Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thrift is the Philosopher's Stone

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In the Middle Ages alchemists puzzle long into the night trying to figure out how to take a lump of lead and convert it by a mixture of magic and science into a valuable piece of gold. They did not, could not, know that all their efforts were doomed to failure. However, in their quest many interesting discoveries that led on to vast fortunes for someone were uncovered.

This saying is telling us that rather than burn the midnight oil seeking a way to boost our fortunes we should consider saving on costs. A penny saved is a penny gained.

It is worth pondering that in order to gain 100 dollars it is necessary for most people to earn 100 dollars plus tax, and if you are self-employed, expenses. On the other hand if you cut your expenditure by 100 dollars you gain exactly that. Eliminate waste and gain the benefit.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prosperity takes no counsel and fears no calamity

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Put bluntly: being well off makes you big headed. If you have plenty of spending power you feel powerful and, subconsciously at least, start assuming you must be an important person whose opinions and ideas are good.

Alas, pride comes before a fall and we can become so convinced of our wisdom and invulnerability that we prefer whatever ideas comes from our own minds and will tend to ignore wise advice from cooler heads.

History is full of people who suffer hubris - an overwhelming self confidence that leads to disaster. Self belief and confidence are important but it has to be based on sound foundations. He who is too secure is not.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poverty is the sixth sense

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Many people believe that there is something that guides them beyond reason that intuitively leads them to avoid danger - an extra sense. Ideas like guardian angels and spirit guides are quoted. But could it be much simpler.

This saying seems to be suggesting that our best guide and adviser might be a deep fear of poverty. At the back of your mind this worry could lead you to be a model citizen: avoiding rash decisions, spendthrift ways, rowdy conduct, slovenly standards in personal behavior and business dealings. Respect for authority, care for the health and education of self and family will be seen as good.

It would seem that there are many virtues that we will cherish if we fear poverty. This might also suggest that a welfare state could be weakening if this bracing fear is removed.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

He that hath many irons in the fire, some of them will cool

The scourge of the Internet Age is information overload.

We all have too many irons in the fire and that fire sometimes seems to be your brain. Everyone wants your attention trying to sell you a product or an idea and the more information you have the more confusing it gets.

The only answer is to find a few trusty sources and shut out the rest. The problem is how do you find the best sources. Advice from a friend? Trial and error? Follow the crowd? Like gold mining you have to go through a lot of grit to get to pay dirt.

When confronted with a pile of possibilities, sometimes the best thing is to make a priority list and work through it or just pick one and get it done. This will boost your morale and make you keener for the next challenge.