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Two Life Lessons For Performance Improvement

Two life lessons flowed out of my reflections on the solution of  issues that posed the biggest challenges to some of my students this semester. As I pondered different situations, I asked this question: What were root causes of students’ biggest problems that prevented them from presenting papers on time? The answer was obvious: Poor allocation of unscheduled time.

Life Lessons: Things That Matters
Life Lessons: Things That Matters

I am convinced that learning and practicing two particular life lessons will help students become better stewards of the time the Lord gives them daily. Besides, these life lessons apply to each of us at home, at work, at church, everywhere. If each person understood and applied them consistently, he or she would be able to allocate needed time with the Lord, for exercise, for healthy eating, to work on finances. Generally, that person will experience less stress while becoming more effective:

  1. Delay gratification
  2. Focus on things that matter and things you can control

Let’s examine what’s involved with these life lessons. (more…)

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Personal Finance: Credit Scores to Debt Freedom

Popular teaching about personal finance encourages people to concentrate on credit scores, cheap credit, and credit cards. Essentially, it assumes you will live in debt forever. It does not mention the single, key, controllable element in personal finance—individual choices that decide spending, and lead to financial results.

Two Approaches to Personal Finance

Personal Finance Needs a Money Map
Personal Finance Needs a Money Map

We can view personal finance in two ways. The usual approach teaches how to use credit cards, and how to maintain a good credit score. Or, the method I apply that encourages people to strive to live debt free lifestyles.

In the first method, you can get a great credit score, and maintain it always. But, what does that mean? It means you have been in debt, you have stayed in debt, and you repaid your debts as required. You didn’t add much debt, and most importantly, you are not paying off too much debt. Do you get it? You became a slave to debt! That’s what the world tells you, and most folks tell their children. Isn’t this absurd? (more…)

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Decision Making Process More Important Than Analyses

Your decision making process is more important to a successful result than your analyses to prove the validity of a decision. That’s what research shows consistently.

How do you decide? Do you follow a predictable process or do you let your emotions or situations lead you? I believe we are poor decision makers, generally. I think we need to follow a proven process before we decide matters in our private lives and in business. Let’s see what we can learn from three large, bad decisions.

Decisions Influenced By Today

Poor Decision Making Process
Poor Decision Making Process

First, in January 1, 1962, four youths in a rock-and-roll band auditioned for a major British record label, Decca Records. Later they got a letter from Decca saying: “We don’t like your sound; groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.” Decca missed out on signing the Beetles!

Why did Decca miss this chance to sign one of the best groups in history? Decca assumed the future would resemble the present. Four piece groups were not in vogue then, so, Decca extended the present to the future. (more…)

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How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck will take time, sacrifice, and patience. The solution won’t be easy, and it might be counter intuitive. It will focus primarily on lifestyle choices, not on strategies to get more money.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck and be free
How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck and be free

Since the apparent problem is a lack of money, logically, it would seem more money will solve it. But, it won’t. Money isn’t the obstacle. It’s your choices that led to debt. Money is the symptom.

For a short-term fix, you could try to change income or expenses. But for the long-term, first you should accept the principle to live on no more than current income. So, you need to look at ways to lower expenses. This starts with deciding to review your attitude toward money—what you believe about money.

Your attitude decides your behaviour. And your attitude and behaviour results in specific consequences (a+b=c). You might think your income is low, but that’s relative. The key issue is to accept who you are, where you are, and what you have (Hebrews 13:5, 2 Kings 4:1-7) as the basis to build and move on.

We can learn much from Oseola McCarty. I encourage you to take a moment to read about Oseola McCarty. Her story will encourage and bless you. (more…)

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Holiday Survival Kit: Getting Through The Holidays Debt Free

Holiday survival kit? Why does anyone need a holiday survival kit? One definition of survival is “to continue to live in spite of difficult circumstances.” Have Chanukah and Christmas become difficult times? For many, they have, although these periods are meant to be times of reflection and celebration. That’s why we need a holiday survival kit.

These can be lonely times for many folks. That’s a real important issue that needs to be addressed sincerely and compassionately. However, this is outside the scope of this blog, and I won’t address it here. If you know folks who will be lonely this season, pray with them; ask the Lord how you can help them.

I will focus mainly on the commercial parts of Christmas. (more…)

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What Does Stewardship Mean Today For businesses?

Applying effective stewardship in business is key to its success. What does stewardship mean today for businesses? Since the Great Recession, executives are more aware of their trust roles. These days, there is greater protection for shareholders. But we have a long way to go before effective stewardship is widespread in businesses.

What Does Stewardship in Business Mean Today

Stewardship in business is essential? Stewardship means you accepting your responsibilities
Stewardship in business is essential? Stewardship means you accepting your responsibilities

What is stewardship? Stewardship is acting as a steward.  Who is a steward? A steward is someone who gets responsibility and authority from an owner to look after the owner’s property in the owner’s best interest. 

What does stewardship mean today for businesses?  This will vary from firm to firm. These days, many boards of directors and executives see the need to be more accountable. They see this partly because of new government rules. However, executives know the cost of poor stewardship is huge. It hurts their brands. Greed filled executives in good years leading up to the Great Recession. During this time, many managers made decisions that caused major damage to their firms.  (more…)

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Effective Stewardship as You Get out of Debt

Effective Stewardship Requires Caution
Effective Stewardship Requires Caution

How do you get on top of your finances when you are deep in debt? Apply effective stewardship. Accept you are a manager of God’s resources.

While in debt, it seems you are digging one hole to fill another, doesn’t it? By God’s grace these seven effective stewardship steps might help you navigate this difficult path.

1. Patience
2. Know where you are
3. Slow and steady
4. Follow a specific path
5. Celebrate small victories
6. Get an accountability partner
7. Create a nest egg

(more…)

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Unbalanced Life Key To Live As Jesus’ Disciple

Unbalanced Life Is Key To Live As Jesus' Disciple
Unbalanced Life Is Key To Live As Jesus’ Disciple

Unbalanced life? I strive to live an unbalanced life—that’s right, unbalanced. I know this is counter cultural because I hear the balanced life mantra daily. Are you aiming to lead a balanced life? Balancing work and family? Maybe, work, family, church, other activities? I think this balancing act was a key reason for the disturbing findings in a December 1983 Princeton Religion Research Center survey conducted for The Wall Street Journal by the Gallup Organization.

The survey found no significant difference between the churched and the unchurched in their ethics and values on the job. Both groups called in sick when not sick, cheated on income tax, and pilfered company supplies for personal use. If we choose to follow Jesus, He needs to be first and foremost in our lives—every decision and every act must reflect this. We do not need to attend church daily, or slip away to pray and meditate very hour; but we need to do what’s right, and be available to Him always. (more…)

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How to Cope with The Severe Onslaught on Wall Street?

Wall Street Plunge
Wall Street Plunge

Wall Street panicked this morning (August 24). Fear and hysteria were pervasive. Programmed selling followed—securities’ sales generated automatically at pre-set stock prices. Bargain hunters intervened, the onslaught stopped, and the market recovered some losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plummeted more than a 1000 points in the first six minutes of trading. It recovered to close down 588.47 points, or 3.6%, at 15,871.28. This was the lowest level since February 2014. The carnage was similar world wide. The Canadian S&P/TSX 60 was down 3.1%, Nikkei, Japan was off 4.4%, and Shanghai, China dropped 9.3%.

Is Wall Street out of control? What should you do with your pension and investments? Some have fallen 20%, 30%, or more in the past week!   (more…)

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How to Seek First His Kingdom while Earning an Income

Seek First His Kingdom
Seek First His Kingdom

Seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). These are comforting words from Jesus to His followers. What does it mean to seek first His kingdom? Apostle Paul and other disciples are perfect examples. More recent individuals include Corrie Tenn Boom and George Müller. Sadly, we do not grasp the essence of the life of a follower of Jesus because we focus on us and our entitlements. Besides, TV evangelists present God as a celestial slot machine from whom we demand comforts. When we don’t get them, these charlatans blame a lack faith. Meanwhile, their followers support their wealthy lifestyles.

The Bible says a lot about money, wealth, and possessions. Jesus’ essential message on this topic is this: Don’t be greedy; don’t be caught up with material stuff. Seek first His kingdom—focus on the eternal. Many people tell me this is impractical; they say it’s not realistic to be absorbed with spiritual aspects while bills must be paid now. How, they say, do we reconcile the need to put food on the table today with seeking first His kingdom? Often, they tell me they are embarrassed to admit this, but that’s their reality—they must earn an income first.  (more…)

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