Salary vs. True Compensation

formsofcompensation

While earning money is great, it should never be the only form of compensation you receive. In fact, there are actually many formats of compensation, including, but not limited to, intellectual stimulation, learning valuable skills, gaining important experience, enjoyment, meeting interesting people (perhaps life-long friends), seeing interesting places, feeling fulfilled, etc. Read More »

Life Goes Fast!

timeflies

We all know that time seems to move faster and faster as we age. The older we get, the more the days and weeks literally seem to rocket by. The biggest marker of this for me is how fast the seasons change. When I was in school, I recall feeling that school holidays like spring break or Christmas break were quite lengthy. Today, 3 summer months feels more like 3 weeks with the leaves beginning to change in fall before I’ve even properly settled into the summer. Then the holidays hit and then the winter. Then another year gone.   What does all this suggest?  Read More »

5 Ways to Feel More Productive

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Productivity is something that I’ve grappled with as I’ve gotten older. The tricky thing with this concept is that feeling productive can be very fleeting and subjective, and it’s different for everyone. It is, however, human nature to NEED to feel like we’re doing something of value in our lives. And, productivity is a component of happiness. But, what does this really mean? Read More »

Smarter First Dates

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After many years of dating, I have found there to be several important fundamental rules to help make dating a more productive and positive experience for you and your date. While we all have different styles / modes when going on dates and there are lots of variables to consider, I believe that the following rules should be applied on every first date:Read More »

Beyond Your Comfort Level

comfortzone

In almost all cases, it is more rewarding, interesting and enriching to challenge yourself instead of maintaining some sort of familiar routine. At the same time, it’s common to feel safer and more comfortable when keeping familiar routines, avoiding new experiences, people and places. The Smarter Sooner guy, however, will challenge this and push beyond his comfort level at every opportunity. In the past few years, I’ve done this with greater frequency and have gained so much. I only wish that I spent less time cautiously staying too comfortable and more time pushing myself earlier in life. Opportunities to challenge yourself happen all the time and can be big or small things. We know we’re challenging ourselves when we feel a sense of discomfort or nervousness associated with new experiences and undertakings. When we feel this slight discomfort, we are ‘pushing beyond our comfort level’ and here are some common examples.Read More »

The Need for Recognition

Recognition_Award

When you accomplish something that is noteworthy, do you prefer that other people know so you can get some sort of ‘credit’ or acknowledgement? Would you rather have an audience so you can ‘prove yourself’ or make some sort of statement in front of them? If you make a donation to a charity, do you like to have your name attached to it so that people know you generously donated? Do you seek acknowledgement in general? Most of us, if being honest, will respond YES to these questions. It is common human nature to want credit because this credit, in our minds, helps shape (or augments) how we are perceived.Read More »

“Men Have Become Tools of Their Tools”

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The title of this blog is a famous quote from Henry David Thoreau. And while he said this about 170 years ago with an intended meaning that is a bit different than my blog’s use of the quote, it’s very relevant. Here’s the SmarterSooner interpretation… Simply put, the more we have, the more we complicate our lives. And, in fact, we become the tools of our tools. While human nature drives us to want more because we think it will enhance our lives, the opposite is often the case.   This notion is captured well in the following saying about buying a new expensive toy like a fancy car or boat: “The two best days of Porsche (or other fancy, expensive toys) ownership are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.” I have learned a lot about this over the years and share a number of examples that support this below. I hope this blog provokes you to think about your interaction with material things.Read More »

No More College / Career Anxiety

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More than 20-years after graduating college, I clearly recall how college was a very anxious and uncertain time in my life. I know I was not alone and that it’s common to feel this way during this period or any major transition in our lives. After high school, I felt a combination of real and self-imposed pressure to figure my life out and select a plan (college, whatever) that would lead me to be successful and happy. As much as I tried, I was young and inexperienced and didn’t know the best plan (sound familiar?).   I was lucky to go to a good college and just jumped in. Today, I can say that I made it and it’s important to reflect on one of the keys that got me here. This blog is dedicated to those who might be feeling anxious about what’s next either after leaving school or a job, or relocating and starting anew somewhere.  Read More »