Saving, as boring and old school as it sounds is at the core of personal finance. You cannot move ahead financially in a sustainable manner without saving. Even if you own a successful and growing business, if you do not save or build financial reserves, when the business runs into economic head winds, every thing will come crashing down. In corporate mergers and acquisitions, it is he who has the gold that makes the rules, that is why you see smaller cash rich companies buy up much bigger and broke companies. Cash flow is king, and cash flows sustainably when backed by robust savings.
People tend to run away from saving. Saving seems to have a connotation of self deprivation – delayed gratification, kill joy, settling for something below the top of the range, doing without, not keeping up with the Joneses. We believe we must have what we want and we must have it now. That is one of the key reasons we spend first and attempt to save later. If we save first, we will not have enough money to spend the way we want, so we defer saving.
We tend to believe that taking care of ourselves amounts to selfishness. We brought up to think of others first and scolded when we seemed to look out for ourselves. Where is the fine line between selfishness and taking care of ourselves? We seem to get it all mixed up and end up neglecting ourselves, not loving ourselves and in the process not capable of loving others unconditionally.
Selfishness is when you are self absorbed, thinking only of yourself and what is in it for you. The opposite of selfishness is altruism. Thinking only of others to the neglect of ourselves may seem noble at the surface, but is ultimately self defeating and an expression of low self esteem. You cannot truly love others without loving yourself. You cannot truly take care of others without taking care of your self. If you do not maintain the goose that lays the golden eggs (you), the goose will soon die and with it, the supply of golden eggs.
Seeing that the best way to receive is to give, the right question would be ‘What do I have to give?’. Coming up with a business idea is as simple as looking around you to see what is lacking and asking yourself what do I have to give to make things better. We are good as pointing out what is wrong with everything around us, murmuring and complaining and wondering why someone has not done something about it. We can use those same fault finding skills to uncover opportunities around us and as ‘What can I do to help?’
Most of my business ideas has come out of getting pissed off about a certain situation and finally deciding to do something about it. A business exists to solve problems. It is simply a matter of someone identifying a problem and taking the initiative to get it solved.
The law of giving and receiving is a natural law. Like the law of gravity, it is no respecter of persons. It holds for the young and old, rich and poor, all races and religious persuasions. When you give, you receive. The measure of what you give determines the measure with which you receive. It is simply a matter of time.
In the previous article, we saw that giving is about adding value. That means if you want to receive, you need to add value. Many people start out in business trying to make money, i.e. their focus is on receiving. Many want to make money on the internet. They look at the internet as a gold mine and are trying to figure out how to get their own piece of the action.
When it comes to giving, our minds typically go towards giving money or material things. Giving goes way beyond that. Giving is about adding value, making a difference. Due to this prevailing mindset about giving, most people don’t give as they ought to or should, because they believe they have nothing to give, or have nothing more to give.
When you look a giving from the perspective of adding value, then it becomes apparent that we all have something to give, and our capacity to give is virtually limitless is we keep growing and improving. Consequently, our capacity to increase our income is limitless since giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. They always go together like lightening and thunder, though there is a time lag between both.
The law of fair exchange is also known as the law of equivalent exchange. This in summary states that:
“People cannot gain anything without sacrificing something. You must present something of equal value in order to gain something. That is the principle of equivalent exchange in alchemy.”
This seems self evident and goes without saying. We all know that “garbage in, garbage out”. However in reality, it is not so simple. We don’t seem to get it. Most folks feel they are not making enough money and life is so unfair. We want higher pay but never stop to figure out how to add more value.
You have just finished your NYSC (or has passed out for a while now) and are combing job sites online armed with your CV. If you get asked what you do, you reply ‘I am a job applicant’. All you do is apply for jobs and wait to get invited for an interview. You cannot move forward from where you are until one if the companies invite you. In effect, they determine your next move, which may include which town you live (depending on where the job is).
I watched with sadness from the sidelines as Nigeria’s number one blog lindaikeji.blogspot.com was yanked off by Google due to copyright infringements. This raised a firestorm as people broke into camps to express their opinions. As a student of human behavior (I stick kick myself for reading Mechanical Engineering instead of Social Psychology), I saw that both sides of the divide has valid points. Often when you have a valid point, you are naturally deaf to any contrary shade of opinion.
Dreams, like ideas are very fragile. In the early days, it can be easily killed, sometimes with a single sentence. While growing up, we are admonished to remove our heads from the clouds and focus on our books, and careers that have a proven record of putting food on the table. Getting a job seems to be the logical thing to do. You have to survive first before you can indulge in the luxury of dreaming. Problem is, in the process of making a living, our dreams fall by the wayside.
Your dream job is essentially your work – what you came to this planet to do, your purpose for being here. Job and work are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Even the dictionary adds to the confusion
Websters dictionary: job – the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money
A job is essentially something you do regularly to earn money (to pay your bills and keep body and soul together).