Invest in yourself and the rest will come!

It seems the news these days is all doom and gloom… you have an employment rate of 92% in the USA and instead of being proud of this fact considering how much stuff is happening in the world, the news seems to focus entirely on the 8% saying life is over, they lost this, they lost that.

Common treads

Generally, what I see from the stories of people who lost everything is that they did several big mistakes and instead of taking personal responsibility, they blame just about everybody else but themselves. I know there are other circumstances of course, some people just get wacked from nowhere due to medical emergencies and the like but I’m describing what I see as GENERAL trends, not specific cases.

Stopped learning

This is a HUGE factor as to why many people are unable to find jobs, they only know things specific to one industry doing rather specific things – sure, they can do it extremely well and probably better than anybody out there but instead of upgrading and broadening their skills as the economy evolved over time, they just stuck to that one thing. They got comfortable while the world passed them by. Essentially, they are 10-30 years BEHIND the current economy in dead-end industry with dead-end jobs that finally DIED. Remember the guys whose job use to be to weld car frames together? Neither do I, they’ve been replaced by robots!

Investing and studying the wrong things!

Would I go to university for 4 years NOW to become a newspaper journalist? Absolutely NOT… yet there are plenty of people doing this right now. Why? If blogging has taught us anything is that anybody and everybody is a journalist these days. Look at the YouTube top videos, these aren’t professionals, they are guys and gals doing something that builds an audience. Journalism IS a noble profession but guess what, it’s a dying profession – newspapers and magazines are going under all over the place, replaced with bloggers and online content aggrigators like the Huffington Post. Anybody can write a story, not well, but anybody can – there is no future here. When your skill set become a commodity, you are expendable.

All your eggs in one basket

I’ve done this once, I got screwed big time… that’s when I decided to diversify my income streams as much as possible. If you are living paycheck to paycheck with that income coming from ONE source… well, you are asking for trouble! Many of these horror stories paint a “romantic” picture of how a family all worked for ONE company their whole lives and got laid off when the plant or factory closed. I don’t know how they ever got comfortable with this arrangement, considering how global the world has become. At the very least, don’t get jobs at the same place and rely totally on that as your sole source of income.

Lived beyond their means

Poor people trying to live like millionaires, millionaires trying to live like billionaires… all on borrowed money. It catches up to you – again, I”ve done this myself and learned! If you are making 100K a year and spend twice that, you will lose everything and the economy has nothing to do with it! If you are a family with two drivers, surely you don’t need 4 cars (unless you can afford it without borrowing). Live within your means… actually, live BELOW your means. If shit hits the fan, you won’t lose everything because it will ALL BE PAID FOR ALREADY!

Not taking care of yourself

This is another HUGE one. You work at a job and never find time to take care of yourself, after 20 years, you look like shit and nobody will want to hire you. This is reality! Your past employer saw you decline… GRADUALLY (hence never noticed the change) but your future one will see this all in one shot. Maybe your past employer didn’t care if you were a chain-smoking-morbidly-obese-alcoholic-dickhead because he or she NEEDED YOU (or was one themselves) but don’t go to another employer expecting them to jump through hoops to hire you. Everyday, you are in competition with younger, smarter, better looking people who are more than eager to do your job for less money than you are. Your employer didn’t hire them because it would have been too much of a headache to fire you and hire them (value proposition wasn’t strong enough). When you are no longer employed and sitting at a job interview, guess what, you are at the bottom of the list even before you open your mouth!

Provide value!

What is your value proposition? Sure, you worked at XYZ for 10 years doing ABC… I don’t care – what are you bringing to the table? If all you have to show for the past 10 years is that you worked at XYZ for 10 years going ABC – as an employer, you are bringing nothing (unless this is high-demand specialized skills). People get complaisant, it’s easy doing the same repetitive task and at the end of the week, pickup your paycheck. As an employer, this tells me that you aren’t willing to learn new things (unless I push you to do so) – hence your current predicament. It tells me that your life is most likely stagnant and that your vision of the future extends as far as your next paycheck. Sure, I’m willing to assume you will be loyal – of course you will, you get yourself in a groove and stayed there for 10 years doing the same thing! Your past is a very good indicator of your future unless there has been a change in your life recently (death, marriage, kids etc.)

Willing to take chances

The very fact that you are alive if a gift onto itself, the best you could do with this gift is to take chances to achieve the life that you are now capable of dreaming about. TAKE CHANCES! If you have an opportunity, jump on it before somebody else does. Our entire species tends to want to keep itself down, keep us comfortable, stable… those who fight against this are the winners in life. Tired of working minimum wage? Well, go to school, switch employers, make dramatic changes in your life! The comfort of a life or job keeping you down in order to pay the bills one more week isn’t worth doing your entire life. This is throwing the gift of life that your parents gave to you into the trash. Successful people succeed because they FAIL far more and harder than they ever succeeded… the reason they are successful is because they eventually hit onto something that didn’t fail. Never forget that success comes from lessons learned in failure! You cannot succeed if you never tried, you cannot succeed if you never failed.

Harsh reality of employment

At the end of the day, you have a job because you MAKE more money for the employer than they SPEND keeping you there. The moment they SPEND more than what you are worth to the organization – you are OUT. You should always think of your job under these terms… and realize that any change in the economy (locally or globally), your health or that of your employer or anything else… your job is on the line. This happens regardless of whether you worked there for 5 months or 50 years.

Employment isn’t a right, it’s a privilege!

So, what happened in the vast majority of these cases? The employee thought that their job was a RIGHT, not a privilege. What do I mean? They took their employer for granted. Well, be happy you HAVE  a job, work everyday to bring VALUE to your employer and always strive to LEARN new things both inside and outside of your industry should something threaten your job. The way I see it, being on both ends of the stick as an employee and employer is that as an employee you are always one paycheck away from a pink slip while as an employer, you are always one contract away from having to give said pink slip. Scary? This is the reality that sadly, if you are unemployed, you found-out too late!

Good employers look for rock stars!

People are good at answering straight questions… what is your date of birth, what are your hobbies and the list goes on. As an employer, I want to see your PASSION! If you don’t care about this job and are looking for a paycheck – go elsewhere. That simple! If your resume is impressive and you are over-qualified… instead of worrying if you are a flight risk or that you will make me look bad (you being better than me) – it means as an employer, I want YOU. Why? Because employees can learn as much about a business as employers from who is working for them. If you hire a rock star and he or she bolts after a few months, you are richer, your staff is richer… everybody gained valuable insight and were most likely highly motivated by this individual while they were there! Any boss can hire a person, but can you hire AMAZING PASSIONATE employees?

The Bottom Line

Instead of blaming others for your state of affairs, take it upon yourself to make changes to create the life you wish to have. At the end of the day, you are your own worst problem or best solution regarding the circumstances you my find yourself in.

Written by Jon in: motivation,rants,solutions,success,truth |

Dr. Neil DeGrasse: Too smart for politics (sadly)

Looking at politicians the world over these days, it saddens me to realize that MOST would fail a grade school IQ test based on the way they act and their real knowledge of things BEYOND THEM in the world. I really don’t understand why the human race prefers to elect incompetent leaders at best with a lack of vision, fear of challenging the public to bigger and greater things. Why do we keep holding ourselves back, country by country and our entire race by these fools? They offer neither happiness nor fulfillment – replacing dramatic new ways of thinking with keeping the status-quo.

Some governments are “smart” – their solution to a populace that has lost interest in them is to force them to vote for them… instead of looking at the underlying issue causing most people to tune out. It’s easy to force somebody to do something – put a gun to a person’s head and they will do just about anything for you – but it’s hard to motivate somebody to want – DESIRE – to do something. That’s where true leadership comes from – a quality severely lacking in this world at the highest levels… where we can ill afford it!

Just imagine, for a second… Dr. Neil DeGrasse as president… watch this and share your thoughts!

Dr. Neil DeGrasse – A fascinatingly disturbing thought

Before you watch this video (below), please watch this amazing series: BBC’s Science and Islam: The Language of Science (Episode 1)

The Erosion of Progress by Religions

Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley Academy

Written by Jon in: motivation |

HowToChinese.com: A Practical Mandarin Chinese Course… my 6th book is published!

I’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese on/off for 15 years… each time, making great progress then life getting in the way – usually in the form of a business that takes over all my time (WoodMarvels.com didn’t grow from a lack of work!). This has happened to me several times so far – and will continue probably until I retire. I actually moved to China and lived there for close to two years in the hopes I could finally get this long term goal of mine accomplished!

What I saw while there surprised me and then I realized how little education I actually got both from various books / tapes / CDs and even my year learning Mandarin Chinese at my local university about anything beyond the language. There was so much that I didn’t have the opportunity to learn about that was just as important to me as learning the language. China and the Chinese people are fascinating and complex, I wanted to show this to others trying to learn Chinese while, at the same time, having a book that took this into account and improving based on my personal experience, all the shortcomings of what others had done.

Learning a language is very difficult, it takes at least an hour a day, everyday – even when you are living in a country surrounded by this language – for it to sink in. I felt there was so much I didn’t grasp, hence how both the website HowToChinese.com and the book that was written came about.

My wife and I built a resource that I wished I had when I was in university – it’s by far superior to anything I’ve ever used previously to learn Mandarin Chinese and unlike the other systems, you have live video that will help you throughout the learning process. Lucky really enjoys making the videos and I doing the post-production… it’s great fun and I hope you can also see great benefit to the system we have developed for you to benefit from. Lucky worked extremely hard on this book and I’m very proud of her for how she has developed HowToChinese.com… there is a lot more coming in the very near future regarding this business to make it all the more educational and fun.

Book Information

Experience Lucky’s passion for teaching Mandarin Chinese to students around the world through her comprehensive and professionally produced online video series to help you build fluency in record time!

A fantastic book for both beginners and advanced students!

  • Step by step learning process with each chapter building onto the next
  • Multiple in-chapter exercises to reinforce new learnings along with real-life conversation dialogs
  • Pinyin and Simplified Chinese characters throughout
  • In-book Chinese <—> English mini-dictionaries
  • Comprehensive video series tie-ins to help with your pronunciation and fluency
  • Chinese history and modern cultural notes
  • Over 170 photographs taken across China!

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remarks at Senate Commerce hearing on the future of our space program

I’m a great admirer of Dr. Niel deGrasse Tyson – and I’m with him all the way. If you invest in the impossible… it becomes possible. Sadly, today’s “leaders” have neither the balls nor the ambition to really push people out of their comfort zone. There is always an excuse, always a barrier… but big thinkers and more importantly, doers… just make things happen regardless.

If it was up to me, I’d convert the entire Industrial Military Complex – into an Industrial Technology Complex… and push technology way beyond the limits we now think we live under. There is no reason why, if we put these trillions of dollars into investments into increasing our knowledge of health, space, medicine and technology that we couldn’t easily solve many of the world’s most fundamental problems within the next decade. We have so much to learn as a species yet, due to a lack of investment, we are holding our planet and ourselves hostage to the lot we have been given.

Another thing I would do immediately is tax all religions – there are no quick ways to knowledge (“it’s because God created it” is a cop-out to the ‘enth degree) nor are there any free rides in life (you pay, I pray). Religion is a fantastic way to limit human inventiveness, create problems where none exist and power to those who deserve nor earned any. I’m not saying if there is or is not a God, what I am saying is regardless of your beliefs, others shouldn’t have to support them through higher taxes than they would otherwise pay just to subsidize the belief of others in a omnipotent being. I’d earmark those funds directly into major childhood initiatives including the teaching of evolution, the sciences and rationality.

I don’t want to live to 80 years old, I want to live to 200… or even 300… and that isn’t possible as long as governments continue to invest in better ways of killing people instead of better ways of improving people.

Written by Jon in: adventures,motivation |

Narrow Minded People and Success

Every once in a while, I’m reminded at just how narrow minded people at the executive level of a company can become the longer they work on ONE task for an extended period of time at a specific position. It isn’t their fault, our minds are built to build initial comfort then doing anything possible to REMAIN there. The result? Rejecting ideas or individuals who may challenge you to grow in new risky directions.

People get their weekly salary and THAT’S IT. They wake-up, go to work, come home, watch TV, kiss their kids goodnight then repeat the same again the next day… each time re-enforcing the level of comfort and dulling the senses slowly regarding their true potential. Basically, your mind optimizes itself overtime to coast along and optimize life around this repeating pattern and any deviation from these thought or action patterns is quickly stamped-out. People become COMFORTABLE and soon cannot imagine themselves doing anything else in life. BIG MISTAKE!

Wonder why some companies prosper while others fade away? Easy… comfort! The ones that grow and thrive keep trying new things, fail often but always move closer to an ever moving goal-post. The ones that fail? See their job as a 9-5. Not bad… but we are in a GLOBAL MARKET and 9-5 thinking just isn’t going to cut it anymore! There is always a company in the world that’s willing to do things cheaper, faster and better than you. How do you stay ahead?

  1. Keep re-inventing yourself and the company you are directing!
  2. Hire passion over expertise. You can teach a task but not passion!
  3. Fail… fail… and fail some more. If you don’t fail, you aren’t trying hard enough to succeed!
  4. If everybody is driving a Prius… drive a Monster Truck!
  5. If you notice others or yourself starting to say “no” to too many ideas without thinking it through – guess what. YOU’VE BECOME COMFORTABLE!
Written by Jon in: business,companies,experiences,truth |