Today, Knowledge Management today are not limited merely to : (A) 'knowing' or 'reading lots of books/scholarly articles' or (B) data mining, analysis, decision making, preventive actions, or (C) some Human Resources Management issue or (D) some ICT issue. Knowledge Management is about putting your knowledge, skills and competency into practice and most important IT WORKS! For you and your company or your business (Nik Zafri)

The information comprised in this section is not, nor is it held out to be, a solicitation of any person to take any form of investment decision. The content of the nikzafri.blogspot.com does not constitute advice or a recommendation by nikzafri.blogspot.com and should not be relied upon in making (or refraining from making) any decision relating to investments or any other matter. You should consult your own independent financial adviser and obtain professional advice before exercising any investment decisions or choices based on information featured in this nikzafri.blogspot.com can not be held liable or responsible in any way for any opinions, suggestions, recommendations or comments made by any of the contributors to the various columns on nikzafri.blogspot.com nor do opinions of contributors necessarily reflect those of http://www. nikzafri.blogspot.com

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Email: nikzafri@yahoo.com, nikzafri@gmail.com

Kelantanese, Alumni of Sultan Ismail College Kelantan (SICA), Diploma (Management), IT Competency Cert, Certified Written English Professional US. Has participated in many seminars/conferences (local/ international) in the capacity of trainer/lecturer and participant.

Affiliations :- Council Member of Gerson Lehrman Group NY, Institute of Quality Malaysia, Malaysian Institute of Management, Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Association, Auditor ISO 9000 IRCAUK, Auditor OHSAS 18000 (SIRIM and STS) /EMS ISO 14000:2004 and Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS, CIDB (Now BCA) Singapore),

* Possesses 26 years of experience/hands-on in the multi-modern management & technical disciplines (systems & methodologies) such as Knowledge Management (Hi-Impact Management/ICT Solutions), Quality (TQM/ISO), Safety Health Environment, Civil & Building (Construction), Manufacturing, Motivation & Team Building, HR, Marketing/Branding, Business Process Reengineering, Economy/Stock Market, Contracts/Project Management, Finance & Banking, etc. He was employed to international bluechips involving in national/international megaprojects such as Balfour Beatty Construction/Knight Piesold & Partners UK, MMI Insurance Group Australia, Hazama Corporation (Hazamagumi) Japan (with Mitsubishi Corporation, JA Jones US, MMCE and Ho-Hup) and Sunway Construction Berhad (The Sunway Group of Companies). Among major projects undertaken : Pergau Hydro Electric Project, KLCC Petronas Twin Towers, LRT Tunnelling, KLIA, Petronas Refineries Melaka, Putrajaya Government Complex, Sistem Lingkaran Lebuhraya Kajang (SILK), Mex Highway, KLIA1, KLIA2 etc. Once serviced SMPD Management Consultants as Associate Consultant cum Lecturer for Diploma in Management, Institute of Supervisory Management UK/SMPD JV. Currently – Associate/Visiting Consultants/Facilitators, Advisors for leading consulting firms (local and international) including project management. To name a few – Noma SWO Consult, Amiosh Resources, Timur West Consultant Sdn. Bhd., TIJ Consultants Group (Malaysia and Singapore) and many others.

* Ex-Resident Weekly Columnist of Utusan Malaysia (1995-1998) and have produced more than 100 articles related to ISO-9000– Management System and Documentation Models, TQM Strategic Management, Occupational Safety and Health (now OHSAS 18000) and Environmental Management Systems ISO 14000. His write-ups/experience has assisted many students/researchers alike in module developments based on competency or academics and completion of many theses. Once commended by the then Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia for his diligence in promoting and training the civil services (government sector) based on “Total Quality Management and Quality Management System ISO-9000 in Malaysian Civil Service – Paradigm Shift Scalar for Assessment System”

Among Nik Zafri’s clients : Adabi Consumer Industries Sdn. Bhd, (MRP II, Accounts/Credit Control) The HQ of Royal Customs and Excise Malaysia (ISO 9000), Veterinary Services Dept. Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (Aspects of Project Management – KLCC construction), Corporate HQ of RHB (Peter Drucker's MBO/KRA), NEC Semiconductor - Klang Selangor (Productivity Management), Prime Minister’s Department Malaysia (ISO 9000), State Secretarial Office Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), Hidrological Department KL (ISO 9000), Asahi Kluang Johor(System Audit, Management/Supervisory Development), Tunku Mahmood (2) Primary School Kluang Johor (ISO 9000), Consortium PANZANA (HSSE 3rd Party Audit), Lecturer for Information Technology Training Centre (ITTC) – Authorised Training Center (ATC) – University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) Kluang Branch Johor, Kluang General Hospital Johor (Management/Supervision Development, Office Technology/Administration, ISO 9000 & Construction Management), Kahang Timur Secondary School Johor (ISO 9000), Sultan Abdul Jalil Secondary School Kluang Johor (Islamic Motivation and Team Building), Guocera Tiles Industries Kluang Johor (EMS ISO 14000), MNE Construction (M) Sdn. Bhd. Kota Tinggi Johor (ISO 9000 – Construction), UITM Shah Alam Selangor (Knowledge Management/Knowledge Based Economy /TQM), Telesystem Electronics/Digico Cable(ODM/OEM for Astro – ISO 9000), Sungai Long Industries Sdn. Bhd. (Bina Puri Group) - ISO 9000 Construction), Secura Security Printing Sdn. Bhd,(ISO 9000 – Security Printing) ROTOL AMS Bumi Sdn. Bhd & ROTOL Architectural Services Sdn. Bhd. (ROTOL Group) – ISO 9000 –Architecture, Bond M & E (KL) Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9000 – Construction/M & E), Skyline Telco (M) Sdn. Bhd. (Knowledge Management),Technochase Sdn. Bhd JB (ISO 9000 – Construction), Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM – ISO 9000 & Internal Audit Refresher), Shinryo/Steamline Consortium (Petronas/OGP Power Co-Generation Plant Melaka – Construction Management and Safety, Health, Environment), Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Negotiation Skills), Association for Retired Intelligence Operatives of Malaysia (Cyber Security – Arpa/NSFUsenet, Cobit, Till, ISO/IEC ISMS 27000 for Law/Enforcement/Military), T.Yamaichi Corp. (M) Sdn. Bhd. (EMS ISO 14000) LSB Manufacturing Solutions Sdn. Bhd., (Lean Scoreboard (including a full development of System-Software-Application - MSC Malaysia & Six Sigma) PJZ Marine Services Sdn. Bhd., (Safety Management Systems and Internal Audit based on International Marine Organization Standards) UNITAR/UNTEC (Degree in Accountacy – Career Path/Roadmap) Cobrain Holdings Sdn. Bhd.(Managing Construction Safety & Health), Speaker for International Finance & Management Strategy (Closed Conference), Pembinaan Jaya Zira Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9001:2008-Internal Audit for Construction Industry & Overview of version 2015), Straits Consulting Engineers Sdn. Bhd. (Full Integrated Management System – ISO 9000, OHSAS 1800 and EMS ISO 14000 for Civl/Structural/Geotechnical Consulting), Malaysia Management & Science University (MSU – (Managing Business in an Organization), Innoseven Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 MSPR8 – Awareness and Internal Audit (Construction), ISO 9001:2008 and 2015 overview for the Construction Industry), Kemakmuran Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 - Signages/Wayfinding - Project Quality Plan and Construction Method Statement ), Amiosh Resources - (1) Lembaga Tabung Haji - Flood ERP (2) WNA Consultants - DID/JPS -Flood Risk Assessment and Management Plan - Prelim, Conceptual Design, Interim and Final Report etc. (3) Tunnel Fire Safety - Fire Risk Assessment Report - Design Fire Scenario), Safety, Health and Environmental Management Plans leading construction/property companies/corporations in Malaysia. Timur West Consulting (1) Business Methodology and System (2) Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya ISMS/Audit/Risk/ITP Technical Team

* Has appeared for 10 consecutive series in “Good Morning Malaysia RTM TV1’ Corporate Talk Segment discussing on ISO 9000/14000 in various industries. For ICT, his inputs garnered from his expertise have successfully led to development of work-process e-enabling systems in the environments of intranet, portal and interactive web design especially for the construction and manufacturing. Some of the end products have won various competitions of innovativeness, quality, continual-improvements and construction industry award at national level. He has also in advisory capacity – involved in development and moderation of websites, portals and e-profiles for mainly corporate and private sectors, public figures etc. He is also one of the recipients for MOSTE Innovation for RFID use in Electronic Toll Collection in Malaysia.

Note :



Saturday, February 21, 2009

This was what I've said few months back :

Many have forecasted that SEA will be the first to rebound from the current economic crisis by September, 2009.

On the other hand, what saddens me most is that some even forecasted that Asian economy will fall badly in 2009 - such a pathetic statement meant to discourage us.

In the past, we have been known for the reputation of outperforming the US and Europe due to the right planning and eventually become very immune to any credit crunch from the West.

Some countries are not even depending on IMF or World Bank in 1997-1998-remember? Even China has been too much underestimated (not that I disagree but too much 'smart' speculations..come on) by these 'so-called' economic forecasters.

I have always been known as a 'reverse psychological' person. I don't believe in 'too obvious bad news' being reported meant to lure the small investors away but giving great monetary advantages to speculators.

Based on these 'unfounded fears', I feel strongly that the Asian will be one of the key players in the world economy commencing from 2009.

But of course, I have a different theory (especially for Malaysia) - I think it's earlier than that...say April, 2009?


Where would be the ideal starting point? The answer is the first tier - Banking and Financial Institutions. I would like to open this suggestion to Asia (or SEA) as Asia is a very unique continent that has always found a way towards survival. (perhaps some democratization of financial policies should be in place) Most important is TRUST and coordinated efforts one another - as every bankers and financiers have all the knowledge. (Don't wait for someone else to start first) There should be no more too much dependency on certain elite groups or industries that are 'controlling the financial world' and we have seen the impact when these 'big mega industries' started to fall

Today...I'm so happy to see THIS NEWS :

From The Star 21 February, 2009:

Asean to seek consensus on RM308b common fund

PHUKET: Malaysia, along with other Asean members, will meet tomorrow to seek consensus on a multi-billion dollar Asean+3 Cooperation Fund for economic stimulus packages.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will lead the Malaysian delegation at the special meeting among Asean finance ministers, together with their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea.

The meeting is to formalise a common fund aimed at bolstering foreign exchange reserves to cope with the global economic crisis.

Under the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation Scheme, Asean members, Japan, China and South Korea have agreed to create a pool of US$84bil (RM308bil). The fund, which was agreed to in May last year, is to help boost forex reserves among member countries.

China, Japan and South Korea will contribute 80% of the fund while the remaining 10 Asean countries will come up with the rest.

A Malaysian Finance Ministry official said Asean finance ministers would also discuss methods to protect the region’s economy and other joint initiatives to overcome the current economic slum.

“Asean finance ministers are also expected to discuss and raise the fund to US$120bil (RM441bil) to help revive the region’s economy.

“The meeting will also seek views on ways to tackle the current economic issues as well as enhancing the regional trade and financial markets corporation.”
Nik's comments :


Personal Note : I sure hope President Obama sees this.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

(c) Reserved 2000 - (Revision 1 - 2004, Revision 2 - 2009) - Nik Zafri Abdul Majid. Duplication/infringement of any part(s)of this article/'intellectual property' without prior consent from the author may result in serious litigation.


The reasons for this article being written (or rather handbook) :

- To guide and recommend freelance consultants/trainer/developer (Hereinafter referred to as "FC") with proper code of practice/etiquettes of how to conduct freelance services appropriately .

- To close the gap of understanding between the 'interested parties' and FCs (interested parties - Client, Public At Large, Authorities, Professional Affiliation Organization and those having interest in this topic)

This article is not meant to be a catalyst or in support or in line to/with any existing law(s), regulation(s) or standard(s) issued/gazetted by any authorised party(ies)in any part(s) of the world. If any of the elements below found to be in common/similar with other sources, then the similarities should be considered purely coincidental.The author welcomes comments from readers especially other FCs from all around the globe.


An FC is unlikely to be hired or earning a fixed income/wages/allowances with any specific organisation. He/she is basically operating under his own individual name or company. (START SMALL - END BIG, START BIG - SMALL!)

Note - likely to operate based on SOHO (either from house or small outlet rented with basic office automations especially a fully equipped personal/laptop/notebook computer - fully equipped PC/Laptop or Notebook computer means those with Wi-Fi-Wi-Max (x-max) /Broadband connection, Smart Office facilities such as Auto Answering, Responders, Fax on Demand, Network Connection readiness-VPN/Wireless LAN, perhaps a handheld device etc. etc.)

An FC also likely to form :

Smart Partnership/Association/Affiliation - Project Basis and/or Profit Sharing with established consulting firms - in other words - 'visiting basis/smart associates'. Depending on the agreed written terms and conditions, He/She may likely enjoy some perks/benefits on this kind of deal. He/She is not usually defined as 'Resident Consultant' unless otherwise, the terms and conditions set by the client are being reviewed or the project requirements are as such.


In his/her quotation, professional charges/fees are usually based on the following (typical - depending on cases) calculation/formula :

Standard Market Price/person or hour/day X % Training Grants Rebate = Nett Charges (after less unclaimable training rebate due to hiring a freelance consultant)

Consider giving other discounts based on number of days or trainees. FC may also assist the client to claim any training grants or rebate if the client is a registered contributor and provided that the FC himself is an accredited/certified trainer.

Also, in his quotation/proposal, the fee is likely to exclude costs like f & b, incidental, accommodation etc. etc. to be borned by the Client.Upon agreement, an FC usually asks for a certain commitment fee on 'without prejudicial and TRUST basis' (to be minused with overall professional charges and balance to be paid upon completion of programme....SATISFACTORILY!)

All the professional charges usually goes to his own savings or current account or if he/she is on smart-partnership - it will go to the consulting firms and paid to his account accordingly (to the agreement between FC and the consulting firm)

Be prepared to pay tax if required to do so. Keep genuine and accurate documentation, records and datum (plural of data...not datas)- DO NOT AVOID TAX!! (Don't worry...since the freelance consulting market usually fluctuates, just be honest with the IRD in your declaration)

Note : The 'cake' is very big. Do not argue or underestimate or try to 'kick out' other fellow consultant(s). In not too many words, they are 'your brothers/sisters'...cooperate with them...remember no consultant can claim that 'he/she knows everything' or 'jack of all trades'. Do not spoil the market. Take a 'small slice of cake' and always remember - 'quality and quantity'.

Always 'sacrifice' a fraction of your knowledge to your client..it doesn't hurt a bit..in fact it helps a lot!

Most important, do not 'show off' (talk big or boast) in the presence of your client.
REMEMBER, you are a freelance consultant and not a CEO of some major bluechip corporation in the country.

I've seen 'consultants' like these before...they talk big, act big, CHARGE BIG, but work SMALL, contribution SMALL and end SMALL!! - BE HUMBLE!!

An FC :

must possess ICT and Technological-based knowledge (or technical - even if you have to be self-learned in engineering discipline) and 'a little bit of' skills (able to provide solution rather than hypothesis - for this you need to have an informative online portal to impress your client(s) must possess adequate hands-on experience in multiple management/industrial disciplines must possess eloquency, confidence and able to properly present himself/herself (be aware, alert, susceptible in confronting almost all types of situation) must update himself/herself with the latest knowledge and its rapid evolution must possess basic academical qualification (s) (advantage but lately not a prerequisite! - experience is more favourable)

An FC must provide a proper contact address and telephone nos., e-mail, website URL, plus detailed information about himself.

Note : The more 'transparent' you are...the betterAn FC must have the initiative to develop a vast network of communication/contacts with other consultant(s) or consulting firm (s), government agencies/authorities and clients. This network will assist him/her greatly in fields he or she unfamiliar with.

An FC shall provide his/her client (s) with many options in consulting/developing and training programmes/packages. Most economical - Client will send only one key personnel to be trained and disseminate the information to his/her organisation. In doing so, an FC must equip his training/developing/consulting package(s) with a proper and systematical chains of feedback, follow-up, surveillance, monitoring, supervision, service and verification systems. These elements shall facilitate:

- 3rd Party Follow-Up Assessment (s) if required by the client
- Genuine understanding by the client after being trained by his/her own officer
- Follow-up training/consulting/development if necessary
- LONG TERM business and professional relationship
Another type of training would be the in-house training at the client's premise or elsewhere determined by the client. Charges/fees should follow the aforesaid formula. Try to avoid 'public programmes except in the case of 'smart partnerships'

Note : You do not want a 'one time cash and carry' business and suffer the consequences such as disreputation in the market!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pengeluaran Bon sebagai Alternatif Penstabilan Ekonomi - Nik Zafri

Nota ringkas ini lebih kepada haipotesis ekonomi dan pengarang tidak memberikan apa-apa jaminan kejayaan sekiranya haipotesis berikut digunapakai.

Pengeluaran bon untuk menstabilkan ekonomi juga dikenali sebagai Bon GDP- Gross Domestic Product. Reaksi balas yang berlaku apabila cadangan ini dikeluarkan ialah kenaikan faedah.

Apakah kelebihan dan kelemahan Pengeluaran Bon berkaitan GDP :

1. Servis Bon adalah tinggi dalam suasana pasaran sihat tetapi akan rendah apabila pasaran tidak sihat.

2. Bagi peminjam - pengeluaran ini akan menstabilkan perbelanjaan awam dan Kerajaan akan dapat servis apa-apa hutang semasa suasana pasaran yang sihat dan kurang memberikan servis hutang jika berlaku sebaliknya. Krisis hutang dan kegagalan membayar hutang akan dapat dikurangkan. Apabila ini berlaku, ianya akan membantu proses pemulihan.

3. Bagi pelabur - kerugian mungkin berlaku serentak dengan masalah gagal membayar hutang. Jadi, jika dibandingkan dengan bon konvensional, bon yang berkait dengan GDP dapat memastikan bayaran total yang leibh tinggi dan ini pastinya akan mengurangkan kebarangkalian kegagalan pembayaran hutang.

4. Kerajaan dapat membantu membiayai sektor yang berpotensi apabila bon berkait GDP dikeluarkan. Tidak mustahil, sektor yang baru atau sedang berkembang umpamanya industri pembuatan akan menyasarkan untuk disenaraikan dalam Bursa Malaysia kerana pengeluaran bon akan dapat memperbetulkan pasaran saham.

5. Pengeluaran bon ini juga akan dapat menambahbaik pasaran modal (terutamanya bon korporat - dalam kes di Malaysia - Bon ini dikeluarkan oleh GLC) Sektor korporat juga dapat mengurangkan kos dan menambahbaik kecukupan modal sekiranya bon ini diintegrasikan dalam struktur kewangan.

There has been some interesting stories I heard in the market about the intention of the Government to issue bonds to stabilize the economy. When plan of economic stabilization involves, these bonds are known as "GDP-linked"Just a short comment (I hope)
There are a number of things to talk about whenever anybody touched about GDP and linking it to bonds.But one of the most popular reactions would be the increasing interest in creating bonds.
1. Bond servicing is higher during rapid growth but lower if the growth is slow.
2. For borrowers - issuance may stabilize public spending as Government can service more debt during affordable times and less during difficulties. It is also said to lower down crisis of debts and defaults. When you reduce the service of country's debt during recession, it may help in the recovery process.
3. For investors - losses may happen due to defaults. Thus, comapred to the conventional bond, this kind of bond (GDP-linked) can ensure higher total payment hence reducing default probability (what am I saying? )
4. The Government can help in financing some potential sectors if GDP-linked bonds are issued. In theory, some emerging or new sectors (any industry esp. manufacturing) can target to be listed in the Bursa Malaysia if they wish as bond issuance can help correction in the stock market.
5. It also helps in improving capital market as well (esp. corporate bonds - in Malaysia's case - the bonds issued by GLC). The corporate sector can reduce cost and improve capital efficience once bonds are integrated into the financial stucture.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Note : although this may not be related to Malaysia, I find this article interesting and some may applicable to everyone in the world as well..

How to Wake up from the American Dream

Is this really what it's all about?

from wikiHow

It's in your power to wake yourself up, would you like to? People are diverse, and even a good formula doesn't work for everybody: married with children, a house in suburbia, 2 or 3 large cars, mortgage payments and bills. Which dreams satisfy you? You could uproot the unworkable memes that block your satisfaction.

Note---The concept of 'The American Dream' is entirely constructed, do not actually believe that it exists in Reality. As mentioned before, it is a meme--which acts virally--and only exists inside of a mind which accepts (has Faith in) it.Your dream exists, you exist, but "The American Dream" as an independent 'thing' does not.


  1. Notice your level of dissatisfaction. If you are completely satisfied, that's great and congratulations. These suggestions are for helping the rest of us. If anybody's way of spending time or activity makes you feel jealous, admit it to yourself; you're only human. Notice what sorts of activities give you this feeling, and which you are glad you're not doing. Notice if you prefer to be hurried, or if you prefer to be unhurried. If you daydream, notice about what.

  2. Pay attention to your level of dissatisfaction; it has a tendency to fall out of your awareness, if you don't yet know what to do about it, or if you believe "nothing can be done about it anyway". You can push on through this belief in order to try experiments; if full satisfaction seems very unlikely but not quite impossible, something can be done after all. Settling for "good enough" can slow down the awareness you're looking for. If you ever have the thought, "there's got to be more than this", follow that thought and see where it leads.

  3. Seek sources of understanding your dissatisfaction. Your dissatisfaction is not random, it has causes, and you can come to understand the cause-and-effect relations underlying the obstacles to your full satisfaction. There are some excellent materials available for free at the public library, including the books of Daniel Quinn, James Howard Kunstler, Harry Browne, Jim Marrs, Derrick Jensen, Starhawk, and others; authors who point to the possible origins of the problem, and to steps towards solutions. A few links are below. You could also ask the freest, most vibrant person you know!

  4. Become aware of what causes your dissatisfaction. Take the understanding from your sources and make it yours, adapting if need be. Learn how to tell what desires and dreams come from inside you, and which desires and dreams were given to you by the culture you grew up in and the outside influences that surround us. Taking time to listen inside yourself is hard for busy people, but it is crucial.

  5. Make personal choices that move you away from the causes of your dissatisfaction. New choices can move you towards causes of joy, relaxation, relief, belonging, and freedom to control more of your own time. Pay attention to which choices increase your ability to choose further, and which restrict your next choices. Which brings us to:

  6. Research the assumptions on which the American Dream is based:

    1. Consider the meaning of owning a house and land: What does allodial land ownership mean? Is home "ownership" now complicated? How much of that mortgage payment just pays interest? While a house may appear at first to be enriching, you don't wish yours to become the master while you work more and more hours of the week just to improve and maintain the house you are too tired to enjoy. It may be enlightening for you as a homeowner to track your time and see if it's true for you or not.

    2. Empower your own location choices. As transportation costs skyrocket, you don't have to become a victim of the shortsightedness of others. If suburbia (history) was arguably built with no thought to the oil price rises now beginning, then think about how the end of cheap transportation could make islands of these locations; will there be enough fish in the surrounding waters (figuratively speaking) to feed the inhabitants? It may be wise for you to choose to get out early, into a more sustainable type of neighborhood.

    3. Decide on your own, whether it's true that "A new car will get you the girl or guy of your dreams". How often do we hear and see that message in various forms every day? After payments, insurance, traffic, congestion, isolation, parking, maintenance, risks, and fuel costs, it may not be the convenience it looks like in the ads. You can free yourself from the debt of a new car, depleting dwindling fossil fuels, and contributing greenhouse gases. Can you take pride in using public transportation? Are there advantages to living in a home where you can bus, walk or bicycle to the places that matter to you? Some people rely on public transport for the bulk of their needs. They group certain errands for one day, (heavy groceries, distance travel, inconvenient areas for transit) and rent a car for this day. Compare rental prices and terms by phone, and book your car at least two days ahead of time. This is still much cheaper than owning a car, and kinder to the earth. It can also make the prospect of using public transport less daunting, when you know that in a pinch or for a date, you can "borrow" a car for a day, or even two.

    4. Decide if marriage is really for you; make your approach and decisions more conscious. You don't have to be one of the many good people who allow a marriage to become a nightmare or a lie; instead you could do an honest, fearless and searching inventory of your motivations and needs. If it works for you, personalize it. If it doesn't look to be for you, you may wish to research ways of living and loving that don't require a contract. If a marriage isn't working for you and your partner, you can talk it out and negotiate a dissolution of the contract before it becomes necessary, as Harry Browne recommends in How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. In any case, this step means make it conscious.

    5. Visit another way of doing things. Look at several dreams and compare. Many of these are in other countries and work just as well for Truth, Justice, Beauty, and maybe for you. Several other countries are very close; once there, you have to get off the beaten tourist paths, which imitate somebody else's dream anyway (something you're learning to not do), so live like the locals for a try. One of the clearest ways to get a perspective on which dream is for you is to see the one you were raised in from a distance, a far geographic - and especially cultural - distance. The more different, the better to compare. There are small pockets of other ways inside the USA as well, if you know where to look: Ecovillages, intentional communities, squats, artists' colonies, food coops, cohousing, traveling shows, and progressive employers. Lots of creative people.

    6. Consider not having children just yet. It's more fair to kids if you finish sorting out your priorities first, and it enables you to experiment. You may find it pleasant to extend this time...indefinitely. Consider making a satisfying contribution to your community or world that a busy parent cannot accomplish. If you do really want to raise a child, there are plenty of wonderful adoptable ones that already exist and need love, who don't add to the crowding and resource problems that make all dreams harder to fulfill.

  7. Once you have awakened, you can act to start changing your life and freeing your time.

    1. Examine your possessions for hidden costs or choice-restrictions. Except for the tools with which you make a living, you may find selling some to pay off your debts frees your time and space.

    2. Network with others who are following their own way rather than formulas.

    3. Barter a service for a service. That is, do something for somebody that does something for you, with no money involved. Likely, you both will spend less time than it takes to work for money to pay for the service, and you may prefer the personable quality. Try out making an agreement on a one-time basis with a mere acquaintance or even a stranger!

    4. Brainstorm what your life could be like if you could do more of what you like and less of what you don't. Brainstorm responsible ways to take short breaks where you try that life on for size. Brainstorm ways to more quickly meet your basic responsibilities so as to make these breaks longer and longer.

    5. Try the experiment of keeping a record of how you spend your money. After a month or so, look at each item on your list and give it a quick "thumbs-up" mark if it was worth it according to your personal values, or a quick "thumbs-down mark" if it cost too much according to your personal values. This works best if you make a point to be clear in terms of pleasing yourself; if you want to please others, before or after your marking session is better, just not during. Make a small reminder card of the notable thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs, carry it in your wallet or purse right next to your money, and glance at it when you reach for your money. Your awareness will increase, and increasingly match your own values. Think of spending as something you can change.

    6. Try keeping a record of how you spend your time. After two weeks or so, give a quick "thumbs-up" mark to each worth-it item according to your personal values, or a quick "thumbs-down mark" if it cost too much time according to your personal values. This also works best if you make a point to be clear to please your own self; that is, you may give your times of helping others high marks, just mark with your preferences in mind, not theirs or the cultural norm. Make a small reminder card of the notable thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs, clip it to your calendar or schedule, and glance at it when you make your schedule, or agree to do something, or plan, and once a day at a random time. Your awareness will increase, and increasingly match your own values. Think of spending time as something you can change.

    7. If you find yourself choosing differently, you may wish to Find or found a cohousing neighborhood, or a community where you can live well on less monetary income (they do exist), and move there; or

    8. Investigate more creative options like living in cities as a squatter, freegan, and/or nomad. People with minor children will have fewer viable options, but opportunities for communal sharing of expenses do exist. As more people empower themselves and find each other, more support for children becomes available.


  • Many of these steps involve coming to awareness - literally, just like waking up!

  • Finding ways to get more of what you want may free you from having to chase what you don't really want. As you increase your satisfaction, you may find yourself living on less monetary income, but don't let it frighten you: it does not have to mean living poorly.


  • Don't be embarrassed that you used to pursue things that didn't satisfy you. Just move on to the future you prefer.

  • Your awakening may put you out of step with some.

  • Be patient with yourself. Some of this will go better if you pursue it with vigor in a timely way, but important transitions don't have to happen all at once.

  • Be patient with others. They may not understand. If asked, tell them what is working for you, and what didn't work for you.

  • Be careful not to overcompensate.

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