This one time our middle sons reveals his entrepreneurship

This one time our middle son, Logan had recently turned 5 and he’s got quite the business head on him. To us, and any adult that visits, he’ll offer a “lucky dip” from a mystery box or a bag. He says “Would you like a lucky dip?”. To which, you reply “yes”. And he says “You have to give me money”.

I just can’t stop myself. I’ve paid up to $2, because that was the only coin I had at the time. 20c to see if he would refuse (he didn’t). And 50c this morning.

I pull out a piece of junk that I put on a shelf or kitchen bench and forget about. He comes along a day or 2 later, swoops it up and puts it back in his luck dip bag.

He made the same offer to his little brother (2yo) who could only afford to pay with a small elephant. Logan accepted and Nathan scored a yellow bracelet in exchange. Logan then added the elephant to his mystery bag.

I offered Logan similar non-cash items but Logan told me “No daddy, you have to pay me money”.

He is demonstrating sales principles that have taken me 40 years to learn: Scarcity, Intrigue, Bait-and-Switch, Gaming Theory, Value-Based-Pricing, Pricing-Based-On-Capacity-To-Pay, Establishing-Desire-Before-Making-An-Offer.

I’m amazed.

And proud.

And running out of coins.

“Duck” starts with…

This one time our middle son Logan was just about to start school. We were teaching him to identify the sounds that letters make.

My question way: “Logan, what sound does ‘duck’ start with?”

Logan (5yo): “Quack?”

*hysterical laughter*

This one time we got the kids excited about a cat show

This one time my wife and I and our 3 young boys were bored at home on a Saturday. We spotted an opportunity in the local community newspaper – a cat show!

We all love our Burmease cat “Muffin” so we said to the boys, “let’s go to a cat show guys!” It was a 45 minute drive from home.

We got to the community hall in the small town and it was full of people and about 100 cats in small cages being judged.

After about 30 minutes of walking slowly from cage to cage looking at these mildly interesting breeds, our eldest son comes up to us and asks “so when does the show start?”.

“What do you mean?” We said, “it already has, we’re here”.

“No, I mean the cat show, you know, the one on the stage” he said as he pointed to the back of the hall where there was a small stage with the curtain drawn and a small cardboard boxes stacked on it.

“Oh…” realisation dawned on us.  “Sorry son, there are no performing cats here, no acrobatics, or cats riding dogs, or swinging through the air, or performing stunts. A cat show, is just people with unusual cats showing them to judges in the hope they get a prize”

He looked stunned. And disappointed. “I want to go home” he said sadly. So we did.

Birthday Cards: 5 Reasons Why I Hate Them

There’s nothing I hate more than getting a Happy Birthday card on my birthday.

grrrrrrrr!

I’m talking about the ones you buy from a shop for $5.95, scribble “To Sheldon” at the top, and “Love from your_name” at the bottom with some stupid generic message sandwiched in the middle.

5 Reasons Why I Hate Birthday Cards:

#1. Because you wasted $5.95, you chump

You could have spent that $6 on either:

  • Added on to the value of my gift, or
  • If you didn’t get me a gift, could have used to buy me a gift

#2. Because the pre-printed message means nothing to me

The pre-printed message on the cover or inside of the card means nothing to me because you didn’t write it.

Some dude who I’ll never meet wrote it 5 years ago and he wasn’t thinking about me when he wrote it.

#3. Because “humour” card’s are never funny

The joke is on you because you paid $6 for it.

If I wanted to read a joke I’d search the interweb.

#4. Because you are killing rainforests and the cute fuzzy creatures that live within them

Because people who buy Birthday Cards are creating demand through the supply chain for card >> paper >> pulp >> wood >> rainforest clearing

#5. Because you’re wasting resources

Going to the shop, buying the card, writing a message, posting it to me – all of that is wasting time, money and resources that you could be spending on increasing the size of my gift.

What’s Next?

  • If you hate birthday cards as much as I do, say so in the comments below
  • If you love birthday cards, re-read this article and realise that you now hate them

Want To Lose Weight? 6 Steps You’ve Never Heard Of That Do Actually Work

It seems to me that just about everyone struggles with their weight at some point in their lives.

For some of us it’s a constant battle, for others, just an occasional problem.

I think we go through phases too. For a few months we might feel quite motivated and energetic, but for other months a bit lethargic and that’s when we pack on the weight.

(And don’t you hate it when you’re going through one of these motivated/energetic phases but then you get sick or the weather gets bad for days/weeks and it breaks the healthy habit you were forming? So annoying!)

Losing weight is pretty simple. There is no big secret. There are 2 variables: food and exercise.

You might be thinking “what about metabolism?” but you can control that with food and exercise so don’t worry about it.

You have 3 choices then to get the results you want:

  1. Change your food (type and/or quantity)
  2. Change your exercise level
  3. Change both

My food: I eat 3 pretty healthy meals a day but I eat a lot of chocolate between meals + takeaways a few times a week

My exercise: At the moment my exercise is cycling 9km to work 1 or 2 times a week.

All-in-all I don’t find it too difficult to maintain my fairly slim waistline.  But, like everyone else, my weight yo-yo’s.

The key moment is when I realise I’ve got a few kg to lose and then that spurs me into action.

You might look down at your belly right now and be a bit disheartened because you think you’ve got so much work to do, but bear with me because I’ve got a few ideas here that might help.

I have developed a 6 step method that keeps me within 2 or 3 kg’s of my target body shape.

I hope that my method will be useful for you too. Here it is.

Step One: Take A Shower

The first thing I do is take a shower.

Why? Because it’s in the shower that I notice I need to lose a few kilograms from my belly (the most common problem area for men of course).

I think to myself “I need to lose some weight, I can barely see Mr Winkle!” and dwell on this idea for a while. Sometimes it might take a day or two for this idea to sink in.

The goal here isn’t self-loathing. That can paralyse you.

The goal here is to visualise yourself with your target body shape and compare/contrast that image to what you see in front of you right now.

I know when this image has sunk in because I can feel my attitude change. I start to “think thin”, and I start making little decisions every day that help me towards my weight loss goal.

Some examples of that attitude change working are:

  • I think about chocolate less during the day (as I said, this is my biggest weakness)
  • I don’t suggest that we have dessert after dinner
  • I serve myself slightly smaller portions for dinner (5%-10% less)
  • I don’t eat anything at all in the evenings after dinner. If I’m hungry just before going to bed, instead of eating a piece of toast or more chocolate, I’ll just have a glass of water which takes away the hunger pains for 30 minutes – just enough to fall asleep.

Step Two: Never Diet

You can choose to commit a short amount of time to this project (in which case it is called a “diet”) or you can make a long term change (in which case it is called a lifestyle change).

Short duration diets will help you lose a few kilograms, but they are never a long term solution.

Why?

Because once the diet is finished you will fall back into old habits (your old lifestyle) and put all the weight back on.

This is why everyone’s weight yo-yo’s. Sound familiar?

Long term changes to your lifestyle do work. So if you are serious about your goal, this is the only choice for you.

Actually, there is another choice. The choice to do nothing. But you’ve already tried that, and where has that got you? Nowhere. In fact, you’ve gone backwards, right?

So, right now I’m asking you to agree to making small, painless, permanent changes to your lifestyle.

Are you willing to do that?

Yes?

Great!

Ok, let’s move on.

Step Three: Set A Tiny, Easy Challenge

For me, I can’t get out and exercise until I have a goal.

My goals have included:

  • Run and touch a letterbox 2.5km away from my house, and run back home
  • Ride 9km to the base of a local mountain, run 3km around the base track, ride back home
  • Build up to 100 continuous half-press-ups
  • Ride to work whenever it’s not raining

These are not earth-shattering challenges. Notice how they a completion challenges rather than time based challenges?

Just completing the challenge is enough to celebrate. You don’t need to be straining to continually beat your personal best times.

So, write down a list of challenges and choose just one for today.

Step Four: Solo. With a Friend. In a Group of Strangers.

Try exercising solo for a while.

Try exercising with a friend for a while.

Try exercising in groups of strangers for a while.

The point is, don’t just choose one style for life, be open to changing your mind and trying something different.

Like I said before, we go through phases, and one will be better than another until you change phase again.

Step Five: Keep Eating Chocolate

I’m not going to tell you to eat more/less carbs/protein/fats/sugars etc.

When you make big changes like that you are in “diet mode” and as I explained before, diet’s don’t work. Only lifestyle changes work.

One time I decided to stop eating chocolate completely for 2 weeks. I did lose a bit of weight, but I love chocolate so much, it was too painful, so I had a huge binge at the end of the period and went back to normal consumption levels. Sound familiar?

The easiest way to get the results you want is to make these 4 simple changes to your evening meal:

  1. Eat dinner early: 6pm, 6.30pm. Not 8pm, not 9pm
    • This gives you plenty of digestion time before your body slows down for sleep
    • When you’re in sleep mode your body has no use for the energy it’s creating from digesting the food so that energy gets stored as fat
  2. Don’t snack after dinner. Going to bed almost hungry is best
    • This prevents a lump of food sitting in your stomach overnight which your body will turn to fat
  3. Reduce your dinner portion size by 5%-10%
    • Putting less food in your body is good for weight loss but the real benefit here is changing your mindset/attitude. This is a portion a thin person would eat, so you are “thinking thin”
  4. Drink 2 large glasses of very cold water with your evening meal
    • It’s tastes delicious if it’s very cold, it fills you up, and it aids digestion

Step Six: Keep Your Weight Loss A Secret

You may have been told that you should tell other people about your goal because it will help keep you accountable and motivated?

This is a lie.

When you fail (and we all fail), or change your mind (and we all should change our minds from time-to-time), it’s not the threat of their disapproval that will hurt (they don’t care actually), it’s disappointment in yourself that will hurt.

And it can hurt so bad that you quit.

You need to understand that making these changes in your life comes from inside you.

Our brains are lazy and are programmed to minimise energy expenditure.

So the more external factors that you set-up in an attempt to keep motivated, can be hijacked by our lazy brain’s and used as excuses or opportunities to stop.

So don’t tell anyone what your planning, just make the changes to your lifestyle that we are talking about here and wait for the moments when they notice “hey, you’re looking great, have you been working out?”. Those feel reeeeeeally good.

 

What’s Next?

Helpful? Unhelpful? Have your say in the comments below.

Does Your Local Council Charge You For Water? What It’s Really Costing You

glass-of-bubbly-waterI live in Tauranga city, New Zealand (I love it here!).

Our council (The Tauranga City Council) charges us $1.50 per cubic metre for water.

Fair enough I spose. That’s about $100 every 6 months for our house of 2 adults, 2 kids.

A cubic metre is 1m x 1m x 1m of water. That’s 1000 litres. That’s 1000kg.

For every day use, how much does it really cost?

Here are 4 examples to put it in perspective.

1. How much does it cost to fill a 10 litre bucket to wash my car?

  • A 10 litre bucket will cost me 1.5c to fill ($1.50/100)
  • Rinsing would be about 5 times that so another 7.5c (5×1.5)
  • 9c compared to a car wash for $10-$15? Pretty easy choice

2. How much does it cost to drink water?

  • Drinking 1 litre will cost me 1.5c for 10 refills
  • 1.5c for 10 bottles compared to $2.50 for a 750ml Pump Bottle? Pretty easy choice

3. How much does it cost to water the garden?

  • Watering time = 30mins
  • Flow rate: 1 litre = 10 seconds
  • 30 mins = 1800 seconds (60×30)
  • Use 180 litres in 30 mins (1800/10)
  • Cost: 27c (1.50/1000*180)
  • Conclusion: Watering the garden for 30mins will cost me 27c. This sucks because grow-yourself vege gardens are a waste of time.

4. How much does it cost to fill the kids paddling pool?

  • INTEX Easy Set Pool 8ft capacity: 2,700 litres
  • Cost: $4.05 (1.50/1000*2700)
  • Conclusion: Filling the paddling pool will cost me $4.05. So I better buy some chlorine and use the pump because dumping $4 worth of slimey water every week is not cool

Do you pay for water in your city?

Say so in the comment below.

Lee Child Novels: Is There A 100 Percent Club?

Another one of my favourite authors is Lee Child.

I am a proud member of the Lee Child 100 percent club.

The club doesn’t exist as far as I can tell, so I’ll be the only member to start with 🙂

He’s written 17 novels to date.

17 Novels Written by Lee Child:

  1. Killing Floor (1997)
  2. Die Trying (1998)
  3. Tripwire (1999)
  4. The Visitor (2000)
  5. Echo Burning (2001)
  6. Without Fail (2002)
  7. Persuader (2003)
  8. The Enemy (2004)
  9. One Shot (2005)
  10. The Hard Way (2006)
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
  12. Nothing To Lose (2008)
  13. Gone Tomorrow (2009)
  14. 61 Hours (2010)
  15. Worth Dying For (2010)
  16. The Affair (2011)
  17. A Wanted Man (2012)

My Completion Percentage

17/17 = 100%.

Are you a fan? What’s your percentage?