This is TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) Tuesdays, where I summarize two interesting articles from the InterWebs. Slightly different from roundups on other blogs, I’ll tell you what you need to know about the article and discuss its significance.
This concept is inspired by my father, who sends everyone in the family articles links by email, by my older brother, who sends articles so long I never read them, and my wife, who became tired of me sending her articles, and has been telling me “TL;DR” for years.
The first article will be from other bloggers, to highlight the writings of interesting people you otherwise may not discover. I’ll also provide a link to another article of theirs, because I want you to visit their site to find the rest of their great content.
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The second summary will be from “traditional” news outlets. I read news voraciously — I have online subscriptions to 3 major newspapers (conservative and liberal — WSJ, NYTimes, WaPo) and most non-news junkies will not regularly read all three. I’ll also sneak in articles from other “traditional” news outlets.
I write these 1-4x/month. Click here to read all of them over time.
Source: Miss Bonnie MD
Title: “When I’m Rich, I’ll Give”
Summary: This post is short and to the point, but has an important message. Miss Bonnie (Doctor Bonnie?) made the decision to start regular charitable giving. She was inspired by a podcast and the following quote:
“People say, “When I’m rich, I’ll give, they’re lying. If you won’t give a dime out of a dollar, there’s no way you’re gonna give a 100 million out of a billion, you’re lying to yourself. But if you can do it today, the biggest thing that giving does, is it teaches your brain there’s more than enough.”
This quote inspired her to start regular donations to charity, despite still working on things like student loan debt.
Conclusion: If charitable giving is important to you, then try to do it no matter where you are in life. Sure, if you’re out of a job, maybe you should avoid cash donations. However I’m a firm believer that it is the thought that counts, and while many charities would rather have your money than your time, you can always volunteer a bit of time if you don’t have the money.
In the past 15 months our daycare expenses have more than doubled, our mortgage has doubled, and our income has decreased as my wife started working part-time. Despite the worse financial situation, we decided to donate more than we ever have before. In 2016 we made a conscious decision to start donating regularly to specific causes, and in 2017 we made much larger contributions as part of a plan not to donate to charity in 2018 (go read and find out).
Additionally, 10% of all revenue from this blog is given to charity. With our work schedules and the age of our kids I don’t feel like we have a ton of free time to go to places to volunteer, however I would like to find ways to do so. With our oldest being part of Cub Scouts, he is being taught a bit of that mentality as well, which I appreciate (I know not everyone likes the Scouts, but we’re having a great experience so far).
Giving is a personal decision, but once you’ve decided it’s important, there’s no time like the present.
Read This Also: Financially Ill Prepared Parents
Source: The New York Times
Summary: The New Year is upon us. Don’t make resolutions that rely solely on willpower. Willpower is an intangible yet finite substance — it does run out, no matter who you are. While willpower is important, alone it is often not sufficient to reach your goals, and can induce stress in many ways. No, if you want to improve your self-control and achieve goals, focus on gratitude. Focus on the bonds to others, what you receive from others and what you give back, and that will improve your self-control more than just a beat-yourself-up mentality. This researcher found that people who felt more grateful had more self-control and were better able to achieve things that required delayed gratification.
Conclusion: This is basically an editorial written by a researcher who has performed studies on the topic. I did not go back and read the original studies, so don’t take this as gospel as I didn’t spend time looking for the methodological flaws in the research. Regardless, I do agree that willpower is a finite substance, and that has been demonstrated in other studies.
I believe New Year’s resolutions are generally a waste of time. While the mind games that come along with a new year are a great impetus for reflection, it’s rare that in and of itself is enough to prompt sustainable change. For many people the winter/holiday time is stressful time period, and certainly not the best time to make major changes to diet or lifestyle or finances or whatever. However many journeys we embark upon that rely solely upon willpower are doomed to failure no matter when the time of year — that’s why it’s so hard to “diet” successfully. It’s not just biology that fights us, it’s psychology.
I did, however, make one new resolution for 2018. After reading this article, I will try to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on things for which I am grateful. I think reflecting on that, as well as making sure others recognize you are grateful for them in some way, may go a long way towards building happiness.
Share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you find value in these TL;DR posts, please let me know — comment, share, email me, or otherwise let me know you want to see more of them!