Rehabilitating an old home is truly a joy. There is a certain satisfaction in not only overcoming a degenerated state, but in adding value to a property. We probably do not need to even mention (though we will) the joy of getting paid on the flip side of effort.
Along with that joy comes a certain responsibility to face problems and challenges head-on, while attempting to stay cool and logical about those challenges. This is not always easy, but it helps immensely if one can do this effectively. Humor also helps.
So, here is a humorous situation from State Street: We went over to discuss the floors with the contractor who is working on correcting them. As we approached the house, it was apparent that someone had stolen the meter off of the house.
This is a fairly common (albeit stupid) crime. More-than-likely, the individual responsible took the meter because his or her electricity was shut off. What to do? Oh! I know. Steal the meter from the unoccupied house on State Street, and plug it in to my base.
The problem with this kind of thinking is myriad. A couple of the more obvious problems come to mind immediately: First, the chance of getting caught is high -especially when the meter is being read. Second, the chance of getting caught is high -especially when the owner of the property (Box Bend) calls the power company and the person representing said power company tells us that the investigator will be out to the site tomorrow. Furthermore, the crime is common and that they always start canvassing the neighborhood for any homes that recently had a disconnect. Third, if one is caught with this crime, then one can expect to pay not only for the power that was ripped off (we have been paying for someone else's electricity), but also a fine and possibly for any damage to the base. This "Free Electricity" scheme, can end up costing the perpetrator thousands of dollars -not hundreds. But the fourth problem is bigger than all of the first three combined.
The fourth problem (the real problem) is that here we have someone that has learned to hustle in all the wrong ways. Instead of using that considerable capability and intellect to move in a direction of independence and service, he or she has chosen to use their cunning mind for a way to get free electricity in an illegal manner. Now that is a crime!
We use to tell our kids (and still do) that at least one of us had the whole motivation thing completely wrong in his younger years. This individual screwed around for the better part of a decade after high school and then, at 25, got serious, went back to college, got married and started working three jobs to support his growing family. No kidding. Three jobs. And the three jobs turned to four when he started to freelance for actual clients on the side. (He worked a day job, delivered newspapers on a rural route of over 60+ miles every day, and moonlighted for other firms. Moonlighting for actual clients -instead of firms alone -added a fourth dimension to his week.)
The object lesson for the kids is that he hustled after he had responsibility and, if they are smart, they will hustle well before they find themselves with massive responsibilities. They will use that youth and energy to put together the beginnings of a financial freedom plan that will pay big dividends (figurative and literal) down the road. They will avoid getting on a hamster wheel by getting on the wheel voluntarily before they have to actually do so. This plan of attack may allow them to get off that wheel whenever they want at some point in the future.
In a similar fashion, this electricity thief could use his or her time to bag a few more jobs. They could put together a small amount of money, buy a few books, or get their tail to the library, and educate themselves on making money legally and legitimately. They could buy an i-Pod or i-Phone and subscribe to great life-changing podcasts. (What a worthy investment in their future!) They could realize that with their brains and energy, almost nothing is off limits. They could do the math and come up with the answer that America is a ladder; it is much easier to climb then to complain on the ground. Or to make excuses when the law (or the power company) comes knocking on the door.
But instead they risk freedom, electrocution, and their own income to rip-off a meter. We have to laugh a little. Laughing in the way of anyone who shakes their heads and says, "You have to be kidding me." All those gymnastics when the U.S. is an economic uptrend and jobs are plentiful? It is inconvenient for us for a day or two. Nothing more. The contractor has a generator on his truck. So, no real skin off of our noses. But it is an incredible crime for the thief because he or she has robbed themselves of determination and motivation to climb without regard to the pain associated with the climb. They have deprived themselves of the opportunity to use that time that is now gone to make a real and lasting difference in their life, and in the lives of others. They have burned daylight on the inconsequential instead of the lasting. Wow! We take it back; that is not funny. It is tragic.
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