Financial Progress ….the Key to Social Identity?

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Photo by Sabine Peters on Unsplash

You’ve heard the saying: “You are how much you bring home”….well actually no…I haven’t heard this saying put quite like this but I’m sure someone out there has. Whether you’ve heard this euphemism or not, I’m most assured that at some form or fashion you’ve measured yourself and others in this manner. What I believe is that most of us do this unconsciously. Meaning, no matter how much we disagree with this financial benchmark stratagem we still base our worth and other peoples value based on their level of financial progress.

Oftentimes, we won’t even listen to anyone unless we see them “doing it” or have “done it.” We won’t take the life tips of a person whose life does not at least on the outside reflect financial success and stability. We elevate those who show a level of “progress” as the gurus we should all be listening to, because they obviously have figured it out.

Many of us, including myself, have progressed in tremendous ways in a multitude of areas except financially. So why then does the financial stagnation seem so weighted and still so important as it pertains to our identity, value and worth? Again, no matter how much we try and say to ourselves and others:“oh well I know my worth and I don’t base my life on my financial success”…we still at the very core have a slight inner ache regarding this matter. We often say to ourselves in a quiet whisper: “Why don’t I have the success I’ve worked so hard to achieve? Why does it seem like a large number of people I see seem to be progressing in this area and I’m not? 

If we are honest with ourselves, we do ask these questions and wonder what it is we can do to make this not be a part of our story.

Now if you’re wondering if I have the answer to solve this inner tension that most of us face…here’s the short answer to it: Um…no. What I do know is that the first step towards any kind of progression is self-awareness. Honestly recognizing the truth of how we feel about ourselves as it pertains to this dynamic and beginning the inner work there. Will this revelation of self-awareness change your external financial situation in this lifetime? Maybe. Maybe not. Can you end your life knowing that at the very least you tried to reconcile this inner tension and gain peace closer to where you started?

Oh yeah.

In fact, the chances of this happening are much greater than your financial situation changing for the better. But hey, life throws us a ton of surprises so you never know. So if you do in fact reach a more advantageous financial place in life, hopefully you will remember to keep even that “progress” at bay for what it is.

Just a moment in time.

How To Avoid Choosing An Incompatible Job: Using a Career-Based Personality Test to Understand if You Are in the Right Job

How do you know if you are in the right job?

We all want to know if the job that we are waking up to every morning at 5, 6, 7 am is the right job for us? For many who are prospecting a new position, the question instead becomes is this potential role a win in the compatibility department? Yet others who are reading this, who do not fall into either of these ponderings, are probably saying to themselves:

I already KNOW that I am in the WRONG job. I just don’t know WHAT job I want to do!

Thus, the issue lies not in trying to figure out if you are in the right job or not, but figuring out WHAT job IS “right,” or should I say better, for you.

So where do you begin?

Take the time for self-discovery

One of the first steps towards assessing whether or not a job is right for you is to examine who you are in a deeper context.

No really……who are you?

When was the last time you truly asked yourself this question? So many of us have suppressed our identities for the purposes of Corporate America assimilation and survival. We do this, because this is the path we were taught. Go to school, graduate and get a good job. We are told to find out what it takes to keep the company happy and master that. Discarding much of what we think as it pertains to self-growth so as to focus on career and professional development instead.

Yet, how can we continue to ignore our personal journey in the place where we spend the majority of our waking hours? When will we cease to ignore our true selves at the cost of workplace acceptance? For many, the thought of doing this scares them to pieces. It is much safer and easier to neglect personal exploration than it is to take the path of self-discovery. Because self-discovery may lead to enlightenment. Enlightenment could lead to awareness and awareness could then lead to change. Change that could mean taking a pay cut or leaving an “easy” but unfulfilling job. Or, on the upside, a change that could lead to a much more satisfying work life.

So then, what self-discovery strategies can you use to begin understanding how to tackle this question?

Using a Career-based Personality Test to Help find Job Compatibility

Life coaches are great. Yet many of us do not know where to find one, let alone a spectacular one that truly helps us get sure-fire solutions. One of the quickest and (most importantly) cost-effective ways to find out what type of work best suits you is to take an online personality test.

Taking a test such as the one offered on 16personalities.com or www.truity.com are two fantastic ways to learn more about job compatibility. For the skeptics out there immediately discarding the idea of leaving their future up to a “manufactured survey,” at the very least you should give it a whirl before you knock it. If after you take the test (seriously) you find that the answers are inconclusive or completely inaccurate then by all means take the plunge to find the ultimate life coach.

While there are many personality-based test such as Myers-Briggs, Human Metrics, and DISC profile that provide an overview of your day-to-day personality. The best thing about taking a test such as the 16personalities questionnaire is that it shows how your personality responds to certain career environments and it provides you with several specific career path options.

For example, let’s say your personality test results show that you are a “Campaigner”

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of 16personalities.com

The test outputs show the following career paths for this personality type:

Campaigner personality types are able to apply logic to human interactions and networks, using their exceptional social perception to find out what makes people tick. This lends Campaigners a solid foothold in any human science or service, from psychology, counseling and teaching to politics, diplomacy and detective work.

Many more career options satisfy these needs, and not just the scientific ones – writing, journalism, acting and TV reporting all give Campaigners a chance to explore something new every day and stir the pot a little while they’re at it. It may come to pass though, that the best way forward for Campaigner personalities is to establish themselves as entrepreneurs and consultants, blazing their own trails and taking on whatever project is most fascinating.

The next set of results detail the Workplace Habits or environment that best suite this personality:

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of 16personalities.com

Campaigners would prefer that there be hardly a hierarchy at all. People with the Campaigner personality type possess warmth, creativity, and an open-mindedness that makes them excellent listeners. If these qualities are recognized by their employers, they will always be able to count on their Campaigner employees to innovate and boost morale.

The test results then spell out how “Campaigner” personality types are most likely to respond to and interact with subordinates, managers and colleagues. This is extremely helpful intel as it not only gives language to a person struggling to find out how to best express how they feel in their current work place environment but it also helps them to best understand what type of environment they should strive for. Whether that be communicating it to a current office setting or vocalizing it in a future interview as something that is vital for their success.

Let the Data Work for You and Not Against You

Do not fight the data. Let the outcome of the test sink in and bounce the results off your colleagues, friends and family members. Ask them if they agree with the evidence of the test results. While 100% of the findings from the test may not match up, if you truly took the test with the utmost sincerity – a large percentage of it should. Thus, there should be some sentiment of truth present in the results. Once you get the clarity, begin taking steps towards income-producing work that could lean itself towards a more compatible lifestyle.

Be Cognizant of the Ebbs and Flows of Life

Know this however, that just as the seasons change throughout the year, so do our lives and personalities; particularly as a pertains the effects of our life circumstances. So you may be surprised (or not) to find out that who you were five years ago is not the person you are today; which will influence the type of work that you may be now suddenly yearning for.

You may have even taken a test similar to this a while back and do not realize that if you took the test again today that you could quite possibly test out in a completely different category. Do not fret. Most importantly, do not automatically discard the findings as erroneous. Find out why you may have answered the way you did and what descriptors in that personality type are true. Any conclusive evidence is good evidence. Knowing more about who you are (today) will only help lead you closer and closer to finding a better match as it pertains to your work life.

Finally, while you may find the type of work that you enjoy (as a result of taking this test and doing the work of self-discovery), keep in mind finding the right company is still a crap shoot. Job satisfaction takes a healthy combination of company culture, managerial style, department dynamics and job function/position to achieve ultimate balance. While it’s certainly more difficult to control the first three of this list, you can at least have some sense of resolve by seeking opportunities for roles that better fit your personality.

How Far is Too Far?

When we explore ideas that push the boundary of our faith this question arises….how far is too far? How open is too open? How liberal is to liberal? I think in our developing world of “enlightenment” and free thought aka “wokeness” we have a highly influential doorway that willingly invites us to follow after whatever we see as comfortably true to us. Instead of studying and adhering to the faith tradition for which we ascribe to; we instead opt for this a la cart belief system. It takes a little bit of this from here, a little bit of that from there and creates an entree size plate for us to feast on. On the other hand, many people have lived a linear life of thought that has no entry point of challenge to their existing beliefs. They are single and close-minded when it comes to exploring new and transformative thoughts that could grow them in a positively developed state of being.

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Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

 

 

So where’s the balance? How can one stay open to transformative external thoughts but remain unwavering in existing foundational beliefs? Are there any things off limits? Well, in my eyes – for the Christian – the short answer is yes! But before I touch on that, first let me say we all ascribe to a belief system – whether we like to admit it or not. Even those that proclaim to be non-religious but “spiritual” have formulated some internal belief construct that leads and guides their lives. Oftentimes – these individuals make themselves as the god of their lives; creating their own standards, judgements and rules of life. For the Christian believer, we signed up not to live this way but to have Jesus as our God to create the standard, truth and way of life.

Now there has been much debate since dawn of time of what specifically this “way” is…However, at the very core of our belief should be the non-negotiable facts and beliefs. And that is that Jesus: physically walked the earth in human form, lived a sinless life, proclaimed He was and is the Messiah/God, was publicly crucified and died on the cross (willingly as a sacrifice for our sins), was resurrected on the third day, and promises the gift of eternal life with Him in paradise for all who repent of their sins and believe He is God. This is the basic core of our faith – this should not be something that you allow others to re-define or create liberal views on. Should you decide to allow your beliefs about this to change by all means, you should consider changing your faith declaration altogether. Because at this point, it is no longer Christianity, but a re-defined, remixed version of something else. Now there are other core tenets of the faith that are also non-negotiable but for the sake of time I will not espouse on those. I mainly wanted to get the number one core belief established in case someone out there was wandering if any of that part could be flexible in regards to their beliefs as a self-proclaimed Christian.

Now for what I’d like to call secondary tenets such as charitable giving, days of worship, the end times, divorce, parenting, etc. those are all non-essential debatable things that are certainly up for pushing the boundary. Having said that, we should still do our best as believers to first search the scriptures of the written text (aka Bible) to study both the descriptive and possible prescriptive declaration. If we first turn to culture to see what it is saying to us (and allowing for us), then we are more than likely pushing the boundaries of “going too far.” While cultures do evolve over the course of time, they should not be our God or teacher when it comes to our faith. We can take the current climate of culture and study it against the biblical culture to see what is descriptive of the (ancient) times and what is prescriptive of the life of faith in Christ.

If the prescriptive is true, when we willingly decide to bend out faith to accommodate our “liberal thought” then we’ve gone too far. Oftentimes this liberal thinking is not enlightenment but a convenient accommodation to our pleasures, desires and comforts that support what ultimately we want to do and the agenda we want to push. This agenda is usually self-serving and rooted in ego, arrogance and lack of willingness to change. For some of you listening or reading this who disagree, I challenge you to truly examine yourself against any narcissistic exaltation. If you truly are “about that life” – meaning the life of Christ- what is the ultimate end game for your views?

I met someone who was a self-proclaimed Christian who was adamant about exposing the church and its lack of bending to say “maybe we are wrong” to non-believers. While I did support the push for more humility among believers, I also pushed back on why this person felt like it was their sole goal in life to dismantle and tear down the body of Christ. This person also said they were jealous of Scientology believers because they liked spaceships and they wanted one – so why do we (as believers) say that they are wrong because why does everything have to glorify God? Huh?! This is too far! When asked if they were a universalist they told me no and that I wasn’t hearing what they said clearly. No – I heard very clearly. I heard the dibble of this and dabble of that in your conversation and while I appreciate the open thought to challenge existing traditions and practices – you’ve gone too far.

At some point those who ascribe to the faith have to say enough is enough. In our modern days of being sensitive to other people’s views and not “offending” anyone – we still have to know the truth of our faith. And know when and how to speak the truth in love and stand firm in faith. I am all for new thought and revelation of the scriptural text when it comes to the secondary tenets of the faith but just like the age old saying if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

There’s a Difference between Neglect and Growth

There’s a difference between neglect and growth……

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Photo credit: Honey Creek Woodlands Google Image

I recently visited the Honey Creek Woodlands natural burial grounds which has 1600 acres of reserved land protected by land conservation efforts. While touring the property, I approached this area called the Meadows. The steward guide who showed me around pointed out to me an area that appeared to be dead looking shrubbery that was growing out of the ground. The steward guide said: “when most people come out here they freak out when they see this because they think all this is not pretty they just want to get a weed-whacker so that they can take the weeds out and make this look pretty.” She continued on and said “but people don’t understand nature…there’s a difference between neglect and growth.” Immediately, when she said that it struck a tremendous cord with me because I too had to confront my own inner discomfort with the need for things to look pretty.

As I continued thinking about that statement, I thought about how we [people] want to have our lives look pretty on the outside. We try so hard to make the messiness of life look “good” and surface level pretty. So many of us cringe at the thought of something not looking pretty that we do our best to make our lives reflect exterior-only beauty.

Which is why many of us lean towards the clean-cut grass cemeteries with lush greenery and beautiful flowerbeds in perfectly symmetrically aligned cemetery plots. So that it all looks “neat” and “in order,” but in all actuality how much of our lives are?

I do love that verse from Ecclesiastes that says God makes everything beautiful in its time and throughout the course of our lives there’s no ugliness ….so how do you reconcile this? What does it truly look like to have a messy life that looks beautiful.

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Photo credit: Honey Creek Woodlands Google Image

Is the tension because we have a superficial view of what beautiful looks like?

Do the things that are not externally colorful that appear to look dead on the outside and not bursting with vibrancy actually mean that it is lacking beauty?

Why are we so adverse to things that do not appear to look shiny, glittery and spectacular on the outside?

Could a life that is truly beautiful that has been through the tilling and the watering and the planting look like something that has not been just sheltered to the side? That has not just been a bench warmer but has lived in the trenches of it all. Someone who actually lived a life and didn’t neglect living life but actually lived it and because of it – grew.

These are the questions I ask myself that I need to confront daily in order to have the peace and true riches of life that matter.

Everything is a Let Down: Living in a Super-Hype Culture

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Photo by Verena Yunita Yapi on Unsplash

Click here to listen to the podcast recording!

You ever go to a certain restaurant because everybody is talking about how amazing the food is and you get there with your appetite ready to engage in the goodness. You order something off the menu and as you nibble you think to yourself – hmmm well it’s just alright. I really don’t see what people are talking about? Maybe it’s just me. I’m here to tell you today -nope! It’s not just you…it’s everybody playing their role in creating this over-hyped culture that we live in. From restaurant choices to the latest movie release to vacation destinations, and yes even to relationships everything in this world is over-hyped for what it really is! When are we going to stop over-hyping everything? Industries are built on this concept of marketing something to be bigger, better, more exciting than it’s competing product. And we fall for it every- single- time. Now we know that as soon as we get that new product, if we are lucky, we will have a glimmer of enjoyment with it. That’s if it didn’t arrive in our hands either broken, damaged or incorrect. After we have that moment in time with the product it’s quickly a matter of time when that initial excitement wanes and we are on to the next one. On a search for the next best hyped thing.

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Photo by life is fantastic on Unsplash

As someone who has traveled extensively, I have seen this over-hyped sensation globally. I have structured travel plans around visiting certain world-renown landmarks and tourist attractions. Only to find out upon arrival what a let down and tourist trap it really was. While online research and reviews have helped refined my plans, it still has been a toss up as to whether or not that particular place lives up to its clout. I’ve often found places that were off the beat and path and lesser know to be of more value and enjoyment to those that have been venerated by most.

As I have just mentioned about using reviews to find your way can be helpful as they are (in theory) supposed to be designed to be the great equalizer to super-hypeness. Yet, as most of us have probably experienced – even searching through reams of reviews you still can’t trust in anything people say in those either. Whether it’s because someone is padding and fluffing up the written content because they are getting paid to do so or because a certain demographic (that may be opposite to your preferences) collectively esteems a place as such.

I honestly can count on one hand how many things I’ve heard hyped up and then when I went to see about it for myself actually lived up to the hype. I bet if you took a tally of all the things you heard were amazing that were not vs the things that were actually amazing the latter column would certainly pale in comparison to the former.

Switching gears here to one of the most overly hyped things in the world and that is being in a relationship with someone. Not a non-sexual friendship but one of romantic interest. In the words of Lexi Allen – I got two words for you – over hyped! I mean the amount of fantasy driven non-sense that is paraded by television and movies is just utterly ridiculous to me. I don’t know anyone who lives that way or does the outlandish things they hype up as “normal romantic love.” Relationships are NOT like that. Even culture’s push to “be in a relationship” to me is over-hyped. Yes I think there is a human need for interaction with people, but we’ve simply over-hyped relationships, marriage and having kids as this Disneyland experience. I know what some of you are thinking- I don’t even like Disney. I don’t like their parks, I can’t stand their movies, and I certainly can’t stand their fairy tales. Welp there you go- my point exactly! And to those who do- hand clap to you. No one’s taking your love for Disney away from you. Be free to spend your all your money, hopes and dreams there. It doesn’t make you more of a positive person than others who are just not feelin’ it.

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Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash
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Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

While we can certainly appreciate the wonderful little surprises in life that sneak up on us and cause a level of momentary enjoyment, I think it’s important to keep those moments at bay with a healthy level of perspective. Knowing that what excited you may not be excitable to others. Thus when someone asks you “how was it?” or “should I do it?” giving an honest answer couple with a disclaimer of “I liked it but you should see for yourself” is a great start to doing your part in dismantling the over-hyped culture that we live in. Let’s work together to not mislead others into uncharted territory without the tools for a balanced approach to their potential upcoming experience. It’s not being cynical – it’s just being real.

I really believe that everything is a let down and falls short of our dreams because the things in this life, including people, are not meant to be our ultimate fulfillment. Which is why things always fall short of expectation. While we can certainly experience temporary fulfillment in people and things, ultimately it is fleeting. Because we have an eternal destination….the temporal things in this life are not meant to be our lasting hope and source of fulfillment. Knowing this we can approach people and the things we engage with a healthy and balanced approached so as to not not seek from them any source of lasting satisfaction or life completion.

I Stopped Going to Church Because….

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Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

Fill in the blank: I stopped going to church because….. or I don’t go to church because…I’ll wait for it. Church (sigh) …yeah it can be a struggle box in many ways. But I’m not here to bash the church institution by any means. I grew up in the church building with church people. I’ve seen the highs and lows of what the church people and it’s organizing power can do. They can work wonders in facilitating a safe space for transformational spiritual growth. Consequently they can also do tremendous damage and wreak havoc in the lives of those who partake in the community. It really is a toss up. The church, which for all intents and purposes, we’ll define is a body of people whose goal is to assemble together in unity to worship God and love others. The gathering, which originally started in peoples homes during ancient biblical times, has evolved into people joining together at a neutral stand alone building where weekly organized (and some not so organized) services are held to facilitate this worshiping of God and fellowshipping with others. This stand alone building is unfortunately and confusingly often referred to as “church.” So we have a mixing of two elements being referred to as the same thing: the people and the building. Why is this relevant you say? Well, its important to delineate the two so as to understand it’s true function and purpose. Many of us do not refer to ourselves by the places we live in. We don’t refer to ourselves as “house” or “car”, yet we gather and occupy those spaces almost daily. So we must clarify what we are talking about when we say “church.” Are we referring to the people or the building? (Some of you out there I know are screaming – well both!) I can’t stand either one of them. I hate going to the building, seeing “those people” singing those boring songs for a long time and listening to that hollering person on stage. It’s just too much. And for what? I also don’t like how fake and hypocritical everyone is and how everyone is all up in my business. Yuck – no thanks!

Having been around the church body of believers for my entire life I will tell you I’ve just about seen and heard it all. Mmm well even as I say this, I still think to myself, well no maybe I haven’t, because as you know each day people never cease to amaze you with the things they come up with.

So, I can certainly relate to the struggle for people who find it difficult to participate with a local church congregation. For a season in my life, I was so jaded and fed up that even I stopped going because it had become so predictable, life-less and distasteful. I much rather have preferred to keep my faith in the little four corners of my space and ride out in the sunset with just me and the Lord. But as the years churned on my take on this isolated view of living out my faith begin to get challenged. I began to see the need for community and interconnectedness as a vital role and necessity in my life. I began to realize that while I disagree with the way a lot of church gatherings are organized and executed that I shouldn’t just lump them all together and give up on connecting with people who share the same faith. I also realized how much gathering with those people would sharpen and aid in my development and understanding of the faith. See as much as you think you don’t need people (in that way) you really do. We weren’t created to live isolated or independently. As much as we think “we’ve got it” we really don’t. As much as we think “we’re good” we’re not.

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Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

So despite my ongoing reservations with the organized gathering of the body of believers I still push myself to engage at some level of a local church body (in person that is) merely on the basis of engaging in community with as close to “like-minded” individuals as possible. I say as close to because, rarely will two people 100% completely agree on the theology and practice of their faith. That’s just a fact. You can get close and have a lot of agreements on things, but there will also be some underlying disagreements about some area of the faith. I think this has to be the first thing that people need to recognize about the church body of believers. The doctrine has never been agreed upon nor practiced in a monolithic way. You will never find the perfect group of church gatherers because there is not one. And if you are looking to them to display the faith perfectly and without contradiction you will sadly search on until the ends of eternity miss.

So choosing to isolate yourself from the community of believers because you don’t feel they are living up to your standard of rightness is not only self-righteously arrogant but it also lacks immensely in biblical revelation, knowledge and understanding of who we are as people, who God is and the relationship between the two. You cannot look to the people to determine your level of faithfulness. You have to separate the messengers from the message. Because the only true and perfect Message and Messenger is Jesus. Which is who the faith of Christianity seeks to exalt and follow after. Since none of us have reached this spiritual pinnacle it is safe to say that our churches will continue to be a struggle box until the fulfillment of time.

Again, I’m not here to condemn the church body for it’s lackluster failings nor am I here to condemn anyone whose listening who: either doesn’t go to church, stopped going to church, goes to church online, or attends church in person but has an attitude with the people that go there. Yep church woes come in all shapes in sizes. What I’m saying is a word of encouragement to continue to give people a bit more grace and understand the purpose of the gathering and the need for community (at some form or fashion). This subject matter is so complex, that I’m merely scratching the surface for the sake of being an encouragement to people who’ve never thought of the things I’ve mentioned. Hopefully to some degree it has helped you get the conversation started.

We don’t like the music or it’s too cold or the service is too long or it’s not long enough. The preacher is getting paid too much or the seats are uncomfortable.

What is it to Know Someone?

I know you better than yourself.

I thought I knew them.

I know myself.

I’m sure you’ve heard either of these sentences or a rendition of them uttered at some point in your life. So what is it to know someone? Can anyone person truly 100% know a person? Know themselves?

The other day I got into a debate with a family member, who was adamant that a person can 100% know themselves in their entirety. They stated, while people may not fully acknowledge it to themselves and others who they are, they still 100% know everything about themselves. I countered this viewpoint and stated that I did not think that it was possible for any human being to come to a 100% full knowledge of themselves. I believe taking the former view (of my family member) takes the mystery of self-discovery out of the picture. I don’t believe that any one human being from the dawn of time has ever fully known themselves, nor will any human being until the end of time ever 100% know themselves. Will most come close. Yes. But will any reach a complete knowing. No.

Why do I believe this?

Well, to know something means to understand clearly, to be aware of and have clear information or fact/truth. Based off of this definition alone, it is impossible to fully know anything or anyone. The key word here is fully. Yes, there can and will be levels of knowing or knowledge. You can certainly be aware of many things in your life and about people, but to fully know all there is to know about yourself and people, I believe, takes a lifetime and beyond.

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Photo credit: Dictionary.com Image

Knowing this, pun intended, why do we get so hung up on when we thought we knew something or someone only to find out later how little or unaware we really were? Can we truly put our hope and trust in our current knowledge of self and others? If so, how then can we allow the evolving nature of life to breathe it’s way into our knowledge sphere to expand our current repertoire? I think it goes back to the formula. By operating in a manner that practices humility to say that I don’t know it all is a great start.

What do you think?

I Can’t Afford Almond Butter ….or Living in America for That Matter

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

9.78, 11.53, 10.99 no those aren’t the winning Powerball numbers but the cost of three of the top brands of almond butter. Eleven dollars and fifty three cents?! Yes, sadly this is what we’ve come to where a 24 ounce plastic jar of ground up almonds and salt cost most Americans 30-60 minutes of day labor. This is, of course, a huge leap of assumptions that bank on most Americans making anywhere between $9-$25/hour. Thus the hit to the wallet for a taste at almond bliss comes at a huge price tag. A price tag, that many are not willing to take. Including me. I just cannot justify buying a $10 jar of almond butter no matter what the advocates say. This along with other products such as raw honey, cashews, and sometimes the price of avocados I find myself skipping right over because the price tag is just too steep. Food prices are just one drop in the bucket of a larger issue as it pertains to the cost of living steadily increasing each year. With wage earnings stagnating (unless you are in a technology or medical arena) it has become increasingly difficult to keep pace with the suffocating prices of American society.

Ironically, when I’ve traveled or spoken to various individuals from all over the globe, the resounding conclusion still arises across the board: “I would love to live in America!” Every time I hear this from people who do not live in America when I travel I think to myself “why??….if they only knew!”

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Photo by Josh Johnson on Unsplash

While America has it’s pros…the cons are becoming insurmountably prevalent. One such copious detractor is the overall cost of living. Make no mistake it will cost you a lot to live in the United States of America. Period. If it’s not food prices it’s certainly housing costs. In most metropolis cities across the nation housing figures are, to put it lightly, increasing like an elephant on quicksand. Heavy and fast. This is not to say that other countries are not experiencing a similar narrative, but out of the 195 countries in the world there are several who do in fact have a different status. So for those who cannot escape America and relocate to these foreign territories as an expat finding ways to work within the current climate has been the key.

My strategic plan to do just that has originated over the past year which has re-shifted my approach to living here. Ultimately, the plan consisted of me living and being more intentional about my overall financial state. Whether that be moving in with family or sticking to a food budget my quest to “survive” these rising costs have surprisingly been met with resiliency; even through two firings this year. I’ve been able to avoid getting wiped out completely due to the financial intentionality that I had begun living months prior. I also started the quest of looking for alternative but viable housing solutions. While I am still on the arduous cycle of saving, budgeting, living….saving, budgeting, living I can say that the beginning stages are looking promising despite all the obstacles ahead. I hope that you can be encouraged today to begin putting at least one thing in place to help change the way things are going for you if you are not in the “place in life” that you ultimately desire to be. Of course, not many of us will ever “get there” but we can at the very least get just a little bit closer.