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27 Things I Know at 27 That I Pray I Remember at 47

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Credit, Debt, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Frugality, Gen-Y, Good Business, House, Jobs, Life, Uncategorized

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Four years ago I wrote a post entitled “23 things I know at 23 that I Pray I Remember at 43,” today I turn 27, and in the last 4 years my life has changed more than I ever could have imagined, so it only seems fitting that I do a follow-up (and for the record, I purposefully did not reread the post from four years ago until after I had written this). This list is in no particular order.

  1. My son will change the world
  2. Physical Fitness is the key to mental health
  3. Dream big
  4. Think Different
  5. “There is no good or bad, thinking makes it so” – Shakespeare
  6. The world runs on random acts of kindness
  7. Never stop learning
  8. Never outsmart your common sense
  9. Slow down
  10. Be a role model
  11. Give people a reason to smile everyday
  12. Complacency kills
  13. Facilitate creativity everywhere
  14. Tinker everyday
  15. It’s ok to be wrong, but when you are be sure to always own it
  16. Never break your character, but always break the rules
  17. Don’t spend time arguing about stuff that doesn’t matter with the people who do
  18. Be helpful
  19. You always have to relate to someone in order to know how to successfully motivate them
  20. Shortcuts often lead to a longer road
  21. Monthly payments are to be avoided at all costs
  22. You can’t successfully manage your life (or a company) from a spreadsheet
  23. It’s never too late to change the world
  24. Getting burned by one person shouldn’t make you stop trusting others
  25. Sometimes you have to believe before you see
  26. Be grateful, even when it is hard
  27. My family comes first

Now that I’ve written this list I reread the one from 4 years ago; it’s certainly interesting to see that the overall theme is the similar, but some of the one’s I strive to live my life by every day are almost the same.

What do you want to remember in 20 years?

Shhhh, I’m Working Towards a Goal

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Maybe I’ve had it all wrong. For the longest time I’ve held the belief that if you tell the world your goals, you will be scared of letting those people down and thus more inclined to follow through and achieve those goals, but when I think about everything I’ve “told the world about” vs. what I’ve actually accomplished from that list I’m not doing very well at all. On the other hand, the things I have developed in silence, telling people only on a need to know basis have come to fruition and done pretty well (I was this way while launching Young and Frugal and my new site Bubbyfinds), and I’m not the only one. There have been numerous studies since the 1930s that lead to the same conclusion; in fact in four different studies of 64 people, they found that those people who announced their goals and openly discussed them before starting were less likely to achieve their goals than the people who did not discuss it with anyone.

Why is this?

Because the acknowledgement we receive from people who we tell our goals to, fulfills a needed acceptance which makes us feel good and closer to our goals. Or, in other terms, by telling people and having them acknowledge our goals, we are tricking ourselves into a feeling of accomplishment that is usually reserved for AFTER we have actually accomplished something.

What does this mean for you?

Tell others on a need to know basis, not because you are scared they are going to steal your idea, but because you are scared the talk will steal your motivation to follow through!

The True Story of Felix Carvajal

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Entrepreneurship, Gen-Y, Good Business, Life, Stuff

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Andarin “Felix” Carvajal was a postman who grew up poor in Cuba during the late 1800s. He didn’t have much, but he had a dream; a dream to represent Cuba in the Olympics as a marathon runner.

When it was announced that the 1904 Olympics (the 3rd Olympics ever) would be held in St. Louis, Felix was overjoyed; he knew he could do it so he started training. Nevermind that Felix had never actually run a Marathon (though he was considered a good amateur runner), nevermind that Cuba did not field an Olympic team (most nations at the time did not), and nevermind that he had no money to fund an expensive trip to St. Louis; he was determined to run.

Felix started begging in the streets of Havana, and 6 months before the Olympics he had raised enough money to make it to St. Louis, so he bought passage on a ship bound for New Orleans. Nevermind that Felix did not speak English; he was going to the Olympics by himself.

When he landed in New Orleans he promptly lost all of his money (there are conflicting reports as to how he lost it; one says he was robbed and beaten, another says he lost it all in a Craps game), so, with the clothes on his back, he started walking, running, and hitch hiking the 600 miles from New Orleans to St. Louis.

He arrived in St. Louis the morning of the race the same way he left New Orleans, with the clothes on his back, but he was still determined to race. Nevermind that those clothes on his back were wool trousers, a long sleeve dress shirt, and dress shoes, he was going to do what he came to do; race. As the 2:30 start time quickly approached he allowed some concerned volunteers to cut the legs of his pants off, and he ran this way.

Despite all of these setbacks, he lead the pack for the majority of the race until he saw an apple tree and decided to eat one (it had been 40 hours since his last meal). The apple ended up giving him stomach problems, which for most people means you quit…not for Felix Carvajal. Felix pushed through it and made up most of the ground he had lost.

Felix Carvejal finished 4th in the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Marathon.

Felix didn’t care about setbacks, he cared about achieving his dream, a dream that he had worked so hard for, a dream that he had literally begged people to help him with, a dream that had more real setbacks than most people ever face.

Next time you face a setback, think about Felix and remember that setbacks do not define the outcome; how you handle setbacks defines the outcome.

Note: this story was compiled from a variety of different sources. All of which are listed below, and all of which have some different variation, but the basis of all the versions is the same.


1904 St. Louis Olympics

Marathon and Beyond

Encyclopedia Britannica

Radio Clip: 1310 The Ticket


Toyota Jidoka

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Corporations, Entrepreneurship, Gen-Y, Good Business, Jobs, Life, Uncategorized

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For years Toyota has been known for their quality products, and part of ensuring this quality has been not only their innovation in machinery, but a shared responsibility and power amongst every employee on the assembly line to hold each other accountable. This power and accountability is found in Toyota’s utilization of Jidoka.

Jidoka is the practice of stopping the assembly line when something is not right, and every employee on the assembly line has the ability to stop it. If the employee installing the seats notices that something isn’t right with the dash, he can press a button that literally shuts down the assembly line. Then a team will address what is wrong, fix it on every vehicle (as needed), and fire up the assembly line. This process ensures that every aspect of the vehicle is not just being looked at by one person, but by everyone else as it goes down the line. Toyota has created a culture that empowers their employees and trusts them to make the right decisions regarding quality. Jidoka is a reason why Toyota is synonymous with quality.

Where else can Jidoka be applied? It sounds great in an environment where you have an assembly line, but what about applying it to different types of businesses? How can you do it in your (non-assembly) line of work?

When it comes down to it, Jidoka is just another way of (tactfully) calling someone out for doing crappy work. It’s something we frequently see professional athletes do to each other, but  it’s frowned upon in many work cultures. While it will always be easier to look the other way, what if calling your coworkers out was no longer taboo, but embraced by the company for which you work? Would knowing that your work would be publicly scrutinized by more people cause you to do better work? Would you feel empowered knowing that you could raise the standards of the company?

How can Jidoka be used in your daily life?

It Just Takes One Person

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Entrepreneurship, Gen-Y, Good Business, Life, Uncategorized

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I recently had the opportunity to watch the documentary Being Elmo, the true story of Kevin Clash (Elmo’s puppeteer). It was highly inspirational and provided wonderful insight in to the Muppets and Jim Henson’s incredible world. If you have ever had a dream, I recommend that you watch the film. It inspired me so much that I went on a mission to fill my craving for more knowledge on the subject…specifically knowledge of Jim Henson and the Muppets. Overall I read at least 10 articles and watched a ton of archived videos on YouTube, all of which were great, but I kept coming back to one performance. One performance that I watched over and over again.

The performance you are about to watch (and hear) is from Jim Henson’s memorial service. Pay special attention to the lyrics of the song.

To give proper credit, the song was originally written for the Snoopy Musical, but no matter where it came from it is an incredibly moving song. Sure, it’s a children’s song, but as children we rarely ever understood the meaning of the things we were listening to. Now, looking back it is easy to see the hope that is instilled by words that are profound (regardless of your age) and a simple tune.

“If just one person believes in you. Deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you.
hard enough,and long enough before you knew it,
someone else would think, if he can do it, I can do it. Making it..

Two whole people who believe in you. And if two whole people believe in you.
Deep enough, and strong enough believe in you. Hard enough, and long
enough there’s bound to be some other person who believes in making it a threesome.
Making it… Three”

As the song continues to go we start to realize how believing is contagious, and it really doesn’t matter what that belief is. It could be believing in a business by giving someone their first sale or believing that a friend or family member will realize their dreams; all it takes is one person to start believing. And if that person really believes, then someone else is bound to believe too.

In a world where it is easier to wait to the last second and jump on the bandwagon of the frontrunner, it still just takes one person to get the ball rolling to start a movement. It takes guts to take a position early, to stand up and be the first to believe. Sometimes it gets lonely, but it will always be the single best gift we can give to someone.

It only takes one person. Will you be the one?

Five Things Being a Dad Has Taught Me About Business

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Entrepreneurship, Frugality, Good Business, Health, Life, Stuff, Uncategorized

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Being a parent is the greatest experience that life has thrown at me so far, and since I try to learn from all of my experiences, I’ve compiled a list of five things being a dad has taught me about business.

1. It Takes A Team

You can’t do it alone. It doesn’t matter if you are parenting or founding a company, it just can’t be done on your own. You need help and you need trust, it could be a full business partner or a just a contract laborer that you hire to get something done (designer, babysitter, housekeeper); you need help and it’s ok to ask for it. I’ve been lucky because Mary and I have always been a great team, we compliment each other quite perfectly without being complete opposites; so in life, parenting, and in business I know I’ve got a great partner. With that said, even we still have to ask for help sometimes!

2. Not Everyone Has To Crawl Before They Walk

I’ve written before that my son is determined to walk, what I didn’t write about is that he is so determined to walk that he refuses to crawl. He is perfectly capable of crawling, but instead of crawling, he focuses all his energy on standing up and walking. Much like my son skipping a step, businesses can too. Barriers to entry for business are at an all-time low, it is literally easier than ever to start a business…if you don’t know how to do something you (yes YOU) can find someone who does with a simple search on elance or other sites like it. It seems like I read a new story every week about someone who had an idea for a website or an app, the made it, it spread like crazy, and now they are doing great! It really just comes down to coming up with something and throwing it up to see if it sticks.

3. I Don’t Need THAT Much Sleep

I have always tried to keep my priorities in line, and when things started to get to busy for me I cut out time suck (TV, Facebook, etc). But things stayed busy and between a blogging for Y&F, BubbyFinds (my new website), a full-time job, and being a dad and husband there is literally no time left in the day. So…I don’t get a lot of sleep. I’m fine with this because while others snooze, I get ahead, I work and sharpen my skills. And, ironically, having so much going on has made me more focused on everything…no matter what time of day/night it is.

4. You’re Always Going To Be Cleaning Up Shit

Yep. I realized this today while I was rinsing out cloth diapers in the toilet. It could be cleaning up a mess after someone does a terrible job on a project, running damage control after a failed product launch, picking up toys left all around the house, cleaning/changing a diaper, or picking up the dog doo; there will always be shit that needs to be cleaned up. Literally and figuratively; it’ll always be there. It’s a fact of life; and a powerful thing to ponder.

5. You Have To Have Passion

I have a passion for my family. My son could be kicking and screaming and all I would care about is trying to hold him and comfort him. He is my responsibility and I will do anything and everything in my power to keep him healthy and happy. Without passion I don’t know what I would do; I’d probably be wound up tight and I certainly wouldn’t be laughing as I spray shit out of a cloth diaper because I’m relating it to life. Passion is what makes people tick, passion tells you true priorities, and without passion it’s hard to put enough work towards something to have success.

Freedom Flight

Posted by Daniel in Advice, Entrepreneurship, Gen-Y, Life, Planning, Uncategorized

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It was a hot Texas summer and I wanted to land a 360 on a wakeboard so bad I could taste it. I had been working on it for the past few weeks and had taken some pretty hard falls in the process. I had bruised ribs and had developed a horrible case of tendonitis due to the constant strain of holding on to the rope, but I needed it. I was on a mission and there was bounty in the form of a case of beer amongst my wakeboarding crew for the first one of us to land it. The next morning at 6 AM I would be heading out to the lake with my friends, and I was determined.

That night I laid in a dark room, eyes closed, visualizing every aspect of what it would take for me to land it. Over and over again I visualized this technical process, and before I realized it my alarm went off. I hadn’t slept at all, but I was determined. I continued my visualizations all the way to our secret riding spot that morning, and that day, on my first try of the day, I landed a flawless heelside frontside 360, and then I did another.

A few years later I was out in the working world, and I got to hear Magic Johnson speak. You may know that after basketball Magic Johnson has gone on to have a very successful business career (most recently leading a group to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 Billion), and in his speech he spoke not about basketball but about visualization. One of the key things he credited towards his business success was the concept of visualization. He even told a story about how when he was in high school he worked as a janitor for an office building, and at nights he would sneak into the executive offices, sit down, and just like he would visualize himself holding a championship trophy on the basketball court, he would sit and visualize himself as a powerful CEO. This opened my eyes to the fact that visualization is not just for sports goals; it’s for business goals too.

The moral of these stories?…Visualization.

The ability to visualize and see yourself in different situations is crucial to success no matter what you are doing, and this point is really driven home by a book a friend of mine gave me a couple of years ago. Freedom Flight, by Lanny Bassham (Olympic Gold Medalist and founder of Mental Management Systems), was given to me by someone who thought it might open my mind a little bit to help me gain some much-needed focus. At the time I felt like I was just spinning my wheels with no traction, so I read the book…and she was right, it helped me focus in ways I couldn’t believe.

Freedom Flight is not a self-help book in the Tony Robins traditional sense, it is a zen-like parable on visualization and setting yourself free so that you can discover your passion and achieve your life’s purpose. It is a true story with a great overarching theme of playing the hand you are dealt to the best of your ability and using the power of your mind to visualize your end goal. This book has really helped me reign in my dreams to focus on visualizing what I will actually accomplish, and because of this book I have become more of a doer, instead of just being a dreamer.

I hate reviewing books and doing product recommendations, but this is worth it. It’s a very easy read that you will breeze through, but when you’re finished you will want to read it again to make sure you picked up every little detail of the parable. So if you feel like you are spinning your wheels, this very well may help you gain some traction.