Looking for Unconditional Love? Get a Dog: Life Lesson 35 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Looking for Unconditional Love?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Atanas Teodosiev

When you get a dog, there’s nothing like the unconditional love you’ll experience—and if you already have one, you understand how dogs enrich our lives and brighten our everyday experience.

When you arrive home, a dog is excited to see you. They ask no tiresome questions about your day. They don’t pester you about how much money you made. Instead, they just show their love and enthusiasm with giant eyes, an eager tongue, and a tail that won’t stop wagging.

This lesson isn’t about money, it’s about having a lifelong friend. And friends take care of each other—I have my dog in my trust: no distributions are allowed from our trust until our dog is financially secure. (My wife won’t let me leave it all to the dog.)

And a dog takes care of you just as much as you take care of your dog (even when they’re hogging the bed). I call it the “presumption close”: a dog is willing and able to go wherever you’re going, eat whatever you eat (without cleaning up after the meal), even go to work with you (where they have no intention of working).

In today’s world, I think people are lonely. Get a dog and no matter what is going on in your life, wherever you are going and whatever you’re doing, you’ll have a little buddy right there with you wagging his tail.

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6 + 5 =

We’ve Lost the Art of Being Friends: Life Lesson 34 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

We’ve Lost the Art of Being Friends

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Simon Maage

What’s going on with our world today? It seems like we’ve completely lost the art of being friends with the people in our lives.

You may not remember it, but there was a time when we could have meaningful conversations with other people, regardless of our different backgrounds and beliefs. We could even—dare I say it—disagree with strangers without being offended and still walk away as friends.

Impossible? Not at all! Here’s how it works.

You can be friends with individuals who you do not agree with when it comes to sports, politics, religion. You can even be friends with individuals who believe the Vikings will win the Super Bowl. You just have to understand and accept that everyone is different, and that the things we disagree about will never be as important as the things we all agree on.

(I happen to think the Vikings will never win the Super Bowl, but believe it or not, I’m still friends with a host of Vikings fans.)

Many of us claim that football is life, but we all understand this as an exaggeration. Life is a rich tapestry woven out of many threads—yes, including football, but just as crucial to our quality of life is having friends who talk to us, listen to us, and even respectfully disagree with us.

Like any other skill, it takes practice to develop and maintain the art of being friends, but the payoff is well worth the effort you put in. For example, I’m a dog person and not a big fan of cats…yet I still married my bride 29 years ago, even though it meant welcoming a cat into my life.

Relationships are all about empathy, compromise, and understanding, and we will only recover the lost art of being friends by practicing these important traits in our daily lives.

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3 + 10 =

I Don’t Want to Share: Life Lesson 33 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

I Don’t Want to Share

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Here’s the thing. Generally, I don’t want to share—and neither does Joey in Friends, my favorite TV show. (I must admit it’s on every day in our household. That show helps keep me young at heart.)

In fact, everything I feel about sharing is all summed up in this great line from the show:

“Joey doesn’t share food.”

(If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, you really should.)

I may not always see myself in the settings and situations the characters on Friends find themselves in, but Joey’s philosophy on sharing is one theme I can definitely relate to. There are some things I just don’t want to share.

There are things you don’t want other people using or taking without your permission too, I bet, even if our lists look a little different. Yours might include the following (not listed in order of importance):

  • Your 25-year-old sweatshirt that’s falling apart
  • Your pillows and blanket
  • Your weekly allowance from your mom
  • Pizza
  • Dessert
  • The TV remote

This isn’t a comprehensive list, so feel free to mentally add your own items. In fact, go ahead and write it out on paper if it makes you feel better. (Don’t worry. You don’t have to share it with anyone.)

The bottom line is: sometimes we don’t want to share, and that’s just fine. The way I figure, you can have it when I’m gone!

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8 + 8 =

Putting Family First: Life Lesson 31 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Putting Family First

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Jude Beck

I’ve never enjoyed being yelled at by my mom. Even as a grown adult, it always upset me. (No matter how busy you think you are—even if you’re in a meeting or sleeping at 2 a.m.—when your mom calls, just answer it. A life lesson I’ve experienced firsthand.) But putting family first is something I’ve struggled with over the years

I know I’m not alone in this. At times, it feels like I have so many competing priorities in life that something has to give, and the thing that was sacrificed first was usually my family.

I’ve been working on it. It hasn’t always been easy, but as I’ve aged, my priorities have become clearer.

As I’ve come to discover, the most significant deciding factor in how I prioritize my priorities has been money. As a business owner, I’ve felt the financial pressure to make payroll for my employees and family, of being the one who writes the checks; sometimes it’s hard to step away.

But a healthy business can handle the periodic lack of attention by its owner every now and then. I have a great team, and I can always rely on them to keep the business moving in my absence. At the end of the day, I always know we’ll be OK, even when I’m putting family first.

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10 + 7 =

The Importance of Friendships: Life Lesson 30 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

The Importance of Friendships

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Harli Marten

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Friends. I can watch it every day, and I usually do, at bedtime while I’m falling asleep. As we grow older, the importance of friendships is clearer than ever—but for many of us, finding and maintaining true friendships can be hard to achieve.

Many of us have friends: people we can get together with and grab a coffee or beer (or, in my case, a Mike’s Hard Lemonade), share a meal, or attend a sporting event. Whatever the activity, when you’re with a good friend, it’s not what you’re doing that matters. The important part is spending time with the people who know and understand you best.

My definition of friendship is different from most. To me, the best friends are the people you can always count on to help you move apartments, no matter how many times you’ve moved. They will stand by your side, no matter what. They will tell you the truth even when it’s hard, and you’ll know they’re right and respect them for sharing.

We all seek to have close friends, but so few of us can genuinely maintain this level of friendship over the years. The importance of friendship can’t be denied—when you have a best friend, work at the relationship and keep it for life.

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10 + 2 =

Pursuing Your Passions: Life Lesson 29 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Pursuing Your Passions

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Kal Visuals

If you’ve postponed pursuing your passions for the pursuit of money, don’t worry: there’s no shame in this, and you’re not alone. Over the years, I’ve found myself doing the same thing — but I’ve come to believe there’s a more fulfilling way to live.

There might have been something you enjoyed or loved doing when you were younger, but society, parents, or others in your life said you couldn’t make a living doing it. Their negativity ended up deterring you from pursuing your passions, and now you—and, sadly, many others—are just too tired from the daily grind to have the energy to spare for those passions. As a result, many people postpone the things they want the most until that magical future date called “retirement.”
 
Well, you know what? Retirement is, for many of you, in the future. This is now. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a living with your passions. People do it all the time! If you’ve got a calling, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to go for it. Money is great, and it’s important to plan for your retirement, but life is too short to spend it waiting for the future. Time is a precious gift, and it’s your responsibility to spend yours pursuing your passions so you can live a fulfilling life.

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