By the time Christmas came in 2008, I had lost over a third of the value in my 401K. Oops, should have sold during the summer! I thought to myself as the economy detonated. The funny thing is, I wasn’t sitting in front of a computer or a TV watching things unravel as politicians put aside their petty differences to construct the biggest bailout in history. No, I was lying on Lanikai Beach getting sunburned and boy did it feel great!
The pain of losing money is more hurtful than the joy of winning money. Yet, on this fine holiday, I felt no pain, just ambivalence and a realization that money means little when you’re doing something you enjoy. And so, I made it a point in 2009 to start having more fun and launched Financial Samurai.
GET GOING SON
My father told me many years ago to start a site. I didn’t listen because I was too busy. My father also told me not to get caught up too much in the real estate mania, and I didn’t listen either. However, he did tell me to study hard and create my own luck, which is advice that I’ve followed for a very long time.
You see, I used to be quite flippant in the way I looked at life. If I’m meant to lead a rich life, I will, because karma will lead me there. If I’m meant to be poor, oh well, there’s nothing I can do to change. My mother used to always remind me not to seek riches, but to seek happiness instead. Money and the comfort it buys will follow if you don’t focus on it, she’d say. While I still believe in karma, I’ve decided that it’s best to go out there and greet Karma in the face, thank it for being there, and create my own happiness.
We have a choice every day to be happy and be successful. Moping around and complaining does nothing but make us more miserable. After 9/11 occurred, I swore to myself I would cut complaining down to a minimum and just appreciate every single day. After all, just months before I was at the Windows Of The World restaurant on the top of the World Trade Center participating in a conference. I left New York City shortly before the tragedy, but am reminded by what transpired almost every single day.
TOO MUCH TIME TO JUST ENOUGH TIME
Back during the last downturn of 2000-2003, I found myself getting up every weekend at 6am, not knowing what to do. While all my friends were sleeping, I was wide awake twiddling my thumbs bored out of my mind. It was either too dark or too cold to do anything outside, and nothing was on TV either except for zombie infomercials! It didn’t matter if I went out until 2am the night before, I’d still wake up by 6:30am the latest with no alarm clock. Perhaps I was cursed. Or perhaps I was gifted with energy. Ladidadida I’d hum, wondering what to do.
For self preservation, and partly out of boredom, I decided to go to business school part-time. I figure, business school would keep me busy studying, and if I ever got blown out at my firm, I could enroll full-time. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I never got the pink slip, just more work at work and more studying to boot. It was some of the most painful, yet rewarding time of my life.
Can you imagine working 60 hours a week, and having to study for an Operations and Financial Accounting final on Saturday? Ugh. But after the core classes were all done, the electives arrived, and oh how fun they were. From Communications class to Negotiations class and Entrepreneurship class to studying abroad for two weeks in Brazil, school was fun again! This is coming from a person who swore never to go back to school after college. My, how fear of unemployment drove me to do more.
Going to school part-time and working full-time was like a baseball player swinging two bats for practice before stepping up to the plate. By the time he did, he was prepared because he had only half a load to carry. Work is kind of like this now. I have energy for 30 more hours a week to do something else on top of work, and that something else is the Yakezie.
A COUPLE WEAKNESSES
I strongly believe there is a direct correlation with effort and results. The more you practice running, the longer your distance. The more you network with colleagues, the higher the chance you will get promoted. The healthier you eat, the fitter you will get and so forth. As a result, I try hard in four main things: 1) relationships with friends and family, 2) career, 3) tennis/exercise and 4) online endeavors. I have glaring weaknesses in all four things, but I’m trying to improve everyday.
Need more patience. The problem with always trying hard is that my expectations of others gets raised to a level which leaves me little room for empathy sometimes. It’s difficult at times to understand why someone isn’t progressing. Most of the time, my default thought is for someone to simply try harder rather than complain. Just wake up at 6am and work two hours longer a day at whatever it is you are working on, yes? 60 hours more of dedication a month surely will get you to the promised land. Just stop by and comment more and write more guest posts to improve traffic to your own site, yes? Just study harder in school so you can have more options open to you when you graduate….. yes?
Nah. Well then stop complaining and just be happy with what you have. The problem is that things aren’t that easy sometimes. Hard work is hard, but on the other hand, hard work requires no skill! I really need to work on patience. Little patience leads to worse things such as sometimes being perceived as arrogant. I got to cut that out of my life. I pray for patience on a regular basis.
Taking things too seriously. My other weakness is that although I joke around every single day, I take relationships very, very seriously. If you do something disrespectful like tell someone else information which I conveyed to you in private, we will likely not be friends. If you are one who consistently doesn’t do something you say you will do, we will probably not get along because I’ll lose my respect for you. If you believe in dedication, loyalty, and respecting your elders, we will probably be friends for life!
At the same time, I’ve been known to cross the kidding line before largely because I lacked the sensitivity to understand where that line is drawn. Not everybody is a kuncklehead like me. I need to take things less seriously and less personally when someone is late, doesn’t respond, or flakes. Go with the flow sensei.
A COUPLE STRENGTHS
Persistence. You can break my knees, and I will still do my best to compete on the tennis court. If you tell me something can’t be done, I will find a way to make it so. I’m persistent to the point where organizations have entrusted me to get things done because they know I will. If you’ve ever watched Terminator I, when the machine won’t stop, I’m kind of like that but in a nicer way hopefully. I will fail constantly, but I will never fail due to a lack of effort.
Energy. For some reason, I don’t need to sleep much more than 5 or 6 hours every day. It’s a blessing and a curse as I mentioned above. As a result, I have more time on my hands to complete projects and do things I like to do. Sleeping in is a beautiful thing, but everyday feels like Christmas morning and I’m just so excited to get up and see what’s going on. Without energy, I wouldn’t be able to smile. If I’m not smiling, I’m not doing much of anything.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Ever since reading Fortune At The Bottom of The Pyramid by CK Prahalad five years ago, I’ve been focused on finding ways to create a profitable organization which is inextricably tied to giving back to the community in a positive way. It’s nice to earn some shekels blogging, but it’s even nicer to be driven to write because you know that what you are writing resonates with others and can help someone in need.
With the Members assembled here at Yakezie so far, I believe we have found a way. We are not only going to donate some of our money from our online endeavors, but also our time so that someone, somewhere each month can benefit via the Yakezie Scholarship. I hope you all will participate and be as proud of our initiative as I am.
Thanks again to all those who have written their Member Posts. They’ve all been fantastic reads and I’m excited to continue reading more. Chris and I will highlight some of the new features on Yakezie.com this coming week, and work together with you guys to figure out a system to allow those who would like to write on Yakezie.com to do so. Onwards team!