only a start when looking at compounding. If you invest in real estate with a mortgage and use the cashflow to pay down the loan you get the same effect. Let’s say after you pay the required monthly payments and then use the excess to pay off additional principle you dramatically decrease the length of the loan.

Example: You buy the house for $133,000 and get a loan for $100,000. You have expenses of $200 month for taxes and insurance. Your payment on the 30 year loan is $665 leaving you with $335 cash flow on your monthly rent of $1200.

  • The short-term thinker will spend the money something frivolous the week gets his $335. So he pays off the loan in 30 years. He quadruples his investment of $33,000.
  • The mid-term thinker uses the $335 to pay down his mortgage and quadruples his invest in 13 years
  • The long-term thinker puts an additional $150 towards the mortgage knowing he will never miss it. He pays off the loan in 10 years, thus quadrupling his investment.

Are you a present-oriented or a future-oriented thinker? A future-oriented thinker can abstain from something now for a greater good later. While a present-oriented wants what feels good, now. They think past the present.

Habits as well as finances are affected by your length of thinking.

Building habits takes effort. You must forego something; time, energy, money, etc, to build a habit. This forgoing is the key. A little effort now grows into something big over time.

I’m not talking about some flashy hyped-up new you. Quite the contrary. I’m referring to little habits that add up.

  • Getting up a half hour earlier
  • Spending quality time with your family
  • Taking a brisk walk regularly
  • Smile more
  • Make a to do list

These small efforts over time will bring outstanding results.

As a sales man once said, “As an added bonus we will throw in a few extras.” Here’s your bonus; not only do these habits give you long-term benefits. The things I mentioned above that grow over time, also give me instant results.

Invest in yourself. It’s the best investment you can make. Long term investing beats short-term through the compounding effect. So the longest term invest you can make in your lifetime is in yourself. If you improve yourself it continues to grow. A seemingly minuscule habit will grow exponentially in your lifetime.

Related Posts:

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 8:50 am  Comments (1)  

Lists To Build Confidence – Master Plan – Part Three


by Dave Miller

It’s amazing to me the amount of confidence I gained in the past weeks. All from putting a little effort into making task lists.

In building my master plan I started to implement some of the tactics. In long-term planning you need to break down what you want to accomplish in the next few years. Then you look at what needs to be done monthly. Then weekly. Next, look at what needs to be finished today to accomplish the weekly goal.

As I work my daily task list it amazes me at the results. Things get done faster and more efficiently.
I feel a sense of satisfaction looking at the things crossed off. The more I accomplish the more I want to do.

I used to feel as if I didn’t get anything important done in a day. It seemed I was just running around putting out fires that kept flaring up. Because I now prioritize, I know the things that really matter are taken care of. I don’t need to spend the last half hour scrambling in vain do something actually important.

I started writing for 30 minutes before I go to work. My goal is to write 200 words. Sometimes I get to that, sometimes I don’t. Some mornings I just edit something. The important thing is that I spend 30 minutes. Last week I was within ten minutes of posting a blog when I needed to go to work. In the past I would have thought I need to finish it right away and be late for work, or the blog wouldn’t get posted for a few days. That morning it felt good to set it down knowing tomorrow morning it would happen.

I am amazed at the results and the enjoyment with it. I posted three blogs in seven days. Prior to this I was doing well if I got three posted in three weeks.

Having this on my list consistently has opened my eyes. After giving a speech on delegation and how Nehemiah built the walls in 52 days I was asked if I would consider giving this speech at a business. Then as we traveled home Curvin Horning told me to write a book on it. With my confidence growing I was able to calculate the project. In nine weeks of writing two hours a day I could have a 50 page how-to book.

Will I? I don’t know. More importantly I have the confidence to tackle a project that size. So maybe one day I’ll write – Delegation for Dummies – with a subtitle of – Read your bible dummy.

As I discussed the topic of lists with my brother Allen, he shared his experience. When he gets sidetracked he will add the things he did to the list and cross them off. At the end of the day he can review what he did. Rather than seeing four items crossed off he sees all the things he did, giving him a boost in confidence for the next day.

Give it a try. Put three things on your list. List them in importance. Do number one first. Make every effort to finish it without distractions. But if the phone does ring and you need to answer it, do so, and then write it on your list. Now get back and finish the task you started.

Let me know how it works for you.

Related Posts:
The Transition- Master Plan, part one
Stupid Excuses to Avoid Action, Master Plan, part two

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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