On occasions, I would get these letters from various banks offering me a tempting amount of money. And man, we're talking about personal loans of up to $20,000!
Of course, you have to pay that stuff back, but I know how to use debt in my favor so that I won't get in trouble with it...again. Getting approved for such a large amount of money would solve many of our issues!
However, I always end up throwing those letters away. For one, I just don't care to have anymore debt. If I wanted to go back to school for something, I wouldn't take out any loan -- so, pretty much, that means I won't be going back to school any time soon.
But two, I don't want to keep depending on money to fix problems. I want to dare myself to be resourceful, to look for other ways to get what I want. If I keep depending on money, then I'll never have enough of it. However, if I could depend on my resourcefulness, the sky would truly be the limit!
One time, I put an ad on Craig's List bartering my personal training service for something else of value, not being sure what I'd get. One woman responded offering her time share! She really didn't want serious personal training, but just someone to push her to go in the right direction with her health. I really didn't think the trade was a truly fair one, because she was offering a six-day vacation at any resort (for free!) anywhere in the world. The service I've given her, in my opinion, didn't even match up to what she was offering. However, she wasn't going to use that time share anyway. She just simply wanted to give it away, but at the very least, in her mind, she could get a little something in return.
I never used that time share. I gave it to my mother, who has helped my family out so much. I wanted this to be a little "pay back" for what she has given to my family. I didn't pay one dime for that vacation. My mother had chosen to go to New Orleans because she had always wanted to go but never had the opportunity to go. She could have gone to France, Italy, the Bahamas, anywhere!
Now, instead of bartering my services, I could have stressed out about how to get more money to pay for her vacation. See, that's what happens when you think about how to get more money: you start stressing! You limit your thinking. All you could think about is that money is the answer to everything.
When you start being resourceful, you start looking for alternative methods to get what you want. When you're resourceful, you'd be surprised at what could be done with little to no money.
While I was a P.E. teacher, the school that I taught in had very, very little gym equipment. But that didn't worry me. I looked around for what the school did have: picnic tables, cinder blocks, a tree to do pull ups on, and lots of running room outside. I even asked if any parents could donate some items, and I've included in my wish list some used car tires. Well, one parent actually gave me several used tires, and the kids loved working out with them.
Also, I had kids push one of the high schooler's pick up truck, run races with rolling garbage containers, push a huge garbage dumpster, lift cinder blocks and picnic tables, etc. In fact, teachers and parents started donating some exercise equipment, but I hardly used any of them for the kids. I just stuck with the stuff I found outside.
The more resourceful you are, the less desire you'd have for the stuff that money can buy. Why? Because you'd have become so confident in your ability to be resourceful that you'd want to push yourself to be even more resourceful. Having money would make things too easy for you.
Now, you're thinking, "Uh...no! I prefer to have the money!" But think about this: if you're able to get something without money, why would you want to start getting things with money? If you could make ONE thing happen without cash, then you could make more stuff happen without cash.
One time, my wife and I were on the WIC (women, infants, and children) program. We were given government vouchers to get food for us and the kids. The program was, to me, a pain. When trying to use those vouchers at the store, many times the cashiers needed help to use them. It was almost embarrassing for me, because we would be slowing down the line with these vouchers. The cashiers weren't fast enough in using them and there would be people waiting behind us.
Finally, my wife started getting into couponing and looking for deals online. She became a coupon guru, bringing home bags of food at a fraction of the cost. Soon, we just decided to give up the WIC program because, well, we just didn't need it anymore.
You could spend your time trying to look for the best-paying job or trying to make the most amount of money from your business. Or...you could spend your time maximizing what you already have.
Whenever I look for a new job, I don't look for the highest paying job. I don't even look for decent-paying jobs. The jobs I look at would be the same jobs that you wouldn't want to get, because you'd be thinking, "I can't live off that!" But I could, because I know how to be resourceful.
But if you could be resourceful, you won't be TOO afraid of any given situation. You won't be thinking about, "Where am I to get the money from?" You would be thinking, "How can I get what I want with what I already have?" This is why it's important to learn different skills in life, because you never know which of those skills would save you from hard times. Money is not only limited, but it's also fragile. It could go at any moment. But you could ALWAYS be resourceful, because as long as you're living, there is something you could offer that would get you what you need.
Don't obsess about riches. Don't daydream about having all the money in the world. Don't go around saying, "If only I won the lotto!" Seek to be resourceful. Use what you have. Find other paths to get to where you want to go. Build up your skills to make the most happen by using the least amount of tools.
I'm about to tell you something controversial: you don't have to love what you do for a living. You don't have to "find your passions" when looking for a career. You don't have to "turn your hobbies into income."
However, you do need to love what your career is doing for you. If you neither love your career nor love the reason why you're doing your career, then that is when you need to look for something else.
Now, sometimes, you could love your career but hate the lifestyle that it's giving you. Recently, I was doing seasonal work at Lowe's Home Improvement store in the garden center. I absolutely LOVED that job to the point where that job just consumed my thoughts. When Lowe's posted an opening for a plant specialist, I wanted that job really bad! I felt insulted when they gave it to someone else!
However, had I gotten that job, Lowe's would have consumed my time. I would have been working all kinds of hours and quite possibly would have sacrificed my ZUMBA classes. I would not have had the lifestyle that I wanted, which was having family time and available time to do other things for myself.
On the flip side, I did have a job that I didn't care for, but it had given me lots of free time. While working in EMS, I did have to work nights and days and for 12 hours each day. But here was my schedule:
Week one: four 12-hour nights, three nights off
Week two: three 12-hour days, four days off
Week three: three 12-hour nights, four nights off
Week four: four 12-hour days, EIGHT days off
That schedule would repeat the cycle when the next month came, so every month I would have one whole week off!
Had I appreciated the lifestyle the job had given me, I wouldn't have been so caught up in feeling so ill about the job. In addition, the job allowed me to write a book that I've always wanted to write, and there was plenty of down time where I could take online courses for further education.
So, I didn't care for the job. But I didn't hate it either. I did love the lifestyle it gave me and my family.
The lifestyle that you want ought to be more important than the job that you get. If your job could give you the lifestyle that you want, then that's the job for you. However, if you absolutely love the job but it's taking you away from the things that are most important to you, then you need to search elsewhere.
In this culture, we get caught up in "trying to find our purpose" and "doing what makes you come alive." We don't focus on the truly important things in life: family, personal development, service to other. We get more caught up in finding the "perfect job" than in pursuing a job that would give us our ideal lifestyle.
What is my ideal lifestyle? For one, I want to be at home with the family. I don't care to be away from home almost everyday for 8 or more hours a day. Anything that would allow me to stay at home would be perfect!
I like being available. If someone needs help, I don't want to say, "Sorry, I'm working." I'd like to be able to drop whatever I'm doing to give someone a hand.
I don't like working hard. If I'm going to work hard, it better be temporary and I better get something big from it. Working hard for little in return doesn't cut it.
I want to live a life of peace. Being busy all the time is repulsive to me. Living a life where I can't sit down and chill is not a life I desire.
So, what is your ideal life? No, I'm not talking about getting rich, traveling the world, and living the "good life." Your ideal life could simply be working on a farm all day, or doing charity work all day, or simply being at home with the kids. Those things are what you ought to pursue instead of pursuing your "dream job." Of course, if you could find a job or business that you love and have your ideal lifestyle, too, that would be a big bonus. But if you had to choose between the two, choose your lifestyle over a job.
Many of us hate our jobs, but we could perhaps learn to be at least NEUTRAL about our jobs if we see that they are giving us a life that we love. We could perhaps also learn to be at least neutral about our jobs if we stop focusing on what our dream career is.
While in college, I used to be a theatre major. I LOVE the theatre! To this day, I LOVE listening to musicals (don't get me started on Les Miserables songs!). However, being in the theatre full-time doesn't promote the lifestyle that I wanted. My life would be given to the theatre, so I decided to drop that theatre major and pursue another major.
Don't let your love of a career ruin your chances for having a life that you want. Careers come and go. People lose their jobs everyday. The market could change and leave you begging for bread. In fact, you could put so much love in a job that you would evaluate your worth based on that job. Don't do it! Pursue the things that would help you have a better life, that would promote the things that are important to you, and that would allow you to have more peace in life.
Whether working a business or working a job, we all have to do something to earn a living. Whatever we do, let it help us pursue what we truly want in life. And if that career that you do isn't something that excites you but at the very least is helping you get what you want in life, then stick with that until something better comes along.
Do you find yourself working hard trying to get ahead in life? Then you are competing in the so-called "rat race." Here's the thing about the rat race: it's only for rats. As one anonymous quote said, "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
We've been so conditioned to believe that the only goal in life is to be a big success: to fight for the things you want and to get ahead of your opponents. American businesses are very much into the rat race: they boast about how much better they are than their competition, and they would even call out their competition by name.
Political campaigns are notorious for jumping in this race. Instead of hearing about stuff we really want to know, all we hear is how the opponent is ruining everything. Political campaigns want to gain your trust by shaming the competition. See? The rat race is only for the rats.
Here's another thing about the rat race: success is never guaranteed, and even if you get success, it could be taken away. All that hard work you've done to get ahead in life could be destroyed in moments.
One customer at the garden center where I do seasonal work in told me of his multimillion-dollar sister. She played the lotto and won millions! Two years later, she died of cancer.
There's another story of a man who founded one of the world's leading network marketing companies who died at a young age. The cause? Possible suicide from drug overdose. This man was a millionaire.
There's another story of a man who had millions of dollars, lots of success, and a leader in his company. He was found dead in his pick-up truck. The cause? Probable suicide from gun shot.
And then there are stories of divorce, death, depression, you name it, from people who ran in this race. They wanted to gain the whole world, but they lost their souls in the process. They wanted to conquer and wound up being conquered. They all became like helpless rats being hunted down by cats.
And really, what are you racing for? Everything in this world is temporary. Nothing in this world is guaranteed to make you any happier than you are now. The ancient Israelite King Solomon once wrote, "I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit. Everyone comes naked from their mother's womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?" (Ecclesiastes 5:13-16)
Life shouldn't be a race. Life shouldn't be a competition between you and the world. If you join in this race, you will never win. Why? Because there will always, in your mind, be something else to conquer. There will be no end to it. All you'd really gain from this race is misery, anger, and emptiness -- and eventually, you could end up like those other successful folks who took their lives.
Contentment where you are is key to enjoying your life now. Wanting what everybody else wants and stepping on people to get what you want is no way to live. It is a quick way for destruction. Don't join this race. Let the other rats have at it -- and you won't have to worry about the hungry cats!
One time, I was watching a YouTube video of Rick Warren's sermon. He's the author of "A Purpose Driven Life." He talked about admiring without wanting to acquire -- that is, learning to appreciate what someone else has without getting envious of it.
Now, that's hard to do! How could you look at someone else's cool toys and not want those toys for yourself? Ask kids to learn how to admire someone else's new video game without wanting that video game!
But let me tell you, it's actually more liberating to simply admire than it is to admire AND desire something. It's tiring being jealous of what other people have. In fact, it's downright stressful to be envious of your neighbor's new job, new car, new house, or new business. It's stressful to want your grass to be as green as your neighbor's grass. It's stressful to want your spouse to look as good as your buddy's spouse.
If you are always thinking that your life has deficits, then you would always be stressed. If you are always thinking that your friends have it better than you, then you won't be satisfied with your own life. You'd be sitting on your couch crying about how you could never have nice things.
But if you could look at something and tell yourself, "I don't need this to enjoy my life," you could learn to admire a beautiful sight without wanting to be a part of it.
I like looking at nice houses. My family and I would just drive through certain neighborhoods and just admire the beautiful houses that we see. But we no longer desire those homes. We don't need those homes to make us happy. We are content with our little apartment, and if something better comes up, great! But we won't drive around your neighborhood with our heads out the window like dogs!
The key is contentment. Be happy and be at peace with what you have. Then you could learn to admire what other people have without being jealous.
And think of this: who knows what kinds of troubles come with your friend's new toys. He probably has to work two jobs just to have it! She probably has to put most of her money into her brand new home. The gorgeous couple you see probably have lots of marital problems that you don't have.
Again, be content with what you have and learn to just enjoy the sight of other people's success without envy.
We have friends who seem to live the dream life. The wife is at home with her child, and her husband makes enough money to pay for everything: two cars (one being brand new), a home, bills, goodies, you name it. But the husband HATES his job! If I'm going to be envious of what they have, I better be willing to also get a good-paying job that I hate. I can't just want to acquire one thing and not the other.
You see, I look at the things I have going for me, things that make me proud. I have a lot going for me, and these are the things I need to focus on. I don't need to focus on someone else's life. I need to look at what I have and to admire what I have. I could also admire what you have, but I don't need to want your stuff. You keep yours, and I'll keep mine!
There is nothing dangerous about looking at things that please your eyes -- unless you're looking at someone else's spouse with lust. But train yourself to "look and not touch." That is a lesson we parents teach our kids when we go to the stores: you don't have to touch everything that you see! Same thing for you: learn to simply admire from a distance without wanting to do anything further. You already have something good going on in your life.
If you are a first-time gardener, I wouldn't recommend that you start off by growing peppers from seeds. They take FOREVER to sprout!
I planted a few varieties of hot peppers over a month ago, and I was seriously about to lose hope for them. Then one day, I saw sprouts! It reminded me when I've tried growing bell peppers years ago. They, too, were slow to sprout -- so slow that I thought they weren't going to sprout.
I also had my kids plant lemon seeds over a month ago. I was about to give up hope on them, but just like with the pepper seeds, the lemon seeds started to sprout.
Then it hit me: one of the biggest secrets of growing anything from seed is patience. While some seeds could sprout in a matter of days, some seeds take weeks to sprout. One day, these little lemon sprouts would grow to be 12+ feet high and produce a bounty of lemons. These hot peppers would one day produce a bounty -- and enable me to make some hot sauce!
But if I had no patience, then forget about lemon trees and hot sauce. Heck, forget about any kind of success if I have no patience. Without the discipline of waiting, you wouldn't know what could happen in your life.
Waiting is hard, especially if you were never taught how to wait as a child. If you always got everything that you wanted exactly WHEN you wanted it as a child, then waiting would be a problem for you.
Recently, my family and I went to the Got To Be NC agriculture fair at the Fairgrounds. There were also carnival rides, and of course it's hard to bring your kids around a bunch of carnival rides that they cannot ride on!
My daughter was expecting to get on some of those rides -- not sure why, because neither I nor my wife said that she would get to go on those rides. While we were leaving the Fairgrounds, she started to quietly cry, because she wanted to get on some of those rides.
In the car, I gave her a lesson. Would she choose to enjoy these rides now, or wait until we go to the zoo in Asheboro? Of course, she said that she wanted to choose both. Then I had to explain budget: it's not in the budget to attend both. She needs to pick. So, I explained that it's expensive to attend just ONE ride at this carnival, and one ride lasts for one or two minutes. But for the same price that she would spend on a few one-minute rides, she could go to the zoo and spend ALL DAY there and do many more activities.
She finally realized that blowing money on immediate gratification at the cost of the glories of the zoo wasn't wise.
The older I get and the more mistakes I make, the more I realize how important it is to just wait. Going for immediate gratification would almost always cause regret, especially if it costed you something of true value. But you could NEVER go wrong with waiting.
There is one guy who comes to the garden center where I work almost everyday looking for Knock Out roses for sale. He refuses to pay full price for one rose, so he patiently and consistently comes to the garden center, looking for one of those roses on clearance.
Then one day, he saw me pulling some of those roses off the table to be discounted. I told him that if he came back later, they would be discounted. His patience paid off. He's an older, retired guy and he no doubt knows the value of waiting. One lesson he taught me could be summed up as this: "All you have to do is wait."
Would it surprise you that my wife is really the only girlfriend I had? Well...technically, she was the second, but she never considered my ex an actual girlfriend because we only dated less than two weeks! Whatever! Anyway, I never wanted to hop from girl to girl to girl. I wanted my first girlfriend to be my wife. I almost hit that goal if you consider my two-week girlfriend an actual girlfriend. I was content being single and was ready to accept a life of celibacy. Then in 2004, I met my wife online. Eleven years and two children later, I haven't had one regret about my choice in marrying her.
Good things come to those who wait, because those who wait avoid making stupid mistakes caused by haste. There's even a Bible verse that says, "Ignorant desire isn't good; rushing feet make mistakes" (Proverbs 19:2).
Even while in EMS, I saw that rushing had no place, not even if it involved a dying person. If you rush and screw up a procedure, say hello to lawsuits and new job applications. If you take your time and do things right, you could save the patient. But even if you lose the patient, at least you would have done things the right way. Of all the CPR cases that I had, I never once had to rush a patient to the hospital.
Just wait. Waiting won't kill you. Don't rush into any decision, and never feel pressured to have an answer right away. If you wait, you could find the right opportunities for you. If you rush, you would find yourself always making the wrong decisions.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.