In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed

Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” Part 2 – The 7 Cures for a Lean Wallet and The 5 Laws of Money

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should
so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people
of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part
of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings,
I got along just as well.
I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to
the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for
the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you
are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your
ability to earn.
Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to
the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise
in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who
trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

(Ed’s Note: This condensation is from Matthew Kelly’s book: Perfectly Yourself – Discovering God’s Dream for You. I did this condensation because I want to promote his book, which has helped me better understand myself and perhaps you could also benefit from what he has to say about seeking perfection in your life.)

Lesson One:  Celebrate Your Progress

Recognize the “hunger” we all have.

Are you making progress in your desire for connection and union with God?

We need to understand the dynamics of change that so often eludes us.  We need to be honest with ourselves.  The truth is: Diets do not fail.  We fail at diets.  Relationships do not fail.  We fail at relationships. Why can’t we transform our resolutions into habits?  The answer is because we focus too much on the desired outcome and not enough the progress we are making.  Just be yourself—life is not about doing and having, it is about becoming.  Our resolutions involving programs and products divorce themselves from God and in doing so lose their connection with grace, and no great change happens without grace.

The first step toward becoming perfectly yourself is acknowledging your imperfections.  Personal tendencies and talents should be accepted, but character defects should always be challenged.  Think of a tree: Recognize that its branches are not all straight, yet it is perfect in its imperfections, you could say it’s perfectly imperfect, yet it does change and grow over time, and so can we.  The goal is to find the balance between accepting ourselves for who we are and challenging ourselves to be all we are capable of being.  Kindness toward ourselves precedes all genuine and lasting growth, and lightheartedness is a sign that we trust that we are exactly where we are right now for a reason.

The best-version-of-ourselves is not something we strive for and never achieve.  It is something we achieve in some moments and not in others.  Practice does not make perfect in this exercise, but it does make progress.  We can become paralyzed by the fear of failure in this process and will not succeed in the effort until we believe that substantial change is possible.  We need to appreciate that celebrating progress is fundamental in achieving the psychology of change.  We must never allow our spirit to be stifled by failure.  Failure is part of progress,
it is not a final outcome.

Progress fills us with gratitude for the now and hope for the future.  Progress requires desire and action.  Progress creates enduring happiness.  Baby steps are the secret.  Small victories lead to large victories.   

Lesson Two:  Just Do the Next Right Thing

All of us at one time or another have asked this uncomfortable question:  Who am I, and what am I here for?  And:  What is life about?  This moment is part of the process of maturing into a healthy adult human being.  When you get the sense that something is wrong, realize that God has created you to be here right now for a specific reason. 

We think that a new job, a new house, a new car, a different lover or an extended vacation is the answer to our restlessness.  God asks us to stand still and create some time in the rush of everyday living to seek silence and solitude.

The self-discovery that so many people go off to other places in search of is right inside us when we discover that our imperfections are part of our perfection.  We are perfectly imperfect.  Our self-deception and misplaced expectations leave us searching for who we really are in ways that are both real and imaginary.

The key is to humble and honest enough to acknowledge which of our imperfections are part of who we are and which are obstacles that stand in the way of being perfectly imperfect.  When we are humble every life experience is richer.  Truth lived becomes wisdom and living in the things we know to be good and true begets further wisdom.

Have you ever been told that if you set your mind to it you could achieve anything?  It is a lie.  We have all set our mind to things and failed, causing us to feel inadequate.  The truth is we may fail at things because we are simply not well suited to them.  We are capable of extraordinary things, but each of us is different.  Your skill or talent could be my weakness, and my skill or talent could be your weakness.  The great challenge is not to succeed in the world’s eyes, but rather to discover what your unique abilities are and offer them to the world in the best way you can.  To feel at home with who you are and where you are and what you are doing is worth more than all the treasures and pleasures money can buy.

Only one thing can be reasonably asked of you: that you be yourself.  Too often we reject our identity as children of God, unique and wonderfully made, and take on false identities that focus on what we do or what we have, causing us to have an identity crisis.  We can find ourselves by serving others for the sake of service rather than personal gain.

Most of us experience unhappiness when we wander away from ourselves by doing and saying things that contradict who we are and what we are here for.  Unhappiness is not something that happens to us as if we are poor little victims.  
Unhappiness is something we do to ourselves.  You can choose to be happy, and God wants you to be happy even more than you do yourself.  What is happiness?  It is not easily defined, but we all know it when we experience it.

It is important to know that pleasure and happiness are not synonymous.  Pleasure cannot be sustained beyond the experience producing it.  When you eat, you experience pleasure.  You stop eating, and the pleasure stops.  That is why we do not stop eating.  We are not hungry; we simply enjoy the pleasure that comes from eating.  Happiness is different.  Happiness can be sustained beyond the experience producing it. 

Take for example, exercising or working out.  Will you plant yourself in front of your TV with a huge bag of potato chips, or work out?  The choice is yours.  Watching TV and eating potato chips might give you some immediate pleasure, but will it last when you are done?  Exercising gives you a sense of satisfaction and well-being long after you are finished, happiness can be sustained beyond the activity producing the happiness.  Every moment of our life we choose between happiness and misery.

We yearn for happiness that can be sustained independently of substances—food, drink, drugs—and a happiness that can be sustained independently of circumstances—success, money, possessions, opportunities, weather and so on.  Happiness is an inside job and has little to do with substances, money, possessions, pleasure or circumstances.

The philosophy of happiness in our culture is flawed; it promotes the idea that if you go out and get what you want, then you will be happy.  The reason it does not work is because you simply never can get enough of what you do not really need.  You have to want the right things.

Happiness cannot be found by pursuing happiness, it will elude you at every turn.  
Happiness is not an end or even an experience.  Happiness is a by-product of right living.  My friend Tony says repeatedly to “Just do the next right thing!”  If the choice is between exercising and vegetating in front of the TV, just do the next right thing.  If the choice is between cheating on your wife or being faithful to her, just do the next right thing.  By doing the next right thing, we live on into the answers to the questions that we could not answer before, because it was not time to answer them.  Who knows what will happen a month from now?  Don’t make decisions today that are not called for until next week, next month or next year.  Nothing brings happiness like right living.

(Ed’s Note:  Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Lincoln was right.  Happiness, just like misery, is a choice we make.)

Happiness is a lot like wealth and wisdom: Those who have it generally don’t need to talk about it, and those who are constantly talking about it usually don’t have it.

Something wonderful is about to happen.  People have an enormous capacity for good because we are created in the image of God, especially when their own survival is not threatened and our basic needs are being met.  I believe in our capacity for change and growth.  Every moment is another chance to turn it all around.

(Ed’s Note:  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, when we know what to do with it.”  Two thoughts:  1) People who are miserable complain a lot. When you blame others for your condition, you give up your ability to change.  2) People who are good at whining and complaining are seldom good at anything else.)

All success has its root in being able to capitalize on the moment, endure the moment, and draw from the moment what is to be learned, gained or achieved.  Why worry about the future and overlook the fact that how we deal with the present will determine what the future looks like.  If you do not know what the next right thing to do is, quiet yourself for a moment and go to that place deep within you.    

In each moment, do the next right thing.  You cannot think your way out or talk your way out of problems.  You acted your way into them, and you must act your way out of them.  By simply doing the right thing, you will move from confusion to clarity, from misunderstanding to insight, from despair to hope, from darkness to light, and discover your truest self, the unique person God designed you to be.

Lesson Three:  Put Character First

Character will affect the change we desire.  Character will affect your future more than any other single ingredient.  Character is not what someone says but what he or she actually does.     Our future is an external expression of our internal reality.

(Ed’s Note:  Mahatma Gandhi said “Keep your thoughts positive because thoughts become your words.  Keep your words positive because words become your behavior.  Keep your behavior positive because behavior becomes your habits.  Keep your habits positive because habits become your values.  Keep your values positive because values become your destiny.”  Gandhi absolutely knows what he is talking about.)

(Ed’s Note:  Just as we can learn from our mistakes, we can gain character from our disappointments.  Challenges do not build character, challenges reveal character.  How we react to disappointments determines our character.  Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% about how we react to it.  Attitude is critical to building character and success, guts and determination seal the deal.  You must make the right choices—do the next right thing—and take action.)

A person’s talent can blind us to what kind of person they really are.  Talent is genetic or God-given.  You are born with talents.  You either have them or you do not.  Talent may be obvious but it is still limited.  (Ed’s note: Nobody will ever run a 3-minute mile.)  It is important to note that while talent is limited, your ability to increase your character is unlimited.  Character is a gift you give to yourself, and it is one of the few things that can never be taken from you.

(Ed’s note:  Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.  Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.  Clearly, character and integrity are joined at the hip.)

The thing I truly and deeply respect is virtue.  There is simply nothing more attractive than virtue.  The cornerstone of character is virtue (behavior showing high moral standards).  Our culture has reduced all virtue to the universal virtue of niceness, which is no virtue at all.  The most obvious example of this is in modern parenting.  Many parents seem more interested in being a friend to their children than in being a parent.  High school teachers can shirk the responsibility entrusted to them in the area of discipline, merely to be popular with their students.  Trustworthiness is universally accepted as a litmus test of good character.

Rigorous honesty and love of truth in turn give birth to integrity.  Honesty means that we can be taken at our word and that what we say can be trusted.  Integrity means that we can be relied on to do what we say we will do.  Together, honesty and integrity make us worthy of trust—we become trustworthy.  If we are being dishonest with others, we are also being dishonest with ourselves.  The external reality is an expression of the internal reality:  We must lie to ourselves before we lie to anyone else.  And that is betrayal of self.  Being honest with ourselves is at the very core of integrity.  The other side of honesty and integrity is when we do not speak up when we should.  There is no personal integrity without honesty, and there is no enduring happiness without personal integrity.  To attain real virtue requires constant dedication to the truth. 

The enemy of character is ego.  The true self speaks for character, and the false self speaks for ego.  The authentic self finds its identity in all things that are good, true, beautiful and noble, while our personal ego is constantly making demands on insecurity and self-aggrandizement.  It is this conflict between character and ego which surrounds the whole human drama.

All great music, movies and stories are centered on this struggle.  When we are living from an ego-centered perspective, everything happens in relation to us.  Ego wants you to always be the center of attention.

The authentic self is genuinely interested in other people, while the ego is interested only in what other people can do for it.  We are not the center of the universe, and when we try to place ourselves there, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration.

Our lives genuinely improve only when we grow in virtue.  Any other change is simply cosmetic.  If we truly wish to grow in virtue, we must wean ourselves off instant gratification.  Growing in virtue requires real and constant effort.

Pick a virtue and ask God to show you ways to develop that virtue in yourself.  When you encounter someone in need, be generous with your time, talents or treasure.  In each moment, just do the next right thing and your life will begin to flood with joy.  There are no personal acts.  Everything we do affects the people around us.

Just because you do something in the privacy of your home, behind closed doors, with no one else involved and no one else to witness the act, does not mean that that act does not affect other people.  Every human act affects the future of humanity.  Everything God created in the universe and beyond is connected.

Putting character first means that we will allow our thoughts, decisions, actions and relationships to become subordinate to this quest to become and remain authentic.  This is only possible of course with the help of God’s grace.  Alone we can do nothing.  But with God and in God, so much is possible that we have not even begun to imagine.

Lesson Four:  Find What You Love to Do and Do It

You only have so much time during your work life.  Thoreau said most men and women lead lives of quiet desperation.  Most people hate their job.  They keep doing it to support their family, or they think chasing money, power, position or fame will give them satisfaction and happiness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  People do not want just a job, they want meaningful work.  Theodore Roosevelt said, “The best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

We know that working hard and happiness are linked.  Work is not a punishment.  You do not have to do anything.  Nobody can make you do anything.  We choose to go to work.  The primary meaning, purpose and value of work is that when we work hard and well, when we pay attention to the details of our work, we develop character and virtue.  When we work, we gain the opportunity to partner with God.  When work is approached in the right way and with the right frame of mind, it helps us to become more perfectly ourselves.

More than 2,350 years ago, Aristotle pointed out that happiness resides in activity, both mental and physical, and not idleness.  We tend to confuse happiness with mere relaxation and being entertained.  All honest work has an intrinsic value.  Saint Augustine said “Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you.”  Pray for God’s help, and then find your passion and get busy working. 

Do not tell people you do not know what you want to do when you grow up.  You are already grown.  Ask “Who is God inviting me to become?”

Change from what do I want to what does God want.  We are not asking, what does God want us to do; we are asking, who does God want us to become.  Make a list of all the things you are passionate about and ask God to guide you to your passion.  Try sitting in an empty room alone and listening quietly, you may be surprised what thoughts come to you. 

Lesson Five:  Live What Your Believe

We all believe in something.  An atheist believes that there is no God.  An agnostic believes that he does not know if there is a God.  Christians believe there is a God.

(Ed’s note:  Christians believe in the Holy Trinity:  God, the creator of creation.  Jesus, the Christ, God’s only Son and our Redeemer and Savior by His death on the cross and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life.  As Saint Patrick says, “We believe in the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.”)

People are not born with beliefs and opinions; these are the result of education and experience.  Belief is something that evolves in our lives.  We all have the capacity to believe, and what we believe affects the way we live our lives.  There is no faster way to create enduring unhappiness than to act against our beliefs.  The great challenge is to work out what we believe. 

When it comes to everyday dilemmas, we all have a guide that is never wrong and often ignored.  The voice of the authentic self calls to us ceaselessly form within.  Traditionally it has been called the voice of conscience.  Most of the time we seek counsel because we lack the courage to do what we know we ought to do.  It was Socrates’ counsel that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Let us resolve to take some time each day to withdraw from the crazy, noisy, busy world into the sanctuary of the classroom of silence to work out who we are, what we believe, and what we are here for.

What we long for is the unity of life, one living, breathing, ordered life.  It is important to remember that happiness is not achieved by the pursuit of happiness but rather the result of right living.  Unity of life is established one decision at a time.  Consciousness and choice are what we must grapple with if we are to find wholeness.  They are the source of the division and the unity, the source of our brokenness and our healing.  Pray:  “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in your  truth . . . ”  The more complex our lives become, the more we need to accede to the gentle voice within.

Lesson Six:  Be Disciplined

Our insatiable appetite for instant gratification tends to lead us farther and farther away from character, virtue, integrity, wholeness, and our authentic self.  Coupled with our untamed affinity with instant gratification is our mistaken notion that freedom is the right or ability to do whatever we want.  Do we really believe that a life without structure or discipline will yield the happiness we desire?  I think not.  Every area of our life—physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, professional and financial—benefits from self-discipline.

Advertising would have us believe that all our wants for food and diet, exercise, money and relationships will give us happiness.  The common lie in all these programs is that you can be happy without discipline.

Saint Paul writes that “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Self-control is a gift we give to ourselves and is the very essence of discipline.  We are not born with discipline; discipline is acquired.  We acquire discipline by practicing discipline.  Self-control is always accompanied by self-awareness.  As difficult as it may be, we must bring our temper, appetites and impulses under control by exercising discipline, knowing that the more discipline we develop the closer we will come to God’s plan for our life. 

One way to help control your temper, appetites and impulses is by fasting.  Our role model is, of course, Jesus.  Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness at the outset of His ministry.  He was tempted by the devil and exemplified self-control.

Fasting does not have to involve food.  You can fast from shopping, criticizing yourself and others, complaining and procrastination.  You can fast from anything that causes you to become a slave of your temper, appetites or impulses.  Getting better is a process, not a single action.           To ultimately give yourself to others in service, you must first possess yourself.  When you are in control of yourself, you can teach others to do the same.    

Lesson Seven:  Simplify

Clutter, congestion and confusion have become an accepted part of most people’s everyday experience in life, but it does not need to be that way.  We have chosen and created the clutter and congestion.  It needs to stop.  We need to simplify, simplify, simplify.  Simplicity is the way to clarity.  We complicate our lives for 4 main reasons:  1)  We don’t know what we really want, 2)  We don’t have a clear sense of the purpose of our lives,  3)  We are scared of missing out on something, and  4)  We want to be distracted from the real challenges of the inner life.

Get clear about who you are and who you are not, about what you do and what you don’t do.  Again, heal yourself by getting in control of yourself.  Get discipline and set and keep standards of behavior.  Clarity cannot be obtained in the noisy, busy world.  Life is a series of choices.  To make great choices, you must first become clear about why you are making them.  Allow simplicity to direct our life and permit a measure of silence and solitude to have their proper place in the course of your daily activities.

The greatest lesson in simplifying your life is to learn to say “no”.  Being perfectly yourself means doing only the things that are intended for you to do. 

Money has a way of clouding our judgment.  The most devastating poverty after lack of adequate food, water and shelter is the lack of opportunity.  The great appeal of money is that it can buy opportunities.  Money complicates our lives because once we have it, we feel we must possess it.  After the money come the things—the stuff we buy because we just have to have it, the stuff we buy because everyone else has one, the stuff we buy because we were having a bad day, and the stuff we buy because we feel like rewarding ourselves.  The thing about possessions is that they rent space in our minds.  They lull us into a false sense of happiness that is not there.  We could all enjoy things without having to own them, like enjoying a sunrise or sunset, smelling flowers, swimming, bicycling, hiking in the woods, or watching nature unfold before us. 

Simplicity is one of the enduring principles of happiness.

Lesson Eight:  Focus on What You Are Here to Give

It is the responsibility of each of us individually to do whatever is necessary to feel good about one’s self.  Take time for quiet moments alone in silence.  It is in this audience of one that we must convince ourselves that we are using our life in a worthy way.  You have to look yourself in the eye when you gaze into the mirror and really like yourself.  Self-esteem is essential to discovering God’s dream for our lives and essential if we are to establish enduring happiness.   

Stage one in life is survival.  Stage two is independence.  Most people slide by stage three right into Stage four—effectiveness and thriving.  Because they miss stage three, they end up living a life of quiet desperation.  Stage three is mission.  What is our mission in life?  Why are you here?

These are difficult questions for most people of recognize and answer.  That said, people who have a sense of mission in their lives are filled with a joy that is independent of substance and circumstances.  Only a handful of people are called to great missions in their life.  Most of us are called to missions more manageable in the context of our daily lives.  That is the thing about a mission.  You do not choose a mission; you are sent on a mission.

This is precisely the reason why so many explanations of the difficult stages of human development skip straight over the mission stage.  It poses a problem in a society that idolizes self-determination.  God calls us to a mission.  This is important because having a mission and spirituality are inseparably linked.  I do not know of anybody who is experiencing enduring happiness who does not have some sense of mission in his or her life. 

The person with the greatest sense of mission in all of history was Jesus Christ.  He was perfectly clear about who he was, what he was here for, what mattered most, what mattered least, what he was about, and the mission that every event and conversation was building toward.  This astounding clarity and sense of mission was the result of his relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  The closer we get to God, the clearer our own sense of mission becomes.

What is your mission in life?  This is a question you must answer for yourself.  Ultimately, your mission will be driven by the needs of others and the needs of the world.  See Matthew 20:28—The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.  Our greatest strength as human beings is our ability to make a difference in the lives of other people, and yet it is the most unemployed of all human abilities.  Francis of Assisi encouraged his listeners in this way:  “First do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and before long you will find yourself doing the impossible.”

By shifting our focus from what we can get to what we can give, we open ourselves up to a life of service.  Jesus placed an enormous value on service.  He rejected all the ways the world measures greatness—fame, fortune, power, position, achievement, intellect, possessions and status.  Jesus measures greatness by service to others.

(Ed’s note:  Fear and fatigue block the mind.  Confront both and courage and confidence will flow into you.)

Lesson Nine:  Patiently Seek the Good in Everyone and Everything

Worry is the final obstacle to enduring happiness.  We worry because we want to be in control of the situation or circumstance, but worry is a self-deception.  Worry is often born from our unwillingness to admit that we are powerless over a certain situation or circumstance.  We must each find a way to maintain our inner peace even in these times.  Most things that I get worked up about are of absolutely no consequence.  We tend to be afraid because we do not know how things are going to work out, but things are going to work out, one way or another.   

(Ed’s note:  Shaolin Kung Fu Philosophy helps me here.  One of its tenants is:  It has all happened before.  Everyone and no one has been here before, and no matter how obscure it may seem to you, “the universe is . . .  unfolding as it should”, or more precisely, as it cannot help but do.  It is absolutely guaranteed that whatever the result becomes, it will be driven by a choice by someone.

We are exactly where we are in life because of the choices we have made.  Another tenant is:  Stop for charity, no matter what the cost, and there will be benefit instead of cost.  It does not matter for whom.)

Problems are opportunities to build character.  We can endure just about anything as long as we see ourselves moving toward a worthy purpose.  Problems can teach us lessons when we are willing to learn.

(Ed’s note:  When all else fails, remember this serenity prayer by American Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:  “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”)

God speaks to us all in the silence.  Only in the classroom of silence can we gain the calm and clarity that allow us to know when to wait patiently and when to push forward impatiently, when to plan diligently and when to live spontaneously.  Visit the quiet of your own heart in silence alone without interruption and listen. 

We live in an amazing and wonderful world.  Those who believe that good things are going to happen to them are generally happier than those who do not.  If we do not go seeking the good, then we will be constantly looking for what is wrong in everyone and everything.

(Ed’s note:  Be a good finder, not a bad finder.  God is good, not bad.  He wants you to see the good in others.  Nothing worth accomplishing comes easy, yet the reward is great when we serve others.)

A final note by Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “That which we persist in doing becomes easier—not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.”

These Are Possibly the 5 Most Accurate Sentences You Will Ever Read

Copyright 2020
by Ed Bagley

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working, another person must work without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

5. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

America is getting perilously close to losing its four most important freedoms:

1) A republic form of government based on law and order to ensure a civil and livable society.

2) The right to choose your own path in life, to speak freely and assemble freely without control from a government hell bent on becoming a socialist society that will control our means of production and jobs, seek to limit our source of information in the media and in our educational system and provide us with a substandard, universal healthcare system that will go broke, just like every other government program since the beginning of time.

3) The right to keep arms to protect us from a government that becomes too big and greedy in its control over us, moving into socialism and then morphing into a communist or totalitarian system with a dictator, controlling every aspect of our lost freedoms, taking our property and assets, destroying our family, raping our women and killing us when we object.

4) The right to free and fair elections to determine who will represent us without government officials fixing elections to elect the candidate of their choice, to protect our borders from criminal actors and elements that threaten our safety and security, and career politicians who can be bought and sold by special interest groups, including businesses making money and creating jobs, and minority groups littered with victims who have little interest in working within the existing system to get ahead and prosper and seek government control and government handouts while complaining and whining voraciously while achieving nothing.

America is the freest country with the greatest opportunity on the face of the Earth. Clearly, the underachievers who are unhappy in America are out to change our system rather than themselves. The do not understand this reality: When you blame others you give up your ability to change. Albert Einstein said it best: The difference between ignorance and intelligence is that intelligence has a limit.

Financial Thoughts
on Investing
by Warren Buffett

(Ed’s Note: The following condensation is from The Tao of Warren Buffett, written by Mary Buffett and David Clark and available for sale at Amazon and bookstores nationwide. I am always impressed by what Warren Buffett has to say and am doing this condensation to help promote their book.)

On Investing: Never be afraid to ask too much when selling offer too little when buying.
(Ed’s Note: How much you get from a sale or how much you have to pay when making a purchase determines whether you make or lose money and how rich you ultimately become.)

(Ed’s Note: For more of Warren Buffett’s advice go to the menu bar above and click on Financial Thoughts.)