Focusing My Efforts - Stairway of Phi

Focusing My Efforts

Focusing My Efforts - Stairway of PhiThis past weekend, I was pulling weeds.  I really should have taken care of them a week earlier and some had grown really big, but better late than never, right?  While doing so, I reached a conclusion that I'm sure anyone who's pulled weeds has - it's really hard to get those weeds with big roots with just my bare hands.

Then I came to a brick walkway, leading from the driveway to the backyard.

This area didn't have many weeds.  In fact, the weeds that were coming through were all puny in comparison to those I had just finished plucking.  In addition to being small, every single one of them remained intact when pulled (resulting in me also getting their roots, unlike some of their larger counterparts).

Seeing this, I was able to identify with these pathetic weeds and realized something about myself and StairwayOfPhi that needs to be addressed.

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The Power In Lists

The Power In Lists

The Power In ListsIn college I was a resident assistant.  The Housing department took their job (and ours) very seriously.  As a mandatory RA requirement, we were forced to take a 3 hour course on leadership - specifically relating to our jobs.  The course was mainly centered around personal development and the different styles of leadership.  Occasionally, we would perform activities focused on our own communities which was useful, but for the most part, the class was a joke.

I came to realize just how many of the resident assistants surrounding me thought of themselves as some sort of enlightened advisers, sporting 'holier-than-thou', third-level mentalities.  The class concluded with the lesson "Leadership can't be defined, everyone's a leader!"

Rubbish.Continue reading

How To Game the System

How to Game The System

How To Game the SystemWho doesn't want to game the system?  I don't mean lying, cheating, and stealing your way to the top.  I'm talking about living your life in a successful, fun, and compounding system - like that of a game!

As a child, I remember loving games, specifically video games.  I'd come home from school to boot up my desktop (with no real video card, a whopping 80GB of disk space, and an upgraded 2GB of RAM), log into RuneScape, and start the grind - all the while praying that no one disrupted my dial-up connection by calling the house!

All my friends played and, boy, were we a competitive batch.  Especially in the early stages of the game, it was empowering to come into school the following day to find out that I had gained more levels than anyone else in my group, completed a quest that no one else had, or had found a rare item!  On the other hand, it was frustrating and also motivating to find out that someone else had beaten me to the chase!

Back in grade school, my friends and I fell into the category of nerds.  I'll be the first to admit it -  actually, I take pride in it!  We found passion in the inspiring - tales of dragons, adventure, mythology, and valor resonated with us and dictated what we did in our free time.  Of course, playing RuneScape, those values carried over and fueled our desire to be the strongest!  But, I had a friend (let's call him E) who didn't fit our nerdy cookie-cutter mold.  While most of the nerds were picked on, E was actually pretty popular.  And while most people outside of our circle didn't know it, in RuneScape, he was also hands-down the best.Continue reading

keep your big mouth shut - stealth wealth-ing - stairway of phi

How to Keep Your Big Mouth Shut!

keep your big mouth shut - stealth wealth-ing - stairway of phiI'm trying to tone it down in real life.  

When it comes to financial freedom and mental development I'm really passionate, but just like anything else, I'm sure some others don't always view that passion as a good thing.  If I let myself run wild, throwing around financial discoveries like there was no tomorrow, then a lot of people who don't share my excitement would view me as being radical - maybe even a little bit crazy!  So what do you do when people start to think you've got a few screws loose because you've expressed that youth should be utilized by the young or because you don't share the "understanding" that a credit card lets you buy things you can't afford!?

Well, at that point, I realize that I'm alienating those around me.  After all, to the majority of people, the ideas I talk about are too far out there - far enough out there for them to think I'm too far gone!  Continue reading

how to stop failing

How To Stop Failing

how to stop failingWe all know someone who always seems to be doing something incredible.  They're starting their own business, they're traveling the world, they're attaining something for themselves that most people never will - they're remarkable!  Have you ever asked them how they do it?  They probably just shrugged it off, didn't they?  You were probably told that there wasn't a secret to their feats, that you just had to get out and do it, weren't you?

In the past, I would have let those words pass me by, making excuses for why I couldn't follow in the footsteps of the accomplished.  "I can't just drop what I'm doing here!"  "I can't afford to spend all that money!"  "It's not as easy for me as it is for them!"  With this mentality, it's no wonder I didn't have it in me!Continue reading

Mental Cache Part 2

Mental Cache Pt. 2 - Too Many Cars!

Mental Cache Part 2I didn't anticipate the topic of clearing your mental cache to have a part two, but recent realizations about the responsibilities that I've accepted and how I deal with incoming data have made me realize there's another half to this lesson that I didn't realize until just now.

If you're like me, you like moving FAST!  It's mentally rewarding to apply myself at full-throttle until I knock out a single problem or task.  However, as any driver will tell you, driving is not all about the freeway.  There are times when you're stuck in traffic and any acceleration you can apply only occurs in short spurts.  These certainly are not the rewarding times - they are the dreaded "Just something happen already!" moments that lead us to emotional instability or to finding new ways to entertain ourselves.  Continue reading

Are You A Miner Or Merchant?

Are You A Miner or Merchant?

Are You A Miner Or Merchant?The other day I had the pleasure of having an entrepreneurial discussion with a couple of friends who know about the StairwayOfPhi project.  Most of my friends don't actually know about this site because of how open I am with my finances on here, but I chose to reveal this personal secret with them because they share an interest in finance and investing and because we have similar goals and self-expectations.

The contents of our talk contained details about our own recent realizations regarding money, psychology, and independence.  And while the subject of money is touchy, in the right group of people, I always enjoy these conversations because they allow me to freely bounce around the unfinished ideas I'll one day write about and because I get to hear others' unfinished ideas, leading me to think a bit differently afterwards and generally lead me to a greater understanding!  Continue reading

The Road To Success - Stairway of Phi

The Road To Success

The Road To Success - Stairway of PhiEver since the StairwayOfPhi project began, I've had to grow at a rapid rate to become someone whose words hold impact, whose actions live up to expectations, and whose advice is worth following.  The radical changes that I've forced upon myself in this short period of time have turned me into a more capable (and flat-out better) person.  And now that I've progressed, I'm able to see life in a new light - the same light illuminating the road to success!  Now that the light is there, I can see the path ahead of me and, man, does it look bright!  And with each additional step that I take, the more I come to realize the similarities in the paths of everyone walking this road alongside me!Continue reading

Motivational Videos are Bullshit

Motivational Videos Are Bull Sh*t!

Motivational Videos are BullshitEvery day my Facebook feed is filled to the brim with spam.  I see the same friends, day-in and day-out, sharing motivational videos for all to enjoy.  Occasionally, I'll watch one.  Sometimes they're actually pretty good (lately they've even had little plots and characters associated with them).  But EVERY day, it's the same people sharing more and more videos.  And in their 'share' description, it's always the same story.  This time they're more motivated than ever before!  The next day they're SO MOTIVATED!  The day after that, they now understand (through the lessons learned in their video) what's been holding them back on accomplishing their goals!  The NEXT day their video has shown them the way they now have a great understanding of the world.... and THEY'RE REALLY MOTIVATED!Continue reading

fallacy of minimum wage - child

The Fallacy of Minimum Wage

fallacy of minimum wage - childBefore beginning I'd like to apologize in advance.  Today's intent isn't to leave you feeling bad for realizing what your server has to go through when you make their job difficult.  Nor is it to open your mind to sympathize for those who might have it more difficult than you.  My goal isn't even to encourage you to ask you boss for that raise, either.  I apologize - this isn't the socially uplifting piece you might want or expect.  This is a blunt and straight-to-the-point article about the logistics and fallacies surrounding a minimum wage job and why the minimum wage should not be raised with the hope to shake the foundation of those living "Just Because" lifestyles and inspire a shift in mentality regarding minimum wage 'careers'.  Despite my underlying purpose of education and my best intentions, I know this article will still offend.  I realize that.  It's a touchy subject and those struggling to survive on minimum wage jobs might feel like is an attack on them.  I assure you this is not my intent.  My intent is to encourage self-growth and the pursuit of something greater.  But before getting offended, please think about my argument and consider the points I raise.  I'll do my best to present them in a fair light.Continue reading

Don't Ever Stop Growing - Tree

Education Doesn't Have to Die with School - Don't Ever Stop Growing

Originally Posted On February 25, 2016

Don't Ever Stop Growing - TreeHas anyone watched the YouTube video Huge Quest!?  The comedic story depicts someone who wants to get big so he keeps traveling around the world, eating everything in his way, growing, and continuing his path of HUGE!  Eventually, he's on a universal level and he consumes everything.  Because I love relating one thing to something completely unrelated this, of course, is a perfect comparison to the pursuit of knowledge - a quest that can continue until the end of the road!

But we aren't cartoons and we can never reach the endpoint of understanding.  Meaning that we can't reach the end - the quest of education only ends in a triumphant death looking over the accomplishments of a triumphant life!Continue reading

Time Perception and Your Mental Cache - Time Clock

Time Perception and Your Mental Cache

Originally Posted On February 25, 2016
Time Perception and Your Mental Cache - clockDo you ever get one of those days where you keep looking at the clock and only 5 minutes has passed?  That's been all of February!  This month has felt longer than any month before it!  It's just dragged and dragged and dragged!  At first I thought this was due to the excitement of being able to make my first active investment using the paycheck that will come on Monday or maybe it was because of all the work I've been doing outside of my day job, but after looking back, I realize that I've accomplished more in February than I ever have before!Continue reading

Four Levels Of Mentality - Mountain Range

The Four Levels of Mentality

Originally Posted On February 16, 2016

Four Levels Of Mentality - Mountain Range

I apologize for the delay in between articles – I’ve been without internet at the new house.  Now I’m set up, though, so releases should be back to a frequent level!  To make up for the gap in posts, today's writing holds a lot of weight.


For a few years, I’ve had this social construct-ish idea bouncing around inside my head.  After talking it out with a few select people and, with time noting the changes in myself/watching the changes in my peers, I feel that I can finally represent the idea that I want to.  Today I speak about an issue that plagues the world with hardly anyone even realizing it – people believing that the “third state of mentality”, as I’ll call it, is the end-all of mental development.  This level of mentality is held by many teachers, leaders, parents, and politicians and (despite what the rest of the world would lead you to believe!) is part of the underlying causes of conflict, racism, and even war!Continue reading


Today I Lost All My Money

Originally Posted On January 29, 2016


PhiWell, not really.

It's true that I lost all my money, but that's because today I did spent more money than I have COMBINED over the course of my whole life and EVERYTHING that I've saved since the age of 17 has disappeared.  In fact, I spent so much that I owe a debt of $68,000 to someone else!  But my big-impact, slightly misleading title wasn't for nothing.  For everything lost, something is gained.  In this case, I lost my money (and the money I'll make in the future) to become a homeowner!

Having made the biggest purchase of my life (as well as the biggest purchase I'll be making in the foreseeable future), I would have thought at the very least I'd be a little freaked, but actually the exact opposite is true!Continue reading

Playing With Puzzles to Beat 'Average' - Puzzle Piece

Playing with Puzzles to Beat Average

Originally Posted On January 25, 2016

Playing With Puzzles to Beat 'Average' - Puzzle PieceThe more I come to understand my own life and where I'm heading, the more I realize that the knowledge was always there, intrinsically - I was just never able to rationalize or verbalize it.  But the more I do (either in my head or through this blog), the more I believe that there are certain truths that most adults intrinsically understand when attention is drawn to it yet, until so, the puzzle pieces never quite 'click', despite having sat right next to each other, so close to connecting for potentially even years on end!Continue reading

Do Something Great or Watch TV - TV Suicide

Do Something Great or Watch TV?

Originally Posted On January 18, 2016

Do Something Great or Watch TV?In my last post, I told a story of how I was affected making last-minute changes when feeling rushed for time with the underlying message being, "Take your time and try to make decisions when you aren't feeling rushed/pressured".  That got me thinking about time, in general, and about how much time I waste on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

If you don't have a financial budget, chances are you don't have control of your finances.  But even those of you with a financial budget, how strong is your grasp on controlling time?  Mine could certainly be better.  In this long weekend, I've helped a friend with a woodworking project, hit the gym twice, visited the house and taken some measurements in preparation for moving in, and started packing, but I've also spent several hours almost every day in front of Netflix with nothing to show for it!Continue reading

Lessons Learned From Neglecting Time - Clock Time

Lessons Learned From Neglecting Time

Originally Posted On January 18, 2016

Lessons Learned From Neglecting Time - Clock TimeA few months ago I had an awful time trying to save money on Black Friday.  While I preach frugalism, occasionally I, too, make a frivolous purchase.  This time it was on a big-screened TV - something I had never bought myself before and which I don't intend to buy another for a very long time.  I had decided at the beginning of the month I wanted one and, with Black Friday around the corner, determined that the ideal buying time for a new TV was quickly approaching.Continue reading

"Just Because" Mentality - Photographer Shadow

"Just Because" Mentality

Originally Posted On November 27, 2015

Site Is Live - Photography ShadowAs children, we're praised for our curiosity and desire to understand.  Asking, "why?" is both enriching, as well as amusing.  But by our teenage years, our charm has already worn off.  Our desire to establish ourselves as individuals often comes with an ongoing debate towards authority figures to win our own personal battles and establish ourselves as "equals".  At this time in my life, the answer to the question, "why?" changed to, "Because I said so," or, "Just because."Continue reading