What I’ve learned

I make no great claims to be any sort of genius.  I have a decent job that pays me well and I’m moving into a lovely new home soon.  Once or twice, though, I’ve had a couple of people describe me as ‘lucky’.  Taking aside how daft that sounds (I’ve got a friend with a perfect marriage and two beautiful kids – now THERE’S a lucky person!), it got me thinking about things.  I guess whilst I’ve got no brilliant life compared to someone like, I don’t know, Beckham, I do have things that other people don’t.  Why?

I guess part of it comes down to hard work, which is something a lot of people don’t want to hear.  Everyone – me included – wants to believe that there’s a shortcut to everything.  That you can learn guitar in six months or that you can build a business in a week.  It would be nice, wouldn’t it?  There’s not, though.  The things in my life that other people like, such as my salary or my home, I worked hard to get.  There were a lot of lonely nights in those early days, I can tell you.

I’m also nice to people, as a general rule.  In today’s world, it almost seems like being a bit nasty here and there is considered ‘cool’, with people who are kind often being taken as being weak.  I can see where people are coming from with this, but that’s not the case.  If you’re nice to people, they’re far more likely to help you out when you need something.  Sure, there’s the odd doofus who might try to take advantage, but believe me: most people are basically alright.

I also don’t stop learning.  I remember reading something by Tony Robbins, years back, basically saying that happiness equals progress, and I think it’s true.  Many people, once they’ve got that first job, just settle back, doing enough to avoid getting into trouble but never doing enough to really be taken seriously.   I’ve always tried to build my skills, even if I struggled with something initially.  To tell you the truth, for someone who works in finance I’m not even that good at maths, but I try to add a new skill to my professional bow each month, which does make a big difference.  That’s partially why I’ve put this piece in the ‘learning’ section: never stop learning!

Never had it easier – too much help for school children?

There is always a lot of talk about children who are under pressure at exam time getting so much help from their parents or teachers that they end up doing the work for pupils themselves. The internet is a great resource for kids to do research and learn without having to buy a book or get them from a library, and there is so much information in one place. These days you can go online and find a sample essay or a simple to follow example for pretty much any piece of coursework that is assigned  – so is it all too easy?

I don’t think that it is, but in my opinion, methods of assessing children and their capacity to learn and reason need to be altered to keep up with modern times. Rather than getting them to just learn facts and figures, which can generally be found with a quick search, we should be teaching them how to sort the reliable sources from the unreliable ones and that not everything on the internet should be taken as fact. This is an important skill in modern times; any one can post anything online without having to cite references or sources, and in many cases it is the opinion of the writer rather than a factual account that is the first result to pop up on a search.

Learning to sort out a credible source from a less reliable one is a hugely useful skill, and knowing what sources to trust will really help the children that are realistically more likely to believe what they read on the internet that what their teachers or parents tell them, especially if any kind of celebrity is involved. There is also an important safety angle in this; just because you are chatting to a person who says they are your age and a friend does not mean that they are in reality.

I’m not saying that children should not be taught facts and figures, just that they should also be taught to question what they are told and use common sense to evaluate the quality of the information; I believe this is a vital skill for anyone, and there are lots of adult out there who would also benefit from learning that just because something is in black and white it is not necessarily a fact.

Learning how to manage your finances

As a businessman who works in the financial sector, one would think that my personal budgeting and financial management would be impeccable. Sadly, this is not always the case. It happens quite often that I run into cash flow problems because of some impulse purchase I made during the month.

When I saw an advertisement for a course on personal budgeting in the newspaper a few weeks ago, I immediately decided to enrol. It stretched over three evenings, starting on a Tuesday night.

To be quite honest, I didn’t learn a lot that I didn’t already know. What I did learn was the importance of discipline when it comes to managing your personal finances. Impulse buying is the quickest way to get into trouble, and that just happens to be my greatest weakness.

The lecturer also stressed the danger of falling into debt and how one could get rid of debt by consolidating a number of small loans into one bigger loan and then paying it off as quickly as possible.

From now on, I am going to work strictly according to my monthly budget. I have incorporated an amount for unforeseen expenses into my budget to allow for when things break and need unexpected repairs. I am also going to try to pay off my credit card debt as soon as possible because the interest rate is very high.

In the future, I am going to be much more disciplined than before. I am, after all, considered to be a financial expert. The fact that my personal finances do not reflect this reality is shameful and I am determined to fix this once and for all.

I found the perfect way to improve my essay writing

As you are probably aware by now, I’m a businessman and I work in the finance sector.  I completed my formal university education a few years ago.  As you are also no doubt aware, however, in today’s fast changing environment it is absolutely imperative to keep up to date with the latest developments in one’s field.

This is why I have, in a certain sense, become a perpetual student.  I am always enrolled for one or other further education course.  Right now I am studying advanced financial budgeting through a distance learning institution in London.

The only thing about this that really bugs me is that studying inevitably involves writing essays – and I hate doing that.  Even if I know the subject fairly well, for some reason I often find it very difficult to get started.  It’s as if the right words just won’t come.

That’s why I started searching for someone to help me with writing essays.  And one day, after a Google search, I stumbled upon the perfect essay-writing partners.  These guys are called MBT and I’ve learned more about essay writing from them than I ever knew was possible.

They have thousands of essays on every subject under the sun on their website, and all of these essays have been written by highly qualified staff members.  There are also numerous teacher-critiqued essays on the site with very helpful notes, comments and summaries.

I use the ideas, advice and inspiration I get from MBT to help me write my own essays, virtually on a daily basis.

Learning a language online

Knowing a second language is a skill that I think most people should possess.  I learned French in school for roughly five years, but I can literally remember nothing.  I recently met someone from Sweden who claimed to have learned English in five years during the time that he was in high school.  How is this even possible?  I came to the conclusion that it’s down to films and music.  People from other countries in Europe are exposed to English on a daily basis through the arts.  It’s certainly a good point.

Learning a second language is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts and courage to commit.  Recently I’ve been looking at online language courses.  There are so many different ways to learn over the internet.  Some people even get personal tuition through webcam sessions!

The most common method is through voice recognition, picture learning and phrase mimicking – simply a digitized version of what we would have learned face to face at school.  Now I just need to figure out which language I’d like to learn.  I think the most important aspect of learning a language is functionality.  I know I’ll forget everything if I don’t have the chance to practice with real people around me.  Plus, I don’t think the language will hold my interest long enough for me to learn it otherwise.

So it looks like I’ll begin soon.  I just need to find a tutoring system that I feel comfortable with, a reasonable price and most importantly…a language!

Making money with www.forexrobottesting.com

One of the ways I like to practice making cash is by using brokerage websites.  In recent months, I’ve been using a Forex demo account to help improve my money making skills.  I think that taking advantage of these demo accounts is perfect for people who are looking for ways to understand the industry and how it works.  Demo accounts are excellent for me, not because of my industry knowledge, but literally because of the functionality of the computer system.

Although the market is very much the same, I certainly find it slightly more confusing when I use a website.  One of the most important elements of the business is to study the history of the stock market and then try to detect trends.  A website like www.forexrobottesting.com provides the perfect way to keep an eye on the business in real time.  This is perfect for me, as sometimes knowing the short term trends can be very beneficial when it comes to generating instant income.

I guess the next step of the process is to move from the demo account onto a real account and then to test the skills that I’ve acquired and see if it will be able to make me a significant amount of income.  I’ve read a lot of reviews and opinions of the Forex online system, and many people seem to have positive experiences.  I think the primary element is to not rush and to make sure that I clearly understand the processes prior to placing real cash into the system.  At the end of the day, nobody ever makes money without a little effort.