Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don’t Kill Your Goose This Christmas

“A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough and imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decide to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth” (Dwight Edwards Marvin, The Antiquity of Proverbs, (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1922) p. 188).

Some continue to make the mistake of killing their goose by spending tomorrow’s resources for today’s pleasures. Some spend beyond their income during Christmas putting their purchases on credit cards. A $1,000 Christmas shopping spree—with a credit card that charges 18 percent interest and requires a minimum payment of interest plus 1 percent of the balance—will take 13 years to pay off. With interest, the $1,000 shopping spree will cost $2,129. Those who understand interest earn it and those who don’t pay it.

Lottery winners are also a great example of killing the gold-egg-laying goose. William “Bud” Post won $16 million in the Pennsylvania lottery. Among his purchases were a mansion, a twin–engine plane, five cars and trucks, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two 62-inch Sony televisions, a luxury camper, and a $260,000 sailboat. As a result of his spending, he eventually declared bankruptcy and lost everything. Mr. Post now lives on food stamps and a Social Security check of $450 a month (Patricia Sullivan, “William ‘Bud’ Post III; Unhappy Lottery Winner,” Washington Post, January 20, 2006, page B08). Mr. Post had a $16 million-dollar goose that could have produced an abundance of gold eggs. Had he simply put the $16 million into a CD and lived on the 6 percent interest it produced, he would have received a golden egg of $80,000 every month forever without ever touching the $16 million. Instead, he wanted the riches all at once and spent his gold-egg-laying goose, which resulted in a life of poverty.

Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 at the age of 84. As part of his will, he gave 1,000 pounds (approximately $4,400) to the city Boston and another 1,000 pounds to the city of Philadelphia. To prevent the cities from killing the gold-egg-laying-goose by spending the money, Franklin required that the money be placed in a trust fund and then invested and used to provide loans to “married tradesman under the age of 26” to get them started in business. During the two hundred years of the trust, money was loaned to hundreds of individuals. The trust fund in Philadelphia grew to $2.25 million, and the trust fund in Boston grew to $5 million (Clark DeLeon, “Divvying up Ben: Let’s Try for 200 More,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 1993, page B02). They received very modest average annual returns of 3.1 percent and 3.5 percent respectively. A slightly higher average rate of return of 0.4 percent yielded the city of Boston $2.75 million more than the city of Philadelphia. If the cities had received 7 percent average annual returns, after 200 years the funds would have each been worth $5 billion. Benjamin Franklin understood the value of creating a gold-egg-laying goose and the power of compounding interest. Hopefully, the trusts will continue for another 200 years. If the city of Boston now simply puts the $5 million in a savings bond at 5 percent interest, they would receive interest payments of $250,000 a year—$50 million over the next 200 years.

To become financially independent, you need passive income to exceed your monthly expenses. The prosperous work to create a gold-egg-laying goose (assets with passive income) and then live on the eggs. The average American makes $1.8 million during a 40-year working career; however most never create a gold-egg-laying goose. Like many of the lottery winners, they spend all of their $1.8 million and often even more on credit to buy homes, cars, boats, etc. They spend their golden goose to death and thus never receive the many gold-eggs that could have been theirs if they had live below their income, saved, and invested.

Those who have reached the ranks of financial independence have learned “that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on” (Benjamin Franklin, Essays and Letters, Volume 1, (New York: R. & W.A. Barton & Co., 1821) p. 91). The financial independence have learned to buy assets (things that create money) while most focus on buying liabilities (things that cost money).

About Cameron C. Taylor
Cameron is the author of several books including Does Your Bag Have Holes? 24 Truths That Lead to Financial and Spiritual Freedom, 8 Attributes of Great Achievers, and Twelve Paradoxes of the Gospel. Learn more at his website

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Winning is Done

Some of my favorite movies are those in the Rocky series. When I get discouraged or have a major setback, I will put in one of the Rocky movies to get a boost of energy and drive to keep pressing on toward my goals. I recently re-watched the last movie in the series which was released in 2006 titled Rocky Balboa. Below is a quote from the movie that struck me:

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

In October 2009 a 70-year-old church leader declared in a sermon, “We . . . understand that families have had to tighten their belts and are concerned about enduring these challenging times. . . I have seen enough ups and downs through my life to know that winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of a new spring. I am optimistic about the future.”

The economy has been very challenging over the past few years. I started a company in the spring of 2008 similar to a business I began in the spring of 2001 and sold in 2006. My first marketing efforts in 2001 and 2002 produced over $1 million in revenue and we grew to over $1 million a month by 2006. The company I started in 2008 has been much more challenging and revenues are 65% less from similar efforts. While the bottom line profit has been dismal in the short term, I believe that in the long term, the challenging economic environment we have faced the first two years of business has made us a much stronger and better run company. The challenging economic environment has forced us to improve and perfect our marketing and operational systems to be able to survive. As the economy improves, we will emerge with the systems and relationships in place to thrive in the coming spring and summer economy which will follow the long winter.

Life is filled with ups and downs and the economy has a repeating history of up and down cycles. Life is like a cardiograph of a healthy heart which produces a repeating pattern of ups and downs. Dealing with the ups and downs of life is challenging and hard but it is essential and normal. Like a healthy heart beat, if you are alive, you will experience many ups and downs. It is only a heart or life that has stopped that produces a straight line on the cardiograph.

When you face challenges, trials, and obstacles remember that it is from challenges that we learn and grow. The Bible declares, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2, New International Version) “Pain is inevitable, misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain in our lives, but we do have control over how we respond to that pain.” (Hyrum W. Smith, Pain Is Inevitable, Misery Is Optional (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 8) Courage is developing the ability to respond, endure, and, in some cases, overcome the pain, suffering, and hardships life can bring. It is not the ability to eliminate our fears but to act despite our fears. “Don’t let the sensation of fear convince you that you’re too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.” (John McCain, Why Courage Matters (New York: Random House, 2004), 206)

We are not left to deal with the challenges of life alone. We can call upon God, and He will assist us. The goal is not to eliminate challenges and pain from life but to properly respond to the challenges. The Bible declares, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (2 Chronicles 32:7, New International Version) The beautiful light of morning always follows the darkness of night.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coach John Wooden – The Power of Fundamentals

“Build your empire on the firm foundation of the fundamentals.” -Lou Holtz

John Wooden was born in the small town of Hall, Indiana in 1910. Just before his 22nd birthday he began his basketball coaching career at Dayton High School in Kentucky. They finished 6-11 on the year. This was Coach Wooden’s only season in which his team had a losing record. After two years at Dayton, he returned to Indiana where he took a job at South Bend Central High School as an English teacher and coach of the basketball, baseball, and tennis teams. Coach left South Bend Central after 9 years to serves as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II. During his 11 years coaching High School basketball, coach had an impressive 218-42 record. Following the war in 1946, Coach took a job at Indiana State University as the athletic director as well as the basketball and baseball coach. Under coach Wooden, Indiana State won conference championships in 1946 and 1947 and finished as runner up in the 1947 NAIA tournament.

Shortly after the NAIA tournament, Wooden received a number of coaching offers at larger schools. One of the offers came from UCLA. Coach wrote, “Immediately after accepting the position, I arranged to take a week off from Indiana State to go to Los Angeles to conduct spring basketball practice which was then permitted. On my previous visit I had been all over the campus, visited various administrators and officials, but had not met a one of the basketball players. When I went up on the floor for the first time in the spring of 1948 and put them through that first practice, I was very disappointed. I felt my Indiana State team could have named the score against them. I was shattered. Had I known how to abort the agreement in an honorable manner, I would have done so. . . However, that would be contrary to my creed. I don’t believe in quitting, so I resolved to work hard [and] try to develop the talent on hand. . . After the close of school at Indian State, I moved my family to Los Angeles, realizing that I had a tremendous job ahead to turn things around. By the time regular practice started, the press had already tabbed us to finish last in the old Pacific Coast Conference. The year before UCLA won 12 and lost 13, and as far as I could determine the three best players . . . were gone. It was like starting from scratch. Almost all of the early practice sessions were devoted to fundamentals, drills, conditioning, and trying to put my philosophy over. Within a few weeks things didn’t look quite as dark. . . We turned things around . . . and won the Southern Division title with a 10 and 2 record. In all, we won 22 and lost 7 for the full season—the most wins any UCLA team had ever compiled in history.”1

This was the beginning of many accomplishments at UCLA for Coach Wooden; however, it took time to develop a national championship team. John Wooden wrote, “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly more people would do it.”2 After Coach Wooden’s arrival at UCLA, it was 16 years before they won their first national championship. Over the final 12 years of Wooden’s coaching career, UCLA won 10 national championships. So what was Coach Wooden’s secret to success. Coach taught, “Little things done well is probably the greatest secret to success. . . If you do enough small things right, big things can happen.”3

Coach Wooden focused on teaching and practicing the fundamentals. He wrote, “I believe in the basics: attention to, and perfection of, tiny details that might commonly be overlooked. They may seem trivial, perhaps even laughable to those who don’t understand, but they aren’t. They are fundamental to your progress in basketball, business and life. They are the difference between champions and near-champions. . . There are little details in everything you do, and if you get away from any one of the little details, you’re not teaching the things as a whole. For it is the little things, which, taken together, make the whole. . . . Little things make the big things happen. In fact . . . there are no big things, only a logical accumulation of little things done at a very high standard of performance.”4 Wooden said that there were many who laughed at his repeated focus on and perfection of the small, simple, and basic fundamentals. He wrote “But I wasn’t laughing. I knew very well [they] were the foundation for UCLA’s success.”5

Bill Walton wrote, “Coach Wooden broke it down so the players could master the fundamentals and therefore could play up to their full potential. That’s the thing I remember about UCLA basketball. The practices were more important to me than the games . . . I remember those simple fundamentals. . . and everything else would take care of itself.”6 “[Gail] Goodrich, who played on UCLA’s 30-0 national championship team in 1964, said that he knew he wanted to be a Bruin after he saw his first UCLA practice while still in high school. “I had never seen anything so organized and precise in my life.”7 Carroll Adams said of Coach’s practices, “He just drilled you on the strict fundamentals, and when that situation came up in a ball game you handled it because it had become second nature to you.”8 George Stanich recalls that at UCLA, “The practices were the most important thing. Doing the little things.”9

“From time to time, other coaches or sportswriters would say that UCLA’s basketball teams were much too predictable. . . Everyone knew what they were going to try to do, but they did it so well that no one could stop them anyway! . . . When he was told that others call his offense ‘predictable,’ Coach simply said, ‘I am not a strategy coach. I’m a practice coach’. . . Coach drilled the fundamentals into his players.”10 John Green, an All-American at UCLA, said, “Coach used the same plays year after year. Everybody knew what we were going to do, but very few could stop us. That’s because Coach had us do things over and over again until we did them right.”11

“Ex-UCLA basketball coach Jim Harrick said, ‘John Wooden . . . emphasized that basketball is a very simple game . . . You learn to win games from 3:00 – 5:30 everyday at practice, certainly not the night of the game. Coach agrees: ‘What I taught was as simple as one, two, three.’”12

In 1975, during coach Wooden’s final season, Myron Finkbeiner recalls watching the Bruins practice during the Final Four, “It was amazing to watch them, because Coach put them through the same drills he had used on the first day of practice at the beginning of the season. They ran through simple passing drills, pivoting moves, blocking-out routines. John Wooden was redoing the fundamentals all over again.”13 UCLA went on to win its 10th national championship. After 40 years of coaching, Wooden’s continued to focus on, teach, and practice the simple fundamentals for they were the source of his success. Coach lived his words, “Do the basics right, and do as well as you can with what God gave you, and you will be surprised at how far you can get in life. . . Little things make big things happen.”14

Special Offer
Since publishing “Does Your Bag Have Holes?” in 2007, I have had numerous requests from both corporations and business book clubs to publish a book shorter in length and written to a general audience. From this request came the birth of my latest book, “8 Attributes of Great Achievers,” published by Tremendous Life Books.

It has already sold over 10,000 copies, and I have had several people ask about case orders so we have added an option on our website to order a case of 20 books for only $99 with free shipping. That is only $4.95 per book.

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If you want the books personalized, simply put the names in the special instruction box when you order at and I will personalize and sign the books to the names listed. The signed books make a great gift for birthdays, holiday’s, etc.

Upcoming Books
I am working with the publisher on the cover design right now for my next book Twelve Paradoxes of the Gospel which is currently scheduled for release in July. I will be in the recording studio all next week reading 8 Attributes of Great Achievers and Twelve Paradoxes of the Gospel for unabridged audio books which will also be released sometime this summer. I will keep you posted.

1. John Wooden, Jack Tobin, They Call Me Coach (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004) p. 76-78.
2. John Wooden, Steve Jamison, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997) p. 191.
3. John Wooden, Steve Jamison, My Personal Best (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004) p. 106.
4. John Wooden, Steve Jamison, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997) p. 60; Swen Nater, Ronald Gallimore, You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden’s Teaching Principles and Practices (Fitness Info Tech, 2005) p. 91; John Wooden, Steve Jamison, Wooden on Leadership (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2005) p. 135.
5. John Wooden, Steve Jamison, Wooden on Leadership (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2005) p. 136.
6. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 72.
7. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 80.
8. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 154.
9. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 195.
10. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 72.
11. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 151
12. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 73.
13. Pat Williams, David Winbish, How to Be Like Coach Wooden (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2006) p. 153-154.
14. Neville L. Johnson, The John Wooden Pyramid of Success (Los Angeles: Cool Titles, 2003) p. 331, 191.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winston Churchill – Courageous Optimist

We have finished the edits and design for my new book 8 Attributes of Great Achievers and the publisher has sent the book to the printer. The book will be available for purchase in March. The following is an excerpt from the book:

8 Attributes of Great Achievers
Attribute 1: Responsible
Attribute 2: Creator
Attribute 3: Independent
Attribute 4: Humble
Attribute 5: Honest
Attribute 6: Optimistic
Attribute 7: Vision
Attribute 8: Persistent

Winston Churchill – Courageous Optimist
“On May 10th, 1940, Winston Churchill, then age sixty-six, became Prime Minister of England. This was the time when the powerful German air force was making round-the-clock trips . . . dumping planeload after planeload of bombs on England. No one knew whether the British would be able to hold out for another week or a month.”1 “The outlook was bleak. The Nazis were running over France, Belgium, and Holland. Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador in London, told Washington that Britain was finished.”2

In the mists of the gloom and turmoil and in the face of what seemed to others like impossible odds, Churchill took office with optimism and determination. Churchill wrote of the day he took office, “I felt as though I were walking with destiny that my past life had been but a preparation for this hour for this trial . . . and I was sure I should not fail.”3

“The key to Churchill’s courage was his unbounded optimism. Only an optimist can be courageous, because courage depends on hopefulness that dangers and hazards can be overcome. . . ‘I am one of those,’ he remarked in 1910, ‘who believe that the world is going to get better and better.’ He deprecated negative thinking. In a speech to his officers in the trenches in France in 1916, Churchill exhorted: ‘Laugh a little, and teach your men to laugh. . . If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.’”4

On May 13, 1940, Churchill gave his first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons. He said, “You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory . . . victory in spite of all the terror, victory however long and hard the road may be . . . with all the strength that God can give us . . . I take up my task with buoyancy and hope, I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail.”5

“The morning after the first night of the Blitz, Churchill drove to ground zero: London’s East End and the docks. An air-raid shelter had taken a direct hit, with dozens killed and more wounded. Church’s car pulled up amid the chaos. ‘It was good of you to come,’ the crowd called out. . . When he called out to the crowd, asking if they were disheartened, they cried back, ‘No!’ Churchill had come . . . to give the people the resolve they would need to face the months and years ahead.”6

“Churchill would not permit contingency planning for failure, knowing it would inevitably leak out and breed pessimism. Just weeks after becoming Prime Minister in 1940, Churchill was advised of a doomsday plan to be implemented in the event of a full-scale German invasion of Britain. The royal family and top members of the government would be evacuated to Canada. Churchill flatly vetoed the proposal adding, ‘We shall make them rue the day they try to invade our island.’”7

“During the last week of October 1940 . . . civilian deaths by bombing exceeded six thousands a month. In one twenty-four-hour period seven hundred aircrafts attacked Britain. . . Churchill’s genius was to find a way to talk about bad news while finding hope in what others might see as defeat. . . In October of 1940 after devastating air raids, Churchill gave a speech about how the cities, ‘would rise from their ruins’ and blitzed homes would be rebuilt . . . When the Nazis sank vital supply ships, Churchill was there to point out that many hundreds of ships got through unscathed.”8

Even during the worst of times, Churchill remained optimistic and confident that they would achieve victory. During a B.B.C. broadcast, Churchill proclaimed: “We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime. From this, nothing will turn us—nothing. We will never parley, we will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land, we shall fight him by sea, we shall fight him in the air, until, with God’s help, we have rid the earth of his shadow.”9

“Churchill not only saw reasons for hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II but was able to infuse his unique combination of stoicism and optimism into the very backbone of the nation, the armed services, and his own staff. As Leo Amery, a minister in Churchill’s government put it, ‘No one ever left his cabinet without felling a braver man.’ . . . Great leaders bring out the inner strength that people often do not know they possess.”10

On May 8, 1945, via broadcast, Churchill announced that Germany had signed the act of unconditional surrender. Churchill declared in part, “The German war is therefore at an end. . . From this Island and from our united Empire, [we] maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year until we were joined by the military might of Soviet Russia, and . . . the United States of America. . . Finally almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers, who are now prostrate before us. . . We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. . . Long live the cause of freedom! . . . [We should now] give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination.”11

Churchill’s determination to never give in and his optimism that victory would be achieved enabled his country to fight boldly and courageously through tremendous difficulties and also rallied the support of other countries in the cause until victory was achieved.

Churchill died on January 24, 1965. Over 300,000 people passed by his casket and millions watched the funeral proceedings via television to pay their final respects to the man who helped change the course of history. “Churchill’s actions were pivotal in one of the great and most dramatic turning points of civilization. . . He knew that if he could rally the mind, spirit, and heart of the British people, they would eventually emerge victorious. . . Churchill not only saved Britain from defeat but now in retrospect, he saved democracy as a form of government in the world. Here was truly a single individual whose life made a profound difference to everyone on our planet.”12

1. Sterling W. Sill and Dan McCormick, Lessons from Great Lives (Aylesbury Publishing, 2007) p. 31.
2. Celia Sandys and Jonathan Littman, We Shall Not Fail (New York: Portfolio, 2003) p. 3.
3. Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume I, The Gathering Storm (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948) p. 601.
4. Steven F. Hayward, Churchill on Leadership (New York: Gramercy Books, 2004) p. 115.
5. Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume II, Their Finest Hour (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949) p. 24.
6. Celia Sandys and Jonathan Littman, We Shall Not Fail (New York: Portfolio, 2003) p. 174-175.
7. Celia Sandys and Jonathan Littman, We Shall Not Fail (New York: Portfolio, 2003) p. 151.
8. Celia Sandys and Jonathan Littman, We Shall Not Fail (New York: Portfolio, 2003) p. 249, 179-180.
9. Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume III, The Grand Alliance (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950) p. 332.
10. Celia Sandys and Jonathan Littman, We Shall Not Fail (New York: Portfolio, 2003) p. 173-174.
11. Winston Spencer Churchill, Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches (New York, Hyperion, 2003) p. 389-390.
12. Hyrum W. Smith, What Matters Most (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000) p. 33-37.