Is Retirement necessary?

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Is retirement necessary? If so then what is it that we are missing about life before we retire? These are the questions I have been pondering. 

It is all over day time news programs about helping people manage their money for retirement. There advertisements about how to make your retirement the best that life has to offer. Buy gold, no buy silver because it will make your dollar last through your golden years. A whole industry has sprung up or maybe it was always there I just never noticed it that services retiring folks and empowers you for preparing. It feels as if life is one big preparation to not work. As if working is a bad thing.

However is retirement what it is all about? Is that what we should be living for so we can finally do what we want to do? People say “I want to travel the world,” or “write that novel I was always thought to do,” or “now I can finally have the time to do what I want.” I understand the sentiment and appreciate the perspective. You can do all these things now before you retire and you probably should because you may not have the energy or gusto to do so then.

Retiring is still a fairly new concept that has been around in the United States for less than a 100 years. What did people do before then? Well…they worked until they were unable to and then lived off of whatever savings they had or with family. It was a way that worked for a long time. Our economy fluctuates and the Social Security system is on the brink of being bankrupt.

What can we do?

If we are asking ourselves how to save for retirement then we are asking the wrong question. Retirement may never come because we could pass away before or shortly after reaching it. My dad passed away almost two years into his retirement of a heart attack. He worked and slaved away at a job he resented in order to reach the promised land of retirement.

The first question to ask yourself is ‘what is your life going to be about?’ Or why are you here on this earth? This is a better starting point because it gives your life purpose and meaning. Therefore, if and when you do retire you do not find yourself bored but rejuvenated because your mission in life continues after your job has ended.

Your job occupies your time while you fulfill your purpose.

As the old saying goes, “If you do something you love, you never have to work a day in your life.” We chose the career we did for a reason. If we are unhappy in it then the ownership is on us not our boss or the job itself. Only you can change your perspective and only you can change.

I will be writing more about retirement and finding purpose in my next several blog posts. I hope you will join me on this journey. Life can be enjoyed now. You do not have to wait until you are retired to start enjoying it.

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My New Book is Free on Amazon

What does it take to make life work? This was the question I asked when I found myself out of work and with a marriage that was on life-support.

In this over 13,000 word Ebook I share timeless truths that I learned. I made the book free because I felt it was important to give everyone and anyone the opportunity I had for free. I hope you enjoy. There is an old proverb that says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Thank you.

How to Overcome Fear

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Fear is a crippling emotion and one that can have dire consequences to our health. However there is a way to stop fear dead in its tracks.

Fear is need announced. It is important to understand that. You would not have the fear unless you needed it for some reason. The fear you are experiencing is not even a version of reality. It is a illusion that you think you are experiencing and thus it feels real. Your experience is real because you have given it a fearful meaning. In any given moment there are an infinite number of outcomes that could happen and we choose the fearful one.

You might have a fear of heights or if you watched Shark Week on the Discovery Channel then it could be of sharks. It is crucial to understand that when you experience that fear that the emotion is communicating something to you. You might be thinking, “Yeah Dan, it’s communicating ‘Don’t Die’!” I get it believe me.

Understand that only your mind can produce the fear. Often when we experience a new moment that we have never had before, then our brain searches for a past event to help us interrupt this new event. A problem that can occur is that the brain finds a negative experience and we could create fear. Often I have done this and lived in fear.

Think about it this way, if you are fearful of meeting new people then ask yourself where does this fear live in you? It could be a time in your life that you had a negative experience meeting new people and you are fearful that this new moment will happen just like the negative one. In essence, we choose to relive the negative, hurtful moment in the new experience of now.

However we need to be careful classifying and judging situations and things as right and wrong. A plane is neither wrong or right it just is. I make it wrong by saying, “That plane could crash if I was on it,” and thus I make it wrong. Yes the plane could crash but that moment has not happened and it may never occur. Live in the now and not in the realm of the “what ifs.” All we have is now. Tomorrow is not yet later today is still far away.

I have two principles that I constantly remind myself of and I share them you in hopes that they will help you in whatever fear moment that may occur.

  1. God is always with me. Even when I am flying in a plane, God is always with me. Even if you are swimming in an ocean with sharks, God is always with you. Even if you walk into a party and your friend has not shown up yet and you think you are alone, God is always with you. Matthew 6:8 tells us that even before we ask God would have already answered. God is always there.
  2. I am always safe. Why? Because God is always with me.

What I do is I remind myself of these principles throughout the day. I also take time to relax and pray in the mornings and just be in the moment with God. It is a daily habit that has empowered me to overcome my fears. These are simple principles but there is no love in fear. In fact, the bible says in 1 John 4:18 that “perfect love drives out fear.”

New Book Coming Soon

I am pleased to write that I am nearing completion of the new book.  Check out this great cover my friend Josh Bissell did.

 

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Finishing up some editing before the new book goes to the printer.  Look for The Power of Ownership Tuesday August 22nd.

What a Pen had to say about Me

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Our world is a reflection on what is going inside of us. The trick is for us to understand this and respond rather than just reacting.

I spent a year a year staying with my sister and her family as I went to college in Kentucky. It was a special time in my life that I got to share with them. They had a dog named Corky who was a shitzu breed. I latched onto Corky and we became best friends. Often I was the one who had to give him a bath.

I would dry him and spray him with Calvin Klein’s Eternity. I rarely wore it and figured my bud would at least need to smell good. However when I would pick up the cologne for myself I had an adverse reaction to it. It reminded me of Corky and that was not the smell I was going for.

The brain is an interesting part of us because it processes much information rapidly. Often when we arrive meet a new situation our brain will reach back to any experience that we had from our past. It does not even if the past experience is nothing close to the new one. The brain does not understand this because one it’s jobs to do is process information for us on how to experience the situation at hand.

Case in point recently I found a pen that I had thought I had thrown out. It had at one time been my favorite pen however through a rough experience I associated the saying on the pen with that negative experience. Hence I could barely look at the pen without having feelings of betrayal and anger well up inside of me. Therefore, a few years ago I thought I tossed it away, but alas I did not.

The pen is just a pen no matter what the inscription on it is written. The pen is neither right or wrong it just is. I was the one who associated it with the experience that I believed at the time was a negative one. In fact, as I reflect on that experience it was not a negative experience at all but was working for my good all along. I was the one who made it wrong.

Today I use the pen almost daily and it has found a comfortable place on my desk. I explore this topic more in my new book The Power of Ownership, which I am wrapping up this week. Below are a few sayings I repeat to myself that I have found helpful and have guided me.

  1. I am not a victim I am a victor. This was a huge statement I said to myself because I realized I lived a life that was out of control. I thought I was a victim but that was not what God made me to be.
  2. Every experience has the meaning that I choose to give it. Experiences are just what they are. It is what it is. I am the one who decides if something is right or wrong. Often I lived a life that would make those wrong who I was around. I would separate and then be agitated by the individual.

I go more in depth in the new book coming out. Also this is a good time as any to let you know that in September I will be starting a podcast. This will be an opportunity for me to encourage you on your journey through this thing called life. God Bless.

What is True Beauty

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What is fat and better yet what is skinny? We live in a world where labeling people, things, and situations is common place. However this “labeling” does not appear to be working in culture.

A former student of mine posted a picture on Instagram declaring themselves fat and they were embracing it. They posted the picture as a means of empowerment and embracing who they are. I understand this an applaud the sentiment. They are a beautiful person the way they were made as well as who they are.

However, my question was who told this person that they were “fat”? Furthermore, who is the judge of what is skinny? Is it Social Media? Models? Advertising? Hollywood?Culture? The problem with labels is that they do not accurately portray who we are and in fact reduce us to a limiting description. In my opinion labels are destructive.

We live in a world where people will “fat shame” another or even “skinny shame” individuals on social media. However criticizing a person for whatever size they happen to be is not just ignorant but destructive. Critical people are often most critical of themselves. The negative comments from an individual to another is related to what that person thinks about themselves rather than the person they are “criticizing”.

It goes back to what Jesus said in Matthew  22:39 “Love your neighbor as your self.” If you do not love you then how can you love any one else? Let’s face it you will be spending your entire life with yourself so you might as well love who you are.

There is no “fat” and there is no “skinny” there is only beauty because you, me, and everyone in the world were beautifully created. We are created in God’s image and God does not create junk. Personally fat or skinny do not mean anything because you are not a size or description but you are you. God made you beautifully just the way you are.

The world would be a drab place without your beautiful self bringing who you are to it. What is true beauty then? True Beauty is you being you. Know this and accept yourself. God already has.

 

Small Decisions equal Big Results

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Decisions equal our destiny.  It is about designing our lives not allowing it to happen.

Let’s pretend that I gave you and a friend the choice of either taking 3 million dollars or choosing a penny. The obvious choice would be the 3 million dollars. But what if the penny would double each day for 31 days. Would that change your mind?

If you took the 3 million dollars then you know that it’s a safe bet. But by taking the penny it is a risk because how much can a penny really double in 31 days? After five days the penny would only be 16 cents. It is not looking like a good decision eh? However after 10 days the penny would be $5.12. Still the penny is not doing much. Then 20 days the penny would then be over $5,000. Yeah it still does not appear to be a good decision to take the penny. Yet at 31 days the penny would have accumulated to over 10 million dollars. While either way you and your friend are millionaires, you might have the feeling you missed out because you took the 3 million dollars.

I believe it is not the big decisions that we make in life equal the big results, but rather the little choices that make each day that impact our destinies. Think about what you would love to do in your life. Do you have a picture of it? Does it seem like a distant dream? Well it’s not. Every dream is huge until you break it down into smaller steps that are achievable goals.

The Law of Compound Effect says that if we do anything consistently then it will eventually pay off in an enormous way. The big choices we receive in life have a foundation of much smaller choices that we make each day. Your daily or morning routine is a small choice that has a ripple effect throughout your day. Don’t believe me? Well then change one thing about your morning routine like get up 5 minutes earlier and spend that time going through all the things you have to be thankful for. I will guarantee that it will change your mood when you realize how blessed you are.

In order to maximize the Compound Effect then we must order our day. You may not be able to control how circumstances play out but you can determine how you will respond.  For me I do a half hour of reading of some kind then I take 5 minutes to be quiet. I like to envision my day, I find this gives me confidence as I proceed.

What is your morning routine like? 

Each day is a gift that we have as an opportunity to live our purpose on this planet and to be the person that God has created us to be. Be mindful of the small choices you make because those are the ones that tend to shape our destiny.