Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Four Things to do In Your 20's: A Response to Cameron Schaefer

The following is my response to Cameron Schaefer as he has asked for input towards his future post called: 20 Things to Do in Your 20’s. Why my top four you might ask? Why four and not five? Why four and not ten? Because I don’t want you to make this your top 10 list. Use the following in your own way, and not simply the “secret to life” top 10 list…

1. Read 2-3 Books per Month (or more). Once you’re finished with college and all those “mandatory” reads, pick up some books that may actually interest you. For me, these books are usually about investing, religion, or psychology. Ben Casnocha calls this exposing yourself to as much randomness as possible—I think he has a great point here. Read a book nobody is reading. Listen to a lecture that most people are sleeping through. Ask questions, dig deeper, and take notes. I find I don’t remember much if I don’t write it down. Cameron Schaefer wrote a great post called: 7 Ways to Remember What You Read.

2. Actively Seek Mentors. For some reason there seems to be confusion regarding what constitutes a mentor. I define a mentor as anyone who can potentially add value to something. A friend can be a mentor. A relative can be a mentor. Moreover, the best mentors I’ve had are the people that challenge you to be better and constantly seek to improve you as the mentee. Find people you can bounce ideas off of. I have mentors that I talk business with. I have mentors that I talk about Christianity and religion with. I have mentors at work, etc, etc. Just remember: People are always willing to help you and nobody reaches their full potential alone.

3. Study the “Big 3”: Religion (or spirituality), Your Marriage, and Your Finances. If you don’t have a very good grasp of all of these, you will never enjoy the fullness of life and all that it has in store for you. Find yourself spiritually and seek the will of God in everything you do. If you aren’t spiritual or you’re not religious (or both), you will never completely find happiness and contentment in your life. You may find fleeting moments, but you won’t be able to sustain them for any period of time.

a. Learn to love your spouse unconditionally and constantly work to be a better husband/wife. I am currently reading just about anything I can get my hands on related to improving your marriage and starting out right. Will there be growing pains? Of course. But how many people make a life changing decision without proper preparation? Unfortunately, way to many because ½ end in divorce. Don’t be a statistic!

b. If you don’t understand the world of finance and investing, start reading right now! I have a few books to get you started: A Random Walk Down Wall-Street by Burton Malkiel and The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle. Unfortunately, personal finance and investing are not mandatory subjects in public schools, so you must be the one to realize the importance of learning these topics! Do you know how to retire with more than $1,000,000.00? Is it better for you to lease a new car, buy a new car, or buy a used car? When you buy a home, should you get a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage? Depending on your tax bracket, what is the best investment strategy for you? If you can’t answer all of these questions with ease, you probably need to brush up a bit. Read. Read. Read.

4. “Whatever You Are Be A Good One” – Abraham Lincoln. My favorite quote by one of the greatest Presidents of all time. Don’t complain about the situation you are in—find ways to make it better. No matter what you are doing, be the very best and take pride in what you do and who you are. Look at every situation as if it is the exact situation you are supposed to be in. Subscribe to the mantra: “Live for Today, Dream for Tomorrow.” Be the best at what you are today, but always work to improve and seek opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t ever forget people are always watching you. Don't live your life with regrets.


Cameron Schaefer said...

Can't tell you how happy I am that you took the time to answer my call with some quality thoughts and writing! I completely agree with you on all of them. Thanks for helping me out!

Will let you know when I finish the post, still need a few more ideas.


Brian said...

I know you are in need of good content! Hopefully I can help you out!


Seth said...

Cool post, but I gotta ask:

Do religious people really think that non-religious people aren't happy? Or that the happiness is only "fleeting."

For a blog that has shown you to be one of the most open-minded people I know, that struck me as fantastically closed-minded.

Brian Reese said...

@ Seth,

Thanks for your concern. It isn't that I don't believe non-religious people can't be happy--because they can. However, those people could be happier by growing closer to God. There is a "spiritual" element (in my opinion) missing from some people.

My question back to you is: What is the driving force behind everything in your life?

In my opinion, growing your spiritual side (through whatever it is you do and are) is just as important as food and water in order to sustain life.

In addition, life is full of tragedy. How do you cope when things don't go your way? Where do you find strength when you can't find an answer for tough questions?

Although I can't give you physical proof of what I'm talking about...I see it fairly often. An element is some people is simply...missing.

Seth said...

Interesting take. To answer your two questions:

My Driving force is to make tomorrow more enjoyable than today was. I work hard so that I can buy the things I want to have. I cultivate relationships (through friendships and good deeds) so that the people I like will be there tomorrow to enjoy it with. I do the "right thing" in most cases because ultimately it's what I want to do. Not because it's right, but because the "wrong thing" simply doesn't appeal to me.

I'm asked a lot about why I would do anything I didn't have to if I wasn't concerned with a spiritual being or an afterlife, but the truth is, I do it because it benefits me, either directly by giving me something I want, or indirectly by giving someone I like what they want, which makes them happy, which makes me happy. Rather than wanting to go to heaven once I die, I want to feel like my life is heaven while I'm alive. Either way, its self-serving motivations that drive people

As far as tragedy: I cope. I carry on, because thats all we can do, is to carry on. My strength, or will to carry on comes from knowing if I don't, then I'm hurting only myself. Personally, I think it would be harder to accept tragedy if it were considered part of someone's plan, but I cant say that for sure, since I don't experience those beliefs. Perhaps thats why I'm not as affected by tragedy (on a worldwide level, or family level, such as a loss of a loved one). Its sad, sure, and its fine and natural to mourn a bit, but why spend life in sorrow when you can spend it having fun? After all, that bus could hit us tomorrow.

I don't believe religion makes people act good, or bad. I know a lot of pretty shitty religious people, but I know an equal number of (as a percentage) shitty atheists.

I think, in the end, there are good and bad people, happy and sad people, fun and boring people. And then there are spiritual/religious people and atheist/agnostic/existential people. I dont thing the last two types of people relate to the former groups.

Brian Reese said...

Thanks for your thoughts! It is interesting to hear things like this!

I am careful not to judge, because you are right--there are bad religious people just like there are bad atheists.

My only hope is that you'll continue pursuing those things that make you happy. If you eventually find out that you aren't happy--keep an open mind and begin looking elsewhere...


Seth said...

Lol, you know I will.

Getting close to the big day man, you must be pretty excited. To think I had to watch you crazy lovebirds gush over each other while I was learning the finer parts of a random sampling and Poisson distribution.

Brian Reese said...

Ha is were there when love blossomed!!!!

What is the definition of standard deviation? Ha ha!


Anonymous said...

plenty of religious people are not happy!
90% of prison inmates are christian!

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