First things first. Are you set to get started? Are you on the grid?
Getting on the Grid.
In order to take advantage of the many opportunities to invest and grow your money, build your wealth and prosperity, first you will need to get yourself properly positioned to do just that. It’s often said that “Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity” and it is true in so many ways. In order to build yourself up to take advantage of things that come along, and the opportunities are everywhere, you’ll need to have some basics setup as far as your personal profile is concerned.
In good or well managed health. Truth is, without your health at the very least being properly managed you may become unable to put the necessary focus on your wealth and prosperity. Some people will have the misfortune of chronic and even debilitating illness, however, most don’t let it stop them from reaching for the lifestyle they want. Stay on top of this as it will be the true foundation of your prosperity and any ability to attain it. That goes for mental and physical health. Get regular checkups, physicals, take medications as prescribed, get second opinions when needed, exercise, eat well, minimize over indulgence in alcohol and altogether quit negative behaviors that threaten your health such as smoking. Take care of yourself like you are important, because you are and no one can take better care of you.
College education is the most sought after and highly advised path for getting yourself grounded with a career, job and employment in general. It has proven to be a worthwhile investment and people with college degrees on average earn about million dollars or so more over an entire lifetime. That being said, however, it is not the only path. Education is broad, very broad and may include training, certification, an apprenticeship, on the job training and in some cases people are even self-taught. No matter the route you take, there are two primary areas that you need to focus on in your education;
- The particular industry or profession in which you plan to work and earn a living, whether as a doctor, mechanic, chef, lawyer, fitness trainer, psychologist or a house painter it doesn’t matter, you will need some training or education relative to your employment. Get the relevant education or training for the area you seek to work in and get as much as you can to increase your ability to get a job, to do well and progressively earn more as time goes on while at that job or in that industry.
- General education at the very least. High School and above, as stated above depending on the field you decide to work in you may need more or less credentials, however even for most training programs, typically blue collar jobs, you at least need High School education. No matter what, you will need reading comprehension skills, some writing, mathematical and reasoning skills. You will need these same basics to understand how to be a savvy consumer and not get taken by retailers, creditors and others that may mislead you for your money. You will need to understand the basics of finance charges, interest rates, taxes, calculate percentages and so on. If you are unable to do those things at the very least, then it won’t matter how much money you make because you won’t be able to hold on to it. There are a lot of stories about the singers and entertainers that went bankrupt, or sent to prison for tax evasion and so on. At the end of the day, it was simply because they couldn’t count their money no matter how much they had. One of the few down sides of having money for some folk is that it can make you become a subjective, snobby, pompous jackass. You may come to believe that you know what you don’t know, simply because you can pay for it.
- Driver’s license.
Okay this is obvious, however, many folk for all sorts of reasons related to their past don’t have a driver’s license. They were suspended, revoked and so on for non-payment of fines, fees, offenses, tickets and all sorts of unimaginable reasons. All that said, you must have a driver’s license, even if you don’t have a car. There are a million things that may have exclusive opportunities tied to them that require a driver’s license. Everything ranging from running your own small start-up business to getting someplace in time to take advantage of an opportunity, a promotion that requires more travel, being trusted with the company car and on, and on… Someone can’t even give you a car if you don’t have a driver’s license, you can’t register or insure it. Sure there are work arounds, but they all include relying on someone else. As a form of identification, a valid state driver’s license is only second to a passport. And you’ll need a solid form of identification for banking, credit cards, jobs, and the list just goes on. In the worst case scenario, even if you have to start with a state issued non-driver ID, then get a driver’s license, just get on this. There is no exception for this one, if cost is an issue you will have to identify what bill or expense you will sacrifice temporarily to pay for this. If you’re in the situation of having been suspended, revoked or whatever, then try to find options at your local DMV. Payment plans, restricted licenses, whatever you can do.
- Bank Account, Checking and Savings.
Banking availability at the very least. Most bank charge a maintenance fee of some sort to hold a checking account open. However, there are many that don’t or will waive the fee for some minor ongoing activity, just keeping $25 in the account or some other reason. There are online banks, credit unions and local savings banks that are available with low or no fees at all. So now that we understand there’s more availability than just whatever banks you see nearby, let’s get an account open somewhere. You will need a bank account to deposit checks, write checks, show a history on finances, move funds from one place to another, set up direct deposits, transfers, allotments, make purchases and pay bills online among several other things. Without a bank account you will be limited in your ability to do many things, not to mention you will be throwing money away in some cases by constantly going to check cashing services, using quasi check card services such as Rush Card through unnecessary fees. If you owe money to some entity, for judgment, lien or some other thing- address it best you can, seek assistance or finance/ credit counseling, you may be surprised of your options. You won’t be able to move forward while remaining to live under that rock.
- Legal Status.
Whether citizenship or probation, you will need to make sure your status is stable and does not halt you in your endeavors to become prosperous. Get yourself stabilized even if it’s temporary such as citizenship, this will allow you to focus on getting other things done without that hanging over your head for a certain amount of time. Probation, parole, child support, warrants, bench warrants for tickets or court appearance no-shows, outstanding warrants for tickets not paid and anything that may have you tied up legally, get this straightened out. If there is a standing agreement, let’s say to pay something monthly (if it’s too much, try to get a reduction), appear weekly, perform some service, stick to it and see it through keeping in mind you are removing the obstacle a little at a time each time you do what is required. Thus, freeing yourself up from putting anything you gain later at risk. As it relates to anything legal, you want risk minimized. Sitting in prison even one day can hinder you in more ways than can be imagined or lose out on the opportunity of a lifetime, anyway, it’s just no place for a prosperous person.
- Get and Stay Digitally Connected.
Throughout the early to mid-2000’s a common term tossed around was the “digital divide” and that meant that many people who were less fortunate couldn’t connected to the “digital world”. They were unable to take advantage of first world benefits by getting online and getting faster access to resources and information that could impact or even enhance their lives. Primary reason had to do with cost for computer hardware and access, it was simply a matter of the haves and have nots. Being online meant the ability to do everything from email resume’s to finding out about the latest job postings and even doing business. Today with the low cost of computers, access and smartphones that “digital divide” has decreased significantly. Today, kids have smartphones with online access and are able to see the same information regarding important events around the world, job listings and even company stock information. The veil has been lifted as it relates to information, nearly anyone has access to information that was once only available to a select few. You can start a small business, order products from overseas, copy-write your work, pay for vacation plans or buy the vacation property, trademark your business name, learn a new trade or get a new degree and even order your dinner. You can do anything you need to and do it while on the go or sitting at home. If information is power, then power has been unleashed. You have to be in it however, you have to be on the grid to be able to take advantage of it. Here’s what you need;
- Computer or regular and reliable access to an updated late model computer.
- Internet Connection and possibly wi/fi as a part of the plan. You need access everywhere you go.
- Email: minimum 2 addresses; one business the other personal and maybe a third for all those one time offers and general junk.
- A reliable smartphone, and reliable cellphone service. This doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, when it comes to this think of a car. You primarily need reliability and efficiency and you’ll take newer over flashy. Don’t focus on the phones on commercials, always focus and the last one or two models prior to the absolute current. It does all of the same stuff- for less.
- Be ready to set up a bunch different of passwords and usernames, bank accounts email and everything else will want you to have one. There are password keeping apps for smartphones and your computer that will keep track for you- it gets confusing.
- Get registered to vote and vote often.
This will make you pay more attention to what’s going on in the political process, possibly participate and at the very least see and hear about new and upcoming legislative actions that may impact you in a good or bad way. You will take notice to the offices that you voted for, whether or not your candidate got in office. Paying attention at that level you help you understand who does what at which level of government. Things like taxes, tax relief, consumer laws, immigration, home buying assistance programs, small business assistance, health initiatives and the like by local, state and federal government will make a difference for you and maintaining any level of prosperity you may have reached or are aspiring towards.
So those are the very basics of being on the grid whether you want to be an astronaut or a marathon cyclist. Of course, no matter what you choose there will be those that are at the top, middle and bottom in your chosen field or industry. So, what makes the difference if all things are equal although they never ever are? There’s motivation, goals, single-mindedness, and the list goes on. Add to that the modus operandi differentiates people, how they go about doing things. We’ve all heard it said, “not what, but how”. That’s why equally educated and qualified people may have varying outcomes in the same situation, attending the same school, same level of education or working at the same company. Between that and their “soft skills”, they rise to their individual level success in any given situation. Speaking of modus operandi and soft skills, continuing with the fundamentals…
Soft Skills and Modus Operandi
Why Do People Wear Rolex Watches? Time.
Rolex, Timex, Bulova or Citizen, there is very good reason that a really well made watch that keeps accurate time is assigned such high value. Besides the one-of-a-kind classic designs, a so-called rich legacy, generous adornments of precious metals and stones or just a leather strap for a band. A truly accurate timepiece simply keeps track of the most precious commodity known to man, time. Nearly all things will be based on it as well, time will be used to measure and give value to nearly all things. For example, in some cases simply to have something now instead of later- even that has a cost assigned to it, the only difference is time. It is the most important commodity, yet it is not renewable, in any way whatsoever regardless of whom you are or your economic status.
Considering the brief refresher on the importance of time to mankind and its keeping, we’ve all heard, “the early bird gets the worm” and it is simply true. The person that is early and timely on a regular basis is favored in every way. Entire careers have been stumbled upon simply because someone was consistently on time and available. Conversely, entire careers have been washed away due to a lack of adherence to time. Being on time, shows a deep respect for someone’s time that has been set aside for whatever the meeting or activity is to occur. The famed General Sun Tzu quoted in the book “The Art of War” described the advantage of time and being early this way, “Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.”. Time offers a clear advantage and is not to be taken lightly. Get in early, assess and allow yourself to become acquainted and take advantage of all that comes with being first and early. Be early for appointments, regularly scheduled events, daily activities and even social activities. Take time to measure and see if there is a difference, if there some advantages you may have overlooked in the past. Surprisingly, this may take practice and a little changing of old habits by leaving a bit earlier and scheduling less things in the same frame of time. No one likes a person that is late. It raises uncertainty and breeds condescension, distrust and doubt regarding the character of the person who is late, putting them in a position to prove them worthy of the wait. It has never been neither fashionable nor excusable in important situations and when face with alternatives, people would rather choose someone else than someone who doesn’t respect their time. Conversely, someone who is early comes across as energetic, honest and ready without saying a word. Successful and prosperous people are consistently on time and rarely late without early notice.
TAC. Temperament, Attitude and Charisma:
These are the intangible assets. Attitude, temperament and charisma have been known to take more people further in all encounters than even flat out paying your way. In all of the foregoing points, you will get a little bit further each step of the way with a good attitude. Being open, honest and objective allows you to interact with more people from varying perspectives, find and make connections accordingly. A good and positive attitude draws people in, people want to be associated with someone that is confident, has a good attitude and is able to avoid becoming adversarial even in difficult circumstances. Some people will respond negatively, however, in the end you won’t remember them as much as they remember you. Being able to keep your cool while having a thick skin is what it takes to persevere and make things happen, but rubbing people the wrong way regardless of what you have to offer will yield you less overall in the long run. Harboring negative attitudes and a distasteful disposition comes through in body language and small cues that are involuntary and oftentimes people think they are able to disguise their disdain or negative attitudes when they are wearing them on their sleeves for everyone to see. It comes through in your behavior, responses, gestures and snap judgments. People pick this up right away and it can affect your business dealings, personal growth and ability network effectively. All things being equal it may come down to your ability to use wit, charisma and a great personality to disarm and win over others in your plight to become successful. In general, people offer more information, are more helpful, are willing to listen more, are willing to be understanding and just welcome others that have a pleasant and positive attitude. With a little conversation, at times even those with the hardest noses cannot resist a silver tongue. It may be for the egocentric benefit of being able to work with others to make it easier for yourself, understand that the power of a great attitude makes all of the difference.
Drugs/ Alcohol and Social Norms
Whatever your vices, keep them in check and within the social norms and limitations. What are the social norms? Relatively speaking, it is not prudent to be a medical professional or a professional of many other sorts that has a drug problem. Illicit drugs as well as legal and regulated drugs like alcohol have to be limited at best, due to health considerations, financial obligations and decision making and the impact on character and image to others. You cannot expect to be up all night abusing any substance, be it alcohol or any other and then operate at the top of your game the next day. The same applies in general on an ongoing basis. Someone who’s major decisions regarding business dealings and investments that are clouded by unclear reasoning cannot be successful. Sure there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions and not guidelines. Additionally, the trust for your professionalism, clarity, character and ability to make sound decisions will become in question and thus lead to limiting opportunities and impact your prosperity.
Quality information Sources:
Learn to develop ways to get and verify information that is accurate and useful. You will only be able to make good decisions based on quality information as it relates to investing, banking, finances, health wealth and general prosperity. Can you confidently invest your hard earned money based on the information a friend gave you? If so why? Would you let your job ride on information from a co-worker about what is going to happen in the near future at the company? Information is only as good as its source, so qualify your resources. Develop a set of resources of information that relates to your endeavors that is verified and first hand. Anything else, is to be questioned. A well-known quote by President Ronald Reagan, yes Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.” This applies to all things worthwhile.
Network Group/ Colleagues:
There are lots of sayings about friends and colleagues that have some bit of truth and at the same time aren’t completely true. These range from “birds of a feather flock together”, to “if you have 3 broke friends then you’re next”, to “look at your friends and you’ll see who you are”. While these are to be taken with a grain of salt, it is completely true however that keeping good networking relationships are golden as is having friends in high places. Regardless of the business or the industry that you are in, networking will enhance your position by giving you solid contacts with reliable and useful information. The type of information you can use to make considerable gains. If you are in Real Estate you will need to make and maintain relationships with appraisers, bankers, brokers, maintenance people and so on, if you’re in the food business the same will be true for suppliers, distributors and other key contacts. If you don’t have contacts for the field you are in, make some new friends and business associates. Spend time going to conferences, meetings, supplier seminars or whatever it is that puts you in the position to engage with people of the same stripe as it relates to your business. People that are already successful in the area or thing you want to do. They may not share some of the same recreation and downtime interests, but more importantly, they share interests that pay for your individual recreation interests. Surely, you will put yourself in the position to pick up on new opportunities just by being in the room. This will also allow you to learn the standards of your business or industry whether you want to meet or exceed them, learn about competitors, create allies, learn new and different strategies others in their part of the same markets you share. A team or network of informed colleagues that are available will prove invaluable as time goes on.
Focus Time and Charted Progress.
Most people don’t notice when they aren’t hearing or seeing anything new from their favorite celebrities unless well over a year or two goes by. Anything under a year and it all seems the same. However celebs take time down regularly for two things: first to collect and spend those royalties, enjoying the fruits of their labor. Second, they spend time selecting and developing the next big splash. During this time they are deep in the lab, working hard getting prepared for new roles, developing new songs and choreography, just getting situated. They aren’t spending as much time on publicity and press, they are sharpening their sword.
The same goes for everyone else, it’s important to set aside “focus time” to sort out your path for building and maintaining your prosperity. Much like school is a set aside time and place for learning with limited or no interruptions. The same rule applies when you are setting up and maintaining other areas in life for prosperity. Running your business, learning and developing a new skill, managing investments and prospecting new investments all require time. These things require the same amount of structured time and focus as school and work. Set aside an uninterruptible day and time weekly along with a place to get them done. For new and growing endeavors, build a chart or written plan with the end in mind. Set goals as high and lofty as possible and work backwards starting at the nearest starting point and then move forward, check off and chart weekly, monthly or quarterly progress. See your plans daily, make changes and updates accordingly as you move along. Use all devices at your disposal such as cell phone calendar app or organizer, computer calendar or organizer, phone apps to send yourself reminders, emails, texts, and articles with relative information related to your goals, keep a notepad handy and make use of these devices so that your goals are everywhere and show up in everything you touch and do. You want it so that your goals and plans are integrated in everything you do and most if not all of the people you encounter daily. Ask yourself, how many hours are you putting toward your goal of owning a business or becoming a certain caliber of profession daily, weekly or monthly? Then figure it out on an annual basis. Is it adequate to reach your goal? Is it feasible with the route you are taking? This may require you to adjust your time accordingly by trimming social time or other time. However, dedication of time to a goal is fundamental in reaching and maintaining the goal.
Surely, this isn’t a complete list by any stretch of the imagination, but it does include some of the very basics that folks who are on the grid have in order to maneuver and get started on all sorts of things. I may add to this list from time to time to include things like setting up accounts with brokerages and even health club memberships. The basic idea is proactively having avenues already set in place instead of trying to get them going once you have a purpose.