Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 – what did you do to prep for LIFE?

71F, 94%RH and yep, back in Houston…

Still, it looks like a nice day outside.– EDIT — started raining 🙁

This week, instead of what you did to prep specifically, what made you what you are today? What changed you path or set you on the right path? Whether guidance, a person who helped, habits, tips and tricks, or ‘words to live by’, what do you tell a promising kid who needs just a bit of guidance?

For me it was a couple of things, and some minor things helped.

I was deep in credit card and student loan debt. I’d just realized that I’d made it thru my youth and probably WASN’T gonna die young. Suddenly I decided I’d better get myself and life in order for the long haul.

So.

I had a steady job I was good at that paid pretty well, but lots of debt. My roommate (R.N.-a great guy) told me that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to save 10% of every dollar I made. Just deposit my check, and make a 10% transfer every time. Kick start the savings by trying to get thru one pay period without cashing my check, then deposit that in savings. That way, you see yourself making progress.

The rest was simple but hard. Get rid of credit card debt. I did this legally, but the laws have changed to make it harder. If you do the math and see where you will be in ten years if you continue on, or if you take drastic action, you’ll be convinced to just do it.

Get rid of consumer and school debt. You are ruining your credit anyway (it’s probably already ruined by all your credit cards) so do it all. If you don’t pay your student loans they will eventually settle for whatever they can get. Save your cash, make them an offer. Pay them off one at a time IN FULL and at reduced totals.

Get right with the IRS. They will work with you, but you’ve gotta do it and stick to it.

The KEY to this was saving cash. Without that initial 10% saved, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the rest.

That was the point my life turned around. I went from living in the moment, and changed my focus to longer term. I started saving money so I had options and flexibility.

A while later, in a different city, and a different life (made possible by having money in the bank) a good friend told me to make a 10 year plan. What did I want in ten years? How could I get it? Making the list (home of my own, debt free, money in the bank, start a family) lets you decide if you are making progress or not. It lets you judge choices. It took me FIFTEEN years, but I got there.

Finally, two minor things have helped more recently.

Break your addiction to the “Snooze” button. If you are hitting it more than once, you aren’t getting any more good sleep, and you aren’t getting up. Set it for your final awake time. GET UP and just get started on the day. Set a backup if you don’t trust the alarm or yourself. In a while, you will both start to wake up, and trust the alarm. This has made a big difference in my mornings.

The second is something I read, that was very hard to internalize but helped me a lot in my work and relationships with people in general. Indra Noori (CEO of Pepsico) said the best advice she ever got was to “assume positive intent”. In other words, assume people aren’t trying to screw you no matter what it looks like initially. Most people are not villains. Most are doing the best they can with what they have and what they know. It may screw you anyway, but that’s not usually their goal, they just want to get thru the day and go home. Changing your default assumption will change the ‘color’ of every interaction and opens up a wider range of solutions to any problems that come up. Seriously, this helped a lot.

So, what or who helped you prep for life?

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