Small Differences

The Law of Small Differences says that saving just a little each month is a small thing that can be worth millions in the long run. The Law says that successful people get to work just a few minutes earlier, or do things just slightly faster or just slightly better than failures. It says that even if I don’t know the big secrets to life, I can practice what I do know and trust that it will make a difference.
Philip Humbert

There’s an excellent video available that illustrates the difference one degree can make between 211 degrees, when water is merely very hot, and 212 degrees, when water boils. That one degree produces steam that can power a locomotive.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by all we “should” do that often we do nothing. What’s important to you? Do something! Identify what you need to do so it’s “good enough” and don’t waste your time, energy or money on perfecting it. On the other hand, really concentrate on those things that have value and add that one degree that will make a difference.

Paraphasing from the video, examples of adding that one degree may be:

  • Spending a couple of hours a month for your own development that can benefit you personally and make you a better employee for your company.
  • Watching TV a half hour less each day and spending that time with your family.
  • Doing something kind each week so you have made life better in some way for others 52 times this year.

What one degree could you add to differentiate yourself as outstanding or truly give priority to what you value?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyDo you have a recipe that everyone loves? Google “recipe contests” and take just a few minutes to enter your recipe. You may end up winning some money and have the joy of knowing you’ve shared a delicious idea with others.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Do You Have Tools?

There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone or forbid your kids to do it.
Mona Crane

My father never came upon a woodworking, electrical, plumbing or other household project he couldn’t do and do well. If something needed to be fixed, he had the tools and the know-how to get it done. I wish I had taken the opportunity to learn from him when I was growing up!

What interests me was that in our kitchen my mom always had “her” tool drawer with a hammer, screwdrivers, pair of pliers, measuring tape, sand paper, duct tape, wood glue and some wire. She just tightened screws, changed broken jewelry clasps and took care of other quick fixes herself. I think she also felt more competent knowing she could do these things for herself. She didn’t have wait for my father or be dependent on him.  She didn’t need to get annoyed if  she wanted something and he didn’t consider it a high-priority.

Do you have some basic tools in your home or apartment to take care of minor repairs yourself? You’ll save yourself time, aggravation and money.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyOne of the best investments we’ve made in terms of tools was the power screwdriver. If time is money, that tool saved us a bundle over the years putting things together and taking them apart. When I think of all the shelving units we’ve taken with us from one move to another, that miraculous tool was a lifesaver and paid for itself many times over.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Books and Ideas

11-garden waterIf you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe? The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions.
Author Unknown
Our attitudes and beliefs are based on our own life experiences and those we “inherit” from our families and culture growing up. The more we are exposed to experiences of people outside of our own circle, the more able we are to look at things from multiple perspectives and not assume we understand why someone acts the way he or she does. That perspective makes it easier to communicate effectively with other people at work and in our personal lives.

Here are a few books I’ve read recently that have introduced me to a new dimension with regard to several historical events and broadened my thinking in the process:

  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers  is the true story of a man who emigrated from Syria and became a successful business owner, husband and father in New Orleans prior to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Due to an unexplainable series of events in the aftermath of Katrina, he is assumed to be a terrorist and the nightmare begins.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is an historical novel that presents the events of the Japanese internment in the U.S. during World War II from the perspective of a young Chinese man in love with a Japanese woman.
  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is a novel that recounts the roundup and deportation in 1942 of thousands of Jewish families who were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver in Paris, then transported to Auschwitz.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett is another historical novel that tells the story from a different perspective of African Americans living in a small Southern town at the beginning of the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Each of these books brought to life the very personal and emotional experiences of its characters. It reminds me that when we meet a person through work or socially, what we see on the surface often bears little resemblance to the real person underneath.  We need to take the time and effort to try to find out who that real person is..

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyReading books electronically can become expensive if you download books without even thinking twice about the price. Check with your local library. Many already have or are getting a system in place so you can download books for free using your library card.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Overusing Strengths

When the eraser wears out before the pencil, you’re overdoing it.
Josh Jenkins

Is there a strength you have that you are overusing? Kate is analytical but analyzes everything to death and therefore has difficulty making decisions. Tanya is very personable and accessible but never seems to have enough time to get her work done. Renee is so experienced and efficient that she does everything well but doesn’t give others a chance.

More often than not our biggest faults are from overusing a strength! Whether it’s being independent or collaborative, quiet or the life of the party, those wonderful traits can get so reinforced that we forget to develop other ways to respond. Different situations call for different actions in order to be effective.

Check out your own strengths. Are they working as well as possible for you or would it help to try something new at times?

Money Saving Tip

saving money The Center for Science in the Public Interest says if you’re paying more for healthy food, make sure you get what you’re paying for,not just some questionable marketing claim. For example:

  • “Made with whole grain” – may contain some whole grains while the rest may be processed.
  • “Naturally flavored” – it’s still flavoring and may not contain the benefits of real fruit, vegetables, etc.
  • “Made with real fruit” – often just grape, apple or pear juice—not whole fruit.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Mixed Messages

It’s hard to trick an audience. If your words say one thing and your body and voice say something else, no one will be convinced by your words.
Peter Thompson, author of Persuading Aristotle

One day I was watching a politician speaking about what she would do when elected. During the course of her comments she shook her head in the gesture that most Americans translate as “no”.   She lost the election. Another time, I was watching a program where two people were facing off for an election and one was frequently nodding his head and looking happy when the other made some good points. Despite the fact that he took an opposing view on most points he wasn’t very believable because his actions said he actually agreed with his opponent.

If sometimes you’re confused by people’s reactions to you, you don’t think you’re being accurately understood or you feel your comments are being dismissed, it’s time to get some feedback to see if you’re giving mixed messages. Because these disconnects can be subtle, others may not be able to easily identify the problem, but give them a chance! If you can see yourself on a video or watch yourself in a mirror when you’re speaking on the phone (in private, of course) you can get some very valuable feedback about how you come across to others and if you are giving mixed messages.

The bonus is that you will feel better when you are being truthful and your mind, body and voice are all working together.

Money Saving Tip

saving money Does your home or office feel too small but you can’t afford a bigger place? Create the illusion of space using ideas from Freshome. For instance:

  • Use mirrors to reflect natural and artificial light.  Angle mirrors at a focal point to give the illusion of depth and on cabinet doors to make spaces feel larger and uncluttered.
  • Light colors make a room feel bigger, brighter, more airy and reflect more natural light. Consider having some big pieces (couch, dresser/bookcase, desk) the same color as the walls so they blend in and don’t appear to break up the space.
  • Shorter furniture will give the illusion that the ceiling is higher. Furniture with open arms and exposed legs and tables with glass tops will create more openness
  • Use one large picture instead of multiple small pictures so the space doesn’t appear busy.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?