Monthly Archives: October 2016

Halloween is coming, let’s act as if…

Acting as if I was a professional speaker
Acting as if I was a professional speaker

What are you going to dress up as?

Halloween is coming. Many of us go to the store looking for costumes last minute while many others know, months in advance, what costume they will be wearing. The big night arrives, we put our costume and assume the persona of our character. If we dress up like Dracula we act like Dracula, if we dress up like a witch we act like a witch.

We no only dress up, we also act as if…

For most of us, we participate in Halloween to have fun and we assume a personality other than our regular self. We dress like a particular character and in some ways, psychologically, we become that character. Have you ever seen a kid dressed up as Superman, or Batman? All of a sudden they are full of self confidence and they are ready to save the world. They believe in justice and equality and they hold their persona to a higher moral standard.

Dressing up and acting is not restricted to Halloween

But it is not only during Halloween when we dress up and assume a different persona. While having lunch with a friend, she was telling me that when she dresses well and puts on high heels, she feels more confident, more powerful. Me too, when I put on a suit, I feel more assertive and self confident.

Kate Stern, style coach and writer at, says that the way you dress tells other people how you want to be perceived. “Confident, successful people often use a sharp appearance to their advantage. Just ask yourself which person will attract more positive attention: the one whose look says powerful and professional, or the one whose outfit is bland and timid? If you want to get better results in life, learn to dress well. And as for having the confident personality to match: fake it ’till you make it.”

Act as if… for one week

What about if, for one week, this coming week, we were to dress up psychologically and act as if we were the person we want to be. Maybe we will act as if we had more self confidence, act as if we care about our health and go out for a run, act as if we were interested in learning and read a book, act as if we cared about our job and arrive on time, act as if we were full of ambition and do something to show how ambitious we are, act as if we care for others and perform many random acts of kindness.

William James, an American psychologist once wrote: “If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.”

OK, let’s do this:

  1. Visualize the person you want to be. Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be a person with better eating habits? Do you want to be in better physical shape? Do you want to be better educated?
  2. Study other people who you admire who represent that character. Let’s say that you want to be in better physical shape, read about others who are in good physical shape and figure out what they do. Let’s say you want to be a better business person, read about other successful business persons. I recently read the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and decided to model some aspects of his life.
  3. Find out what the daily habits are that you need to integrate into your life: watch less tv, do some meditation, do some daily exercise, stop eating junk food.

As you practice your new persona and  perfect it, you will believe you are that new person and soon you will no longer be pretending, you will be that person.

Happy Halloween.

Book review: Keys to Success by Napoleon Hill

20161018_153352A few years ago, I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Since then, I haven’t stopped raving about it and I recommend it  to anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship.

Believing that all the books written by Napoleon Hill would be great, I decided to read “Keys to Success.” I was disappointed.

Napoleon Hill was a reporter. In 1908 he interviewed Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men in the world at that time. During the interview, Andrew Carnegie suggested that he (Napoleon Hill)  interview all the successful people of the era and distill the secrets of their success. This was the turning point which defined Napoleon’s life.

Speaking at Toastmasters
Speaking at Toastmasters

After 20 years of research and hundreds of interviews, in 1928 he published “The law of success” in 15 volumes. The work didn’t sell well. The 15 volumes were edited down to one big volume (640 pages) which still it didn’t sell well. Finally, the big book was edited down to a 235 page book “Think and Grow Rich” which became a major best seller.

I mention this to highlight that Napoleon Hill was not a great writer, and only after 35 years of editing his work did he manage to create the book which made him famous.

Think and Grow Rich sold over 20 million copies during Napoleon Hill’s time. In the following 30 years of his life, Napoleon gave speeches, lectures and workshops about how to be successful.

During that time, Napoleon continued refining his material to better serve his audience. However, his new material was never published. Only after his death did the Napoleon Hill Foundation put together all the material he was using and condense it to publish “Keys to Success.”

Napoleon Hill never intended to publish another book. It is my opinion that the Napoleon Hill Foundation wanted to either capitalize on the name or serve the public who was still thirsty for his teachings.
The book was not a pleasant read. I found it dry and difficult to follow. The major lessons in this book were recycled ideas which were better explained and better written in “Think and Grow Rich.” If you are an unconditional follower of Napoleon Hill, maybe you will enjoy this book. I didn’t enjoy it and I give it 2.5 stars out of 5.

Personal finance and responsible consumption

Working as MC

What is responsible consumption?

It’s a movement created by consumers, like you and me, focused on making responsible purchasing decisions. The goal is to protect the environment, human rights, and reduce or eliminate animal cruelty.

As North Americans we live in a consumer society. We buy stuff because we think it’s fun, because we are bored and because we want to reward ourselves.

We purchase things without being aware of what we might be contributing to. We might be creating a lot of harm to the environment, we might be supporting the violation of human rights and we might be financing the continuous cruelty towards animals.

How can we be more responsible consumers?

The best way to be a responsible consumer is to ask yourself some question such as “what am I contributing to?” or “do I really need this?” If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. The end purpose is to reduce waste as much as possible and save our natural resources. This is not only good for the environment but it is also good for the wallet.

Every time I see a big SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) I feel sick to my stomach. There is no reason why anyone should drive a Hummer in the city. What they are doing is saying “fuck you” to the environment and to anyone who cares about it.

I recommend using public transportation, walking, to biking. If you have to have a vehicle, then purchase a fuel efficient one. As a money coach, I prefer that you buy a second hand vehicle.

Another thing that drives me crazy is the fashion industry. Every three months, with the change of season, retailers make us believe that we have to wear the latest trend in fashion. “Oh, this winter green is “in,” so throw out your blue coat from last year because you don’t want to appear out of fashion.” I am a strong believer that clothes should be worn until the end of their utility. If you are afraid that your friends will judge you because you are not up on the latest trend in fashion, you need to work on your self esteem or you need to have different friends.

When we practice responsible consumption, we not only help the environment and help ourselves, but we also influence others. I’ll give you an example. I used to eat meat every day, three times per day, but then I met my ex-wife, a vegetarian at the time (now vegan). Through her example I learned to consume less meat and now I eat meat about once per week. Our relationship made me a better consumer.

As consumers we have the ultimate power, we have the power of the purse. We can persuade other people, businesses and governments to be less wasteful, to protect the environment and to stop animal cruelty.

Book review: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson

The Ascent of MoneyMaybe the best history book about money that I have read until now. The author, Niall Ferguson takes us on a journey from the first forms of currency, to the assassination of the Inca race by  the Spaniard Conquistador, to the financial crisis of 2008.

The book was full of information nuggets. I found myself underlining paragraph after paragraph. By the end, however, it became a bit too complex for me and I found myself tuning out.

Niall Ferguson is a Scottish historian and professor at Harvard University. He specializes in International history as well as economic and financial history. Over his career he has written 11 books.

Spending some time with friends. :)
Spending some time with friends. 🙂

The book covers the history of money, credit and banking through the times. Although I liked the book and I give it 4 out of 5 stars, I believe the book is disorganized. Mr. Ferguson jumps from one time period to the next, from one geographic zone to the next and from one aspect of money to another. At many times I was confused and disoriented.

Overall, I recommend it. It’s entertaining and educational. You have my approval to buy it.