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Perseverance is the Prerequisite to Prosperity

2016 has been an incredible year for me. I reached so many milestones and accomplished a lot of things that I am proud of. However, the road hasn’t been easy (and still isn’t). There are many things that have happened to me throughout my life that, at one point, caused me to doubt myself and almost give up. I feel like this year was a critical turning point for me because the stakes in my personal life are higher now. I’m getting older and I’m married with children. Every decision that I make effects them and sacrifices that don’t pay off can take a toll on everyone. I’m steering a bigger ship and it’s not always possible to turn on a dime or at a moments notice. And sometimes, I’m not as consistent as I would like to be both in my career and in my family. I probably spend half of my day strategizing and calculating my next move for this very reason. There just isn’t enough time to do everything I’m passionate about!

I’ve lived and learned the concept of incremental progress. Incremental progress is making a resolution to do at least one thing a day (or week, month, etc.) that brings you closer to a goal. It may sound like a very minuscule thing, but it’s an unbelievably difficult practice to keep up (especially when you don’t see the payoff immediately). But this is where perseverance comes in. Perseverance is finding a way to keep going when you feel like you can’t. It takes a strong will to continue to move forward when you’re tired, life isn’t working how you want it to, and you are limited on resources. The benefit of persevering is that when you stay active (that is, keep going), you discover new ways to get closer to what you want. You begin to see what you are made of and will discover how bad you want what you want. I like how Eric Thomas puts it, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Along the way, several people have come along and helped me in my pursuits without me even asking. I feel like this has happened because I prayed really hard for help and also because I refuse to quit. Some people just respected my grind and willingness to keep going. I’m stubborn as a mule when it comes to going after something I really want. It’s my gift and my curse.

Perhaps you haven’t arrived to the place in life that you feel you should be at. Life is a marathon and has a way or rewarding people that stick it out until the end of the race. I both challenge and encourage you to just put your head down and continue to stride forward. Sometimes, you just have to focus on the journey and not the destination. When you do this, I truly believe that you will land where you want, but you will also get some nice surprises along the way. My hope and prayer for you is that you will find material, mental, spiritual, and relational prosperity in 2017.

Peace

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The Importance of Building Generational Wealth (Part 1)

Building wealth is something that I’ve been passionate (and serious) about for the last three years. I think wealth building became very important to me after I had my first son. I realized that part of the legacy that I want to leave behind for him and my other son is that of financial independence. Financial independence means different things to different people. For me, it means the ability to generate your own income without having to work for someone else and being debt free. You can’t really be wealthy if you have debt. If you owe someone money, you have an undesirable obligation because you are essentially working for them. Credit card vendors work hard to get people into debt so they can earn interest off their hard work and time. It’s a phenomenal and highly effective business model!

I learned the hard way. After accumalating sizable debts (student loans, car debt, and credit cards), I realized that I wanted to put my economic energy into things that earn a financial return instead of continue to cost me long after I have enjoyed them. While the latest cars, fashion, and other toys felt great for the moment, they became liabilities that ate away at my financial security and decreased my long term economic power. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the finer things in life and indulge in them when I should (and sometimes when I shouldn’t). But after having kids, I feel a sense of obligation of giving my kids the right tools at a young age that teach them how to think about and use money that sets them up for long term success. My behavior is the best text book they will ever read even though I still get it wrong and am learning how to do things right myself. Every dollar we hold is a seed with the potential to generate many other dollars if invested (planted in the right soil) and managed. This is what I am now teaching them at age 1 and 3 (currently).

I have to come to learn that there are two main ways to build generational wealth and these are investing and business ownership. Many times, they are one in the same. Building a business is an investment of time and money. Building a wealth generating investment portfolio is an investment of time and money as well. I’ve read about people who invest (buy stock) in companies and hold onto the shares until they die and then pass them to their loved ones. The great thing about some of these investments is that they generate monthly and quartely dividends that can either be reinvensted to buy more stock or the owners can enjoy the dividend income.

I think whether we have the entrepreneurial spirit or not, at the very least we should take a portion of our income and invest it in some sort of financial vehicle that produces additional income (without us having to work for it). Some very prudent people don’t want to start a business, so they save up their money and put it into a family or friend owned business venture. There are so many creative ways to generate wealth. I’m of the opinion that future generations should be able to enjoy the fruits of their predecessors labor and hopefully take it to the next level. You don’t have to be the Walton’s (WalMart) or Rockerfellers to leave something that makes a significant impact in the lives of your loved ones. I recently read the story of a man who held the same job as a parking attendant for 44 years only making $12 an hour, but he invested his money consistently over that time period and now holds a $500,000 portfolio!

Personally, I am not financially wealthy yet. I am positioning myself to accomplish this goal however. I plan to let you in on my journey every now and then as I figure this thing out. If you have additional insights, please shoot me a comment.

 

Here’s a link to the story of that parking attendant if you’re interested.

Much love,

Sharp

 

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How to Stay Consistently Motivated

How does one stay consistently motivated? By keeping their vision in front of them. Be sure to give time to your passion on a daily basis.Don’t allow your dreams to collect dust,and if they have, dust them off and get back on track. Your vision will not fulfill itself. It takes dedication and perseverance. Talk about your vision often with people whom you can trust and read books that inspire you toward your vision. If you envision who you want to be and where you want to be, you can get there. Life has an interesting way of making us lose sight of our pursuits. We get entangled with problems, worries, bills, jobs, and forget about our passion. No wonder why so many people are miserable! Don’t let that happen to you. Spend at least 10 minutes a day working on your passion, increase that time once it turns into a habit. The more you let your vision consume your mind,it will feel as if the opportunities that get you closer to that vision appear more frequently. Stay with it!!

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Kobe Bryant Embodies Accuracy

Kobe Bryant is my all time favorite athlete. I’ve been able to watch him grow as a player, public figure, and person. He has inspired me so much that I’ve tried to emulate his work ethic in my own craft as a lyricist. In honor of his last time suiting up as a Laker, I wanted to post the section that I wrote about him that’s in my book Accuracy (2014, Rebel Firm Books/Trafford Publishing).

Excerpt:

Kobe Bryant knows a thing or two about accuracy.
The five-time World Champion, 16-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA First Team,

12-time member of the All-Defensive First Team and four-time All-Star
MVP has an unrelenting drive to be the best.
The only thing that’s as impressive as his athletic ability and passion
for the game is his longevity at an elite level. This has not come by accident.
Bryant adheres to a strict diet of little to no sugar and he works out six hours
a day, six days a week, six months out of the year. On average, he makes
between 700 and 1,000 shots during his workout. These are not shots taken
— these are shots made.
He understands that he’s not as young as he used to be and there are more
guys coming into the league who are younger and more athletic. Therefore,
Bryant is in the gym at 6 a.m. “blacking out.” Bryant doesn’t call what
he does working out, he calls it blacking out because he pushes himself past
his previous limitations until he is very uncomfortable. Bryant is a strong
proponent of stretching and he says that he is always learning new ways to
improve his game.
He dubbed himself the “Black Mamba,” the most poisonous snake in the
world that strikes with 99 percent accuracy. When you watch him play, you
see why the parallel is made. Bryant is still one of the most feared offensive
players in the league, as well as one of the better defenders. Many of today’s
greatest players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant mention Bryant
when discussing who they look up to and who has had influence on their
game.

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One Common Characteristic of Great People

A lot of the biographies that I’ve read about successful people usually share one common characteristic. At one point in time, these people had to overcome the valley of rejection. It was in these times that they fortified themselves and found something deep inside that caused them to keep pushing even when others didn’t believe in them. It’s hard to overcome rejection, of any form. But I’m starting to see that it is a prerequisite for almost everyone who wants to be great in life (and thereafter). You have to have a strong flame in order to leave a lasting impact, one that will not be put out by the harsh winds of life, indifference of those around you, and the flat out opposition you will face. One has to remain positive in the vast ocean of negativity and mediocrity that so many people accept. And this is no easy task, but then again, if it was easy everyone would do it.

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Incremental Success

More times than not, it’s the little decisions that we make consistently over a long period of time that produce the greatest dividends. Every now and then we get big windfalls of opportunity and success, but even those can be traced back to sowing little seeds of greatness day by day. We live in a time where everything is sensationalized in order to gain attention, but no one’s life is epic all of the time. We need to fall back in love with doing the simple things that lead to success and doing them over and over again. We will find that our consistent small efforts will gain momentum just like making regular little investments will eventually gain greater returns.

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Will Yourself to Victory

We cannot rely on emotions to overcome challenging circumstances. There comes a point when we have to reach deep down on the inside and push past how we feel. There will always be reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t accomplish something, but setting our will in the right direction will allow us to plow through our doubts, fears, and the hindering opinions of others. Looking to God enables us to keep victory in view despite what reality tells us at the moment. Instead of letting life dictate your outcome, be proactive and apply some force on life. What you and I envision will not fall into our laps by mere chance, it requires intense focus and thoughtful action.