Too Many Responsibilities/Desires/Choices? – Part 6

Now that you have done all this work on your life, it is time to take the final step in making it as wonderful as it can possibly be.  But first let’s review all the steps we’ve gone through to address the problem of having too many responsibilities and too many things we would like to do in the limited time available to each of us.

Step 1:  Discover values
Step 2:  Make sure those values are objective meaning they are legitimately improving your life as determined by a proper process of reason.
Step 3:  Again through a process of reason create a ‘Hierarchy of Values.’  Make sure the long-term values are at the top of your hierarchy.
Step 4:  Organize your life’s tasks so as to get the most out of the limited amount of time available to you.
Step 5:  Take action.  Once you have done all this thinking and planning it is imperative to put yourself and act to achieve your values.

If you have gone through this process seriously and legitimately put in the effort, then the final step of the process is to enjoy what you have accomplished.  And I would tell you this even if you fail to achieve your goal.

Sometimes in life things don’t work out regardless of how much effort or thought you put in.  You should still take pride in how you are living your life, and then regroup and start through the process again – this time with all of the experience you have gained.  It may take more time than you would like, but I guarantee you will eventually succeed.

But the most important thing in this entire process is to understand the need to value yourself and take legitimate pride in how you are living your life.

Shurts Accounting for Everyone – Part 1

I am a terrific accountant.  I could help any person or business with just about anything having to do with tracking, investing, and protecting their assets.  If you or your business is making good money, I can quickly and accurately tell you how well you are doing, project how you will do in the future, make sure you don’t lose what you have earned, and assist you with growing your wealth.  And if you or your business isn’t doing so well, I can find where the problems are and provide many ideas for reducing costs, growing assets, and running your business more efficiently.

The lack of financial acumen in our culture is deplorable.  Many people and businesses, both those that are doing well and those that are doing poorly, consistently handle their financial affairs in a haphazard manner that results in losing millions if not billions of dollars in asset values.  Even the supposed ‘experts’ running the federal government’s financial affairs have run up a $16 trillion ‘credit card balance’ with little idea of how it will ever be repaid.

The sheer amount of misery caused by this lack of financial ability is staggering and just as devastating to people’s lives as any natural disaster.  Something needs to be done, and I have just the answer – ‘Shurts Accounting for Everyone.’ Continue reading

Too Many Responsibilities/Desires/Choices? – Part 5

In this life where each of us has so much going on, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best way to navigate through it all so you can have the best life possible.  My solution has been to devise an on-going program to make sure you are doing what you want and getting the most out of it.  So far this program has included discovering what it is you value in life, making sure those values are objectively serving your life as opposed to hindering it, determining which values are the most important to you and finally organizing the many activities you engage in to make sure you use your time as efficiently as possible.

For the most part, all of the activities described above are ‘thinking’ or ‘planning’ activities.  Now thinking and planning are just as much work as any kind of physical activity, probably more, but life, if it is to be well-lived, must be about doing.  Thinking is a hugely important activity (as this whole series of posts implies), but the real benefits of life come from achieving, producing, accomplishing, creating and any other verb you can come up with for doing something productive.

The next step in this process of living your life to the best of your ability is to take action, and this may be the most difficult thing to do of all.  Thinking and planning are internal activities that don’t affect anyone else, but taking action is irreversible.  When you are doing something, be it applying for a job, going to an audition, writing a blog or starting a business, you are putting yourself out there.  You are opening yourself up to the possibility of failure.  But I can’t emphasize enough that if you have put in the time and the thought that this process of valuing requires, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t have the ‘courage of your convictions’ to take the actions necessary to achieve your chosen values.

With this you might think my series has come to an end, but you would be wrong.  If you have done all this valuing, thinking, planning, organizing and finally taking action to achieve your values, you are still not done yet.  There is one more step to take, and I will reveal that in the next and last installment of this series.

Division of Labor- Listen

When I was in high school, I discovered I had certain talents and I also discovered I was lacking certain talents.  I was good with numbers and very good at thinking abstractly, but I was not good at working with my hands and my people skills were severely lacking.  I’m not telling anybody over 30 anything new here.  At some point in each of our lives, we discover what we are good at and what we are not good at.

This turns out to be a wonderful thing when you live in a free society; freedom allows you to team up with others who complement your skills, so that all of your talents put together can allow you to do great things.  And freedom also allows you and the organization you are associated with to make changes whenever an association isn’t working or when it can be improved. Continue reading

Too Many Responsibilities/Desires/Choices? – Part 4

In the previous installments of this series and in response to the innumerable choices life constantly throws at us, I have discussed how important it is to ‘Value’, how the values you try to achieve must be ‘Objective Values’ and finally the importance of establishing a ‘Hierarchy of Values’  if you are going to successfully navigate through all of the responsibilities, desires, and choices available.  You may think that with this we are done, but even if you have developed a perfectly wonderful hierarchy of values that fits you to a tee, you still are faced with the fact that there are only so many hours in the day.  In order to make your prioritized set of values work the best they can for your life, you must learn how to organize your time as efficiently as possible.

When I worked at Colorado Container, our CPA would constantly marvel at my clean desk.  Continue reading

‘Ideal Solution’

One of the tools I have used throughout my life, but most especially in my career as an accountant, is to envision the ‘Ideal Solution’ whenever I am confronted with a particularly thorny problem.

I usually resort to this whenever the problem I am confronted with appears to have no solution- or more precisely, every solution I can think of can be almost instantly shot down because it has a flaw in it.  This kind of situation tends to bring on a kind of panicked mindset where the problem seems insoluble and the ‘solutions’ seem infinite.

The ‘Ideal Solution’ method involves stepping back from everything, i.e. disengaging myself from the details of the problem to look at just exactly what we are trying to accomplish.  Once I have identified the overarching goal, I then give myself carte blanche to imagine I had every tool conceivable at my disposal in order to reach that goal. And I’m not beyond diving into science fiction or fantasy in order to achieve this ‘Ideal Solution.’

By going through this thought process, I identify a solution to the problem, which I typically put down on paper.  And once this ‘Ideal Solution’ is down on paper usually one of two things happens.  Continue reading

Too Many Responsibilities/Desires/Choices? – Part 3

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the idea of ‘Value.’  In Part 2, I expanded on that by showing why it is important to make sure the values you pursue are objective, meaning they are actually furthering your life.

Remember, in the beginning we were discussing the overwhelming number of responsibilities and desires that each of us must deal with in our lives.  The first step in dealing with all of this is to discover through reason what truly is valuable to your life, but knowing this does not in and of itself address the problem.  That knowledge does ensure that whatever you pursue will be good for your life and it eliminates many, many activities that would harm you.  However, there are still way too many legitimate choices available to be pursued.  In order to get a handle on all of this, you need a method for prioritizing the objective values in your life.  In other words, you need to create a ‘Hierarchy of Values.’ Continue reading

Adjust to Penny

The title of this post will be familiar to those who have worked with me.  That’s because it’s the description I would give to a journal entry where I was adjusting a particular balance by a few cents, in order to bring the balance into agreement with reality.  Some of you are now saying to yourself, “Just a couple posts ago, he talked about paying attention to detail and now he is saying he would arbitrarily adjust a balance giving only ‘Adjust to ‘Penny’ as his reason.  Isn’t he contradicting himself?”

I am not contradicting myself, but I know you’ll need a reason why I’m not.  Continue reading

Too Many Responsibilities/Desires/Choices? – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the idea of ‘Value,’  and how it is the key to successfully dealing with the huge number of choices available in your life.  Here is the first step in making that happen.

Assuming a value is what you are acting to gain and/or keep, does this necessarily mean what you are valuing is actually good for you?  The answer to this question comes from a process of reason.  Before you decide something is truly a value, it is imperative to make sure that the value is objectively beneficial to your life.

Take a relatively trivial example.  Though I love pizza and cherry vanilla ice cream, having it every night would not be a value in my life.  Continue reading

Attention to Detail

I just read a long piece in Sports Illustrated entitled “The Sabanization of College Football” written by Andy Staples.  It was yet another confirmation of something I learned a long time ago and have seen repeated time and time again in life – the most successful people in ANY field are always the ones who pay the most attention to the details of whatever it is they are trying to accomplish.

The purpose of the article was to show why Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama, has been so successful (he’s won 2 of the last 3 national championships).  To give just a small slice of why, here is an excerpt from the article:

 

“Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.  Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room.  Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for Intro to Psych.”

 

As you can see, Mr. Saban is intensely interested in making sure the people he is leading are focused on all the little things they need to do in order to be successful.  Continue reading