Sunday, July 24, 2016

Changing Times

Change is a scary thing, isn't it?

We all feel that way at times. But life can be explained in this one term: change.

Everything changes. There is a proverb that says a dead river died because the water stopped flowing. Life must keep flowing. Change must come in order to still have life. Life flows as water in a raging river. It never stops and so, it must constantly change.

Change is not always a bad thing. But it is not always positive either. The one fact we must face is that change will come. Even when it is bad, the knowledge that life constantly morphs should comfort us that the difficult periods will not last forever. Likewise when things are going well, don't get too comfortable as change always is knocking on the door.

In the past, careers rarely changed. People got jobs and stayed there until they retired. This rarely happens anymore. One way to always stay in control of career is to constantly be evolving your personal skill set, communication skills, and advancing in your technological abilities. That way, when change comes, whether by chance or invitation, you will be prepared.

That is often easier said than done, isn't it?

Recently an old friend asked if she could come live with me, as she feared she was losing her job. She also asked if I could her find a job. Of course, my answer was negative to both. As young chicks, when things get bad, it is often instinct to look for a place to hide, a situation where you place your cares in the lap of someone else, and thus, you make your problems theirs. This is a highly negative way of dealing with change. In seeing so many people in their 20's, 30's, and even 40's moving home to live with their parents, this is almost an American epidemic. The scariest prospect is, what happens when the parent dies? Hiding from reality at any age past 15 is toxic and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

No matter how bad things get, no one should EVER move home to be with mommy and daddy. It is better to rent a room and share it with four others and to eat noodles while taking a job delivering pizzas.  Psychologically, when a grown man or woman moves HOME, the child sector of the brain is activated and it becomes increasingly difficult to ever reenter adult life. I highly discourage this act.

A close friend recently married a woman who I highly suspected was going to use him to support her adult, deadbeat children. Of course, this has proven true as three of her nonworking children moved in with them in his tiny house. In a situation like this, it is going to be up to the homeowner to simply tell them to get out in 48 hours. The longer parasites are allowed to stay attached, the harder it is to detach them. I pity him greatly but as he invited this problem in to his life, he will have to solve it.

Shouldn't we help people down on their luck? Of course but that doesn't mean we allow our lives to become Grand Central Station or allow chaos to enter our domains. Helping people is often giving them ideas of what they might consider doing to alter their negative situations. People who refuse to adapt to change are at fault for refusing to deal with the signs that hint problems were coming.

Change will always come. However, to be prepared, one must learn to have FORESIGHT. That means they constantly are evaluating the facts in his or her life and learn how to predict potential problems and to always have a plan B ready to instigate. 

What about losing a job: can anyone be prepared for that? I think they can to some degree. The first step is to always be learning new things; reading the latest trends in their industry, and to constantly stay in contact with other people who work in their sector. One way to do this is to network on LinkedIn. You don't wait until you lose a job to start thinking about other choices. You constantly should be evaluating if there is a better job or even a better place for you to be. This isn't being fickle but being prepared. Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Always have a secondary income whether from selling things online via books or collectibles or a part time job tutoring, editing, or otherwise.

Learn to develop passive income. Passive income is money that is constantly generated without any ongoing action required. Google "passive income opportunities" for ideas about this.

The last topic to deal with changing times is budget. Thousands of books have been written about budgeting but few really address the real issue of budgeting: spending.  The only people who should use credit cards are the wealthy: a) they can afford to pay off their balance monthly; b) they use it as a convenience, not as a tool to buy the necessities of life; c) they often use them to accumulate air mileage which is in itself a form of free income; or at least a usable resource. Anyone who struggles to pay monthly bills should not own a credit card because a) they will overspend because they will use that credit card to buy the best food (steak) at the store, not the food they can afford (beans, rice, pasta, etc.); b) they can't afford to pay off the balance monthly; c) they start to see credit cards the same as CASH and this is the foundational reason they are in debt; d) they become dependent on the easy access to what they want and need instead of learning to WAIT until they afford it; e) they will use cards as a crutch to avoid the action necessary to get out of debt such as eating out in restaurants instead of taking the time to plan and cook food at home.  In fact, most impoverished people don't fully realize how poor they actually are because they foolishly have a wallet of credit cards.

The most successful people in life use changing times in life much like a surfer uses a surfing board to ride waves: they REVEL in change as it brings exciting new opportunities their way.

Perhaps we can learn to be like this ourselves by a) developing foresight and vision to be reading the heartbeat of our careers and the latest things happening; b) be prepared for emergencies by having secondary and passive income revenues always in action; c) living on a budget, getting to a cash system and not using credit cards, and cooking at home most of the time.

Wave surfers have to learn to stand on their own two feet before they can soar on the oceans of time. See you at the surf!!