Notoriously Problematic (Income)

Money is money is money is money. Everything likes to think that if they had more money all of their problems would be solved. And maybe there is some truth in that statement. But have you ever heard the old adage by the poet The Notorious B.I.G.

Mo money, mo problems.

I’m not going to point out all the obvious analogies being made in the song, I instead want to focus on a specific one, which is that as you gain more money you indeed do solve the current problems you have, but you trade up for new ones, and the risk of those problems is sometimes greater than the reward.

Which means, is it really within your means to aim for more means?

Income The Problems

I may have already written about this once or twice before, but there are a myriad of factors to consider in the OECD Better Life Index. You know what I am referring to dear readers? Where you rank housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. Those are all pieces of the puzzle, and as I’ve mentioned previously, they vary by importance from country to country in how we measure well-being.

Inspired by this concept and following the footsteps of a post I wrote up on the website Postconsumers and how they view health and wellness, I realized there is a great way to address these factors. Writing dedicated posts to each topic. And today I want you to consider the second of these points, your income. This is a difficult topic to write about because, generally speaking, we are very protective of sharing what we make with others, and for good reason.

When we reveal our incomes certain things can happen. You associate your identity with your income for starters, and depending if you make more or less than others it can swing you upwards into arrogance or downwards into submission or depression. People will target you as a source of wealth and liquidity, which means you might get gamed by strangers or expected by friends, not to top judgment on how you spend your money. And it also puts you into the spotlight with business and agencies.

And if you have to share you income be prepared. If you make within a certain median grade for your job description, it’s less likely for you to be targeted when the situation calls for a share and care session.

Incoming

It is important to figure out what a health income is for you, you don’t want to make money just so you can now spend it on things that you don’t really need. That’s counter to the purpose of the wisdom being imparted. However, I do disagree with the notion that you should settle for a certain income just because you don’t know how to get to it.

But maybe that’s not the issue here, you could just not see the value of additional income. Consider this theory for a minute.

If you spend more than you earn, you have negative money, correct? Conversely, if you spend less than you earn, you have a positive flow of cash into your personal finances. Which means you can pay off debts if you have them OR if that is not the case you can begin to invest into retirement or other personal goals you have. As a for instance, you could buy a car outright and avoid the financing costs OR get a brand new iMac upfront with no credit card fees.

Being frugal allows you to move towards wealth, which can make you independent and allow you to focus on your positive contributions in the world. Say by travelling to areas of the world, making art, performing in theatre or going on a comedy tour.

I’m not going to dive deep into how exactly you increase your income, a lot of the time it’s a result of limiting spending and investing money, but here are some key examples that you can look into, and an article that details it better than I could do in this post space.

 

  1. Max out your salary – negotiation, raises, and planning are key, maybe a second job
  2. Get an education – stats prove those with better education earn more
  3. Monetize your hobbies – mystery shopping, photography, and baking for starters
  4. Start a side business – you choose the commitment level, and can earn much or little, blogging too
  5. Real estate – it’s complex but you can be an investor, landlord or combination thereof
  6. Selling old things – it’s not a one-to-one return, but old items get new use, and you get some money

Again, I’m not rolling in the dough by any means dear readers, but I’ll let you in on a secret, I have done or am currently doing all of the six things I’ve listed out for you. You can live the lifestyle you want, you just have to commit to it and like the author of this GetRichSlowly article I referenced says, if you are willing to make some sacrifices, you can make more money than you do now. But hey, that’s just a theory.

Tim!

Death From A Thousand Papercuts (Self-help Books)

Self-help guides are everywhere. You cannot move within 30 links on the internet without hitting one. On top of that, there are over 240,000 self-help books available for purchase on Amazon. And I’m sure that many of them are fantastic, well-reviewed and considered best sellers.

But the thing is, none of these books are really essential reading. Almost all of them have the same ideas to express to you. You can summarize most of these ideas pretty easily and rather quickly if I’m going to be frank with you, dear readers. I read this great article a couple of years back and decided to summarize it’s summary of this idea for you. So which is greater the summary of self-help books or the summary of the summary of self-help books?

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I guess you’ll find out pretty quick won’t you?

12 Lessons From Self-help Books

No martter what the topic, there are commonalities for all tips of self-help and this list of 12 points should do the trick in laying it all out for you, the ever efficient consumer of information.

  1. You are in control of your emotions and can change how you feel. No one else can do it for you.
  2. Mirror successful people. If you follow the habits of the leader, you will adopt them and transcend your current lifestyle.
  3. The law of attraction is real. You bring into your life what you spend your time thinking about. So think on good things OR use affirmations to get you there
  4. Be present and avoid thinking about the past or future. With presence you stop worry and avoid anxiety.
  5. Leave your comfort zone. You need to evolve and grow through discomfort.
  6. Procrastination is bad – Have goals and to-do lists, work on what matters to get what you want.
  7. Accountability for your actions. Own the things you can influence and work to enforce them when good OR change them when bad.
  8. Value your unique qualities. Never compare yourself to others, instead compare your past self to who you are now.
  9. Treat yourself. Have fun, enjoy things you care about. Life experience is important.
  10. Have gratitude. Life is full of problems, but you turn them into opportunities.
  11. Positive self-talk. I can do this. Tell yourself that every time you have doubt.
  12. Visualize what you want. Visualization is a commonly recommended technique with positive self-talk. It is becoming increasingly popular in therapy as psychologists use imagery to not only work through problems, but change behavior. The basic aim is to see in your mind what you want. Advanced visualization incorporates sight with taste, smell, touch, and sound of having achieved your goal.

Should You Read Self-help Books?

With all of that said, you’re probably wondering if you should even read self-help books now. Well friends, I’ll be the first to admit that as I get older, my memory doesn’t seem to be improving, and in some cases, like for instance if I don’t get enough sleep, I definitely don’t remember things that I should.

So you know what they say right? Well no, no you don’t.

Seriously? I just made that point above and you’ve already forgotten it?

The point is this, motivation is temporary but discipline helps us with ingraining new ideas into our being, if you follow a pattern for more then 30 days it begins to take root and turn into a habit, but 90 days its your primary mode of function.

Even once you know the summary of all of these great books, it doesn’t mean you have the practice down to a science. And let’s be honest, the reason why the knowledge is so frequently referenced is because it is pretty useful for anyone really. After all, just because you read a summary, it doesn’t mean you had a moment of enlightenment, sitting with an idea helps in that process. But that’s just a theory.

 

Tim!

 

 

That Old Familiar Feeling (Art School)

There was a time not too long ago when September would roll around and my thoughts turned towards school and a year full of promise.

Ever the optimist, but a little slow on the realism, somehow every school year start felt like it was going to be the year that would make my life all the better and thrust my person into a new and more adventurous lifestyle. In this fantasy world everyone of my pursuits went right and all of my experiences were opportunities realized.

I never got to that place at any point, dear readers. It was a child’s dream.

Not during elementary school, not during junior high school, not during high school, and also not during post-secondary.

The closest I ever felt to that point of arrival was in post-secondary, but I think it was mostly due to limited contact with the general public and maximum contact with substance abuse AKA critical thinking and alcohol. I blame that line of thinking on my lack of experience at the time and my stubbornness in not seeing things as they were, but rather as I wanted them to be. You see, I spent a lot of effort thinking about things, and considerably less time trying things.

I should clarify myself here.

I had a great many experiences that were very positive, some that were less positive but which yielded good lessons, but ultimately I did not push myself nearly as hard as I could have in order to become a functioning member of society as quickly as I should have. I realized this in my third year of university and made great efforts to land volunteer work that I could use to get myself a “day job”  after I was finished. But what about friendships, industry contacts, and meeting someone who I could be in a fantastic relationship with.

You see friends, life is a series of events that should be viewed at much like school, we all need to learn lessons, but some lessons come easier than others. And so you need to look inward to determine what skills you are lacking in.

Whether it’s home and personal care, life-management/organization, education, professionalism, transportation, and finally conscientiousness which is the area I admittedly still need to spend some time on.

With that said – let’s agree that September should always be a time for self-reflection, and for that reason alone I feel that it should replace New Years Eve as a time of making resolutions.

As creative professionals, we should resolve to work on ourselves always, because creativity is needed in this world and no one teaches you how to nurture that quality, but I definitely have some theories about how to do so.

Tim!

Contest, Context, Concept (Fairness In Art)

My parents tried their very hardest to impart ideas of fairness in us from a young age. “Share with your brothers and sister”, “make sure that everyone gets a taste of that pizza”, “you all need to do your part to keep the house clean”, “don’t forget that it’s your turn to do the dishes”, and so it went, on and on.

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Every family deals with these challenges.

But I more time I spent with fairness and other moralizations as I grew into adulthood, the more I struggled with that notion of fairness, because each of the four of us had unique interests, talents, and levels of influence within the family hierarchy.

Fairness is supposed to represent a way of making value judgments that are impartial, and many well defined roles and responsibilities are given their own value sets to help establish fairness, in particular for activities and institutions which revolve around instruction.

For example, I often think of teachers and their responsibility to uphold an objective. Yes, anyone can take on a teaching role, but professional teachers are the group I’m going to focus on.

Back to the objective of teachers.

The objective of teachers is to educate students in skills and knowledge. Where it falls down for me though is through the method of instruction employed (pedagogy) by many teachers – that they know best because they’ve been trained to know the best. Pedagogy assumes that there is an ideal way to learn and an ideal way to teach, and thus the practice concerns itself primarily with how best to teach. Professional teachers are trained in pedagogy. Now, let’s put a pin in that idea for a second.

When we come out of post-secondary education, no matter our specialization, many students with a bachelors, masters or doctorate, assume an expertise in that particular field.

And we each gain a sense of fairness particular to that subset of knowledge, but going back to the family example from earlier, the problem is that if you have four children who all grew into unique roles, for example a BFA Art & Design, a BSc Psychology, a BFA Drama and BE Drama and Chemistry, and lastly a BSc Physics and BE Physics and Drama, each family member has refined their “fairness” through a different learnt pedagogy.

So almost all university graduates walk away with a sense of rightness or righteousness, depending on how you look at it. Then some time passes, and hopefully that code eases off somewhat, because another skill that post-secondary education is supposed to teach you is to continue to pursue education throughout your life.

Which leads me to my theory for the day.

I don’t think that fairness exists in life. Shock. Gasp. Awe.

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From a young age we are told to do our best and worry about ourselves, but that still stimulates us to try harder, and in a family setting, it can simultaneously instill a sense of competition amongst siblings.

Which is actually a good thing. Because life is competition.

We compete for grades, jobs, sexual partners, games (sport, video, tabletop), and status. But that ideation of fairness is just part of the conscious desire to simplify the world around us. Which lets us determine what is right and wrong, and gain a sense of control over the world.

But the world functions purely on those levels of success, so whatever morality we put into art making, education, business, and any other aspect of life is purely personal. When we stop to reflect on the problem at hand and look at the scale, it comes down exactly that.

Individually we might love something or someone, but that doesn’t mean that song is a popular song or that person should love us back. Decision-making is not resigned to one person or one subset of people, but to the broader picture of humanity.

So stop considering what you internally feel is correct or worthy, and consider what you have done for your community or the people around you and that will help guide the art you create.

It’s about impact.

The greater the impact, the more people who want to reward the efforts of the person who created that ripple. If you can move a stadium of people with your music, or entertain a crowded street with your improvised unicycle and ball juggling act, or even divide a whole city with your graffiti that addresses the automation of industry and complacency associated with it, you’re going to get recognition.

If you share your song with one person, one person cares, but if you shared it with influencers on YouTube, then you are all of a sudden an instant success.

Someone once said that life is unfair, but that’s not really true. Life is very fair, but we try and assume authority over fairness and change it. Fairness is competition, realized by what we are able to accomplish in our community.

Going back to the point I made earlier about families and fairness, I think families should work to achieve the workload, but we should cut that word right out of instruction, children need to learn their strengths and contribute to society in a way that they are best capable, and educators need to facilitate this via models of instruction, with tempered positions of authority.

But that’s just a theory.

Tim!

 

We Don’t Need No Education (Paige Knickle interview, Education)

Friends, fans, family, and followers that last bit of heavy weight on my shoulders has finally been lifted! I’m older, wiser, and mored learned as a result. That’s right, the very last of my delayed interviews has been completed and is now the topic of the day!

Going forward we are going to see an interview a month, and they will all be super current and fresh.

It’s still kind of hard for me to believe I finished this video because this interview looks and sounds amazing. What a great opportunity to learn how to use some new audio equipment, and I haven’t even addressed the content of the interview just yet.

Let’s get to it.

With episode 7 of timotheories interviews, I had an opportunity to interview a friend I made last year when I was taking improv classes, and she is an incredible ball of energy, excitement, joy, or whatever the word you want to use for pure happiness.

In all the time I’ve known her, I’ve been fortunate to learn something every time we’ve interacted. And I just had to interview her and her pursuits so I could show you a perfect example of a lifelong leaner, someone who has her fingers in all the pies, but is also accomplishing goals in autonomy; and in whatever fields she focuses in on. Simultaneously.

Paige Knickle is an artist of many talents – web design, sound production, vocalist, improv actor. And she also happens to be someone who blends both the sciences and arts together rather well.

 

This one promises to be sweet treat for your ears, that just can’t be beat. I’m using a Zoom H2Next portable recorder which Paige lent me for the interview, and which I loved so much that I bought one for myself!

What a learning curve it was though, but it just makes sense in relation to the experience I had talking with Paige. She is self-taught web designer, with a BA in Psychology, and a vocalist, who co-owns Copper Cabbage recording studio with her partner, does some improv on the side, and is already pursuing a second degree in Music. Paige’s ideas about education, school, and learning are incredibly on point, and it’s hard not share her passion.

But you should take a look for yourself, because I’m not doing you anymore justice writing about this interview, when you can experience it below.

And as always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please leave some comments and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out Paige’s website and use her creative services.

And of course my sincerest thanks to Paige for being playful, passionate, and philosophical. See you tomorrow with a music review.

Tim!