DROWNING IN A SEA OF DEBT (2) – BANKRUPTCY

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  • My wife and I climbed out of a near $60,000 credit card debt hole rather than declare ourselves bankrupt due to the impacts it would have had. It lasted 7 years and took 3 years of extremely focused discipline to accomplish it.

Focus and Discipline being the operative words.

My first blog on “Drowning in a Sea of Debt” discussed the depth of credit card debt – specifically in the USA – and the benefits / negatives of credit cards.

There are various ways to tackle overwhelming outstanding credit card debt which we will address in subsequent deliveries.

In this delivery I look at possibly the last alternative that some people may consider i.e. bankruptcy, because of its impact – financial, social and otherwise.

 

DIFFERENT COUNTRIES – DIFFERENT OUTCOMES

In this blog I briefly look at the impact in four countries i.e. the USA, Australia, the UK and Singapore.

Whilst the outcomes are mostly the same in different countries (i.e. debt forgiveness to some extent), the impacts differ – some more sever and longer-lasting.

  • The first impact will be on family situations and your relationship with your partner.

There might have been sleepless nights and differences in opinion about how money is being spent or has been spent. There might also have been difficult times to keep children in school or even to have food on the table.

  • The next impact is of an emotional nature.

You do not go to bed one night and wake up the next day to declare yourself bankrupt. There is normally a long walk-on period of increasing stress as the credit card bills pile up and the amounts increase, followed by demand letters and perhaps even a personal visit (in some countries).

  • It will impact social relationships.

I had to refuse many social invitations for lunch or after work gatherings because we were concentrating on repaying a large amount of money rather than to declare bankrupt. If you borrowed money from friends you may have to sort through some messy relationships.

  • It will impact a host of other things, including property ownership, control over your finances, current and future job opportunities and much more.

 

USA

Different states may approach matters differently but the impact is broadly the same.

There are three chapters under which to file for bankruptcy in the USA i.e. Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.

Chapter 11 involves reorganizing a debtor’s business affairs and assets, and is normally filed by corporations to restructure their debts. We will ignore it in this blog.

 

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy which provides for the liquidation of your non-exempt property to distribute the proceeds to the creditors and wipe out your unsecured debts – which also includes credit card debts and medical bills. You must have very little or no disposable income to qualify for this.

It promises a “fresh start” and there are a number of benefits and protective measures but we take a look here at some of the impacts:

  1. Your bankruptcy becomes public knowledge since it is published in the public domain.
  2. It may impact your ability to apply for jobs, definitely with any financial institutions.
  3. Bankruptcy does not erase all your debt. Recent taxes and student loans are not forgiven.
  4. Your bankruptcy will remain on your Credit Report for 10 years.
  5. It will be difficult to obtain a credit card in future and interest rates will be much higher.
  6. Home loans will become very expensive, up to 6% more than a normal loan, since your credit score will be very low.
  7. Chapter 7 (and 13) filing is not cheap since it requires a bankruptcy lawyer – $800 to $2,500 depending on where you live.

 

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy filing for debtors who have a regular income and are able to pay back at least a portion of their debt through a repayment plan. The benefits are therefore greater than Chapter 7 Bankruptcy as you are able to keep all your property, even non-exempt assets. There are, however, still a number of impacts and dangerous potholes:

  1. You must put all your disposable income towards creditor payments. That leaves you rather tight for money for 3 to 5 years.
  2. If you neglect a payment your creditors can request to change your Chapter 13 into a Chapter 7. This means your creditors can chase you for the full outstanding amounts and your properties may become subject to seizure and sell-off. This is a serious pothole.
  3. You are considered a credit risk and any loans or new credit cards will be at a premium. It may be difficult to obtain any mortgage for up to 2 years after your filing.
  4. It may impact your ability to apply for jobs, definitely with any financial institution.
  5. Your restricted personal income will definitely impact your lifestyle.
  6. It does not protect anyone who co-signed anything that you are in debt of. Your co-signatory is indebted and may be obliged to repay your debt(s). This will almost certainly impact your relationship with the co-signatory.
  7. Not all debts are erased i.e. alimony, child support, some debt acquired within 6 months of filing, some taxes, willful injuries to person and property, personal injury whilst driving intoxicated and a host more are not erased.

 

AUSTRALIA

Bankruptcy impacts many things including this short summary:

  1. Your house and car may be sold.
  2. Overseas travel may be restricted.
  3. You will have to pay contributions from your income to your trustee if your after-tax income exceeds a certain amount.
  4. Your superannuation before bankruptcy basically becomes the trustee’s money.
  5. You can keep up to $3,700 of the tools of your trade but the rest can be sold by the trustee/creditors.
  6. Your name will appear on the National Personal Insolvency Index forever as a discharged bankrupt and on credit reporting agencies for 2 years after discharge.

Read up on https://www.afsa.gov.au/debtors/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-overview. This site also includes a quick guide on assets – which are not complimentary in its action.

 

SINGAPORE

Singapore laws let you file for bankruptcy if you owe $10,000 or more and you have no way to repay the amount. The whole process may take between 4 – 6 weeks during which time the court will assess your situation and come to a conclusion.

On the other hand, your creditor(s) – such as a bank – can also file to have you declared bankrupt.

The results can be swift:

  1. Assets can be seized and divided amongst creditors for their use or to auction off. There is a silver lining: you will be able to keep the tools of your trade and items that are hold in trust for someone else is also off limits, as is any HDB apartment which has not been refinanced.
  2. Your bankruptcy will be made public. Your employer(s) will be informed and you may lose your job, more so If you work for a financial institution. It may be difficult to find work afterwards, especially with financial institutions.
  3. If you keep your work, a portion of your income will be shared with your creditors. You must carefully justify any expenses and provide a financial statement of affairs, supported by receipts and which is periodically checked. Life becomes rather inconvenient in every aspect that touches on money.
  4. Part of you income can be made available for creditors, but whatever you use to earn a living with cannot be attached.
  5. It will be difficult to obtain credit afterwards. Your credit rating will be affected and may take up to 7 years to rebuild a semblance of what it used to be.
  6. Overseas travel is also normally affected. You will have to inform the court if you want to travel overseas and unless it is for work purposes you may not be allowed. If you break the law you will be jailed (currently 2 years) and fined (currently $10,000).
  7. If you owe less than $100,000 you may be rehabilitated after three years – unless a creditor objects, in which case you remain a bankrupt until all your creditors have been paid off.

Though the benchmark is set low ($10,000) the consequences are severe when compared to other countries, especially since Singapore is a very small country compared to say the USA where work is perhaps easier to find with the ability to travel and move interstate.

 

UK

There is still a lot more stigma surrounding bankruptcy in Europe than in the USA.

  1. Available assets will be sold to pay off your debts. You can keeps the “tools of your trade” to make a living.
  2. Renters may be kicked out of their rental places.
  3. Bank accounts and cards will be frozen and handed over to the Official Receiver.
  4. You may lose your job and it may be difficult to find another one. The police and armed forces do not employ bankrupts.
  5. Any additional income will go to the creditors.
  6. You may lose part or all of your pension towards debt settlement.
  7. The bankruptcy stays on file for 6 years. Your name and details will be published in the Individual Insolvency Register and your name published in the local paper.
  8. It may affect your immigration status of you apply for British citizenship.
  9. If you own a business, it might be sold and your workers laid off, thus causing hardship to others.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Many people have had a fresh start with bankruptcy, but beware the financial, social, personal and other impacts it will have.

There are a lot to think of, so if you choose to pursue this path you will be best served to research and read everything regarding bankruptcy in your country and then engage the best insolvency lawyer you can afford – which in itself may be a hefty cost.

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DROWING IN A SEA OF DEBT

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“Debt is poverty of a different kind”.

I am not referring to the USA National Debt – though there should be real concerns about it.

I am addressing credit card debt.

There are 7.3 Billion people on the planet.

There are between 3-5 billion credit cards on the planet, and rising.

Billion, with a “B”.

 

I am one of those who landed in trouble with it during the global financial meltdown and it took me more than 7 years to overcome my (a) bad habits and (b) the debt I racked up.

Seven+ years of my life.

  • Is there anyone here who has had the same experience?
  • If so, what was / is your biggest frustration, fear and challenge in this area?

 

Allow me to share a few things on my next four blogs on credit cards and bad credit

 

  • As stated above, an estimated 3-5 billion real (not fake) credit cards exist today – and the number is increasing.
  • No-one knows how many fake cards there are, but I have been a victim of at least two.
  • The average credit card debt per USA household is about $16,000, with a total for the country pushing towards ONE TRILLION Dollars.
  • More than half of the cardholders had an unpaid balance in the past year.
  • For more than a quarter their credit card debt had increased in the past year.
  • Students have an average of $20,000 debt.

 

At the depth of my debt I was around $60,000 under water – almost 4 times the average amount. And that was 15 years ago!

 

We all know the benefits of credit cards and I will bullet them here, followed by the negatives – of which there are real social impacts.

 

BENEFITS

Convenience: The main benefit is the convenience of having “money in your pocket” – up to the maximum credit limit, which is in fact a short term loan to you.

Loyalty programs: Another main benefit nowadays is of course the loyalty programs where the card holder gets loyalty points which can be redeemed for products or cash.

Bills tracking – Help with budgeting: Your account (soft or hard copy) can also help you to track expenses at the end of a period – which may bring back both good memories of where you have had your lunches and dinners – but also remind you of the carefree and perhaps careless spending that you did.

Product returns: A further benefit is returns. The buyer can return a product and receive (part of) a refund.

Extended warranties: Cards can also provide extended warranties and loss and damage covering.

Insurance: Some cards will also offer insurance, often on cars.

Legal limits of liability: In some countries (such as the USA and UK) have introduced legal limits of liability for those who lose a card or has a card stolen.

 

NEGATIVES

Inflated prices: Consumer prices are inflated to pay for all these benefits. And it affects everyone who shops, not only those who use a card.

Discipline: The most difficult one is probably one of self- regulation, or discipline when it comes to using credit cards. But then again, that is not the card’s fault.

Surcharges: Some businesses may ask the buyer to accept a surcharge on a credit card transaction, since the business often has to pay the card company a fee (of up to 4% of the value of a transaction.) This of course leads to higher prices.

Social impact: Some organizations are of the opinion that it may in fact also impact social welfare on two fronts (a) higher prices and (b) the high interest rates that card companies charge. This often drive lower income earner card users into debt and even bankruptcy – which has serious social side effects.

It is all well and good to say that there should be strict filtering and vetting of those who may own a card, but there had been times in the past when card companies would actually just send a card to person on their email list. I can personally vouch for that.

Increased rate shock: Financial institutions (mostly banks) will offer you a ZERO interest rate card to consolidate all your competitor cards with them. However, these zero fees run out after a period of time or a specific event and then also revert to high interest rates.

Tread carefully with this.

 

My next blog will look at the impact of when people go into bankruptcy due to over-extending themselves on credit cards.

I am aware that some people have started very successful businesses by using their credit cards to fund them, but – and there is always a “but” – I don’t think that is a general way of funding an upstart business.

  • Does anyone have comparative data on failures and successes?

 

Please feel free to comment, especially on my questions, i.e.

  • Is there anyone here who has had the same experience?
  • If so, what was / is your biggest frustration, fear and challenge in this area and during the time you are / were in debt?

 

Thank you.

Kris Moller

When speed is of the essence…

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“You see things, and you say, “Why?”.

But I dream things that never were, and I say, “Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw

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I recently reread Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, where he comments that he is regarded as a prolific writer even though he has written “only a few dozen” novels (up till the year 2000).

But this was nothing compared to British mystery novelist named John Creasey.

He also mentioned that it should preferably take about 3 months to get the draft of a book out. Not longer than one season – else you start to lose your tempo.

Stephen King recently also received the National Medal of Arts award this year. He knows what he is talking about.

My 2nd book “50 PERSPECTIVES – The Value of Things Unseen” is now out and available on all the large electronic commerce companies.

And there is a 2-year gap between the first and the second.

Certain parts in the world, specifically where we live now, has four seasons in a year. Yes four.

It’s a bit difficult to write 4 books in a day.

  • So, sorry Stephen – No Can Do.

However, before I say that too loudly, let’s look at the most prolific writer in history. Creasey is only 9th on the Prolific List. He received 768 rejection letters before his first book was published. He then went on to write more than 600 books – included westerners and even romance novels – under 28 pseudonyms.

 

  • Top spot is held by Spanish writer Corin Tellado – 4,000 novels between 1927 and 2009. If she started at age 22, then she wrote one novel every 5 ½ days! And sold on average 100,000 copies of each.

 

At my speed I will have to become 8,000 years old to write that many books.

 

Meet the top 17 most prolific writers at Why Not Books on http://thewhynot100.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/17-most-prolific-writers-in-history.html

LAKE PLACID (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 5 JUNE 2005 (part 2 of 2)

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Thumbnail of Part 1: I had myself an appointment with a friend one Sunday morning and called to confirm our meeting time. When the appointment time was delayed, I decided to wash our clothes (to surprise my wife who was visiting friends) and relax on the balcony. On hearing a noise from the kitchen I opened the cupboard door to be surprised by a gushing stream of water which started to fill up the kitchen floor. I blocked off the water with a bedcover and tried to find the shut-off tap in the servant’s room that runs off the small back balcony and in so doing I hear the balcony door shut behind me – with disaster still in full swing in the kitchen.. now read on….

Ok., no water mains shut-off tap here either. Turns around. Extends hand onto the outside kitchen door knob,…and touches a confused and out-of-breath white dove with a olive branch in its beak, trying to balance on it. Paunchy whoosh-whooshes the dove energetically away with a vigorous wave of arms, nervously looking if there are any other strays about, such as maybe a lonely vulture that might have drifted in on the back of the dove. Paunchy the Hopeful grabs the door knob with renewed fervour. And turns it. No left-right motion. And turns it. Still no turning motion. Shit. Translate that into SHIT!! Re-translate that into SHIIIIT!!!. The door is on auto-lock from the inside. (This is where the reader is kindly reminded to recall the earlier reference to the fireman’s axe).

Instant Consternation!

Paunchy the Severely Concerned is now a Permanent Resident in the Land of Disbelief.

Let us take stock for the reader’s sake: A drum-roll of gushing water. Rising Tide on both sides of the door. Mobile phone on dining room table. Paunchy out on tiny 9th floor balcony with door locked from inside. Four locks and thief-proof latches on the apartment’s front door. Sunday lunchtime.. A bewildered dove. The possibility of a circling vulture… No Axe.

Paunchy the Disbeliever (reminding himself to go to church tonight, if not earlier, given certain conditions are met) scrambles around in the servant’s quarters and finds a few plastic cups, a plastic bucket, a small plastic chair, and yes of course a mattress. But sleeping is very low on the Totem Pole of Desired Solutions. Even Maslow and Freud would have a problem trying to place the comfort of a lonely Sunday afternoon nap into the right context here. Bucket, Cups, Chair, Bucket, Cups, Chair. Plastic. Panic.

“Help! Help!!” Listen..

„H E L P !! “ More listening..

“AITCH EEE ELL PEE !!!” More INTENSE listening..

Not a beep. Not a bat of even a mosquito wing. It might as well have been the Sahara. 500 miles from the nearest well. On a moonlit night. In the 12th century.

Hey what have we here now? Aha a one meter length piece of wood, forgotten by some careless workman. EUREKA! Thank you dear God for careless workmen! They should all be given gold-rimmed Certificates of Carelessness. And large bonuses.

Paunchy the Jailbird, trying to stay above the Rising Tide from under the kitchen door – balances himself like a drunken two-legged circus elephant on the small wobbling plastic chair. Aims. Wobbles. Hits. Wobbles. Connects with a Bang! Bang!! It does not even take the paint off the door. But it puts some splinters in Paunchy the Carpenter’s hands and fingers. Minor concern.

Maslow was right. Safety is higher than Comfort on the Hierarchy of Living Needs, and Fear is a Powerful Motivator. Fear Factor. Has anyone ever heard of a program called “Comfort Factor”? or “Safety Factor”?)

(Unbeknownst to Paunchy the Batsman, the Emergency Services have arrived outside the front door but is being denied access to the apartment, as well-documented above). Aims for the door knob. Bang. Bang! Bang!! 50 Bangs! Paunchy the Banger drips from a mixture of water, sweat and deep concern. Has the dike held? Is the water Niagara-falling over the outside balcony? Are We Adrift? What if there is an earthquake NOW!

Who said THAT?

Liver is now competing with Heart to be the first to jump from Paunchy the Panter’s mouth. Rest awhile. This is important. We have to pace ourselves here. Panic leads to stupidity. hmm now there is a thought to savour. Don’t get into heart-attack territory by over-banging the door knob, which is by now giving way as slowly as an un-cooperative traffic cop on a lazy Sunday afternoon.. Shit what about the 3 pm meeting? What time is it?

Who Cares?

Bang! Splinter. Puff. Drip Bang!! Puff-puff. Drip-drip. Bang!!!. Splinter. Wiggle. Knob and lock is now as bent as a New York City Cop, but still as un-cooperative as a 300 pound folded-arms “Momma’s Big Worry”-tattooed bouncer at a rock concert. With dark glasses on. That is the bouncer, not the concert.

100 Bangs!!! More splinters. Puff-puffs. Drip-drip. Bang! Splinters. Puff. Drip. Rest. Bang. Puff. Drip. Wiggle….

The lock yields with the grace and speed of the Tumbling Walls of Jericho! The door swings open … to a tsunami.. and the sweet smell of a flooded kitchen.. FREEDOM!

Paunchy The Freedom Fighter skims the surface like a jet-skier, over the still-holding bedcover-dike, skids around the dining room table to unlatch, un-lock, un-emergency-proof the by now almost bulging bang-assaulted front door…(nice to know someone else was also banging away on a door).

On the dining room table the mobile phone is ringing its little battery flat. The clock on the wall says 12:20…

Further inspection showed that the washing machine was an innocent bystander. The Prime Offender was the kitchen wash-up sink feeder-pipe that broke off flush against the wall.

PS: The white dove and olive twig were just added for dramatic effect. The vulture was for real (he..he.. gotcha).

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LAKE PLACID (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 5 JUNE 2005 (part 1 of 2)

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Dateline Indonesia

 

Backstory:

This is a true story. Indonesian apartments will normally have a servant’s room that runs off a small back balcony whilst a large front balcony would face outward with nice views over the city. It is one of those that we rented. We did not have a servant. Where I grew up you did things yourself. My wife was visiting with friends and I was enjoying a lazy Sunday morning…now read on. Part 1 of a 2-part blog)

Couple of Sundays ago, having just moved into his “new” 9th floor apartment overlooking a placid sun-splashed golf driving range, yours truly (call me Paunchy for short, since I have a bit of a beer belly) had himself an appointment to visit with some friends around 12 noon.

Following tried and tested standards Paunchy the Organized calls in advance to confirm the appointment – thus trying to align the local custom of perpetual lateness with western values of punctuality.

Lucky break! Paunchy’s friend asks to delay the meeting till 3 pm since he still has to fly back from another island.

Ok, so Paunchy the Delayed, now with a clutch-full of free time (a.k.a. as the Devil’s Pillow) on his hands, and with a “waste not, want not” attitude, pops some clothes into the washing machine. Regulation activity. And to complete the picture Paunchy the Relaxed decides to hang loose on the front balcony for 20 minutes or so, taking in some sunshine and relishing the panorama. Ah what a life…Relaxation at its best. Unadulterated Freedom!

And …hm? What is that.. uh… gushing?…sound? Paunchy the Nonchalant strolls into the kitchen Noise emanating from the cupboard below the sink? Bends down. Opens door. Regulation activity. Doors are made to be opened. Normally….

…. And a jet-stream of water gushes straight past Paunchy the Slightly Bewildered, hits the fridge door on the other side of the kitchen like a torrent from a fireman’s hose. Without the regulation clanging of bells and screeching of tires…Also without the regulation brass-buttoned uniforms and long-stem axes (an insignificant but insightful little detail that the reader is advised to remember for later consumption).

Instant TURMOIL.

Downtown Bagdad!

Slam! Shut goes the door.

Disbelieve.

Open goes the door.

No change in activity. Gulf Stream still in full operational mode. Shut goes the door. “Shit” goes Paunchy. And nearly adds action to words.

Disbelief is fast becoming a pressing pastime. Then turns into a fulltime personal trait.

12:01: Fast-thinking Paunchy the Dutchman grabs the bedcover that is still on the lounge suite from watching “The Perfect Storm” on TV the night before, throws it down and molds it like a dike to contain the water in the kitchen. Aha at least any flooding into the rest of the apartment is now (temporarily) under control. Paunchy the Electrician slips on his rubber-soled Noahs and shplonks into the little upstart lake now placidly assembling in the kitchen – to unplug any electrical appliances. Smart Thinking Paunchy Einstein. Better safe than sorry. Self-confidence grows again with every stride – just a minor inconvenience. A pre-lunchtime burp so to speak.

12.02: Paunchy the Telephonist searches the mobile phone directory for the Emergency Services number… No such number…. OK. Not a problem, Paunchy the Unfazed calls the owner of the apartment – to ask them to contact Emergency Services. The connection is made. Paunchy the Pedagogue explains the situation with the calmness of a Tourist Board Guide on a downtown City Bus. Control is all important and Paunchy the Confident is still in (slightly less than full) command of the – by now – slow forming little Lake Placid in the kitchen.

Paunchy to Owner: “By the way, can you tell me where in the apartment is the emergency shit-off…I mean, shut-off tap?”

Owner to Paunchy: “Hmm let us see, if we are not mistaken (and we might be, by the sound of the confidence level in the voice of the owner) it is either in the cupboard where the problem is (hmm) or in the servant’s quarters where the geyser is located – just behind the kitchen. Just open the kitchen door that leads onto the small balcony and the servant’s room in the back. We are sure it is there…”

Paunchy the Unconvinced, now sounding more and more like Noah: “Roger”.

Option One. Opens the cupboard again. Tries to put his hand in front of the Jet Stream. Which hits him in the face. And dislodges his glasses. Damn! Scramble. Tap. Splash! Feel. Be careful. You don’t want to do this without glasses. Feel. Tap. More Feel. Ah. Lady Luck is a Kind old Bitch, sorry, Nanny. Glasses are found. Returned to both ears. Drip, but not dry. Impaired Vision is better than No Vision.

No Emergency Shut-off Tap Here. Ok one more to go.

The servant’s quarters now starts to figure in Paunchy the Hopeful’s mind with the same urgency and determination as a light-house does in the mind of a ship’s captain on a stormy night. Paunchy the (Now Much Less) Confident steadies himself in the Rising Tide, splish-sploshes to the kitchen door, opens it and splashes out onto the tiniest of balconies that leads into the servant’s quarters…

…. and hears the kitchen door slams shut behind him by virtue of a slight daft.. er, draft.…

(part 2 of 2 will appear Monday)

PERSPECTIVES: LUCK IS FOR THE ILL-PREPARED

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Diligence is the mother of good luck” – Benjamin Franklin

 

You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” – Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry”. We have all seen the movie. And the punk got lucky. That day.

The harder I work, the luckier I get” is a quote attributed to several people, including Gary Player (golfer), Samuel Goldwyn (the middle name in MGM studios) and a host of others.

It has variously been described as a meaningful coincidence of unrelated things, an escape from responsibility, a false idea that may produce positive thinking which changes a person’s response for the better, a self-fulfilling prophecy and as a form of superstition. Hence it varies by philosophical, religious, mystical or emotional context depending on the interpreter.

Many in-depth studies has been done on it with one definition suggesting that it is “a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause” (Noah Webster’s dictionary).

 

Physical

Luck is luck in retrospect. You don’t know if you have had “good or bad luck” until you have some perspective of the outcome of matters. Whenever I reviewed my “luck” I could afterwards see the dots connecting the events.

You win lotto – was it luck? Did the ticket just blow into your front door? You hit a hole-in-one on a golf course. How many thousands of clubs have you swung? Were these actions out of your control?

 

Social

An aura of luck may surround self-made people, but there are rules to luck. Prod them for answers and they will relate stories of late nights, hard work, diligent research and analysis – following a set of logical steps on their path to success. They have taken risks – and sometimes lost.

Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates were not lucky. They made their own opportunity and then prepared themselves for it. Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Rolling Stones have not been lucky. Many hours of practice preceded hard-earned success.

Gamblers sometimes have an illusion of control over random events. But when their “hot hands” and “hot streaks” are analyzed over time they even out. How many gamblers win constantly at “luck-based” games?

 

Mental

People make their own luck – and good fortune. Yes, given there are instances where people were at the right time at the right place and “luck happened”. But Seneca the Roman philosopher reminds us that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I would add to that “and a willingness to do something about it”.

Life is not as easy as we would like. Most people will have to deal with challenges and tragedy during a lifetime. At times it is called “bad luck” to give us a hook to hang our emotions on. However, to deal with and overcome it we must muster wit, understanding and energy. Not good luck.

 

Emotional

It is said that Edison conducted 17,000 experiments before successfully creating the incandescent light bulb. Both success and failure motivated him – eventually holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name.

Successful people learn to manage the emotional contrast between the highs and the lows of winning and losing. They see themselves to be surrounded by countless opportunities every day – regardless of the uncertainties that also lie in wait. They celebrate success and put their losses behind them, letting go of their feelings of disappointment – and persist forward.

 

Intellectual

Cause and effect. That is what science and motivational speakers teach us. You do not wake up as a successful writer or speaker one morning.

Take your luck into your own hands. J.K. Rowling conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series on a delayed train in 1990 and only published the first novel in 1997. That is not called luck, but hard work whilst enduring many personal upsets including a death in the family and a divorce. Though the measure of her success can be calculated in terms of finances, what Is beyond calculation is the effect she had and still has on reading amongst the youth when reading was not in fashion.

Whatever happens, happens due to a cause and will have an effect in your life sooner or later. Why wait for luck when you can lead!

 

Spiritual

The great religions of the world is not the product of luck. And they do not believe in luck.

From a moralistic perspective, it seems that the cards would fall right for some – born into wealth – whilst others would not even sight a single card. Well, if we believe that we have no control over destiny then why not just sit and wait for a life ordained by The Angels of Luck or Predestination.

Your life is based on the merits of the choices that you make. You might be born into wealth but not into luck. Make your own.

 

Key Principles

  • Luck is luck in retrospect.
  • An aura of luck may surround self-made people, but there are rules to luck.
  • “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
  • Successful people manage the emotional contrast between the winning and losing.
  • Cause and effect. That is what science and motivational speakers teach us.
  • Your life is based on the merits of the choices that you make.

 

Action Steps

  • “Connect the dots” between cause and effect.
  • Study the lives and methods of successful people – then apply the rules.
  • Develop a willingness mindset to do something about “luck”.
  • Celebrate your successes and put your losses behind you.
  • Take your luck into your own hands.
  • Be prepared and create your own opportunities. Then your own luck.

 

 

PERSPECTIVES: PROCRASTINATION – Thief and Assassin

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“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Spanish Proverb

 

No one can manage Time. It is a fallacy. You can only manage yourself and your activities in relation to Time.

We all have the same number of hours in a week – 168. No more no less. Unless we depart from here early. Time eventually becomes the central theme for all concerned. Spend it wisely on that which creates and leaves behind your legacy.

Be aware of procrastination, the biggest Thief of Life – frittering away your most valuable non-renewable and ever-dwindling cornerstone – Time. People are often said to regret what they have not done, rather than what they have done. And this is equally true of Popes and Princes, Paupers and Poets alike. Strive to have no regrets. Manage and live your Life productively – else it will evaporate into unfulfilled retirement.

 

Physical

I hate morning walks. Especially wet wintery ones. It is a procrastination that I would gladly outsource. Thoughts of the day tumble through my sleep-soaked brain as I step out and begin. And 40 minutes later I have renewed acquaintances with every dog and bird on my walk, I mentally edited last night’s draft blog and gave the protagonist in my novel more character.

I love my procrastinating morning walks. Yes procrastination time can become productive time – if spent productively. It works for me. Let is work for you!

But take note, it can easily also become one of the most common and deadliest of characters – The Assassin of your Opportunities, physically, mentally and spiritually – if left unchecked. Remember – half the battle is won when you “just step out and begin”.

 

Social

Unwrap today by unwrapping this moment – then live in it. The other side of the coin – be careful not to leave planning for the future till the future comes around, because that will not be the moment you would enjoy living in. Live in the moment but plan for tomorrow. Don’t neglect either one.

Do something positive every day, something that underscores your reason for being. Encourage a grandchild. Visit a sick friend. Work out in the gym. Grow prize roses.

I learned 10 new Indonesian words every day for three months and 1,000 words later it opened a whole new world – I added more than 300 million to the number of people on the planet that I can communicate with in their mother tongue. Three months = 300,000,000 people for life – not a bad investment.

 

Mental

Do not feel limited or be afraid to fail. Fail if you must. But fail with a positive purpose. Failures should be seen as lessons learned and limitations are challenges that can be overcome by commitment and perseverance – which are tests of personal strength and character.

 

Emotional

Procrastinators “rotate on the hinges of Time which they promise to oil tomorrow”. But remember, Time will not delay. Dream a little but live a lot.

It is possible to spend more emotional energy thinking and worrying about an undone task than what it takes to actually do it. Once done it stays done, but to keep thinking about it fatigues you out and drains you emotionally.

Get up and do it – one step at a time, one word at a time, one stroke at a time. Envisage the end result. Do not let the number of steps stop you from seeing yourself at the top of the staircase.

 

Intellectual

The internet is friend and foe – rolled into one. I speak from experience. Remember that technology itself has no conscience, no compassion, no morals. It will gladly consume your day without feeling guilty. Many people get themselves lost in it, going down alleys until they realize they have spent an hour on nothing productive. Pace yourself when “catching up with the news”. Set yourself a limit. Allocate a specific portion of your time to the small screen – including for the purposes of relaxation.

 

Spiritual

How many sunrises and sunsets can you fit into a lifetime? About 25,567 of each at most from birth till age 70. How many of those will you procrastinate away? We die a little every day. So let us also live a little every day to balance the Ledger of Time.

The quality of your day and therefore your evening is determined by what you did or neglected to do during the day. This is also a replica in the small of the outcome of your life.

 

Key Principles

  • Yes procrastination time can become productive time – when spent productively.
  • Do something positive every day, something that underscores your reason for being.
  • Do not feel limited or be afraid to fail – with a purpose.
  • Procrastinators “rotate on the hinges of Time which they promise to oil tomorrow”.
  • The internet is friend and foe – rolled into one. It will gladly consume your day without feeling guilty.
  • How many sunrises and sunsets can you fit into a lifetime? Too few.

Action Steps

  • Just begin. It is still the best way to get anything done.
  • Live in the moment but plan for tomorrow. Don’t neglect either one. You need both.
  • Try things. Fail. But fail with a positive purpose in mind.
  • Get up and do things – one step at a time, one word at a time, one stroke at a time.
  • Allocate only “so much” of your time to the small screen – including for the purposes of relaxation.
  • We die a little every day. So, also live a little every day to balance the Ledger of Time.