You know you're doing it right when your 12 year old daughter decides she wants to buy a computer. But not just any computer -- it must be a Mac -- "because dad wouldn't settle for any less." Not just any mac, a MacBook Air.
She faithfully walks the neighbors dogs early in the mornings or afternoons, and tutors their children when she comes home from school. Managing to save up enough cash she is rewarded when the day finally arrives months later and she buys her first laptop computer at age 12. Bought and paid for by pure perseverance.
You know you're doing it right when your 15 year old son decides that public school is just not good enough for him. He wants to attend French private school and is willing to go make the money for it himself. He pays his way to France to brush up on his language skills and returns to Japan ready to enroll. Unexpectedly, his full scholarship is revoked and he must find an alternative because going back to public school is no longer even an option in his mind.
Discouraged but not defeated he finds a fully accredited online high school with unlimited private tutoring and flexible hours so that he can also hold down a job, beginning his own journey to financial freedom.
He also just bought his own computer, an iMac no less, which he has every right to be proud of. Bought and paid in full by his hard work and perseverance.
You know you're doing it right when your teens sincerely thank you for helping them accomplish all of this, even though at times you feel unappreciated, unthanked, and just plain tired.
You know you're doing it right when you are not anxious about how your children will fare when they leave home, because you have seen first hand their own appreciation for hard work, perseverance, and best of all, gratitude.
Yes, you are doing it right.
The other day I got a call from an unknown contact. I ignored the call two times but the third time told me that it could be urgent.
"Hello, this is the Tokyo Police Department and we would like to ask you a few questions … please."
I immediately regretted taking the call.
"Were you driving a Toyota minivan two years ago on such and such a date at said intersection?"
How am I supposed to remember THAT? I told them I'm not sure.
"Well, we have records of a traffic violation involving you."
I remembered getting stopped for an illegal turn. I clenched my buttocks.
"OK, so you ticketed me, what's this call about?"
"We've been reviewing our past cases and although it seems you did commit an offense, the officer on duty did not file the paperwork properly."
"Well, it turns out that we have to pardon you for the infraction"
"Thank you, but it's been two years. What difference does it make now?"
"We would like to know which bank account to refund the fine of ¥7,000 to."
"OK … here's my info, and … um … thank you officer … have a great day!"
Not what I was expecting at all! I don't know if any other country in the world would do this. Has anyone had a similar experience?
My day was starting to look up. A few days later I got another call from the police asking me to meet them at the police station. It turns out they wanted to apologize in person for their mistake (of my NOT having to pay for my traffic offense!) and also swap my driver's license to to GOLD status.
The whole time I was there I was half expecting a bunch of cameramen to jump out from behind a desk and find out that it was one big prank. I even asked the officers (after getting my new license) if this was a joke. They didn't think it was funny.
In Japan a gold license means that you are a stellar driver and in the case of a traffic accident dispute, your word carries more weight because of your impeccable record.
So, I got my fine refunded, and driver's license swapped for Gold status, and policemen bowing to me in apology. Probably should have also gotten a photo of them bowing to me. Not bad!
I also saved the phone number to the police station in case they call again to give me more goodies!
This morning at 7:30 was the last annular solar eclipse to come this way until 2030. Didn't want to miss it, so we got the kids equipped with their snazzy solar-eclipse-viewing sunglasses and me with my Nikon D5100, which my wife bought me for my birthday present.
Here are some photo of the eclipse from the front balcony.
Although you can measure greatness in any way you like, and I respect them all, one thing I know from my experience is that leaning beyond your comfort zone toward your dreams is what expands your capabilities, and opens doors to greater possibilities.
The more often you lean beyond your comfort zone the easier it becomes, and the easier it becomes, the greater steps you take and soon you'll be doing things that you didn't think were possible for you or thought you didn't even want to do.
We all have dreams, some buried deep down from the first time we were made fun of as a child, but we all have them.
The people who are doing something about it, actively reaching out toward their dream in some way each day are the ones who have direction, drive, motivation and guts.
It's just a choice, not natural talent or ability that defines who is happy in the end. For those who are completely filled up and satisfied with where their life is now, I applaud you because you have now what most millionaires today thought they could achieve through their many accomplishments.
There are different things that each of us need to achieve in life to feel complete. When you can say to yourself "If I die today I will die happy because I know I have done the absolute maximum with what God has given me in my life." then you have reached the level of greatness that I aspire to.
If everyone worked at their jobs 9-5, there would be no Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers, Mother Theresa, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and anybody who's made a difference on the world stage.
People who feel that by quitting their 9-5 jobs they threaten the world financial system should not.
But there are those who want more.
Some want the chance, no, even just a faint possibility of attaining the extra-ordinary.
They will give up their "ordinary" existence in exchange for risk, adventure, danger, living life on their own terms, and ultimately FREEDOM.
The real threat is not that everyone quits their 9-5 jobs, but rather that those who have, the Mark Zuckerburgs, Ingvar Kamprads, Nelson Mandelas, Bill Gates's and Anthony Robbins's return to a 9-5 existence.
But in reality there is no threat either way because those who have tasted the extra-ordinary can never go back, and those who choose to continue to find reasons why they cannot will always find a reason.
As for world financial stability? With the vast majority of the world financial power's citizens working to make someone else rich, and the world economy the way it is now, do you really think there is a risk?