Best of the Web — Short Clips on Personal Finance and Negotiation

Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich is one of my favorite resources for advice on personal finance. His information is simple and powerful. Rather than stress on spending money on $4 lattes every week, he focuses on learning to negotiate big-ticket purchases like houses or renegotiating your salary, which can yield tens of thousands of dollars in savings when done correctly. He is also a big proponent of learning how to work with your credit card company. Here are two short clips that I enjoyed viewing this weekend:

Defining Yourself — The Art of Creating an Effective Personal Mission Statement

When you get in your car and drive somewhere, odds are that you will have a well-defined destination in mind. Maybe it’s a particular restaurant, or maybe it’s your friend’s house. Taking this example a step further and applying to today’s topic, lets go on to say that you are in the driver’s seat of your life, steering it in one direction or another. Do you have a well-defined destination in mind? Which direction are you heading in over the next 2-3 months? Where do you plan to be in 2-3 years?

If you haven’t gotten the idea yet, people who are clearly able to define their goals are more likely to achieve them. Yet so many people are undecided and unsure in both their short term and long term goals. The argument could be raised that there are times in your life when it is perfectly normal to be confused, such as when you are deciding on a career path in college. This is very true and I do not refute that. However, the difference is in whether or not you take responsibility for resolving that lack of clarity. A college student who is unsure of his major and takes no proactive steps to explore different career fields to figure out his/her interests is in need of two things:

  1. Self Motivation
  2. Defined Goals

Self motivation can only come from within. It can help to have people encourage and even push you a little to get off your butt and take action, but ultimately real success comes through the motivation you generate from within. Finding and developing that motivation is a whole other topic, so it will not be the focus of today’s post. That leaves defined goals remaining to be discussed. Setting defined goals is important at every stage of life and although there are many different forms of goal setting, the form I want to address today is the personal mission statement.

You may have seen a mission statement on a company’s website. But what exactly is a mission statement? Wikipedia offers a concise definition: “A mission statement is a formal short written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides the ‘framework or context within which the company´s strategies are formulated.‘”

Mission statements are a valuable tool that companies and corporations of all sizes use to guide all of the actions the company takes. It takes an all-encompassing stance to include goals, actions, direction, and framework. This is an invaluable tool for businesses especially during trying times where it can be tempting to veer off path to save money short term. In the same way that businesses utilize their mission statements to give a structure to their actions and strategies, you too can utilize a personal mission statement to guide your own actions and life strategies. By frequently reviewing and consulting your personalized mission statement when making decisions, whether minute or life-altering, it will help keep you in line with your beliefs and values.

Ok, great! So how do we get to building a personal mission statement?

For those who aren’t used to defining their goals in an all-encompassing format, the Mission Statement Builder on is a very simple and fun tool. The link to it is

For those of you who want to write your own mission statement, it is important to use precision in your statements. You will want to define:

-The type of person you wish to be

-The type of lifestyle you wish to pursue

-What you wish to accomplish before you leave this world

-Your short and long term goals for your career

-The things you value most and how you will prioritize them into your life

-Anything important in your life that has not reached its full potential

Leaving anything fuzzy or poorly defined will only reduce the effectiveness of your mission statement.

And remember, if you know of anyone who even MIGHT benefit from this post, please pass it along.

‘Till next time.

Best Reading From Around the Web — Productivity and Networking

Whenever I find it appropriate, I intend to have a “Best Reading From Around the Web” feature. This isn’t out of laziness or inability to keep consistently creating new material, but rather I’ve come to acknowledge that there are many valuable topics and ideas out there that I simply could not do justice to if I were to try and write about them myself. Rather than try and paraphrase or summarize the ideas of others, I’d rather send you directly to the source.  This week’s theme is productivity and networking.

The Not-To-Do List 9 Habits to Stop Now/

How To Network With Busy People — Multiple Part Series

14 Simple Tips For Super Fast Web Browsing

Using an Energy Map to Find Peak Productivity Windows

Why Self Motivation is Essential to Success

You may remember that the old tagline for this blog was “Self Improvement for Self Motivators.” Although I’ve chosen to go with a tagline that is more descriptive of the blog’s purpose, this old tagline still remains true. The majority of the content on this blog is targeted towards people who can dig deep and find the motivation and dedication needed to change one’s self.  In this post I will attempt to explain why being a “Self Motivator” is crucial for seeing positive change in almost any endeavor.

It’s no secret anymore that the world is changing at an exponential rate. For example, many fields and occupations that are in demand now will be completely outdated in the near future. Furthermore, if you stay static and unchanging in your own field, you may soon find yourself without a job. Especially in this job environment, if you remain one-dimensional while others competing for the same jobs as you are continually learning the latest in your field, you are instantly at a severe disadvantage. This realization can be quite intimidating for some.

Thankfully, this is where being a Self Motivator will help you come out on top. Because Self Motivators are used to constantly learning new skills and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone, they are able to quickly adapt to changes in the world around them because they are used to dealing with these challenges. While many people rely on college and grad school to acquire the skills they will bring into the workplace, many fields are evolving too rapidly to keep going back to school to learn new skills. Finding it within yourself to become a Self Motivator is more important than ever before.

I’m not the only person to acknowledge it. For example, the people over at Personal MBA argue that assimilating the knowledge from a selection of the greatest business and personal development books ever written can be just as effective, if not more so, then dropping $100,000 on an MBA program. You can find that book list here.

In the same way that eating healthier and exercising more often is a big change that will impact your current and future health and well-being, being a Self Motivator is a lifestyle change that will noticeably and perhaps even radically impact the course of your career and your personal life. Amazing things begin to happen when you take responsibility for your own learning and personal growth.

Would you consider yourself a “Self Motivator”? If not, there’s no better time than now.