One Thing You Can’t Escape…

Folks… I’m hearing a lot of stories of people going through unhappy times. It’s rough – I know. Sometimes, life just kind of deals you a bad hand and you have to make difficult choices on how you respond. My prayer for you is that you respond in the best way possible…

But here’s the thing – the largest number of people that I’m hearing about who are having a hard time with a particular situation brought it on themselves with bad decisions. Now, nobody is going to make good decisions 100% of the time but here’s the inescapable truth – you have to live with the consequences of your decisions 100% of the time, whether they were good or bad. Take your time and really think about what you’re doing and why – especially when the decision involves your faith, health, family, career and money. These are the biggest categories that give us BIG trouble when we repeatedly make bad decisions. If you’re facing one of these challenges, I encourage you to get past your pride, get past your insecurity, get past the blaming,  quit running from the issue and get to work on fixing the real problem. It’s not always easy but it has to be done. What other choice do you have?

What are You Going to Eat This Week?

Here are just three things that INCREASE growth of brain cells according to Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute:

1. Tea
2. Blueberries
3. Stress Management

Here are three things that DECREASE brain cells:

1. Sugar
2. Saturated Fat
3. Chronic Stress

Does this list affect your thoughts on what you’re going to eat this week? It probably should, shouldn’t it?  Also, how can you decrease the stress you’re experiencing now?  Having a plan will help…

Great Quote III

Found this quote on Dan Miller’s Blog today.

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII

If only more of us did this…  Can you imagine? 

Can you do this?

Holy Cow! We were close…

Mark my words…  There will be many lengthy articles and even entire books written about what almost happened to our financial system this past Thursday.  In short, banks were about to run out of money to loan to each other and to other businesses to operate.  That would have frozen the ability for numerous businesses, some large corporations, to operate.  We came very close to a complete freeze-up of our financial system that would have had catastrophic consequences.  One person I heard talking about it said that businesses simply would have, “started falling from the sky to their deaths.”   The more I study and read about what almost happened, the more I realize this is very scary stuff.

Whether you believe the government’s bail-out of Fannie/Freddie, Wall Street investment banks, AIG and its assumption of billions and billions (perhaps trillions) in bad debt is a good idea or not is not the point of this post.  The point is that imbalance has taken over the way we operate in this country and it threatens to do real and serious harm.

I wrote about this not to along ago here.  Follow this simple timeline:

1.  Washington overly loosens rules on how financial institutions can write mortgages (imbalance of regulation).

2.  Financial institutions begin offering credit to people who can’t afford it (imbalance of sound business policy).

3.  Individuals bite on the gimmicky loan offers, spending more than they can afford (imbalance of sound decision-making).

4.  Housing markets starts to slow and the rate of mortgage sales drops decreasing income for lenders (imbalance of income).

5.  People begin defaulting on outstanding loans (imbalance of personal checkbooks – totally predictable).

6.  Bad loans take up more and more space on the balance sheets of lenders (imbalance of liability/assests – again, totally predictable).

7.  The government, already WAY out of balance with Nat’l debt, takes on even more to save our financial system (more and more imbalance).

Of course, this is a highly simplified version of what happened, but you get the point.  The government is imbalanced.  Investment banks are imbalanced.  Many individuals are financially imbalanced.  All of this imbalance is leading to real problems that affect you and me.  Balance is not a hard concept to grasp.  Greed makes it hard to maintain.  We wanted houses we couldn’t afford.  Lenders wanted profits from people who couldn’t afford to be their customers.  The government wanted to not face the real problem ahead of time.   Where will it end?  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that we almost witnessed a collapse of the biggest financial system the world has ever known.  Geeze.  Can we just not start living with common sense again?  Can’t we get back to the balanced fundamentals of sound business practices and good judgement?  I sure hope so.  If not, the worst isn’t over…

Just a Thought About Common Sense…

Sometimes, in our society (and in my own life), there seems to be a disconnect between our actions and common sense, ie., how we spend money, how we treat each other, how we raise our kids, how we watch TV, what we think is important in our lives.  It seems as though this happens more today than in years past.  If that’s true, does it mean that common sense is becoming revolutionary (something that is rare, a good idea and can change our world for the better)?   For instance, author and TV host Dave Ramsey has made a good living from telling people to spend less than they earn.  Isn’t that a principle of common sense?  But so many people don’t do it that it seems like a revolutionary way of handling money.   Here’s another question…  If Dave Ramsey built a business around common sense, can you?  How can you become a person of influence by simply offering advice on how to use common sense in situations most of us don’t?  What opportunities are out there?  How can you use more common sense in your own life?  Just a few thoughts…

 

Balance vs Imbalance in Life

If you’re searching for meaning, joy, happiness, fulfillment, quality relationships, peace in your household and real success in life, they all will be very hard to find without balance. Balance gives us strength, momentum, peace-of-mind and allows us to do things you never thought possible. For instance, look at this picture…

 
Natchez Trace Bridge (Wikipedia)
Natchez Trace Bridge, Williamson County, TN (Wikipedia)

This 155-foot-high bridge along the Natchez Trace Parkway spans 1,648 feet over Highway 96 in Williamson County, Tennessee. When it was built, the bridge received national recognition for it’s design and construction. Whether I drive over or under it, I can’t help but be amazed. It’s a very imposing structure but it has a peaceful simplicity about it as well. Rather than numerous columns, it has just one along with two huge arches that hold up the road deck. This allows for a flowing and uncluttered view of the valley it spans. There’s amazing balance in both the structural and visual function of the Natchez Trace Bridge. There were many obstacles to overcome in it’s design and construction, but with creative thought, out-of-the-box thinking and lots of evaluation, it was completed and is generally considered a huge success by both engineers and those who use it. This amazing bridge is possible because of balance…

On the other hand, here’s what can happen when there’s a lack of balance….

If you didn’t notice it before, watch it again and listen to the roar as it passes by the camera.

This huge tornado shredded parts of Weld County, Colorado, on Thursday of this week (5-22-08). It was the result of a very unstable and highly sheared atmosphere. To say it another way, the atmosphere was very imbalanced. In nature, all extreme weather is caused by imbalance. It’s simply cause and effect. It a matter of physics. It’s just the way it is…

You and I are products of God’s nature and we fit into this equation as well… With this in mind, wouldn’t you rather be a strong and balanced support for your family rather than an imbalanced monster that leaves nothing but destruction in your wake? I know I would. In what ways can you be more balanced in your life beginning today?

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