Tacking to Complete Goals

13 Sep

I consider myself to be a “goal setter”. I set a lot of goals for myself in order to be more productive and complete the tasks I think are worth putting forth time and effort. Being of the goal setting type, I always have enjoyed hearing or reading about how other people accomplish their goals and what “tactics” they use in order to accomplish their goals. I think that setting goals can be a great practice for accomplishing tasks that are important to you and a great way of getting things done. Not everybody is a goal setter, but for those of us that enjoy setting goals, here is what I do.

I had set an aggressive goal in July to have purchased a house by September 1st of this year. While that goal was lofty, it was still very much achievable. As I said in my earlier post, I am currently unemployed and pursuing real estate investing in order to make the most of my time without a job. While trying to complete my goal of purchasing a house (or any goal for that matter) I ask myself one question several times a day:

“What can I be doing right now to be more productive and get closer to achieving my goal?”

Asking myself this question keeps me focused on the goal I have set and helps me determine the steps necessary to get closer to achieving that goal. This question also helps me break my goal into sections and forces me to think of what can be accomplished next. I like to break my goals into these sections because it takes away the feeling of being overwhelmed by a huge goal and keeps me focused on my set main goal.

Buying a house, for example, can seem slightly overwhelming when looking at the big picture. However, there are many smaller steps in-between where you are now and buying a house. One of my professors once used a great analogy between accomplishing goals and sailing. Let me explain. In sailing, you don’t go straight from point A to point Z in a straight line. Instead, you tack. You make many turns and go from point A to B, B to C, C to D, and so on until you reach your destination of point Z. The same is true with completing your goals. You have to “tack” and go through the necessary steps in between you and your final destination (or goal). With every turn of the boat you are moving forward towards your desired goal. Also, you always want to have your focus set on where you ultimately want to end up and through determination and “tacking” you will arrive at your goal. So, in my example of buying a house, it could look like this: Where I am now is point A and purchasing the house is point Z. One of my first “tacks” could be determining how much money I can invest, point B. Point C could be finding a real estate agent. Point D could be touring a house. These “tacks” continue all the way until you have reached your goal of buying a house. Now, I’m not saying it only takes twenty-six “tacks” to buy a house (could be much, much more) but, it illustrates my point. Thinking about how you can “tack” towards your goal can be really helpful as you determine the steps necessary to get there.

Also important, is the timing factor of goals. There are some goals that have a constraint of time and require a due date to be put into place such as turning in an assignment for school or your taxes, for example. I think setting due dates for all your goals is important because it adds some pressure and keeps you moving towards completing your goal. That said, what happens when you don’t achieve your goal by the time you had planned for? This just happened to me when I had not accomplished my goal of purchasing a house by September 1st. While this can be very frustrating and discouraging, what you do after the deadline has passed is more important than the due date. I knew I wanted to still pursue real estate investing, so I had to take a step back and re-examine my goal, and make a new timeline for my goal. I also had to ask myself “is this goal still worth pursuing?” The answer was yes, so I had to press forward, and continue tacking towards my goal. This takes tenacity and perseverance (two things I am actively working on) in order to continue towards your goal.

I hope after reading this you can set some goals that are important to you and that the analogy of tacking has helped you view accomplishing your goals as more manageable and less overwhelming. Now, go set some goals and be productive!


DODOcase Provides the Perfect Mix of Traditional and Contemporary

30 Aug

When it comes to technology products I am the type of person who prefers my products as they come: naked.  No matter how “delicate” or “breakable” the front and back glass may be on my new iPhone4, you won’t be seeing any case on it, even if it can improve cell reception.  My reasoning for this is not because I find some sick pride in leaving my tech toys unprotected, it’s simply that I think cases can take away from the already beautiful design qualities of most products.  It is worth it to me to be a little extra cautious with my products and forgo the often ugly and bulky accessories.  That said, there is one case that has caught my eye.  So much so in fact, that I went ahead and bought it.  The case I am referring to is the DODOcase for the iPad.  I purchased my iPad and adhered to my same “no case” guideline until I came across the DODOcase and my world of rules and regulations for cases came crashing down, I was in love.  Every iPad case I had seen up to that point was cheap, bulky, or not functional enough for what I would even want in a case.  However, the DODOcase had everything I was looking for.  Handmade in San Francisco “using traditional book binding techniques” the DODOcase is a work of fine craftsmanship.  Made to look like a traditional Moleskine notebook (which I love) the DODOcase blends traditional with contemporary in perfect harmony.  From the outside the case appears to be your everyday black leather-bound notebook.  That is until you open it up.  Once inside you are met with a vibrant red cover on one side and a shining black iPad on the other, fit snugly with rubber holders inside a custom bamboo “tray”.  This tray still allows access to all of your buttons and ports without sacrificing any strength or hold of the iPad itself.  Not only does the DODOcase look beautiful it has almost all the functionality you would want in a case for your iPad.  You can fold the front cover to make for easy hand holding or place it on a table for optimal angle typing and of course you can stand it up horizontally for optimal viewing of video content.  Overall this case offers everything that one would want in a case for their iPad, especially for those who, like me, are of the anti-case type.  Also, for $59.95 the price is right for this handmade beauty, although the wait of one to two weeks could put a damper on your immediate iPad case needs.  But let’s not forget it’s HANDMADE (I love saying that) in San Francisco by traditional bookbinders, one to two weeks is totally worth the wait.

Also, Digg.com founder and all around internet celebrity Kevin Rose uses one and made a great video review of why he bought it which can be found here.

Check out the DODOcase website: http://www.dodocase.com

Dust to Dust: A Theology of Death & Dying

23 Aug

This week I decided to have a guest writer for my blog post. I took part in the making of a short film used as a school project last semester and I thought the project was not only very well made but also had a great message as well. My friend Greg wrote, directed, and edited the project and I was the “lead”, if you will. Take the time to watch the video below and then read what Greg had to say about the meaning of the movie. Greg is an excellent writer so if you don’t feel like watching the video you can come back to it later and read what he wrote now, you won’t be disappointed.

I am Greg (did you catch the allusion?). Colby asked me to make an appearance on his blog to write about a short film we made together (along with Matthew Rongey and Ashley Garcia). My role, I suppose, would be that of writer and director, but Matt and Colby are the true film nerds who made the technical stuff happen. And Ashley deserves all the credit since she drove to La Mirada all the way from Santa Barbara just to help out (and to see Colby, I guess).

The film is about death if you haven’t picked up on the theme yet. It was the final project for a capstone class at Biola University entitled “Jesus, Lord of All.” At the end of a semester-long study about death and dying, I was given an assignment in which I had the freedom to say whatever I wanted by whatever creative avenue I wanted. Throughout the semester, I read just about every stance, philosophy, and approach to the subject of death and its effects, from Hindu reincarnation to evolutionary natural selection to vague spiritual estimations. I read both emotionally charged essays by parents who lost children in horrific events and academic treatments that approached death like it was Algebra. After all this, I really only wanted to say one thing: The Bible is right in its understanding of and approach to death.

The Bible is the only source that offers a completely holistic explanation of death. In other words, it gives death’s entire story, beginning to end. It does not just speculate about what comes after death nor does it simply offer tidy solutions about getting beyond its pain. It addresses everything about death, from its origins to its universal inevitability to its defeat. It was this story that I wanted to communicate in the film. It has basically four parts, which I will try to survey very quickly below.

Part One: The Origins

Death’s story begins with life. We were created to have and enjoy life, to have relationships, and to experience wholeness. We were made to understand death as a foreign concept. We destroyed this by rebelling against God. Granted, Satan stands in front of the pointed finger as well, but it really is our own fault. We were the ones to seat death at its table in our world. As a result of our rebellion, we were subjected to death and its minions. God, the one who had every right to abandon us and leave us to death’s wishes, began his pursuit of humanity at the moment of our fall.

Part Two: The Pain

From there, the pain and fear is not ignored. The Old Testament writers were plagued with worry over death. It was the evil of all evils and was the thing from which Israel longed to be delivered. The Pslamists were constantly asking God for deliverance from death and praising him when it happened. The wicked are associated with death and those who do evil find their destination to be death. Nowhere does the Bible tone down or paint over the absolute atrocity that death really is.

Part Three: Jesus

One definite pattern in the Old Testament is that the deeper the sorrow over wickedness, the deeper the advent for redemption. In the New Testament, we are introduced to the object of that advent. Jesus is the culmination and climax of death’s story. He not only brings the solution, but is himself the solution. He does not come to make pithy statements that bring false comfort and hope, sending us only into a deeper state of confusion. Rather, he takes the burden of death and the sting of death onto himself, as he is the only one who has the power to defeat it. And defeat it he does. On the cross, Jesus goes to war with Satan, the father of death. Jesus is raised from the dead signifying his victory over death and leaving a bitter taste in Satan’s mouth.

Part Four: Kingdom Life

During his time on Earth, Jesus inaugurates, or establishes, a kingdom of which he is the King. The inaugural address was his work on the cross and subsequent resurrection that allowed him to call the shots. When a person enters by faith into the kingdom, death is diminished and its power is removed. He no longer needs to fear his own earthly death as uncertain and frightening, but comes under the kingship of Jesus where death cannot enter. He can live like Jesus did and walk out to meet his own death knowing full well that it’s not the end. The Kingdom of Jesus is an earthly reality lived out through the Holy Spirit that offers comfort, hope, restoration, and joy in the midst of any of life’s circumstances. Those who live in the kingdom are strangers on the earth, anticipating the day when the full weight and glory of Jesus’ kingdom is theirs forever.

In sum, the Bible shows us the true face of death. It explains that it was our own wrongdoing that allowed this pain to enter. It does not deny that death hurts or that death is an evil thing and tells how God promises deliverance from death for his people. Jesus comes as God in human form and defeats death through his work on the cross, taking the punishment for sin and rebellion on himself. He is raised from the death and his eternal kingdom is established as the sole refuge from death.

Hope you enjoy the film and take away something valuable!

Greg is one of my best friends who I attended college with and who will be my friend for life. Also,  I have had the great satisfaction of being his roommate for the last two years. You can follow his Twitter here or his personal blog here.

Unemployed College Grad

16 Aug

Graduation day. Full of excitement and unemployed.

My Current Project

I just graduated college in one of the worst economic climates of recent years. Just last month, 131,000 jobs have been lost in the United States. Now, hold on. I have a four-year degree from a well-respected private university, getting a job should be no problem, right? WRONG. Let me tell you from a person currently living in the trenches of this job-hunt warfare, it has not been a fun process. I have sent my resume to over fifty potential employers with only a fraction even responding with an email confirmation, let alone an interview opportunity. Now, every time I send my resume somewhere I have the feeling I am sending it into a blackhole never to see it again.  I’m not telling you this so you can feel sorry for me (although, if you know someone hiring, go ahead and feel sorry for me and refer that person to my resume). I’m telling you this to explain my current situation and what I am choosing to do with my spare time to make the most of it (other than writing this blog).

A Brief History

For several years now, I have been very intrigued by the idea of investing in real estate. Growing up, my Dad always told my brothers and I really interesting stories of when he was younger and would invest in real estate with his Dad.  I always thought that that sounded like something fun to do while learning a lot of important lifelong skills and making some money on the side. So, over the past couple of years I started reading real estate investing books, asking questions, and just imagining what that would look like specifically for me. Fast-forward to Fall semester of my senior year of college. I had been learning a lot in my business classes and I wanted to actually apply some of the ideas I had been learning in a real business environment. So, I bought a notebook, called my Dad and asked him how I could get started in real estate investing. At that time, my goal was to purchase a home within a short distance from my school and rent it out to fellow college students. My thinking was that there was a unique opportunity to be had there because I knew the area, I knew the students, and I knew that they would be willing to pay a ‘premium’ price per month because so many people live in one house.

After working seriously towards this goal and working closely with a real estate agent, I began to think what my post-college plans would be. I decided that I would be moving home to the Bay Area after college and with the time constraint of the end of the school year, I decided to hold off on my real estate pursuits until I moved back home. Although I didn’t meet my original goal of buying a house that school year, I learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to seriously invest in real estate: A lot of work. Although real estate investing can take on many different forms, when I say “real estate investing” I am more specifically talking about purchasing single family homes that are somewhat distressed, add value to them by fixing them up, and then selling them and, hopefully, if done correctly, making a profit. (Note: I stay away from the term “house-flipping” because that generally has a negative connotation to some and is significantly more risky and usually involves never actually taking ownership of the property.)


Since I have moved back home, my friend Kyle and I met up and came up with a plan to purchase a house to live in while we fix it up and sell it within 12 months. We set an aggressive goal of being in contract to buy a house by September 1st of this year. Since that conversation we have been working hard to learn the market, find our target price, and working closely with a real estate agent. Our focus has been set primarily on bank-owned properties that are in need of some work and have the opportunity to add value to them. While I continue to job search, I spend a considerable amount of my day pursuing real estate investing trying to stay as productive as possible during this unique time of post-graduation-pre-career. So far, we have made offers on two different properties. The first property we made an offer on, the seller (a bank) was not willing to go down to the price we believed the property was worth. The second property we made an offer on we are still waiting to hear back from the seller. That is where Kyle and I currently stand on our current real estate pursuits. I will cover what this looks like on a day-to-day basis for me in a later blog post. For now, I wanted to explain my current situation and how I am trying to make the most out of my time as an unemployed college grad living at my parents house.

Why I Blog

6 Aug

If you think about what a blog is, it’s kind of silly. A place for people to write whatever they want for as long as they want and “publish” it to the World Wide Web for everybody in the world to read. The thing is, almost nobody reads a majority of the blogs out there, apart from that particular blogger’s girlfriend, parents, and best friend. Then there is the blogger who takes themselves far too seriously and you find yourself grimacing at their sesquipedalian posts of normal mundane things.

Now, to answer the question of why I blog. I blog because I have grown up around technology and the web and have always had a general fascination with trying and experimenting with new social mediums.  While blogging itself is certainly not new, it is new to me, therefore I want to give it a go. Also, I am highly interested in social media and I already have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., etc. I figure I might as well add blogging to the mix. More than anything, I think blogs offer people a great way to communicate their thoughts and opinions while creating another environment for conversation to take place. Now, Will my blog be one that is only read by my girlfriend, parents, and best friends? Perhaps. Will I use analytics and track every single “hit” that my blog gets? Definitely. Will I take myself too seriously? I’ll certainly try not to. Will I post on my other social media outlets every time I create a new post? Of course, because I read your blogs when you post them, so I expect you to do the same! (ok that’s not true, I don’t read all of them, but I do read some).

Finally, you can expect to read about my current adventures in my post-graduate-pre-career life while I try to stay productive and pursue some lofty goals. I mean, what better time to start a blog than while I’m unemployed? Am I right? I’ll be posting about a variety of topics varying from my current pursuit to buy an investment property to my fan-boyism of all things Apple. I hope you like what you read.

–  Colby

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