Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffet

My favorite quote this month comes from the “Oracle of Omaha” and legendary investor, Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is arguably one of the greatest investors of all time. He is called “The Oracle of Omaha” because his investment picks and comments on the market are very closely followed by the investment community, and he lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska.

Warren Buffet Quote

Having started out as a financial advisor at the ripe old age of 20, and then spending the last 30 years speaking up to 220 days a year to financial advisors all over the US and Canada, I thought this quote was absolutely spot on. Not only is it pretty darn funny, but there is so much truth behind it as well. I loved it and hope you do as well.

If you’ve got a favorite quote you would like to share, email me at thetopfivepercent@gmail.com

Everybody Sells

Everybody Sells

Your success in life depends more on your ability to SELL than just about any other single factor.

Nothing happens

Selling is one of the highest paid professions on the planet. If you can sell, you can literally write your own paycheck, but for this blog post, I’m not referring to the typical salesperson.

No, I’m talking to you, the most important salespeople in life, the housewife, receptionist, schoolteacher, pastor, student, babysitter, coach, politician, attorney, administrative assistant and friend. You all sell. You do it all day, every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included.

Just because you’re not in sales, doesn’t mean you aren’t selling. The fact of the matter is….Everybody Sells and your sales career started at an early age.

Just as a company must focus daily on selling its products or services to survive and prosper, an individual must sell others on their ideas to get what they want.

Shy Salespeople

Let’s look at an easily overlooked fact:

You’re Selling When You…

•  Cried out for milk as a toddler when you’re hungry.
•  Got your mom to give you money for ice cream.
•  Faked being sick to stay home from school.
•  Pleaded your case to get an increase in allowance.
•  Convinced your mom you didn’t eat the cookies.
•  Persuaded mom to sleepover at your friends.
•  Convinced your parents to take you to Disneyworld.
•  Received approval to stay out past curfew.
•  Asked out the prettiest girl in the class on a date.
•  Convinced your teacher to allow extra credit.
•  Made the referee believe it wasn’t you who committed the foul.
•  Got the college of your choice to accept you.
•  Negotiated a $500 discount off your first car.
•  Asked your wife to marry you.
•  Communicated your strengths during the job interview.
•  Convinced your employer to hire you.
•  Sent your boss that memo outlining your proposal.
•  Got that promotion over all other candidates.
•  Persuaded your wife on seeing a particular movie.
•  Pleaded with the officer you weren’t speeding.
•  Asked your kids to clean their plates.
•  Got your husband to take out the trash.

I’ve been in sales my entire life and whether you realize it or not, so have you. Don’t believe me? Read the story below and see if you don’t agree…You’ve Been Selling Since You Were A Kid.

You've Been Selling A Long TIme

CLICK HERE to download You’ve Been Selling Since you Were A Kid

Whether you’re selling a product, a service, an idea, and most importantly when you’re selling yourself, everybody sells something.

Since you don’t have a choice whether or not you play the game, you better learn to play it very well.

The question is not, are you a salesperson? The question is, what will you do to become even more effective in honing your sales skills?

U.S. National Debt: We’re In Deep Do-do

Debt Baall and Chain

After a lengthy battle, Congress recently passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling so the country could pay its bills. The U.S. National Debt now stands at a whopping $17.25 trillion dollars and counting.

Outflow exceeds income

What’s your share of this rather large tab? As of today, it’s $54,399 per citizen for each of the 317 million US citizens, and over $150,000 per taxpayer for the 114,921,129 taxpayers on the IRS books.

But wait…That’s just the US National Debt. If you factor in Total US Debt, your share jumps to $191,333 per citizen, and over $758,564 per family. No, that wasn’t a typo…

Understand interest

We throw these numbers around without putting much thought into it, but let me bring it into focus. In 2000, the US National Debt stood at $5.6 trillion. Today, it’s over $17 trillion. In just 13 years, we’ve tripled the amount of debt the country racked up in our first 200 plus years of existence. And before you start blaming Republicans or Democrats for this mess, let’s just admit there’s enough blame to go around for everyone.

No one wants to address the problem, so we end up kicking the can down the road for future generations to worry about. Personally, I think those days are coming to an end. When would NOW be a good time to address this mess?

Thomas jefferson quote

We’ve not only managed to mortgage our children’s future, but their kids as well…our grandkids. They’re screwed, no matter how you want to look at it. Forget social security. For them, it will be more like social insecurity.

If you want to get a rather scary picture why our country is in such deep do-do financially, just take a look at the mind boggling numbers at www.USDebtClock.org and fasten your seat belts. Oh, and have a water bottle handy, because you’ll need it to cool the numbers off as they fly by.

When you stare at that screen, in a matter of seconds and you come to the realization of two things…1) The current path we’re on is unsustainable and 2) you’ll get really pissed off that our financial house is in such pathetic shape for the most prosperous country on the planet.

US Debt Clock

CLICK HERE to see the US Debt Clock in real time.

That’s scary enough, but let’s take an even deeper look. What does a trillion dollars even look like? They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Maybe this will help drive home just how big one trillion dollars is and put it in perspective.

US 1000 Dollar Bill

What Does A Trillion Dollars Look Like?

Take a $1,000 bill. (Not a $100 bill, but a $1,000 bill) They were last printed in 1934 with President Cleveland’s mug on the front. Lay one down and you’ve got $1,000. If that stack were 4 inches high, you would have $1 million dollars. When that stack reached 358 feet in the air, you would be a billionaire. How high would that stack need to be for $1 trillion dollars? How about a stack of $1,000 bills stretching 67.9 miles in the air? That’s $1 trillion dollars. Pretty scary huh?

What Does 17 Trillion Dollars Look Like?

Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The fun is just beginning. Now that you have a pretty good feel for what $1 trillion dollars looks like, let’s tackle the US National Debt of $17 trillion. What on earth does $17 trillion dollars look like? I’m glad you asked. Watch this video below.

Now, we’re not done. It gets worse. Just keep reading…

There is a little known fact that doesn’t appear anywhere on any balance sheet of the Federal Government. The $17 trillion dollar national debt is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, the reported budget deficit of $17 trillion is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.

The actual liabilities of the federal government—including the promises we’ve already made with respect to Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion. Add that to the $17 trillion US National Debt, and we’re looking at over $100 trillion dollars in debt.

US Debt Iceberg

Why haven’t Americans heard about the titanic $86.8 trillion liability from these programs? One reason: The actual figures do not appear in black and white on any balance sheet of the US Government.

Don’t you wish you could manage your checkbook the way the government does?

If reading this has your panties in a bunch, like it does mine, do me a favor and forward this on to your friends.

Are You Happy?

I love simplicity, and my favorite infographic of the month boils happiness down to its simplest form.

Are You Happy?

CLICK HERE to download the Are You Happy infographic.

As I look at this image, two things come to mind.

For those who are unhappy…I’m reminded of the definition of Insanity.

Definition of Insanity

So, if we’re not happy, change something. If you’re not happy, what’s the first thing you’ll change starting TODAY?

For those that are happy…

IfYouKeepDoing_Thin747

It’s all about choices. I choose to be happy.

Where you are today is simply a result of the choices you made yesterday, and where you’ll be tomorrow is simply a result of the choices you’ll make today. Happiness is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts, and since you have control over your thoughts, you can choose to be happy.

Frederick Koenig said, “we tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” That means that gratitude is linked to our happiness. The more grateful we become, the happier we seem to be.

I believe that life is a do it to yourself proposition, and as the infographic says…If you’re not happy, then change something. If you are happy, then keep doing more of whatever you’re doing now.

The bottom line is that happiness is an inside job and I will never assign anyone else that much power over my life. We tend to be about as happy as we make up our minds to be.

What will you choose today?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to share a comment.

Sitcoms With Laugh Tracks

I Love Lucy

I’ve never been a big fan of TV, especially sitcoms, and I can guarantee you that not everybody loves Raymond, but I have to call BS on sitcoms with laugh tracks. Really?

Are we that stupid that we need the TV networks to help us out in deciphering what’s funny and what’s not by using those idiotic laugh tracks? I’m sorry but I can’t watch any show that needs to remind me when I’m supposed to laugh. It’s mind numbing. Sorry, just can’t do it.

Laugh Track Definition

Have you actually seen a sitcom without the laugh track? They’re really not that funny. (Not that they were funny even with the laugh track)

Take a look at these identical clips from The Big Bang Theory and you’ll see what I mean.

The Big Bang Theory – With Laugh Track

The Big Bang Theory – Without Laugh Track

Not only is it not funny, it’s downright uncomfortable to sit through.

The concept of “laugh tracks” actually dates back at least 500 years to the days of Shakespearean performances in the 16th century. “Plants” in the crowd spurred on audience reactions, including laughter and cheering as well as jeers.

INSERT IMAGE OF QUOTE: ARE WE THAT STUPID THAT …

Fast forward 500 years when laugh tracks first appeared on TV in 1950 on a rather obscure NBC situation comedy, The Hank McCune Show, and they continue today. The reason why…they work. They’re meant to make the audience at home feel like they’re part of a bigger crowd sitting in a movie theater or at a comedy club.

As much as I dislike sitcoms, I have to give props to shows, like “30 Rock,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Modern Family,” “The Office” and “Glee,” that have said no to the laugh track, realizing their audience’s IQ is larger than their shoe size, preferring the audience’s authentic reactions to their humor and punch lines.

Popular shows that currently dub in the yuks, whether they tape before a live audience or not, include “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” just to name a few. Past sitcom sensations, from “Seinfeld” and “Cheers” to “Friends” and “Frasier,” also turned to some form of electronically enhanced giggles.

I don’t know where you come down on this issue, but for me and the use of laugh tracks, I Call BS.

Please be sure to let me know how you stand on the issue of Sitcoms With Laugh Tracks.

I Call BS

Reinvent Your Life: What To Do When Your Life’s Not Working

Reinvent Your Life Book
It seems the vast majority of people today aren’t where they thought they would be at this stage of their lives.  It’s because of this fact that I’ve decided to share the process I’ve going through to reinvent my life, my health, my relationships and my business.  We’re all works in progress constantly evolving and we’re in a constant state of reinvention.

If you're green you're growing quote
Millions of hard working individuals wake up each day and realize their life is not working in some area. For others, their life is not working in many areas, regardless of whether it’s their finances, health, career, relationships, or any number of other areas.

Where you are today quote
For many, it’s the economy and they’re still recovering from the lingering effects of The Great Recession. For others, they’ve been fired, laid off, foreclosed, bankrupt, outsourced or downsized. Reinvent Your Life is for those that know in their heart of hearts that their life is not working, that things need to change, but they’re just not sure how to do it.  Life is a journey, not a destination, and that journey is laced with pitfalls and potholes along the way.  Every day in every way we can get better, and my intent with this, my first book, is to show you how I’ve done it.?

It's not what happens quote
If you’re ready to go from MAKING A LIVING to DESIGNING A LIFE…a life that dreams are made of, then Reinvent Your Life just might be for you. Reinvent Your Life lays out a step by step roadmap to follow to reinvent every area of your life in 365 days.

It’s taken me 30 years to become an overnight success.  Trust me when I say I’ve made every mistake you can possibly make in life.  Some mistakes I enjoyed making so much the first time, I repeated them a few more times before I got the lesson, but in the end, I’ve failed my way to success, and you can too.

The Power of Words

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this video. It’s been viewed over 18 million times on YouTube. I’ve never been able to get past the 1 minute mark without tears welling up. It’s such a strong and profound message.

Our words are like a double edged sword. They have power to change lives. They have power to hurt or heal, to begin and end wars, to build up or tear down, to create peace or incite discord. Our words can break hearts or heal them. Our words are powerful beyond measure.

Change your words

From a young child we were taught to “use our words.” There is nothing in the world that has as much power as our words, but how we deliver those words can have far greater meaning and impact. It’s not so much what is being said, but rather how it’s being said that matters.

As this video illustrates, sometimes we need to change our words and rephrase our message to paint a more compelling picture.

Think twice before you speak

I hope you find as much joy from this thought provoking video as I did, and remember the power your words have throughout your day today. Use your words today to make someone else’s day with random acts of kindness.

send an email with an inspiring clip

The Hidden Messages In Water

The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory about water’s deep connection to people’s individual and collective consciousness. Drawing from his own discoveries, scientific researcher, healer, and popular lecturer Dr. Masaru Emoto describes the ability of water to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. Using high-speed photography, he found that crystals formed in ice reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it.

Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure. Emoto theorizes that since water has the ability to receive a wide range of frequencies, it can also reflect the universe in this manner. He found that water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. Emoto believes that since people are 70 percent water, and the earth’s surface is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill.

Water crystals

MY THOUGHTS:  I’m absolutely fascinated by the work of Masaru Emoto.  I listened to the audio book in my car, but to fully understand and appreciate the power of his message, one needs to see the images of ice crystals as a result of exposure to music, thoughts and words.  Absolutely amazing.  For those who think the words you say to yourself and others and the thoughts you have each and every day don’t affect your inner world, which affects your outer world, this will open your eyes.

How can one ice crystal be so beautiful simply from the words “love and gratitude”, while another ice crystal is ugly and disfigured from the words, “you make me sick and I will kill you”?

The reality is that we live in an energetic world.  As we make our way through our day we are influencing the world around us, just as the world around us is influencing us.  After viewing the video below, it makes one think twice about those we let into our world that can have influence upon us.

View this YouTube video below and see the difference for yourself:

Hidden messages quote

I AM by Tom Shadyac

I Am DVD

Tom Shadyac had it all and was living the dream. Or at least that is what people in Hollywood told him. He was a hugely successful movie director with a string of comedy hits. He had earned himself millions of dollars and had an A-list lifestyle with all the trappings of excess.

Tom Shadyac

Then, in 2007, an already disillusioned Shadyac had a bike accident and became gripped by a profoundly non-showbiz desire: to give his wealth away. Several years later, he has swapped his luxury jetsetting for economy class and his 17,000-square ft mansion in Los Angeles for a trailer park in Malibu.

I AM is the story of a successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac (LIAR LIAR, NUTTY PROFESSOR, BRUCE ALMIGHTY), who experienced a life threatening head injury, and his ensuing journey to try and answer two very basic questions:

What s wrong with our world? and What can we do about it?

With a film crew of four, Tom visits some of today’s great minds, including authors, poets, teachers, religious leaders, and scientists (Howard Zinn, Lynn McTaggart, Desmond Tutu, Thom Harmann, Coleman Barks) searching for the fundamental endemic problem that causes all of the other problems, while simultaneously reflecting on this own life choices of excess, greed and eventual healing.

“We started by asking what’s wrong with the world, and ended up discovering what’s right with it.”  Tom Shadyac

I Am - the movie

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this movie and have viewed it several times. Not only is it such an inspiring story, but it hit home with me in such a powerful way, and at the perfect time. Here is a guy who had it all by the world’s standards, was living the dream, yet wasn’t happy. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This movie showed up in my life shortly after I came across this quote from Leonardo DaVinci…”simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

That quote hit me like a ton of bricks and ever since, I’ve been on a quest to simplify my life and remove as much stuff as possible from my life. In other words…to get rid of as many of the things that money can buy, the stuff, so it’s easier to focus on those things money can’t buy. I’m a work in progress with a long way to go, but this movie certainly got me thinking and focused down the right path. I think you’ll enjoy it as well. It will definitely change the way you think and make you question everything you are doing now. Very thought provoking.

Evernote

Evernote Elephant

I’ve wanted to learn Evernote for quite some time, and I finally decided this was the month to bite the bullet and jump in head first.

Evernote apps and products make modern life manageable, by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters.  Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.

Evernote products
The Evernote family of products helps you remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done.

Keep everything in sync

With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use.

Remember things you like

Save everything cool and exciting you see online and in the real world. Snap a photo, record some audio and save it.

Save favorite webpages

Save entire webpages to your Evernote account with our nifty web clipper browser extensions. You get the whole page: text, images and links.

Research better

Collect information from anywhere into a single place. From text notes to web pages to files to snapshots, everything is always at your fingertips.

Work with friends and colleagues

Share your notes and collaborate on projects with friends, colleagues and classmates.

Plan your next trip

Keep all of your itineraries, confirmations, scanned travel documents, maps, and plans in Evernote, so you’ll have them when you need them.

Fujitsu Scansnap iX500 Scanner

I also use the Fujitsu iX500 Scanner, which is compatible for both PC and Mac and it set up to scan documents right into Evernote.  You can also wirelessly scan documents right into your smartphone as well, for both Android and iOS.  I now operate as close to a paperless office as I ever have, knowing anything I want is at my fingertips and can be accessed from Evernote in seconds.

Fujitsu scanner

Shortening The Learning Curve

There are two things I’m utilizing to shorten my learning curve with Evernote.
1)  The Evernote Training on Lynda.com
2)  Mastering Evernote by Brandon Collins