Make time for R&R!

Vacations are important!

make time for RR

R&R  is a military abbreviation for “rest and recuperation” or “rest and relaxation”. As you are probably aware, I recently returned from a two week vacation at the shore. My weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom went on hiatus for about a month during this much needed personal time. The main reasons I publish these weekly articles is to educate and motivate you to be the happiest and most successful  person you can be.  Often times people get into a funk where they have convinced themselves that they cannot escape their circumstances and this negativity leads to depression. Success means different things to different people, but no matter the definition , achieving success always come with an ego boost.  Success is powered by positivity. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. This is where the importance of vacations come into play. In some parts countries vacations are referred to as holidays. No matter what you call it, it’s still a get-away-from-it-all time that you need to clear your head and get back into the game.

Vacations require three things: Time, money, and planning.

For the vast majority of people, the BIGGEST reason that holds them back from vacationing is money. Again, that is why I stress the importance of the 52 Week Challenge, which was my very first blog post two years ago after returning from a much needed vacation.   The first year of articles dealt with personal finances, the second year expounded on how finances are  impacted by ‘the bigger picture’ of the world, and now we are covering time, because time IS money.

Excluding the day we are born and the day we die, we each get a full 24 hours each day to use however we choose. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, young or old, health or not.  Plan your time accordingly. Successful people tend to over schedule their days to maximize productivity. Often times they are convinced that they cannot leave the job because no one else can do it as well as they do.  There are people who work themselves sick, and in extreme cases, to death. It’s NOT worth it. No one on their death bed ever lamented about not spending enough time at the office.  I have come back from many a vacation to find some disaster piled on my desk, or to hear some tale of woe reported to me by a customer. Yes, it’s a major downer at that moment, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.  In a few days everything is back to normal,  ship-shape in Bristol fashion.  The work will always be there, even when we are not. When you die, your inbox will never be empty.

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Vacations are biblical!

 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”– Jesus  (Mark 2:27)

All things are created by God, including the day of rest known as a Sabbath. The time that we have here on Earth was given to us by God, and we are stewards of everything we possess. God wants us to be happy and successful, but He also gave us free will, and  we do self-destructive things to ourselves and then try to blame God for our poor choices.  Some Christians occasionally use the argument that it’s ungodly to waste money on vacations when there are poor people starving in the world and that money could be spent better on them.  If you feel guilty about spending money on vacation, make a contribution to a Christian charity of your choice. Would you intentionally starve yourself to death because there’s a poor person starving to death somewhere in the world?  That’s like saying it’s wrong to buy a house because there are homeless people. It’s nonsense. That’s why the Bible is such an important book to read to show us the proper way to live our lives. People make mistakes. God never makes mistakes.  And the God gives us numerous examples for us to follow. The former pastor of my church, now retired, once gave a sermon that tied two-week summer vacations to the Bible. There is a week-long Feast of Tabernacles described (Lev 23:33-44)  which takes place on the 15th day of the 7th month, every year. There’s other events that precede and follow, and planning that needs to be done.  Pastor Miller claimed this was a model that God gave us for an annual two week work break from our normal routine to rest, take fellowship, and worship the Lord. It may be a stretch, but he had a point. If Jesus Christ himself took time to rest and relax, He would want us to go, and do likewise.  God is good always! The United States is a great nation with many beautiful places for vacations. If you’re fortunate enough to live here, than you should praise God for the freedom and liberty granted or you to pursue your happiness. Every day you waste is a day you will never get back, so make the most of your time and live your life to the fullest! God wants you to be happy and successful, (and so do I) but you have to take the steps to make it happen.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

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SPARE TIME?

Living in the Moment!

SPARETIME

“We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

There are at least two things that differentiate the highly successful individual from the unsuccessful crowd.  Firstly, they handle their money quite differently than the average person. Instead of spending every cent the moment they receive it, they budget their money, save much of it, and invest.  Secondly they do the same thing with their time. 

You may be familiar with the old adage ‘time is money’.  In a very real sense it is. When you work at a job, you get paid for your time. When you invest over time, you get a return on your investment.  In fact, time is more important than money because money can be replaced, but time cannot. Every moment wasted is gone forever. Unsuccessful people usually whine about how unfair life is because they don’t have as much money as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.  Here’s the main point. Rich or poor, Successful or not, every single person on Earth gets the exact same number of minutes each year. 525,600 minutes each and every year, with two exceptions. The year we are born, and the year we die. How we spend that year is up to us.

When I started writing my weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom over two years ago, the first article was The 52 Week Challenge. It was a weekly savings plan to be done over the course of one year, the end result being  $1350.00 saved to be used as you wish. Every year, I take a great vacation at the shore in Ocean City MD, that is my decision. I know many people who always whine that they never have money for vacation, so the first year I focused on microeconomics (personal finance) to help demonstrate ways to budget, cut expenses and hopefully achieve that goal set by The 52 Week Challenge. The second year, I focused on the bigger picture, exploring macroeconomics, and explaining how religion and politics are interconnected to economics, and why you should have a firm grasp of all three. Hopefully you were able to understand my points, see where I was leading you, and you were able to reach the same conclusions.  As I embark on my third year of blogging,  I’m going to focus on the topic of time. As I already stated, time is money, and we each have EXACTLY the same time each day, week, month, and year, despite financial disparities. How we spend our time is entirely up to us.

When I was a still just a young boy, the biggest time waster was the TV. I had family members whose entire lives were lived vicariously through the television. As a child, it was my ‘babysitter’. Plop me down in front of the set with a plate of snacks and I was good to go. My 77 year-old aunt does nothing but watch TV all day, or sleep. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me, but she’s 77 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I got rid of my TV a decade ago. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by ‘cutting the cord’. If I do decide to watch some program, almost everything is available online and I can watch it when it’s convenient. Although the letters TV  are an abbreviation for Television, it should stand for TIME VACUUM because this activity is just a  waste of time that can suck away hours of your life each day if you let it. Now the biggest waste of time and productivity is the mobile smart phone.

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The smart phone  puts the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of your hands. You can load it’s memory with apps to help you track everything financial or health related. It is a tool that in the right hands can increase productivity and knowledge, and likewise can kill it in the wrong hands. In my youth, phones connected people. Now they divide people. The typical smart phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. Extremely addicted individuals use it twice as much as that. The phone is NOT reality. When you spend your time looking at your phone instead of living your life, you are wasting your life. You are cutting yourself off from life and missing all the wonderful things the world has to offer when you bury your face in your phone.

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Human lives are terribly short. We live at best about 120 years, but that is not guaranteed. There are preemie babies that live a few hours, or a few days.  My father died when he was 57. I missed out on all those great father-son moments growing up without a father as a result.   We are ephemeral, a vapor, and but a blink of the eye of God. We live our lives moment by moment, stringing each moment to the next like pearls on a string. We should do our best to make those moments shine.  Time cannot be replaced when it is gone, and neither can people. The greatest gift you can give a person is your time, and the second greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. 

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One of my close friends has cancer. I pray for him every day. I hope he beats it, but ultimately that’s in God’s hands, and worrying about it won’t change that fact. If God wants us here on Earth, it’s where He wants us to be. No man can know the mind of God, but He’s in control even if it doesn’t make sense to us now. It is up to us to use our God-given free will to be stewards of our resources, which includes not just money and possessions,   but our time and our health as well. Make every moment count and interact with people instead of tuning out the world. As always, I wish you success and happiness!       

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