Are You Safe?

You probably have a job.  Jobs are good, at least many of them are.  If you have a job, you get paid to come to the office or job site, spend your hours working on tasks, and at 5:00 you get to go home.  If you’re really blessed, you get to work with people you like and do tasks that are interesting and challenging.  Your job is a blessing, even if it doesn’t feel like a blessing at times, as it brings income into your household.  But for many, and perhaps for you, the one source of income creates a dangerous and precarious position.

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It Wouldn’t Happen to Me

How many people have to decide they don’t like you in order for you to lose your job?  Even worse than that, how many people have to decide that your department is overstaffed, and you are the most logical person to eliminate?  Unfortunately, in most cases, as few one may decide to give you your pink slip.

Companies who lay people off aren’t bad or evil—in fact, if they refuse to take such measures they run the risk of running the business out of business and causing all the employees to lose their jobs.  The answer to the tough reality of being an employee is not to get mad at companies.  Instead, why not protect yourself by diversifying?

Employee, Self-Employed

Working as an employee is only one of several major ways to create income.  It has the advantages of typically stable income (your paycheck is the same each week) and fringe benefits like insurance.  Disadvantages can include a cap on your income and a disconnect between productivity and compensation.  Some people create income through being self-employed.  They are still an employee, trading their time for money, but they have the added benefit of a larger income potential, as the money they earn is theirs, and the more productive they are, the more they make!  This can be a good option, but is tough to pursue without making a big change, quitting your job, and giving it a go.

Using Money to Make Money

Since our purpose is to diversify income, we’ll focus on the following two ways of creating passive income:  investments and business systems.  First, investiments.  You’re probably familiar with things like stocks, bonds, and real estate.  These assets are a great way to diversify your income, because instead of having to trade more time to get more money, as you do with a job or a self-employed opportunity, you use money to create money.  As you save and invest, your portfolio grows and grows, so that each year a larger and larger percentage of your total income is capital appreciation.  This is a great way to protect yourself from having your entire financial life being in the hands of one person.  You could still be laid off from your job, but now you lose only a percentage of your income, rather that the whole thing.

Creating a Business System

Another great way to create income is to build a business system.  You may not think you know about this concept, but if you’ve eaten at McDonalds you actually do!  The history of McDonalds, as the history of any fast food chain, began with one man’s good idea.  Ray Crock opened a hamburger stand, serving burgers and fries for 10 hours a day.  He figured out how to run the business well and made some money.  He wanted to make more, but didn’t want to stay open longer.  So, he created a business system.  He showed a friend how to open a burger stand just like his on the opposite side of town.  Then he did it again with another friend. And another, and another.  After a while, the new stands spawned more locations, and the franchise began to multiply.  Each new person who wants to own a McDonalds location is trained in the right way to run the place, and the system grows and grows.  Everyone wins here, from Ray Crock, to each business owner, down to each and every customer.

So What?

So how does this knowledge help you?  Is it only relevant if you want to open and run a McDonalds?  No—you can use this same model to diversify your income and lower your dependence on your employee income.  At TotalThriver.com, we not only help people thrive in the areas of fitness, finances, and faith, but we also show budding entrepreneurs how to start a business of their own.  Like other franchises, we have a proven system for getting a new person profitable in a business moving high-quality products that people in your network use every day.  Sound like something you’d like to check out?  Send a message to our Facebook group (ThriveMart) and get some info diversifying your income today.  Your tomorrow can be better than today; are you willing to put in the work to make the dream a reality?

Respond or react?

What do you do when you negative things come your way?  When a friend disagrees with you and puts you down, do you lash out?  When your brother cancels your poker game at the last minute for the third time in a row, do you yell at him for being so irresponsible and unreliable?  What about when a coworker belittles your ideas and makes you feel small?  Do you react by gossiping about her behind her back?

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Your Choice

When people are unkind to us, we have two choices.  We can respond or we can react.  Reacting means doing what we naturally feel and allowing our emotions to choose our words.  In contrast, when we choose to respond to a negative situation, we use our mind and heart to overrule our emotions.

Is It Even About Me?

Often, when we are wronged, we incorrectly take the negative actions of another personally.  People are sometimes rude and inconsiderate, but many times this has nothing to do with you.  First off, if they are habitually rude, that has everything to do with them, and little to do with you.  In other instances, a person may not be habitually negative, but something negative has just happened in their life and they let their disappointment get the best of them.  In a few instances people are truly mean to you because they want to be.  But even in these cases, the right road is to respond, not react.

Forgive First

Each one of us has shortcomings, and as such we are bound to rub each other the wrong way.  When someone hurts you, can get mad and let your feelings boil over into harsh words against the wrongdoer.  Or you can choose to forgive them.  You can forgive, assuming they meant no offense; you can forgive assuming they let their emotions get the best of them, and you can even forgive in cases where it’s clear they were intentionally malicious.  You need not wait for their apology—forgive anyway.  If an apology comes, great!  If not, no big deal.

Create an Opportunity

If you will make the choice to live this way, and act with your will, mind, and heart rather than your emotions, your reward will be peace unknown to the masses who fail to respond and allow themselves to react.  Not only that, but those around you will notice your unusual behavior. They may even ask you why  you live so differently.  Can you think of a better opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Who’s your Neighbor?

Do you consider yourself to be a friendly person?  Would the people who see you, whether at work, as you leave your house, or at the supermarket, speak of how you sought them out in friendship and treated them great?  Do you routinely smile and greet those you pass on the street or in the hall, or is your daily focus primarily on yourself?

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Two Ignore, One Helps

Jesus was once asked by religious leaders who he considered to be his neighbor.  He responded with a familiar parable, the story of the Good Samaritan.  In this parable, we learn of a man who is beaten and robbed.  A few of his countrymen see his helpless condition, yet pass by on the other side of the road.  In contrast, a Samaritan, who is naturally an enemy to the Jewish victim, yet seeks him out, takes him to a doctor, and even covers the expenses for the man’s care.

We often hear this parable as a nice story, meant simply to induce us to be kind.  But remember back to what question Jesus was actually responding to when He told this story.  He was asked who his neighbor was.  Understanding this context gives a deeper meaning to the story than the simple truth that we are to be kind.

Look for Needs

The people of Jesus’ day, much like most people in our day, tended to happily exist in their own small sphere of influence, engaging with people who were like them and who they were familiar with.  Through this parable, Jesus shows clearly that we are to intentionally seek out others, others who may not be very much like us, in order to meet their needs.

The Greatest Need

What is the greatest need which many of our neighbors have?  For any who do not know Christ personally, who have not been washed and cleansed through faith in Christ, their greatest need is salvation of their soul.  Without atonement, mankind is separated from God’s good presence, and any who perish without Jesus will face eternity without Him.  The need for salvation is so widespread, little recognized, and of utmost importance that, if we are looking, we will see it everywhere.

This is the condition of many people we see and walk by each day.  The strangers who we’re ignoring are desperately in need of the truth, the truth that we know.  But someone needs to tell them.  Not only that, but most people aren’t particularly receptive to ideas unfamiliar to them being expressed by strangers.  So what can we do?  We share the gospel with them as a friend.

Be a Friend

Friendship doesn’t come instantaneously, but it can be cultivated in a relatively short period of time.  Start simply by adopting the habit of greeting and smiling at the people who cross your path each day.  You’ll quickly find that a great many people are eager to engage with you, particularly if you’ll ask them open-ended questions about themselves.

As you cultivate friendships with your neighbors, be listening for what they value.  Do they desire wisdom? Or perhaps peace and something solid to rely on?  Or maybe they’re contemplating what happens after death because of a recent loss in their family.  Remember that when you have Jesus, you have the truth and the life that our world desperately needs.  Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, share the truth, and let Jesus call out to the people in your life using you as His mouthpiece.  To God be the glory!

The Well-Kept Secret

Those who are financially free are those who know, and have applied, something that the rest of us don’t.  In fact, not only wealthy people, but every person who has success in any area of life has learned and applied a secret principle.  Although these people are not shy about sharing their secret formula with others, the principle remains elusive for most people.  And of those who know this principle which guarantees success, a great many people refuse to employ it to affect the result they desire.

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The Action Component

It’s been said that knowledge is power.  This is almost correct:  applied knowledge is power.  The difference between knowledge and applied knowledge is this well-kept secret known by all who possess success–be it financial, physical, or in any other realm.  You must know what you want.  You must know what actions are required to obtain what you want.  But with these two pieces only you cannot succeed.  You need the third piece: consistent daily action.

Discover Your Dream

Imagine your dream life.  If you could have anything, anything at all, what would it be?  Whatever it is, let’s represent it as a large tree.  You have an axe and must chop down this large tree.  Each swing of your axe gets you a little closer to your goal.  Find a mentor who has a life closer to your dream life than you do.  Ask him what actions he took to achieve the level of success he has attained.  These actions are your axe swings.

Five a Day, Every Day

Now for the application of the secret principle:  Take these actions; every day.  Not some days, not for a short period, but every day.  Here’s what I know:  if you swing your axe five times per day, every day, every day, every day, eventually the tree will fall.  No matter how big the tree, no matter how great or terrible you are at swinging, the tree will fall.  You must know what you want, you must know the right activities, but many people who have these things right still do not succeed.  Too often, we give up to early, or fail to take daily consistent action.

Persist Until Victorious

Do not let failure beat you in this way.  Discover your dreams, find what your axe swings are.  Then commit to doing them every day without fail for the next 2, 5, 10 or how ever many years are required to get there.  Success is never comfortable or easy; it is, however, worth it!