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"Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Would You Accept Advice from a Self-Made Billionaire?

 A business partner reminded me about a key principle to success this week.  He forwarded an inspiring video that I highly recommend to you.

I frequently reference a book entitled The Slight Edge.  The book demonstrates that success does not suddenly happen to random people.  It proves that randomly, any person that chooses to take small, incremental, daily action steps toward a significant and specific goal will achieve the goal.

The video illustrates the point so succinctly and with great credibility, I offer it with no further fanfare.  Enjoy.

How to Grow From $1.25/hr to $1B?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bless This Mess -- Sneezing May Offend the Constitution?

This month a Tennessee teacher reportedly exhibited another example of state intolerance toward student religious expression.  By suspending a student for uttering "Bless You" in response to a sneeze and publishing a classroom rule banning the phrase, the teacher used her government role to squash the student's constitutional rights and to impose a sectarian silence that is hostile to religion and the freedom of speech.

The Tennessee school teacher's "Bless You" Banishment constitutes a blatant violation of the Constitution's 1st Amendment.  Here, a teacher acting on behalf of the state education system, reportedly imposed a rule that restricted the free exercise and free speech rights of a citizen student.

The United States Supreme Court has granted wide latitude to school officials to administer school discipline and to maintain an effective learning environment.  However, school rules and discipline must be reasonable and neutral toward religion and viewpoint.

It is not hard to imagine the circumstances under which an innocent, polite and natural response ("Bless You") to a sneeze in a school classroom can quickly become a repeated, non-innocent and unnatural disruption of class.  But the reported facts do not suggest a disruption of the class, but rather a disruption of the teacher's personal and tragic interpretation of the constitution.

As American society becomes increasingly secular and agnostic, the decades long social trend in America to separate religious expression from public life results in increasing examples of public shaming of religious people and their views.  Unsurprisingly, the trend now extends to innocuous utterances and phrases such as "Bless You".

Providing constitutional protection for religious speech and viewpoints from hostile state action is essential to the liberty of Americans who continue to practice and speak their beliefs as well as the agnostic who chooses to live free from it.

Since America is founded on the principle that our rights and liberties are "endowed by our Creator" and not merely benevolent licenses from the state, it is also essential to liberty and American Constitutionalism that the state permit and accommodate religious expression.  Why?

Effective self-government is rooted in citizens acting charitably toward others, exercising self-control, respecting others' property, and living according to an understanding that fellow citizens rights are equally endowed.  These principles and values do not emanate from the state.  Rather they are passed by upbringing, tradition and the teachings of religion.

The institutions of family and religion play a critical role in promoting the principles and values that lead to a self-governed society.  By preventing the state from obfuscating the manner and expression of religious expression, the 1st Amendment of the Constitution preserves the liberty essential to the health of family and religion as vital institutions.

Three separate institutions, state, family and religion, must be permitted to function co-equally, according to their functional role, for maximum freedom to be enjoyed by all.  The state should not rule the family or religion.  Religion should not rule the family or the state.  The family should not rule the state and the religion, akin to King George.

While agnostics might prefer to extinguish public religious expression, to do so would eventually extinguish the roots of self-government.  In a theoretical society where social order is conveyed solely by the democratic enactments of the state, self-government is replaced by maximum government.

Under maximum government, even the agnostic's preferred expression "kazoo-tight" is eventually subject to control.  And that is nothing to sneeze at.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do It Yourself - Pros and Cons

When it comes to handy-man home and auto projects, I am not one of those self-starters that loves to tinker in the garage or the workshop.

The to-do list typically gains no special priority over the annual tax filing, as far as I am concerned.

That being said, I do have a naturally inquisitive mind.  Over the years, I have to admit that I have waded into a variety of projects based on curiosity and what I attribute to neuro-chemical stimulation from solving a complex problem that I previously knew nothing about.

I remember as a child the thrill of announcing to the world, "...and I did it all by myself!"

So this week's unplanned project was the result of an annoyance that has been looking in my face for six months.  Whenever I hop in my Ford Explorer SportTrac and turn the key, the first thing I see on the overhead console is the digital compass and external temperature display.  When the display began to flicker, fade and eventually disappear, I developed a neurotic obsession with finding out why.

Follow this thread to see How I Repaired an Electrical Component on My Explorer SportTrac.

Why did I wait six months to "scratch the itch?"  Glad you asked.  When it comes to handy-man projects, I would much rather pay a professional and take satisfaction that I saved my time and aggravation.  But counter-balancing that preference is my hard-scrabble, DIY, Yankee, practical roots that refuse to pay good money for fixing such a frivolous luxury as a digital compass and temperature display.

I will pay for an oil change, but not a blinky light that tells me my global orientation and environment in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Which leads me to my topic which I will not belabor.  What are the pros and cons of DIY?

  1. Learn something new.
  2. Save labor cost.
  3. Save parts cost markup.
  4. Say "...and I did it all by myself!" to anyone that cares.
  5. Get the job done right...after all, if you want it done right, you must do it yourself....or so the saying goes.
  6. Instant gratification.  Why wait in line for an appointment?
  1. Whatever you might learn is likely to be forgotten or never needed again.  Like school.
  2. Time is arguably more valuable than money or labor cost.  You cannot discount time.
  3. Cutting corners on materials is usually a short term prospect. Quality, guaranties, and product knowledge are built into the markup.  Peace of mind is lost. He who represents himself has hired a foolish attorney.
  4. One could argue that self-absorption in DIY bliss is as productive as fishing, crossword puzzles and fantasy football.
  5. There is a much higher likelihood that at DIY project is inferior to a professional job.  Just think of some examples. Ever pull your own tooth?  Made your own shoes? Fly yourself to your next vacation destination?
  6. When a DIY project emerges from the equivalent of pointing and yelling "squirrel!", and then a day or more is gone, someone or something more important and less interesting just got scuttled.
I guess on balance I am truly not a DIY guy.  But apparently I am not intellectually 100% efficient either.  You only live once.

You know the best of all possible worlds is to own 100% of your time and have enough money to freely decide whether to pay the pro or do-it-yourself if you want to.

Any ideas about that program?  Check this one out... The System