I’m an age group triathlete, and I’ll admit it- I probably spent too much on my carbon fiber bike. Sure, it does help me be healthier, and on group rides and at races, it helps me hang out with my friends. But it’s nothing compared to this $100 bike. This $100 bike will help girls in Cambodia and India get to school safely, and more easily avoid violence and kidnapping that can happen to those who walk. This $100 bike can help a girl have a better chance at a future, to grow up to be an educated woman, who can in turn make a difference in her family, town, and country. You and I have our bikes that are cool, but don’t make nearly the impact that this $100 bike will. If you want to spend money on the best $100 bike you’ll ever buy in your life, here’s the link. I know I’m getting one!
They did a study where they put a child in a room with a marsh mellow. They told the child they could eat this one marsh mellow now, but if they waited 15 minutes, they could have two marsh mellows. Most of kids couldn’t wait and gobbled up the marsh mellow right away, but some kids were able to wait the 15 minutes and got two. They then tracked these kids through high school and into adulthood, and found some pretty incredible things. The kids who could wait ended up averaging 210 points higher on their SAT skills. Because these kids could practice delayed gratification- putting off something good now for something better later- they became better savers and investors and became much wealthier in life. (from Richard Paul Evans’ “Five Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth.”)
With trick-or-treating last night ,I figured we’d try this out this morning. I told the girls that they could have one piece of candy now, or if they could wait 15 minutes, they could have two pieces of candy. They thought it sounded fun, at least at first. Krista whispered to me, “I know B can do this. I’m not so sure about Syd.”
“What’s your favorite piece of candy?” I asked them.
“Snickers!” Brooklyn responded, even though we all knew of B’s well documented love of Snickers.
“Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!” yelled Syd.
Krista overheard and said, “Wait a minute, Syd. Last night you gave me all of yours because you don’t like Reeses.”
“Mom!!!” Syd yelled, knowing she’d been ratted out. That little stinker has figured out early that life isn’t fair, and she’s always trying to figure out ways to make it unfair in her favor.
We knew that Syd liked Snickers, too, if not as much as Brooklyn, so I put each of the girls in their rooms with an open Snickers in front of them. Brooklyn sat in front of hers and just stared at it, daring the temptation to try something.
Syd, on the other hand, was not so quiet.
“Daddy, why did you have to open it?!?!?! Do I have to sit here? Why can’t someone be in here with me!!!!” (‘Don’t worry, Syd, I”ll come back in.’)
Syd decided to try to distract herself from the candy bar in front of her. “Daddy, can I dance? Can you turn on some music?” I put on Disney Pandora and left.
With about 9 minutes left, Syd yelled, “Daddy, how much time is left?”
“About 9 minutes, Syd.”
“Is that a long time?”
“About 3 songs, Syd.”
Shortly afterward, I heard a tune skipped, mid-song, to the next one, also skipped after about 15 seconds. Then a Pandora commercial, and finally a third song.
“Daddy, it’s on the third song. When this song is done, I can eat my candy!”
I admired her ingenuity in trying to work the system, but I stayed firm. ”Syd, I just said three songs, meaning 3 full songs. If you skip ahead, it doesn’t count. 6 minutes left.”
Finally the 15 minutes were up. Syd, having waited, declared that she didn’t like Snickers, and had tricked me, and was going to eat two other pieces of candy. ”OK, Syd, I get your Snickers, then,” I replied.
“NO!!!!” she yelled. So at least I know she likes them a little bit.
Brooklyn, not content to do the bare minimum of the 15 minutes laid out in the study, decided she’d go a full 20 minutes before eating. Take that, temptation!
All in all, I think it was a success.
Is this something you’d try with your kids? How do you think they’d do?
Let me know!
If you want to become a Christian, it’s not an accident. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44)
You don’t have to be perfect to become a Christian. In fact, if you read the Bible, those who were the most messed up- Moses (murderer), David (murder, adulterer, terrible dad), Jacob (thief, coward), Rahab (prostitute), Peter (all talk, no follow up), Paul (murderer)- were the ones God used the most. Jesus said, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” (Mark 2:17) The common denominator was choosing to follow him.
It’s actually very simple to become a Christian. You simply say (and mean), “Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. I believe you died for me. Please come into my heart.”
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”,and believe in you heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
About.com has really good information on becoming a Christian as well.
Next, connect with a friend or a local church to learn more about Jesus. You can even download podcasts at places like Crosspoint, Elevation, and Northpoint. And, to make my mom happy, here is her favorite, Joseph Prince.
In my job as a talent agent, I get to cheat- I can ask advice from people who get paid oodles of dollars for a 60 minute speech, and they actually give me the answers.
Before Krista and I had kids, I asked a financial guru, Terry Savage, the best way to say for my child’s college. I assumed it would be expensive and complicated, but with vast amounts of time and money and mental acumen needed to start.
“It’s really simple, and will take you about 10 minutes and $25,” she replied. I followed her advice and then forgot about it. A couple of years later, we had our first daughter. I remembered the college fund, and when I went to check on it, we had $1,000 saved up already! College is incredibly expensive, and having a $1,000 head start is huge! Here’s how you can do it:
STEP 1: Go to UPromise.com and set up an account. Once you sign up, you’ll start noticing the UPromise logo everywhere. Any time you buy from grocery stores, several restaurants, or even online at places like Target, Groupon, Best Buy and others, you get 1% to 8% into your child’s college savings account.
You can get a UPromise credit card if you want, but you don’t need to. Just register your other credit or check cards. You can also have your parents, aunts, uncles, etc, register their cards, and money will go into your account as well. If you have other family with college savings accounts, those relatives can divide their amounts between several kids if they want.
STEP 2: Set up your 529. Each state has one. If there’s no tax benefit to joining your own state’s 529 program, CollegeSavingsIowa.com is a great one to join. You can start with as little as $25, and invest as little as $25 each time. The money goes into a Vanguard account (a financial institution with incredibly low fees), and grows from there.
That’s it. You’ll be earning money for your children’s college education practically every day without thinking about.
So what’s keeping you from starting today?
NOTE: I am not a financial advisor, this is just my personal advice.
PS: Terry has a lot of great stuff on her website, newsletter, social media, etc
Right before most people get their paychecks (at noon on the last day of the month and 14th, since most people get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month), I’ll be posting on twitter @premierebrian on how you can give a little and save a little from each paycheck.
For giving, I’ll share some of the organizations I think are doing a great job of helping others in this world, especially widows and orphans.
For saving, I’ll be sharing quotes, blogs and insights from experts like Michelle Singletary, Ron Blue, Dave Ramsey, Sami Cone and many more.
You can help your friends and family by retweeting these, too. If you’re giving and saving, they’re more likely to do the same.
If we are start giving and saving, just think of the difference we can make!
This is from an actual conversation that could only take place at a speakers bureau.
Me- “So, do you have everything you need to move forward with this speaker for your event? Is there anything else I can provide for you?”
Event planner- “Well, we have a new sheriff in town, and we need to check with him first.”
Me- “Yeah, I know new executives like to look things over for their first event.”
Event planner- “What?”
Me- “You know, when new executives first come in, they want to make sure they have a hand in approving speakers.”
Event planner- “No, we actually have a new sheriff in town. Apparently he’s implemented some innovative processes down there at the Sheriff’s Department, and we might want to have him speak instead.”
Me- “Oh. OK.”
Why did pirates wear eye patches? The answer is actually pretty simple and kinda smart. Let’s say you’re swinging across from your ship to a British merchant ship, shouting “Avast, ye bilge rats!”, and you see someone with one of those funny powdered wigs disappear below deck, laden with valuables. Can you follow him? Since flashlights were hard to come by in the 1600s, you’d have to go below decks, wait several minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then continue the pursuit- if you hadn’t already been skewered by someone down there whose eyes were already adjusted. The solution was simple. Have one eye covered with a patch, and when you go into darkness, flip it up. It’s already adjusted, and you can go on pillaging and looting without missing a beat.
As a new dad, you’ll need to do the same thing. Not so much the part about boarding ships on the Spanish Main, but more about being able to go in and out of light and dark spaces with ease. Let’s say you’re in the baby’s room where it’s nice and dark, but then you have to go get something from the kitchen or bathroom. Even opening the refrigerator can throw off your night vision. The good news is that you don’t even need an eye patch (unless your wife thinks that’s cool). Just remember that whenever you leave a dark room and have intentions of going back in, close one eye till you return. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it’s a whole lot better than having to wade helplessly through a dark room, hoping not to step on Boudreaux’s Butt Paste or used diapers, or turning on the light, ensuring the little one doesn’t have a chance at getting back to sleep. When you go back into the dark room, just open the ‘dark’ eye, and you’re ready to go.
You are still allowed to talk to you baby like a pirate, referring to formula as “Grog”, and referring to your wife as “me beauty”.
As a kid, being on non-winning teams was a past time of mine. It didn’t matter the sport- baseball, football, basketball (heck, our chess club team was pretty cruddy, too). It didn’t matter if I was on a school team or a city park league team, it was the same result- losing. In fact, if it weren’t for a magical run for by baseball team when I was ten (being the low seed and winning three straight in our tournament to finish one game above .500) I would have never been on single a team with a winning record in my life.
So when it got to my senior year and I was finally on a football team that was good- really good- I was thrilled. We were winning games, not but luck, but by actually being better than other teams. But something my teammate Bobby said to me after a game stuck out to me, and has stayed with me ever since. Bobby was a big dude- 6’1, 225 or so (sorry, Bobby, I don’t have any old programs), who could run through a brick wall. I remember in film study one time where the coach paused the film. Bobby was playing linebacker, and had two offensive linemen in front of him, a full back coming in, and then the running back with the ball. The coach hit play on the projector. Bobby pushed his way through the two big linemen, got by the full back (it was unclear if the fullback just missed the block or dove out of Bobby’s way in fear), and ran down the running back for the tackle. Just a beast of player, and a big reason we were so good.
As I mentioned, that year we were winning, but then one Friday night under the lights we played a really good team, and it was just their night. I was playing defensive back and standing on the near side of the field by Bobby. The final seconds were ticking away, and it was clear we were going to lose. In my head, I remember thinking, “Well, at least we still have a winning record.” Just then, Bobby took off his helmet, and with the most pained look on his face I’d seen on him, said “Man, I don’t want to just beat bad teams!”
I’d been happy just to be good, hopefully a little better than average. Bobby wanted to be the best. It didn’t matter how good other teams were, he wanted us to be better. He didn’t want to be satisfied being average. That thought has always stuck with me. It’s not that I hadn’t worked hard to even get to that point of being someone who was playing for a really good team. It’s more about the mindset than just physically working hard. But I realized there was another level to strive for, and that’s carried through to today. When I started at my current company, we were probably the 150th biggest in the industry. We often compete with other companies for the same business, and whenever I’d find out I was company with one of the top two or three companies in our industry for business, I wouldn’t shirk back. I’d go after that business even harder. I really wanted to beat the best, and luckily that quite often happened. Now we’re probably top five in the country.
Thanks, Bobby, for the great advice all those years ago!
(This is the first in a series of great things I’ve learned from friends in my lifetime that have helped me be a better person.)