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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The Past: A Great Place to Visit But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There


I am a firm believer in our ability to change our circumstances in life. Prayer, goal setting, dream building, meditation, focused effort; These are all tools that allow us to determine through our own volition how we live our lives. But, no amount of prayer, goal setting, dream building, meditation or focused effort will allow you to change your past.

We cannot determine our past. It’s too late. It’s happened. But we can determine our future. Starting right this moment, you can make a decision that will affect your future. But trying to live in the past will always hurt you.

Maybe your past was awesome. Glory day after glory day. Each day of your present that you spend reminiscing, doesn’t add any additional glory to those days. If you have one entire year of awesomeness, but ten years later, the only thing you have to talk about is that past awesome year… Well, suddenly you’ll realize that the past wasn’t so awesome now that it’s been spread out over eleven years (I’m pretty sure it can be explained by the physics property of diffusion).

Or perhaps your past was terrible. Constantly dwelling on it out of a sense of guilt will sabotage your present happiness and keep you from recovering from past tragedies.

While you are living your today, which direction are your focusing on? Each day, our thoughts and works are either being invested in our future, or wasted on our past. Each day, concentrate on adding to your future value and worth; Because you cannot add to your past value and worth.

Now, I am not advocating memory wipes for everyone. The past does serve a purpose. Your past experiences teach you. It will give you one of two lessons: Do something different next time. Or do more of the same.

Live your today,
using your past as a guide,
to benefit your future.