Go fast or far

go fast or far

If you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together.

31. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: Motivation | Tags: | 2 comments

The farther you run

The farther you run

The farther you run from the problems, the farther you will have to return to solve them.

The farther you run

15. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: Motivation | 2 comments

Abs workout infographic

Abs workout infographic

Here’s a small abs workout plan to turn your abs into steel. By the way, the plank (bottom left) is my personal favorite. It makes your abs rock-solid and is “easy” to do: just hold the position for 0:30, 1:00, 2:00 minutes or as long as you can. Results guaranteed. :-)

15. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: Strength | Tags: , , | 7 comments

Don’t look for motivation

dont look for motivation

Don’t look for motivation. Be motivation for others!

dont look for motivation

12. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: Motivation | Tags: | Leave a comment

Invest wisely

I feel this is the most important post I ever wanted to write for BodyTweaking. Even though I have a financial background and have been working for a reknown german bank for over 4 years, when I talk about investing I don’t mean stocks, money or real estate only. For me, investing is: using something you have to achieve something of a higher value.

 What is wise investing? It’s when the result of your investment makes you feel good in the long run. It doesn’t matter how it feels short-term: our emotions, social trends and limited knowledge can make an investment look as a good one.. short term. But after a while, when you see the big picture, it turns out that it wasn’t so good after all. For example:

  • You bough new shoes because they are so trendy right now. They did cost you a fortune, but it didn’t matter. Short term, you wanted to look good and that felt like a good investment. After a while the trend changes and you ask yourself why the hell you bought them in the first place? They are very uncomfortable and you barely wore them four times.  Long term, it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
  • True story: you spent 25 hours working for a bank. You invested over 60 hours of your time per week working for your company. You are respected and get promoted to branch manager. You get paid well and can afford anything your heart desires. So, all those hours were a good investment, right? Read on: By the age of 52 you die of a heart attack. No wonder, 60 hours of week in a very competitive, stressful environment, unbalanced diet and neglected health is not a recipe for a long-lasting life. Was it a good investment long term?

You see, things that seem as a good idea and make us feel good in the long run are often not so good when you look at the big picture. The same applies viceversa: things that feel hard or wrong in the beginning turn out to be the best investment of your lifetime. Everything you spend your time or money on needs thorough consideration.

So, what are wise investments? Here is a rule of thumb:

Spend your time and money on experiences, not on things.

Simple as that. In the end it doesn’t matter what you owned, but what you have experienced in your life. In that light, here are few good investments for me:

Knowledge

As Benjamin Franklin already said:

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

Knowledge makes you free and opens your horizon. It makes you less dependent on your employer and gives you a freedom to work and live wherever you want: a language makes it possible to go live in a country you always dreamed of. If you are a salesman, an additional down-to-earth skill like woodworking or plumbing is a great thing. It gives you security. The more skills you have, the more freedom you have. Plus a new skill might change your view of your current job. Maybe you always wanted to be a gardener, because it makes you feel great. Even if the pay is less it doesn’t matter. In the long run it could be a good thing: you have more time with your family, you health improves, you are happier. Don’t value everything by the number on your paycheck. Everything is relative.

Sharing knowledge is a good investment, too. It might cost you a few hours of work teaching or showing something, but it can potentially change lives of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people. When you look at the big picture, it’s one of the best investments you can do.

Health

A healthy body makes the life more enjoyable. Short-term, it might be hard choice  to invest your time into workouts, healthy cooking and sleep. But in the long run, it will give you more energy, better looking body and a longer, healthier life.

Again, don’t spend money on things only because they have a “healthy” badge on them. You don’t need abdominator, weight loss pills or any of that crap. Spend on experiences! My best health investments were:

  • Reserving at least 2 hours per day for running, yoga and bodyweight workouts. It often feels like a great loss of time considering the  workload I have  in any given point of time. Each hour counts because I am mostly getting paid by the hour. Those days I have to remind myself that, long term, this time is a greater investment than the money I will get from working that hour. In return, a healthier mind and body contributes to the results of my work.
  • A yoga mat. It did cost me 30 bucks, but it allows me to do my yoga or bodyweight training wherever I want. One might argue that you don’t need a mat at all. Maybe right. Some poses are easier on mat and it feels like a small gym that I can take anywhere. It’s a good experience for me. It already served me for 2 years and it will be used for years to come. For that price it was a good investment!
  • 50$/month gym membership where I have 3 times/week my yoga classes and go rowing from time to time. For that price I get knowledge from a superb yoga teacher, have over 16 training sessions per month and have a great time with interesting people I met there. That experience is definitely worth the money, provided you are making use of it!

Friendship

A good friend can open you doors. He can be a good support in bad times. Chose your friends wisely and invest into your relationship. Drop relationships that are more like a burden and don’t lead anywhere.

What about consumer goods?

This is actually the worst investment you could make. As old zen saying goes:

the more things you possess the less freedom you have

In other words, you don’t own things. They own you. You have to pay them with money you earn by spending your time. Time, you could have spent for great experiences. Remember, in the end everything relates. In the end it doesn’t matter what you WERE or what you OWNED. It’s the experiences that count: what you DID and with WHOM. I often remember our trip to Ordesa. It was a short 3-day trip and costed me barely 100 bucks. But I am pretty sure I will remember it for the rest of my life. Experiences is all that counts!

In my 28 years I had to move 11 times. All my things can be packed into a small Ford Fiesta. But even so I often fall into the trap and buy things I don’t actually need. That’s why I organize a complete wipe twice a year and go through all my stuff: throwing away everything that’s obsolete. Of course it hurts throwing away a new t-shirt acquired 2 months a go, which I barely wore 3  times. But next time I will think twice before buying something. And it works! In the past 2 years my spending dropped considerably. This left me with more money that means less time spent on work and/or more cash to go on a trip.

It also makes you to worry less about things like

What if someone breaks in and steals my brand new plasma TV if I go out with the friends today? I better stay home.

I better work those 10 extra hours per week. Otherwise I might risk being fired. How will I pay my new car then?

The stock market falling, what will happen to my stocks?

I couldn’t live without owning anything at all. That’s not the aim anyway. The aim is to own less and things that are really needed. It is also very important to buy long-lasting things. A friend of mine bought the new Ford Focus (2011 edition) for $35.000 USD a year ago. It didn’t last 8 month till something broke and had to be repaired. There was also a TV documentary a few days ago about new electronics and consumer goods that are intentionally made to break right after the guarantee expires. As an example: most Epson printers will stop working after a specific amount of sheets has been printed. In the end, you don’t even own the printer – you lease it! I guess it’s a new trend, because the old electronics like the radio in my kitchen (20+ years old) or cars like the Ford Explorer (+13 years) are more reliable, work flawlessly, but cost considerably less.

This post is getting way longer than expected. But I thik you already get the idea:

Invest in experiences, not things.  And Think long-term when spending time and money.

12. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: General, Sparky's Thoughts, The Plan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 comments

Climb or fall

climb or fall

If it’s light and easy – you must be falling into the abbys. if it’s hard – you must be climbing the mountain towards the top!

climb or fall

11. May 2012 by Sparky
Categories: Motivation | Tags: | Leave a comment

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