15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.

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State of the Vision

ImageIt’s the beginning of the year-well it’s still January at least-so I wanted to come up with a post to address the State of the Vision. Back in 2013 I began the year by rereading Visioneering by Andy Stanley, and coming up with a personal vision and mission statement for my life.

To positively impact one million people financially, relationally, or spiritually.

So, how am I doing?
I am still on course and have no desire to quit or amend my vision.
(I hope no one was expecting me to say mission accomplished after a year).

I spent a bit of time reflecting on 2013, trying to figure out how to progress into 2014. Here’s a brief strategic outline for the rest of this year:

Writing. Writing is the best way I know of to reach large numbers of people at a time. I hope that I can add value to people’s lives in some way through either my books or my blog. When I first launched this blog I said that I wanted to write at least three more books. So far I’ve written one but now have plans to write six more. I will also continue to blog once a week to have an avenue to reach readers more often than the once a year that I publish a book.

Entrepreneurship. I’ll be focusing a lot more this year on my previously neglected work as a small business consultant. Firstly because I could use the income. Secondly, because this is a venue where I can work with people on a face to face basis, to truly contact and connect with them and help them to achieve their financial goals. Expect some blog posts about the economy, about entrepreneurship, and about developing exit strategies for replacing employed income with self-employed income.

Non-Profiteering. This is new for me. I’m working with a couple of friends of mine to launch a non-profit organization here in Hawaii with the hopes of it spreading virally to the entire world. I’ll post additional details as they become available but it is an exciting idea with the potential to fulfill my vision on its own.

Acting? I’ll also be spending some extra time acting this year. In addition to my glorious contributions as a background extra on Hawaii 5-0, and being part of the cast for a local comedy TV show, my old theater producer from my Theatricus days is launching an all-new, all-audio storytelling theater. I don’t think acting necessarily has anything to do with advancing my vision, but it’s fun. Well that and it’s another channel to build a larger platform to reach more people. The more people I reach, the greater the opportunity to influence them positively.

Devotion. Fun fact: if you read the bible for 15 minutes every day you can complete it in a year (give or take a few minutes). I’ve actually done this twice. In 2011 and 2012. Kind of slacked off in 2013. Re-engaging for 2014. I want to make sure that I am keeping on a true north heading. Every day I’ll read to increase my belief and faith, to stay humble and grateful, to let God empower my words and actions.

Seeking. I’m also looking for a wife if anyone has a single friend…

So, to sum up the plates I’ll be spinning this year:

  • Self-employed business consultant
  • Writing books at a leisurely pace of one a year
  • Blogging once a week
  • Acting
  • Voice acting
  • Oh, did I mention I also have a full time job in addition to all this?

I wanted to launch a webcomic, too, but that’s not high on my priority list right now. I didn’t realize it until I itemized my 2014 schedule but… I might be busy this year. This year as in right now. It doesn’t seem like I’m overwhelmed with work though, despite averaging five hours of sleep a night. Here’s why: (and I think I’ve said this before) when you are passionate about your work you may get tired but you will never grow weary.

Tune in next year for the next State of the Vision Address.


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A Good Happy New Year Question


Many people put off their happiness until some future date or event or possession. I will be happy when I get married, when I get that promotion, when I finish this extra degree. I am all for setting future goals; for striving to achieve. But there is no reason that you can’t start on that happiness business today.

Your happiness is not dependent on circumstance, only your perception of those circumstances. Some other perfectly normal human being in your exact circumstances will be unhappy while you are deliriously happy. So since the determining factor isn’t the marriage, the promotion, or the doctorate; but the human brain as it thinks about those things… why not choose happy?

Contention: Your brain determines what will make you happy.
Conclusion: Tell your brain to be happy in your current circumstances.

But, I would like to throw in a few cautionary notes regarding this notion of being happy right now.

Choosing to be blissfully happy does not mean living only for today. You still should be mindful of your future. If you are living only to fulfill your immediate gratification today, your future self well be ticked off.

Choosing happiness also does not mean living selfishly. Making decisions that you feel are fulfilling your own happiness at the expense of other people is no way to live.

Often people confuse happiness with pleasure. Pleasure is short term. Happiness is long term. Short term pleasure often hinders your ability to live a happy life. Living just to fulfill your immediate appetite sabotages your future wellness.

I’m not saying that you are not allowed to have any fun in the pursuit of happiness either. You should have fun and pleasure and happiness throughout all your life. So since I seem to be saying a lot of contradictory things so far in this blog, is there some kind of rule or guideline you can use when trying to decide what I should do with my life today?

A good rule I use is this:
Will this make a difference in my life five years from now?

I don’t often get upset about things. If someone wrongs me, I ask myself if this will make a difference five years from now. The answer almost invariably is “no” so I just get on with my life and try not to think about it.

I try to live a life where I am perpetually in a state of learning and growing as a person. I enjoy reading personal development books, but sometimes I don’t feel like it. But I will still crack open a book and read a bit each day because what you feed your brain can definitely impact the person you are five years from now.

I should probably make a greater effort this year to apply this rule to my diet and exercise habits more often.

So to quickly summarize: Enjoy the moment. Have joy in your struggles of the day. But don’t only live for today. And don’t only live for yourself. Because you’ll tick off your family, your future self, and maybe your future family’s future.

Have a few good moments every day and you will have an amazing life.

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An Urgent Matter

3d rendering of a rubber stamp with URGENT in red inkWhen something comes into your life that is marked “urgent,” we usually have a sense of trepidation about it. This is because we rarely ever categorize something as urgent in our own lives. Urgency is usually thrust upon us by outside forces.

When your boss needs something done within a certain time frame it becomes urgent the closer you get to deadline. The more we procrastinate, the more urgent things seem to get thrown into our path.

Sometimes our lives can feel like a perpetual cycle of fulfilling one urgent task after another. If you want to accomplish anything worthwhile, you should get your own “urgent” stamp.

Add a sense of urgency to your own life events, your own tasks, your own agenda (your own blog). Put an urgency on those little tasks that won’t make or break your life today, but will contribute to your long-term growth.

And really treat them like they are urgent.

It’s easy to skip a day jogging, because not jogging for one day will not make you fat. But missing one day will rob you of your momentum. Missing one day can keep you from establishing a firm habit. Most importantly, missing one day today makes it easier to skip another day the next time. The same goes for missing a day writing. Missing a day of telling your wife you love her. Missing a day of whatever your new years resolution was.

Can you honestly say that you treat your own life with at least as much urgency as you do your boss’s business?


Avoiding Awkward Silence


As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided that I will be more consistent with my blogging schedule. So, unless I am attending a funeral (my own) I will post a new blog every Tuesday this year. Everything was going according to plan until I left my phone at the office an hour ago.

“Why does that matter?” I hear you cry.

Well, as it happens, I scribble notes all the time on my smartphone. I usually keep my next 1 to 3 blog posts there. When I find something profound to quote in a book or audio, I scribble it into my phone-notepad and email it to myself. Or I tweet it. I write my shopping list there. My to do list. My phone has become a very valuable tool in my life. In fact, I find myself having to make arrangements now just to wake up in the morning on time (for those of you like me who do not own an alarm clock, here you go: http://onlineclock.net/ ).

So, since my carefully thought out blog post is locked behind a very advanced security system until tomorrow morning, I was faced with the quandary: “should I postpone posting my blog?”

If I had waited until Wednesday, nobody but me would have known. I never even announced to anyone that I’m updating my blog on Tuesdays. If I waited a day, it certainly wouldn’t make or break my year. In fact, my first post this year was on Wednesday, just because I wanted to post on January 1st. I could have just changed my regular posting day to Wednesday for the entirety of 2014 and I would still have 52 new blog posts by year’s end and no one would be the wiser.

But I decided to just jump in and ramble away. Filling the awkward silence as it were.

Of course, it’s not actually the same as an awkward silence in a conversation or social situation, but I was just writing a comedy bit about awkward silences so it was fresh on my mind and I’m pressed for time.

During an awkward silence, the stand-up comedian or the befuddled date has one of two options:

  • Excuse themselves and run away.
  • Or talk their way through the silence. Usually by explaining the punchline… or what he meant by that comment.

By filling up that awkward silence with an attempt to keep the conversation moving, the speaker will trip, and stumble… most likely sweat at least a little. And even though those rambling attempts at not looking like a dimwit will rarely produce any comedy gold or profound truths, at least the earnestness of the attempt will produce a chuckle or a nod of agreement.

Actually those are probably reversed, the date will chuckle and the audience will nod. Some of you are smiling and nodding right now as you read this.

So, mission accomplished.

There is probably a life lesson to be learned regarding overcoming adversity, dealing with setbacks, persisting in the face of imminent defeat. But come on, I just forgot my phone I didn’t escape from a P.O.W. camp.

For those of you out there with any sort of writing goal for 2014: Write!

And when you can’t write: Ramble!


True Sustainable Energy

ImageFor my first blog of the new year I will muse on the subject of passion.

Sustainable is a big buzz word with government know-it-alls these days.

We need sustainable energy.

We have unsustainable spending.

I hate borrowing buzz words from a group that can’t even “sustain” an approval rating in the double digits (I’m looking at you, Congress 6%). But…

A truly sustainable energy source is human passion. Anything we enjoy doing we do often. We may get tired, but we don’t grow weary. Filing reports at work may give you a headache. That is a daily activity that you can grow weary of quickly. But an avid stamp collector doing similar tedious and intricate work going through stacks of envelopes is excited to do it.

A popular expression, which I just this moment found out is from Neil Young is “Better to burn out than rust out.” The truth is, you will never burn out when you have passion. When someone says that they are burnt out with work, with exercise, with bowling, with life; their problem is not physical, it’s mental.

They’ve lost their passion. They’ve rusted out. And often it’s because they gave it too little effort rather than too much.

Do not fear burning out. This year make a high and holy resolution to live with more passion in your life.