February 23, 2012

The Argument for Renting Over Buying a Home

No thanks 'Opportunity', ask me again in 30 years.

I regret buying a house. Not only because our home is currently worth less than the remainder left on our mortgage. Not only because when we purchased, I had ignorantly assumed an 8% annual appreciation on my real estate investment in perpetuity.

But I regret buying a house because of how it realistically locks you down where you are. Whereas, renters are completely mobile. Ready to jump when opportunities present themselves. Owners aren't stuck, but it's definitely harder.

February 22, 2012

Who Do You Compare Yourself Against?

The team is supposed to show up at 7:00 AM for practice.

The leader is there at 7:00, ready to start. You show up at 7:10. The leader says, "You were supposed to be here at 7:00." You look around and reply, "No one else is here yet, either. I'm first."

If we compare ourselves to others, we can feel pretty good about ourselves. But only a sliding scale. When you instead compare yourself to holiness, grace, patience and wisdom - what do you look like?

February 16, 2012

5 Times Around the Earth in My Hyundai Sonata

The Earth's circumference at the equator is 24,901 miles.

In the past 7 years of owning my car, I have circled the Earth 5 times.

The majority of this time consisted largely of traveling to and from work.

Imagine the savings from personal transportation costs, pollution and office infrastructure we will be able to enjoy when companies start realizing the win-win nature of their employees working from home.

February 15, 2012

Intelligence vs. Wisdom

I would rather have a nice kitchen table than provide 20 people with clean water for the next 20 years.

I made that choice. It was a completely rational choice. It was my preferred desire.

Yet, intellectually, I'm aware that the choice was incorrect.

So, I don't need more education. I need to change that which I desire. That's religion. Re-prioritizing our passions based on a transformed way of seeing the world.

February 13, 2012

The Ethics Behind Valentine's Day Flowers

If you send flowers to your wife at work tomorrow, you will make her feel loved.

You will also make the rest of her female co-workers feel jealous and resentful.

As moral agents, we need to determine whether this is worth it.

What do you think?

February 10, 2012

Why a Man on Mars is NOT our Next Great Achievement

I keep hearing it from politicians and political observers alike.

"We need a Kennedy moment. A new grandiose claim. A leader able to  dream big and pave the way for us to get there."

Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic was a collective wow moment for America in 1927. Apollo 11's moon landing was even bigger.

And since then we've been looking for another. A new exploration out into the wild black night. After all, we haven't had one since 1969?

But, that's because we've been going the other way. We've been going smaller. We've been ignoring the macro for the micro. Understanding cell theory. Molecular complexity. Nanotechnology. Artificial intelligence.

The stuff people are doing today is moon landing stuff.

It just doesn't offer the same visual. But, it's arguably much more important.

February 09, 2012

How to Determine Whether You are Smart or Lazy?

I'm no longer sure if I'm smart, or just lazy? Because it's a fine line, isn't it?

The intelligent person determines ways to maximize the value of their labor, so as to maximize the quantity of their leisure time.

But, the lazy person lives with this goal, too.

So, how do I determine which one I am?

February 08, 2012

"Learning Right" Over "Being Right"

When I was in high school, my friend and I were arguing about the quickest way to get to a destination.

I said, "Ok, you drive your way and I'll drive mine, and we'll see who gets there first."

He objected, "No way! You'll just drive really fast to get there first."

I said, "Ok, I'll drive your way then."

He objected, "No way! Then, you'll just drive really slow to lose."

But, I wasn't trying to win. And I didn't want him to lose. I was legitimately curious in finding out which way was fastest, so I could use that route from then on.

And that, more than anything, is what makes us different from the rest of the world. Those of us not interested in being right, but determining what "right" is.

February 07, 2012

The Forced Morality of our Diminishing Anonymity

I pulled into a drive-thru ATM today at lunch. There was an error message on the screen. "Your deposit could be not be accepted." And $25 cash left sitting in the cash tray.

I took the money. Canceled the prior customer's deposit. Started and completed my transaction. And then walked inside to return the money.

What's the morality lesson here?

The fact that I realized security cameras would be witnessing my actions.

Now, if I had found $25 outside the door of a Target...well, I suppose it would depend on how far outside the door the money was? If it were physically inside the building, I probably would have brought it to a cashier. If it were on the sidewalk, just outside the store, I probably would have done a quick glance for the owner, and then pocketed it.

Today, I learned nothing about my morality. Only that as our privacy diminishes, our lack of anonymity is going to force us to do better things - in fear of punishment.

Of course, this does not make us better people.

February 06, 2012

What the Superbowl Can Teach Advertisers About Positive Interruptions

It took me several commercial breaks last night to remember that I wanted to watch the commercials.

Doing something else during the breaks, or tuning out altogether, has become 2nd nature to me.

And that's a big problem. Fortunately, we saw the solution last night. Incredibly entertaining advertisements. As entertaining as the program itself.

That solves the problem. But creates a new one altogether. Because for some reason, these advertisers think "being creative" is just for one night. And the rest of the year, we'll just bullet list the features of our latest car, while having it circle a mountainside.

But, wouldn't it be better if people actually wanted to watch your... advertainment?

February 02, 2012

People Who Can't Tell the Difference Between Good and Garbage

If I ever have to interview someone, I'm going to ask them what kind of music they like.

And if they say "everything", they're not getting the job.

Because in all things, there is great. There is good. There is garbage. And there are those who can not tell the difference.

Whether it's design. Whether it's music. Whether it's an argument. Whether it's talent.

There are those who can classify and categorize - those who can tell the difference. And I have no interest in working with those who can't.

Don't Approach A Commercial Property Investment With A Residential Head

This post has been contributed.   Image source Investing in any sort of property is a pretty sound bet to make, but please don’t think...