A Slice of Americana – Think Sunshine and Good Days Ahead
Ed

Musings by The Rooster:

 

On Tolerance:
The English writer G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) once remarked that tolerance is the virtue of people who do not believe in anything; consequently, the have no standards by which to judge, which means they can be endlessly “ tolerant”. Within any given society or culture, the majority can, in fact, be wrong. Ergo, “Right is still right if nobody is right, and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong.” An act’s rightness or wrongness does not depend upon the number of its supporters. Acts that are popular or even laws passed by a legislature are not necessarily moral or ethical, not to mention fair.

On Your Potential:
It is possible that you are squandering your ability to develop your potential by spending too much time mooning over what is not right with your life rather than using that same energy to take action to achieve what you want to happen. To do so you must first decide who you are, what it is you want, and why you are here. Once you answer those questions for yourself, you will naturally gravitate toward becoming the person you are, you want to be, and what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Along the way, you will be feeding your passion rather than trying to discover your passion on an ever ending journey to despair.

On Personal Growth:
There is a huge difference between “professional growth” and “personal growth”. Do you know the difference? Virtually all successful people have professional growth. Professional growth is getting more education (a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree), or successfully completing a training course in some specific skill (an apprentice carpenter becoming a journyman carpenter). Personal growth is totally different because personal growth requires you to change your thought process and belief system. Of every 100 people who could benefit from personal growth, only 10 at most would even attempt to develop personal growth, and, of those 10, only 1 will achieve personal growth because it is so difficult to achieve on your own without professional help of some kind. The one percent of people who achieve personal growth could be called “1 percenters”.
The 1 percenters may be 99% ahead of those who do nothing to change their thought process and belief system.

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.

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.)

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley

An article by Katie Johnston Chase appeared in The Boston Globe on June 22, 2010. It talks about “dumbing down” your resume to get hired. I could not disagree more with this tactic, and will explain why.

But first, here is the article by Katie Johnston Chase:

After hearing from several potential employers that he was overqualified, high-tech salesman Joe Collins of Medfield worked with a recruiter to come up with two resumes. One emphasized revenue gains and the number of people he oversaw as a manager; the other omitted those details, concentrating instead on his hands-on sales experience.

Collins, 55, figured that someone looking to fill a routine sales job might review his more high-powered management experience and assume: “He’s only going to hang around until he finds something else.”

As the tight job market forces the unemployed to apply for lower-level positions, more job seekers are “dumbing down” credentials, wiping graduate degrees and high-level experience off their resumes, recruiters say.

Applicants say the idea is to get hiring managers to at least look at their resumes, instead of figuring someone with extra qualifications will demand a bigger salary or leave for a higher-level opportunity once the economy turns around.

But too much background doctoring can be risky. Wakefield recruiter Bruce Allen, who has had more clients ask about altering their resumes during the economic downturn, stopped short of calling it unethical, but he said leaving off degrees and experience may come back to haunt job seekers. It’s hard to hide skills in an interview, he said. Background checks and the Internet can also quickly reveal what job seekers leave out.

“It’s less about ethics and more about what kind of quicksand are you about to step into,” said Allen, of Point B Search, who helped Collins craft his resumes.

Modifying a resume to fit a specific opening is nothing new, but when jobs are scarce, recruiters say, applicants are more willing to undersell themselves. Stephen Ford, of the career consulting firm OI Partners in Concord, sees this resume customization — not mentioning that you managed a $1 million budget if the company you’re applying to has a half-a-million-dollar budget, as he counseled one job seeker — as a way to broaden a job seeker’s appeal.

“I think we see it in each deep recession,” Ford said.

Former Web analyst Nicholas Carroll, who was laid off from his consulting job for IBM in 2008, is such a believer in dumbing down resumes that he dedicated a section of his 2009 e-book, “The Layoff Survival Plan,” to it.

In the section titled “How to Downgrade Your Resume for a Tight Job Market,” Carroll recommends taking titles down one peg, from director to manager, from manager to specialist.

Carroll removed his bachelor’s degree in technology management after he lost a job as a website developer during the dot.com collapse of the late ’90s in order not to appear overqualified for blue-collar work, and he didn’t stop there.

During an interview for a management position at Econo Lube `N Tune, “I deliberately hesitated a quarter second before every answer,” he said, and at one point decided to fake a “faint look of panic.”

The morning after the interview, he said, he was offered the job. “Somebody finds out you know that much more than they do, they get nervous,” Carroll said.

That’s true, says Robert Akerlof, a post-doctoral associate at the MIT Sloan School of Management, who is working on a theory about how it can be difficult to maintain authority over overqualified workers if they think a job, or a boss, is beneath them.

Dumbing down a resume is a way for job seekers to show that they are going to be respectful, said Akerlof, citing the “20 percent rule,” which states that bosses should be 20 percent smarter than their employees.

“I think it’s not so much that you’re lying about what your resume is, it’s that you’re trying to convey an appropriate attitude,” he said.

Recruiters also say they are seeing more older workers who delete the year they graduated from college, along with details about their early job experiences — both of which can date them.

But a job seeker who left the first 10 years off his resume didn’t get far with the Burlington public relations firm Davies Murphy Group. “In my book it automatically disqualifies the candidate because it shows a comfortableness with dishonesty,” said principal Andy Murphy.

People are so focused on getting back into the workforce that they are setting aside not just complete work histories, but their egos, to go after the kind of position they may have had years before.

Unemployed Denver science educator Nancy Hansen removed her master’s degree in ecology and her two Fulbright scholarships from her resume to send a message to a potential employer: “I don’t want you to think that because I have a great resume I’m above doing the work that is here.”

Hansen is still not getting many callbacks from the museums and schools she has been applying to, but at least she’s not hearing the dreaded “overqualified” word anymore. If she is asked about her education or work experience in an interview, she said, she will tell the truth.

That’s what Adrienne Rodney did after sending in a master’s-degree-free resume for an executive assistant position. Convinced that her graduate degree from Boston University was hurting her chances of getting the publishing and public relations jobs she was applying for, she stopped including it.

When she came clean about the omitted degree to her potential boss, Brooke Allen — who runs the website NoShortageofWork.com, about unconventional paths to employment — Allen told Rodney that he had left his MBA from New York University off his resume years before.

Much discussion, and a job offer for Rodney, soon followed.

End of Katie Johnston Chase’s Article

Start of Ed Bagley’s Reaction:

When resume writing clients of mine approach me about “dumbing down” their resume to help them get a job in a down economy, I discourage such foolishness, and here are some reasons why:

1) It is very bad form for anyone who wants to get ahead in this world to apologize for being educated, literate, ambitious or productive.

Just because the world is full of mediocre minds and mental termites (many of whom take up space and do nothing more than enough to keep their job) does not mean you should be sucking up to them at their level of thought power, education, literacy, productivity and accomplishment.

You can temporarily lower your level of employment expectations, but do not lower yourself or your qualifications in the process.

Take a lesser job and salary if you must to survive until the economy turns around, but stand your ground when it comes to your qualifications.

Do not dumb down your resume by taking off your degrees, job titles, productivity and accomplishments.

You can tell me that they will not hire you because they feel you are a threat to their position.

You can tell me that they will not hire you because they are afraid you will leave for a better position when the economy turns around.

You can tell me that they said your are overqualified for the position.

None of these comments from potential interviewers or decision-makers amounts to a hill of beans.

If no one has every told you before, I need to tell you now – when someone says you are overqualified, that is simply the most polite way they have of saying they do not want to hire you.

It could mean they do not want to hire you because you are a threat, or because you may leave at the first opportunity for a better job, or any other reason, including the way you part your hair, the color of your eyes, or the sound of your voice. It flat does not matter.

You simply need to move on to another interview for another opportunity. Think this through for a moment.

If they think you might leave because you are a threat, what makes you think they will not undermine your effort and production if you are hired?

If they think you might leave because you will find a better opportunity, is it not clear then that you will be penalized for trying to better yourself? What kind of a person or boss would hold you back from becoming a better person, or trying to find a better, more productive way to support your family and yourself?

I will tell you what kind of a person would think and feel this way toward you. A loser, that’s who. What person in their right mind wants to work for, or with, a loser? Losers will always drag you down before they would ever think of lifting you up, that is why they are losers.

Winners do not think like losers. Winners do not talk like losers. Winners do not act like losers.

What would a winner’s reaction be if you came to him or her acting like you were educated, literate, ambitious or productive? They would read you resume, interview you and act appropriately – that is, make you a job offer.

Why? You must be kidding to ask such a question.

For openers, when you are educated, literate, ambitious and productive, they may not have to spend a dime to train you to do a job at a much lower level than you are accustomed.

You will likely be a high achiever and performer, saving them time and effort in monitoring your work habits.

They will be able to give you projects and assignments, and they will not micro-manage you in the process; they will be moving on to another challenge to make them and the department – including you – look better than your competitors to the higher ups.

You will likely make your boss look good, increasing his chances of an earlier promotion. And what do you think your boss will do when he is promoted? That’s right, take you to a higher position with him; he would be nuts not to, especially if he knows how valuable you have been to him under his charge.

Should you be offered a better position than the company you are working for can match, you boss will not be all that upset if you leave. Why? Because you may leapfrog over his position, turn around, and bring your boss with you. After all, he was smart enough to hire you.

2) Acting and playing dumb to take a job that pays significantly less than you were making is hardly an intelligent career move unless you want to devalue yourself and what you have to offer, and move backwards at the same time.

When you interview with someone for a lesser position, and you know that person is not even making half or one-third of what you were making in your prior position, do not let the interviewer make you feel like a lesser person by sitting there and listening to that baloney.

Be polite, be patient and then be gone. Life is short. You do not need to work for losers who want to tear you down while trying to build themselves up at your expense.

I fully recognize that in life there is no vacuum for followers, the vacuum is for leaders. Followers do not, and cannot lead if their life depended upon it. When a follower sees a leader, he will follow and become a good team player; he knows his place and will be happy as a follower.

Leaders do not enjoy any such comfort. Leaders are not comfortable unless they are leading. And yes, leaders were once followers before they became leaders; they just did not make a career out of being a follower.

There is nothing wrong with being a follower. As Shakespeare said, “Act well your part, therein all honor lies.”

Smart bosses and smart people in the hiring business know they are always money ahead hiring a smart, educated, literate, productive and ambitious person. People who fear competition are losers and will never get ahead in this world, unless, of course, their daddy owns the company and their daddy would let an idiot run the company.

Most winners in this world got where they are at by lifting themselves up by their bootstraps by the honest sweat of their brow – all they needed to become successful was an opportunity, not a handout.

And, this is important, when they were denied an opportunity, they created their own opportunity. Some people have a job; other people create a job with a business – in other words, they do not have a job, they own a job.

When you have your own business, you are not going to fire yourself or lay yourself off. If you want more income, you raise your prices, and operate only in the market that will pay your prices. Who says you have to serve everyone? You just have to serve someone in a special market segment to be successful in America.

One final comment – have some pride and backbone in who you are, and what you have to offer. Do not allow two-bit interviewers and snot-nosed personnel types to push you around mentally or emotionally, they haven’t lived long enough to earn that right. Let people know real quick that you are a person of substance and, if they cannot handle it, find someone who can.

Life is short. Idiocy is rampant. Success is elusive. You must reach out and grab success by the hand, and do not let loose of it until you bring it to you. You can do it. Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. Create desire, develop belief, and get on with it.

If You Think as a Parent that Little League Baseball Does Not Teach Important Survival Skills, Think Again

 

By Eddie Rooster

Sometimes as parents we forget how simple and subtle the lessons in life
can be.

I was reminded of this yesterday afternoon when
I heard the cheering of youngsters playing a Little League baseball game in the nearby city park. It is amazing when the noise of kids at play can carry the sound a half-block away and into the open window of your living room.

Little League baseball games can get noisy. Kids are excited when the bases are loaded and their next hitter sends a screaming line drive into the outfield.

They know that the outfielder will likely boot the ball, and as it gets by him on its merry way to the fence, all three players on base will score and the hitter will probably come home safe with an inside-the-park home run and 4 ribbies (runs batted in) to his credit.

Ah, baseball, spring is in the air and summer is approaching.

The pure fun of sport is so normal and so natural to our human experience.

I read a study once that interviewed hardened criminals spending life in prison for capital crimes, such as murder. A psychologist asked inmates what they missed most now that they were spending the rest of their lives behind bars without possibility of parole.

The answer stunned me, and it should stun you too. What they missed most was not their girlfriend, or sex, or drinking, or drugging, or gambling; it was the sound of kids playing. Perhaps the one, real, positive memory they have of their life was when they were a child playing.

These are two compelling extremes: children at play without a care in the world, and incarcerated criminals who are burdened with the reality that they will never again be free to play.

With all of the violence we are now seeing with youngsters who solve their supposed “problems” by shooting their perceived “enemies” (many times friends and family), I am reminded that some of our children today seem less able to cope with adversity, and even less so with patience.

How is it that they clearly lack coping skills and patience, two necessary traits for survival as an adult?

It will take someone a lot smarter than me to give you the right answer to this question.

I will leave that answer to what some educated professionals who study psychology think.

In the meantime, I choose not to tell you what I think, but to share with you what
I know.

Here is one thing about Little League baseball that is being taught by some parents and some leaders in some organizations that is really not worth teaching, and that is this:

Certain organizations have adopted the misguided practice of rewarding every kid on each team regardless of their effort or performance. In other words, a team can lose every game all year and each kid gets a trophy for participating, a team picture and his or her own baseball card with their mug on it.

Apparently some parents do not want to hurt their child’s feelings even though the child makes little effort, is clearly incompetent at improving on any skills of the game, does not understand the game, and really could care less.

I doubt the parents in the example given have a clue about the lessons they are teaching their children by insisting on this foolish practice of making their child feel like he or she has accomplished something.

First, they are encouraging mediocrity by rewarding nothingness. Practice this stupidity a few more generations and we will have our children thinking they can show up to work as an adult, do nothing and get paid for their lack of skills, effort and production.

Second, they are rewarding children for having no concept of goal-setting and achieving goals. The parents are not encouraging any concept of self-improvement and providing no incentive to do so.

Third, they are teaching no learning skills in how to cope with failure, and not providing a shred of understanding about the function of failing. Losers would be astonished to learn that successful people have failed more than losers ever thought of failing.

One of the big differences between losers and winners in the game of life is that when winners fail, they get right back up, dust themselves off, learn from the experience, and try again.

Fourth, they devalue the kids who do work hard, fail and then succeed by rewarding a bunch of kids who haul off and do nothing, learn nothing, and have no sense of real accomplishment.

I remember going door-to-door as a 9-year-old kid, looking for a sponsor for a baseball team I was putting together. I instinctively knew kids would want to be on my team if I could get them a free baseball hat and shirt; we would then look like a real team. I had played on a team that had nothing; we could not afford uniforms, we were lucky to have a glove or borrow a glove.

I found that sponsor, a business called Jewell Realty in Flint, Michigan.
I found a sponsor because
I was looking for a sponsor. The people that owned that business were impressed that a 9-year-old kid would have the guts to walk all over town and ask businesses to sponsor his rag-tag team. I put up with the nos and getting kicked out of places because
I wanted it that bad.

The year was 1953 and we were terrible; we lost more games than we won. We were put upon, put down, slapped around and got the crap kicked out of us, but
I never quit, and I made sure my teammates didn’t quit either. When someone quit trying, I kicked him off the team and found someone else.

Two years later we won the league championship, and when we did, I was surrounded by winners who had become my friends.
I did not need my parents to do this for me, I did not need some meddling adult or juvenile counselor to do this for me, I needed to do this for myself.

When I got the guys together and we took that trophy down to Jewell Realty, we all shared in the excitement of being winners. Later that summer I would walk by Jewell Realty, see that trophy in the window, and know who
I was and what I had become: a winner. Jewell Realty did not win that trophy, I won that trophy, and I knew what it would take to win another.

Our parents never saw us play, they were too busy working.

If someone had come around after that first season and given each of us a trophy for losing, we would not have accepted it. Think about it: the message they would have been sending us was we think you are so bad that you could never win a title, so in order to sooth your precious little feelings, here is a trophy for being a loser.

I think I would have spit in their face. I was that competitive. I might have been a 9 year old but I did not need some meddling parent setting goals for me that I thought were so low
I would trip on them walking across the baseball diamond.

If you think a 9-year-old child cannot have some dignity, you are dead wrong, and have probably been wrong about a lot of things in your life.

Once we won that championship and experienced our moment of victory, you could have taken that trophy away and it would not have mattered.
I knew what I had sacrificed to win that trophy, and after all of the blood, sweat and tears, nothing any stupid parent or adult could do would have made me feel less about myself.
I knew I was a winner, and
I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.

Parents, if you do not understand one thing in raising your children, understand this: if your child goes through his or her entire schooling period (kindergarten through high school graduation) and never experiences real success at anything at least one day is his or her life, your child will be handicapped for life. Nothing could be more arcane, stupid and bovine.

Don’t you dare try to prevent your child from failing. Let them try and when they fail, pick them up, dust them off, and encourage them to try again. It is in failing that we learn to succeed.

If you as a parent cannot be a winner in your own pathetic life, if all you have to offer is whining and complaining about this and that, and bemoaning how your child is treated, then get the hell out of the way and let your child fail to ultimately win on his own.

Take a snapshot of two pictures.

In one a child is given a trophy, a team photo and a baseball card with his picture on it featuring a loser who accomplished nothing. In the other snapshot, a child is given only a trophy, or the team is given one trophy to admire, because they have worked their butts off, improved their skills, played their hearts out, taken risks and won a league title. Which is your child?

Any child who has worked to get to the top of the mountain, and experiences the sheer joy of competing and winning, is someone who will go much farther in life.

I can tell you from experience in hiring that there is an incredible correlation between having athletic success at the high school or college level and success later in life. The reason is simple: winners win and losers don’t.

Do not misunderstand what I am sharing here. It is not that you cannot win bigger and better in life unless you are a successful athlete in your youth, it is that you need to have a sense of accomplishment and recognition doing something that takes hard work, dedication, effort and goals. It could be singing, it could be acting, it could be playing a musical instrument; suffice to say any activity that allows you to fail, learn, improve and succeed over a period of time.

It certainly helps to have a strong father in the house to help teach his children what it is to be a winner, to learn coping skills, patience, hard work, dedication, effort, improvement and success. A strong single mother can do the same.

Do not play patty-cake with your children when they are 9 years old, do not knowingly set them up in life to fail, let them struggle and succeed. If you do not do this someday they will be adult and not know how to act when they are put down, put upon, made fun of and beaten up emotionally. They will figure it out if you do not protect them and their feelings so much they become helpless and inept.

They will learn to cope and be stronger for the experience. When they reach adulthood they will be able to dismiss people around them who have mediocre minds and are mental midgets. They will be polite as they treat these losers as irrelevant (which they are) and be unaffected by their negative presence.

Then they will move on quickly to be with the winners. It is the losers who are left standing alone and wondering why.

Do not play to participate, play to win. It is not winning that is the be all to end all,
it is that in the process of winning we learn important skills that make us much more effective in playing and winning in the game of life. After all, life is not a resting place; life is a testing place, it is now and will continue to be as long as you live.

A wise man said it and it bears repeating here: When everyone is somebody then no one’s anybody.