We live in a culture that tells you what you want to hear. If I don’t like TV show I’m watching, I flip the channel. If I don’t like what I’m hearing, I tune it out.
If we’re not careful we fall into the trap of transforming truth into a preference. (more…)
This country is a mess and people with degrees from the finest Ivy League universities got us here.
- How could people who are so intelligent be completely incompetent and duplicitous?
- How could a nation with so many vast resources manage to squander its way into massive debt and crisis?
It boils down to the worldview and philosophical framework of the individual. Like a computer with a corrupted operating system, a flawed worldview and philosophical framework will cause systemic problems, errors and failures in how an individual thinks, behaves and engages reality. Therefore, we observe people in positions of power with degrees from places like Harvard and Yale making completely illogical, overtly selfish and stupid decisions. Look around and see the unintended consequences.
When your worldview and philosophical framework are flawed, all the education or money in the world is not going to fulfill you or save you. Your operating system is corrupted.
People want to feel secure, loved and relevant. No amount of education or money will accomplish security or significance.
I’ve seen many attempt to fulfill their needs and create their identity through materialism. They end up feeling empty because their pursuit of ‘stuff’ has been hitched to the shooting star of ‘happiness’. They become slaves to pleasure by pursuing the next material high, the next car, the next spouse, the next vacation, the next house, etc. It is an endless cycle of embracing the next new thing.
Eventually, the poor soul ends up choking himself by his own embrace because every new thing he embraces to achieve happiness eventually loses it’s newness, causing the cycle to start over. Sometimes we label these people as ‘greedy’. However, if we’re being honest, we have to admit that we’re all greedy to some extent. Instead of ‘greedy’, I see them in a self-induced bondage to materialism.
It’s easy to be greedy, observe an infant. The challenge is becoming sacrificially generous and it goes against human nature.
I’ve also seen many people attempt to fill their heads with knowledge and create their identity through academia. Since their operating system is corrupted, they can’t properly engage reality or they live in ideological un-reality that does not correspond to reality. That is like trying to fight the law of gravity. “You can’t break the law of gravity. You can only break yourself and prove the law of gravity (R. Zacharias – paraphrased)”. No amount of knowledge is going to make untruth, true. But, you’d be surprised by the amount of influential people believe just that.
Humans are Relational:
Neither material nor knowledge make good companions. Meaning, you can’t have have a relationship with them. Humans have a need for relationship and transcendent relevance (significance). Therefore, we must engage in how we relate to the transcendent and other humans.
Reality and Relationship:
The answers to our origin, meaning, morality and destiny make up your worldview. If what someone believes does not correspond to reality in any those four categories, then their worldview is flawed.
Your worldview / philosophy are the core beliefs that drive your thinking and behavior. If your philosophy is flawed, your understanding of your relationship to reality and the world around you is going to be problematic.
Obviously, we’ve just scratched the surface here. We must be vigilant in testing what we think, what we believe and what we experience against reality.
Does what you see and experience in reality correspond with what you believe to be true about the world? Then, it should come to you as no surprise that this country is a mess and the reason ‘why’ it is a mess rests on the flawed worldview and philosophy of those in power.
Until we put our own worldview and philosophy on trial and test it for truth, we’ll continue to live in the mess.
Are you an ‘all or nothing’ type? I am. My wife reminds me of this frequently. If I’m going to involve myself in a project, I’m 100% all in or I’m not going to participate. It’s the way I was created. I have found productive ways to leverage my addictive personality. Take triathlons for instance. I’m not content just dabbling in the sport, I must submerge myself in it totally.
As of late, I’m trying to learn to be content through simpler living in order to gain some margin in my life.
Five years ago, I looked around and we owned a bunch of ‘stuff’ and all that stuff cost money. Then I came to the realization that we did not own all this stuff, the stuff owned us. We were working to purchase and maintain expensive stuff. The amount of resources we were dumping into stuff was staggering. (more…)
I’m a NERD. I love solving problems. My career is centered on solving money problems. What does your money tell me about you?
Show me the money!
Do you REALLY want solutions? The answer is usually ‘No’! What you really want is someone to remove the pain or salve your conscious. You don’t want a solution unless it is on your terms.
How do I know this? Well, I’m not a psychologist. However, I have folks come to me needing advice and solutions to financial problems. Here is what I ask;
- What is the problem?
- Do you want a solution?
- Are you willing to be a little uncomfortable?
- Show me the money! (Share your bank and credit card statements)
Money doesn’t lie
While you are telling me all about your problem and how badly you want help finding a solution, I’m looking at your financial statements. Why? How you spend and manage your money tells me more about you that you can. As is usually the case, you can tell me one story about you and your money tells me the truth. (more…)
Marines are known for being tough and practical. One does not become Lieutenant Colonel and pilot in the Marines without knowing a thing or two.
Last year I met such a Marine at a charity event. During our short conversation, he inquired about my work. I told him about my passion for impacting lives in various ways through my work as a Financial Advisor. Little did I know that I was about to be equipped with a valuable tool. When I have the opportunity to learn a practical life skill from someone with a great deal of experience, I jump at it. Then, I like to pass along the information.
A good teacher must be teachable. I emailed him and below is the content of his reply.
(My additions/edited portions of What If File Essentials are in bold italics)
The “What If” File by LtCol. Mitch Bell:
This isn’t just for the Marine or Soldier going over to the War, it’s for everyone, guy or gal. We all believe that we’ll live forever! I mean it. When you are young, you are bullet proof and as you get older, you just never expect that you will die. Well, I am speaking as a guy who lost his sister while in college, his college roommate fifteen months later, and about a dozen guys in plane crashes over my adult life. With this in mind, I came up with a “What if” file.
The “What if” file is a complete folder for my next of kin on what to do if I get whacked by a drunk driver in the morning on the way to work. This is to ensure that my wife and parents would not have to search through old papers, files, boxes in the closet etc to track down my investments, mortgages, car info, work info, passwords etc. Now mind you, the “what if” file is a VERY important document, and should be placed in your fire proof home safety deposit box or gun safe, or with your folks and/or your wife in a safe, secure place. It would be bad news falling into the wrong hands with all that info in one place.
Here is what I did when I married my beautiful wife. I wrote a letter to her, very personal and with the intent that it would my last words to her. I also told her what needed to be done and in what order.
‘What If’ File Essentials:
Copies of all bank statements
- Copies of your investment statements (IRA, 401k, retirement accounts, etc)
- Account numbers (these are required to cancel credit cards and find out what bills have to be paid)
Copies of all life insurance policies (beneficiary information)
- All online passwords (Banks and Financial Institutions)
POC’s (point of contact) include correct phone numbers
POC within your state to retrieve death certificate (In order to claim insurance death benefit and notify Social Security)
- POC (supervisor/partners) at work to notify so they don’t call due to your absence.
- Passwords for email accounts & social media (Facebook), so that your family can send out an message via your address notifying all your contacts about your death or serious injury. Otherwise your family will have to provide your death certificate to AOL, Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc to access your accounts.
- An envelope with $1,000 in cash to cover immediate and unforeseen needs
- Instructions for burial
Copy of your current (valid) Will (Trust Documents)
Copies of your Living Will/Advance Directive/and Power of Attorney (if needed)
- List of items of value in your estate (you don’t want them sold for pennies on a dollar at an estate sale)
- List 3 primary contacts (friends and/or family) who can notify others of the situation at the behest of your spouse.
This is just a start, a basic road map for you. There are many more things you can add to it. I’m death on Marines who don’t have this set up, and so is my Dad who has an extensive “what if” file. I’ve seen too many cases where a Marine has died, and he didn’t switch over his life insurance from his EX-wife who he hates, and she now has won the lotto with a tax-free check while his present wife gets nothing. That is pure laziness and I despise it.
Just remember that dying is the easy part of life; it’s the loved ones you leave behind that suffer. If you have your life tied together in a “What If” folder, when that unexpected time comes, it will make life so much easier for the ones left behind. If you care about your spouse/kids and folks, take the time today to start putting one of these together, and store it in your home fireproof safety deposit box(but watch out if you use a banks they will close those up tight till the probate of the will if you don’t clean it out fast).
I hope this post helps. Please copy it, and send it to your friends and family. I would be willing to bet you a beer that if polled, only about one out of ten will have anything remotely set up like a “What If” file.
-Semper Fi, Mitch
Do you have a ‘What if’ file? Would you add anything to this list?
Special Thanks to LtCol Mitch Bell for permission to share this material on my blog.