December 30, 2016

Holiday Hope Wishes

On this beautiful yet cold winter day, I’m using a few words to wish all of you a happy holiday season. I hope everyone has the chance to enjoy good times and cherish quality moments with family and friends.

Have Faith and Maintain Hope

With all that’s happening in the world, I understand it could be natural to fall apart and give in to despair.

Even though I really like poutine (the French fries, cheese and gravy meal), it can be hazardous to your health if you eat it too often. And at this point in human history, the potentially explosive Poutine-Trump combination really gets me worried.

So this year, for all our sakes, I will hope for a kinder, gentler world.

December 24, 2016

12-Minute Meetings (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on June 12, 2012

Sometimes, meetings can be a drag, especially when your boss likes to listen to himself for endless and countless hours. Furthermore, he’ll probably be upset afterwards because you missed some of his points and you lacked time to complete all your work.

Maybe someone could introduce him to the 12-Minute Segment Rule.

Use The 12-Minute Segment Rule

During a meeting, each speech or presentation should be limited to 12-Minute segments because for most people, the optimum concentration period is only 12 minutes. Beyond that, the average person won’t be able to focus and follow explanations.  

December 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Getting Lost in a Bunker

Everyone has heard about getting lost in the desert. In some countries, it’s even considered a common occurrence, especially when a violent sand storm is raging.

But have your ever heard about getting lost in a bunker (or on the beach as some say)? Not in a military bunker but rather a golf bunker a.k.a. a good old sand trap!

Many clumsy or impatient golfers lose a lot of strokes in them...but actually losing your ball in a bunker is rare.

Beware these special bunkers that seem to act like quicksand and swallow your ball.

Multiple Attempts to Get Out of the Trap

It almost happened to a fellow competitor once. In a tournament, he had to hack out 3 different balls from the same bunker before finally getting his own out of the hazard.

December 12, 2016

Using Limited Time to Still Obtain Big Success

To achieve reasonable success, many would gain by reconsidering their usage of one of the scarcest resources of our modern era: their precious time.

A lot of people struggle with our hectic way of life and find it hard to keep up with all that is expected of them. That’s why we would like, in the 12-Minute Tradition, to provide suggestions to help balance your schedule and regain some control back over it.

You’ll see that sometimes, reallocating only small parcels of your time can greatly improve your results.

We also believe that, with experience, very successful people have become masters at maximizing their time. They seem to have the ability to detect most important matters and effectively mingle with ever changing elements of their busy agenda. We hope our humble propositions can get you a step closer to that ultimate state.

Invest Stress-Free Time in Planning

Most people consider planning as a waste of time. We prefer to view it as a great way to reduce stress and to accomplish more when time is limited.

December 06, 2016

Program Yourself into More Happiness

I recently recalled some simple yet powerful tips from a book I read a while back.

Among other things, it mentioned taking some time each night to remember good deeds of your day; to replay in your mind good feelings and happy moments. The main purpose of this habit is to feed your subconscious happy images and good sensations.

For instance, I like to think about great golf shots or simply, the genuine smile I got from a complete stranger after I opened the door to her.

Anyone can tap into the power of the subconscious. Without consciously thinking about it, you can breathe and heal your small wounds. These are examples of the incredible possibilities of the subconscious.

The subconscious can do much more as it can also bring you happiness. Contrary to its logical brother, the conscious, the subconscious is not analytic and rational at all. The subconscious is also pretty bad with words and instructions; he prefers images and feelings, they talk more to him. But be careful what you present him because he won’t think before realizing it.

Source : Le Pouvoir de la pensée, Milton Cameron (1999), Quebecor.

Photo Credit

November 24, 2016

12-Minute Balance (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on May 12, 2012

Many believe that one of the most important keys to happiness is balance. Sadly, many lives equate to a never ending juggling act struggling in search of that so elusive concept.  

The 12-Minute Approach offers you simple yet powerful ways to achieve that so precious balance in your life.

Let’s hope that, by focusing on rhythm, order and harmony, these 12-Minute Ideas help you strive toward that balance so essential to your happiness and well-being.

Equal Balance between Needs and Activities

In order to stay happy yet still be effective, your life should be equally balanced between your needs and your activities.

November 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Unsuspected Members of the Thieves Guild

When you play golf, you’re bound to see animals here and there. Some are beautiful, others less so; most may seem the shy-quiet type, yet some rare ones are proud and loud. Most golfers simply view them as innocent by-standards. But stay alert because, when you least expect it, some of these poor creatures may sneak up on you and literally try to get a piece of the action. Watch out before they reach their ultimate goal: to steal your precious ball and ruin your game!

You may not notice the most stealth subtle ones that utilize blind spots beyond high hills or in lower valleys. It may even be too late when you detect the noisy ones as they might fly away with their price and steal the show.

Getting Lost in the Middle of the Fairway

It’s curious how two unique holes on two separate courses can generate such similar stories.

November 12, 2016

Portfolio Update November 2016 and How to Deal With Potential Major Turnaround Events

Note that, as usual, you can expect our next update in about 12 weeks or so, in February 2017.
Meanwhile, you can also have a look at our actual portfolio and previous portfolio updates here:

After a tough start to 2016 that provided some interesting buying opportunities and a moderate rally afterwards, markets and by the same token, our DIY Portfolio kind of have been struck in neutral lately. Historically, stock values that don’t go anywhere and are stagnant for a while are often a sign that something big is coming. So a bold movement could be expected but the problem is that you never know in which direction it will go. Is it going to be way up or way down? Nobody can tell…

November 06, 2016

Reduce your Telecom Bill Just by Asking

The other day, my uncle Jim was furious after receiving a juicy internet bill. He initially thought he got charged too much. He immediately called his provider to complaint about the “overcharge”.

Very patiently, the customer service clerk made some verification and subsequently told him he had exceeded his transfer capacity for the last two months. Jim wasn’t happy with that yet very sensible answer and still went on grumbling.

A tiny bit later, by what seemed like insane magic, the extra charge had been reversed. On top of it, they even gave him a free upgrade so he would not bust his monthly plan anymore. What!?!

The next day, still a little angry yet proud about it, he called me. He still was worried his Wi-Fi router had been hacked and doubted the company’s assessment. I checked the logs and immediately discovered he had done it on his own. It clearly was his fault as he started to read his favorite newspaper online every day; all those presentations full of nice images and interactive videos quickly add up and could explain his sudden heavy internet usage. 

We laughed about all the fuss he had made and the fact he still got an upgrade just for calling and being a little persistent.

With my uncle’s happy fortune fresh in mind, the following week, I decided to also call my telecom provider to ask for a rebate. After just a few minutes, our monthly telecom bill was nicely reduced. Maybe not as substantially as Jim’s…still very easy money that remains in our pockets. Should have asked sooner and took note to do more often!   

October 24, 2016

Housekeeping The 12-Minute Way (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on April 12, 2012

Living in a clean environment can contribute to your well-being and happiness but proper housekeeping takes time.

So, here are some 12-Minute Ideas to keep your house neat and tidy. Hope this helps make your home more peaceful, relaxing and inspiring.

October 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Hitting Forward Tee-Markers with Hedgehopping Drives

For this month’s chronicle, our main suggestion would be quite opposite to Lee Trevino’s advice on putting in strong winds: “Keep it low!”

Like power lines are a grave danger for low flying aircrafts, forward tee-markers can be hazardous to low altitude tee-shots.

At some point, hitting tee-markers happened to all of us, respectable golf enthusiasts. Sometimes, it can transform decent drives into horrible ones. Other times, they were already terrible strokes to begin with. But most of the time, it can be funny and even hilarious, especially to less penalized playing partners.

So, next time you intend to drive you golf ball close to the ground, remember to still give it some kind of elevation and beware those nasty tee-markers; they can get both good and bad tee-balls into ugly trouble and transform you, in an instant, into the laughing stock of your “friendly” group of golfers.    

Driving in Reverse

On a brisk fall Saturday morning a few years back, Eric experienced that type of out-of-the-ordinary misfortune. In fact, it was the first time I meet and played with him. Let’s just say he left a most entertaining first impression.

October 12, 2016

No Need to be Perfect to Have Success

The Utopic Pursuit of Perfection

Some people think you have to be perfect to have any success and accomplish anything significant in life. Even though I’m literally allergic to incompetence, I still tend to believe quite the opposite. From my standpoint, nobody is and can be perfect, yet everyone can improve and achieve wonders.

As a sample of great accomplishments of imperfect humans until now, just look at all that fascinating technology and architectural marvels that surround us. All those things were not built perfect the first time around. We are far from perfect but still are getting somewhere. And that somewhere is most of the time, getting better and better.

Furthermore, those who try to become or remain perfect will most likely get away from their true self in the process. Their resentful and sometime annoying pursuit of perfection may also result in a lack of support from their peers.

Letting go of minor discrepancies, admitting we are all human and embracing the contribution of others to focus together on essential matters can be a much more interesting and productive approach.

Accept Occasional Mistakes

Only person who do nothing never make mistakes. You’ve got to allow yourself and others to make a few here and there.

October 06, 2016

Get All That Stuff Off Your Mind

If you’re like me, you always have something that pops up in your head: things you have to do, interesting writing ideas, fascinating subjects to reflect on, etc.

If I let my mind wonder on, it becomes very difficult for me to accomplish anything.

That’s why I now have a system to collect my thoughts and ideas (called items). In a few words, I immediately note any item that comes up and develop it later when I have more time.

Try it; it will help you quiet your mind.

An effective system has to free your conscious mind; you need it to stay focused on the task at hand. And the funny thing is that without much effort on your part, your subconscious will continue to work on those «collected» ideas.

This principle is especially applicable in our multi-tasking era as some people always seem to be doing many things without really doing anything right.

My system was inspired by the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology by David Allen.

The system assures me to avoid the risk of forgetting brilliant ideas. It also enables me to simply put aside and forget boring stuff that I will deal with later.

In today’s electronic world, it can be pretty easy to use your devices to collect and organize your items. I personally mainly use Outlook at work and Toodledo for my personal stuff. I also employ some basic mainstream software like Word for writing stuff and Excel for budgeting and finance.

Just don’t hesitate to use good old paper if you are away from your devices. For instance, you could keep a notepad close by for those middle-of-the-night genius ideas. If these come to me, to avoid sleepless nights, I often gribble down a couple words to remember my inspiration in the morning and go right back to sleep.

So organize yourself to put some order in that mumble jumble; it could unlock all the potential of your so powerful mind!

Photo Credit

September 24, 2016

12-Minute and Your Schedule (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on March 12, 2012

The 12-Minute Approach can be applied tons of ways to your schedule. We will submit you some ideas here but the possibilities are almost endless.

Why 12 Minutes

Using the 12-Minutes Approach will allow you to be more efficient; doing something different only 12 minutes every day can produce surprising results.

If you break down your day in 12-Minute Periods, you’ll find that there are 120 such Periods:

1 day = 24 hours x 60 minutes =
24 hours x 5 x 12-Minute = 120 x 12-Minute

September 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Generate Humongous Drives Using Cart Paths

Today, we’re gonna mix driving and hard bouncing cart paths. Driving as in hitting a tee shot and opposed to trying to control a vehicle. You’ll see that these trivial ingredients can produce ridiculously explosive long drives but also ridiculously funny situations.

Most golfers love (or would love) to hit the ball long. Some are even willing to try almost anything to add a few extra yards to their drives. Aiming at cart paths and benefiting from big bounces off them sure can be an excellent way to hack it much longer. Any passionate golfer worthy of the name must have tried it at some point during his illustrious career.  

We hope you’ll think about this post next time you make an attempt at it. But beware this aggressive strategic as most cart paths are located on the side and unfortunate ricochets off them may often only result in getting further into trouble.

Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy (Kevin Costner) sure learned about hard-pan-insanely-long shots by hurtfully losing a thousand bucks to bad boy David Simms (Don Johnson). Simms even used the car path (the road) instead of the cart path to teach him his lesson with their now Famous 7 Iron Bet.

Dreaming About Out-of-this-World Drives

Some time ago (ages ago if you must know), for young golf studs full of testosterone like my friends and me, reaching a par-5 in 2 strokes was the ultimate objective. Nothing could stop us; we would have bounced our heads off walls if we had to. So we only viewed cart paths as great opportunities to achieve our goal and had no complex using them to propel of drives farther.

September 12, 2016

Get To Financial Independence Quicker With a Smaller House

Living in a smaller house might be one of your most important decisions on your way to financial independence (FI: I like to define financial independence as being wealthy enough so you can choose to work or not). Rest assured, I’m not talking about those tiny houses that seemed to be popping all over. Rather, I think you should own a regular house, only a tad smaller. As we will see further down, downsizing only 20% could get you a long way towards FI.  

Not only will it reduce your mortgage payments but also many other related expenses. Hence, a more modest home will automatically result in less property taxes, less insurance, less maintenance/repairs and also a much more affordable utility bill... Ultimately, it may also save you a lot of time.

A little more than 15 years ago, our frugal nature enticed us to buy a smaller house and we now realize all the benefits of that decision. One of the most interesting consequences will be that we will get to financial independence much faster.

I decided to do some digging on this subject after I played golf with Alvin, a distant acquaintance. Alvin inherited some money and a fancy house in a rich neighborhood from his uncle 2 years ago.

September 06, 2016

Workout The 12-Minute Way (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on February 12, 2012

Whether you want to lose some weight or be in better shape, a simple solution exists:

Add a 12-Minute Workout to your daily routine!

Taking an extra 12 minutes a day or 1 hour a week to work out can greatly improve your figure and your general health.

August 21, 2016

Just Concentrate on Execution – Inspired by Great Young Talent Penny Oleksiak

The incredible performance of an inspiring Canadian swimmer at the Rio Olympic Games, Penny Oleksiak, made me recall one important basic principle: to focus on execution instead of results.

Many Canadians will remember young Penny mostly for her 4 medals and especially her gold one (what a comeback in the last 25 meters). Personally, her silver medal got me hooked as I noticed her reaction. She was so focused on doing her best (execution) that she didn’t even consider the chance of winning a medal (result); you can see by her delayed reaction she was quite surprised by the end result.

When you think too much about the result, you can choke by anticipating you’re gonna win or when things are not going your way. For instance, in golf, sinking a 3 feet put can be pretty easy to execute; not so much if you think about the potential consequences, like winning the US Open or your 100$ friendly wager with your buddies.

As Penny has demonstrated several times during these games, the secret seems to be to concentrate you efforts only on doing the best you can and to forget the rest.

Furthermore, properly pacing yourself can be an important element to consistently keep up the quality of your performance and execution. In that sense, adopting the 12-Minute Approach can be a great catalyst to maintain your level of performance. As you use it more and more, you’ll see that this technique can be applicable to many aspects of your life. In many circumstances, focusing on staying relaxed may be your optimal and unique option.

So next time you end up in a situation that makes you nervous, keep in mind to go do your thing to the best of your abilities and don’t worry about the consequences, good or bad. In due time, you’ll reap the benefits of all your efforts. 

Photo Credit

August 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Hammering Down Tee and Walking On Water

This unusual story was related to me by my good friends, Bob and Gaby.

A couple years ago, they went out to the golf course on a cold brisk day for their first game of the season. Everyone knows it would take more than bad winter-like conditions to stop good old golf enthusiasts like them.

Yet, that morning, Bob and Gaby found out that some maniacs are wackier than others as they were paired up with 2 complete strangers…

It all started right after they introduced themselves to each other. One of these odd guys, dressed more for duck hunting than golf – but we could pardon it because it was pretty damn cold, pulled a hammer out of his golf bag!

Using Hammer to Tee Off

And not a little tiny hammer but rather one of these big construction-type metal ones with a black rubber handle!

What could he be doing with a hammer of a golf course?

August 12, 2016

Portfolio Update August 2016

Note that, as usual, you can expect our next update in about 12 weeks or so, in November 2016.
Meanwhile, you can also have a look at our actual portfolio and previous portfolio updates here:

Since May, markets have continued to soar up. This is a great thing for our DIY Portfolio value but kind of makes it very difficult to find interesting stocks to buy.

We were hoping Brexit (the possibility of Great Britain leaving the European Union) could provide some short term disturbance to make solid stocks more affordable, but looks like the scary Brexit-leave-vote-bomb was a dud after all.

Then the agonising question comes back to haunt us yet again:

Should we be worried about these skyrocketing markets?

Once more, I’ll remind you that I am not an investment or tax professional of any kind. The intent of this blog is not to give specific investing advice. Before investing yourself, we suggest you to do all necessary research and consult a licensed financial professional if need be. 

Brexit Scare Quickly Went Away

A couple weeks before the Brexit vote, world markets, anticipating a stay vote, mounted quite a rally. Things were running smoothly and we were almost ready to talk about Brexit as a past remote possibility. Heck, less than 24 hours before the vote, even bookmakers heavily favoured the stay side and you know and no sane person would dare bet against these guys…

August 06, 2016

The Next Best Way of Living in the Present

Many studies and reflections on happiness seemed to point out that living in the present is an important key.

Even if I know deep down that it would obviously be the best thing for me, for some reason, I just can’t commit to that ultimate goal: to always live in the present moment. There’s no use feeling guilty about it but I’m probably still a little too weak to completely grasp and embrace that fundamental happiness concept.

Yet in recent months, I have discovered an interesting intermediate alternative: I use the 12-Minute approach to concentrate on the actual 12-Minute segment.

Now when I start a task, I focus on it and know what I’ll be doing for the next 12 minutes. At the end of the 12-Minute segment, I begin a new 12-Minute cycle with either a different task or continue with the initial one if it is not yet completed.  

That way, I’m never get too far ahead of myself and I can concentrate on what’s happening right here and now!

It may sound odd but I feel more secure taking bigger bites (12 minutes instead of an instant) with that half-way approach. It has made it easier for me to evolve towards the ultimate goal of truly living in the present!

This method also helps getting through tougher days. Sometimes, it can be a drag to motivate yourself for a whole day but you can almost always envision yourself getting by the next 12 minutes.     

Even though it’s not perfect, living in the 12 actual minutes has really made me take major steps and as time goes by, I am able to appreciate precious little moments of my life more and more. 

Photo Credit

July 24, 2016

12-Minute Basics (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on January 12, 2012

Help To Change 

By suggesting simple methods and unique ideas, the 12-Minute Approach will help you implement change and improve.

For exemple, for most people, the optimum concentration period is only 12 minutes. That is, the time they can really focus on a task.

July 18, 2016

Wacky Golf Fact – Birdie Hunting

This one occurred to my bubbies and me many summers ago. Back then, we were young golf studs or at least thought so.

That morning, Frank had a particularly bad outing with his famous driver. When we got to the 17th hole, a long but sometime reachable par 5, he was determined to have his vengeance and tried to hit a bomb off the tee. And he did!

He probably made his best pass of the day and hit a wonderful powerful drive in the center of the club right down the middle of the fairway. His fancy driver even mad a big POW!

Literally Getting a Birdie

Everything would have been fine but out of the trees, a bird flew across the fairway at the same exact moment. Frank’s ball violently hit the bird! They immediately both fell straight down…about 25 yards in front of us, just between the gentlemen’s and ladies’ tee boxes.

We even noticed a few feathers blown away…

Steve immediately yelled out: BIRDIE!

July 12, 2016

Build Wealth by Reducing Recurring Expenses

In our so-called modern but consumption oriented society, people get a kick out of shopping and buying stuff. Many spend too much and that may be the main reason they will never really get wealthy.

When it comes to saving, most people tend to get pessimistic very fast because they focus on the millions they would need to truly become financially independent. Some have completely given up and don’t even bother anymore.

Additional income sure wouldn’t hurt building up your fortune. But today, we will concentrate our efforts on the other side of the equation: expenses, and especially the quiet but nasty recurring ones!

The Illusion of Seamless Payments

To add to the misfortunes of compulsive shoppers and buyers, salespeople and marketers have found a new trick in this consumption driven era: they hide the real price of products and services behind easy-to-make payments.

That way, consumers don’t exactly know how much they are paying; they only know how little their payments seem to be.

June 24, 2016

12-Minute Principles (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on December 12, 2012

There's more to the 12-Minute Approach than great number 12. Some principles and premises also inspire this revolutionary method.

They are exposed here with some brief explanations:

1-Realize Your Dreams  

Having dreams is essential. Dreams give life a meaning. They give you a purpose and a sense of direction.

Planning to realize your dreams is also important. By setting goals and making plans, you’ll move closer to your dreams.

Your unconscious and intuition will guide you thru the venture even if you don’t possess all the details right now.

June 18, 2016

Do A Little More Today!

Want to accomplish more: just take 12-Minute to do something about it today!

An easy start because everybody can spare 12-Minute.
You could do the same the following day…
And the next one…

We suggest 12-Minute a day 5 times a week for a while.

After you get used to that pace, you could then add an additional 12-Minute segment to your daily routine. And so on and so forth. We also recommend to record your progress as it can be very motivating.

This simple 12-Minute technique is a great way to change and improve, little by little. You’ll be amazed how powerful and wonderful it can be!

With some patience, we will be able to accomplish about anything you want!

Photo Credit

June 12, 2016

Focus Your Life On What You Love

A couple weeks ago, I was often feeling down as I got irritated and annoyed by every little detail that went wrong. I know it will probably sound very cliché but then I remembered to simply focus my life back on things and people I love.

Thinking that way again almost instantly made me feel better. Or at least, it got rid of unnecessary tension and that lighter, more relaxed atmosphere got me back on the happiness trail…

Over the years, trying to stay positive in that fashion has been the best way for me to cope with hardship and to remain happy.

So when I’m able to remind myself, I always try to focus on the fact that I love numbers, I love reading, I love writing, I love to help others, I love to play games…I sometimes love being alone but above all else, I love being a devoted father and husband!