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Live Well

You Deserve A Good Life

Posted by on July 13, 2014
Posted in All Topicshappiness  | Tagged With: , | No Comments yet, please leave one

You deserve to live well. It is important to realize that. If you have children, teach them that they deserve a good life too. That is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

One of the most important life skills is the ability to accept with gratitude the good things that life gives us. The Universe is not rude; if you do not want to accept good things from it, it will give them to someone else.
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“I think that the biggest life lesson I learned as a boy that has helped me and is still with me is that you really have to discipline yourself to do the work. If you want to accomplish something you can’t spend a lot of time hemming and hawing, putting it off, making excuses for yourself, and figuring ways. You have to actually do it. I have to go home every single day, no matter where I am in a world, no matter what I’m doing, and putting 30 to 45 minutes of practice on my clarinet because I want to play. I have to do it. When I want to write, you get up in the morning, go in and close the door and write. You can’t string paper clips, and get your pad ready, and turn your phone off, and get this, get coffee made. You have to do the stuff. Everything in life turns out to be a distraction from the real thing you want to do. There are a million distractions and when I was a kid I was very disciplined. I knew that the other kids weren’t. I was the one able to do the thing, not because I had more talent, maybe less, but because they simply weren’t applying themselves. As a kid I wanted to do magic tricks. I could sit endlessly in front of mirror, practicing, practicing, because I knew if you wanted to do the tricks you’ve got to do the thing. I did that with the clarinet, when I was teaching, I did that with writing. This is the most important thing in my life because I see people striking out all the time. It’s not because they don’t have talent, or because they don’t want to be, but because they don’t put the work in to do it. They don’t have the discipline to do it. This was something I learned myself. I also had a very strict mother who was no nonsense about that stuff. She said ‘If you don’t do it, then you aren’t going to be able to do the thing.’ It’s as simple as that. I said this to my daughter, if you don’t practice the guitar, when you get older you wouldn’t be able to play it. It’s that simple. If you want to play the guitar, you put a half hour in everyday, but you have to do it. This has been the biggest guiding principle in my life when I was younger and it stuck. I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen. All the other people struck out without ever getting that pack. They couldn’t do it, that’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing, so once you do it, if you actually write your film script, or write your novel, you are more than half way towards something good happening. So that I was say my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me.” – Woody Allen, interview for Collider.com (2008)

One trait that entrepreneurs have that non-entrepreneurs don’t is that they have more self-discipline. Many people need the discipline an employer forces on them to show up for work and, well, work. The self-employed do not have this. They have to make themselves focus, work and practice. No one will tell them too, sometimes others will tell them to stop. This Dilbert comic shows this.

“I’ve always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got.” – Alan Bond

Here are some insights into self-discipline.

Self-discipline is easier to have if you are pursuing your passion or a goal that is important to you. Entrepreneurs often have to work long hours and if the work is enjoyable to them, then it is not work, it is play.

This is true even if the task at hand is not enjoyable to you but is directly linked to your goals. When I went to college, not every subject was interesting to me. Some were boring and hard to learn. However, they were tied to my long term goal of being an Electronics Engineering Technologist, so I could buckle down and study even when I did not want to. It helped that my parents taught me good study habits throughout my school years.

Did you notice that the self-discipline Woody Allen talked about was directly related to his goals? To get where he wanted to go, he had to do what needed to be done. And he did it.

You do not have to be self-disciplined in all areas of life. You may also notice that I said some self-discipline. This is because of my life history. I was raised on a farm and most people raised on farms are hard working. We have to be. Self-discipline is a big part of farm life. If you don’t do your chores, your animals starve or get sick and your farm goes out of business.

After I became an adult, I foolishly joined a very harsh religion. They were big on self-discipline and were fairly extreme about it. Most of the self-discipline was spent on unpleasant tasks. I was in a strict congregation and here is some of the things they wanted us to do: Get up at 6:30AM, and be in the shower at 6:35AM. Read a newspaper every day and have some current event to use in our preaching work. Attend church meetings every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Go door-to-door preaching for two hours every Saturday and preferably two hours Wednesday evening. On other nights, prepare for the church meetings individually or as a family. Study youth material with our children. These typically took an hour each. We were also to read two religious magazines a week. At a normal reading speed, this typically took an hour per magazine. I eventually took a speed-reading course and was able to read a magazine in ten minutes because the material was very repetitious.

The above was to be done on top of holding a full-time job and raising a family. The above effort only made one average; we were all expected to do it as a bare minimum and most did.

Naturally, this required a large amount of self-discipline to do and was not very joyous. This turned me off of self-discipline for several years because I associated it with that overly-demanding religion. I now have a more balanced view. I am far from extremely self-disciplined and am trying to develop self-discipline towards my goals. That makes the self-discipline a pleasure, not a chore.

For example, I love to write. That said, often I do not feel inspired to write and sometimes do not feel like writing. Yet, I want to be an accomplished author which requires me to write! In his book, Writing Habit Mastery – How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block, S. J. Scott tells how; simply start writing and inspiration will come. And it does. After a few minutes, I know what I want to say today. After an hour, my mind is bursting with ideas to write about.

Though I need some self-discipline to write, I do not need lots of it. Just enough to get me over a hump and into the fun stuff.

Use self-discipline in the areas of life that are important but not urgent. The important but not urgent tasks in life are the ones that make your life better in the long run but do not need to be done now. Getting a University degree, learning a new language or learning a musical instrument can all be put off indefinitely. That is why self-discipline is important to get them done. Obviously, once done, these goals have huge payoffs in making your life more fulfilling.

Tip: Top performers try to use 80% of their time on Important but Not Urgent tasks. This frees up both time and opportunity in the future.

♦Live Well!♦

Money Matters

Posted by on June 20, 2014
Posted in All Topicshappinessincomemoneysuccess  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

Here are some techniques to help keep better control of your money.

Realize that money is important. Like health, shelter and food, money is important. Mainly because without enough of it, it is very hard to get health, shelter and food.

“I lead a comfortable life. The name of the game is comfort. Money is a lubricant. It lets you slide through life.” – Joseph Cossman

I am a fan of Joseph Cossman and really like this quote. It shows a balanced view of money. Plus, it is a perfect quote for this Life Of Comfort website.

Here are a few more quotes that are not quite as balanced. I find as I became older and more experienced, I find I agree with them more and more.

“Money isn’t everything…but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” – ― Rita Davenport

“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” – Oscar Wilde

“Take care of your money and it will take care of you.” – Carl George

Shoot. I thought I invented that saying until I googled it. It is all over the place! It is true though. If you take care of your money, it will take care of you when you are too old to work or are ill. It will also take care of you by buying you out of problems throughout your life.

“Control your money or it will control you.” – Richard Nazar

This is a lesson I learned through the hard way. If you do not control your money, you soon will not have much money. Then many of your decisions and the quality of your lifestyle will be determined by money or the lack of money. At this point, your money is controlling you.

Here is another quote by me:

“Whoever said money cannot buy happiness was wrong. Very wrong.” – Richard Nazar

Or, as I used to say that often in my younger, more undiplomatic days (I might stop using this one).

“Whoever said that money cannot by happiness is an idiot.” – Richard Nazar

I have been well off and I have been very poor. I can tell you that money does buy some happiness because it makes life easier. It can buy your way out of problems. As Joseph Cossman said “Money is a lubricant. It lets you slide through life.“

Of course, like anything else, there is no one thing that gives you ultimate happiness. If you are married to an abusive spouse or have a serious illness, no amount of money will make you completely happy. For most of us, money makes a difference to our level of happiness.

Poor people can be very happy but it does not take poverty to be happy. Studies show that people who make more than $100K/year are about twice as happy as those who make less than $100K/year.

Most people think 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “Money is the root of all evil.” Actually, 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (emphasis mine). Yes, the love of money is the root of evil, not money itself.

I remember a conversation with my painter, Mark. He has many rich clients and he said he likes rich people. Why? “Has a poor person ever given you a job? They can’t afford to, so they do it themselves. The rich are the ones who make jobs.”

The five people you spend the most of your time with will determine the level of your success and income. Choose these people wisely. They will determine your attitudes and values. Your income will eventually be the average of these five people.

If you find yourself needing to spend more time with better quality people, you do not have to abandon your friends. Just find five new high-quality friends and spend time with them.

Here is a cautionary tale. I know a woman who was living an upper middle class lifestyle. She hung out with accountants, top executives, etc. She invested in a building twenty years previously and now could live off of the income that building provided; that income was her retirement plan. The day I met her, she could have retired that day with $2000/month in her pocket after all expenses.

Over time, she started to spend most of her time with people who were bad with money and were broke all of the time. Eventually, she started saying that being poor was good and rich was bad and that people with MBAs were a**holes. She would ask waiters in restaurants what education they were pursuing. If the waiter told them they were getting an MBA, she would say, “So you are training to be an a**hole?” It was very embarrassing to be seen with her.

She then did something unprofessional and lost her main source of referrals. This permanently cut her six-digit income in half.

Eventually, she used the building to back a flaky real estate scheme and lost it all. She is now over seventy years old and has no retirement plan.

She still thinks rich people, corporations and MBAs are bad.

Put 10-50% of your money into savings and investing. I read that Oprah Winfrey was raised in poverty but always put 50% of her income away to invest. She is a multibillionaire today.

Most of us will have to start at the 10% savings and work our way up to 50%.

Pay yourself first. Take that 10-50% of your money and put it into savings or investing before you pay other bills. Otherwise that money will mysteriously disappear. If you pay yourself first, and don’t touch it, over time you will adjust and your bills will be paid and you will have money in the bank!

For those of you who run your own businesses but who feel you have nothing after paying your employee salaries and bills, here is what Jack Canfield did. In The Success Principles, he tells that he had a problem where after he paid his business’ bills there was not much left for him. Here is how he solved that problem. He took the amount of money he wanted for himself first, and then paid the business’ bills. Last, he paid the employee’s salaries. He said there is no better way to motivate your sales people to work hard.

Drastically reduce your use of credit cards. Credit card debt is the bane of most people’s existence. Much of our hard earned income goes to paying credit card debt. Worse, most of it goes towards paying credit card interest. A rule of thumb is to pay the balance of your credit cards in full every month. If you cannot, you are in serious financial trouble.

It is unrealistic to completely stop using credit cards in this day and age. They are needed for shopping on the internet, car rentals, etc. A more practical approach is to put the credit cards in a safe place like a drawer. Do not carry them with you. Use them sparingly, for convenience only.

Make a budget. Let’s face it; budgets are boring. Who wants to spend their time thinking about a budget? The good news is, once you have a budget, you will think less about money issues; budgets are freeing. Paying bills gets boring for about 10 minutes because with a budget paying bills online takes about 10 minutes and then you can forget about it!

Making a budget means writing down all your income and all your expenses and finding a way to make your expenses less than your income. To do this, either trim expenses or find additional income.

When I first do a budget, I find it depressing. Where did all these expenses come from? Where did the all the money go? After some pondering, I find ways to trim here and there and eventually the budget makes sense. Then when I follow the budget, tweaking it as I go along, my financial life becomes stable. Not overly exciting, but stable. At least it is not exciting in the wrong way! It also my wife and I to plan for our future.

Get family support, especially from your spouse. It is very difficult to manage money well if your spouse is undermining you.

Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

♦Live Well!♦

At Some Point, Monetize

Posted by on June 12, 2014
Posted in All Topicshappinessmoney  | Tagged With: , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

Money is a tool that allows businesses and good causes to continue indefinitely. When I was a young adult, the Christian news shows were aflutter about various Christian ministries being “just businesses”. I saw an interview with a minister who ran his own ministry. I forget the minister’s name, but have not forgotten his reply as to whether ministries were just businesses-in-disguise. He replied, “If you don’t run your ministry like a business, you will not have a ministry.” How true! Both ministries and charities must be run like businesses. They have to be. If they are not, at some point they have to shut down due to lack of funds. If you have a good cause, find a way to finance it so it can continue as long as you want, even forever. There are several ways to do this:

  • If the cost is low enough, you might be able to have your day job finance it;
  • Ask for donations. You can set up your PayPal account to accept donations. Or ask for funds via pledgie.com.
  • Get a government grant.
  • Get a sponsor. This can be an individual or a corporate sponsor. Many corporations have a department who helps them give back to the community.
  • Sell something and use the proceeds to finance your cause. This is a good way to finance your cause forever because there will always be money coming in.
  • Combine various methods. For example, lifeofcomfort.com takes donations, sells items, and has my day job to pay the bills for the (hopefully) short term.

♦Live Well!♦

I come from a very bright family. My parents, though not highly educated, were very intelligent people. They passed that on to their children. All of my siblings are very intelligent and skilled. I am very blessed indeed.

I learned at a young age that I had a lot of potential to achieve things in my life. Yet I have not done so, at least not to my personal satisfaction. My life to this point is normal. I want it to be spectacular. Too often, I mentally beat myself up over that.

We tend to forget the good we do in life and the successes we have. I was reminded of this when I read the very beginning of a book I started to write years ago. A paragraph reminded of how much has been accomplished in the last ten years with the help of my wife.

I gave myself a figurative pat on the back. I went from extreme poverty ten years ago to now. During that time I learned, the hard way, how to be a decent parent.

I went from being a very impatient person to being patient. British Columbia will do that to a person. It is a wonderful place to live, the best I have found. Living here requires a lot of patience. Without patience, it can be frustrating. I am so glad BC figuratively pounded patience into me.

Look at the good you have done recently. Do not excuse or downplay it. If you honestly cannot think of anything recently, look back ten years. Some good things take decades to come to fruition.

Recognizing the good you have done or accomplished gives you the encouragement to keep going.

Remember to pat yourself on the back once in a while. It is so easy to forget all the good that you do.

♦Live Well!♦

Do What You Can Do

Posted by on June 10, 2014
Posted in All Topicshappinessincomemoneysuccess  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden, Hall of Fame football coach

I have always suffered from a great lack of self-confidence. Who am I to tell others how to live their life? Will I really be able to help many people in significant ways? Am I being arrogant or egotistical by blogging on Life of Comfort?

This morning, I read the above quote while perusing the book If Only I’d Said That, Volume VI by Peter Legge. Then I had a minor epiphany.

I may not yet (note the word yet) be able to help large numbers of people in life changing ways, but I can “do what I can do”. I can help some people if only in small ways now. I do have experience and insights that can help others. I may not be able to do what Anthony Robbins has done, but I can do something. I will share what I know with others and see where this journey takes me.

Ironically, Life of Comfort was partially born because of a do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do attitude. My injured leg limits my mobility and what I “can do”. Most of my life goals depend on being able to walk properly. I cannot yet do that, but I can write! So I started writing on Life of Comfort because that is what I can do right now.
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“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

I first heard this quote when I was in high school. I have found this quote by Woody Allen to be one of the simplest and most powerful ways to success. It sounds silly, but it is true. Simply showing up can give you a great advantage over others, even those who are better than you. Why? Showing up is relatively rare. Showing up is like good customer service; easy to do, but rarely done.

I heard a radio interview with Jeff Foxworthy. The interview was scheduled for 10 AM that morning. The Interviewers called Jeff at 10 AM in the morning and were surprised when he answered the phone. During the ensuing conversation the interviewers said that most of the time performers do not keep their appointments. Usually the phone is not answered. Mr. Foxworthy said something that I never forgot. Jeff Foxworthy said there were many performers who had more talent than he did. The reason we never heard of them and that Jeff is famous is simple. He noticed that when not performing, they spent their time chasing skirts while he pondered whether anyone would read a book about rednecks.

Jeff had a policy of always being on time for interviews and got promoted. His less famous performers skipped interviews and thus were destined for obscurity.

I found this in my hi-tech career as well. Read more

For me, a life of comfort is peace in one’s soul and a comfortable physical lifestyle.

To truly have a life of comfort, a person needs less a) bull and more b) satisfaction. Usually, the less of a) you have, the more b) you get.

The good news is, even if you get the amount of nonsense in your life to zero, you can still keep increasing your satisfaction to seemly infinite levels! Read more