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THE CUCKOO CLOCK, MY BROTHER AND ME...

Posted By: Gordon Alexander
Date: Saturday, 29 July 2000, at 5:37 p.m.

Maybe I was 11 or 12, somewhere in there. My older brother would have been 13 or 14.

One day my mom went visiting. My brother, the gifted one, wanted to see what made the cuckoo clock work.

So he took it off the wall and started taking it apart. You know younger brothers, always got to follow the lead.

I went to the bedroom and got the alarm clock. A few minutes later there were a 1001 clock pieces spread on the floor.

We learned how those kinds of clocks worked. The re-assembly began. My brother hung the cuckoo on the wall about 15 minutes later.

I had put the big hand on the alarm clock's face.

Not only did he get the athletic ability, the looks, the coordination, dang if he didn't get the "tinkerin" gift too.

It was when I was a kid I first uttered, "It ain't fair."

My Dad would always say, "No, life isn't fair, but you can always go to one."

But even then, my older brother always bought back the giant stuffed animals for winning the prize. I came home with some useless trinket I "won" from some guy trying to guess my weight.

He was always 10 pounds over and he always would say something like,

"Wow kid you look a lot fatter than that, I guess I lose."

Then hand me some 10-cent piece of junk I had paid a dollar for.

Anyhow, there I was with the guts of the clock spread out on the floor. The ticking of the cuckoo had suddenly become extremely loud and extremely annoying.

Not because anything was wrong with it, it ran perfectly, but because I realized my mother would be home any minute.

My older brother had asked if I NEEDED help. I said NO. He went outside to play. I suddenly had great regrets for trying to be so independent.

Mom came in. Stared. Said the words every kid hates to hear.

"Wait until your dad gets home."

I didn't have to wait long. He came through the door as if on cue.

My mother explained to him what was going on. I tried a feeble attempt at blaming my brother. But they looked at the cuckoo clock, and then back at the 1002 parts on the floor.

Yea, it seemed I had picked up an extra piece or two.

My dad was a quiet man. Didn't yell. Always kept his cool, was in control.

He said; "You've got one hour to put it back together and it had better be working, or YOU will buy us a new one. They cost $2.50."

Then looked at his watch, looked at the cuckoo and grinned and walked away.

I was paid 25 cents a week to clean my dad's barbershop.

Every night I would walk across the parking lot, sweep the floors, clean the mirrors, fill up the shaving cream dispensers, straighten up and mop and wax the floor.

It took about 90 minutes. I was paid a quarter, a WEEK, in case that escaped you the first time.

Now the upside to the work was I got to watch the shop's color TV (we still had black and white at home) while pumping up the barber's chair and sneaking the Playboy's from out of the back room.

$2.50 would be TEN weeks of work. I ran out the back door yelling for my brother.

I explained my dilemma. A grin came over his face, you know the kind, but I'll clean it up and call it a "smirk".

"OK, but it will cost you a quarter."

Math was never my strong suit, but even I knew a quarter was less than $2.50. About nine weeks less.

I agreed. By the time I was able to shake a quarter out of my cheap pink piggy bank (which I had won at the fair, by the way) my brother had the clock back together and working.

Like I've said before, when it comes to the family talents, I got squat.

But I begrudgingly gave him his quarter and we went to find dad. I showed him the clock.

He looked at me. Looked at the clock. Looked at my brother.

Looked back at the clock, and then at me and asked;

"How much did it cost you?"

"A quarter", I replied.

"Beats spending two fifty don't it? I hope you've learned your lesson. You boys get ready for dinner."

I heard him chuckling as we left. My brother mocked me,

"I hope you've learned you lesson, I hope you've learned your lesson," while tossing the quarter into the air right in front of my face.

I kept thinking about which lesson I was supposed to learn.

Maybe the lesson was, don't worry about how things work, it doesn't matter.

NOPE, I'm just as curious now as I was 40 years ago. I still want to know how things work.

Maybe the lesson was, don't take things apart you don't know how to put back together.

NOPE, I have a garage, basement, attic, and storage shed filled with projects I'm going to re-assemble one of these days.

I can still take things apart with the best of them.

Then it dawned on me. The lesson.

The lesson I learned was this: it was better to spend a quarter getting someone to do it for you than it was to spend 10 weeks doing it yourself.

YEP. That lesson. The one I learned that cuckoo kind of a day, a long, long time ago.

It is my opinion that it is better to hire people to do work that would take too much of your time to do by yourself.

Another way: your time is more valuable than your money.

How about a real life example? Sure.

My brother grew up to become a very good auto mechanic, very good with his hands, he builds machines for a living. Complicated machines I don't understand.

About the only thing I can do well with my hands is swing a golf club, well, at least putt.

One time my brother spent 3 days pulling an engine out of a car and fixing it. Something about a rod, or piston, or one of those parts that do whatever in a car. It would have cost him about $500.00 to have it fixed.

He spent a weekend and a vacation day and got the job done. In my brother's mind he saved himself 500 bucks.

That is how he thinks. Nothing wrong with that, just different from how I do.

He fixed this car during my OFF-KEY SINGING TELEGRAM SERVICE days. You can read about that at the 50 cent ad post on the home page.

I was making a thousand dollars a day delivering the most God-awful but hilarious singing telegrams throughout Northeast Ohio.

Even if I knew what to do.
Even if I had the tools and the inclination.
Even if I knew where the motor was located...

If I had spent the same three days fixing my own car, it would have COST me almost $2,500.00

I would have lost the income.

It is all perspective. My brother saved 500. I would have lost five times that.

It all goes back to that cuckoo clock. And it shapes my decisions today.

In the SQUARE ONE WORKSHOPS I teach this concept.

There are many people in poor financial shape. Some in great credit card debt, a self-created hell, so to speak.

The common advice is to

Go bankrupt
Try to negotiate a settlement
Consumer Credit Counseling
Borrowing from "Peter to pay Paul"
Call your creditors, beg them, plead with them, and threaten them with bankruptcy (ethical?)
Go deeper in debt

My advice is different.

MAKE MORE MONEY.

And how you do that is to use your time to maximize your income.

Not to fix things around the house.
Not to putter on your car.
Not to read all the forums.
Not to join every affiliate program and hope...

But to use your time and get maximum monetary return on your time investment.

I'd like to elaborate. I know this is a long post, but maybe just one person can learn something from it. OK?

Spend your time with the activity that is going to make you the most money.

In BYBA, I mentioned Monique Harris, who came out on-line a few years ago and today is making executive income and sharing the stage with the some of the biggest names in marketing.

And I compared her to Lady A. The fact is Lady A could be Mr. C, D or F...there are a lot of Lady A's.

There are scores of people who over the last few years have spent thousands of dollars with different programs, on all kinds of get rich quick schemes, and the more desperate a person gets, the QUICKER they want to score the money.

And the more likely the are to fall for scam after scheme after flukes.

Because they are more emotionally susceptible to it. Those of you that have read REMOTE HYPNOSIS can now understand this. And why certain types of HYPE can make people part with their money so easily.

They HOPE.
They WISH.
They WANT it to be as good as it sounds (the opportunity) but know inside their minds and hearts the truth of the saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"

Personally, I'd leave out the probably in that last sentence.

Want to make more money?

Put more value on your time. FOCUS your time on the activity that is going to be the most productive for your goals.

Don't know yet what those are?

Friend, you really need SQUARE ONE WORKSHOPS, but I'll continue this post sometime next week. Stop back, you won't be disappointed.

Now, I've got to go fix that leaky toilet. Or call my brother.

Gordon Alexander

 

Copyright 2000 Gordon J. Alexander and Seeds of Wisdom Publishing, All Rights Reserved