Wednesday’s Musings 11.17.10

1. Cyber-Bullying.

Paul Ranheim (former NHLer) (@pranheim) retweeted an article this morning that is of special note.  It’s about The Growing Problem of Cyber-Bullying.  Paul has spent most of his post-playing career working on protecting children from the dangers of the internet.  Cyber-bullying falls into his realm of concern.

But the thing is…children are not the only ones effected by cyber-bullying.  Adults are too.  Something that goes along with the job of being a hockey columnist is that you get your share of cyber-bullies too.  Just ask Dan Ellis (Tampa Bay Lightning), a professional athlete, about how he was cyber-bullied off of Twitter.

People threatened me when I stood by Psycho Puck Lady (psycholadyhockey.com) when a group of women decided to start a cyber-bullying campaign against her.  Many of those women threatened me with my career if I continued to support her. 

I wasn’t bullied into joining their crazy crusade.  I stood by Katrina, because that’s what friends do.  And guess what?  I still have my job as a hockey columnist.  As many athletes have said, “Haters are going to hate.”

I’ve had my share of being cyber-bullied by hockey fans in the past.  One team had to get involved.  They saw evidence of cyber-bullying and they put it to a stop. 

As one fan said to me a couple of years ago, “After all you went through, you were the one who got the last laugh.  Look at you now.”

The funny thing about life is that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  You move on from the hurt and the pain that people throw at you.  You prove them all wrong.  That’s how you silence a bully.  You prove them wrong by becoming someone better than them.  At the end of the day you realize that they are just miserable people that need company.  You don’t need to be like them. 

You also don’t need to follow the pack or lead the pack when the aim is to hurt others.  If you want to be a great person, you lead by example…that means setting a good example that is worthy to inspire others to greatness.

Why choose to do good rather than evil?  Because at the end, everyone stands alone.  It’s how you answer to your actions in this lifetime that determines who you will become…an angel or a demon.  Bad is always punished.  Good is always rewarded.  It’s called karma…and it’s very real.

2.  Rich Life 4 Life.

I’ve been working on a major project these past few weeks that has required a lot of thought, because it will require a lot of my time.  This project was originally designed to assist NHL players with their financial issues during their playing career, and post-playing career so that they do not fall into the same pit that so many other athletes fall into after their career…broke within the first five years of retirement.

But then I realized that the reason why the players wanted more information wasn’t because I was informing them that these problems did exist, it was that I’ve been sharing my experience with money all along the way.  It’s that latter part they wanted more information on.

Money is only a little tiny bit into the much larger picture of living a rich life.  I’ve learned over the years, from people like David Bach, attorneys, the extremely wealthy, and many others that it’s not about the money in the bank.  It’s about learning how to live a full, rich life.

That, of course, has led me to realize: why should the NHL players be the only ones to benefit from the new site?  Why not share the knowledge, wisdom and experience with everybody? 

I’ve enlisted the NHLPA for their help since a lot of the work, research, etc. benefits the players.  Financial advisors, players, agents and many others are assisting with this project as well.  And who can we thank for starting this whole project idea up?  Dan Ellis…you know, that guy that was cyber-bullied off of Twitter for lamenting his financial woes.

Ends up, my understanding of what Dan was going through, talking about it, finding further evidence that his issue was a much bigger (and quieter) issue than we think it is, has led to this new project.

While the article series may end up being published with a bigger print publication, I’m developing a new site just to share everything I know and can find that will benefit EVERYONE on how to live a rich life (and it’s not all about money).  I’ll even give you a sneak peek into how I live a full and rich life in one of the most expensive cities in the world…and most of the time, that stuff is free or for less than $20!  There’s no shame in being frugal.  I always live by the motto…why pay money when you can get it for free?

While I’m not a financial expert, I’ve learned a lot over these years about how to manage my own money.  I’ll let the financial experts be the experts on the advice they’ll give…I’ll just write about the stuff I know…and what the wizards tell me.  I’m not allowing any stock tips on there, because that’s not what the site will be about.  Remember, the purpose of it is how to live a rich life…within your means.

People have already been learning a lot just based on what I’ve talked about on this blog already.  For some, it gives them hope that they can get out of debt.  For others, they’ve learned how to save more money, but still be able to partake in the finer things in life.  Others have learned where to go to shop for deals. 

This blog has never been just about hockey.  It’s purpose has always been to talk about whatever I feel like talking about.  This new site will be all about those principles in life that I’ve learned over the years.  You seek the information, you’ll find what you’re looking for…the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.  But no matter what wisdom I throw at people…it’s all about what you practice in life.

When I start shopping for my new home, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with how I actually accomplish buying my new home.  Let’s just say that my approach to it all is a concept I’m borrowing from the early post-Depression era.

Sure, that $662,000 home that I really want looks really appealing right now.  But unless I marry a guy that makes 5 times that or I win the lottery…that is what we call a ‘dream home.’  Sure, the bank would give me the money for it, but that’s where it all goes wrong…and that’s why there are so many people in foreclosures right now, or strapped for cash because they’re living beyond their means because someone told them they could afford it…when they really couldn’t.

Sometimes the old wisdom of what people did during the Depression will help shape what a lot of people should be doing now.  And yes, I researched it…before the recession truly hit us hard.

After all, some of the greatest wisdom I’ve learned over these past few years…came from someone that actually took advantage of the rich life following the Depression era.  His investments in up and coming companies like BP Oil back in 1954 wound up…well, I’m sure you can imagine how that would turn out 50 years later.

The things I’ve learned over the years…I asked the people who had success, but they also had their failures as well.  You have to understand that both do exist.  That’s life.  That’s money.  But the wealth of information I’ve received from them…was about how to live a full, rich life where money really does not take center stage.  Life takes center stage.

That’s what you can expect from the new site.  It’s not just for the players that asked for it.  It’s for everyone.

3.  Invest In Your Community.

I love my neighborhood.  It’s a great neighborhood. Beyond the amazing 5 star restaurants that line the street, the $5 movie theater across the street, or the library around the corner…it’s just an amazing community, especially when everyone comes together to make the community a better place to live.

I’ve always seen signs around the neighborhood about the local food pantry.  I went online today to take a look at what they needed from the community.  It’s surprising that even though the neighborhood has been very well off with mansions lining the streets, there are 134 households in need of help, which totals to 274 people.

While I know that the elderly are a huge part of that list, there are families making that list this year because of the economic hardships the world has been facing.  More and more of the homes going up for sale in the borough are because of foreclosure.

That $662,000 home that I want to buy…that’s half price…and the previous owners have already moved out.

Next week is Thanksgiving.  While we are giving thanks for the things that we do have, let’s try to help out our own communities by giving to those, who are struggling, a reason to give thanks knowing that their community cares.  Just do a search for your city’s food pantry and print out a list of things that are needed. 

Even on the list I printed out today, things like gift wrap, children’s coloring books, body lotions and powders are listed.  Most women keep a stash of this stuff in their bulk items closet (Bath & Body Works sale anyone?).   But now that we head into the winter months, people are in need of new gloves, hats, scarves, socks, umbrellas, blankets, etc. 

Even holiday stuff like cookies, candies, etc. are in demand.  Plus, on top of all that, they need canned goods and starches (i.e. items with no expiration date). 

While you’re shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, print out a list from your local food pantry and purchase a few of those items.  You may find that a lot of the canned goods are on sale for fifty cents or less this week (who knows, you may even have a coupon for it…and it’s free).  Take advantage of the deals and share it with the community by dropping a few of the items off to the food pantry.

Sometimes giving thanks to a great community means giving back to it.  This is how you invest in making your community an amazing place to live.  Because who knows…you could wind up in need of that service someday, and you pray that your community donates to it. 

Watching this last season of Desperate Housewives, you can see that even the most prideful needs to lean on their community during the hardest of times.  What’s great about a thriving community is that they do lend out a helping hand…even when you don’t ask for it.

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