Wisdom  - Practical advice on life's most important challenges.       Return to Kuder's homepage

Excerpts from the wisdom section of Kuder's book.

One may wonder why a joke and riddle book would include a section on wisdom.  The answer is that wisdom, like humor,  will also put a smile on your face and bring joy and happiness into your life.  The elements of wisdom that will bring joy and happiness into one's life are divided into the following sub-topics:

         Money Matters: How anyone can become wealthy.

         People Matters: How to get along with people and find the right mate to spend your life with.

         Health matters: How to be healthy.

         Miscellaneous Matters: Anything that doesn't fit into the categories above.  This final category will include my:

         Affirmations and aphorisms  and

         Recommended books

 

Money Matters

Pass this information on to any young person you may know.  If they are wise enough to heed the advice, they will some day thank you.

 

The first step is to pay off any high-interest debts.  Then donít finance anything except your home and your car. 

Wealth accumulation requires saving.  Memorize that phrase!  But it doesn't make sense to put money into savings that earn 5-12% when you are paying 18% on your debts.

 

After you have paid off your high interest debts, then, ALWAYS save at least l0% of your gross pay, no matter what.  Make that percentage higher, if you can.  It is not as hard as it sounds.  People who have never done it think it can't be done.  But, millions of people do it all the time. All it really takes is a dedication to the principle of living well within your means.  I'll suggest some specific ways to do this in a minute. No matter how little you make, there are people who make less than you do, and you, too, could live on less than you do, if you choose to do so.  Read the Richest Man in Babylon, by George Clayson, if you are not convinced of this principle.

 

If you follow the simple advice above, you will, in time, become rich.  Yes, it does take time.  There is no sure fire way to get rich quick.  The reason why persistent saving always works is because of the compounding principle.  Compounding just means that interest earns interest, in addition to the principal earning interest. But the effect of it over time is mind-boggling.  To test your comprehension of the power of compounding, imagine that you are offered two job offers.  The first offer pays $1,000 per day for two months.  The second offer pays one penny the first day and the amount doubles every day for the full 60 days.  Which offer would you take?

 

The Compounding Example:

 

Day

Offer 1

 

Offer 2

1

$1,000

 

$0.01

2

$1,000

 

$0.02

3

$1,000

 

$0.04

4

$1,000

 

$0.08

5

$1,000

 

$0.16

6

$1,000

 

$0.32

7

$1,000

 

$0.64

 

$7,000

 

$1.27

 

Since the first offer pays one thousand dollars a day for 60 days, it would total up to $7,000 at the end of the first week and $60,000 in the 60 days.  The second offer would total up to $1.27 by the end of the first week.  Which would you take?  Look at the figures, then decide.

 

 

Offer 1

 

Offer 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

$1,000

 

$1.28

 

9

$1,000

 

$2.56

 

10

$1,000

 

$5.12

 

11

$1,000

 

$10.24

 

12

$1,000

 

$20.48

 

13

$1,000

 

$40.96

 

14

$1,000

 

$81.92

 

15

$1,000

 

$163.84

 

16

$1,000

 

$327.68

 

17

$1,000

 

$655.36

 

18

$1,000

 

$1,311

 

19

$1,000

 

$2,621

 

20

$1,000

 

$5,243

 

21

$1,000

 

$10,486

 

22

$1,000

 

$20,972

 

23

$1,000

 

$41,943

 

24

$1,000

 

$83,886

 

25

$1,000

 

$167,772

 

26

$1,000

 

$335,544

 

27

$1,000

 

$671,089

 

28

$1,000

 

$1,342,177

MILLION

29

$1,000

 

$2,684,355

 

30

$1,000

 

$5,368,709

 

 

$30,000

 

$10,737,418

 

 

31

$1,000

$10,737,418

 

32

$1,000

$21,474,836

 

33

$1,000

$42,949,673

 

34

$1,000

$85,899,346

 

35

$1,000

$171,798,692

 

36

$1,000

$343,597,384

 

37

$1,000

$687,194,767

 

38

$1,000

$1,374,389,535

BILLION

39

$1,000

$2,748,779,069

 

40

$1,000

$5,497,558,139

 

41

$1,000

$10,995,116,278

 

42

$1,000

$21,990,232,556

 

43

$1,000

$43,980,465,111

 

44

$1,000

$87,960,930,222

 

45

$1,000

$175,921,860,444

 

46

$1,000

$351,843,720,888

 

47

$1,000

$703,687,441,777

 

48

$1,000

$1,407,374,883,553

TRILLION

49

$1,000

$2,814,749,767,107

 

50

$1,000

$5,629,499,534,213

 

51

$1,000

$11,258,999,068,426

 

52

$1,000

$22,517,998,136,853

 

53

$1,000

$45,035,996,273,705

 

54

$1,000

$90,071,992,547,410

 

55

$1,000

$180,143,985,094,820

 

56

$1,000

$360,287,970,189,640

 

57

$1,000

$720,575,940,379,279

 

58

$1,000

$1,441,151,880,758,560

QUADRILLION

59

$1,000

$2,882,303,761,517,120

 

60

$1,000

$5,764,607,523,034,230

 

 

$60,000

$11,529,215,046,068,500

 

 

 

If you work out the mathematics, you would find that the second offer would total up to more than 11 quadrillion dollars by the end of the second month.  That would be more than the total amount of money that exists in the whole world!  Study the chart to see how the math works.

 

There is no way you can double your money every day.  But if you apply the compounding principle to the following realistic, easily achievable example the results are still impressive.  The assumptions of this next chart are as follows:

 

         You start at age 20 with zero net worth.

         You invest 10% of your salary each year and earn 8% on it for the first 10 years, 10% thereafter.  The increase is because your investment savvy increases.

        Your salary starts at a very modest $25,000 per year and increases 4% per year.  I assume you will get cost of living increases and advance a little in your career.  These assumptions are not based on a stellar performer, but on what I believe an  "average" person (i.e., "you!") can accomplish with ease.  

The Wealth Accumulation Chart  

  age Net worth accumulation Salary assumption % saved assumption Growth rate assumption
1 21  $              2,500  $              25,000 10% 8%
2 22  $              2,950  $              26,000 10% 8%
3 23  $              3,481  $              27,040 10% 8%
4 24  $              4,108  $              28,122 10% 8%
5 25  $              4,847  $              29,246 10% 8%
6 26  $              5,719  $              30,416 10% 8%
7 27  $              6,749  $              31,633 10% 8%
8 28  $              7,964  $              32,898 10% 8%
9 29  $              9,397  $              34,214 10% 8%
10 30  $            11,089  $              35,583 10% 8%
11 31  $            14,415  $              37,006 20% 10%
12 32  $            18,740  $              38,486 20% 10%
13 33  $            24,362  $              40,026 20% 10%
14 34  $            31,670  $              41,627 20% 10%
15 35  $            41,171  $              43,292 20% 10%
16 36  $            53,523  $              45,024 20% 10%
17 37  $            69,580  $              46,825 20% 10%
18 38  $            90,453  $              48,698 20% 10%
19 39  $          117,589  $              50,645 20% 10%
20 40  $          152,866  $              52,671 20% 10%
21 41  $          198,726  $              54,778 20% 10%
22 42  $          258,344  $              56,969 20% 10%
23 43  $          335,847  $              59,248 20% 10%
24 44  $          436,601  $              61,618 20% 10%
25 45  $          567,582  $              64,083 20% 10%
26 46  $          737,856  $              66,646 20% 10%
27 47  $          959,213  $              69,312 20% 10%
28 48  $       1,246,977  $              72,084 20% 10%
29 49  $       1,621,070  $              74,968 20% 10%
30 50  $       2,107,391  $              77,966 20% 10%

  The above doesn't even take into account the appreciation of your home. To be conservative, and simplify the math, I'll assume that the effect of income taxes and home appreciation nullify each other.

Plug these figures into your spreadsheet and play with it, substituting what you realistically think you can accomplish.  This exercise should give you the motivation to live within your means so you can save.

 

Albert Einstein called the compounding of interest the greatest invention of mankind because it harnesses for wealth building the same concept used in the atom bomb- exponential growth.  As another example of how powerful this concept is: If the Indians had invested the $24 in trinkets that Peter Minuit paid them for the island of Manhattan back in 1626 and let it compound at 7% interest, passing down the accumulation to their ancestors, those ancestors would today have enough accumulated wealth to buy back Manhattan Island with all the buildings that are on it today. 

 

The most common mistake people make in managing their finances is not living within their means.  It seems like such a simple concept.  If you spend less than you earn, you will accumulate savings.  If you spend more than you bring in, you will accumulate debt.  If you accumulate savings regularly, the principle of compounding will ensure that you will eventually become wealthy. 

 

But how do you live within your means?  Let me propose some dollar guidelines.  They don't cover everything-- they are just illustrative.  I will list several categories of typical household expenses and how much you should be spending on those categories, if you want to accumulate wealth.   To arrive at your present net worth, add up everything you own, including your home, car, investments and personal assets, then subtract everything you owe, including mortgages and loan balances.  The first column of dollar amounts shows what you should be spending if your present net worth is less than $50,000.  Note that all but the last two items are per month.

 

The Spending Chart:

                                                                                                                    Ŗ-------  Net worth ------ŗ

Expense:

< $50K

$50K to $500K

$500K to 1.5 million

Per month items:

 

 

 

Mortgage payment (Don't rent!)

$500

$750

$1,000

Car payment (Loan term not to exceed 3 years)

200

300

500

Eating out

50

100

200

Entertainment & sporting events

50

100

200

Cable TV

15

40

80

Electric bill

80

120

140

Telephone bills, including premium services, long distance*, internet access and cell phone

30

50

75

 

 

 

 

Per year items:

 

 

 

Vacations

500

1,500

3,000

Gifts for birthdays and Christmas

100

200

500

*If you know lots of people out of town, write or E-Mail, don't call.

 

You can do some trade-off's to fit your own personal preferences.  For example, if you are an avid sports fan, but don't like vacations that much, you may elect to increase the sports amount and reduce the vacation allowance by a like amount per year. If you live well beyond these figures in every category (many people do) then you are not taking wealth accumulation very seriously.

 

Items you should never indulge in no matter how wealthy you are, because they are always a waste of money, include: gambling (including lottery tickets) and tobacco products.

 

After you pass the $1.5 million mark, you won't have to use any guidelines at all.  At that level, you will have enough investment income coming in that you will be able to live comfortably with funds left over to ensure continued growth of your total net worth.  Then, just live it up.

 

Where to invest your funds?  As a first priority, if your company has any kind of profit-sharing or pension plan where THEY MATCH- invest in that to the max.  To not do this is to pass up free money.  Otherwise, set up a Roth IRA, if you qualify, and invest the max ($2,000 per year).  Choose Roth because even though you lose the deduction, you are never taxed or penalized when you withdraw the funds.  The next step is to invest any excess in Vanguard no-load index mutual funds.  Simple math, previously shown, proves that these formulas will increase your net worth to the 6-figures in about 11 years and to the million-dollar level in about 18 years.  The exact result will be influenced by the level of inflation, the state of the economy, dumb luck and other factors; but shouldn't vary too much from these figures, if you stick to the program.

 

Another principle of wealth accumulation is: "Increase your desire for wealth and you will attract more of it."  Memorize the preceding phrase, it's important.  Conjure up a dream that is attractive to you.  Imagine yourself a retired multi-millionaire living in a large ocean-front estate (if that appeals to you).  You may travel first-class anywhere you wish-- think of the specific places you would like to go.  You may fly the Concorde, if you wish.  You may buy anything you desire-- luxury car, boat, plane, etc., hire a full-time butler, maid, cook, gardener and chauffeur, and still have plenty left over to give some away to your favorite charity or person(s), influence your favorite causes or make a name for yourself.  Revisit your "dream" from time to time to give yourself the motivation required to achieve it.

 

It also helps if you get a good education, work long and hard and are willing to take some moderate, well analyzed  risks.  However, none of these factors are nearly as important to wealth accumulation as living well within your means.

 

Even better than working hard--work smart.  Busy does not mean productive.  A car on a hydraulic jack with the petal to the floor spins its wheels rapidly, but doesn't go anywhere.  Don't live your life that way.

 

MONEY SAVING

 

Here are some specific ways to save money:

 

DISCOUNTS FOR SENIORS (OVER AGE 50). AARP is a no-brainer for anyone over age 50.  You will save many times over the $8 annual membership fee.  You need not be retired and your membership includes your spouse, even if he or she is under age 50.  Contact info: 1-800-424-3410, www.aarp.org, 601 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20049.

 

2-FOR-1 DINING.  Entertainment Publications offers Two-for-One dinners in major U.S. cities.  It pays for itself anytime you would use it four or more times.  To order local or out-of-town editions, call 1-800-374-4464 or visit www.entertainmentbooks.com.

 

CREDIT REPORTS.  Get a $10 credit bureau report on yourself or a credit applicant. Call in or fax them the info, they can call back or fax you the results.  Visit www.atlanticcredit.com for details.  Definitely do not rent a home to anyone without running a credit check.

I strongly recommend against making loans to anyone under any circumstances.  You will usually lose the money you loaned and the person's friendship.  Shakespeare said "Neither a borrower or a lender be."  That was great advice.

 

BARGAIN CD'S & AUDIO TAPES. Order the following: Heartland catalogue 1-800-788-2400; Collector's Choice catalogue 1-800-923-1122; The Good Music Co, 1-800-538-4200, www.yestermusic.com.

 

BIG SELECTION OF VIDEOS YOU CAN'T FIND AT BLOCKBUSTER. Critics Choice Video catalogue 1-800-367-7765.

 

FREE INTERNET SERVICE AND OTHER FREE STUFF

For the latest information on free internet services see http://freeinternetaccess.home.att.net. 

All kinds of free stuff at: http://www.afreeplace.com/deals.htm

   

Travel Tips

 

The overriding principle is that your total annual expenditures should be in proportion to your total net worth.  See "the spending chart," previously shown.  Postpone those trips overseas and luxury-class hotels until you have accumulated more money.  Here are some specific tips to save you money when traveling:

 

1.        Before you book that great hotel deal on the internet (or through a travel agent), take one more step and call the hotel, directly.  Often they will offer a discount directly that beats the one they offered through a middleman.  Sometimes they even have a toll free number for you to find out.  However, for best results, donít call the 800 number for a whole chain of hotels.  Those folks are order-takers, who aren't aware of the specials at the local hotels and don't have the authority to negotiate.  Call the individual hotel you will be staying at and speak to the reservations manager.

 

2.        For free and timely information on cities you plan to visit, write to their Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Information Center and ask for their "official visitor's guide."  You often will get very valuable information, sometimes even discount coupons.  Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas and Texas state have very elaborate guides.  You can get the address from the internet, some travel books and phone books in your public library.

 

3.        Spring and fall are the bargain seasons for most warm climate vacation areas.  The reason: People in cold climate areas like to vacation in warm-climate areas in the winter.  More people travel in the summer because schools are out and many companies encourage travel in the summer.  Therefore the crowds are less and the prices lower in the spring and fall, when the weather is the best.  Las Vegas is an exceptionóit's crowded year-round on the weekends, and the slow time is weekdays.

 

4.        When traveling to a big city, like New York, San Francisco or London, donít bother with renting a car.  The subways are always much faster and less expensive.

 

5.        Travelers usually overestimate the amount of clothes they need to take and underestimate the amount of money.  If your stay is for three days or less, pack a change of clothes for each day.  If your stay is longer, pack no more than four changes of clothes and either wear the same clothes more than one day each or use a laundry.  If you are on a low budget, take some detergent and use a Laundromat, otherwise have the hotel do it. 

 

6.        Regarding money to take; donít take checks, they take too much time to get approved and cashed and too many places wonít take them.  Take a major credit card.  Double check your available balance before you leave.  Visa and Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere world-wide.  In foreign countries you only need enough foreign currency for public transportation and fast food places.  Your hotel, restaurants and shops will take your credit card. 

 

7.        In crowded urban areas, use a neck pouch for valuables.  It stops pick-pockets and is easy for you to get to.

 

8.        When vacationing in Florida pick up Traveler Discount Guide and On the Go Magazine. Both are available free at fast food restaurants and other vendors located near all Interstate exits and are updated quarterly.  Well-know hotel chains offer coupons often representing half price. Budget hotels in the $30 to $40 dollar range are plentiful.  Best bargains, of course, are in the slack seasons.

 

9.        Have your big meal at lunch time.  You will often get the same food for less money and better service, because it's less crowded. 

 

10.     Regarding those famous bargain meals in Las Vegas-- you have to look for them.  Not every eating establishment is a bargain.  If you want to visit the Rio hotel for their famous buffet, donít walk-- you will have to cross over a busy expressway overpass, and a free shuttle from the strip is available.

 

11.     Get one of those suitcases on wheels.  It's much easier to move around the airports.  Also put a large distinctive sticker or patch on it (securely attached), so you can spot your bag easily at the baggage claim area.

 

12.     When vacationing to Disney World, stay in Kissimmee or on International Drive in Orlando.  In these areas, you are not more than a 15-minute drive from the Park and many hotels have free shuttle service.  Nice rooms at under $40 per night can easily be found.  Those glitsy hotels around Bay Lake inside the park start at $165 per night and are almost never discounted. 

 

13.     When it comes to timeshares, you might want to avail yourself of some of the free bonuses they offer to bribe you into listening to their spiel, but donít even consider for moment buying one.  Timeshare companies have been known to offer free stays at their place with meals included, merchandise and even cash to pull you in.  If their offer is worth $50, for instance, and costs you an hour of your time- thatís a pretty good trade-off.  Iím assuming that if you made much more than $50 per hour, you wouldnít be reading this.  However, people who actually buy timeshares are like people who buy lottery tickets, they apparently donít understand basic math.  If you pay $10,000 for a one-week timeshare (typical cost in Orlando), the seller is making $10,000 X 52 (=$520,000) for the sale of that unit.  In case you are not familiar with Florida real estate values; thatís about 10 times the value of a luxury suite-sized unit.  Thatís how they can afford to give away lavish gifts to hundreds of prospects who donít buy.  Analyzed another way, if you were one of those rare persons who actually kept your timeshare for as long as 20 years, then the $10,000 would allocate to $500 for your one-week per year use.  But you also have got to pay maintenance fees- a conservative estimate would be $200 per year.  That would make the daily cost for your week $100.  At that price you could rent a luxury suite in Orlando, with money left over for meals.  If you kept the unit less than 20 years (a far more likely scenario), your daily cost would go up drastically.  If you think the salvage value of the unit would be enough to be worthy of entering into this calculation, check the newspaper classifieds of resort areas, and call the sellers to see if they have had any nibbles.  To minimize the amount of time you have to spend for your free bonus, donít try to convince the salesperson that heís offering a bad deal.  Heís on a straight commission and has a pat answer to anything you could say.  Just politely make it very clear that under no circumstances are you the least bit interested, you only came for your bonus.  It's illegal for them to refuse to give it to you, and he will want to move on to a better prospect once he is convinced that you are not a prospect.

 

Brand names

 

You can save money and aggravation by sticking with certain brand names for certain products.  These companies consistently produce high quality products at a reasonable price.  They always rate high with independent rating agencies, like Consumer's Union.   Certainly, other brand names are sometimes good, but stick with these names and you will save money and have fewer problems in the long run.

 

Item

Company

Appliances- Refrigerators, Stoves, Washers, Dryers

General Electric

Camcorders

Sony, Panasonic or Canon

Cars

Honda or Toyota

Ceiling Fans

Hunter or Hampton Bay

Computers

Gateway or Dell

Computer Printer

Hewlett Packard (preferably a laserjet or multi-function machine)

Software

Microsoft

 

Sometimes it doesn't pay to buy brand names.  For example, in the case of drugs, the same scientific name and quantity means the products are identical.  Goods of this type are called homogeneous and you should always get the generic brand.  Some cases are not as clear-cut as this, but if you can determine that two or more products are identical, then the only prudent buy is the one that costs the least.

 

Major purchases.

 

When you buy a home or a car, spend at least 4 hours in the library and/or on the internet researching the subject to gain knowledge of the product so that you will know a good value when you see one.  Also check out at least a dozen items to get a feel for what's a good value.  Consumers Reports, published by Consumers Union, is always a good source of information.

 

Watch out for scams.

 

Be very careful about buying anything from a company or person you have never heard of.  Always remember that there are plenty of evil people in the world who would feel no remorse about ripping you off.  The following are red flags that you may be headed for a rip off with no recourse:

         A small organization that is incorporated.

         The only address provided is a post office box.

         The person or company has no listing in the phone book.

         The person or company has no street address listed in the phone book.

 

People who employ the above tactics are usually trying to hide something (like their lack of honesty).  Don't think the legal system will help much.  At best, people who are ripped off usually wind up with an uncollectible judgment.  If you can't find the person or company that cheated you- you won't even get that.

 

People matters 

Getting along with people

 

         Use an appointment calendar or day planner.  Don't make an appointment, unless it relates to (furthers) your goals.  Use the appointment calendar to ensure that you don't forget your appointments.  Be known as a person who is dependable.  Disassociate from people who aren't dependable.  They tend to waste your time.

         Be positive.

         Remember people's names.

         Remember people's birthdays.

         Ask for and keep business cards and always have yours with you.

         Call your mother.

         Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

         Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

         Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

         Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

         Spend some time alone.

         A better alternative than screening calls: Instead just be assertive (polite, but brief).  You won't believe how effective this is until you try it.  It will save you time in the long run, because unanswered calls usually result in messages left or call-backs, which take additional time to deal with.  Learn to politely say something like: "This home does not accept un-solicited telemarketing calls, please regard this as your notice to remove our number from your list," or "I have decided that I would rather not receive calls from you (or your firm).  In the future, would you please respect my wishes and not call again?"  Just hang up after you have made your statement.  For maximum effectiveness: speak clearly (you want to be clear), but DO NOT show emotion or anger.  Prank callers will call again if they perceive they are upsetting you.  An assertive person actually is not upset, and that can be detected in your voice.  You will be surprised at how effective this technique is.  In those rare instances where this technique doesn't work, you have grounds for legal action for harassment and can get a restraining order, since you have legally "put them on notice."

         How to save $$$ every month: Cancel your pager, your separate internet line and call waiting.  Instead,  order call-forwarding for busy lines and forward your main house line to your cell phone. Try it!  You'll be surprised at how well this works!  Advantages: You won't miss your calls while you are on the internet, because you can pick them up on your cell phone.  You won't have your home phone calls interrupted by call-waiting beeps, because instead you will hear your cell-phone ring and can answer those calls as soon as you are free to talk.  If you live with a spouse or roommate, they can pick up calls forwarded to your cell-phone while you are on the main line.  If you want to take calls personally while you are out, just take the home phone off the hook (only recommended for short outings).  Cell phones can be had for under $100 and monthly service of $20 includes 100 free hours and first minute of incoming calls free.  Needless to say, cell phone calls should be kept brief, since you pay by the minute.  Ask your caller to please call you back later at your home or office.

 

Get and stay married.

According to a study published by the Center for the Study of American Business (http://casb.wustl.edu) 95% of all millionaires are married, and married people are happier and even live longer on the average than unmarried people. 

 

The best way to go through life is happily married, the worst way to go through life is unhappily married.  If you want to see how unhappy a marriage can make you, check out the movie, "War of the Roses."   While itís a comedy, plenty of marriages are that unhappy.  The problem is all too many people marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons.  Thatís why the divorce rate in the USA is about 50%. 

 

         When you say, "I love you", mean it.

         When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.

         Believe in love at first sight.  But remember that there is no such thing as being too cautious.

         Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

         Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

         Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

         Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

         Don't let a bad experience with one person (or even a string of bad experiences) turn you off to all members of the opposite sex.  Not all men or women are bad.  In fact, no two people are just alike.

 

Based on my experience, here is how I would recommend an unmarried person tackle the task of finding the right person.  First, accept the following facts of life:

         a lot of people are too selfish and self-centered, dishonest or undependable to make a good partner for anyone.  Weed them out.

         everyone has faults and no one is going to have everything you would like for a partner to have.

 

Then follow these steps:

         Make sure that you are "as good as you can be" so that potential partners will be interested in you.  You can fix certain things about your appearance, such as losing weight if you are overweight, having crooked teeth straightened, yellow teeth whitened, switch to contacts or have laser surgery if you wear glasses, etc.  Obviously, spruce yourself up before you go out. 

         I believe that people are stuck with the personality they have, to a certain extent.  However, if you have difficulty getting along with people, read How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.  Itís a classic.  It contains classic advice; like to smile, be a good listener, remember people's names, show an interest in other people, make people feel important, show sincere appreciation, don't criticize, condemn or complain, and talk about what interests the other person.   If you have a serious problem in this area, take the Dale Carnegie course. It's expensive but very good.  A less expensive alternative would be to join the Toastmasters.  Check out www.toastmasters.org for details.

         A lot of people have the problem of not being sufficiently assertive.  If you freeze up when you go to a party and never meet anyone newóthis is you!  Assertiveness is the happy medium between being too aggressive, self-centered and demanding on the one extreme and being too timid and shy and not standing up for your rights on the other extreme.  This problem will greatly hamper your ability to meet a sufficient number of people to correctly implement the advice I am outlining.  Do yourself a favoróread a book on assertiveness and take an assertiveness training course thorough the Community School system.  www.careertrack.com has a one-day seminar on it.  Work on this problem until you overcome it!

         Be very persistent and take advantage of every possible opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex.  The more people you make contact with the greater the chance you will find the person you are seeking.  People who have ever worked in sales understand this concept, although I have seen sales people who strangely didn't apply it to dating.  To implement this strategy find out what singles functions are happening.  Check out the regular and entertainment newspapers for scheduled singles events.  When you have met other singles, ask what other singles functions are available.  Singles groups tend to come and go, but in any city of at least 500,000 population there will usually be a monthly singles dance going on, and some kind of club where the singles get together for dinners, movies, house parties, field trips and the like.  In Jacksonville, Florida, for example, the Folio (entertainment) Magazine sponsors a monthly mixer, there is a monthly Saturday night dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall, and there is a group called the Trailblazers that has been around for a long time and has over a dozen events every month.  If there aren't groups like that where you live, either start such a group or move to a bigger city.  Place a singles ad.  For best results describe who you are, not who you are seeking, choose phrases that describe your qualities and avoid vague words, and clichťs.  Above all, be honest.  Don't expect great results, but it does work for some people.  To ignore it is to not try everything.  There are some groups that are not exclusively for singles, but still have a lot of singles in attendance.  The Chamber of Commerce "After Hours" function is an example in Jacksonville.  Make sure you know where the singles go to meet each other and be there!  Bars are not the best option.  They tend to attract undependable types (Of course, there are exceptions to that rule).

         When you go to a singles function, don't just stand there.  Lots of folks do, then wonder why they never meet anyone.  Even if you are a woman, you need to be a little bit assertive.  Start a conversation, even if you have to use a corny line like "Do you come here often?"  Wear a nametag if other people are doing so.  Its always more comfortable to talk to people you already know, but don't stay in your comfortable rut--push yourself!  You need to get over your fears and develop self-confidence.  Consider that a skill to be developed. 

         The first step when making a new contact is to strike up a conversation and try to find an area of mutual interest.  Ask the person where they work, what they do, where they live, where they went to school, etc.  If a lack of mutual attraction is apparent, politely drop it and move on.  Don't take it personally- that person is not for you and it just wasn't meant to be.  If there is a mutual attraction, exchange business cards.  Have yours made up at a print shop (or use a software program, such as Softkey by DogByte) if your company doesn't furnish you with one.  If the other person doesn't have one, get their name and number.  You wouldn't have walked into a mixer without your pen and paper, right?  But donít ask for the number unless it is a person you would date.  If you get a number, always call within three days and re-establish a mutual interest by talking on the phone for at least 15 minutes before making a date.  Some people may not be as decisive as you and may have expressed an interest just to be polite.  Not smart, but true.  Never make a date unless you are SURE you want to see the person.  Consider your time valuable (it is) and find out about the things that are important to you early in the relationship.  By the second date you should know the answers to the following:

         Is the person basically honest and dependable?

         Do you share common values?

         Do you enjoy doing at least some of the same things?

         (If the answer to any of the above is "no" (or if the answer to the question below is "yes"- drop the person and move on).

         Is the person a user? (a woman who just wants a free night out, or a man who just wants you-know-what).

 

RememberóPersistence pays!

 

Health Matters

 

There are tons of books and articles on health.  Most of the really good advice boils down to just this:

 

         Drink lots of water.  Eight glasses a day is a good target.

         Eat fruits and vegetables.

         Avoid meats, sweets, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, mayonnaise and anything fried or containing sugar.

         Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes each day.

         The Dr. Atkins diet (i.e., no carbohydrates) will work like a charm if you follow it religiously.  You get to eat as much meat as you like, but can not eat any starches or fruits.  Get the book for details.

         Have crooked teeth straightened.

         Have dull colored teeth whitened.

         Floss your teeth.

         Your mind needs exercise as much as your body does.  Don't let it waste away.

         LESS THAN PERFECT VISION?óLaser eye surgery is the way to go (if you know of anyone who has less than perfect, unaided vision).  I've had the procedure done.  It is incredibly brief and completely painless.  You will kiss your glasses and contacts goodbye forever for about $3,200 (for both eyes).  If you can come to Florida, I recommend and used Dr. Jerry Maida.  Check it out at www.maidalaser.com, 904-296-3456.  Elsewhere, check your yellow pages under optometry or your web browser, using the word "lasik."

 

Miscellaneous Matters/Goal setting:

 

         Set specific written goals. Thatís another key sentence to memorize.

         Specific means set a target date for completion and a target amount if it involves money.  When it comes to goals remember this catch phrase: "If it's not in writing, it's not worth the paper it's not printed on."

         There was once a study done of Harvard Graduates.  The graduates were asked if they had (a) specific written goals, (b) goals that were either specific or written, but not both or (c) no goals at all.  Years later a follow up study was done and it was found that the 5% of the graduates that had specific and written goals had accumulated more total wealth than the rest of the class all combined.

         Prioritize your goals.  List them in the order of importance.

         Review your goals daily. Change them, if needed.

         Develop a daily prioritized "to do" list, based on your goals.

         Ask yourself at frequent intervals, "Is this the best possible use of my time right now?"

         Don't be afraid to try and fail.  The road to success is paved with many failures.

         Take time in the short run to develop more efficient work methods, if it will save time in the long run.  Good example: learn all the features of the computer software you use.

         Know how to use Microsoft Office, the internet and the world wide web.

         Appreciate art, music and the performing arts.  People in these fields tend to be really talented.

         Read at least one hour per day.  Read non-fiction.

         Get a library card.  Most libraries have audio and video recordings, current magazines and free internet access, in addition to books.  About the only things a library ever charges for is making copies, and overdue books.

         Give clothes you never wear to a charity.

         Give funds to a charity whose goal is to reduce pain and suffering (such as the cancer society).

         Be decisive.  Make up your mind very carefully, then stick with it.

         Talk slowly but think quickly.

         Don't speed or tailgate.  You save very little time and greatly increase the risk of a collision.

         Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.

         Trust in God but lock your car.

         Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.  Consider writing a book.

         Pray. There's immeasurable power in it.

         Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

         Don't be in a rut.  Think of new things to do and new ways to do things.

         Don't believe all you hear or  spend all you have.

         When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

         Own a good quality home computer and know how to use it.

 

Great reason to own a computer

 

One of the best uses for a personal computer is to organize your thoughts on various topics.  You do this by setting up topics of interest, entering data into those files, then later you can review the data you entered.  A word-processing file, such as Microsoft Word is used.  Certain topics are of nearly universal interest. My suggestions are below.

 

Name of file

Purpose and use

Names   

Name, address, phone and E-mail address of everybody you know or ever have known.

Goals     

Every book on goal setting emphasizes that your goals should be in writing.  Categorize and prioritize it, visit and revise it often!

Jokes and riddles

My file is extensive, even though I am very selective.  Donít go through life without a sense of humor.  That would be boring.

Web-sites               

Your favorites.  Your web-browser lets you enter this into a file called ďbookmarks" or "favorites.Ē

Events

Events you plan to attend.

Movies 

To list the movies you have seen, plan to see, and your favorites.

Magazines               

To list the magazines you plan to read each month and your favorites.

Books    

To list the books you have read, plan to read, and your favorites.

Restaurants

Your favorites and ones you plan to visit.

Vocabulary

List and define new words you encounter.

 

Once you get into the habit of doing this, it is easy to share your favorite jokes, web-sites, etc. with other people, and in the process you will discover new ones that you will want to add to your personal list.

 

Need to learn how to use your computer?  Get a 60-minute video or CD-ROM on Windows, the Internet, Excel, Word, Access, PowerPoint, Works or Quicken from Video Professor.  You couldn't have missed their advertising, unless you have been living in a closet for the past 5 years.  They always have the word "Free" in big letters and their shipping charge of $4.95 in small type.  But, it's well worth the $4.95!  Contact info: 1-800-554-2050, ext 581.

 

 

Affirmations and Aphorisms

 

An affirmation is something that you declare to yourself to be true to motivate you in the right direction.  An aphorism is a brief statement of a truism.  Repeat to yourself over and over the affirmations and aphorisms listed below.  They will filter into your sub-conscious mind.  Remember that your actual physical and mental limitations are not nearly as great as you imagine them to be.  If you think you can do something then it becomes more likely that you can.  If you think you can't do something, then it, too, will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

 

Accept the things you cannot change.

Change the things you can.

Know the difference.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Plan your work and work your plan.

The road to success is paved with many failures.

 

A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.

 

If you do what you have always done,

you will get what you have always gotten.

 

SUCCESS isn't how far you got,

but the distance you traveled from where you started.

 

Big opportunities come to those

who make the most of small opportunities.

 

The man who makes the most of every minute

becomes the man of the hour.

 

SUCCESS is when opportunity meets preparation.

 

SUCCESS is getting what you want.  HAPPINESS is wanting what you get.

 

The problem with not having goals is

that you may spend your entire life

running up and down the field and never score.

 

I know you believe you understand what you think I said,

but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is

not what I meant.

 

          A MEMO ON OFFICE EFFICIENCY

 

The objective of all dedicated employees should be

to thoroughly analyze all situations,

to anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence,

to have answers for all problems,

and to move swiftly to solve any problem when called upon.

However, when you are up to your waist in alligators,

it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial

objective was to drain the swamp.

 

Losers ask:

How little can I do to just get by?

Winners ask:

How much can I do to make darn sure I succeed?

 

When your income is exceeded by your outgo, your upkeep will be your downfall.

 

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

 

You'd scarce expect one of my age

To speak in public on the stage;

And if I chance to fall below

Demosthenes or Cicero,

Don't view me with a critic's eye,

But pass my imperfections by.

Large streams from little fountains flow,

Tall oaks from little acorns grow.

 

    David Everett (1769-1813)              

 

Poverty is when large efforts produce small results.

Wealth is when small efforts produce large results.

 

Plans get you into things, But you have got to WORK your way out.

 

Be the Best of Whatever you are:

 

If you can't be a pine on the top of the  hill,

Be a scrub in the valley- but be

The best little scrub by the side of the rill,

Be a bush, if you can't be a tree.

 

If you can't be a bush, be a bit of the grass,

And some highway happier make,

If you can't be a whale, then just be a bass,

But be the liveliest bass in the lake!

 

If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail,

If you can't be the sun, be a star;

It isn't by the size that you win or you fail-

Be the best of whatever you are! 

 

You see things as they are and ask "Why?"

I dream of things that never were- and ask, "Why not?"

                                  George Bernard Shaw

 

Every man I meet is my superior in some way.

In that, I learn of him.          Emerson

 

Competence, like beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.

                         Dr. Laurence J. Peter

 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,

The courage to change the things that I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.

                                  Reinhold Neibuhr     

 

A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EVERYDAY LIVING

 

Items Needed:

 

         Toothpick

         Rubber Band

         Band Aid

         Pencil

         Eraser

         Chewing Gum

         Mint

         Candy Kiss

         Mirror

 

Why???

 

 1) TOOTHPICK - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.

 2) RUBBER BAND - to remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out.

 3) BAND AID - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.

 4) PENCIL - to remind you to list your blessings everyday.

 5) ERASER - To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and its OK.

 6) CHEWING GUM - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything.

 7) MINT - to remind you that you are worth a mint.

 8) CANDY KISS - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday.

 9) MIRROR - to remind you to relax daily and reflect on all the positive things in your life. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

 

LIVING AND GIVING

 

The more you give, the more you get --

The more you laugh, the less you fret --

The more you do UNSELFISHLY,

The more you live ABUNDANTLY.

 

The more of everything you share,

The more you'll always have to spare --

The more you love, the more you'll find

That life is good and friends are kind . . .

 

For only WHAT WE GIVE AWAY,

ENRICHES US FROM DAY TO DAY

 

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent    

 

1) THE GIFT OF LISTENING...  But you must REALLY listen.  No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response.  Just listening. 

 

2) THE GIFT OF AFFECTION... Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends. 

 

3) THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER...  Clip cartoons.  Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you." 

 

4) THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE...  It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life. 

 

5) THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT...  A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job" or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day. 

 

6) THE GIFT OF A FAVOR... Every day, go out of your way to do something kind. 

 

7) THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE...  There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others. 

 

8) THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION... The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You. 

 

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed they make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care. Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND. 

 

Books you should read:

 

Note that all these books are non-fiction.  You do increase your language skills by reading fiction books.  If you really enjoy it (or if you are in school and your teacher requires it) then read fiction.  I get all the fiction I need (and can stand) through movies.  I believe there is a far greater value to non-fiction.  You still get the language skills from reading, but now you also get truth-- the real world-- instead of something made up.  If you were to read 50 novels, you would then know 50 story plots- so what?  If you read 50 top quality non-fiction books, you would then know quite a bit more about the real world.

 

Many of these books can be found in a library.  For those that can't- check booksamillion.com.  For $5 you can get a discount card good for 10% off the lowest discounted price of any items on their website or in their stores.  Thatís a pretty good deal.

 

Business and Money Matters

The World's greatest books for wealth accumulation are:

         *The Richest Man In Babylon, George Clayson

         *Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

*Investing For Dummies, 4th Edition by Eric Tyson

 

Pure Science and Knowledge of Our World

         *Cosmos, Carl Sagan.  I highly recommend the color, illustrated version of the book and the 13 part video series.

         *The DK Science Encyclopedia (it's one volume)

         Astronomy, Jay Paschoff

         Exploring the Universe, Abel, Morrison, Wolff

         The Human Body, Charles Clayman, MD

         *Wonders Of the World, Rand McNally

         *The DK Geography of the World, Susan Peach

         How Computers Work, White

         A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

         The Natural History of the World, Colin Ronan

 

Biography Collections (Brief biographies of great people)

         *The 100, Michael H. Hart

         Great People Of the 20th Century, Time

         People, 25 Amazing Years

         People, The Most Intriguing People of the Century.

 

Social Sciences and Effective Living

         *How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie.

         *Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Dr. John Grey, "A relationship classic"

         *Asserting Yourself, Bower & Bower

         *Lifetime Conversation Guide, James Van Fleet

         Complete Family Guide to Healthy Living, Dr. Stephen Carrol

         Dr. Koopís Self-Care Advisor

         Stop Forgetting, Bruno Furst

 

Religion and The Arts

         *The Bible (By far the best selling, most widely owned and most influential book in the world)

         *Bible Facts, Jenny Roberts

         *The DK Family Bible

         The ABCs of the Bible, Readerís Digest

         The Worldís Greatest Religions, Editorial Staff of Life

         The Story of Painting, Sister Windy Beckett  (Also consider the video set- expensive, but very good).

         Structures, Nigel Hawkes

         Great Architecture of the World, John Norwich

 

*Highly recommended.

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