How to build a house of bricks in any season (Second of 3 parts)

” I build my house of sticks. I build my house of twigs. With a hey-diddle-diddle, I play on the fiddle. And dance all kinds of jigs”  — Fiddler Pig

(The first 5 tips came out in last week’s issue. Here’s the second installment of 5 more.)

6. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Know the difference between needs and wants. Use the Pareto principle in pinpointing the vital few (20%) and the trivial many (80%). When you let your wants overrule your life, you will end up trading your time and therefore, your life away to get those material things you thought will make you happy.

For those of us with big egos who cannot resist the urge to impress others with the latest gizmos, this can be a serious problem. Stuff is just stuff. If we don’t watch it, we can clutter up our lives with junk. Browsing leads to buying.

There is a back end to each item we acquire as personal property. After its use, we MUST CHOOSE ANY OF THESE OPTIONS: THROW, DONATE, SELL, DESTROY or KEEP them. Keeping a great chunk of stuff we acquire over a lifetime can make pack rats out of us and deprive us of breathing space. Empty space can be beautiful because it presents possibilities. The truth is, life’s journey is easier when we travel light. This was the bucket list elucidated on in a previous article.

7. Refuse to live in the shadows. If you’re illegal, exhaust every available avenue open to you to GO LEGIT. The gates have cracked open for the time being. Life is tough enough without you having to look over your shoulders and feeling edgy all the time fearing you’ll be put on the next plane back to the home country. Surely you didn’t go through all that trouble just to live a short, harried, hapless life. After 9/11 and the dangers of soulless terrorism, whether we accept it or not, after years of abuse, a new system, is now firmly in place and “the times, they are a-changin.”

The political axis has shifted, perhaps for the better, and the times call for nations to build walls and constrain the movement of people in the face of real threats to their national sovereignty. A one-world, unelected government, with wealth and absolute power as their global goals, has zero interest in upholding the average person’s human rights. Economic migrants will be hit the hardest. Terrorism has reared its ugly head and fluidity and movement of people is now constrained. 

Get legal and go the whole nine yards towards American citizenship. Shop, ask around and get the best legal representation you can get if you have to. Not all immigration lawyers are cut from the same cloth. Choose wisely. Inspect track records.

8. Get physical. Make diet and exercise a regular part of your life. We maintain our cars and use high-grade fuel to get great performance from a machine to get us from Point A to Point B. Our magnificent bodies, the crowning glory of God’s Creation, deserve no less. If we expect to run the full course set before us and barring unforeseen twists of fate, like being run over by a truck, struck by lightning or hit by a meteorite, we can look forward to a long stretch of happy, productive, relatively healthy years ahead.

9. Admit you’re no superhero. Don’t take on more than you can handle. American life is demanding. We are all required to multitask at work and at home — to do too many things all at once —it’s enough to drive us to the edge of insanity. One technique to help us maintain our mental health and take off the pressure when we feel overwhelmed is to say NO. Know your strengths and respect your limits and know when you’re spreading yourself too thinly.

10. A fool and his money are soon parted. Have this truism tattooed on the hand that keeps wielding the plastic, aka credit/debit cards, until it hits home — just until you learn fiscal responsibility and mind your financial health. The great financial industry that runs and oils America has your number and gauges the kind of risk you are based on your track record of fiscal responsibility reflected in that all too important number called the FICO score.

This is the metric reflective of how you deal with money and your financial obligations. The gold standard is 850 and above. Cash remains king but a good credit history is queen. Mess with this metric and you will pay a painful price that hits your pocketbook even more when you have to buy big-ticket items, like a car or a house. Take care that in the first few years and for the rest of your life, you guard your credit history with the tenacity of a pit bull.

(Next week: The third and final part of 15 Tips: How to Build a House of Bricks in Any Season.)


Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail To read past articles, click on or you can do searches in the least invasive search engine duckduckgo or bing or yahoo  even before agenda-driven google.

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