Take Action: Changing Life’s Maybe’s to Yes and No

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

You’ve probably heard this talk a thousand times.  But, it’s probably for good reason.

Today, I’m taking a totally new approach to becoming more decisive and action-oriented.  This is an important idea in business, military, sports, and life.  And luckily, it all can start today.

Have you ever had a conversation go like this?

Person A: Where do you want to go to eat?

Person B: I don’t care.

Probably a thousand times.  For a good reason.

Small decisions like deciding where to eat, what to eat, what movie to see, what activity to do, what show to watch are endless.

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Many of us create routines in our lives that minimize the number of decisions we have to make.  In doing so, we become more efficient on a daily basis.  These habits we form are important to allow us to focus on more complex things in our daily lives, such as work or relationships.

Thus, it is good to automate as many decisions as possible.

However, when it is time to make a decision, make a decision.  These tiny choices that take a fraction of a second to decide lead to habitual action rather than habitual indecision.  The cumulative effect of these choices can have massive ramifications on your career, personal life, and overall effectiveness.

Plus, your friends will stop asking what you want and have to make the decision on their own!

If you’re seriously struggling with making decisions, you can set time-limits and option-limits.  In other words, you set 10 minutes to make a particularly small or reversible decision.  Or, in terms of options, you only allow yourself to choose between 3 choices.  This not only saves time, but also saves space for your brain to handle other tasks throughout the day.

Don’t be afraid of making small decisions, and you will be making large decisions and taking action in no time.  That’s what makes life fun and exciting.  Boredom and nothingness is the opposite of happiness; take action!

Index Funds: The Key to Simple, Smart Investing

“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” – Robert G. Allen

Luckily, in America, we don’t have to worry about saving too much.  Just ask the 40% of Americans who save less than 5% of their income according to Bankrate.  This is an issue in itself, but if you’re reading this article, you might be on the other side of that 40% (or at least intend to be).

Chances are, you are one of the 55% of Americans who have money invested in one of the following stock market platforms: individual stock, mutual fund, 401K, or IRA (Gallup Poll).  In this case, I would like to share some information about index funds to guarantee long-term profits.  The major key here is long-term; if you want to get rich quick, this is not the article for you.

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An index fund is similar to a mutual fund in that it combines a group of stocks into one price and share to buy.  The advantage of a mutual fund or index fund in this respect is the increased stability and lower volatility of the stock.  In other words, less risk.  The major difference between an index fund and a mutual fund is that index funds are comprised of a group of stocks in a particular industry.  Thus, mutual fund managers are not there to manage your money (and more importantly charge extensive fees).

“By Periodically investing in an index fund, the know-nothing investors can actually outperform most investment professionals.” – Warren Buffett

A small decrease in fees can lead to huge gains over time.  Take this example. You invest 10,000 when you’re 24 years old, and leave it in a mutual fund growing at 7% per year with a low 1% fee.  If you take that money out at age 54, after 30 years you would have a total of $57,435.  Not bad.  Now imagine if you didn’t have to pay someone that 1% fee; you would have a total of $76,123 at the same point in time.  A 33% difference.  This is the power of compound interest, and thus the power of the index fund.

If you don’t believe me, do the math yourself.

Total money = Principle*(1+rate)^n where rate is .06 for 6%, and n is number of years.

Choosing index funds is as easy as choosing which industry or industries you are familiar with, and which industries you expect to grow in the future.  I would recommend investing in several different industries that you how some knowledge about.  There are many different index funds from the automobile industry, to different technologies, and even foreign industries.

This investment strategy is very time efficient.  You only probably need to check your investment once a quarter or even less.  Remember, the less transactions you make, the less fees you will incur.  If the market drops, invest even more; what goes down will come back up.  Just don’t forget, the first step is not consuming all your income, and leaving some to investment.

Focused: Life without Media Distractions

The internet boom and the ensuing age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram along with massive media platforms like Youtube, Netflix, and even WordPress has given ordinary people a voice and a listening ear to events around the world.  The latest news is a click, tap, or text away from nearly everyone in American society.  This massive increase in information has allowed for quicker spread of news, a more informed public, and extensive increases in quality and quantity of education.  However, there are many downsides of this phenomenon that has become omni-present.  Yet this question certainly won’t make the news…  Are you in control of your media intake or is it in control of you?

 

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A few years ago, I challenged myself to a one-week media cleanse (which I highly recommend) as a tip from Tim Ferriss’s best selling book, The 4-Hour Workweek.  Thank you Tim, you’ve changed my life.  During the first few days, I found myself habitually going on Instagram and Facebook despite not having work to do.  I was mindless in engaging in a completely unproductive activity which gave me no excitement or happiness.  After the first few days, I noticed a more present and positive attitude in myself.

Instead, I found myself actually approaching others to say hello.  It was truly mind blowing (and kind of sad).  And don’t get me wrong, not all media is bad or unproductive, but it is really something you value or need?  Consider this, the average American will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by influencer marketing agency Mediakix… and 15 additional years on television.  This statistic is truly all that’s needed to make a change.  The most sobering fact: we all only have so much time after all.  Imagine the memories, experiences, and productivity that one person can achieve with an additional 20 years to the rest of their peers.  Absolutely astounding.

The average person will spend more than 20 combined years on social media and television in their lifetime. 

My advice: don’t hesitate, start right now.  My friends typically are hesitant to make the week long cleanse because they are scared to miss something important.  Don’t worry about the news, you’ll hear people talking if there is anything important going on.  (And then you can make a conversation)  Most people never realize exactly how little news and TV actually applies to their life.  Additionally, you won’t have bad news (the vast majority of news) hanging over your head.

Spend more time on work, and most importantly with friends and family.  Don’t worry about people you will never meet, and start focusing on those you love.  Be present and away from outside influences of the media to absolutely change your productivity, mind-state, attitude, and sense of friends and family.