Tag Archives: money energy

Samurai Mind on My Money Hack

With my mind on my money and my money on my mind. ……Snoop Dog

I don’t want to get all new age-y on you, but in a lot of ways money is energy.   You, or in the case of stocks etc, or somebody else did something for that money.  You could honor that energy or just throw your money away.  (Call me, and I will be downwind from you.  I will be the goofy guy with the butterfly net and the suit made out of fly paper. 🙂

Iknow.jp hooks me in with fun sentences and little pavlovian rewards for meeting learning goals.  It's a little mechanistic so I listen to Japanese youtube and limit using this web service to about five minutes a day.

Iknow.jp hooks me in with audio sentences and little pavlovian rewards for meeting learning goals. It’s a little mechanistic so I listen to Japanese youtube while I am using it and limit using this web service to about five minutes a day.

One of the ways I like to honor money is to use it to trick my mind to learn more.  Money can function like a timer, turning learning into a game.   See how much learning you can get with your money.  I remember in the old video arcade days that one of the advantages of getting skills was that you actually spent less money.  See how much you can get out of a service or product by keeping it in “play.”  I try to “make contact” with products and services that I’ve purchased to help me learn:

  • Iknow.jp:   hundreds of sentences read by native Japanese speakers.   The service can be come hypnotic/robotic so I only try to make a “target” of 30 minutes a week.
  • japanesepod101.com:   now that I have more language under my belt, I am appreciating the grammar and cultural explanations.  I switch between yojijukugo, beginner, video, lower intermediate, upper intermediate, and cultural lessons.  I listen on my way to work and switch to Japanese music or podcasts when I am done.
  • silverspoon/neutrino:   I am done with this but it was one of the most expensive pay by month services.   But it was kind of like going to a trainer who changes the way you think about exercise.  It seems expensive but the benefit, if you “play” it right lasts long.
  • jamplay.com:   this is a guitar learning website.   I like the teachers and the tracking tools so much I’ve put a link to it on the right.  However, as the time to renew (and pay) approached at New Year’s I beat myself up for not keeping up with it.  (Note:  don’t beat yourself up.  It hurts you more than you.)  I recently came across a whole stash of Julia Cameron quotes from back when I was “doing” The Artists Way book.  This is a gem:

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small steps…sit down at the piano and touch the keys.  Five minutes a day is better than no minutes a day.

One of the nice advantages of paid learning services are tracking tools.  I was a lot more active on jamplay before and am easing back into playing. Part of the mental trick of practice is moving "the bars" of progress a little bit.  I do it with jpod, too.  I don't think of mastering the language but just moving the bars forward.

One of the nice advantages of paid learning services are tracking tools. I was a lot more active on jamplay before and am easing back into playing. Part of the mental trick of practice is moving “the bars” of progress a little bit. I do it with jpod, too. I don’t think of mastering the language but just moving the bars forward.

  • books:  get thousands of dollars of value out of books.  How?  First, enjoy the heck out of them.   (Check out ajatt’s article “If Your Played Songs The Way You Read, You Would Hate Music.“)Go to the parts that you like.  Skip around.  Read the book that you really liked again and again.  Read it backwards.  Read it fast. Read it slow.  Put the juicest parts in your samurai notebook.

 

Money is just a like the boundaries of a game.  Limits can frustrate you or they can force you to be creative and really play.   Become a pinball wizard.  Bend it like Beckham.  [insert sports or game metaphor here].  Put on some good tunes while you’re “doing it.”  Enjoy!

 

Money Games: Samurai Time, pt. 4

Eighteen minutes left on my timer.  One more hour left in the manga cafe.  Day 440 of 595 of a paid Japanese immersion experience called Silverspoon.  (I’m listening to Japanese Youtube as I write.)  ¥900 to be in this booth.   I paid a heck of a lot more to get motivational emails and study sprint suggestions from Silverspoon.  I’m working and also having fun.  I am playing Samurai money games.

As my time in Japan approaches, I have to make financial decisions. I decided to go on an expensive trip to Hakuba in Nagano with Japanese seniors. Fun times included listening to the same enka recording for the eight hour commute.

In this series I have explored how you can turn time into a game to help you move towards your goals.   Even if you are extremely rich (did I tell you how great you look today?),  your money is limited.  You can either get depressed about that limit or have enjoy and respect the ‘energy’ of money and learn, do, create, and share in the most joyful, productive, artistic way possible.  Who knows?  You might even end up richer.  (You look mahvelous, dahling!)

Money is energy.  Respect it. Have fun with it.  Share it with love.   Here are some Samurai money games:

  • Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’

  • Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.   

  • Honor the energy of money.  Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going.  Keep it fun. 

  • Release your death grip on money.  Give some away.

Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’

Books are great “investments.” Half the fun/learning was just browsing at a bookstore. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the book was Zen based. (I read everything but the biggest kanji on the cover!)

I’m talking about books, apps, gadgets, etc.  One well-used book or app can create thousands of dollars of value in learning.   For example, I play a little game with my Midori Japanese dictionary app.  I paid a mere $10 for this app but I try to get the most out of it.   I look at the history of the words that I have looked up and review what I studied one day, two days, four days, and a week ago.   (a rough form of spaced repetition)  I  play around with flashcards when I am on the bus, at appointments, etc.  I may have already learned more vocabulary by doing this than if I had spent hundreds of dollars in Japanese classes.

Squeeze the value out of books.   毎朝1分で人生は変わる:One Minute, One Action in the Morning Will Change Your Life suggests getting the most out of a book by reading it several times and reviewing it at night.  Another Japanese author suggests beating up your books (not library books), and even taking it to the bath with you. Move on when you don’t feel the life force in a book anymore.

Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.

You keep yourself on track, but it’s good to have someone pushing, prodding and creative alternatives.  You can go to the gym and you can also get a personal trainer.  A personal trainer costs more but it’s all part of putting your money where your mouth is.  I pay what some might consider a hefty sum to do Silverspoon (a Japanese coaching service from ajatt.com), but in part the money keeps me on track. If ajatt.com is the gym, then Silverspoon is like a personal trainer, switching it up like a ninja.  Sometimes the value you get from the extra push is worth a lot more than what you pay.

I passed on the vanilla icing covered potato chips.

Honor the energy of money.  Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going.  Keep it fun. 

Paying money is a way to bookmark  is skills and knowledge you want to have.  I currently pay for three services to help me keep moving forward in my goal of learning Japanese:   Japanesepod101.com, Iknow.co.jp and Silverspoon.  They add to my palette of Japanese learning.   When I get bored with one system, I move on to another.  I’ve also donated to kanji.koohii.com and anki.ichi.net, which are free but invaluable systems that have helped me.  I also subscribe to jamplay.com, a guitar learning website but haven’t actually been playing.  However, I am keeping this service as a bookmark and motivator of where I want to go.

Release your death grip on money.  Give some away.  “Waste some.”

Money is like a samurai sword.  If you are too loose with it, you easily lose any advantage.  If you grip too tight, you lose your fluidity.  (BTW I have never held a samurai sword–too sharp and scary!)  Give some of your money away to good causes, frivolous games, friends in need.  I don’t know how and if this works, but I do it and I like it.

Sometimes you have to try something new and not be calculating about money. Give to a charity or buy Salty Watermelon Pepsi!

Money is energy.  Respect it. Have fun with it.  Share it with love.   Play samurai money games.

Samurai Money Journal: Seeing is Believing

I used to do a series of "Mind, Body, Wallet Workshops" to encourage people to think about money.  Sometimes money is a reflection of thought patterns that obscure reality.   Surfing is great but if your mind is ruled by these unobserved and uncontrolled waves it can lead to trouble. Keeping a money journal helps.(Drawings are by Ken Polotan)

I used to do a series of “Mind, Body, Wallet Workshops” to encourage people to think about money. Sometimes money is a reflection of thought patterns that obscure reality. Surfing is great but if your mind is ruled by these unobserved and uncontrolled waves it can lead to trouble. Keeping a money journal helps.(Drawings are by Ken Polotan)

I have to admit that I’m over my head.  As part of the All Japanese All the Time process, I am trying to listen to materials that I am interested in.  Books on tape aren’t as common as they are in the United States.  One title that interested me was いつのまにか「お金がたまる人」のさりげない習慣 .   My dose of soy sauce translation of this is:   “Before you know it, You’ve Saved a Lot of Money:  Casual Habits”  or “Casual Habits for Casually Amassing Money.”

I’m interested in the topic but I admit I don’t really understand the majority of the CD.  One of the first points that the author makes is that in order to save money you need to adjust your hobbies.  Most “sarariman” (Japanese businessmen) tend to go for gourmet food, cars, and golf.  However, these interests take a lot of money.  His top three suggestions for alternative hobbies?  Drum roll please: Continue reading

Samurai Money Energy: A Penny “Saved”

Small counts.   Sometimes I pick up pennies to remind myself about the "energy" of money.  I don'tmeaninit a new age way but as a way to respect the labor, sweat, and creative flow behind money.

Small counts. Sometimes I pick up pennies to remind myself about the “energy” of money. I don’tmeaninit a new age way but as a way to respect the labor, sweat, and creative flow behind money.

A funny thing happens in New York.   People throw out pennies.  You find them on the street, lost and lonely little pennies.  I’ve witnessed people hurling them into the street.  My wife, Yoko, was shocked about this.    This just doesn’t happen in Japan.  People may leave their money at Shinto temples but money isn’t just thrown out like that.

I’ll share a little secret.   Every now and then, I bend down and pick up these tossed away pennies.   Because it’s more than you would earn a day in savings accounts these days? No.  It’s because money is energy.   When I pick up a penny it’s to reaffirm a message to myself that I am a director of energy through money.

You Con-du-it

Er, you are a conduit.   All kinds of energy comes into you and leaves in a different form.  A lot of that is involuntary but there is also a lot of room for choice.  You have input choices:   food, information, et cetera.  You also have output choices:  how you move your body, treat and speak about others, etc.  You can come from your day at the munitions factory, eat fast food, watch five hours of escapist television and be mean to people. No. Please. Don’t.

Bending down to pick up a penny is just a physical reminder to myself that I am a conduit, a conductor of wealth.  Even if you make $20,000 a year for the next 50 years, it’s a million dollars of energy that will flow in and out of your life.  You get to direct that energy to support more energy.  You get the chance to orchestrate the direction of that flow.

By keeping a money journal years ago, I started to become aware of financial patterns and changed them.  For example, the money that used to go my every other day ice cream addiction might go to investments, acupuncture treatments, jamplay.com guitar lessons, or a chance to help a friend or stranger in need.

Small Counts:  Think Big Act Small

Picking up a penny is also a way of honoroing the small.  Big results are often the result of the accumulation of small choices.  I don’t know if anyone knows much about Shakespeare’s writing habits.  (Bill, if you are reading this now, I am sooooo totally open to “channeling” opportunities.)  However,  I’m pretty sure he didn’t write all of his works overnight.  He had to get up, sharpen his quills, and make small decisions that added up to his compleate [sic, man, sic] works.

Toni Morrison, in an interview in Paris Review, explained how she became a dawn writer, waking up at the pre-dawn before her two small children woke up.   James Arthur Ray, author of Harmonic Wealth:  The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, describes Morrison as “writing at the edges of time.”

In  100 Ways to Create Wealth, Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford explain that the extra five minutes on a project that you are thinking on giving up on can make all the difference.

Small counts.   The other day I visited Big Booty, Chelsea bakery with excellent “pan de yuca” and an outrageous name.  After making a small purchase, I reached into my coat pocket to get a tip and pulled out some quarters and some pennies.

“I am sorry about the pennies,” I felt obliged to say.

“No need to apologize, thank you very much,” Elvis, our favorite bakery guy, replied warmly.

You don’t have to pick up pennies.   Move into the small corners and moments were the creativity energy lies.  Pick up that pen or legal pad.   Dust off that guitar bag and open it.   Pick up a penny of your dreams.

How to Use Multiple Savings Accounts

Capture your financial flow.  Use specific targeted savings accounts to be a financial samurai. This is a graphic from one of my Tao of Money seminars.

Capture your financial flow. Use specific targeted savings accounts to be a financial samurai. This is a graphic from one of my Tao of Money seminars.

Disclaimer:  Remember I am just a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river.  Multiple savings accounts are a great way to train your mind to think about money, and I think that will have an impact on your creativity and you peace of mind.   For actual investment advice,  try Personal Finance for Dummies.

Advantages of Multiple Savings Accounts (MSA’s):

  • MSA’s let you too keep the purpose for your savings clear.   It lets your mind know how your money is allotted rather than have to keep track of it mentally or otherwise.  It saves time and space on your mental hard-drive.
  • MSA’s tap into the creativity and energy of flow.   I like thinking of money like water.   If water doesn’t move it gets stagnant.   Multiple savings accounts help you creatively accelerate the flow of money in your life, specially if you use direct deposit and automated savings.
  • You earn interest.   When I started doing multiple savings accounts, I typically earned 5%.  Now I earn a whopping .80%. Woohoo! However, the first two benefits make this worthwhile.

Multiple Savings Account Suggestions from Money is My Friend

Like I mentioned before, this is one of the key ideas I got from reading Phil Laut’s book, Money is My Friend.   In the book, he suggests creating the following banking accounts.   There are finer points for each account and I highly suggest buying it out checking it out from the library.    Phil Laut suggests the following accounts:

  • Cash Flow Savings Account:  keep a month’s worth of income in and pay yourself from there
  • Large  Purchases Account:  deposit into it regularly and use it for whatever you want
  • Financial Independence Account:  train yourself to get used to just spending the interest earned
  • Millionaire’s Savings Account:  money for investments
  • Annual Income Savings Account:  for a year off or shorter amounts
  • Taxes Savings Account:  save for your taxes
  • Generosity Savings Account: giving away money is a great way to free up your mind

Make Savings A Game

When I started doing this, I actually used real bank passbooks.  The passbooks at the bank used passbooks that looked like grey passports.  I went a little overboard and put stickers all over it to make it fun.  Those were the days.

Now internet banking has made it easy to create these multiple accounts.  I started with ING Direct and have stuck with them, and haven’t really researched other options.   What I like about ING is that they make it easy to nickname your various accounts to make this system work, and you save on postage or trips to the bank.  Please let me know if you find better or different banking options.

I don’t necessarily follow Laut’s system to the letter.  My Cash Flow account is typically the amount of cash that I tend to spend per week.  It’s automatically withdrawn twice a month and when I want more money I transfer it online to my credit union.  I also have a Bills Account.   When I charge something on my credit card, I place the exact amount into my ING Bills Account.  When the bill comes, I have the exact amount waiting for me in the account.

I also have an impulse spending account, which is just play money.   Do I want to spend $50 on stickers or chocolate?  It’s right there.   The purpose of this account is to allow for play and impulse instead of associating saving with deprivation.

Of course, with the right attitude and creativity Multiple Savings Accounts help turn setting financial priorities into a game.   Enjoy the game and save!

 

Do Money or Money Will Do You: Rich Samurai/Poor Samurai

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 1.42.14 PMSorry about the Rich Dad/Poor Dad reference.  I just had to.  Truth is, I found that book in our book sharing shelf in the building and I haven’t gotten around to reading it.

Now, remember, I am just a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river.  I am not a Rich Dad or a Poor Dad.   I am a dad.   However, I have stopped “being done by” money.

Take care of finances, so finances don’t take over your life

I made that decision in the middle of the wilderness in Western North Carolina.  I was at a base camp of the North Carolina Outward Bound School, where I went to learn how to be an outdoor educational instructor.   I woke up that morning to the hooting of barred owls outside of the rustic cabin I was staying in between wilderness trainings.   Someone came to my cabin and said,   “Juan, you have a phone call.”  I put on my fleece jacket and shuffled down the trail to the base camp office and picked up the phone.  It was a collection agency.  My credit card and college loans debt had caught up to me. Continue reading