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September 12, 2014, 8:19 am

Gone… Reading…

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

It’s been quite a while since I wrote something on TFB. I was gone… reading the Why Café, a great book that I devoured in a single day. I won’t talk about the book, I’ll let you find it and read it. You will understand a little better after that.

When the business is down – motivation takes a hit

At one point, I just didn’t feel like writing anymore. I thought that instead of writing for writing I would just put the TFB project on a shelf and see how it goes.  I didn’t stop writing completely; I simply put this blog on the sidelines for a while.

 

As you probably already know, I’m a results-driven individual. Everything I do at work and with my online company is to obtain results. I’m highly motivated to work mainly because I get great results. I’m always looking for a reward, this is why I work. When results aren’t happening, I easily lose my motivation. This is probably what happened with TFB.

 

I used to make lots of money selling links; it was an awesome business model. There wasn’t much to do and plenty of money to be made. Then, Google started to hit the financial industry on both sides:

 

FIRST, Google severely punished those who used to buy links. This is why the business from advertisers dried up. I even started to receive emails asking to withdraw links from my sites. While the text link business is still alive and there is still money to be made, it requires more time and it pays less than it used to.

 

SECOND, Google started reducing their affinity for blogs. It’s only normal: why would you rank a blog on the first page of the biggest search engine when you can rank public companies that buy millions of $ in internet ads with you? This is why boring and not so educational articles outranked in-depth and educational articles I wrote about specific topics. Then again, who am I to Google when you compare my sites to Forbes or The Wall Street Journal?

 

Slowly but surely, I see TFB traffic diminishing. Since I never really took the time to build a real business around my blogs, I saw this coming but was paralyzed since I didn’t know what to do. We struggled to manage our way out through different avenues but the fun of blogging wasn’t there for me anymore. In fact, each time I think of TFB, I think of the failure of not building a stronger business model around my sites.

 

This is why I completely stopped most of my online activities over one day. I put everything aside and started to work on one project; my dividend investing platform. Now, I’m convinced this will be my way to get out of the rat race and that I will be able to live from these investment services. But in order to do so, in order to compare myself to the other big guys on the internet, I must do like them; focus on the most important project I have and give it my all.

 

I’m not coming back… yet

 

I thought it sucked that I left TFB without a word of notice. A post about a tax return is not really the best way to leave a blog like this one; especially after 8 years of writing! This is why I’m writing this quick post; to tell you that I’m happy, that I’m still working online and making money, and I have other goals at the moment. I’ll be back, for sure I’ll be back. I love TFB too much to let it go forever. And, for the first time since I started this adventure in 2006, I feel that I need to concentrate all my energy in one place… and this is what I do right now.

 

In the meantime, I strongly suggest you grab a copy of the Why Café. Note: I’m not linking to it, I’m not getting affiliate revenues, I genuinely think you should read this book. It has literally changed my life.

 

Cheer,

 

Mike

Aka The Financial Blogger

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September 2, 2013, 7:06 am

It’s Crazy What You Learn Staring at A Round Ball!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

 

A few years ago, when my oldest son was 5 years old, I felt somewhat relieved when he told me he didn’t want to play hockey. He’s all about sports but he doesn’t like skating too much. I am a big hockey fan but I didn’t need my son to play. Not after I saw those crazy parents screaming their heads off looking at the ice. I thought it wasn’t a good way to teach him sports’ great values such as discipline, effort and team play. In fact, I was very happy when he asked to play soccer all year round.

 soccer ball

I’ve been coaching my son for the past three years. I’ve tried to make sure he doesn’t get benched and that everybody on his team is treated fairly. But then I got hooked and I like coaching as much as my son likes playing soccer! The season just finished and I’ve learned a ton! Not really about soccer, but about psychology and relationships!

 

Your Kid is Just a Kid – LET HIM PLAY

 

I guess there is a reason why we use the verb “play” when we describe a sport. We don’t “work” a soccer game, we play it. Sometimes, as parents, we forget that playing is way more fun than working hard and performing! Last year, I had great expectations of my son. He was a very good player and was expecting him to perform. I obviously asked him to take soccer way too seriously and he lost the fun he had to play soccer. We even argued a few times before or after a game. This wasn’t smart on my part. I knew he was able to play much better than this and found he was a bit lazy sometimes. I’m pretty sure he didn’t appreciate my remarks and constant flow of advice. This year, I started the season differently. I just played with him for fun and was laughing with him during the game. He ended-up being one of the most complete players in the league out of 100 players. He finished 2nd scorer for both the regular season and playoffs. He played at his full potential because he was “playing”.

 

To all parents around, if you want your kid to perform, ask him/her to have fun instead. If your child has talent, the results will come naturally.

 

The Game is Just a Game – WE ARE NOT PLAYING THE WORLD CUP

 

Then again, I’m sure you have seen this many times; overhyped parents demanding very high expectations from their kid and their team as well. The players’ parents were forming a great crowd, but towards the end, expectations raised way too high. We heard parents asking players to “wake-up”, that “the game has started”, or simply asking bluntly “what are you doing??? Run!!!”.  It was like the kids had no other option but to win.

 

As a coach (as witheverything in my life), I’m very intense, passionate and don’t regret anything. But putting pressure on children or talking bluntly to them thinking they will wake-up and find motivation is completely stupid. Motivation is a positive feeling, how can it be created from bad feelings or behaviors? I’ve taught my team to have fun on the field and to like playing soccer. But I’ve also had to teach the parents to have fun and to cheer instead of telling their kid what to do on the field!

 

I think we should bring this to a whole new level in life. Since when do you feel good when someone is telling you that you suck at something? Would you like your boss or your spouse to tell you that you don’t work hard enough? That you are not sweet enough? That you should put some more effort into what you do?

 

How about they tell you that you are good at something and that you should do it more often? That they like when you do this or that. Doesn’t feel better when people are telling you nice things? Well… why it has to be different when you are talking to your children?

 

During our 3rd game in the playoffs, we were losing 4 nothing at half time. Parents were discouraged, my assistant screamed at his son and some players were crying. I brought my team together and cheered them up. I told them it sucks to lose 4 nothing but we can make a comeback. The only thing we needed was to have fun playing soccer and not to think about the score. Believe it or not, my son scored 4 goals in the second half time and we won 6-4! This is what we call motivation!

 

Don’t Let the Prize Win Over Your Values

 

Like any coach, I want my team to win. But more than anything else, I want the kids to have fun playing soccer. During the semi-finals, we almost lost the game. There were 10 minutes left in the game and it was still 1 nothing. I made the decision to put all my best players for the rest of the game, leaving 4 kids on the bench for 10 long minutes. I’ve never done that before. We did win 2-1 but I felt bad after that. I thought of the players that were left behind and about the parents that had to watch them wait until the game was over.

 

This wasn’t me. This wasn’t how I’ve trained my kids and how I acted during the past three years. I felt so bad that I went to apologize to the kids’ parents. This win had a sour taste. This is when I learned that winning isn’t everything. You are better off feeling good about yourself than winning the game!

 

Having Fun is More Important Than Anything Else

 

I think my son never played better soccer than this year and our team was truly great. The secret of all this is that I’ve never had more fun coaching soccer before that. The whole team enjoyed playing and this is the key. This lesson learned goes far more behind kicking a ball. It’s about everything you do in life. If you don’t have fun doing something, then drop it!

 

This works with your job – as going to work thinking it sucks makes for a very long day.

This is true about your spouse – as kissing someone goodnight while thinking about another won’t make a great family.

This is the most inspiring thing you should do – drop what you are currently doing and shift towards something you like. Then wait for a few seconds and see how great it feels.

 

The soccer season is now finished… it’s only for three weeks since my son is playing indoor soccer during the winter. I’m not coaching indoors because I want to take a break and disconnect from soccer a little bit. I think it’s a good thing for my son that he gets other people to coach him as well and I truly want to make sure he still plays next summer instead of performing!

 

What about you, do you play or perform in your life?

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August 1, 2013, 6:00 am

Do You Have to Be Busy Every Single Second?

by: MD    Category: Miscellaneous

“I’m on summer vacation!”

That’s what I told my friends the other day. Then I went back to throwing the frisbee around with some new friends in the park. I love the summer.

Last summer, I don’t think I took much time to throw a frisbee around or to appreciate anything.

I used to have to fill up every single second of my day with something to do. I realized that I was just dying to be busy. I always had to be doing something. I couldn’t just relax. I had to be on my laptop doing some sort of work.

I drove my last two girlfriends (two years each) crazy when we dated. I always had to be doing something (work-related).

I’ve come to notice that this is a curse. The curse of being busy.

Do you always have to be busy?

Are you someone that always has to be doing something? Do you actually stop to chat with a friend when you pass them by?

Lifehacker wrote this article that suggests, being busy always is a sign of procrastination.

When I first read The 4-Hour Workweek, I figured out that there was a huge difference between being busy and actually getting things done. But I barely improved. The curse had hit me and there was no letting go. Back to being busy!

The curse of being busy.

We live in an era that’s all about productivity and efficiency. You have to schedule in an appointment with your brother via Facebook. Everything has to be efficient. Going for a coffee with a friend just isn’t efficient enough. It takes up too much time. You guys should be working on something instead of hanging out.

I really feel that it’s a curse.

When you’re always striving to be busy, you miss out on the following:

  • Good time with friends.
  • Reflection.
  • Life.
  • Family.
  • Staying in shape.
  • Cooking (you’re too busy to cook).
I’m sure there’s tons more that I missed out on.

How do you cure the need for staying busy?

Is there a cure? I believe that there actually is. The three following tips have really helped me out with filing this need of always wanting to be busy.

You get important things done.

I have the following posted on my wall:

“Are you inventing things to do to avoid doing the important?”

Whenever I’m wasting time on YouTube or pretending to be productive, I look at this. Why sit in front of the computer pretending to be busy when you could actually try something like crazy, like, maybe go for a bike ride?

The classic 80/20 analysis is key here. What activities will generate the most revenue for you? What can you cut out?

Most of us can cut out email and lots of other pointless stuff that we force ourselves to do.

If you get the important things done first, you won’t feel the need to always be busy. Sitting in front of your laptop for 8 hours doing nothing isn’t more productive than one hour of solid writing where you’re totally in the zone.

The main takeaway here is: plan one important thing that you want to do for that day. Do it. Don’t worry about minor things. Try not to create small jobs just to fill out a day.

Oh, and please don’t include laundry or cleaning. These are things that you’re supposed to do! You need clean pants and a clean room.

Appreciate the fun times.

Stop feeling guilty over having fun! It’s not against the law. The busy police won’t come after you if you go for a bike ride or throw a frisbee around. They won’t hand you out a fine for smiling. It’s okay to soak in the sun and enjoy a good time.

Hang around positive people.

When your friends are all negative, you won’t even feel like hanging out with them. You won’t even feel good about yourself. I suggest that you rid yourself of all toxic people.

When you associate with a vibrant group of friends, you’ll always feel good and never regret meeting up with them.

[Final note: today is the first day of August. Let's make this last month of August count!]

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

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June 19, 2013, 5:00 am

A Run Through Hell & Back

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

 

Have you ever pushed yourself past your limits? It feels like running through hell

 

This Saturday, I did something that was completely beyond my limits; both psychologically and physically. We drove our children to my sister-in-law’s house and we left for the night. No… I’m not talking about having my children babysat… what I did after that was way more demanding!

 

A Visit Through Hell…

 

I was just starting and I thought “What in the Seven Hells(yup, Im currently watching Game of Thrones ;-) .

 

The adrenaline, the blood rushing through my veins, my heart drumming harder than an old school tune by Metallica. All this was real… a little bit too much for me at first. I pushed so hard that I visited a part of me that I didn’t even know was there.

 

At first, it felt like hell. How can I run 7km more after rushing so much for the first 2? I felt pain; I even crushed my knees on a rock and kept running, bleeding. On Saturday night; we ran a 9km trail. As you might already know, I started running on my treadmill at the beginning of the year. My objective is to run 10 miles (not km) per week. To date, I’m 13 miles in advance to my cumulative objective. Each Wednesday evening, my wife and I go for a 10km run. I find it relatively easy. This is why I never thought a 9km would be that hard. But the word “trail” added to the run makes it crazy hard.

 

It was a run through hell as my heart wanted to jump out of my chest, I fell on a huge rock and there was blood running down my leg, but at the end of the race, I. felt the most amazing feeling ever: I did it! I was proud, satisfied and completely energized. I had given so much during the race that it was like both my mind and body were completely clean. I felt very good about myself. I went through hell and finished in heaven!

 

What Does a Trail Run Looks Like?

 

I could try to describe it, but I think this video does it best:

 

I didn’t make it to any championship, just a “regular” trail run, but for my first run ever, it was quite a feat! When I registered to the run, I thought it was simply running through the woods. I didn’t expect running through mud holes bigger than my pool! Hahaha!

 

Running Gear – Anybody Can Do It!

 

What I like about running is that you don’t need much to participate in this sport. For this run, all I needed was a good pair of shoes (that I’m ready to get rid of since I ran for an hour through mud, water and rocks!), my iPod and good headphones (I use Monster Headphones since they stick in my ears in all condition).

 

So there are really no excuses for not running; I saw teenagers and boomers doing this race. I watched skinny, well built and beer bellies running on that day. Funny enough, there were more women than men doing that race!

 

Major Mistakes in my Run

 

It was my first run ever and I made two major mistakes. The first one was to run like a wild dog at first and pass by as many runners as possible at first. It’s a very bad mistake since you concentrate on rushing your body in the very first minute of a run that will last about an hour. I didn’t control my heart rate and had to slow down after 2km because I was losing my breath. I was happy to never have walked throughout the whole race, but I know I burned a lot of energy for nothing at the beginning.

 

The second mistake I made was to rush through mud holes instead of waiting in line to cross these obstacles. Most runners slow down and almost walk on the side to avoid losing their shoes in mud pits. Since runners were slowing down, I thought it was a good opportunity to gain a few positions. Here again, I burned a lot of energy going directly into the obstacles instead of recovering by going on the sides of the path. I had plenty of time to run faster in the rest of the trail that I could have saved my energy instead of bursting every 3 minutes.

 

What I Truly Learned About Myself

 

I’ve been working out for the past 5 years now and I can tell that I’m not super fit, but I’m in good shape. However, I have never been a runner. I only started this year as I truly wanted to lose weight. Registering for a run was another step in my learning curve.

 

I’m very proud of myself as I pushed my body beyond any limits I would normally fix for me. And this is an interesting revelation: we are the only ones to put limits on ourselves. After 2km, I really thought I would never be able to run the whole race. I was convinced I will have to stop and start walking for a while to recover. But because I was in a race and because I’m too proud to quit, I controlled my breathing throughout the rest of the run and ended-up sprinting for the last 2km.

 

I can now affirm that limits don’t exist. They are made up in our minds and they determine where our conscious tells us to go. But you can always do more. I’ve learned that even someone that is a go getter like me puts limits and slow down its own potential. I was surprised to see that I wasn’t going “all-in” at first and that I could go for more.

 

I guess it’s just a matter of taking the leap to make it happen. I now look forward to the next run!

 

Readers, when was the last time you pushed your limits? How does it feel?

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May 6, 2013, 5:00 am

What Truly Matters

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

 

I’m leaving both the personal finance and making money online worlds this morning for something that matters a whole lot more…

habs vs sens

 

The Habs are in the playoffs!!!

 

Huh… right. It’s not where I wanted to go but you know I’m a diehard CH fan ;-) and we are better off not talking about yesterday’s game anyway… argh!

 

More seriously, I wanted to relate a quick story that happened to me last week. I with met some old work colleagues of mine while I was in Montreal. One of them lost someone very close just two months ago. She was telling me that it had changed her perception of things…

 

Why Do You Have To Work So Hard?

 

I wake up in the morning at 5am. Chow down a quick breakfast and hop on the treadmill. 1 hour later, I run into the shower before heading out to work. Before starting my day, I’m under the pressure to write one or two articles for my blogs. Then, I run the whole day and try to do as many things as I can and hopefully close a deal so I can increase my bonus. Once back home, we eat, play with kids, do the bath routine, put the kids for sleep and… watch hockey ;-).

When I spoke with that colleague of mine, she was asking herself why the hell she runs all over the place to make sure everything was done properly. Accordingly, aligned with what society expects, losing someone definitely puts things into perspective.

 

So what’s the point of working so hard? To be free one day. What if the “one day” doesn’t happen fast enough? What happen if you leave everything else behind while you are desperately trying to reach this freedom?

 

I Learned That Lesson a While Ago

 

When I did my MBA back in 2008-09, things weren’t always rosy with my wife. We just had our second child and she was working full time while I was barely home long enough just to sleep a few hours. Between my online company, new day job and MBA studies, it was impossible to have time for family. This hurt us big time back then.

 

I was set to become a VP by the age of 30 and heading to financial freedom before the age of 40. My wife quit her job, I started to work four days a week in a job that I love and started to take care of my kids. We made these changes in our lives to both take care of ourselves. We started to take care of what truly matters.

 

Today, It’s Different

 

I’m still working hard and still have a crazy schedule. And this is nothing compared to what is going to happen this summer when I’ll coach my oldest son at soccer twice a week between a golf tournament and a happy hour for work.

 

But the difference is that each week, I take a moment to stop and not do anything related to work. I take a moment to enjoy life with my wife, play with my kids and relax. I guess this is probably where you can draw the line before going on a burnout!

 

There are some people putting their career first. They always have a good reason for this:

 

That’s the way it is in my working field

My boss will have my head if I don’t finish this

I need a good bonus to buy this or that (or pay off this or that)

In a few years, I’ll get a promotion and it will all be worth it

I’m in my prime; it’s the right time to climb the ladder

I’m not a lazy ass, I’m here to work

I love my job

Etc.

 

If you are part of this kind of people I don’t blame you, I don’t even judge you. After all, I was part of your gang not so long ago. But I can tell you one thing; one day you will wake up and the train you were running after will left the station without you. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

Today, take a moment. You don’t have to take the day off. Just take a few minutes and make a call to someone you love and tell him/her. Send a quick note from your so beloved smartphone. Plan a cool activity with your kids or with friends over the next weekend. Do something for people that truly matters to you… because they might be not be there when you will become available.

 

Have you ever felt that you are running for nothing? What have you done to change this in your life?

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