Seven Cures For A Lean Purse

In this chapter, the King calls upon Arkad for help. The citizens of Babylon feel poor as the money has dried up now that the city’s construction is complete. The king wants all his subjects to live with abundance and asks Arkad to teach them what he knows about wealth.

Arkad accepts without hesitation and teaches them the 7 cures for a lean purse:

  1. Start Thy Purse to Fattening
  2. Control Thy Expenditures
  3. Make Thy Gold Multiply
  4. Guard Thy Treasures from Loss
  5. Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment
  6. Ensure A Future Income
  7. Increase Thy Ability To Earn

Start Thy Purse to Fattening – Utilizing your own current wealth (and ability to generate it) to grow your wealth. For every 10 coins you put in your purse, only take out 9 for use. You will not feel as if you are without – you will adjust and it will feel normal. As Arkad says – it won’t make you shorter.

Control Thy Expenditures. Your expenses will always grow to equal your income unless you protest to the contrary. Your desires will grow endlessly. If a farmer leaves space for roots to grow, not mater how small, they will grow. Your motto should be: “one hundred percent of appreciate value demanded for each coin spent.” Budget your necessary expenses and touch not the one-tenth that is fattening our purse. You will spend what you desire to spend.

A budget shouldn’t be looked at as a constrained. It’s not imprisoning you. You’re the one making it. What it does is give you liberation to do what you want while allowing your purse to fatten.

Make Thy Gold Multiply: You set your purse to fatten (by allocating 1/10 of your money to it) and you’ve protected it from leaks (your budget), it’s time to grow that sucker. Your wealth isn’t what you have in your purse, it’s the income you build and the stream of money you create flowing into your purse. He refers to money as “his golden slaves.” Make your money your slave. Make your moneys children and children’s children your slave and they will work tirelessly to create a stream of money. If you put some of your money aside for your kids and let it be, when they are older, they will be wealthy.

Guard Thy Treasures from Loss: The gods will reward you with large sums of money if you learn how to your small sums. Be careful who you trust. Do your research. Do not entrust your money to the brickmaker to buy jewels, for he knows nothing of jewels.

If you loan your money, make sure that you know the person can repay it. Make sure you know the dangers of any field you get into. Consult those with experience handling money for profit – usually they give their advice for free.

Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment: Every man should own the roof that shelters him. I get that. This point isn’t super clear as to what the best strategy is here? Do I keep my mortgage or do I pay it off as fast as I can? This is the first point that doesn’t make 100% sense to me. Hopefully Nate’s e-mail touches on it when I get to it. There’s something here though.

Insure A Future Income: The gods may call you sooner than you expect or you may get older sooner than you expect. You need to make preparations for a suitable income to flow in when you are unable to work (or care for your family.) Even small payments at regular intervals will add up to enormous sums in the future. “Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.”

Increase Thy Ability To Earn: This is not about the money, this is about you. You need to have an earnest desire to increase your earnings. The man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded. Don’t let yourself be left behind.

  • Pay your debts with all promptness – not purchasing things for which he is unable to pay.
  • Take care of your family so that they think and speak well of you.
  • Have a will.
  • Have compassion and do deeds of thoughtfulness to those dear to him.

So, that’s what I got out of the chapter. Let’s see what Nate’s e-mail(s) on this chapter have for me.

He points out, quite accurately (based on my situation), that when you get a raise at work – your living standards go up a little bit. I’m always the first to tell my wife a raise is coming and that we’ll have more wiggle room for this or that. Same with tax returns – the refunds are always spent on this or that. We try to put it on debt; however, if i’m being honest, it’s probably just paying off things we decided to get because “a refund us coming.” Note to self: stop that shit.

I never thought about it like this but, who is really getting the raise/return when I do that? Nate says it’s the banks, creditors, corporations, renters and small businesses. I’m giving them my money so they can get wealthier while I don’t. Obviously, you need certain things in your life and buying them keeps the money flowing like it needs to. Overspending is what lines the pockets of others disproportionately to my own.

In the coming e-mails – he’s going to teach me how to master the skills and practices of this game. I have the benefit of just diving in so – let’s go!

The next set of e-mails is broken down by cure (see above for the list). We start with cure #1: Start Thy Purse To Fattening.

Long story short: save 10% of your income. He does say that I’ve started saving. Wrong. Payday is Wednesday though and regardless of how things look, I will be tucking away 10% of my earnings. My wife works from home and on paper, doesn’t have an income. I’ve never viewed it that way – I always felt that by going to work and her taking care of the family (she homeschools our children) that we are each earning half of what my employer pays me. So, to start my fattening, I will be putting away 10% of my 50%. Looking quickly at my (loose) budget, that should be easily doable.

The intention is, of course, to increase that to 10% of everything brought in. It’s just even though I know I need a change, it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable because I always feel I’m short on money. I have a lot of work to do to put everything in perspective but I don’t want to delay the fattening.

I’m reminded that as I’m fattening my purse, I’ll see the money and be tempted to buy bigger and better things. That’s a trap. I need to avoid buying bigger things just because I have the money. I should only be buying things that will grow in value. Things that will slave away to produce wealth for me. I should be asking myself this question: What can I spend money on that will make me money?

Nate’s second e-mail opens with a little bit of a stinger: I would like to take a minute to thank you for coming along on this journey. By committing to reading The Richest Man In Babylon and then following through with these emails, you are way ahead of your peers. Congratulations!

Ouch! I didn’t really follow through, but, it’s better late than never I guess! The second cure, Control Thy Expenditures, is about budgeting. Arkad’s statement is true for me: “Necessary expenditures will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.” I don’t protest, so I’m always feeling like there’s never enough.

Nate offers a little mental trick about saving. He tells himself that when he makes a deposit into his savings account, that he’s “spent” that money.” You need to be willing to accept that there is a limit on what you want to spend and find ways to stay within that limit. You need to recognize that you will always desire more, no matter what you have. You need to be willing to delay that gratification so that your wealth increases.

You must practice judging and weighing. Netflix might be good for you but bad for someone else. Fast food is usually a bad idea; however, if you have an insatiable craving for a chicken sandwich, you might give in from time to time – just not all the time. You should be firm, but not rigid, with your budget as your desires change over time.

When you budget, you are ensuring that things bring 100% appreciated value. Whatever that is is for you to decide. If that’s fine clothes, cool. Makeup or video games? Whatever. That’s for you to decide. This is to just to help you ensure that your are not over consuming on things that aren’t meaningful to you.

“The purpose of a budget is to help thy purse to fatten. It is to assist thee to have thy necessities and, insofar as attainable, thy other desires.”

“It is to enable thee to realize thy most cherished desires by defending them from thy casual wishes.”

“Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.”

Now we get into the 3rd cure – which is the one that I assume everyone is the most interested in. I know if I had to pick the one out of the list that I wanted most, it was to Make Thy Gold Multiply. Nate appears to be the same way – the first two don’t make you money.

He points out that by multiplying your money, you get to separate it from time. But since you work and then get paid, you’re really just getting back-pay for the work you’ve done. If you can separate your time from your money, it can eventually grow without you using any of your time to do it.

Allowing others (like the bank) to use your money will generate you money. Like Arkad did with the shield maker, who used Arkad’s money for materials. Using those materials, he made and sold goods and repaid Arkad’s loan + interest.

Nate brings up how you can get into the lending business – private lending – and the ways you can leverage your money.

  1. Peer to peer loans, P2P, social lending, and crowdlending – you invest in others without the bank as a middle man. Websites help you do this (for a fee). Just keep in mind the default rate – the rate at which people don’t actually pay back their loan.
  2. Physical property loans – short term loans that help with real-estate deals. Riskier with a higher payout. These don’t follow traditional lending channels.
  3. Bridge Loan – A loan that helps someone get cash while their waiting for a more long term loan to go through. Typically used in real-estate and they have a high interest rate.
  4. SECRET – he says he teaches it in Holy Shift. I respect the plug.

Arkad invested his interest back into the source, creating more interest that compounded upon itself. Give me some of that! 🙂

Nate cautions us about going full steam trying to create multiple income sources. He says that if we have a 9-5 right now, that should be considered the body of our river. If we want to expand it – we should carefully create new streams that will run into our river. Once we can maintain it, so our hard work isn’t lost, then build another.

The 4th e-mail/cure is on: Guard Thy Treasure from loss.

Misfortune loves a shining mark – he says. If you have a big target, misfortune finds a way to try and keep it from you. Unplanned bills, etc will always seem to get in the way of the things you want.

Sometimes though, that’s your fault. You ignore things that need replacement until the break, taking other things with them. You don’t have any savings or plans, which means all unknowns will never be covered.

Make sure you don’t take jewel advice from a brickmaker. You should always be careful of who you take advice from. They can lead you down the wrong path. That includes YOU. Don’t think you are all high and mighty. Always be learning, checking and double checking your work. Find someone who can help. Nate offers his course, Holy Shift again. At this point I had already bought it, but I think his e-mails have pointed out that, if anything, he is more well versed in finances than myself.

Its funny writing this because at one point, I always thought I was good with money. I came to the realization in previous posts that I am not. This only further solidifies that thought.

Email #5 gets into Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment. Long story short – you should own, not rent. Owning, even with repairs, is cheaper in the long run. Not only that, you get an asset that increases your whole family’s net worth. I can’t confirm these to be true, but Nate assets the following benefits of home ownership:

1. Increased graduation rates
2. Children’s health
3. Increase in Net family wealth

While decreases:
1. Children’s behavioral problems
2. Reliance on government assistance
3. Less crime
4. Less of a chance of physical assault
5. Asthma

You don’t have to deal with other tenants like in an apartment. You can have peace and quiet. You can have your own garden and eat from it. You know what’s in the area around your house because you control it. I have a house, it’s in decent shape and I’m paying off the mortgage nicely. I am interested if there is any hidden gems in Holy Shift that will help me pay it off faster (if that’s even the right move).

Ensure A Future Income is the 6th cure. I’ve never heard this said this way, but it makes sense: inflation, increase costs of goods and services and stagnant pension plans are like anti-compound interest. They are eroding factors that work against your freedom.

Nate doesn’t trust the government or wall street with your money because you don’t have control. These, alongside bank SAVINGS accounts, are the least empowering way to make money. Arkad says that storing your money for later is like burying it in a hole in the ground – it might be gone later or worth a whole lot less (due to inflation).

Nate lays out Arkad’s ways to ensure future income:

  1. Buy houses or land: you can flip them, rent them or develop them. Traditionally, over time, this always means you’ll see an increase in value.
  2. Private lending: See the 3rd cure
  3. Life Insurance: If the breadwinner dies – your family is in poverty. I have life insurance, I am just not sure how much. I should probably check that all out and revisit.
  4. Take Care Of Your Health (per Nate): Self explanatory, really.

I guess Holy Shift, after you purchase it and go through it, comes with a 1-on-1 call with Nate. I definitely want to get through these emails first. Then finish the course, then the call. I think then I’ll have a better idea of what I’m walking into.

The final cure is Increase Thy Ability To Earn. If you want to earn more, increase your competency. (I really should learn French.) You can’t buy more experience, but you can buy courses, classes and certifications. These have value and increase the chances that you will be perceived to have the skills to handle a new experience.

Don’t be a slave to debt. The more debt you have, the more you have to earn for someone else. You want to increase YOUR ability to earn. Go to work for yourself, not someone else.

Take care of your family, leave them with something that can help them. Life insurance, knowledge, assets etc. Get to a spot in your financial life where it becomes easy to give away your money to the less fortunate without feeling like it will cripple you.

Live a life you could be proud of.”

That’s a good way to end this rollercoaster of a section.

The Richest Man In Babylon

I don’t think that there was any way for me to read this chapter without really feeling like it was a gut punch. There is a sort of bitterness Bansir and company have receiving Arkad’s wisdom: that at one point, they were all equals and now, they are much worse off than he despite Arkad being, in their minds, “no more honorable a citizen than [they were].”

Isn’t that how a lot of us might feel? That, others who started at the same point in life as we did have gotten so much farther ahead, that it almost seems unfair. I know I’ve had that thought before. I know I’ve also been envious of those rags to riches stories – people who my any objective measure were (in my mind) destined for a worse life some how became King.

I know the reason why that is: Pride. I’ve had too much pride in my own self to admit that my performance, to date on the life scorecard, has been mediocre. I know that I am capable of great accomplishments but I’ve also bee sitting around assuming that, because I am capable that I am deserving. If I am deserving, then it will just happen to me. It hasn’t. As Arkad says:

“If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them.”

That’s where I am, today. I have failed to learn all the laws governing wealth. Any that I might understand, I have failed to act on and have come up with excuses as to why I have not.

“As for time, all men have it in abundance. You, each of you, have let slip by sufficient time to have made yourselves wealthy. Yet, you admit; you have nothing to show except your good families, of which you can be justly proud.”

I am proud of my family, just not the state I have left them in. Should I be gone tomorrow, I have left them with a life insurance payout. That’s it. That’s not going to hold them over until they grow old. That isn’t going to help them find liberation in their life. That will bind them to the desk as a servant like I am. I don’t want that for them.

I want to learn, like Arkad did, to have his own servants that work for him. Arkad is taught to treat his money like servants and the money his money makes like their children. As they are put to work, they create more children, who can be put to work. I’m not advocating child slavery or anything like that, but I’m certainly on board for making my money work a little harder for me and not me for it.

The remainder of the chapter is discussing the phrase: “A part of all I earn is mine to keep.” Pay yourself first. Arrange your other expenditures so that you are paid first. Enjoy life. Don’t over-strain or try and save too much. 1/10 of all you earn is what you should look to comfortably keep – everything else is gravy.

Like anyone who talks about money, the chapter ends with some who think there should be hand outs, some who did not understand and some who had just received the revelation of a lifetime. I won’t say where I am at because I really don’t know. What I will say is that focusing on the chapter, slowing down to put my thoughts on paper is helping – and maybe that’s the best thing I’m getting out of the book so far.

From here – I’m going to be working through Nate’s e-mails on this chapter. As of this second, I haven’t read any of them; however, I know that there are multiple e-mails about this chapter so – I expect from here out to be answering a lot of questions. Here we go!

I’m asked to figure out if I sound more like the crowd (“that’s unfair, I work just as hard as you”) versus Arkad (“you haven’t earned it”, “it’s your fault”). I would say is that it depends on the day, leaning more towards the crowd on a normal day – but certainly beating myself up and telling myself “it’s my fault” when I’m trying to be objective and evaluating my personal situation.

I do know that the world, simply by its design, is unfair and won’t ever truly be fair. I also accept that some people are luckier than I and that others may seem to be luckier and that I don’t always understand their personal situation. I do believe that hard work is tied to more wealth, materials and benefits.

I’m asked how much of my life is my fault and I’ll go with the good old 80/20 rule. I think 80% of my life is my fault and I’m 20% impacted by stuff I can’t control. I know that the extreme ownership people might disagree and that’s OK. I do believe that if I was to take control of the 80%, the effect that the 20% had on my life would be reduced. I don’t think people deserve wealth with little to no effort. I believe that the only persons responsibility to “save me” is myself.

Nate links this video: Iguana vs. snakes to drive home a point. During this video, the iguana and all the snakes each have a reason (if they could talk) to put the blame on someone else or say that the other was “lucky.” I like this statement in the e-mail: “if you are a slow iguana, you better take ownership of that and learn to be still, so the snakes don’t eat you.”

There is no way to predict the number of snakes that are in between us and home. There is only pushing forward and using all your energy to achieve your goals.

Even when things are looking bad, the world is full of opportunity. Energy gets you over that hurdle. That energy can be sapped by the mob and the mentality that they can’t do what others do. Be the iguana.

On the same chapter – the next e-mail is titled: Beat Fate.

I won’t lie – I missed the direct reference to a “Fickle Fate.” I skimmed over the discussion on how fate will ruin those who come into gold before they earn it. Mainly because my brain said “you already know that.”

I’m asked this question: Do you find yourself overspending when times are good? Yup. Here is a phrase, upon reflection, that I’ve used a lot with my wife: “a pay raise is coming, so yes, we can afford X.” We moved to a bigger house, we bought a larger sized SUV (which I love, but did I really need?) and so on. Just the other day I thought Hey, maybe I should get a new TV, mines like 10 years old. They’re only like 299$ now! I paid $1400 for mine a long time ago. We don’t need a new TV.

Do you regularly prepare for the future? Not really. I have a pension that, when I retire 25 years from now – will pay me enough to live on. I’ve just assumed that a) it will exist when I retire and b) that I won’t really have any other expenditures and I will be able to live off it comfortably. So, this just leaves me just allowing us to indulge in our vices, rather than using money to buy assets.

I have back-pay coming, it will be substantial; however, it will all have to go to my debt. I’m not saying that I’m mad about being ale to do that; however, discussing assets here reminds me that I can’t use the money to get ahead because I’m forced to pay back things that are not currently benefiting me. So I feel like, most times, I am just paying off debt to go right back into debt. I want this time to be the time where I get ahead.

Do I have a hard time enjoying the fruits of my labour? I’m not a miser, per se, but I certainly do guard my money. Or well, I suppose I pretend to? I’d have more money if I was a miser. Typically, I find a way to talk myself into going to the store to get junk food. Drains my health, drains my pocketbook. Outside of stuff I really need though (and the junk) I don’t spend much. I’m usually trying to balance paying off debt with the need (and wants) of my family.

In his second email with the same title, Nate hits at some of the content of his course – Holy Shift – being a switch from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. Desire isn’t enough to get you where you want to go. I know this – there is lots that I desire but I am no where close to achieving it. Habitually working our your determinations turns determination into discipline. This is the discipline = freedom mentality that has become so popular recently with Jocko Willink.

Time and study will be required to make your determinations become disciple. Just be careful that you don’t study the wrong thing. Unlearning something is harder than learning something new. Usually what you want to unlearn has a steep cost associated with (like trying to unlearn always wanting to eat junk food.)

Nate says that you should:

  1. Never take a job based on money alone.
  2. You should take the job based on the freedom to experiment and the knowledge that it will give you.
  3. If you place money above all else, it will enslave you, and you will become trapped by your paycheck.

Arkad is able to change his own fate while he is working by being bold. By being bold, making a promise and then following through (and not backing down), you become someone that people will want to invest in. You become worthy of it.

Arkad had a mentor. Mentors are good. Nate outlines three ways to get one: familiarity, paying and a mastermind group. As I’ve stated before, he has a course called Holy Shift, which he plugs at the end of this e-mail as having it all. That’s no affiliate link. I’ve bought the course and I’ve not even started it. As of this post, I can’t say if it’s worth your time or not. Once I complete it, I will give it an honest review.

Babylon: Stop your mob mentality is the last e-mail for this chapter. The opening concept in the e-mail is around Arkad coming to realize that he’s paying everyone but himself. He pays the cloth maker and the sandal maker, but not himself.

Nate ends his e-mail with the wealth rules that you should follow if you want to be like:

  1. Save at least 10% of your income
  2. Learn how to make money work for you
  3. Make sure you will have an income in the future, preferably separated from your labors.
  4. Get life insurance. If you can afford it, get disability insurance as well.
  5. Find a mentor, teacher or mastermind group, we have Holy Shift for this exact purpose
  6. Enjoy your life

There is enough wealth to go around. Nate is saying that people who are wealthy know that the best money is money in motion. If the money makers are moving money, why can’t it move through me? If I understand it, I can find it. If I work for it, I can have it and make money dance for me too.

If you want to read this series of posts from the start, click here:

The Man Who Desired Gold

If you want to read this series of posts from the start, click here:

I’ve decided to tackle this book in the following way: read the chapter, highlight/take notes while reading the chapter, read Nate’s e-mail and compare.

This chapter introduces us to Bansir, a chariot maker and his friend Kobbi, who end up in a discussion about their financial situations.

It’s interesting to see some of the things that he picks up on, that I glazed over or that I put focus on. For starters, we interpreted Bansir’s situation slightly different. I began by interpreting the situation as Bansir being a little lazy and distracted, unable to finish the work he needed to do to make his coin. I thought this laziness would be the reason for his lean purse. He’s also described as being fat. I beat myself up over that all the time – that’s how I feel about myself. It appears that, in hindsight, I might have replaced my thoughts about Bansir with my own thoughts about me.

Nate seems to have pegged Bensir as more distracted and mentally plagued by the thought that even if he does work, it doesn’t amount to much. After all, no matter how hard he works on the chariot, he’s usually left with very little at the end. His friend interprets this as Bansir having so much extra that he can afford to sit around and waste time.

Bansir seems to be in a similar situation to myself. It doesn’t appear that he’s doing poorly for himself and his family, he just isn’t getting them (or himself) ahead. he’s also plagued by the idea that his children will suffer the same fate – the mental anguish of feeling like you’re spinning your wheels but never going anywhere.

On the days when I’m beating myself up over everything, that is one consistent thought that enters my mind: “do I want this feeling for my children?” I don’t. The reality is though, as much as I don’t want it for them, I haven’t been living the life that helps them get out of it. If I can’t get past this, how will I teach them to do the same?

Like Bansir, I’ve sat on the wall and experimented with ideas, but rarely pulled the trigger. If I pulled the trigger, I only ever took one shot. If I missed, I let it fizzle. This blog is a good reminder of that. Lots of good intention with little action.

Have I ever felt enslaved by my daily life? Of course. My life has been on auto-pilot repeat for a long time. Some minor changes here or there, but the underlying problem is still there: I have ideas and I don’t execute. I give myself the same excuses and find any reason to ignore doing what I should be doing.

Do I feel I am rewarded fairly for the work I put in? If anything, I feel like I’ve been over-rewarded because I feel like I’ve not really put in the work that life requires of me. I’m not dirt poor, my health isn’t falling apart (regardless of how many times I curse myself for still being fat), my kids love me, I have a wonderful wife, a loving family and a stable job during a pandemic. Maybe I just have a high standard for what I think you should have to do to have what I have. Maybe that’s a problem – I just spend too much time comparing myself with others.

That, or like Bansir thinks, I’ve just spent too much time trying to find shortcuts for everything, rather than just buckling down and getting to work.

Nate asks us to consider the following: How does your future look? Promising? Stagnant? Declining? The answer is that I don’t know. Maybe a little bit of it all as it stands today. I’d have to lean on promising though – I always want to bet on me. As Kobbi says to Bansir:

“To that purpose was devoted your best endeavors. Therefore, at it thou didst succeed. I strove to become a skillful lyre player. And, at it I did succeed. In those things toward which we exerted our best endeavors we succeeded.”

I know that’s true for me. If I give it my all, 100%, it always works out for me in the end. I’ve gotten promotions, lost weight, got strong, paid off debt and started a family. By starting this blog back up, by taking this reading seriously, by reaching out to Nate to state my intentions – I’ve bet on me again. I’ve decided that I’m worth betting on again and that’s a good reason to start being a little more positive.

Bansir and Kobbi decide to find their wealthy friend to teach them about wealth. Nate knows more than I, so I’ve found someone who can help me. Like Bansir and Kobbi appear to be doing, it’s time I got serious about being wealthy.

My Journey Through Babylon

In March, 2020 I signed up for an e-mail newsletter by @chroniclesofnate on Twitter. You’re first reaction to looking at his profile wouldn’t be that he’s a pastor, but he is. He also takes you on a journey every day with his tweets. A journey to church; but, not a religious one. I’m talking about the Church of Money.

Like a heathen, I knew the knowledge was available, but I didn’t listen to the financial word. I ignored the e-mails, glazed over the tweets and continued to allow my finances to sit stranded out in the hot, arid wastes that now consume the once prosperous city of Babylon. The course I purchased from him in June, Holy Shift, continues to act as a better dust collector than the pivot I wanted it to be.

That leads me to yesterday, when I reached out via direct message and told him that I would get started. I wasn’t looking for permission to start or anything, I just thought I’d put it into the universe that I needed a change – a shift if you’re so inclined. Considering I feel like I needed divine intervention to get start – it’s convenient that his course is named Holy Shift. Just by “confessing my sins” about not starting, there’s a little bit of guilt attached to it. That guilt got me here, today, working on it.

My plan is simple:

  1. Go through all his e-mails and action the items to the best of my ability. This includes reading “the Richest Man in Babylon”.
  2. Complete the Holy Shift Course.
  3. Write about my experiences here.

I’ll go through his e-mails and the chaperts, pull out any quotes or ideas I find helpful or interesting and post them here. Considering this website started as a way for me to note my ideas and the things I’ve come across, this is a great place to start.

This first e-mail focuses on the forward, note from the study guide and to the reader. I didn’t get the study guide, but the information was summarized nicely in the e-mail. Long story short: money is a tool. It makes things happen. It’s plentiful – if you understand the rules around it. I don’t – that’s why i’m here on this journey.

Nate says in his e-mail: “Some people see money as evil; it is not. It is a tool that can be used for good or evil. A nation full of good people that have wealth is a much better country than a nation full of good people who have no wealth.

Here are the 7 cures for a lean purse, that Nate outlined for me:

  1. Start thy purse to fattening.
  2. Control thy expenditures.
  3. Make thy gold multiply.
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss.
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
  6. Insure a future income.
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.

I won’t comment on them yet. We’re asked to read them and come to our own understanding first. Then, as we go through the book, we’ll explore and expand on them.

The second e-mail focuses on Chapter 1 – A Historical Sketch of Babylon – which gives us an idea of what Babylon was like. Nate’s friend describes this area today like this:

“Yuma is barren, hot, dry, and had a blinding horizon. I do not remember seeing clouds, but the sand had a lot of iron in it. While I was there, it was over 100 degrees during the day and cooled off to the high 80s or low 90s at night. I would never voluntarily live there.”

Despite this, the area flourished during the Babylonian times. It was the wealthiest city, with fertile soil and river water. By leveraging these assets by digging canals and building dams, the Babylonians were able to create an area full of abundance. It takes time to build these systems and I think that’s the purpose of the chapter – to remind you that it takes time to build things. When they’re neglected, like Babylon eventually was, it falls to ruins.

Here are a few questions that we’re asked in the e-mail to consider and my thoughts about my current situation today.

“What do I have working for me?” I wanted to say nothing, but that’s not true. I have a bread pan that makes making loaves of bread easier and I sell, very rarely, my bread to others. Outside of that, I don’t really have any assets working for me.
“When we look at our lives, what assets are working for us?”
Does goodwill count? Basically, our family has a great relationship which means that we at least have people in our lives that can pick us up when we are down. My children’s grandparents are involved and live close, so having someone to take care of the kids when we need a break or have something come up is probably the only assets we really have working for us.
“What assets do we not have?”
I could write too much here. I have debt which works against me – so my money isn’t making me money. I don’t have investments. I did, but we’re cashing them out to get out of debt. My personal health isn’t so great, I can move around and stuff but i’m over-weight, eat like crap and I’m not always with it mentally. I lack some self-control and purpose.
“What systems can we develop to produce a richer life, land, and culture?”
Habits that move me forward, not back. Sacrifice. Systems for the mind, body and soul. Better parenting skills. Reading. Systems that are built around making things happen rather than allowing things to happen to me.

Babylon fell because of Pride – a king who thought he could do whatever he wanted. Instead of using his defensive strength, he went on the offense against a warlike king and was defeated. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck where I am – pride. Maybe that’s why I often feel miserable – pride.

I always thought of myself as above average. While I was young, I always achieved great things in whatever I did, like scouting and, cadets. I told myself while graduating high-school that I’d be a millionaire someday, have my own business and all that. I also said I’d have abs. I have a prideful view of myself and I’m always mentally holding onto that great version of myself and comparing myself to him.

So, I’m uncomfortable in saying I’ve failed and by ignoring what I should do, I don’t have to draw any attention to it. We’re asked in the email what our fertile soil is: maybe it’s Pride. That pride trips me up a lot, but it’s also the reason that I have accomplished things. It’s a double-edged sword – tainted fertile soil. It produces good results sometimes, but sometimes the crop just makes you sick.

Nate encourages us to look at our abilities and see how we can use them to irrigate our own Babylon. What I do know about me is that there is a stubborn pride, it’s just unfocused. I know that, when I do focus, I achieve. When I set my mind to something and action it relentlessly, I can make it happen.

What I choose to take away from this is that I have irrigation canals, they’re just all clogged up with garbage and I’ve lacked the motivation to clean them. Step 1 stop putting off all the things I know I should do. Stop letting all the knowledge I’ve got decompose in my inbox.

Action those e-mails. Finish those course. Make those tweets. Eat that good food. Get more sleep. Read more. Exercise more. Meditate. Build better relationships. Separate the fear of judgement from my pride. Keep the stubbornness and use it to move forward.

Two of Me

In November, 2019 – I wrote on an older blog of mine (which I hosted under Wix) about the feeling like there’s two of me inside one body. I was really looking for something to write about today but I was also feeling a little lazy and thought there might be something I could reuse.

Here’s the post in it’s entirety:

Yesterday was a good day. Today, not as great.

I mean, sure, we did a lot of fun things: videos, cooking, playing and laughing and on the surface, that looked all fine and dandy. Here’s the problem: I didn’t show up as the person I wanted to today.
Instead of letting more things just slide off my back I carried them around with me in a sac. When I do that, I feel like a whole other me has shown up to take on the day. This me, for some reason, feels like it’s his job to just be in control. “Kids do this, kids do that, boss, boss boss.”

I then get worked up because the kids don’t want to see things my way and then all we do is fight. Then I feel guilty, then I write this after they are asleep, beating myself up over the whole day.

My problem is that I don’t know how to stop it once it gets started. Like, how I just cut those thoughts out and return to just letting things be as they are. How I just return to the grounded person I can be and that I want to be on a daily basis. It’s hard. I’ve got my affirmations, I’ve got my meditation and all that and somehow this cranky bastard of a person comes out of me from no where.

Maybe by getting down here “on paper” so to speak and out of my head will help turn the tide. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

So, how am I fairing 8~9 months later? I would say we’re seeing some improvement, especially in this last week. If you didn’t read my post about the book How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk, I’d recommend it. Only a few days in to applying the techniques with my kids and I’ve notice a tremendous shift in my behavior.

That’s right. I’ve been thinking on it and really, I don’t think my children’s behavior is changing all that much. Objectively, they are still as wild as they’ve ever been and they say/do the same things they’ve always have. It’s that I’m reacting completely different. A number of would-be shouting matches have already deescalated themselves simply with the line “Oh, you sound pretty upset about that.”

As long as I listen to their answer (and maybe sum up their feelings again one more time), they usually either a) get over it or b) find something else they want to talk about that makes them happy and they become happy. If I don’t escalate the situation, they seem to have a natural desire to get over it.

When I’m not getting myself worked up, the other Nick doesn’t seem to come up. It’s like he’s lazy or defending his territory. Oh? We’re fighting right now? My turn! Something like that. I’m still not sure how I’d put him back in the bag and deal with him when he comes out next or refocus his energy into something more productive.

I’m not saying that this is the only reason things are going better – it’s just that I’ve been putting energy into communicating with my kids and it feels like it’s working. If it feels like it’s working – keep doing it. I can say that by making it a priority, my life feels like it’s getting better and I’m happier.

A few other things are probably helping my overall satisfaction – including going to bed earlier, exercising, meditation, eating a bit better, some fasting, more water and breathing exercises. I’ve made all those changes this week. Pick anyone of them if you want. I’m choosing the communication thing as the biggest reason for the change and I’ll be finishing that book diligently for sure.

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!

I’m sure there are a lot of Canadians who are staying home and not doing much due to the whole COVID situation. Some of you might be in a position to visit others. Either way, I hope you have an amazing day!

We will be spending the day relaxing. I had wanted to go out to the Irving Nature Park (which is a big park around us) with the kids, but the weather isn’t co-operating – it’s rainy and cold. So, the kids are watching some TV a little earlier and I’m working on this post while enjoying talking to my buddy and playing teamfight tactics. We’re not doing so hot, but we’re having fun!

We’ll most likely end up spending some time with my in-laws, as we do most Canada Days. I’m not sure if my father-in-law is working or not today, so our plans might change. Since he works from home, we can’t really have my loud kids in the house. They are not part of a distraction-free work environment!

We’ll also end up going don to my parents for supper more than likely. They are having a BBQ and only live about a 2 minute drive. The kids love being so close because we can get down to their house fairly fast. It also means that they are more likely to come get the kids for a small visit, which means we get some nice breaks.

Nothing else to write about today. This is just another cheating less than 500 words day to check the box on my whiteboard that says I’ve accomplished the task. Tomorrow, I’ll put a 500 word requirement on the board so I can’t cheat past it.

Part I: How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk

One of my original thoughts for this blog was that I wanted a space to document everything that I was going through (like a journal), as well as a space for me to write about what I’ve been watching or reading. Hence the notebook part of Nick’s Notebook.

Recently, I finished chapter 1 of the Richest Man in Babylon, but I haven’t finished any the activities associated with it, from a money focused group I’ve joined. I’m not ready to dive much into that yet; however, I’ve also read chapter 1 of How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Learning how to talk to my kids more effectively has been on my to-do list for a long time. I’ve looked around for various books or articles on the subject, but I never actually pulled the trigger and did the deep work needed on the subject.

So, how did I stumble on this book and why did I get started? Timing. As I was miserably pumping my face full of food at the camp, I decided (like most people do) that Monday had to be the day. Randomly browsing twitter, I came across a tweet from Mike Cernovich (author of Guerrilla Mindset) who recommended the book. As luck would have it, it was free for those who had kindle unlimited (which my wife does), so I concluded that because someone I respect had recommended reading something on a subject I knew I needed to, I would pick it up.

The first chapter is on helping children deal with their feelings. There’s a direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave. If kids feel right, they will behave right. We make our kids feel right by accepting their feelings as they are. “A steady denial of kids feelings can confuse and enrage children. It also teaches them not to know what their feelings are” and “not to trust them.”

In an effort to help you, as the parent, understand how to accept your children’s feelings, the authors first provide a series of statements a child would make and they want you to write down what you would say if you were denying a child’s feelings.

It was pretty easy to do. A breeze, I thought. No problem. Wrong. Big problem – which I realized moments into the next paragraph of the book. It shouldn’t be that easy to achieve. It’s not an accomplishment to be able to write down quickly how you would deny someones feelings. I’m sure that is what this exercise is trying to show you – without much effort, you can deny your children’s feelings. For some context, here was my answer to the statement I had a dumb birthday part (after you went all out to make it a wonderful day).

Wow. That’s rude. Maybe you should try being a little grateful. Not all kids get a birthday party you know. We worked really hard on this just for you and this is how you are going to act? Unbelievable.

In an effort to try and help you understand how your kids might feel, the author then gives you a scenario in which your boss has asked you to do a project, quickly, that you didn’t accomplish. You try and explain yourself, but the boss doesn’t want to hear it and storms out. The exercise gives you 8 different friends who react to the news in different ways when you try and discuss it with them. They either: deny your feelings, give you a philosophical response, advice, ask questions, defend your boss, pity you, become an amateur psychoanalyst or give you an emphatic response. You are to write down how the communication style makes you feel.

The emphatic response, as you might expect, was the nicest and easiest to stomach. The amateur psychologist I felt was just someone I would ignore. The philosophical response and the advice both felt condescending. The pity just felt fake to me and when the person started defending the boss (over helping me), the words “F*** you” came to my mind. The person who asked questions was a mixed bag for me: some of the questions seemed help and the others made me feel as if the person thought I was just dumb.

I was surprised that the example where the person denied my feeling really didn’t bother me that much. It felt just like the standard response people give to situations like this. Maybe I’ve just become numb to this way of talking. I’ve noted that in my book with a few extra stars to come back to. It was a red flag to me and something I think I need to pay attention to on this little journey.

The author give you 4 ways to help children deal with their feelings:

  1. Listen with your full attention (and don’t give them lip service when it comes to listening. You can’t listen AND watch the big game at the same time.)
  2. Acknowledge their feelings with a word (“oh”, “Hmmm” , “I see”. Also, don’t, give them the answer right away – use those words to let them figure it out)
  3. Give feelings a name (ie: you feel angry, I see that you are feeling disappointed)
  4. Give them their wishes in fantasy (like the statement: “If I had a magic wand, I would make insert whatever they want appear before us!”

The final exercise has you look at a few statements and write out how you acknowledge a child’s feelings and provides you a few statements from a child to work with. I felt this section fit well with the topic but was the least beneficial section. Finding out how easy it was for me to deny was eye opening. I found in this section that I knew how to acknowledge their feelings easily as well, it just wasn’t my default.

Overall, I’m happy with the first chapter and it has opened my eyes enough that I’ll definitely finish. The authors want me to practice, for a week, acknowledging my kids feelings before going onto the next chapter, so that’s what I’ll do. I’ll summarize the next chapter again once it’s complete.

Today is a little different

Here is what I’m writing today’s blog post to:

I’m not trying to sleep though – this is more for the relaxing and calming part. I really enjoy the instrumental background noise, especially if I am reading or writing. I find it occupies my brain just enough so I can actually focus on the task at hand.

Today’s been a little different for me. It’s the start of the work week, but it just feels different. I prepped my whiteboard with a list of things I wanted to accomplish today and at the top I wrote today’s date with the words Today is the day beside it.

When I woke up this morning, that’s how I felt. I felt like today was the day. I got out of bed earlier than usual and I managed to keep my focus when the kids were talking to me. They’ll want to have a conversation while I’m cooking breakfast and I tend to shoo them downstairs. Not today. I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to get back to eating right/fasting, which usually falls apart at lunch time. Not today.

Although it’s annoying to be running to the bathroom constantly after powering back a bunch of water, it feels worth it. I look at the list of things I wrote down to do and it doesn’t look like a daunting task today. All of this, in turn, has me feeling pretty happy about the day and optimistic about the future.

I don’t even have anything else to really say. I’m not going to force myself to get to 500 words or more today. This is the blog post and this is another check on the to-do list down. You might call this cheating – but I call it giving myself a little bit of slack.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Alarms and E-mails (to myself)

As I sit here, starting to write this, my phone is buzzing and my outlook e-mail is dinging me – both trying to tell me to do things that I’m conveniently ignoring. So, i’ll give you a rundown of what it is exactly:

  1. Watch my breathing
  2. Ask myself “who needs me on my A game right now”
  3. Meditate
  4. Quote of the day from Quitzilla (which I’m using to try and track how long I can go without eating junk food)
  5. Patient, Engaged and Grateful! (an alarm to remind me of what I want to be)
  6. Weekly Budget!
  7. Payday!

Coming up later today will include things like some meetings, my kids bedtime and a 9:30pm alarm telling me to get off the computer and go to bed.

Why do I have all these? It’s because when I’m thinking about what’s in my best interest and not allowing the day to go on auto-pilot, those are the things I would do. I thought that, if I could see them everyday, then I would be more inclined to do them. Most of the time, these alarms just go off when I’m not ant my phone and annoy my wife.

The alarms are just one thing I do. The other thing I like to do is if I read something I like, e-mail myself the information as if I’m going to do it. Usually those e-mails sit in my inbox for a while, followed by the great purge. All my hopes and dreams in the trashcan of my google inbox.

OK. That might have been a little dramatic, but it’s been a long time that I’ve been ignoring the things I know that I should do. I’m a classic example of: wants a better, more successful life but hasn’t been willing to pay the price to get it.

Part of paying the price would just be to follow these alarms. So, just like any habit, I’ve got in the routine of ignoring the alarms and e-mails. I would imagine that there is some psychological tomfoolery going on where I’ve actually caused myself to purposefully ignore myself by doing this, so I doubt seeing the alarms daily and ignoring them is helping me.

So – I’m going to get rid of them. All of them. Kaboom. In fact, hold on a second, I’m going to do it right now before I finish this.

Here are some others that I deleted:

  1. Weekly weigh-in (on Monday)
  2. 21 day challenge # (this is where I wanted to issue myself some mini challenges to build new habits)
  3. Payday! (I love money, I’m not gonna forget payday)
  4. Garbage Day! (it’s always the Friday of payday – I’ll remember)
  5. Weekly Budget! (Do this on payday – shouldn’t forget, though sometimes I ignore it)
  6. Phone off! Tech-less day tomorrow! (I wanted to start getting a day where I did no tech – I really should get back to this. At least no games or mindless activities)

I said a second – but I ended up getting sidetracked by my wife, which lead me to hit the grocery store for the kids food, making them lunch and then sitting back down here. Anyway!

I don’t know if getting rid of all the alarms is the right thing to do. I just know that I’ve ignored them and I feel like I need to switch it up. My wife ended up picking me up a whiteboard that I’m going to put behind my computer desk with the things I want to accomplish. I don’t know how I’m going to lay it out, but I think I want it to be more of a reminder than anything else.

Hopefully, this will actually lead to me doing more of these things regularly. So what am I going to do right now? 10 minutes of meditation and then sort out my whiteboard. I’ll let you know in a few weeks how it’s been going.

5 Bullet Friday – Clean Up

Over the past few days, I’ve been spending a little time cleaning up/out the small things that I’ve allowed to build up over time. One of those was the growing number of e-mails I had with information in it that I thought would be useful that I never got around to actually doing anything with.

One of those things is Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday. Tim sends you out an e-mail with 5 cool things that he’s found or explored that week. It could quotes, gadgets, books, people and more. It doesn’t take long to read and, if anything, you can claim you learned a few new things that week with only putting in an iota of the work he probably did.

I guess you could say that I’ve kept some of the e-mails because I’m a self help hoarder. I feel like if I keep all this self help stuff around me, that I might stumble onto something again in the future that will “change my life” – it won’t. I’ve just made myself feel better by saying “at least I get X, y or z each week.”

I don’t want to diminish any of the work Tim’s done because I think he’s really done the people he’s influenced a solid by giving them the information they need to succeed. It’s my fault that I haven’t turned much of it into action. I’m a little off topic though here – this isn’t to complain, it’s to action!

So, as part of my action strategy – I’m cleaning out my e-mail AND getting a good excuse just to write something.

I thought about just deleting the Five Bullet Friday’s that I saved but, I felt that would be a waste. Instead, here in a convenient blog post is the main bullet points that I thought were interesting and/or helpful and maybe you will too.

  1. More than 50% of atheists who had their first DMT experience didn’t identify as being an atheists afterwards. That’s pretty crazy. I have an addictive personality and I’ve always been too afraid to try and psychedelics or mind-impairing drugs (though I suppose you could argue sugar really messes with your brain). DMT fascinates me though and if I could do it legally, I think I would like to have that experience, even if it’s just once. I’ve heard it’s a really sobering experience and that it leaves you less likely to get worked up about things. I’d like that.
  2. On the same note, MDMA is having some success treating PTSD.
  3. “The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”― Eden Phillpotts
  4. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”― James Baldwin
  5. A reminder that, even with everything going on in the world, that you need a break from the 24/7 news cycle. No matter who you are or what you’re fighting for, you need a change to rest and recover to be effective.
  6. “Hoard food and it rots. Hoard money and you rot. Hoard power and the nation rots.”― Chuck PalahniukAdjustment Day

Now that I’ve gone through them – I didn’t keep as many as I thought I did. I guess my general purging the other day was more aggressive than I thought. If anything else strike’s me as interesting from his newsletter, I’ll be sure to include it here.

If you’re interested, check it out at