Wednesday

48 Laws of Power: Eight

Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack. You hold the cards.


I'm not sure where I heard the following, but it would be wise to remember. Beware of the person who promises something not within their power to give. It's amazing to me the cards people wave in your face to get you to act according to their motives, especially cards they have no control over. I learned this first hand during a stint of self employment. At times I would run into someone who proposed that they were so well connected that if I would extend them a deal, they could in turn hook me up with a plethora of business. To this day, I haven't seen it happen for me. What I have seen is the giving into of another's motives for a measure of gain that isn't concrete. Eventually I learned that these folks were just running game or trying to place themselves in a place of power over me. In each instance, I had the power to shut them down by not participating. You can do the same.

Can you recall a time someone promised you something just to get you to respond to them in a certain manner and then you found that what they were really doing is trying to manipulate you into giving them what they wanted? If so, tell us about it.



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Tuesday

Back on Track Tuesdays: The Alchemist

The Alchemist opens with the story of Santiago, a young shepherd, on his way to a small village in search of love. However Santiago's travels take a turn after he has a dream interpreted and learns that treasure is in his life's path. The reader travels with Santiago on his journey toward destiny and is treated to some valuable lessons in wisdom.

This story also gives the reader an opportunity to examine themselves while introducing them to the idea of finding their own Personal Legend.

What is a Personal Legend? It's that thing that you have always wanted to accomplish. I'm certain many of you that read and host blogs can relate to that.

For the purposes of this review, I would like to entertain some of the questions included at the conclusion of the book as well as some of the nuggets that have been sprinkled throughout the story. Feel free to explore any missed elements contained within the pages we are discussing in the comment section as well.

We will cover pages 1 - 24. I know these may different depending on how your book is laid out, but this is the story up to the point that Santiago is introduced to the idea of a Personal Legend and he is debating whether to give The Old Man one-tenth of his flock.

Discussion Questions: Cover anyone you like or all of them.

In the Prologue, the alchemist reads a version of the story of the death of Narcissus that has a somewhat different ending from the traditional telling, one that emphasizes the grief of the lake into which Narcissus will no longer be looking at his reflection. In beginning the book with this story, what themes and relationships is Coelho telling us to watch for throughout Santiago's story? Do you think there may be an element of "narcissism" in the pursuit of one's Personal Legend?



Early in the story, Santiago recounts a discussion with the Merchant's daughter with whom he is enchanted. During the discussion she questions that if he is as intelligent as he appears, why is he simply a shepherd. Are you currently in a job that, to those looking from the outside, defies conventional wisdom? How is that job keeping you from fulfilling your Personal Legend?


Santiago was four days away from arriving at the village of the Merchant's daughter and he experiences excitement and unrest. He proposes that maybe the girl had already forgotten about him and that he was just one of many passing Shepherds. His response to his unrest is, "It doesn't matter, I know other girls in other places." Do you find that it is easier for you to let go of your dreams as opposed to holding on to them and having faith? How does your position make you feel?


Do you believe in the following statement, why or why not? At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. What is this statement called in the book?

The Old Man tells Santiago that "Treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried by the same currents." What does this statement say to you?


There is so much more in those first 24 pages, so if I didn't hit a point that you'd like to discuss, by all means, bring it up in the comments. The floor is now yours.

Monday

Money Mondays: Tithing 3

In case you missed my disclaimer in the comment section last week, these posts are not an opportunity to preach. However, it is a chance for those who wish to discuss their positions the chance to do so without beating the opposition into submission. With that said, let's jump right on in.

Tithing under Mosaic Law.

The statutes of Mosaic Law are laid out in the book of Leviticus, particularly the matter of tithing. Today we are going to dispel the myth that tithes were given as animals and/or as a product of the field because society at that time was based upon Agricultural standards. That is true in part, but what most people fail to acknowledge is that money was a vital part of the society of that day. If that is the case, why didn't those under Mosaic Law tithe money? I won't answer that, I just want you to think about it for now.

So, what does the book of Leviticus say with regard to tithing? The 27th and final chapter of Leviticus goes into this matter in detail. It is interesting that the chapter opens with dedicating oneself to the Lord. It was common in those times for someone to vow a person to the Lord but in order for it to be legit and recognized by the Lord, you had to fork over the dough. Here were the rules.


50 Silver Shekels (that's money y'all) for a man 20 - 60 years old.
30 Silver Shekels for a woman 20 - 60 years old. (please no feminist stances)

20 Silver Shekels for a boy 5 - 20 years old
10 Silver Shekels for a girl 5 - 20 years old

15 Silver Shekels for a man 60 years and older
10 Silver Shekels for a woman 60 years and older


The only reason I show the above was to prove that money was used to present to the priests in certain cases. Another point of note, Leviticus 27:8 says that for persons who make a vow and cannot meet the valuation, the priests can then set a value proportionate to the resources of the person who made the vow.

The 27th Chapter goes on to deal with offering animals, houses and fields and having to accept the value given by the priests. The value is set primarily as a measure of its redeeming value if for some reason the person who offers it decides they want it back. In those instances, the value plus 1/5th is required.

Finally, the last 4 verses of Leviticus 27 deal with this whole matter of tithing. Tithing according to the Law of Moses deals with only land, flocks and herds. Verse 30 makes it clear, all tithes of the land, levied on the produce of the earth or the fruits of trees, belong to the Lord. Verse 32 says, all tithes of flock or herd, the tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman's staff shall be a thing consecrated to the Lord. It goes on further to say you can't pick out the good and the bad and that if you decide you want to redeem your tithe you have to pay it's valuation plus 1/5th its value (Tithe plus 20 percent), but none of that really matters since we aren't under Mosaic Law. My point is that the Mosaic Law tithe was never about money EXCEPT in the case of redeeming your tithe or when dealing with the instruction given in the book of Deuteronomy (Moses instruction to the Israelites before he dies).

In the book of Deuteronomy, 14th Chapter Moses lays out instruction for the tithe. In Deuteronomy tithing takes a twist from conventional teaching. Moses instructs them to do this each year. It should be noted that this is not a different tithe from that outlined in Leviticus. It is the one and same tithe. Moses is just reemphasizing what must be adhered to, even after he is gone. Paraphrased Deut. 14:22-23 -- Every year take a tithe of all that your sowing yields on the land and in the presence of the Lord, in the place that he chooses to give his name a home, you are to EAT THE TITHE of your corn, your wine and your oil AND the first-born of your herd and flock; so shall you learn to fear the Lord your God always. Verses 24 - 27 goes on further to say that if it's just too far to travel with your tithe to the place that the Lord made his home (the Temple), then you must turn your tithe into money and with the money in hand you must go to the Temple and buy whatever you like to eat. There is also instruction that every third year the tithe was to be laid out to give to the Levite (tribe dedicated to serving the Lord on behalf of the Israelites), the stranger, the orphan and the widow who live in your towns so that they may come and eat and have all they want. In this manner, God is glorified because he provided for them as well.

So that there is no confusion, tithing was done yearly because it wasn't money based, it was driven off of the harvesting of crops. I imagine that at different times of year the tithe was given because otherwise certain crops wouldn't last, for example, you wouldn't hold an apple harvest until winter. I'm not sure how those with cattle would have adhered to the rule, although animals do go into heat at certain times of the year. Therefore, I would also imagine there being an increase in flocks and herds at various times of the year as well. In that regard, there was always a reason to celebrate the goodness of God, because he was constantly providing.

So lets review. What have we learned today.
1. There was a system of money in place during Mosaic Law.
2. Tithing was never about money, but provision for God's people. Anywhere you see tithing in the Old Testament, it is applied to agriculture, flocks or herds, because that is what God intended for the Children of Israel. (This point does not overlook that the times now are different and thus money is required so that churches stay operational. I'm just laying out the facts so that everyone is empowered with the proper knowledge.)
3. The tithe was used to bless those that gave it as well as those who couldn't give.

Questions, Comments, Criticisms?


Next week -- Are you cursed financially because you don't tithe?



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Friday

The Rake

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT


Some CLOWN by the name of "The Rake" is leaving long messages in the comment section, SO I changed the settings so that if you don't have an id you can't leave a comment. Hope that doesn't inhibit any of the legit readers from participating.

Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

Rich Classics

I decided to dig into the wealth of posts that I have and pull out some classics from times gone by and let some of those new to The Rich House get a feel for where we have evolved. -- Original Post done November 30, 2006



Lately, it seems like my language has been slipping. When I was younger I would cuss a lot, it was like some crazy rite of passage. Now that I'm older, I don't cuss that often, unless I'm extremely mad and other words just won't do, but I rarely get that angry. Nevertheless, lately I'm finding that it's getting easier and easier to let little words slip through. Maybe it's my frustations that are bringing them forward, maybe it's some of the music I listen to, maybe it's just me. I don't know, but I kept thinking about it and I wrote this little piece about it. Feel free to share your thoughts on the piece and/or the subject in general.

THE ATTRACTION


Cussing is the shit that lets motherfuckers know what the hell it is you are trying to say.
But why is it that cussing makes me feel like I’m no longer in the mix, but out?

Mommi says good Christians don’t talk like that
Could be shawty is right

But does keeping it real make me a different kind of cat?

Every now and then I like to release a word or two as part of my verbal flow,
It offends some
That’s what their faces show

It’s not the standard vernacular of Kings, that's what I heard'em say
Could it be that denouncing it, controls me into moving their way?

The words make me feel empowered
But the stares make me feel small

Does he have to talk like that?
Is it really any business of y'all?

I tried to stop, but I guess the demon got lonely, so he came back
I want to be free to cuss but somehow I feel like I'm not acting right

Do I need to have hands laid on me and let the Spirit take control?
The more I cuss, the more I want to cuss
It’s like liquor and sex, you can only have what’s been allotted
or you end up on a roll

I'm intoxicated enough to dance on the table
But I guess I’ll sit here and just drink from this cup.

I wonder who amongst you out there
feels this position is f'cked up.



Do you cuss? Why or why not? You tell me.


About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Wednesday

48 Laws of Power: Seven

Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit


Use wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.

At first glance this smacks of absolute trickery and manipulation, but if you look closer you will see that this law is the markings of a great many successful leaders.

When you think of Microsoft only one name comes to mind, Bill Gates. However, there is no way possible for Bill Gates to do all that is required for Microsoft to maintain it’s dominance without the assistance of others. Yet he gets the glory. Only the flip side, he gets the troubles, but that’s another post in and of itself.

In order for you to ascend to the heights of power whether it be in your own business, corporate America, or the public sector, you will have to acquire the skill of getting others to buy into using their skills to benefit you and your vision. Those who fail to employ this skill will forever be amongst those known as “the worker bee.”

It is fine to start out as a one man show, but at some point in order to get to the top, you have to bring in others. Sure, you may have to compensate them, but that is the cost associated with ascension. Having been in business myself, I will let you know that this isn’t always easy. Even in the workplace you find it difficult. I’m sure you know someone who does just enough to get by as opposed to working to get the team on top. The goal is not to just get people to work for you, but to get people to take ownership to the point that they live to push you and the team to victory. Not everyone has this ability, but those that do will find that they couldn’t possibly be where they are without the help of those around them. Develop this art, it will serve you well.



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Tuesday

Back on Track Tuesdays

Some books are incredible. The truly great ones live up to the hype as well as exceed your expectations. I’m excited to say that I have found such a book. It is simply written, yet profound. If it doesn’t touch your life and leave you the better I’d be inclined to say that you aren’t among the living. The book I’m referring to, I had heard about in passing over the years but I didn’t decide to pick it up until it was recommended by one of my favorite entertainment personalities -- Will Smith.




Having read it over the span of two days, I can tell you, this book came into my life at the right time. I suspect if you follow this series, it will be the same for you.

I would like to hold an online discussion regarding this book, but for that to take place I will need your assistance. I will need you to either check it out from the library or go to your nearest bookstore and purchase a copy. If you are hungry it should draw you in and you should be ready to participate by the time you arrive here next week on this day.

Who’s down for reaching their personal legend? Who's already read the book?


About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Monday

Money Mondays: Tithing pt. 2

As you can see from last weeks post and responses, there are many different views on tithing. So what I intend to do is lay it out as neutral as possible and either solidify your position or give you just cause to change your position altogether. In order to do that we have to give you appropriate background.

Old Testament Tithing can be broken down into two categories – PML (Pre-Mosaic Law) and Mosaic Law.

PML – Sometimes folks say they don’t tithe because the practice was part of Mosaic Law and that it is no longer necessary to maintain Mosaic Law. Those people are correct in their assessment that it is not necessary to perform Mosaic Law practices, but they are wrong in assuming that the Old Testament only presents tithing within The Law. There are instances that occur prior to Mosaic Law where tithing is displayed in the bible.

The first instance of tithing occurs in Genesis 14 when Abram (in later references - Abraham) is met by Melchizedek after Abram returns from battle to retrieve his nephew Lot. Abram gives Melchizedek a tithe of all that he captured in response to God allowing him to be victorious in battle. Side note: The original battle was 5 kings against 4 kings in which the 4 kings prevailed. The army comprised of the 4 kings took all of Sodom and Gomorrah’s goods to include the people who didn’t flee and this included Abram’s nephew Lot. Abram hearing that his nephew was captive took 318 of his trained servants and came up victorious against these 4 kings. Needless to say, God was with him.

The second occurrence happens after Jacob, Abraham’s grandson has an encounter with God in a dream. After awaking he makes a vow that if God will be with him to protect and take care of him then he promises to give a tenth to God in response to their agreement (covenant).

After reading these two accounts one can not deny that tithing was in existence PRIOR to the enactment of Mosaic Law, but what I think is important to notice is that in each instance it was done in conjunction or in response to a covenant agreement. What do I mean by that? A covenant agreement is an agreement between two or more parties where the specifics (the do’s and don’ts) are laid out for each to follow. In the aforementioned cases, tithing was done as a show that God was responsible for protecting, providing, and imparting wealth. Therefore, as a show of gratitude, a tenth (tithe), was given to the priests in response to God holding up his end of the agreement.

It is important to note that Abraham represents the Father of the lineage of the people in which God intended to bless. In fact, it can be said that Abraham opened the door of blessing (redemption) to modern day Christians.


Next week we will tackle tithing under Mosaic Law.

Questions, Comments, Criticisms?



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Friday

Friday Funny

Alright. It's time to put it down in the "A"

ATLANTA's in the house.


[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]


About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Wednesday

48 Laws of Power

Law 6
Court Attention at all Cost



Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.


I’m not sure if I agree with this law and I don’t have my text available for review of the subject matter, but what I will say is that this should be done with balance in mind. While you do want to stand out, you don’t want to come across ostentatious. I think there are subtle ways that we can interject our style, personality, work ethic, beauty, talent or other interpersonal skills without coming across as too arrogant. A failure to maintain balance will have you transgressing the law and thereby repulsing the very thing you are attempting to attract. In that vein, I suppose one can obtain some level of aesthetic power. I think this law would tend to work better in corporate and entertainment settings, but I would have to add a warning. Never court attention for a place of standing that you are not fully prepared to reign, because without substance power just might turn it's back on you. And suffice it to say at that point, all eyes will be on you.




About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Monday

Money Mondays: The Coveted Tenth

I have wanted to address the topic of tithing (giving 10 percent of ones income to the church) for well over a year, but I have always been hesitant because it is one of those hot button topics for Christians. However, I decided there is no sense in avoiding the issue, lets take it head on. I will say that I have been on both sides of the issue so for that matter, I have heard it all and I have studied the subject exhaustively, so nothing you say here will surprise me.

In order to get this rolling we are just going to open the floodgates and let you speak your piece, because I have some future posts coming on the subject, but first things first -- Simple question: Do you believe in tithing? Why or Why not.

I found this cartoon caption and it was interesting. I won't say whether it expresses my current view or not, its just blog content at this point.




About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Friday

Funny Friday

Chi-town stand up!

Since I like comedy I think I'm going to start featuring comics from where my bloggers at. I'm going to say it now. It's gone be hard finding one from Connecticut, so if you know one drop me a line at therichhouse@yahoo.com

I'm into multi-cultural comedy, so don't be shy.


[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Wednesday

Power Nap - Hypothetically Speaking

I decided to skip The 48 Laws of Power today in favor of a post I was holding on to for Hypothetically Speaking, the series started by blogger Don of Minus the Bars. Don, I know you're watching, so this one is in memory of you. I miss your blog, that's on the real. Hope you come back to the table eventually. Iron sharpens iron my brother. When cats step away, a void is left and we are lacking an element designed to help keep us sharp. Which reminds me, none of us are here for ourselves. I know at times it feels like we're on this island all along, just going through some motions, but somebody out there is the better for our being here. So, let's keep soldiering.


In the meantime, check out this CTG Writers Group entry for
Hypothetically Speaking.


“Benny! Can you explain to me what this means?” Caroline said in loud accusatory tones. Benjamin Kneadmore , heavy in the throes of slumber, continued to lay motionless as his afternoon nap was being rudely interrupted by Caroline’s incessant jabbing to his shoulder.

“What…,” he said before fading out only to feel the pointed finger impugning his relaxed deltoid. “What!” he then blurted between cracked vocals as he scurried to ascertain just what the problem was now. Lifting his eyes like a well sprung pull shade, he turned from the pillow and began taking in the image of Caroline, his wife of a few good years, standing with her left arm attached to her hip and her right hand displaying his cell phone. He knew at that moment that he didn’t need to see her face to tell this wasn’t going to be pretty.

“This!” she continued. “Can you explain to me the meaning of these text messages from Naomi?”
“What are you talking about?” Benny said reaching for the phone while making sure his puzzled facial expression was firmly in tact. While glancing at the messages he yawned and wondered, “I thought I deleted all of those.”

Reading his expression, she followed with, “I bet you thought you erased them all, but there they were waiting to be found. I’ve had this sinking feeling that you’ve been messing around and I wish you would just tell me the truth!”

“Not this subject again,” Benny said as he rolled his eyes, an act to ensure that his body language didn’t betray him. Mr. Kneadmore had managed to keep Naomi a secret for months. She was an administrative assistant in his office, someone he innocently took a liking to during their time of working on the Philadelphia Commons Acquisition Project. What started out as lunch and a little relationship advice had spilled over into something quite different. The text messages were harmless. Benny knew she didn’t have anything there. However, Mr. Kneadmore’s and Naomi’s history was another matter altogether. Now that Caroline was on to him, Benny didn’t know how far she would go before she came upon the truth.

“Is there something going on between the two of you?” Caroline inquired further.
Mr. Kneadmore didn’t respond. He just gave off a blank stare as his mind was drawn to the thoughts of Naomi. In those split seconds, images of Naomi filled his conscious. Benny thought about how he never intended to go after this woman. How one day out of nowhere she just took up residence. Now, presented with Caroline’s question, Benny’s first thought was to lie. He could likely get away with it, but to be honest, he wanted to put an end to the speculation. Go back to the way things used to be between him and Caroline. Over the course of time things had grown unsettled between them. Every other week or so he was denying any wrong doing that her intuition warned her of otherwise. A time during which he realized he needed to distance himself from Naomi or risk losing Caroline. Mr. Kneadmore wanted peace. He didn’t like the riotous volatility that had resulted from his inattentiveness of Caroline. She could tell something was awry, so she had taken him to task on everything from working late to the reasoning behind his change of hairstyle. He repeatedly denied wrong doing, but Caroline would not cease until she got to the bottom of the matter. With that in mind, Benjamin wondered, what if it came out later? Would Caroline leave him for having lied? Maybe he’d just tell her what she wanted to hear and get it over with. Tell her the absolute dirty truth. If Caroline was going to ever hear of it, their relationship would fare better if the admission came from him.

Benjamin stared beyond Caroline as his thoughts darted fiercely through his mind. Benny loved Caroline something awful; Mr. Kneadmore had just momentarily lost his way. She could understand that couldn’t she? With the moment upon him and no time to prepare, Benny didn’t know which way he wanted to turn. “Answer me!” Caroline finally demanded, “Is there something going on between you and this Naomi woman?” Just as he was about to speak, his cell rang. He looked at the number. It was Naomi.

Hypothetically speaking if you found yourself in this predicament, what would you do? Feel free to answer from either characters perspective.

Additional question:

Benjamin spoke of loving Caroline. Do you think it is possible to truly love someone and engage in an act of deception? Does love make concessions for those actions?

From a woman’s perspective, do men fair better if they just tell the truth about indiscretions. Why or why not?



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Tuesday

Back On Track Tuesday

Be Fearless In Your Approach

What is the one thing that you approach fearlessly or with great confidence?

When you find yourself in moments of uncertainty, transpose the event/thing you are facing into the object you normally approach fearlessly. For example, when I was single I was highly confident that all things being equal I could have any woman I wanted. It didn’t matter who she was. I always felt that given the opportunity, I could pull it off. Mind you, it took me some time to get there, but I taught myself to never be afraid to approach a woman regardless of how attractive I thought she was. There was always a way to win her over.

Now that I’m happily married and have no need to utilize that skill for relationships, I’m learning to transpose that mindset over to other areas. If I have a goal that seems daunting, I relate it to a woman and ask myself, how can I best approach the situation and come out on top? When I look at things in that light, the fear is removed. Rejection becomes a non-issue. Not being worthy is un-thought of, and hearing no is not an option. I’m the man for this. Make no bones about it.

If my object is the high maintenance woman. I evaluate my options to overcome the lifestyle/money issue.

If my project needs me to commit over time before it will “put out”, I find other qualities that I can appreciate in the meantime.

If my project is the more mature woman who really needs someone with more character, panache and experience, I do my homework and make sure I come to the table correct.

If my goal seems to be playing hard to get, I look at the long term rewards and decide then and there that it is worth the work.

No matter what my goal presents, I decide to face it from a position of power as opposed to one of defeat. It is the same thing you must do. You have to find your place of power. If you are fearless in sports, translate your goal metaphorically into a sport and break it down so that you are in a position to win. If you are an artist or an entertainer look at this thing as "the next level" in your craft and attack. By taking this position, the fear of losing is removed and you allow your creativity to flow. You are able to effectively evaluate the hurdles and come up with a game plan that will allow you to achieve your goals in full.

You must know that the problem you are facing is a fa├žade. You have the answers in or around you. Look at it again. Don’t just give up on it. Who says you can’t have what you want? Find your place of power and be fearless in your approach. The victory is yours for the taking. The question is - Do you want it bad enough?



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Monday

This Just In: 3 Feet High and Rising


If you haven't checked out "Love and Redemption" by the up and coming authors in Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1, take it from Conversations Book Club and grab a copy. Appearing in the first volume are the following bloggers: Mizrepresent (Diane Dorce'), Raw Dawg Buffalo (Torrance Stephens), CapCity (C. A. Paige), Dave J. (D.R. Johnson), Literary Felonies (April C. Hayes), Girly Girl (Saadia Ali Aschemann) and yours truly, Rich (R. Fitzgerald). Also not to be left out -- Poetry submissions by bloggers Don of Minus the Bars (Don Smith), MysTery (Charinsa T.), Xcentric Pryncess (Brandy McCrary), and Bygpowis (Orande Ashe). Production assistance by bloggers A New Man (Cedric Harris) and Denea (Denea Marcel)

The title is available direct at http://www.i-lit.com/ (copy will be signed by one or more authors) or on Amazon. You can also ask your local library or neighborhood bookstore to order a copy.

CONVERSATIONS' "TOP 20 SUMMER READS", 2008 (Arranged in no particular order)
1. "Bloggers' Delight, Volume 1 (Love & Redemption)" by Firefly Publishing & Entertainment
2. "One Dead Lawyer" by Tony Lindsay
3. "Final Fling," by Torrian Ferguson & Brian W. Smith
4. "A Street Girl Named Desire," by Treasuer Blue
5. "No Place Safe" by Kim Reid
6. "Hiding in Hiphop" by Terrance Dean
7. "Electric Honey" by Sam Love
8. "The Prayer Chest" by August Gold & Joel Fontinos
9. "Gettin' Caught Up Wit' Nina," by P. Elaine Archie
10. "My Life in Porn," by Bobby Blake
11. "Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?" by Thomas Kohnstamm
12. "Pulpit Confessions," by Peron F. Long
13. "Rollin' With Dre," by Bruce Williams
14. "Grown & Gangsta," by Jacki-O
15. "The Enemy Between My Legs," by Stephanie Jones
16. "Obsessions," by Theresa J. Gonsalves
17. "Zoom Power," by Monica Carter Tagore
18. "How To Wow," by Frances Cole Jones
19. "My Soul Cries Out," by Sherri Lewis
20. "Destiny...Interrupted," by Erica N. Martin/Greg O. Jones


About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Money Mondays: The Futureshock


The future will mirror the present, until your present action, takes steps toward future results.

Most of you that comment here regularly are the exception to the rule. You have to be. Based on your responses, I can tell that you are smart and you take the steps you are supposed to take despite the staggering number of indebted Americans that live amongst the population. But what about those that don't comment or aren't doing o.k., what can they do to begin to turn it all around?

Take the appropriate actions now that will give you the desired future results.

Most people are generally optimistic about the future, especially when they are young. It's not uncommon to feel like jobs will get better, salaries will increase, you'll gain a spouse and another income, or some event will occur that equates to more money and better days. For the most part this is the American train of thought. This isn't a bad thing, but what this type of attitude does is give you an excuse not to be vigilant about changing your future now. It also doesn't prepare you for the day that either none of this happens as expected or it does, yet you still find yourself in the hole.

The numbers don't lie, for years Americans have been saving less while debt has been on the rise. Now with the basic living expenditures continuing to rise, Americans are finding themselves in a pinch and contrary to popular opinion, the future will not take care of itself. If you don't change your behavior now in favor of the future, you will continue to experience your present state of being when the future arrives. Either that or things will be worse.

The future two-step

Step 1. Put your guard up.
Repeat after me - Credit cards are not for emergencies. The company responsible for selling the American public onto that idea made a mint. Credit cards are tools for sucking up future wages, plain and simple. You use the card now because you can't afford not to, thereby you pay later for what you need today. Because of bad spending habits, most cardholders usually don't have enough credit limit available to take care of an emergency if one presented itself. So, the reason for getting the card in the first place has been negated. So if you told yourself that you needed a card to handle emergency's, tell yourself the truth -- All I need to handle an emergency is a well funded Emergency Fund.

So the first thing you need to do toward preparing for the future is to stop spending future income. A great step toward doing this is to start an emergency fund by setting a goal to put aside $500 to $1000 in the event of a real emergency and use those funds as opposed to a credit card. Eventually you will need to add more to your emergency fund, but $500 to $1000 is a good place to start. The only other thing you need to do is to define before hand what constitutes an emergency so that you aren't hitting up your emergency fund like you did when you swiped your credit card.

Step 2 - Get to slicing
Once you have bought into the idea of an emergency fund, the follow up move is to cut up those credit cards. If you aren't up to that step just yet (some of you will find you can't fathom the thought) try placing your cards into a ziplock and fill the container with water and freeze them. In this manner, you ween yourself from being able to swipe them so easily.

The quickest way to affect change on the future is to stop spending future income now.


Questions? Comments? Criticisims?

Friday

What's Love Got To Do With It?



As we celebrate Independence Day in these here United States I thought I’d touch on a subject that I pondered recently – love for country. You hear it all the time these days, “Do you love your country?” Especially in light of Michelle Obama’s comments about being proud of America for what has transpired during this election cycle. So it got me to thinking. What is it that reporters and those in power really asking when they say “Do you love your country?” It couldn’t be a question about location. I mean, I live in St. Louis, but I’d much rather live in Chicago or even Atlanta again. I think that is understood when the question is presented that most folks may desire another locale, but that overall the life we get to live in America is cool. Notwithstanding there are some crooked policies I’d like to see done away with, but for the most part it’s all good. So again, what is the real meaning behind the question as it relates to love of country? Why do politicians go on TV trying to defend and/or convince the masses that they love their country? As I thought about this more and more, my southern upbringing kicked in. I then wondered if what was really meant was how much does a person love this white male dominated society we experience in America. The question then becomes, "Are you down with the American Way?" When I look at the question through those lenses I see justification for “love” being called into question. Especially for political figures. Those in power want to be assured that you are going to fall into line with the way business is handled in these here United States of America. I may be wrong in my assessment, but I just don’t see people always making a big deal about a person’s preference of locale. I've been to other countries and it's a great expereince but being home is altogether different. So what say you? What do you think is meant by this popular line of questioning? Why is it such a big deal?



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Wednesday

48 Laws of Power: Five

Law 5

So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life
Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides.
Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.


When I read this law, I was actually reminded of bloggers. I have had the great fortune to have been in this blogging game for a while now. My blog didn’t start until October 2006, but I had been immersed in the culture since about June 2006, so I’ve been here a full 24 months now. In that time, I’ve seen bloggers come and I’ve seen bloggers go. Some of them had excellent blogs and some were just so so. The reasons they leave run the gamut. Some leave because their jobs changed, others got bored with the process, some get burned out by the process and just need a break, but the worse exits happen when the game turns on the blogger. When for some reason or another the blogger is found to be different than what they projected.

If there was ever an environment where reputation mattered, it’s in blogging. Why? Because bloggers are a voice to many. Being as such, reputation is all we have. Most of the people who read these pages don’t know us up close and personal other than what we are willing to share. So the person that is presented here is the person that sticks until an event occurs that causes the covers to get pulled back.

Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen.

I do my best to be transparent. Despite the growing popularity of online dating and the availability of single women, I make no bones about being married and I let women know I’m NOT out here looking to hook up. I have everything I need at the crib where that is concerned. I also try not to give the image that I’m something that I’m not. What you see is basically what you get. I try to stay away from innuendo. I feel like if you let it run about, it can end up running you over. In short, I purpose to be above board. I know people will think what they want, but I do my best to protect my reputation at all costs by living as close to righteousness as I can.

Learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

Again, nothing hurts worse than being found out. To have someone unearth something about you that you didn’t want leaked is the ultimate in the loss of power. The only way to overcome that type of attack is to be flat out honest. But honesty has its drawbacks, because some people will still want to look down on you. That aside, I think living honestly is the truest test of power. Anyone can deceive their way into power or assassinate the character of someone else to get a leg up, but when people back you despite your past indiscretions you are then on the path to real power.

Enemies can’t be controlled, but you can limit their ability to sting you by maintaining a good report. No one is perfect and yes, sometimes the devil does get in the details. But you can control who you want to be in this life. Just remember that no matter how you decide to live, you will reap the rewards that accompany that decision. Live like a king and you receive a king’s reward (honor, respect and admiration). Live like a scoundrel and you will ultimately reap a scoundrel's reward. (dishonor, repulsion and condemnation).


About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

Tuesday

Side Note Post

A couple years ago, I actually had this exact same idea, but didn't quite know how to pull it off. Check it out here. I wonder if having that MBA I keep telling myself I don't need would have made a difference. I keep feeling like I'm missing some next level stuff, because I can come up with some amazing ideas, I just don't have the network in place to pull them off. Have you ever felt that way?

Back On Track Tuesday's

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:43-44


The very humorous Katt Williams said it best, (paraphrased) “Haters are doing their job. What are you mad at them for? If you ain’t got no haters, you need to try your best to get some. In fact, I’m trying to get me some more by the summer time.”

You know it’s funny, haters have been around since the bible days and we still have an aversion to them. Yet it’s interesting how haters cause things to get done. If cars could run on hate, we’d have a brand new economy because that is the fuel that gets things moving. How many times have you decided that nothing was going to stand in your way because somebody said you couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t do something? How many times have you achieved a goal because someone looked down on you and made you feel you were beneath them and therefore not worthy of a thing?

What have you been told you can’t do? Do you really have a passion for it? Do you really love it? Then put in the work to get it done despite what the haters are saying. Pray that God continues to use them for good as opposed to evil. The good being to light a fire up under you.

Now on the flip side, which is where we want to focus today, another reason to love your haters is because they are often more honest than those supposed “friends” you have around you. If they tell you that you talk too much, chances are you do. When they tell you that you ain’t nothing but a man stealing ho. Check that one off two. My point is that unless the person is operating out of pure evil, they are in your life for a purpose. They can help you to reveal the chinks in your armor. And believe it or not, they can help guide you back to a place of righteousness.

We don’t always stay on course like we should. Sometimes we stray off into areas we have no place being. You know it and the haters know it too. You think they don’t want you among them because you outshine them, but have you considered that they are there to push you back to where you should have been all along. You are set apart for a reason. How can you lead when you look and act like everyone else? The haters will tell you, “we don’t want your blankety blank around here anyway.” Are you listening? They are putting you back onto the path of greatness! That story you wrote (to all of you writers out there) that your friends said they liked but that the haters said was garbage. Keep those words in mind to fuel you, but not to push you out the game. You know if it truly measures up or not. You also know if you are doing enough just to get by or if you put in the effort to get you over.

So remember, having haters isn’t all bad. You just have to look at them from the proper perspective. They may cause you to cuss here and there, but they are in your life for a reason. Think about some of the good that your haters have brought you into and reflect with appreciation. Pray blessing into those folk’s life. Pray for their happiness. Pray that God mends their heart because chances are they are hurting from some pain or disappointment of their own. While their words may sound bad to your ears, please believe that God can turn what they meant for bad into something that’s all good.

So, say it with me. “I love my haters.”



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.