I’m proof this isn’t idiot proof…but it’s still good.

What’s up everyone?

I have a system for everything. But…they’re not always idiot proof…

…more on that in a minute.

Part of what allows me to do a lot of stuff is because I have systems. Rather…I make systems.

In fact, it’s those systems that people bought when I sold two of my businesses.

They bought my system. Kinda like a franchise…but not the ongoing interference.

I think I got good at this in the Navy.

For those of you who know, know I was a rescue swimmer and helicopter aircrewman.

For those of you who didn’t know, I was a rescue swimmer and helicopter aircrewman.

We had checklists (a.k.a. systems) for everything. EVERYTHING.

Before getting into the helicopter…checklist. After getting in and before starting the engine…checklist. After starting the engines but before taking off…checklist. Before landing…

…you get the point…checklist.

So. When I got out of the Navy, my go-to move was, and is, a checklist…or…system.

Sure. It takes time to build a system for doing things. It’s much quicker to just do the thing.

But. In the long run. Building a system is more efficient and you’ve created an asset.

Which. As I mentioned. People will pay you money for a system…that makes them money.

Still. My systems, like most systems, are not completely idiot proof.

See. One of my systems for teaching my class is that I have office hours on Sunday nights between 6-7 pm. And that system triggers my taking out the trash system.

At 7 on Sunday, my phone alerts me that it is time to shut my office hours down and take the trash to the curb for pick-up the next morning. System.

But Monday was a holiday…so the trash dudes come the next day.

Problem is. My system didn’t include this little wrinkle. So I forgot to take the trash out Tuesday night. No system.

I could make an adjustment in my system. But I won’t. It’s just not that big of a deal. And there aren’t many Monday holidays.

My point:

1) Create a system.

2) Understand your system will not be idiot proof…even when it’s good.

3) Know when the system needs tweaked…and when you can just leave it alone. I talk about that here.

That’s it for now…




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the Dali Lama is right about this

What’s up everyone?

One of the things about politicians I really hate…is the need to “do something”.

This happens… “We need to do something and make a law.”

That happens… “We need to do something and make a law.”

Never mind that the “problem” might not be a real problem in the ENTIRE scheme of things…it’s possible that stuff just happens.

I guess it’s not their fault. The people protest for stuff to be fixed…so the politicians are probably just reacting.

But that just proves my point I guess.

It’s like that in business to though.

When something bad happens, we tend to analyze the hell out of it to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Every move that led to the event is scrutinized. Arm-chair quarterbacked. Second guessed ad nauseam.

Funny thing. From my experience…

If we stop and ask “How often does that even happen?”…

We might be surprised by the answer. In fact…I would argue…we usually will.

Side Note: I find it odd that we spend almost no time “doing something” about what went right…to get more of that.

My point?

Sometimes the answer is just “I don’t know…and accept that bad things happen every now and then…and deal.

Sometimes the right thing to do…is nothing.

I dunno?

That’s it for now…


We often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally. Dalai Lama


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I cheated…with Jason Bourne

What’s up everyone?

Late last month I told you that I was breaking my habit of reading 10 books per month.

My plan was to read just one book…but read it deep. You can read about it here…if you’d like.

So, how’d I do?

Well. I cheated…a little.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a book on Stoic Philosophy and was my focus for the month. But I did read two other books…there were books in the Jason Bourne series that I had not read yet…so I did.

This month (September) I am going to read The Wealth of Nations.

This book was written back in 1776 by Scottish professor Adam Smith. It is widely regarded as the foundation for all current economic thought.

Why am I reading this?

First it’s a very practical book that incorporates a lot of the subjects I like: history, politics, philosophy, and psychology.

Second, like Meditations…it is written in older language…so it slows me down.

Third, I haven’t read it in a couple years…so it’s time.

And forth. It is a REALLY long book.

Should you read it?


Even though it is a tough read. Anyone interested in business will get a lot out of this book.

That’s it for now…


P.S. Sorry. This one was short and boring. But. I wanted to keep you in the loop.

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how to make money

What’s up everyone?

Do you ever wonder…

…what should I do to always make sure I have a job?

I’ll tell you what I think. But give me a sec…

You know that I am big on skill stacking.

That is the concept of building a skill. Becoming better at it than 90% of the population. (That is much you might think.)

And then find another skill. Do the same thing.

Do that until you have a unique stack of skills that people will happily pay you handsomely for.

So what’s the best skill to start with?


Being able to sell generates revenue for a business. And if you can generate revenue…

…you’ll always have a job…and a way to make money.

Now. Before you say you can’t sell…read what one of my mentors, Seth Godin, said on his blog about this today:


There’s no such thing as a born salesperson.

What there are… are people with empathy and learned charisma who choose to work hard.

If you show up and show up and show up, and care enough to learn to connect, you will have a skill for life.

In the meantime, consider getting yourself hooked on 30 minutes a day of audio that trains you to sell. It takes a while, but it’s learnable.

Zig ZiglarAnthony IannarinoDan PinkBrian TracyFrank BettgerJill Konrath … anyone who will help you learn the long-game, the generous long game.


I endorse this wholeheartedly.

I think that is it.


P.S. Seth talked about building the sales skill. But this will work on just about any skill…in my humble – but accurate – opinion.

P.P.S. For those of you keeping track…this is the 50th email. For those of you not keeping track…this is the 50th email.

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I wasn’t ready for what would happen

What’s up everyone?

I read a post the other day about what successful people do…that most people don’t.

Do you want to know what it is?

They start…before they’re ready.

The article I read talked about how Richard Branson started his Virgin brand. First with the magazine, then the record label, then the airline. In all those cases, and every other one of the hundreds of ventures he has embarked, he wasn’t ready.

I can confirm this.

It didn’t matter how many people told me what it was going to be like. I wasn’t ready for what happened to me when I stepped off that bus at boot camp. If you have the t-shirt…you are shaking your head right now…

The yelling. The uncertainty. The fear. I wasn’t ready.

I also wasn’t to leave my parents’ house when I turned 18. Or ready for my son to be born. Or to find out he was autistic. Or my first business. Or second. Or…well…you get the point.

But this email isn’t just about not being ready.

It’s about the opportunity lost when you wait UNTIL you think you’re ready.

What opportunity?

The opportunity to figure out how to work through shyt.


The opportunity to figure out how you’re going to pay for the supplies you need…before you get paid for the job. The opportunity to figure out how you’re going to squeeze 20 hours of work…into the next 8 hours. The opportunity to figure out how you’re going to live with no pay check for 3 months…because you have to pay your people first.  The opportunity to figure out how you can scale your business…so you can grow. The opportunity to figure out…

…that you’re never ready…and that’s okay.

Don’t miss this opportunity…you can’t – and won’t – get any other way. I promise.

That’s it for now…


P.S. I don’t know if I have ever talked about the guy who’s article I referenced…but James Clear is an interesting guy who focuses on creating habits and killing procrastination. He’s worth reading.

“If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.” Ayn Rand

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how does Miyagi save money?

I have no earthly idea…but I can tell you what I do.

What’s up everyone?

I got a couple of questions from a subscriber. And I want to talk about one of them today.

But first, let me say this.

I am not a big fan of learning how to save money. I am a fan of learning how to make money.

There’s a big difference.

Par example (that’s French for…for example).

My parents learned how to save money. And when the market crashed before…or crashes again…their savings dwindled to very little.

Problem is…they don’t know how to MAKE money. So, they are reliant on the economy.

I decided a couple decades ago that I would learn to make money.

That means. A good market or bad…doesn’t matter. If someone took everything I own today…that’ll suck…but….

…I can turn the money spigot on…and be fine. I make my own market.

This is not to say I don’t save money. Because I do. It’s just not my priority…for the long term anyway.

I know…weird.


There have been a few times over the past 20 something years, my wife and I have implemented Operation Conserve Money (OCM).

We do this when one of us (me) is going to start a new business. Or if one of us (her) is making a career change.

During OCM our plan is to make sure we have a 6-month runway. A.K.A. a bank account that can support us for 6-months.

This is above and beyond our normal savings.

(Side Note: We do 6 months because, if I don’t think I can replace my income in that time…I don’t do it.)

So…how do we implement OCM?

Simple…and easy.

We just stop spending money.

Anything that is not ABSOLUTELY necessary…gets nixed.


Dinners out. Lunches out. Ha!

TV? Gone. New clothes? Nope. Steak? Fugitaboutit.

We eat a lot of peanut butter. Oatmeal. Water. Hamburger. Inexpensive stuff.

Plus my wife goes into coupon-crazy-lady mode…like…they pay us to take stuff from the store sometimes…craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

Good news.

We don’t have to do it for long. Maybe 3 or 4 months. And then a couple months after I start the business.

Is the sacrifice worth it?

Well. Funny thing is…we don’t consider it a “sacrifice”.

We consider it “doin’ bidniz”.

See what I mean. 

SIMPLE. Very simple.


For us. It is. Because we know why we’re doing it. And we are confident of the payoff.

AND. We’re both pretty disciplined…when we gotta be.

Here’s the thing…

There might be a better way? I dunno?

But that is how my wife and I did it.

That’s it for now…


P.S. We only do this for the reason I said. We don’t go to this extreme when we want to buy something. We have the $5 can for that…I’ll tell you about that some other time.

P.P.S. As Mr. Miyagi says “If do right…no have to do forever.” Okay. He prolly didn’t say that. Or maybe he did…you don’t know. But what it means is…now…we don’t have to do OCM anymore…because we did it right a few times.

“It’s ok to lose to opponent . It’s never okay to lose to fear.” Mr. Miyagi

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how to save $20,000

I was reminded of that when speaking with my friend about him buying a new house.

What’s up everyone?

So about 11 years ago when we bought our current home. I set a budget of $250,000 – $275,000. Max.

One day, my wife called me and said she found the perfect house.

Two things went through my mind:

1) There is no such thing as a “perfect” house.

2) And her tone sounded like the “perfect” house was more than the budget I set.

I was right about #2.

$355,000. “Only $80,000 more than the budget.” she said.

We went to look at it. And. After some back-and-forth. “We” decided I was right about #1.

The next day she found a home that was “more reasonable”.

$325,000. “That’s $30,000 less than the other one.”

The fact that it was $50,0000 over my original budget was long gone.

We got the $325,000 house…plus about $10,000 in upgrades.

Here is the lesson.

My wife didn’t know it. But she was using the, very powerful, persuasion technique called the contrast principle.

See. She wasn’t excited about my original budget. So she stretched my imagination with something crazy.

And then “saved” $20,000 with the purchase of our new house.

You will see this everywhere now.

Sometimes it’s framed in the way I just shared…starting high…and creeping down.

And sometimes it is the reverse. Starting lower…and creeping up “slightly”.

I think that’s it.


P.S. Like I said…I’m in charge of the family budget…and my wife knows it. 🙂


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THIS was the number one answer????

What’s up everyone?

In my P.S. on Wednesday I told you I was both saddened and maddened by something that happened in my class this week.

The question on an assignment asked students what were the things they were looking for most when being offered a job.

The number one answer?

Not potential for growth. Not time off. Not the ability to learn a new skill. Not even money. Nope…none of those things.

The number one thing was medical coverage.

MEDICAL COVERAGE was more important than how much money they made…or POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH.

I was saddened by this…and I truly hope this is not the case for you. And I am afraid we are being conditioned to believe this.

I am maddened by this because this is a perfect case of over-regulation…and we are being conditioned to NOT believe this.

The solution?

I dunno exactly what to say yet. But this has me pretty jacked up right now…so I am working on it.

But. In the meantime:

1) Learn a new skill.

2) Make more money.

3) Keep reading these emails…we’ll keep talkin’ more about those two things…because I think that is the key.

That’s it for now…


P.S. If I haven’t said it before…thanks for reading.

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why are you wasting your time doing that?

…someone asked me that question when I told them I was an adjunct professor.

What’s up everyone?

He didn’t ask it to be mean.

The fact is…the hourly payoff I get for teaching is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay lower what I normally make.

And yes…there are frustrations of feeling like I care more about a student’s education than he do.

But…waste of time?

I think no.

Here’s why…

Over the past year and a half I have been teaching, I’ve noticed two things. Well…more than two things…but two things that are relevant here:

  1. I have become more creative.

Trying to think of things that bring the borderline useless content of a textbook into something my students can use right now…is tough.

I don’t always do a great job with this…but it forces me to pay attention to what successful people are saying and doing. And how they’re saying and doing it.

  1. It forces me to learn.

To teach. I have to really understand something.

Well. Not just me. Everyone does.

Personally. I use the Feynman Technique.

Okay. Three things…not two.

  1. I have become more valuable to my clients.

I talked about the importance of that here.

The value comes from being able to notice things that I might not have noticed before.

And then explaining what I noticed to my clients (investors, coaching, and business) in a way that helps them get an edge.

Incidentally…my income has gone up too.

My point is…teach something.

If you’re struggling with a concept. Teach it…if only to yourself (see my Feynman link above).

I promise. It won’t be a waste of your time.

I think that is it…


P.S. Friday I’m going to tell about something that has saddened me and maddened me over the last week.

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Can you believe I drove to get this?

What’s up everyone?

Yesterday I drove 5 and a half hours to get that little girl.

Her name is Luci. And now, along with her new brothers, Jax and Maz…we have three pooches.

There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere.

I dunno?


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