The Secret System For Getting Ahead of Your Friends (or to have enough beer money for the weekend)

“Why didn’t you answer your phone? I tried reaching you a few times you bastard!”

A friend gave me hell for not answering my phone. I didn’t answer my phone because I was busy. I never make any apologies for being focused and working on my goals.

Investing in yourself

“To avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” — Aristotle

I firmly believe that you have to do what’s best for you 99% of the time. You can’t let others dictate what you’re going to focus your energy on. It’s your life and sometimes you only get one shot. While working hard will get you ahead, sometimes you have to be strategic and look past the usual “work hard” advice that you find online.

This is why I need to introduce you to my system for reaching financial freedom/having enough beer money for the weekend.

What’s The YOU System?

You have to do what’s best for you. You can’t worry about what others think of you, what others want you to do, or about what everyone thinks you should be doing with your life.

It’s far too easy to get stuck in some trap where you’re always seeking validation, worrying about what your friends have to say, or just letting any person get in your way of what you want.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to lose all of your friends. Everything is explained in here. I just want to get ready to be a little selfish.

[Mandatory read: What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You About Investing in Yourself.]

How do you do what’s best for you?

Doing what’s best for you comes down to two key ingredients:

  1. Focusing on your goals.
  2. Getting the best possible training/coaching/help possible.

As simple as both of these ingredients sound, they’re difficult to apply.

Are you really in control of your time, energy and attention?

Are you really getting the best possible training?

You need to be ruthless about your focus. I attend a BJJ class three times per week in the middle of the day. I don’t let anyone get in the way of this class. As I type this, I’m at Starbucks chugging coffee with my headphones on. I know that I need to get away from the world to get shit done.

Are you getting away to focus? Is your energy going where you want it to?

I also go to the end of the Earth to find the best possible training. This year alone I traveled to Portland and New Orleans for conferences. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on wrestling seminars.

Are you getting the best training possible to help you get ahead in your goals?

I don’t care what your goal is because everyone should be investing in the best training possible.

To recap: for this secret system for making tons of money in your 20s to work, you have to focus your energy where you want to and you need to be investing in the best possible training consistently.

Do you have to be selfish?

Yes. Once in a while you have to be selfish. You have to be selfish with your time, energy, and attention. You can’t let others control your day with a text, useless emails, another meeting, or pathetic. complaints.

I want you to make lots of friends and be social. You just can’t be afraid to turn your phone off when you have work to do. It’s your life and your money. Nobody else will care about your money as much as you do.

What’s the #1 rule for The YOU System?

You have to give back and care about others. You just have to take care of yourself first. Then you can give back and be an asset to your friends.

You should also be there when friends need you for a real problem.

For example, last night a buddy needed a ride home after the snow storm. That’s something you can never bail on. You can never let your friends down.

If a friend wants to call you to waste time, text you about negative stuff, or just get wasted in the middle of the day (okay sometimes), you need to know that it’s okay to say no or to just ignore them.

Yes, sometimes you might have to be a douchebag, but that’s okay.

Further reading…

Are you ready to be a little selfish? Good. I want you to bookmark this page and check out the articles linked within this post. Two more mandatory articles are:

The Ultimate Guide For Financial Freedom by 30 — Get started right now and never look back. Financial freedom is within reach. This guide makes it very possible.

The Studenomics MBA — Screw paying tons of money for a formal education. This article is all that you need to read. Are you ready to earn the Studenomics MBA?

“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” — Michael Jordan

The Only Holiday Post You Need to Read

“Some people become power brokers through sheer intimidation and force of will; others, generally with far better results, learn to become indispensable to the people around them.” – Keith Ferrazzi

I was chatting with a buddy the other day and we got into exchanging weekend plans. He told me that he was staying in because he wanted to focus on his career. I instantly thought about how insanely stupid that was. The logic here didn’t make sense. There’s no benefit to being a hermit your whole life. I stay in when there’s work to finish, but you can’t always be in seclusion.

Do we really not know that successful people in our field are out there at social events and not sitting at home?

What can you possibly accomplish by staying at home by yourself all of the time? You need to seek the advice of successful peers. You have to be willing to be willing to do whatever it takes to find the best possible training and coaching on this planet. You might even have to go to the end of the Earth to find this help. That’s okay.

The only holiday season advice that you need is real simple: THROW A PARTY.

“You can be more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other people’s success than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in your own success” – Dale Carnegie

Have you ever read the book Never Eat Alone? If not you need to pick up a copy right now. It’s by far the best book on the market when it comes to networking, connecting with people, and moving up in the world.

If you apply the advice, you’ll meet so many new people and leave a lasting impression on a life long network of really cool people. Your network is your net worth. I believe in this fully.

This is why I want you to throw a holiday party.

It doesn’t matter if you want to start a side business to make more money, enter a new field, or move up at your current job. You have to be more social and throw parties once in a while..

You can sell your copy of Starcraft. Cancel your subscription to that dating site for the month. Do whatever you can to throw a holiday party. Invite lots of cool people. Invite people you want to get to know better. Pick up some booze. Have food ready for everyone. Let people have a great time.

“Most dinner parties don’t call for anything fancy. Follow the Kiss principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid). Good food. Good people. Lots of wine. Good conversation.” — Never Eat Alone

A holiday party is the best time to connect with old friends, build new connections, and have a great time. Put some money aside and throw a party that nobody will forget. Don’t worry about Christmas gifts or any of that crap. Give the gift of a fun (and a possibly wild) night.

[Check out: The 100 Facebook Friends Challenge.]

I usually throw my holiday party on the 26th because that’s my birthday. I get a bunch of booze, find a venue, and invite my friends. Nobody ever has a bad time with pizza and karaoke in the mix.

Just please remember to make sure that nobody drinks and drives.

Are you ready to plan a party?

Video Conferencing in Education

Out of all the different technologies today, video conferencing is one of the lesser known, yet most impactful. It seems odd how under-the-radar video conferencing is; you never see any big headlines about it like you do with smartphones or tablets, and you never hear horror stories about it like TVs or personal drones. Video conferencing has become widely accepted by most people as it slowly developed over the past few decades. Today, you can find video conferencing services and technologies on almost all devices and in use in almost all fields. But one area where video conferencing hasn’t fully taken hold is in education. While it’s certainly used by plenty of schools and universities already, many people don’t tend to associate video conferencing and teaching. They tend to think of the technology as something for businesses or for personal use only. As such, here are a number of uses for video conferencing in education that you may never have thought about before.

Field Trips.

When you were a kid, what was your favorite thing in school? Was it recess, lunch, or maybe the glorious field trip? Students across the globe almost universally love the idea of field trips. Not only do they get a chance to get out of the classroom and school building, but they get to go somewhere new with their friends. Whether it’s a museum or something else, the majority of students would agree that field trips are amazing.

However, they aren’t cheap and they require a lot of planning and set up for the school to effectively pull them off. As such, they usually are rare occurrences, with any set class only getting a couple per school year. But what if there was a better, faster, more effective way to take students on a field trip? Thanks to video conferencing, there is.

The actual application of video conferencing for field trips is almost endless. As an example of a unique usage, Mashable discusses how the Mt. Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania gave its middle school students the opportunity to watch a volcano on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat erupt live via video conferencing. They were also able to interact with on-site field personal that would transmit video clips and information about seismic activity, evacuations, and other pertinent data so students could analyze and make predictions of their own. This sort of virtual field trip is unlike any conventional field trip experience. It also allows students to learn about the subject in a much more intimate, direct form.

Guest Speakers and Field Experts.

In line with virtual field trips, video conferencing services like Blue Jeans Education can help offer students a wider range of education types by allowing more guest speakers and field experts to speak to a classroom. With video conferencing, a school doesn’t need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to try and bring some guest speaker into the school to speak face-to-face with students, and the speaker doesn’t need to spend so much time away from their own office and work traveling to whatever school they are going to speak at. They can use video conferencing to connect directly to the classroom and speak with the students about their field or whatever subject from the comfort of their office.

Offering students the means to talk with experts is useful in more ways than you might expect. According to Digital Journal, studies have found that when students are directly able to see the connection between what they are learning and the real world, their motivation and drive to learn is greatly increased. So when students are able to talk to a physics expert via video conferencing and see exactly how the lessons they are covering can be used in the real world, they become much more avid in their drives to learn and commit the knowledge to memory.

School Collaboration and Distance Learning.

Video conferencing also allows schools to connect with each other and work together in ways never before possible. According to University Business, students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York are presenting their work to audiences in Wales, England while students in satellite campuses in Eastern Europe are being instructed by librarians at the main campus. And as the AV Network reports, Indiana University is using a video conferencing platform to offer a virtual auditorium for students to attend classes and lectures even if they are thousands of miles away. They already offer 175 different live courses and have plans to create more.

Video conferencing can be used for language classes as well, allowing students in the classroom to directly communicate and interact with native speakers of the language they’re learning. According to Inside Higher ED, this has been taken even further by Yale University, Cornell University, and Columbia University, which, in conjunction with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have created programs for resurrecting language programs for uncommonly taught tongues like Zulu, Indonesian, and Yoruba.

Video conferencing isn’t just for business or personal use; services like Blue Jeans make it incredibly easy for schools to connect with experts, other schools, and international students to expand the teaching horizons. The sky is the limit in education when video conferencing is used.

The Obligatory Save Money During Christmas Personal Finance Article

“I saw a bunch of nerds with wrestling belts. Who do these dorks think they are? The champions of nothing?”

I was a few drinks in after a wrestling show as I spoke to my girlfriend at the time (2009 to be exact). I was having a laugh over the weirdos that I saw at the show with wrestling belts. For some reason she didn’t find this story to be funny. I was laughing at these guys with belts. Don’t ask me why I was amused by this.

How could she not laugh at these fools who spent hundreds of dollars on belts? Did she not have a sense of humor?

Instead of laughing she began to cry. I was confused. Why would she cry about these belts?

So she walked over to her closet. What was in the closet?

“Here’s your Christmas gift you jackass!”

It was a $200 wrestling belt. Ooops!

Are you ready for the Christmas season?

Chances are that you’re confused while searching for great Christmas gift ideas. I can’t blame you. I only have to buy gifts for four people and I’m still stuck. The good news is that I’m traditionally a crappy gift-buyer (aside from sending my parents to Cuba) and nobody expects much from my gifts.

As lame as I am when it comes to buying gifts, I’m even worse when it comes to accepting gifts. as you could tell.

This is the obligatory post on saving money during Christmas time. Since I’ve written about this topic many times, I’ve included links throughout the article to my favorite pieces on here on the topic of saving money during Christmas without being a Scrooge.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

I’ve written about saving money during Christmas many times around here before. One of my favorite comments from a reader is:

Roger wrote in with:

“Try to start a Secret Santa program within your family/group of friends/coworkers/any other group where giving may be required. Rather than buying a gift for all twelve of your cousins or for the fifteen people in your office, sway everyone into exchanging names so that you only need to buy one gift for each group. In one step, you’ve cut your shopping list down to a small fraction of what it would be otherwise.

Agree to price limits on Christmas gifts. If you have a price limit for everyone on your list, you can more easily budget, and you’ll have more incentive to keep your spending under control.

Make your own gifts. Probably much more of an option if you happen to be crafty (in a ‘I’m good at making things’ way, not a ‘I’m sneaky’ way), you could always make something as a gift for those on your list. (My fiancée went to a Christmas party for her ceramics club on Saturday, and half of the presents that were given out were hand-made; she got a cup from a girl she admired, and she just loves it.)”

My advice for finding great Christmas gift ideas that don’t break the wallet is…

Set a cap. Then set another cap when you break that limit.

I’m not a fan of daily budgeting, but you need a cap on your gifts!

It’s tempting to get carried away when you’re at the mall. It’s easy to swipe that plastic. The euphoria kicks in and you feel good about yourself. You have something sweet for everyone on your list. Then, it sucks to get that credit card bill in January.

The trick is to set a dollar amount for how much money you’re willing to spend on each person and in total on Christmas gifts.

Then it’s time to look for those gifts…

Start asking questions.

Have you been asking questions? Asking questions is important for finding that perfect Christmas gift because you want to get something for the person that they actually want and not another dust collector that’s going to sit on top of the drawer.

Just remember that the trick to asking question is not to be too obvious about it. Curiosity is the key to finding great Christmas gift ideas.

Oh and one final reminder for Christmas shopping this year…

Buy your gifts before Christmas Eve!

This should go without saying, yet we’re all guilty of buying Christmas gifts at the last minute. I won’t be a hypocrite because I’ve also done this far too many times in the past. I’m telling myself that this won’t happen this year. There’s nothing more annoying and frustrating than being stuck at the mall on Christmas Eve. All of the good gifts are usually gone and the lines are insane.

Since you already know that shopping on Christmas Eve is a poor idea, this is just a friendly reminder. Get those gifts soon!

I doubt that my family reads my blog, but just in case they do, I won’t be revealing yet what I have in mind for them.

That’s how you can save money on those great Christmas gift ideas.

(The post was originally published on December 12/2012. It was updated today in 2014.)

You guys have any cool gifts ideas this year that you would like to share with us?

Why Your Story Isn’t So Special (and what to do about it)

“I’m not like most people.” — Most people

In the last few years I started sharing more articles on my personal Facebook and this has naturally come with criticism. I’m always open to feedback. Sadly, I get useless feedback far too often.

What kind of useless feedback?

“This wouldn’t work for me. My situation is different”

That’s what friends tell me when giving me unsolicited advice. I disagree 100%. I share tips that have worked for me and will work for others. They won’t work for everyone (like any theory), but you can just dismiss something because it’s new to you.

In July of this year I went to check out the World Domination Summit. I had fun meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. It was also an excuse to check out Portland. And, I never ever have a bad time anywhere I go. I’m always up for adventure.

The only problem was that every single person I met thought that they were so unique.

The story was usually the same:

  • Person has a shitty job and they hate it.
  • Person decides to be more passionate.
  • Person quits job and lives in third world countries while telling others to be more passionate.
  • Person goes on a speaking tour about how happy they are to have quit job.
  • Zzzzz.

Everyone thought they were so special when really everyone had the exact same story.

I get it, you quit your job and are passionate. I’m all about this lifestyle. However, you need to realize that you’re not so unique if everyone in the room has the same story.

This brings me to my next point. I’ve been reading through, “The Obstacle is The Way,” and I absolutely love this book by Ryan Holiday. Holiday says it best when it comes to chasing goals:

“We often assume that the world moves at our leisure. We delay when we should initiate. We jog when we should be running or better yet, sprinting. And then we’re shocked –shocked!—when nothing big ever happens, when opportunities never show up, when new obstacles begin to pile up, or the enemies finally get their act together.”

I hate to break this to you– your story isn’t so special!

[Check out: The Douchebag System For Financial Freedom.]

Why isn’t your story so special?

We all have similar goals. We all want to be happy, have a good job, have cool friends, enjoy new experiences, and avoid feeling miserable.

We all want to avoid pain, misery, and being broke.

If you’re in debt, that’s okay because you’re not alone.

If you can’t decide on how to find your first client, that’s normal.

If you can’t save, that’s cool because we all suck with money.

Your story isn’t as unique as you might think.

What should you do about this?

You need to stop blaming the world for your problems. We all go through the same crap. You’re not the first and you’re certainly not the only person to go through this.

You also need to realize that since your story isn’t so special that this means others have gone through similar issues and you can learn from them. This is why I swear in investing in yourself, picking the minds of successful folks, and reading biographies. These folks have done what you want to do. Learn and steal from them!

How does this impact personal finance?

We all have to deal with the same financial issues:

Don’t think that your financial issues are unique. We all struggle with the same problems!

What this means is that you need to learn from others that have been through a similar situation and find what works for you.

All financial advice won’t be applicable to you. I get that. Find what works for you, experiment with new tactics, and make things happen.

The world doesn’t owe you any favors. Your story isn’t so special. Decide what your biggest financial (or life) issue is right now and begin working on it by learning from others, trial-and-error, and failure.