Money Management

Money management offers a tour of research on the science of spending, explaining how you can get more money.

Information of the Ages

Learn wisdom from extra-ordinary leaders of the ages.

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Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. Walt Disney


The Cost Of Accepting Counterfeits

When coins were much more rudimentary, people had to spend a lot of time testing them to confirm the currency they’d just received was genuine. The Greek word dokimazein means “to assay” or check the quality of a mineral ore. Merchants were often skilled enough that they could test coinage by throwing it against a hard surface and listen to the note it rang. Even today, though, if someone were to hand you a hundred-dollar bill, you might rub it between your fingers or hold it up to the light, just to confirm it wasn't a fake.

All this for an imaginary currency, an invention of society. The point of this metaphor is to highlight how much effort we put into making sure money is real, whereas we accept potentially life-changing thoughts or assumptions without so much as a question. One ironic assumption along these lines: that having a lot of money makes you wealthy. Or that because a lot of people believe something, it must be true.

Really, we should be testing these notions as vigilantly as a money changer. For, as Epictetus reminds us, “the first and greatest task of the philosopher is to test and separate appearances, and to act on nothing that is untested.”


Observe Cause and Effect

Through the work of the psychologist Albert Ellis, Stoicism has reached millions of people through what’s known as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). As a form of a therapy, CBT helps patients identify destructive patterns in their thoughts and behavior so they can, over time, direct and influence them in a more positive direction.

Of course, Marcus Aurelius had no formal training in psychology, but his words here are as important as any doctor’s. He’s asking you to become an observer of your own thoughts and the actions those thoughts provoke. Where do they come from? What biases do they contain? Are they constructive or destructive? Do they cause you to make mistakes or engage in behavior you later regret? Look for patterns; find where cause meets effect.

Only when this is done can negative behavior patterns be broken; only then can real life improvements be made.

Becoming An Expert In What Matters

The things that some people manage to be experts in: fantasy sports, celebrity trivia, derivatives and commodities markets, thirteenth-century hygiene habits of the clergy.

We can get very good at what we’re paid to do, or adept at a hobby we wish we could be paid to do. Yet our own lives, habits, and tendencies might be a mystery to us.

Seneca was writing this important reminder to his father-in-law, who, as it happened, was for a time in charge of Rome’s granary. But then his position was revoked for political purposes. Who really cares, Seneca was saying, now you can focus that energy on your inner life.

At the end of your time on this planet, what expertise is going to be more valuable—your understanding of matters of living and dying, or your knowledge of the ’87 Bears? Which will help your children more—your insight into happiness and meaning, or that you followed breaking political news every day for thirty years?


Test Your Impressions

In an overly quantified world of policies and processes, some are swinging back in the other direction. Bold leaders will “trust their gut.” A spiritual guru will say that it’s important to “let your body guide you.” A friend trying to help us with a difficult decision might ask, “What feels right here?” These approaches to decision making contradict voluminous case studies in which people’s instincts have led them right into trouble. Our senses are wrong all the time! As animals subjected to the slow force of evolution, we have developed all sorts of heuristics, biases, and emotional responses that might have worked well on the savannah but are totally counterproductive in today’s world.

Part of Stoicism is cultivating the awareness that allows you to step back and analyze your own senses, question their accuracy, and proceed only with the positive and constructive ones. Sure, it’s tempting to throw discipline and order to the wind and go with what feels right—but if our many youthful regrets are any indication, what feels right right now doesn't always stand up well over time. Hold your senses suspect. Again, trust, but always verify.


Judgments Cause Disturbance

The samurai swordsman Musashi made a distinction between our “perceiving eye” and our “observing eye.” The observing eye sees what is. The perceiving eye sees what things supposedly mean. Which one do you think causes us the most anguish?

An event is inanimate. It’s objective. It simply is what it is. That’s what our observing eye sees.

This will ruin me. How could this have happened? Ugh! It’s so-and-so’s fault. That’s our perceiving eye at work. Bringing disturbance with it and then blaming it on the event.


If You Want To Learn, Be Humble

If all the Stoics, Epictetus is the closest one to a true teacher. He had a school. He hosted classes. In fact, his wisdom is passed down to us through a student who took really good lecture notes. One of the things that frustrated Epictetus about philosophy students—and has frustrated all college professors since time began—is how students claim to want to be taught but really secretly believe they already know everything.

The reality is that we’re all guilty of thinking we know it all, and we’d all learn more if we could set that attitude aside. As smart or successful as we may be, there is always someone who is smarter, more successful, and wiser than us. Emerson put it well: “Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.”

If you want to learn, if you want to improve your life, seeking out teachers, philosophers, and great books is a good start. But this approach will only be effective if you’re humble and ready to let go of opinions you already have.


Less is More

In most areas of life, the saying “Less is more” stands true. For instance, the writers we admire tend to be masters of economy and brevity. What they leave out is just as important—sometimes more important—than what they leave in. There is a poem by Philip Levine titled “He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do.” And from Hamlet, the best of all—the retort from Queen Gertrude after a long, rhetorical speech from Polonius: “More matter with less art,” she tells him. Get to the point!

Imagine the emperor of Rome, with his captive audience and unlimited power, telling himself not to be a person of “too many words and too many deeds.” Let that be a reminder the next time you feel self-indulgent or a little full of yourself, the next time you feel like impressing people.


Reject Tantalizing Gifts

One of Seneca’s darkest and most disturbing plays. Even two thousand years later it remains a classic of the revenge genre. Without spoiling it, the quote above comes from the scene in which Atreus is attempting to lure his hated brother Thyestes into a cruel trap by offering him tempting and generous gifts. At first, Thyestes declines, to the complete bafflement of his enemy.

We are typically surprised when someone turns down an expensive gift or a position of honor or success. General William T. Sherman emphatically rejected offers to run for president of the United States, saying at one point: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” If his friend Ulysses S. Grant had made such a “Shermanesque statement” (as such rejections are now known), Grant certainly would have preserved his own legacy from the disastrous turn of events it suffered.

Despite his initial misgivings, Thyestes is ultimately tempted and persuaded to accept “fortune’s gifts,” which turned out to be a ruse hiding devastating tragedy. Not every opportunity is fraught with danger, but the play was intended to remind us that our attraction toward what is new and shiny can lead us into serious trouble.


Pay Your Taxes

Is your income taxes come due, you might be like many people— complaining at what you have to fork over to the government. Forty percent of everything I make goes to these people? And for what?! First off, taxes go to a lot of programs and services you almost certainly take for granted. Second, you think you’re so special? People have been complaining about their taxes for thousands of years, and now they’re dead. Get over it. Third, this is a good problem to have. Far better than, say, making so little there is nothing left to pay the government or living in an anarchy and having to pay for every basic service in a struggle against nature.

But more important, income taxes are not the only taxes you pay in life.

They are just the financial form. Everything we do has a toll attached to it.

Waiting around is a tax on traveling. Rumors and gossip are the taxes that come from acquiring a public persona. Disagreements and occasional frustration are taxes placed on even the happiest of relationships. Theft is a tax on abundance and having things that other people want. Stress and problems are tariffs that come attached to success. And on and on and on.

There are many forms of taxes in life. You can argue with them, you can go to great—but ultimately futile—lengths to evade them, or you can simply pay them and enjoy the fruits of what you get to keep.


Awareness is Freedom

It is sad to consider how much time many people spend in the course of a day doing things they “have” to do—not necessary obligations like work or family, but the obligations we needlessly accept out of vanity or ignorance. Consider the actions we take in order to impress other people or the lengths we’ll go to fulfill urges or sate desires we don’t even question. In one of his famous letters, Seneca observes how often powerful people are slaves to their money, to their positions, to their mistresses, even—as was legal in Rome to their slaves. “No slavery is more disgraceful,” he quipped, “than one which is self-imposed.”

We see this slavery all the time a codependent person who can’t help but clean up after a dysfunctional friend, a boss who micromanages employees and sweats every penny. The countless causes, events, and get-togethers we’re too busy to attend but agree to anyway.

Take an inventory of your obligations from time to time. How many of these are self-imposed? How many of them are truly necessary? Are you as free as you think?


Don’t Tell Yourself Stories

Modern philosopher Nassim Taleb has warned of the “narrative fallacy” the tendency to assemble unrelated events of the past into stories. These stories, however gratifying to create, are inherently misleading. They lead to a sense of cohesion and certainty that isn't real.

If that’s too heady, remember that as Epictetus points out, there is another reason not to tell stories about your past. It’s boring, annoying, and self absorbed. It might make you feel good to dominate the conversation and make it all about you, but how do you think it is for everyone else? Do you think people are really enjoying the highlights of your high school football days? Is this really the time for another exaggerated tale of your sexual prowess?

Try your best not to create this fantasy bubble live in what’s real. Listen and connect with people, don’t perform for them.

How to Prepare for Obstacles to Achieve Success

We know that it is not easy to achieve success in life. There are a lot of things to consider and a few essential qualities to develop in the process. For example, you need to persevere in order to achieve your goals. You need to be resourceful or be self-reliant to follow the path to success. It is also necessary to be strong, courageous and diligent all the time.

It is true that you need to prepare for obstacles. These are circumstances that you can’t control as you’re on your way to success. Since there’s always opposition in all things, it’s necessary to prepare for it.

So what are the things that you should do? Create a plan and include specific action steps to achieve it. You should take time to think about the possible obstacles that you may encounter along the way. If there’s a goal that you can’t reach at the moment, think about any workaround so that you become unstoppable. After all, perseverance is a positive quality that you should develop these days.

If you can relate to this topic, you can share your comments below. Let’s talk about it. 💜



Cutting Back On The Costly

If Seneca’s many letters, this is probably one of the most important—and one of the least understood. He’s making a point that goes unheard in a society of ever-bigger houses and ever more possessions: that there’s a hidden cost to all that accumulating. And the sooner we’re aware of it, the better.

Remember: even what we get for free has a cost, if only in what we pay to store it—in our garages and in our minds. As you walk past your possessions today, ask yourself: Do I need this? Is it superfluous? What’s this actually worth? What is it costing me?

You might be surprised by the answers and how much we've been paying without even knowing it.


Find Yourself A Cato

Cato the Younger, a Roman politician best known for his self-discipline and for his heroic defense of the Republic against Julius Caesar, appears constantly throughout Stoic literature which is interesting because he didn’t write anything down. He taught no classes. He gave no interviews. His bold and brave example is what made him such a commonly cited and quoted philosopher.

Seneca tells us that we should each have our own Cato a great and noble person we can allow into our minds and use to guide our actions, even when they’re not physically present. The economist Adam Smith had a similar concept, which he called the indifferent spectator. It doesn’t have to be an actual person, just someone who, like Seneca said, can stand witness to our behavior. Someone who can quietly admonish us if we are considering doing something lazy, dishonest, or selfish.

And if we do it right, and live our lives in such a way, perhaps we can serve as someone else’s Cato or indifferent spectator when they need it.


Don’t Unintentionally Hand Over Your Freedom

Instinctively, we protect our physical selves. We don’t let people touch us, push us around, control where we go. But when it comes to the mind, we’re less disciplined. We hand it over willingly to social media, to television, to what other people are doing, thinking, or saying. We sit down to work and the next thing you know, we’re browsing the Internet. We sit down with our families, but within minutes we have our phones out. We sit down peacefully in a park, but instead of looking inward, we’re judging people as they pass by. We don’t even know that we’re doing this. We don’t realize how much waste is in it, how inefficient and distracted it makes us. And what’s worse— no one is making this happen. It’s totally self-inflicted.

To the Stoics, this is an abomination. They know that the world can control our bodies—we can be thrown in jail or be tossed about by the weather. But the mind? That’s ours. We must protect it. Maintain control over your mind and perceptions, they’d say. It’s your most prized possession.

Becoming a Different Person After Achieving Goals in Life

Have you noticed that if you have accomplished a goal in your life you feel like you're a different person? You'll feel uplifted because of the things that you achieved after doing a lot of things, may it be relating to education, business or even homemaking. For instance, you will feel good if you have accomplished little things to renovate your home.

If you have reached this level in your goal-setting, you're on the right track. The first step to do this is to identify the qualities that you'll need to accomplish your goals.  If you have identified the said qualities, you need to start building them now.

There are a lot of examples to feel this way. For instance, you will cultivate the qualities of being courageous and confident to improve your business. You can also develop your innate flexibility or adapt to the changing times if you want to achieve greater business success. In terms of achieving a healthier lifestyle, the first step is to accept that you're worthy to be happy and healthy. By doing so, nothing can stop you to feel good and be different these days.

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Don’t Trust The Senses

Self-awareness is the ability to objectively evaluate the self. It’s the ability to question our own instincts, patterns, and assumptions. Oiêsis, selfdeception or arrogant and unchallenged opinion, requires that we hold all our opinions up to hard scrutiny; even our eyes deceive us.

On the one hand, that’s alarming. I can’t even trust my own senses?! Sure, you could think about it that way. Or you could take it another way: because our senses are often wrong, our emotions overly alarmed, our projections overly optimistic, we’re better off not rushing into conclusions about anything. We can take a beat with everything we do and become aware of everything that’s going on so we can make the right decision.


Find The Right Scene

Jim Rohn’s widely quoted line is: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” James Altucher advises young writers and entrepreneurs to find their “scene” a group of peers who push them to be better. Your father might have given you a warning when he saw you spending time with some bad kids: “Remember, you become like your friends.” One of Goethe’s maxims captures it better: “Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are.”

Consciously consider whom you allow into your life not like some snobby elitist but like someone who is trying to cultivate the best life possible. Ask yourself about the people you meet and spend time with: Are they making me better? Do they encourage me to push forward and hold me accountable? Or do they drag me down to their level? Now, with this in mind, ask the most important question: Should I spend more or less time with these folks?

The second part of Goethe’s quote tells us the stakes of this choice: “If I know how you spend your time,” he said, “then I know what might become of you.”

Building a Solid Belief in Yourself

Do you have an experience of not believing in yourself? It’s like turning your back on yourself due to lack of self-confidence. This shouldn’t happen to you.

We know that we experience lack of self-confidence in life. However, we should not allow ourselves to feel it. The best way to build a solid belief in yourself and your capabilities of doing great things is to take action. If you will achieve more things, the more you’ll feel confident in all of your dealings.

In addition, you should tell yourself that there’s really nothing to fear. For example, you have an assignment to speak in front of a lot of people. Just be yourself. Don’t be afraid of criticisms. All you have to do is to keep pushing that fear away from you so that you can concentrate in your speaking task.

Lastly, you can set a time of the day to think about your previous accomplishments. Based on that, you can boost your self-confidence and be ready to achieve more opportunities to be successful in life.



One Day It Will All Make Sense

Part of the reason we fight against the things that happen is that we’re so focused on our plan that we forget that there might be a bigger plan we don’t know about. Is it not the case that plenty of times something we thought was a disaster turned out to be, with the passage of time, a lucky break? We also forget that we’re not the only people who matter and that our loss might be someone else’s gain.

This sense of being wronged is a simple awareness problem. We need to remember that all things are guided by reason—but that it is a vast and universal reason that we cannot always see. That the surprise hurricane was the result of a butterfly flapping its wings a hemisphere away or that misfortune we have experienced is simply the prelude to a pleasant and enviable future.


Living Without Restriction

Take a look at some of the most powerful, rich, and famous people in the world. Ignore the trappings of their success and what they’re able to buy. Look instead at what they’re forced to trade in return look at what success has cost them.

Mostly? Freedom. Their work demands they wear a suit. Their success depends on attending certain parties, kissing up to people they don’t like. It will require inevitably realizing they are unable to say what they actually think. Worse, it demands that they become a different type of person or do bad things.

Sure, it might pay well but they haven’t truly examined the transaction. As Seneca put it, “Slavery resides under marble and gold.” Too many successful people are prisoners in jails of their own making. Is that what you want? Is that what you’re working hard toward? Let’s hope not.

Mother's Day Celebration 2018

Happy Mother's Day! Although it's already late, I still posted something for this wonderful event. We had an amazing Sunday in the church yesterday, especially that we celebrated Mother's Day. It was just a simple celebration. However, it was really fun. 

The sisters prepared a chic decor inside the classroom for us to take photos. It was a remarkable background because there are hanging balloons in the ceiling. As you can see, it's really a simple yet fantastic way of celebrating the occasion.

How did you celebrate Mother's Day? You can share about it in the comments below. 💗


Seeing Things As The Person At Fault Does

Socrates, perhaps the wisest person to ever live, used to say that “nobody does wrong willingly.” Meaning that no one is wrong on purpose either. Nobody thinks they’re wrong, even when they are.

They think they’re right, they’re just mistaken. Otherwise, they wouldn't think it anymore! Could it be that the slights you've experienced or the harm that others have done to you was not inflicted intentionally? What if they simply thought they were doing the right thing for them, even for you? It’s like the memorial for Confederate soldiers at Arlington (obviously a cause that was wrongly fought for by people doing wrong), which states, in part, that the Confederate soldiers served “in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.”

Again they understood wrongly, but it was their genuine understanding, just as Lincoln was genuine when he ended his famous Cooper Union speech by saying, “Let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” How much more tolerant and understanding would you be today if you could see the actions of other people as attempts to do the right thing? Whether you agree or not, how radically would this lens change your perspective on otherwise offensive or belligerent actions?


That Sacred Part of You

The fact that you can think, the fact that you can read this book, the fact that you are able to reason in and out of situations all of this is what gives you the ability to improve your circumstances and become better. It’s important to appreciate this ability, because it’s a genuine ability. Not everyone is so lucky.

Seriously what you take for granted, others wouldn’t even think to dream of.

Take a little time today to remember that you’re blessed with the capacity to use logic and reason to navigate situations and circumstances. This gives you unthinkable power to alter your circumstances and the circumstances of others. And remember that with power comes responsibility.


The Present is All We Possess

Today, notice how often you look for more. That is, wanting the past to be more than what it was (different, better, still here, etc.) or wanting the future to unfold exactly as you expect (with hardly a thought as to how that might affect other people).

When you do this, you’re neglecting the present moment. Talk about ungrateful! There’s a saying attributed to Bil Keane, the cartoonist—worth remembering: “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” This present is in our possession but it has an expiration date, a quickly approaching one. If you enjoy all of it, it will be enough. It can last a whole lifetime.

Self Deception is Our Enemy

Self deception, delusions of grandeur these aren't just annoying personality traits. Ego is more than just off-putting and obnoxious. Instead, it’s the sworn enemy of our ability to learn and grow.

As Epictetus put it, “It is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows.” Today, we will be unable to improve, unable to learn, unable to earn the respect of others if we think we’re already perfect, a genius admired far and wide. In this sense, ego and self-deception are the enemies of the things we wish to have because we delude ourselves into believing that we already possess them.

So we must meet ego with the hostility and contempt that it insidiously deploys against us to keep it away, if only for twenty-four hours at a time.


Overnight Stay at Splash Oasis in Laguna

Looking fresh and relaxed - I just woke up in one of the rooms at Splash Oasis. For documentation purposes, I have this photo showing the entrance of the resort. Our travel to Laguna was in time for my birthday.

Splash Oasis is located at Kilometer 58, Los Banos, Laguna. It is part of the Splash Mountain Resort, a hot spring hotel in the area. It's easy to find since it's just located along the highway.

We had breakfast that was served in an informal setting that made the experience even more relaxing. They have swimming pools with natural hot spring water that caters to all guests, even the kids.

Our stay in the resort is memorable just because of a scary experience. In one of the rooms that we selected, we can't sleep because there seems to be spirits lingering in the area. As a result, we asked to be transferred to another room. They agreed to our request so we're able to sleep without issues. 

If you have visited Splash Oasis lately, you can share your experiences in the comments below. Take care! 💜

The Strait Jacketed Soul

In the financial disaster of the late 2000s, hundreds of smart, rational people lost trillions of dollars’ worth of wealth. How could such smart people have been so foolish? These people knew the system, knew how the markets were supposed to work, and had managed billions, if not trillions, of dollars. And yet, almost to a person, they were wrong and wrong to the tune of global market havoc.

It’s not hard to look at that situation and understand that greed was some part of the problem. Greed was what led people to create complex markets that no one understood in the hope of making a quick buck. Greed caused other people to make trades on strange pools of debt. Greed prevented anyone from calling out this situation for what it was a house of cards just waiting for the slightest breeze to knock it all down.

It doesn’t do you much good to criticize those folks after the fact. It’s better to look at how greed and vices might be having a similar effect in your own life. What lapses in judgment might your vices be causing you? What “sicknesses” might you have?

And how can your rational mind step in and regulate them?

Buffet 101 Eat All You Can Restaurant at Mall of Asia Complex

One of my memorable dining experiences is eating at Buffet 101 in Mall of Asia Complex. Here are reasons why I love the place.

First, there are a lot of food choices. I've tried all their Japanese, Italian and Korean offerings. I like their Braised Pork Legs with Black Pepper, Fish Fillet and Lemon Butter Sauce.

Second, I like the interior design of the restaurant. It's perfect to try local and international cuisine at Buffet 101, SM Mall of Asia Complex.

Third, I can't forget the taste of their Spicy Spareribs. It's so delicious. It's one of the dishes that I love at Buffet 101.

Have you been to this dining place before? Let's talk about it in the comments below. Take care! 💟



The Beauty of Choice

It’s that line in the movie Fight Club: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.” Obviously our friend Epictetus never saw that movie or read the book—but apparently the consumerism of the 1990s existed in ancient Rome too.

It’s easy to confuse the image we present to the world for who we actually are, especially when media messaging deliberately blurs that distinction. You might look beautiful today, but if that was the result of vain obsession in the mirror this morning, the Stoics would ask, are you actually beautiful? A body built from hard work is admirable. A body built to impress gym rats is not.

That’s what the Stoics urge us to consider. Not how things appear, but what effort, activity, and choices they are a result of.

Trip to Napo Beach Resort in Dapitan City

Napo Beach Resort in Dapitan City, Philippines is far from the city proper. However, the place is easier to find even if it's your first time to go there. We just asked a few locals for directions. Luckily, a few people told us a few essential things to reach the place safely and quickly.

Upon arrival, I noticed the picturesque landscape of the area. It's so breathtaking! The Instagram-worthy seashore captivated me. Since I prepared for the trip, I was able to go swimming before lunch time. Although the water is a little bit itchy, I still had a great time there.

If you want to visit this place, just ride a small bus to Dapitan City at Dipolog City public terminal. Then, tell the conductor that you're going to Napo Dapitan City so they'll endorse you to motorcycle drivers terminal that is located at the public market area.



Deceived and Divided

Woman says she wants to meet a nice guy and get married yet she spends all her time around jerks. A man says that he wishes he could find a great job, but he hasn't actually bothered to do the looking. Business executives try to pursue two different strategies at the same time—straddling it’s called—and they are shocked when they succeed at neither.

All of these people, just as is often true for us too, are deceived and divided. One hand is working against the other. As Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, “There is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives,” a war inside each individual between the good parts of their soul and the bad.

The Stoics say that that war is usually a result of our conflicting desires, our screwed-up judgments or biased thoughts. We don’t stop and ask: OK, what do I really want? What am I actually after here? If we did, we’d notice the contradictory and inconsistent wishes that we have. And then we’d stop working against ourselves.

Count Your Blessings

You should feel significantly better and happier after each time you Count Your Blessings, and how good you feel is your measure of how much gratitude you felt. The more gratitude you felt, the happier you will feel, and the faster your life will change. Some days you will feel happy really quickly, and other days it may take a little longer. But as you continue to Count Your Blessings every day, you will notice a bigger and bigger difference in the way you feel each time, and you will see your blessings magically multiply!

Here is a list of subjects that will remind you of the major areas you can look for blessings to be grateful for.

* Health and body
* Work and success
* Money
* Relationships
* Passions
* Happiness
* Love
* Life
* Nature: planet Earth, air, water, and the sun
* Material goods and services
* Any subject of your choosing

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Willie Nelson (B. 1933)

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