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March 06 2013

Education Vs Financial Freedom

In the “About Me” section of my blog (which I wrote 5 years ago), I spoke about how “if you want to get rich, don’t go to school”. I think this point is worth bringing up again. Especially at a time when US Student Loans has exceeded the US$1 trillion mark!

Its quite worrying that such large numbers of young adults are barking up the wrong tree when trying the make their way in the world. I assume that most rational young adults go to school and choose careers because they eventually want to achieve financial freedom. If that is their true objective, then a key strategy is to spend less than you earn and to invest the difference over time.  So it alarms me that the majority of young people are doing the complete opposite. I can’t think of anything worse than starting a working career in debt.

I was watching this Ted Talk below by Sugata Mitra over the weekend. Its a fascinating story about how to design the school of the future and how children have the ability to spontaneously learn if given the opportunity and encouragement.

But the most memorable part of the talk for me was in the introduction when Mr Mitra explained the origins of the modern education system. It was a designed about 300 years ago during the time of the British Empire. In order to control the vast empire without computers, telephones with hand written notes and ships, the British Empire required large scores of people who could read, write and do simple mathematics. This education system was designed to create identical graduates so that they could be integrated into the “bureaucratic administrative machine” that keeps the British Empire running.

Mr Mitra goes on to say that that this education system is still working fantastically well today, except its completely obsolete. We’re not going to school thinking “hey, I want to be part of the bureaucratic administrative system”. But that is exactly what we’re doing – learning to be a rat in the rat race.  Somewhere along the way, we have programmed into our collective thinking that more education means more income. I think this myth is easily debunked when you look at the chart below:

student loan Education Vs Financial Freedom

The chart shows that despite massive growth in student loans, the rate of growth in household income is actually declining. Also, most people by now, can see that the riches people on the planet today are mostly college dropouts. The usual examples include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson ..etc

Today, people are paying top dollar to schools, colleges and universities that teach a lot of “stuff” but does not specifically teach a person how to make money or live a successful life. Most school programs teaches you the “stuff” you need to get a job. And sadly, a job where you trade time for money is not how you get rich or achieve financial freedom. Is that really what you want to get into debt for??

Getting a “Proper” Education

So what’s the best way to get a “proper” education? I don’t profess to have the ideal answer but I have 2 young kids of my own (5 and 3 years old) and the answer to this question is extremely important to me. So here’s what I think…

I think the best education starts at home where we teach our kids that they can do ANYTHING they want to. Not just things that make money but anything that helps other people and makes them happy at the same time. If you didn’t get this nurturing belief instilled in your childhood, get over it and teach it to yourself! Don’t blame anyone or anything and take responsibility to change it now.

Here’s a video that expresses this idea very well:

jd bookeeping 224x300 Education Vs Financial Freedom

My son doing his own personal book-keeping at age 4.

I also believe in apprenticeship. As an entrepreneur and information marketer, I do want to expose my kids to all that I do every day. So I hope that by the time they are 13 or 15 years old, they would be at a higher level of proficiency in what I do currently.

I have them play in the office while I work. I introduce them to my clients whenever the opportunity arises and have them talk to them too to learn communication skills. I teach them about the value that we provide to our clients and why they happily pay us some money back in return. I’ve already taught my elder son keep a ledger of his income and expenses and teach him how to always set aside a of his income (mostly gifts and payment for chores) as long term savings. I feel that all of this IS their life education. And so, whether they go to college or university, is entirely optional.

So I think that if you are doing well at something, teach it to your kids. If they do display a keen interest (quite likely), then encourage the to learn that skill that they would then use for life.

If you are not already an entrepreneur or have already achieved financial freedom, then find a growth area to expose them to. A very obvious one is in creating a business in the information age.  Whether you have young kids or even if YOU want to learn something new, learning to code or making a business in digital information marketing is a great area to start. Here’s another great video explaining the opportunities in the Information Age:


If you’re a young adult or if you have kids, please teach them the principles to achieve financial freedom. Teach them how to become investors and business owners. Please do not rack up student loans thinking that a job will make you financially free. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Start by monitoring your income and expenses.

If you’re already a product of the education system (like me), you need to “unlearn” the “stuff” that does not bring you life success and start focussing on learning new things that do. I went back to school to study nutrition to start a wellness centre and I taught myself to create ecommerce websites and build apps to market digital products (among many other things).

Find something you love to do and that adds value to others and get really good at doing that. Then monetize it. If you have the propensity for it, learn to code or create a business in information marketing. This is a very obvious growth area in the Digital Information age. Heck, I know people making a lot of money selling ebooks on knitting! You could turn almost any interest into a great digital product if you really had the passion for it (e.g. apps, ebooks, software..etc).

Above all, take responsibility for your life. Choose to unlearn disempowering beliefs and adopt new beliefs that empower you towards your life goals.

November 11 2011

When ““

Did you get the title of this article? Its not a typo.

Its meant to say when “less (<)” “equals (=)” “more (>)”. Its a concept that I am slowly growing to love.

The idea is not new but one that I am newly embracing. With the challenges we face in the “information age”, I believe its an idea that can only continue to receive greater acceptance. Our time, attention and resources are limited by nature. And the rate of growth of distractions and messages to consume is insatiable. So its a matter of time when something has got to give.

You know what I’m talking about right?

Today, we struggle with unprecedented volumes of information and messages that fights for our precious attention and causes us to accumulate more “stuff” and leave a bigger environmental footprint on our planet.

Ever have trouble managing your email? I do. And also with status updates from Facebook, Twitter and the litany of other social media sites. Even when we are on the move, we’re distracted with mobile devices that beep, vibrate and blink at us at all times of the day.

Do you have everything you need to live? I’m pretty sure you already do. So if you think about it, for most businesses to exist today, they HAVE to convince us to buy stuff we don’t need. On the television and news, theres an endless barrage of advertisements and messages that fight for our attention. The objective and outcome is that it pushes us towards consuming more, buy more stuff, do more activities, multi-task, always more more more!

So when is less equal to more? For example:

  • Is it better to have 500 “friends” on Facebook or just 2 or 3 really good friends you actually like to spend time with?
  • Is it better to work 14- hour days or earn less and spend more time with your children or your spouse?
  • Is it better to have a closet full of clothes you will never wear or just 5 pieces of clothing you love wearing?

These are just a couple of random examples. But at the core of the minimalist philosophy, its all about limiting all areas of life so that you enjoy a better quality of life. Its a very powerful tool. The simple act of limiting a particular area of your life, causes you to immediately value it more and get more out of it.

Listen, I’m no expert in this area. It sounds absurd initially to put any limits on our life choices but the benefits to our mind, body and spirit is tremendous. Not to mention the potential benefits to those around us like our family and friends and ultimately for the planet.

I’m taking baby steps. Here’s 2 initiatives that I’ve already started:

  1. I only check email once at 7am (before my running) and once at 5pm.
  2. I labelled all my clothes from 1 to 10. 1 being stuff I always pick and wear and 10 being items I have not worn in years. I then donated all my clothes ranked 4 or more. (that was a tough one, but very beneficial to my appreciation of minimalism)
  3. I only single-task meaning I make a list of things I want to get done on a particular project and I only work on one task at a time and not move on to the next until the previous one is completed.

Like a real baby – I’m stumbling and falling every so often. Especially since a big part of my business involves social media! But I’m excited. I’m motivated by  even the little benefits as I begin to feel less stress, gain more time and actually get more productive.

I hope to get better at this and continue finding more ways to accomplish more by doing less and experiencing more joy out of life by having less “stuff” and distractions.

July 07 2011

Keep Your Goals to Yourself

Here’s some interesting advice – in the video below, Derek Sivers explains that psychologists have shown that telling people about your goals makes you less likely to do the work necessary to achieve them. This goes against the traditional thinking where we’ve been told that its good to tell a friend about our goal so that they can hold us accountable.

From my personal experience, I tend to agree to with Derek’s view. I’ve always kept my biggest goals over the last 10 years to myself. Not because I knew about these psychology studies but because one of my fears is being ridiculed about them.

I’ve also experienced what Derek talked about in his video. For example, there was a few times when I shared a tweet or posted on Facebook that I’m going to work on something that I was excited about. To which some friends would reply with accolades and encouragement as friends do. And then the motivation I feel is diminished because the social “reward” albeit undeserved has already been had. Has this ever happened to you?

My conclusion is that this is actually pretty darn good advice. I do think that if you have big goals, write them down, live them everyday in your mind but don’t ever, ever tell people about them until AFTER you’ve achieved them.

June 14 2011

“The Decision Time Frame” – A Simple Idea To Keep You Moving Towards Success

I was listening to a Brian Tracy personal development audio program yesterday and he mentioned a study about how people with higher incomes have a longer time frame in mind when they make decisions compared to those with lower incomes.

I thought this idea was worth expanding and sharing because it can have a profound impact on your personal level of success in all areas of your life.

Personally, the idea resonated with me because I have been writing down long-term goals (almost daily) for as long as I can remember. Keeping my mind focussed on my long-term goals have helped me to make daily decisions that move me towards my goals rather than away from them.

I made this short 4 minute video to explain the idea more clearly. I hope you find it useful:

May 09 2011

[Video] The Secret Truth About Executing Great Ideas

In “the secret truth about executing great ideas” Frans Johansson discusses the main similarities among successful innovators. I find his points very true. When we read or hear about success stories, very often, we are only...

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April 19 2011

Improve Your Productivity with 3 Computer Monitors for the iMac

I recently decided to upgrade my home work station to include three monitors (see picture below). My primary goal was to maximize productivity but I was really not sure how much value it would add. Well, using this new setup for some time,...

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November 06 2010

How To Sync Your Calendars, Contacts, Todo’s, Files and Other Data Between Multiple Computers, Your iPhone and iPad

This is my ultimate guide to keeping your calendar, contacts, bookmarks, todo’s, files, passwords and other items synchronized between multiple computers, iPhone and the iPad. Warning, this one of the most geeky posts I have made...

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October 25 2010

Why It Is Critical To Understand The Simple Arithmetic of Geometric Growth

This is a very convincing presentation of why a complete lack of understanding on the power of geometric (or exponential) growth is the cause of all human problems. I strongly encourage you to use some of this simple logic to plan areas of...

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August 12 2010

How To Achieve The Life Of Your Dreams

When we go about setting goals and designing our dream life, we often think about external things. We think about what we want to accomplish, the things we want to have, the people we want to attract into our lives and the success you want...

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July 15 2010

How to Remember What Is Most Important In Your Life!

Did you know that any knowledge that you have acquired that is not actively being used is slowly being forgotten? This is a serious problem for a lot of people and they don’t even know it. Have you ever been to a seminar or read a...

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March 29 2010

5 Life Success Principles I Learned from Playing the Piano

I’ve been thinking about sharing the concepts in this article for a long time now. Specifically, I think of it every time I practice the piano. And this has been hours and hours at a time for the past 5 to 6 months. You see, I bought...

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March 17 2010

Some Advice From My Friend and Mentor Bob Proctor (from the Secret)…

My friend and mentor Bob Proctor just released 3 training videos that talks about the secret ingredients for success. It is available at no charge so click on the image below to access the first video: Video 1 If you’ve been...

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February 23 2010

How Do You Figure Out What It Is That You Really Want?

So many people have no idea what they want or just haven’t taken the time to seriously think about it. They aim for nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy. The first and very important step to achieving all your goals is actually having...

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February 04 2010

If You Want To Be Happy & Successful Focus On Achieving “Congruence” Instead of “Balance”

What is most important to you in life? Your family? Your career? Your health? Your spirituality? Your emotional well-being? The fact is, all of the above is important. If you have a great family life but you have no money –...

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January 20 2010

David Blaine Demonstrates What It Takes To Be Exceptional

This is a TedMed talk where David Blaine explains the intimate details of what it took for him to break the world record for holding his breath underwater. He held his breath live on Oprah for 17 minutes and 4 seconds! In his telling of...

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January 09 2010

[Video] Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

 [Video] Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

A very moving and inspiring speech made by Steve Jobs at the 2005 Stanford commencement address. This gave me a lot of appreciation and insight into the man behind the technology that I use everyday!

 [Video] Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

December 27 2009

3 Great Web Apps To Help Start A Great The New Year

 3 Great Web Apps To Help Start A Great The New Year

The start of the new year gives us hope of starting anew. We give thanks for the blessings and successes for the year and we hope that the setbacks and challenges we faced will be lessons learned to make us wiser and stronger for the future years.

To this end, here are 3 great websites that you can benefit from as we begin the new year:

1. 43 Things


This is a simple website where you can list your goals for the future and share them publicly with others. Its also a great website to get ideas of worthy goals to set. It’s very easy to use. Just type in your goals and review a “goal” cloud listing what other members have set as their goals.

Why I like it? I like it because I like reviewing what others have set as their goals and I find great ideas and inspiring goals that I never thought of.

43Things 3 Great Web Apps To Help Start A Great The New Year

2. TeuxDeux


Pronounced as “to do”, this is a simple service that lists every day of week from Monday through Friday. Below each day, you can enter as many things you want to do as you wish. Once done, you can cross them off or look back to see all that you have completed. This is a great way to plan each week at a time and to review the previous items done for the week.

Why I like it? I like it because its simple and it just works. There’s also a “someday” column to list major items that you have yet to schedule. This is useful for creating week to week goals while keeping your long term goals constantly in view.


3. Gratitude Log


Think Twitter but dedicated to gratitude. You can share what you are grateful for each day and give virtual gifts and awards to people and friends you are grateful for.

Why I like it? To me gratitude is the secret to having more in your life. This service helps you to practice the art of gratitude and it is a great place to lift your mood by seeing what others are happy about and grateful for.


Technorati Tags: gratitude, new year, web apps, puppy, puppy

 3 Great Web Apps To Help Start A Great The New Year

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