CoffeeForTheBuzz

Win The Morning – Net Worth Update: $90K

Win The Morning – Net Worth Update: $90K

Whether you’re a college student struggling to manage your sudden rush of free time, a young professional learning what it actually means to be “busy” for the first time, or a full fledged adult with children and all kinds of responsibilities, there is one habit that can shift your perception of the world and jump start you on the path to long-term success. And that habit is what I define as “winning the morning”.

From this post, I hope to show you:

  1. Why I feel it is so important to start your day off early and right if you want to be a successful person.
  2. How to create a morning routine that will ensure you are going to have an awesome day, not just in the morning, but until the moment you go to sleep.

When you think about it, especially if you’re an employee, the early morning is the only time that you have entirely to yourself. In most cases, no one is scheduling any meetings before 8 A.M. or expecting you to be at work significantly earlier than that. Your roommates may or may not be awake in the early morning, but even if they are, it’s pretty unlikely they’re going to do anything to disturb you before work. It’s one of the last true personal times we have in our modern lives. And that’s why it’s so important that you capitalize on that time you have for yourself each and every morning. I’m a big advocate of creating a morning routine that I can stick to because it is the actions we take in the morning that set the baseline for how the rest of our day will go. After experimenting with different morning routines over the past few years, I have really settled in to one that I feel best sets me up for the day ahead. Check it out below:

  1. The number one most important thing to put yourself on track to win the morning is to wake up early. It just makes logical sense that the earlier you wake up, the more time you have to capitalize on that personal time that can really only be found in the early morning. When I first graduated, I would wake up around 7 or even 7:30 A.M. before rolling out of bed and heading straight to work. I quickly began to realize, however, that while the extra sleep can be nice, it’s much more rewarding to get important things done in the morning. I began waking up at 6:30, then 6:00, and then 5:30. Sometimes I try to wake up even earlier at 5:00 A.M., but I can consistently find myself waking up at 5:30 which usually gives me plenty of time to take care of the things I have incorporated in my routine. My suggestion for you would be to find the earliest time that you can wake up without having the opposite effect of negatively impacting your day due to being overly tired.
  2. Immediately after waking up, I drink my morning cup of coffee. To be even more efficient, I have my coffee maker automatically programmed to begin brewing just before 5:30. Not everyone needs coffee, but I do, and this is one of my favorite rituals of the day.
  3. Once I’ve consumed my daily joe, I go to the gym and exercise. There’s something about breaking a sweat in the early morning that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. Knowing that most other people are in bed while you are working to make yourself better is a great feeling. Not to mention, working out early in the morning ensures that you can’t skip your workout after a long day of work or an impromptu happy hour with your best friends.
  4. Lastly, after coming back from the gym and before getting ready for the day, I like to learn something new. Whether it’s reading a book I’m interested in, learning how to code, learning Spanish on one of my favorite apps, Duolingo, or reading answers on Quora (another one of my favorite sites), it feels rewarding to spend time on personal development before spending the majority of my day working.

The morning routine may or may not be for you, but it’s the one I’ve found that works for me. If you’re looking to create yourself a morning routine, feel free to copy the above, but most importantly, do what works for you. Maybe you are just naturally better at working out in the evening, but would rather spend much more time reading a book in the morning. The important thing, in my mind, is creating a solid routine and sticking to it. Not only does this allow you to improve yourself in whatever you’re doing in the morning, but it teaches a sort of discipline that you may not have developed before.

What are your thoughts on the above? Do you have your own favorite morning routine that works best for you? Feel free to share below in the comments so others can see if they would enjoy your daily routine.

Net Worth Update: $90K. I’ve learned that upon investing in real estate, your actual net worth is nothing more than a best guess. I still love the figure because it is a tangible figure that allows you to measure how you’ve progressed over a period of time, but here’s an example for why it can be an unreliable one: On Zillow, the “Zestimate” of our first investment property just skyrocketed by $400,000. While I’d like to believe my net worth increased by my share of that increase in the past month, I’m not getting any crazy ideas that that updated figure is accurate. In short, it’s impossible to know the exact value of an asset like an investment property until you sell it in the market. So, anyway, my best guess is that my net worth has increased by a few grand if we hold the value of that property constant. This is due to regular paychecks and saving – I haven’t brought in any side hustle income other than trying to keep expenses low during the work week in which I get a $64/day stipend for traveling. I don’t expect my net worth to increase too significantly over the coming months, other than when I receive my bonus in December, while I invest in an online computer programming course that will give me more long-term flexibility as a person and an employee. I read all the time how investing in yourself while you’re young is one of the best financial moves you can make, so I’m experimenting with this notion with a significant amount of money for the first time and intend to make it payoff significantly.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz in Personal Growth
Go Out There and F****** Want It – Net Worth: $85.5K

Go Out There and F****** Want It – Net Worth: $85.5K

A few winters ago, I sat down on my couch after eating a bowl of my mom’s delicious chili and was settling in for a relaxing evening. It was the holidays after all. I flipped over to HBO and on the screen flashed images of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins preparing for that seasons’ Winter Classic. Bruce Boudreau, who was coaching the Capitals at the time, had seen enough of his team after an abysmal first period in the midst of what was a significant losing streak for what should have been one of the best teams in the league that year. After minutes of giving his team an NSFW earful for not performing, Boudreau uttered a phrase that I keep top of mind to this day. “You can’t just go out there and think you want it. You have to go out there and *** want it!” While it was a comical moment on television, there’s no denying there’s real value in the words that the disgruntled coach spewed off that night.

So why did I decide I wanted to learn computer programming? There are a lot of reasons. Of course, like everyone else, I saw how glorified Apple became over the past 10 to 15 years, I watched The Social Network and envisioned massive success like Mark Zuckerberg, and I had this feeling deep down that coding was the way of the future. I dreamed of building the next big thing and at work I realized that everything I was best at included the use of computers. Eventually, I stumbled upon Codecademy, a free learn-to-code resource, that is a truly phenomenal place to begin developing basic skills related to computer programming. For a time, I was determined to start a successful web design business, and I learned just enough to be dangerous with HTML and CSS to pass as a real web designer. I once made $1500 on a web design project which felt like an incredible success to me even though it took 4 months to finish the project. At some point, life got in the way, and I was somewhat discouraged by the amount of sheer effort it was taking me that didn’t seem to have produced a significant pay off in my life yet. So for a few months, I forgot about all the hard work I’d put into learning to code and decied my efforts were better spent elsewhere. But then, on one of those Sunday mornings where you begin to wonder what direction your life is going, I read about the Flatiron School’s online web development program and was intrigued. It seemed like the perfect way to reignite my interest in computer programming with the structure to keep me motivated and dedicated to the task at hand. I took the school’s bootcamp prep course and realized that I was truly passionate about the consistent challenges and opportunities that go along with computer programming and committed to myself to equip myself with skills that would allow me to one day change the world. I no longer just thought I wanted it, I knew I *** wanted it.

The road to changing careers and the trajectory of my life will not be an easy one, but I like it that way. In addition to learning how to code, I believe the program I’ve enrolled in with The Flatiron School will give me the confidence and skills it takes to take my freelancing business to the next level while becoming extremely employable by all kinds of interesting and exciting companies at the same time. I’m ready to take on this challenge full speed ahead and to experience the things I’ve been dreaming about trying in the coming months.https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj7g-eU_sfWAhUG7iYKHY23Dd8QyCkIKDAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DrQyEJpPSLdQ&usg=AFQjCNEYrQXGiFZngW8nThnwRrqw_T4sCQ

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz in Personal Growth
The No Challenge

The No Challenge

As any baseball player (even the best) will tell you, it’s completely normal to go through a slump from time to time. The same can be said for those of us living normal daily lives. You know the feeling. You haven’t had any big accomplishments in a while and your motivation is kind of dwindling. You don’t really have any clear goals that you’re driving towards which makes it that much harder to stay focused and gain positive momentum. These kinds of ruts are normal and are to be expected in life. One method I’ve come to realize helps me break free from a rut like the ones described above is what I refer to as “the no challenge”. The best part is it’s nothing more than an incredibly simple shift in mindset.

When I feel like I need to switch things up to break out of a rut, I make it a point to say “no” to nearly any offer that comes my way for at least a week. During a slump, it can be incredibly easy to be swayed into saying yes to whatever comes up because there really is no downside to doing so. If you’re not making much life progress during your evenings after work, what’s another dinner at the new burger place down the street with your buddies? And that’s why, for me, the no challenge is so successful. When I force myself to say no for a sustained period of time, a few things happen.

  • I gain back an unbelievable amount of free time. All that time spent golfing, at the bar with friends, watching the newest episode on HBO, or taking the boat on the lake is now reserved for yourself to get things back on track.
  • I re-focus my priorities and am able to redevelop clear goals. Without the distraction of all the things I was just recently saying yes to, I am able to take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Where do I want to be in 3 months? 6 months? A year? Saying no allows me to dedicate more time to planning the way I want my life to turn out which allows me to begin building momentum for the days, weeks, and months ahead.
  • It helps me get my mojo back. Saying no to other people and things, in a weird way, makes you feel quite sure of yourself. It’s easy to say yes to things, but it can actually be quite hard to say no to that night out with your friends or the weekend getaway. Overcoming this difficulty can help you boost the way you feel about yourself.

In full disclosure, I am all about living life to the fullest and accepting as many opportunities that come my way as possible. But if you ever find yourself in a rut that you can’t quite seem to get out of, try giving yourself the no challenge for just a week. You’ll be amazed at the change in perspective such a simple task can have on your life. It might just be the fuel that gets you right back on track.

Have you ever tried something like this before? How did it go? Leave a comment below if you’ve tried this in the past or plan to try it soon. Excited to hear about your experiences!

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz in Personal Growth
Real Estate Investment Guide – Net Worth Update: $86.5K

Real Estate Investment Guide – Net Worth Update: $86.5K

This week marks the launch of our comprehensive real estate guide. We’ve put a lot of effort into this guide and investment model over the past few months to help make it possible for you to have the most successful experience in real estate investing possible. The guide is information-packed from front to end with the key considerations you should have when purchasing a multi-family home, mistakes we made that can be improved upon, and things we did really well that we recommend you do as well. Additionally, we are selling our real estate investment model which allows you to input all the numbers for a property you are considering investing in, and based on your investment criteria, will allow you to project whether or not you are making a sound investment. But enough talking, below is a preview of the guide which you can buy at this link.

For a limited time, the guide and model can be purchased 50% off using the code: Introduction

Introduction to the Guide

Why Should You Invest in Real Estate?

If you’re reading this guide, you’re probably similar to us: ambitious, motivated, in search of a side or passion project, looking for a route to financial freedom, or some combination of the above. For most, it’s the prospect of a financially secure future that sparks an interest in real estate investing.

Our real estate investment was sparked primarily by our desire to achieve financial freedom. While financial freedom can mean different things to different people, for us it means earning enough money that we can afford to not work for someone else or choose lower-paying careers that inspire us and ignite our interests.

While there are many routes to financial freedom, many people consider entrepreneurship, real estate, and finance (investment banking, trading, etc.) the three traditional paths to massive wealth in the United States. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each path, we elected to invest in real estate for three key reasons:

 

  • Higher return on investment. We had extra cash from our day jobs to invest and we wanted to earn a higher return than the 10-12% that investing in index funds would yield in the long run; this was one of our criteria for selecting a property.
  • Lower risk. While real estate markets suffer the same ups and downs that financial markets do, if you’re able to buy a property with strong cash flow in a high-demand area, you’re likely to have fewer losses in the long term.
  • Better fit with our lifestyles. Unlike entrepreneurship and finance, real estate investing, though still demanding, requires less of your time and effort and pairs well with a day job.

 

We wrote this guide because we wanted to share what we learned by going through the process of buying our first investment property. We began the process as complete rookies and while we’re not seasoned professionals just yet, we learned more than we ever expected by buying and managing our first property and we want to share that information with you because it will set you on the path to financial freedom if you’re willing to commit to real estate investing.

How Does This Compare to Other Investments?

We strongly recommend comparing potential real estate investments to other potential investments before making any buying decisions. While investment options can vary between investors based on risk tolerance, capital, etc., we primarily compared our real estate investment to a passive investing strategy. We both continue to invest in index funds and/or ETFs that track the performance of markets around the world (mainly US and foreign stock funds, bond funds, and some alternatives such as REITs).

For this reason, we compared the long-run return on investment (ROI) of all of our potential real estate investments to the projected long-run ROI from our current investment strategy. For purposes of comparison, we looked at historical ROI for investing in the S&P 500, which is remarkably consistent even if you select different time periods; consider these average annual ROIs for the following time periods (adjusted for inflation):

    • 1900 to 2016: 6.6%
    • 1950 to 2016: 7.5%
    • 1970 to 2016: 6.1%
    • 1990 to 2016: 6.8%
    • 2000 to 2016: 2.3% (includes dot-com bust and Great Recession)

 

  • 2007 to 2016 (includes Great Recession): 5.0%

 

We used a comparison rate of 10% when comparing our investments to the market. This is higher than the 6-7% that the market earns in the long run because a) We wanted to account for inflation and b) Investing in real estate takes a bit more time and effort than a passive investing strategy.

If your financial investing strategy is similar to ours, we recommend the above approach. If not – we recommend determining the appropriate metric for comparison (typically ROI) and considering additional financial factors such as timeline of investment and relative risk as well as non-financial factors such as time and effort required. It’s important to make sure that real estate investing is a good fit for you and your goals.

What Will You Get From This Guide?

This guide will provide you with the knowledge, resources, and motivation to stop thinking about investing in real estate and start actually investing in real estate. With the right information, drive, creativity, and patience, just about anybody can begin a successful real estate investing career. We’ll share our successes and failures and if you’re serious about investing, we’re also offering an easy-to-use financial model that we built to evaluate potential investments for sale at MillionBy30.com.

Throughout this guide, we will walk you through the process of purchasing and managing your first real estate investment property by:

 

  • Explaining each step in the process and suggesting key next steps when you’re ready to get started
  • Offering our opinion and guidance based on our experience
  • Relating the insights of our broker, who also owns investment properties and guided us through the process

 

Our Experience

Before we get started, we also want to share a bit about ourselves and our experience because if you’re reading this guide you’re probably similar to us, and we want you to realize that real estate investing is more attainable than you might have thought:

  • We grew up in middle class homes in the Midwest and earned undergraduate degrees in finance/economics
  • At the time of our first investment (2017), we were 24 and 26, living in Chicago and working full time advisory jobs, each earning $80-90K annually (pre-tax)
  • We both utilized gifts from our parents for our first purchase ($20K in total), which you can do tax-free (we’ll cover this in more detail later)
  • While there are many different styles of real estate investing (“flipping”, hold and rent, “house hacking”) and several different types of properties (single family homes, condos, multi-family homes), we invested using a hold and rent strategy in an owner-occupied, multi-family property

Keep in mind that you don’t have to share our background to invest in real estate. There are thousands of stories out there about investors who started with next to nothing and built a successful business by following the same principles we describe in this guide. By the time you have finished reading this guide, you will have absorbed knowledge that took us several years to acquire. Your future as a real estate investor starts now.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz in Real Estate
How To Reverse Engineer The Path To Your Next Goal – Net Worth Update: $84.4K

How To Reverse Engineer The Path To Your Next Goal – Net Worth Update: $84.4K

Remember when you told your buddies at the office that last January would be your last day working for the company? You were going to be on to bigger and better things like starting your own business or working for that new startup? But then it never happened? Why is that? I am guilty of this myself. It’s far too easy to set an arbitrary goal and deadline for yourself, but never follow through. There’s a significant level of thought that must occur to ensure you are able to provide yourself with choices throughout your life.

What This Post Will Cover:

  • I am going to pick one of my major goals, becoming a software engineer (freelance or employed by a company), and develop my plan to get there using the reverse engineering process.
  • My goal is to lay out a brief process that you can mimic to accomplish your biggest goals in life, even if the work to get there seems insurmountable now.

What Is Your Biggest Goal Right Now?

This is a simple, but important question that allows you to focus your efforts in the coming months. My biggest goal right now happens to be becoming proficient in JavaScript and Ruby (the programming languages). This is because learning these languages will allow me to begin doing freelance work while at my current job as well as add to my marketable skills if I choose to look for another job while building my own businesses.

What Will It Take to Get There?

I think of my goals in terms of time and money that it will take to achieve. There is always a balance between the two. For example, I could learn both languages in 3-4 months if I quit my job and enrolled in an expensive boot camp. That would be a low amount of time, but a high amount of money. On the flip side, I could learn both languages in 2 years or so if I never left my job and went the self-taught route with free online resources and books. Low money, but lots of time. What you really are asking yourself is:

What balance of time and money am I willing to trade in order to get to my goal?

I’m willing to spend some money, but since I have other goals that are capital intensive, like investing in another real estate property, I don’t want to go all out and quit my job and enroll in a coding boot camp. At the same time, I want to dive in to my learning and be held accountable to finish my learning in a reasonable amount of time. For me, the best option ended up being an online coding boot camp that I pay for monthly. This incentivizes me to finish the course as quickly as possible and is much more cost effective than quitting my job and enrolling in a full-time boot camp.

This process isn’t rocket science, but it can be a simple mind shift for many people when they think about the way they currently look at their goals. In the past, I’ve been guilty of being a dreamer rather than a goal setter. A dreamer thinks it would be nice to live abroad for 6 months. A goal setter looks at the dream to live abroad for 6 months, asks what his working situation would need to look like, what things he/she will need to do before moving, where the best place to move will be, when the best time to go will be, and then executes. This is a subtle, but critical shift in thinking that leads to results. I believe this change in approach will help me get where I’m trying to go over the next several months.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz
What’s Holding You Back? – Net Worth Update: $80.8K

What’s Holding You Back? – Net Worth Update: $80.8K

What’s Holding You Back?

In this post, I talk about:

  • My relationship with alcohol and how it affects my productivity and ability to achieve my goals
  • How to evaluate your own relationship with the things in your life that could be holding you back whether it’s alcohol or something else that is limiting your potential

From time to time, it’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate the direction of your life. Over the past month or two, I feel like I haven’t made nearly enough progress towards where I want to be in life. I had an opportunity to reflect Sunday afternoon and it led to a question that I’ve asked myself too many times over the past few years. Do I drink too much? It’s seemed that over the past couple years, each time I slip into one of these periods of stagnancy, it’s been related to drinking more than I should. When I think about myself, mostly positive qualities come to mind – ambitious, confident, motivated, and destined for success. But then, I think about my propensity to drink too much (both frequently and in terms of quantity) and I realize why I’ve been so unproductive for the past two months. Even a couple of drinks at night makes the next day so much more difficult from a productivity standpoint. And then when the weekend rolls around, I’ll go out all night and lose my ambition and motivation all day while I just try to survive a hangover. Is that how a 30-year old millionaire would act? Definitely not. And so, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. While it currently feels unrealistic for me to stop drinking entirely, I’m going to take it one step at a time by cutting out alcohol Sunday-Thursday.

This is a large step for me due to the culture that exists in my current career as a management consultant. Since I travel for work Monday-Thursday, it’s generally to be expected that there will be drinking at dinner time. It’s going to be a difficult week or two as my team gets used to me not being the ring leader, but rather the person stepping away from those events or not participating in the “fun” when I am at those events. But I’ve realized that this is my only option for getting back to a healthier, more productive, more ambitious, and ultimately more successful me over the next several months.

Take a moment either tonight or first thing in the morning to lay in bed and think about your biggest goals in life. Have you achieved them? Are you on your way to achieving them? If not, what has held you back the most from achieving your goals? As you’ve learned, the answer for me is unquestionably alcohol. But for you, it could be any number of things – a Netflix addiction, an over-obsession with sports, or even reading too much. These things all seem harmless on the surface, but if you look deeper, could be habits that are keeping you from realizing your true full potential. One thing to make clear – if you are happy with your life the way it is, it’s not up to me or anybody else to tell you to stop doing those things you enjoy doing. Watch 10 seasons of Netflix in a day if you’re happy with all aspects of your life! But, if you want to make a change to improve your life, your habits will have to change too. I don’t mean to preach because I haven’t proved that I can put this action into practice. With this post, I just intend to identify that I realize that this change in behavior is what I need to get back on track and urge you to consider a change in your own life if you can resonate with me.

If you feel there is something that has been holding you back from extreme success, please share or comment on this post. I would really enjoy completing this experiment with you to see if together we can reduce and eventually eliminate the habits that have held us back the most in achieving extreme success.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz
Why I’ve Taken a Hiatus (and Why I’m Back) – Net Worth Update: $81.8K

Why I’ve Taken a Hiatus (and Why I’m Back) – Net Worth Update: $81.8K

For me, the goal hasn’t changed – at least not entirely. I still want to achieve massive, unthinkable success before the age of 30. But over the past few weeks after thinking a lot to myself, talking with my business partners, and reading opinions about what makes a person successful, I realized that my journey is about so much more than just becoming a millionaire before the age of 30. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still be trying my best to create a successful company, and I want a million dollars will be a byproduct of that success, but what I’ve realized is I value time far more than money. I love to travel, I love to watch my favorite Chicago sports teams in person, and I love to spend as much time with my family and friends who I consider family as humanly possible.

While at work the other day, I was browsing Reddit and came across a sub-reddit that I found particularly interesting and applicable to the internal struggle I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks. The sub-reddit is dedicated entirely to the subject of financial independence. As I read through some of the top posts, I had a moment of clarity. I don’t want to have a million dollars to say I have a million dollars – I want to have a million dollars so I can do all of the things I want to do in my life – spend time with my friends and family, travel the world, own my own business, become a scratch golfer, play guitar in a blues band, and more. But if there are ways for me to accomplish all those things without necessarily becoming a millionaire by the age of 30, then why wouldn’t I entertain a different approach? But what I love about MillionBy30 is it’s tangible. Monitoring your net worth allows you to keep score and motivates me to keep taking massive action. Will I consider myself a failure if I don’t become a millionaire by 30? No. But I believe having that goal to strive towards will make me a better person as long as I don’t sacrifice my closest relationships in order to achieve that goal.

And this is why I haven’t written a post in quite some time. I wanted to take time to myself to think about what I really want – and I’ve decided I want to continue pursuing this project. But, as it always has been for me, this blog will be more about self-improvement and lifestyle design than strictly the pursuit of $1,000,000 in my net worth column. I hope you all are still ready to stay along for the ride.

What are your thoughts about the focus of this blog? If you are excited to learn and discuss more than strictly the accumulation of money, please share this blog to your friends and family! Leave a comment below with your thoughts, comments, and questions.

Net Worth Update – My net worth has slightly declined over the past month due to a slightly decreased value on my home’s Zillow estimate as well as the amount I’ve been traveling for work. Due to all of the travel expenses, my cash outflows and inflows are both much larger and lead to a more varying net worth week to week. Additionally, I’ve started to make an investment in myself that I will discuss in greater detail in a following post.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz
7 Things I Learned Traveling to Cuba – Net Worth: $83.5K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

7 Things I Learned Traveling to Cuba – Net Worth: $83.5K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

 

7 Things I Learned Traveling to Cuba

If you’ve read through any of my earlier posts or the Goals page of our website, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for traveling as much as possible. I believe that you can learn more from visiting a new place than you can from years spent in a classroom or even from reading books (even though I love doing that as well). I find that every time I return from a unique trip like the one I just took to Cuba, I am refreshed with a new perspective on life and feel a sense of responsibility to make the most of my own life because of the opportunities that are so accessible to me that most others in the world in the world don’t have. Many of you reading this, especially if you’re from the United States, would probably be a bit skeptical of traveling to Cuba due to the historically negative relations the two countries have had over the past 60+ years. What I found, however, was a beautiful country of people with good intentions and no ill-will whatsoever towards the American people (even if their outlook on the American government was quite different). The following are the 10 most striking things I learned when traveling to Cuba. All are reasons that I strongly would recommend anyone give the country a visit if they have the chance and/or means to do so.

1. Cuba is an incredibly safe country.

If you’ve done a good bit of traveling, you’ll know that, unfortunately, there are more unsafe than safe countries in the world, especially when visiting major cities. My experiences in Havana, a city of 2+ million people however, were nearly all positive ones. Like any country you travel to, you won’t want to flaunt your iPhone 7 or extra cash you are carrying around, but in Havana, if a local is approaching you, it’s almost certainly to ask you about where you’re from and how you like Cuba (and probably if you want to buy their cigars too). Like any major city, girls should not walk the streets alone, but all in all it is a very safe place to be when comparing to the cities of the world we live in.

2. There are virtually no homeless people in Cuba.

While Cuba’s socialist and planned economy principles have undoubtedly kept the country from being as economically successful as it could otherwise be, there is something to be said for the fact that virtually no Cubans go without rations for food and the major necessities of life. As a country that is quite poor in comparison to much of the developed world, this is an impressive feat.

3. Money doesn’t buy happiness.

The cliche had to be used in this situation because nobody embodies this mantra better than the people you meet when walking the streets of La Habana. They are filled with vibrant music, dancing, and parties all day and night and you will see people smiling no matter where you look. Most of these people just had the money to provide basic necessities for their families, but as an outsider, it appeared that there was no shortage of happiness in that major city.

4. I am incredibly privileged.

Each time I travel to a place with a lower standard of living, I’m reminded how lucky I have been to grow up in a fully developed country like the United States. The most basic things that we take for granted are not always within arm’s reach in most parts of the world. Cuba is one of the nicest “developing” countries I’ve seen and they still suffer from frequent power outages, hit or miss air conditioning, and street pollution. Don’t take the basics in your life for granted.

5. I am obligated to make something of the opportunities I’ve been presented with.

Along the way, I met several incredibly intelligent Cuban natives that will never have the opportunity to achieve tremendous financial success and to create their dream lifestyles for their families. That is not to say that they won’t live happy lives, but the work ethic I witnessed in many Cubans that goes without much reward inspired me to be sure I make the most of the hand I’ve been dealt. It feels like an obligation that I intend to fulfill.

6. It feels good to be disconnected for a week.

For about a full week, I didn’t have a cell phone or any internet connection. And it was great. In the United States, people my age, including myself, are glued to our phones, laptops, tablets, Kindles, etc. 24/7. There is no time for true relaxation in the sense that I was able to feel relaxation in Cuba without these distractions. Even if you don’t venture somewhere exotic like Cuba, take a few days off and go somewhere without your cell phone or electronic gadgets. Your mental health will thank you for it.

7. I will be back someday.

While political relations between the United States and Cuba are likely to make travel between the two countries quite difficult in the near future, I can’t help but want to go back and see some of the places I was unable to see on this trip. Between the friendly people, rich history, beautiful beaches and scenery, and feeling of calm happiness, there’s not much to keep me from wanting to visit again. This past week was an experience I’ll never forget and would love to help any of you plan a trip to do the same.

Net Worth Update – $83.5K

After collecting another paycheck and some additional rental income, my net worth has continued to climb slowly but surely. I’m looking forward to launching my first successful online business in the next few weeks – success meaning I’ve sold a few products to paying customers.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz
Why Positive Thinking Leads to Success – Net Worth: $81.3K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

Why Positive Thinking Leads to Success – Net Worth: $81.3K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

Why Positive Thinking Leads to Success

There is a common characteristic that a majority of the most successful people on the planet possess – they think positively. It might sound too good to be true that thinking positively leads to success, but like all things worth doing, it requires dedication and hard work to have positive thoughts at all times. It’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t get the offer for your dream job, your significant other of several years kicks you to the curb, or you just can’t seem to bring in the amount of money you desire to make no matter how hard you try. But those that reach true success in life take these setbacks as learning experiences and fuel for positive growth in life, while the majority of the world will look at these problems and handle with a negative response since that’s the easier route to take. It’s easy to give up on your dreams when you realize the amount of work it will take to achieve them – when you allow your thoughts to steer towards the negative aspects of chasing your dreams (which is natural because it’s easy to do), you don’t do the things you should to make your life a success story. When you open your eyes, see every setback as an opportunity, treat people with respect, and view the world as a generally good place, you create a world for yourself that breeds positivity, success, and happiness.

Why Positive Thinking Works

Let’s take a simple example that an alarmingly high amount of Americans can relate to in order to illustrate why positive thinking allows you to be successful in life. General dissatisfaction with your job or occupation. So many people deal with this issue, so let’s look at how a negative thinker deals with the issue and then look at how a positive thinker deals with this issue.

Negative Thinker

The negative thinker wakes up in the morning after pressing the snooze button three or four times with a sensation of dread before slurping down 3 coffees on their way to work, commuting through heavy traffic. Their job is boring and it’s hard to understand the point of what they are doing. Given this generally apathetic attitude towards their work, the negative thinker produces poor quality work products and never really gets good reviews from their bosses. Finally, after skating by another work day, the negative thinker seeks any outlet for forgetting about the boring day they just had in hopes to enjoy what little time they have set aside for themselves: watching TV, going to the bar multiple nights a week, scrolling through Instagram for an hour, etc. The negative thinker’s approach to work and life outside of work leads to a strong lack of motivation or drive and this person generally settles for what life has handed them. 50 years after starting a career they are not passionate about, the negative thinker retires, looks back on their life, and realizes that they wasted the precious time they were given to make something of. The negative thinker lives a life of general unhappiness, unrealized potential, and eventually, regret.

Positive Thinker

The positive thinker wakes up to the sound of their alarm clock at 5:30 or 6:00 – well before they need to get to work – in order to think about what they can do to capitalize on the opportunity that the new day brings. They go to the gym in the morning because they know it will make them feel better about themselves and hold the attitude that the pain of going to the gym won’t be that bad. They go to the job that they don’t particularly care for, but put a smile on their face as they walk into the office because they look at this job as a means to developing the life they dream about living. They remove themselves from the work itself, but instead to the impact that being a successful worker can have on their life in the big picture. For example, a positive thinker might hold the goal of starting a real estate investment company, and looks at their job as a means towards achieving that larger goal – this helps them stay positive about even the most boring days at the office. While the positive thinker is also excited for 5 o’clock to roll around, he or she does not go home looking to escape the reality of what the work day brought upon them. The positive thinker looks at the time after work as a great opportunity to work towards their bigger goals – that side business, maintaining strong relationships, and planning what they will do to escape the rat race. The positive thinker goes to bed exhausted most nights a week, but with a feeling of content knowing that they used that day to the fullest of their potential and will do the same thing the next morning.

How to Put Positive Thinking Into Action

It makes sense to you that thinking positively allows you to tackle the ups and downs of life head on and in stride. But for those who are used to letting their thoughts creep into negative territory (as I used to), it can be tough to create a shift in mindsets overnight. Below are 5 great ways to start incorporating positive thinking into your daily life. Your new attitude towards each day will be life changing.

  1. Wake up at 6 AM or earlier each day. Happy, positive, and motivated people wake up early. They are able to take control of the day by working out, working on their side business, or whatever else they need to do for themselves and are able to start the day on a high note.
  2. When you receive unpleasant news, ask yourself how to make this a positive. If you lose your job, what can you do to turn this experience into a positive one? Certainly not sulk in your bedroom for weeks on end – if you’ve always been wanting to start your dream business, your lost job has gifted you the free time to build something of your own.
  3. Workout 5 times per week. Working out allows you to maintain a positive mindset because it allows you to put yourself through something that’s difficult and come out on the other side a better person on a daily basis. When you learn to think positively about the task at hand (working out), you’ll be able to take that energy into the rest of your life as well.
  4. Be the first person to say hello when walking down the street. This is a small thing, but when you become friendly towards everybody you’ll start to see that there are a lot of good people in the world which will help you maintain a good attitude. By being the first one to say hello, you’ll open yourself up to more new friendships than you could ever imagine.
  5. Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to plan what you want to accomplish for the day. Planning out your day first thing when your mind is clearest will allow you to become a more productive person which in turn will help you achieve each new day with a more positive outlook because you’ll begin to understand that you’re in complete control of how your day goes.

These are all small things to implement in your life, but you’ll begin to realize that these small things add up to an overall happier and more positive mindset towards life. What are your thoughts on positive thinking? Do you implement this practice in your daily life? Looking to improve? Leave a comment below.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz
Why You Need A Whiteboard – Net Worth Update: $80.3K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

Why You Need A Whiteboard – Net Worth Update: $80.3K (CoffeeForTheBuzz)

Goal setting is second nature to those who have managed to achieve great success in their lives. Goals are the carrot on the string that keep you constantly moving forward, striving for more, never quite satisfied. That’s interesting, you might say, but what’s the best way to stick to the goals you’ve set and see them through? There are many ways to set goals, but often goal setting practices just don’t work for people. For example, maybe you’ve learned how to set a SMART goal at an HR training session (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Sensitive). Or maybe you’ve half-assed your way through a “New Year Planning Session” with your boss at work and come up with 4 or 5 goals for the new year on the spot. What’s important to know is that though you think setting a SMART goal would be a more effective strategy than coming up with something off the top of your head, both methods will get you to the same place if you are not held accountable – nowhere. And the only way to truly stay accountable when it comes to the goals you’ve set is to find a way to hold yourself accountable.

Finding a Strategy That Works

About 5+ years ago, I was coming up with new goals left and right. I want to travel to 100 countries. I want to lock up a 4.0 this semester. I want to land a job at one of the Big 3 Consulting Firms. But I never had a way to hold myself accountable to the things I said I wanted to do and so I was unable to achieve them (the countries one remains to be seen). My so-called goals would far too easily slip to the back of my mind which caused me to lose focus on the things that I needed to be doing constantly to achieve those lofty goals I had set for myself.

One day I was screwing around on the internet and read about a guy who had his own personal whiteboard that he would use for goal setting. He kind of sounded like a lunatic, but I thought “Why not?”. Whatever I was doing then was not working so it couldn’t hurt, and at best it would help me break out of the rut of constantly losing focus on the goals I had set for myself. I hopped on Amazon, ordered a dry erase board, ordered some dry erase pens, and five days later I was writing my goals down on that whiteboard. I immediately began to see results in my life because for once, my goals were always top of mind and a daily priority rather than the after thought they were in the past.

Whiteboard Location = Accountability

Once you decide you’re going to give the white board a shot, the most important step is deciding where you’re going to locate your white board. For the white board to be an effective accountability tool, you need to hang it somewhere that you will see it first thing in the morning, preferably without even having to leave your bed. Those first 5 to 10 minutes of grogginess in the morning are the perfect time to take a look over at your goals and replenish your motivation to work towards what you most want to achieve in life. The closet in my room is directly to the left of my bed when I wake up in the morning, so all I have to do is roll over and right in front of my eyes I’m reminded of my ambitions to visit 100 different countries, make enough income outside of my day job to quit that job, and to build a real estate investment empire. There is no better way to give your day a positive start than reminding yourself of what you want to achieve more than anything.

How to Frame Your Goals to Stay Motivated

I believe in a very specific form of goal setting that I have found to be more effective than any other type of goal I’ve tried in my life. I call it “The Power of Three” goal setting method and the premise is that for each area of your life that you want to achieve extreme success in, you should have three goals set at any given time related to that part of your life.

  1. The first goal should feel very attainable – something that you can achieve within a couple weeks or a month.
  2. The second goal should feel like a stretch, but not impossible – something that might take you three to six months, but will definitely not happen overnight.
  3. The third goal should feel far off in the distance – at least six months out and probably more like a year. Something that feels damn near impossible at this point in your life.

On my whiteboard, I use the Power of Three for 4 to 5 areas of my life at any given time. For example, right now I dedicate a portion of my board to Real Estate Investing, Travel, and a few side businesses I’m working on. Let’s take my overall goal theme of Side Income for example:

  1. Make $100 next month. In reality, this is not that difficult a goal to obtain. That means if I was selling a $5 product, I would only need to sell it to 20 people or a $10 product to 10 people or a $20 product to 5 people. Not that tough, but I haven’t done it before so it’s a new stretch for me.
  2. Make $1,000 in a month. Again, this doesn’t feel impossible. But I don’t feel like I have the processes or systems in place currently to make this happen. I know with some dedication though, this is not out of the realm of possibility. Plenty of people before me have been able to do this.
  3. Make $5,000 in a month. If I were able to consistently pull this kind of money outside of my day job, I would gladly quit and focus full time on my side efforts. At this point in time, this feels extremely far away.

The beauty in this type of goal setting is that once you achieve your #1 goal, you move the other two up the list. All of a sudden, what seemed like a 3 to 6 month horizon is now your most pressing goal and feels much more attainable. Your “impossible” goal becomes a reality, and your new impossible goal is beyond what you could have ever imagined when you were first making huge goals for yourself. This method of goal setting keeps you motivated for the long haul because it allows you to feel a great sense of accomplishment by frequently reaching your goals while keeping you motivated with the knowledge that there is still always something bigger on the horizon.

Key Takeaways

  • Many of you are no less ambitious than those who have become the most successful people in the entire world.
  • What most people struggle with that keeps them from achieving their wildest goals is accountability – and more specifically, self-accountability.
  • Hanging a whiteboard in your room within viewing distance of your bed when you wake up in the morning sounds like a small gesture, but it is one that changes your frame of mind first thing in the morning and sets the tone for the day. Experiencing this day in and day out leads to massive changes in your actions over time.
  • Combining this technique with the “Power of Three” goal setting technique will provide you with motivation like you’ve never felt before to achieve your biggest goals.

Net Worth Update: $80.3K – 1st Real Estate Investment Underway

Last Friday, my business partner and I closed on our first real estate investment. We are house-hacking so we live in the property now and are renting out the remaining bedrooms to friends. The property may have a negative impact on my net worth in the short term as we continue to work on some needed improvements in the home, but once we are all settled in, my net worth will begin to grow faster than it was before we were able to make the investment. The journey is finally beginning.

Posted by CoffeeForTheBuzz