How to declutter your home and improve your wellbeing

How to declutter your homeHow to declutter your home? A common question dealing with a subject most of us struggle to deal with effectively.

Do you have a problem with clutter dear reader?

Would you like some tips on how to declutter your life?

Clutter is perhaps the greatest curse of modern living. You keep buying and acquiring possessions but rarely do you have a good clear out, right?

It’s not easy of course. We all build up an emotional attachment to our possessions. Certainly, I do.

However gradually our possessions are taking over our living space and our life too, right? And our world keeps getting smaller, doesn’t it?

Clutter just adds stress to your life and managing all your possessions can be a struggle.

It’s a problem of course but what’s the answer?

The answer is to develop the habit of ruthless decluttering.

Do this and your life will be a lot easier. Keep your life as simple as possible and you’ll find it a whole lot less stressful I promise you.

Here are 8 tips for eliminating the clutter in your life:-

How to declutter:

1. Personal inventory management:

We all have possessions and most of us have far more than we need. So the active management of your possessions is a continuous process.

Have a regular review of your possessions and be ruthless about getting rid of those things you no longer use or don’t need anymore.

It’s hard to get rid of everything all at once of course, so just do a little decluttering regularly and as often as you can.

2. The ‘one-year’ rule:

If an item hasn’t been used for a year then you probably don’t need it at all. And if you don’t need it, get rid of it.

Perhaps you could sell it on eBay or in a garage or boot sale. Alternatively, give it to a charity shop. However, don’t make the desire to sell it the reason why you hold on to an item.

If you can’t get rid of it quickly, get rid of it anyway.

The point is to minimize the clutter in your life and allow someone else to make use of an item if you no longer can. 

3. Buy only what you need:

It is so easy to buy anything now that all too often we buy things without giving serious thought to whether we will use them or not.

For instance, we are browsing online and we see something that looks like an amazing bargain. So out comes our flexible friend and we purchase the item.

The item arrives a day or two later and it goes into our wardrobe, a drawer or wherever and it’s then largely forgotten.

The instant gratification we got from making the purchase has largely subsided by the time the item arrives.

We mean to use it of course but all too often it never gets used. And when that happens it wasn’t a bargain at all it was simply a waste of money.

So before you buy anything ask yourself a few questions:-

        • Do I really need it?
        • Will I really use it?
        • Can I really afford it?
        • If I didn’t have it, would it really matter?

Unless you can be sure it meets a genuine need then it’s better not to buy at all. 

4. Never impulse buy:

All too often impulse buys are a mistake.

So it’s better not to browse online stores or do any window shopping in real stores.

Decide exactly what you need to buy in advance and then only go shopping for specific items.

Stick to buying only what you have actually planned to buy because it meets a genuine need in your life. 

5. The one in, one out rule:

For clothing especially, rather than have your wardrobe bursting at the seams, each time you purchase a new clothing item it’s a good idea to see if there’s an old one you can throw out, sell or give to charity.

Nowadays you don’t have to throw things away literally. If it’s not too old and still in fair condition then you might be able to sell it on eBay or a garage or boot sale.

Alternatively, perhaps you could give it to a charity shop.

Whatever your chosen approach to the disposal of items, you have to be ruthless to avoid holding on to clothing you’ll never wear again. 

8 tips for eliminating the clutter6. Don’t form an emotional bond with your possessions:

If you throw out an item you no longer use the world will not end.

You’re not tied to your possessions and you’ll not experience physical pain should you get rid of them. In fact, once you get rid of them, they’ll be quickly forgotten.

Individual items that you possess are simply a small and unimportant part of you. They don’t define you and they don’t control you.

They were there only to serve a purpose and if circumstances have changed and they no longer serve that purpose then it’s time they no longer played any part in your life at all.

Parting with possessions is not a bereavement. You’ll get over it quicker than you might imagine. Probably within minutes. 

7. Enjoy the freedom:

Unburdened by unnecessary possessions you can enjoy a stress-free life without all that clutter weighing on your mind.

You’ll be able to find those things you really need much quicker because they’ll no longer be buried beneath all that clutter. 

8. Enjoy your space clutter-free:

Why live in a space dictated by clutter when you can live in space dictated by you?

You should be the master of your own space. Never be a slave to clutter.

Get the declutter habit and get it now.

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55 African proverbs reflecting the wisdom of the ancients

55 African ProverbsThere’s a world of wisdom reflected in all those common sayings we tend to take for granted. Take a look around the world and it’s not hard to find wisdom wherever you go. So today I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some African proverbs.

I’ve curated 55 proverbs credited with originating from various parts of Africa and I thought many of them were truly inspirational.

Take a look at them all and see what you think. See how many of them you can work into your conversations with people over the next few days.

African Proverbs (1-20):

  1. He who learns teaches.
  2. A tree is known for its fruit.
  3. A man’s ruin lies in his tongue.
  4. It’s not work that kills but worry.
  5. A thief does not like to be robbed.
  6. Rising early makes the road short.
  7. Hold a true friend with both hands.
  8. Seeing is different from being told.
  9. He who forgives ends the argument.
  10. Don’t set sail on someone else’s star.
  11. A horse has four legs, yet it often falls.
  12. The fool speaks. The wise man listens.
  13. A clear conscience makes a soft pillow.
  14. God is good but never dance with a lion.
  15. He who refuses to obey cannot command.
  16. Peace is costly but it’s worth the expense.
  17. A lie has many variations, the truth none.
  18. Examine what is said, not who is speaking.
  19. However long the night, the dawn will break.
  20. The teeth that laugh are also those that bite.

55 African ProverbsAfrican Proverbs (21-40):

  1. When spiders’ webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
  2. Not to know is bad. Not to wish to know is worse.
  3. If you’re not going to bite, don’t show your teeth.
  4. One who truly loves you loves you with your dirt.
  5. If you think education is expensive try ignorance.
  6. It’s the calm and silent water that drowns a man.
  7. If you and a fool have an argument, he succeeds.
  8. Do not try to fight a lion if you’re not one yourself.
  9. If you want to know the end, look at the beginning.
  10. Ashes fly back into the face of he who throws them.
  11. When an old man dies a library burns to the ground.
  12. For the beauty of the rose, we also water the thorns.
  13. Never beat a snake when you haven’t seen its head.
  14. The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.
  15. Character is like pregnancy, it cannot be hidden forever.
  16. A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.
  17. A friend who frowns is better than an enemy who smiles.
  18. If you’re filled with pride, you’ll have no room for wisdom.
  19. When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby.
  20. As you do for your ancestors, your children will do for you.

55 African ProverbsAfrican Proverbs (41-55):

  1. A man does not wander far from where his corn is roasting.
  2. When the roots are deep there’s no reason to fear the wind.
  3. The rain wets the leopard’s spots but does not wash them off.
  4. Those who pray for rain should be ready to deal with the mud.
  5. Every closed eye is not sleeping and every open eye is not seeing.
  6. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  7. When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
  8. A child who is carried on the back will not know how far the journey is.
  9. In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams.
  10. An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.
  11. The man may be the head of the home but his wife is the heart of the home.
  12. True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge it’s an awakening of consciousness.
  13. People who drink to drown their sorrows should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.
  14. A family is like a forest. When you’re outside, it’s dense. When you’re inside you see that each tree has its place.
  15. You can out-distance that which is running after you, but you cannot out-distance that which is running inside you.

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Why you should teach your children that failure doesn’t matter

Why you should teach your children that failure doesn't matter1. What is success?

We all want our children to reach their full potential, don’t we?

We want our children to lead lives in which they’re happy and fulfilled, I’m sure you’ll agree dear reader.

My definition of success is, ‘continually doing the best I can to exploit my full potential whilst making sure that I enjoy each and every day as it comes along‘.

I don’t want to live forever but I do want to live right now.

There are many things I want. Firstly, I want to enjoy the work I do. I want to be stretched, growing in character and strength all the time. And even as an increasingly mature adult, I remain keen to learn something new every day. If I keep learning, I won’t become old before my time.

My philosophy about life and success I gained from my parents and it’s something I try to pass on to the next generation.

Essentially my philosophy is that it’s better to try and fail than it is to spend the rest of my life wondering what might have been.

If I have a go, either I’ll succeed or I’ll learn a valuable lesson. And if it proves to be a lesson then it will be one I won’t forget. In other words, I can’t lose.

2. There’s no such thing as a failure:

There are two things you should always remember about what we refer to as failure:-

  1. There’s no such thing as failure. Just outcomes you didn’t want and opportunities to learn and try again.
  2. Failure is an outcome; it’s never a person. A person cannot be a failure, ever!

Unfortunately, we often label people as failures, and that label’s burden can become something difficult to bear and even harder to shake off. Parents and teachers can often be guilty of this, however unintentionally.

Teach children that it’s much more important to try and they should never, ever worry about failure.

If children can appreciate that failure is just an outcome other than what they wanted, they’ll be better placed to learn the lessons and do better next time.

And those lessons learned will be more valuable to children than anything an adult can tell them.

If you tell me the stove is hot I may not remember. If I burn my hand on a hot stove, I’ll only do it once and I’ll never forget. That’s a valuable commodity known as experience.

If we keep trying we’ll learn and if we keep learning eventually we can all be successful.

3. Teach your children well:

The best way to teach children about success is to teach them that failure is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s an essential ingredient for achieving success.

Teach children never to fear failure. As long as they learn the lessons then failure doesn’t matter at all.

So teach your children to have a go and to make sure they enjoy the experience along the way too.

Let them know that either they’ll succeed or they’ll learn a lesson. Either way, they’ll gain and of course, they’ll grow in character as well.

And remember also; we can only truly appreciate success if we’ve experienced a few failures along the road. And to fail occasionally helps to keep us humble too and that’s no bad thing, is it?

4. Force for good

If you think about it, failure is in fact a force for good.

Failure is simply a natural part of life and learning. No one starts out as a master of their craft. Every successful person started out as a complete beginner.

Everyone fails occasionally and at any given time we’re more likely to fail than we are to succeed.

Learning from failure makes us wiser of course and it makes us tougher too. It builds character.

Failure is never desirable as such but it’s very useful. It’s also inevitable, at least sometimes.

The only way to avoid failure is to avoid risks and challenges and then you cannot learn and you cannot grow as a person. If you never try anything you can never be anything. And what would be the point of that?

Failure5. Secret to success

The secret to success is to use all your unsuccessful experiences as stepping stones to achieving your aims.

Failure is never final and we should not allow an unsuccessful experience to discourage us or cause us to give up. All too often people give up just as they’re on the verge of success.

REMEMBER: Failure is not, nor will it ever be, a person.

Next time your child gets an outcome he or she didn’t want, reassure him or her that though it might be disappointing, it’s not a problem and nor should they think otherwise.

Always reassure them that a failure is simply an opportunity to learn a lesson and try again. However make sure they recognize the lesson to be learned.

Anyone experiencing failure should simply reflect on their actions and the outcome to discover the underlying lesson within.

Then we simply use the knowledge gained to guide future efforts.

Perseverance and persistence will get us there in the end.

Teach your children well but never, ever allow them to believe they’re in any way a failure. Just encourage them to use the experience of undesirable outcomes to be a bit smarter next time.

Do that and you’ll prepare them well for their life ahead.

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30 Sarcastic quotes about life lessons to amuse you

Sarcastic quotes about life lessonsToday I return to the theme of sarcasm because this theme always results in some positive feedback from readers. So here are some sarcastic quotes about life lessons many of which I’m sure will resonate with readers.

They made me smile and I hope they make you smile too.

Sarcastic quotes about life lessons:

  1. Shhhh …… No one cares.
  2. I may forgive but I never, ever forget.
  3. Apology accepted but trust is denied.
  4. I’ll try to be nicer if you’ll try to be smarter.
  5. Some people are so poor all they have is money.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.
  7. There’s no need to repeat yourself, I’m ignoring you.
  8. Let’s share. You take the grenade and I’ll take the pin.
  9. I’m sorry, I don’t take orders. I barely take suggestions.
  10. Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot, I only exist when you need something.
  11. I’m not heartless. I’ve just learned to use my heart less.
  12. Everything I like is either expensive, illegal or won’t text me back.
  13. I’m sorry for those mean, awful, accurate things I’ve just said.
  14. You can laugh at anything, as long as it’s not happening to you.
  15. An apple a day will keep anyone away, if you throw it hard enough.
  16. If I hurt your feelings for calling you stupid, I’m sorry but I thought you knew.
  17. Of course I can multitask. I can listen, ignore and forget all at the same time.
  18. Common sense is like deodorant. Those most in need of it are least likely to possess it.
  19. Life’s just like an elevator. On the way up, sometimes you have to stop to let people off.
  20. If you had to pay me a dollar for every smart thing you said, you wouldn’t owe me a cent.
  21. You shouldn’t worry about what I’m doing. You should worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.
  22. If someone throws a rock at you, just throw a flower back at them. But make sure it’s still in the pot.
  23. If me living my life my way bothers you then you can always get yourself a life of your own.
  24. No matter who tries to teach you lessons about life, you won’t truly understand them until you have to go through them on your own.
  25. People are either on your side, by your side, or in your way. So choose them wisely.
  26. Never waste your time with people who only want you around when it fits their need.
  27. I’ve reached the age where my brain’s gone from, “I probably shouldn’t say that” to “What the hell, let’s go for it and see what happens.”
  28. Just when you think you know all the answers, life changes the questions.
  29. It wasn’t an act of revenge. I was simply returning the favour.
  30. There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.

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11 wise sayings about life lessons and what they mean

11 wise sayings about life lessonsToday dear reader, I offer you 11 wise sayings about life lessons and some observations about what I think they really mean for your life.

I hope you find this interesting.

Wise sayings about life lessons:

1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. ~English Proverb

If you visit a foreign country, with a different culture to that found in your own, then the best way to get along with local people is to respect their culture and their way of doing things.

Essentially it’s all about respecting and adhering to their way of life, as far as reasonably possible.

Respect people and they’ll appreciate it.

Learn a little bit of their language and you’ll really connect with them. They won’t mind if you don’t get all the words and pronunciation completely correct. It’ll probably make them smile a little and they’ll really appreciate you making the effort.

Treat people with respect and they’ll treat you with respect. It’s that simple.

2. Be contrary and be known. ~Arab Proverb

If you want to get yourself noticed then a ‘me too’ approach to life is unlikely to get you very far. When you’re just like everyone else then how can you stand out in the crowd?

If you really want to get noticed then you need to offer something a bit different, surely?

To stand out in the crowd then you’ll need to dress differently, have an unusual hairstyle or offer something new.

Go against the accepted thinking of the day and you’ll get noticed.

Suggest something which goes against the received wisdom of the day and people might just listen if you back up your observation with a reasoned argument.

Be different, be contrary and you’ll get noticed.

Back it up with real substance and you will make a permanent impression on public consciousness.

Elvis Presley was like nothing that went before him; neither were The Beatles.

These were people who had a look, style and approach all of their own. They made a genuine impact and they changed peoples’ outlook on life permanently.

In other words, they made their mark and you can too.

3. A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~Egyptian Proverb

There’s no such thing as perfect; certainly not when we are talking about people.

We’re all imperfect in some way.

However, that’s what makes us interesting as individuals. And it’s also what makes it easier for other people to live with us because no matter how good we are in some way, there are also ways in which we are not quite so good.

So accept your imperfections. Work to your strengths and minimise your weaknesses and do the best you can with whatever you have at your disposal. If you do that you can succeed.

4. There’s no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out. ~Russian Proverb

How often do people refrain from asking a question for fear that they might look a little stupid? Does that ring a bell with you dear reader?

We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives, wouldn’t you agree?

However, it’s rather silly if you think about it.

None of us can know everything, can we? There will always be gaps in our knowledge, that’s for sure.

So if you don’t know something, surely it’s better to find out? Better to ask a question, even if you appear foolish momentarily.

People might laugh but so what?

Intelligent people ask questions and it’s better to look a fool momentarily than proceed in ignorance. You may look a fool for not knowing but you’ll look an even bigger fool if you screw up because you didn’t ask.

Never, ever be afraid to ask a question if you don’t know.

That way you’ll learn. Any other way and you’ll never learn.

5. Experience is not always the kindest of teachers but it’s surely the best. ~Spanish Proverb

Education is a wonderful thing, I’m sure you’ll agree.

However, the best teacher by a country mile is the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life.

Making mistakes and getting your fingers burned teaches you lessons you’ll never forget. And those lessons are invaluable.

That’s what they call experience and experience is a valuable commodity indeed.

Experience is the basis of all wisdom.

It’s also an essential element in finding out what you’re good at and what you enjoy.

And if you can find that sweet spot where what you’re good at coincides with what you enjoy doing then you really will begin to shine. So shine on my friend.

6. Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak. ~Turkish Proverb

How often are we so keen to get our point across that we don’t really listen to what the other person has to say? That’s a mistake.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop.

To quote Stephen R. Covey, Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

In order to understand someone else’s point, you must listen first.

Listening is not the same as hearing.

Hearing is simply being aware of sounds going on around you.

Listening is absorbing what is being said and considering it carefully.

Listening requires both your ears and your brain to be engaged in the process simultaneously.

Naturally, you want to feel that your point of view matters.

If you listen to people first not only will they appreciate it but they’ll also start listening to you. If you’re showing them respect then they’ll do the same to you.

By listening to each other we can begin to understand each other.

And if we understand each other we have the basis for getting along together.

So listen more and talk less.

In this way, the world might just become a better place. Let’s hope so anyway.

7. Better to die than to live on with a bad reputation. ~Vietnamese Proverb

Some time ago, a friend of mine was working for a retailer and foolishly did something dishonest. The result was that he lost his job and damaged his reputation in the process.

Only when he began to realise how much damage he’d done to his reputation did he begin to realise how foolish he’d been.

Damaging your reputation can have serious consequences and you can often feel the impact of that for many years after the original indiscretion.

So, protect and value your reputation.

It’s one of the most important commodities you have to offer.

Whether you’re in employment or self-employed you’ll always be judged on your reputation. Gain a bad reputation and you’ll be judged harshly.

8. A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. ~Greek Proverb

Your legacy in life will be based on what you’ve done for other people, regardless of whether you’ve benefitted from it yourself.

That’s how you’ll be remembered.

A civilised society depends on each of us making a contribution towards the greater good. We cannot just leave it all to someone else.

If you want your grandchildren and their children to enjoy a well-ordered and civilised society then you must be prepared to do something the result of which you may never see. The payoff for you will simply be the knowledge that future generations will benefit from your altruism.

Leaving something that enriches the lives of future generations would be a real and genuine legacy, wouldn’t you agree?

9. God gives the nuts but he doesn’t crack them. ~German proverb

You can’t expect everything to be done for you.

At some point, you have to do something for yourself.

If everything is done for you, you’ll never learn; you’ll never develop new skills, and you’ll never be able to deal with life.

So don’t try to avoid the chore, embrace it with enthusiasm and recognise that it’s in your own best interests to act.

10. A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion. ~Chinese Proverb

Criticism can be uncomfortable, so it’s easy to be swayed by the majority view. However, how can we be sure that the majority view is correct? Perhaps they’re all wrong.

Just because a lot of people think something is so, it doesn’t mean that they have a monopoly on knowledge and common sense.

Rather than simply following the herd, it’s much better to consider a situation carefully, weighing up the various possibilities, and then forming your own opinion or making your own decision.

Think for yourself; don’t allow the herd to impose their thinking on you.

11. Every ass loves to hear himself bray. ~Proverb of Unknown Origin

As the old saying goes, empty vessels make the most sound.

However just because someone can talk a good game doesn’t mean they can play a good game.

People who are really good at something will demonstrate it by their actions not by their words. They’ll leave the talking to other people.

You’ll never impress anyone by singing your own praises.

However, you’ll win them over if you can demonstrate how good you are by the results you deliver.

So go on, start showing people what you can do.

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33 life lessons learned that are best learned early

Life Lessons LearnedLife lessons learned for most of us are learned the hard way. Here are 33 of those lessons that are best learned at early as possible, ideally in your teens or early 20s.

Life lessons learned:

1. On experiencing life:

Wherever you are, be there. Be present and experience the moment. You’ll remember moments with friends and family all your life, whereas you’re unlikely to remember social media posts moments after you’ve read them. No experience beats having a good laugh with your friends and family.

2. On making choices:

As an adult, you’re free to make your own choices but you must accept any consequences that follow. A wise adult learns to make good choices because the choices you make will dictate the quality of the life you lead. Your choices really matter. Make too many bad ones and your life experiences won’t be very good at all.

3. On the future (1):

Where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been. The past was a series of lessons to be learned. The future is where you’ll spend the rest of your life. You can’t change the past but your future has yet to be written, and you’ve got the pen.

4. On the future (2):

The future is an endless stream of opportunities that you can choose to seize, or not. However poor your past may have been, that doesn’t mean you can’t seize new opportunities and exploit them to your own advantage. You can, with determination and hard work. And, never let anyone discourage you from having a go. Better to try and fail than to spend your life wondering what might have been

5. On asking questions:

Intelligent people ask questions. So, never be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something, or when you need clarification. Better to appear a fool momentarily than remain a fool permanently.

6. On attitude:

The greatest disability in life is a bad attitude. If you’ve got one you’d better change it, if you want your life to improve. Attitude matters. An average person with a positive attitude makes a much better employee than a genius with a chip on his or her shoulder.

7. On fairness:

Life isn’t fair. It never has been and it never will be. We’re all dealt a set of cards in life, and all we can do is to play that hand as best as we can. We could get angry about the unfairness of it all or we can just get on and make the best of what we have. The latter approach is much easier on our nerves, in my experience.

8. On bullying:

When you’re having fun at someone else’s expense, remember it may be fun to you, and you may not mean any harm, but for the other person the impact of such an experience can be humiliating, upsetting and it can cause significant, lasting and often permanent psychological damage to that person. So remember, it isn’t fun at all, if it isn’t fun for the other person. If it isn’t fun for them, it’s actually just bullying. And if you’re bullying, you’re not being cool, you’re being nasty.

9. On judging others (1):

You’re free to judge others if you’re absolutely sure that you’re perfect in every way. If your conclusion is that you’re not quite perfect then why would you expect others to be?

10. On judging others (2):

For everyone life is a struggle. No one is without problems, despite any external signs to the contrary. We just have to keep going for it’s the only way. Life goes on and we must too. If you’ve not walked two miles in someone else’s shoes, you’re not in a position to judge them. So, don’t.

11. On authenticity:

Authenticity is simply being who you are and not trying to be who you think you should be or who you think you’re expected to be. People will respect you for being who you are. An original is always better than a fake.

12. On trust:

Trust takes years to build and seconds to break. And once broken the way you’re seen by others will never be quite the same again. Trust is a valuable and precious commodity. Protect it.

13. On reputation:

Never underestimate the importance of your personal reputation. And if you wouldn’t be happy to read something about yourself on the front pages, don’t do it.

14. On communication:

If you want to tell anyone anything, speak softly and you’ll find that they’re much more likely to listen to you.

15. On success:

No one can ever be a failure but everyone can be a success. Failure is not a person it’s just an outcome you didn’t want. It’s also an opportunity to try again with greater knowledge and experience. Everyone can achieve some degree of success, if they believe in themselves, they’re determined and they’re willing to work hard.

16. On priorities:

We all have the same amount of time. 168 hours a week. It’s how we choose to use it that dictates whether we achieve anything significant or not. Time is a resource, pure and simple. So, decide on your priorities and allocate your time accordingly. And just because someone wants a piece of your time, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them. If it’s not a priority, nor an obligation, just say NO.

17. On watching television:

Few people seem to recognise this but there’s a significant cost to watching television. Not the cost of purchasing the television set or any cable or satellite subscriptions you may have. The real cost is the opportunity cost of your time. That is the time you spend watching television. Time is money and you could be doing something more profitable with your time. Learning something new perhaps or running your own little income-generating side-hustle.

18. On qualifications (1):

Most of the work done by most people in life doesn’t require a college degree at all. If you have one that’s great, but stay humble. A motivated individual with common sense and decent reading, writing and arithmetic skills can succeed in life without one.

19. On qualifications (2):

You may need a college degree to work for an employer but you don’t need one to work for yourself. If it’s your business, you make the rules.

20. On qualifications (3):

Plenty of people graduating from Harvard will end up working for people who didn’t. So, stay humble. Studying at a top university is no guarantee for career success, nor does it guarantee wealth. A Harvard, Oxford, or Cambridge degree may look good on your CV but five years after graduation the only thing that will really matter is what you’ve actually achieved in the workplace since.

21. On experience:

Doing is by far the best way to learn. The classroom is useful, of course, but nothing beats doing and learning from your mistakes. Making mistakes will teach you lessons that you’ll never forget. And learning from your mistakes will give you that valuable commodity known as experience. Knowing the theory is useful, whereas having experience is essential.

22. On employability:

You don’t sell who you are. You sell what you can do and the value you can add. Every job is about doing stuff for other people and delivering results. What is it you can do and what can you confidently deliver? Before you go for any job interview, make sure you have answers to these questions and make sure you can give examples of stuff you’ve actually delivered on previous occasions.

23. On work (1):

Employers can quickly replace you with someone just like you and you’ll be forgotten quickly. So be professional in carrying out your duties, of course, but not at the expense of your own interests or those of your loved ones.

24. On work (2):

Make sure you take good care of yourself. Employers will take everything you give and a bit more besides but if you died tomorrow your job would be posted online before your obituary. You’ll be replaced within days and the memory of your presence won’t last long.

25. On making money:

To make money you have to be doing stuff for other people. To make a serious amount of money you have to be doing stuff for multiple people simultaneously, even when you’re asleep. Sounds impossible but it can be done. For instance, serving the many with your own digital products, sold online, can lead to great wealth.

26. On sales:

Successful selling is not about tricking people into buying something they don’t need. The art of selling is in proactively finding customers who’ve got problems for which your products can provide the ideal solution. If you can offer solutions to problems, you’ll find customers in need of what you have to sell. Find the right customers and a good product will sell itself.

27. On change (1):

It’s easier to remain as you are than it is to change but unless you change your life will not improve. Embracing change is hard but it is well worth the effort.

28. On change (2):

For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better you have to get better. You can become more than you are but it won’t happen by accident. It all starts with you saying, I can; I will; and I won’t stop until I get there. And you must make any changes necessary.

29. On finding a life partner:

You’ll find, as you go through life, that Mr or Miss Perfect doesn’t exist. If you’re looking for a life partner, find someone whose faults you can live with. Yes, you’ll need to enjoy each other’s company. And yes, you’ll need to have things in common. However, everyone you meet will have faults of their own, even if they’re not immediately apparent.

30. On children (1):

When you have young children they need your attention much more than your mobile phone does. Your children should be your priority, particularly in the early years. You’re their role model. Be a positive role model and give them all the attention they deserve. The years pass quickly and your children, good or bad, are your legacy to the world.  Social media can wait. Anything less is simply a disservice to your child.

31. On children (2):

Children need continuity and they need boundaries. They need to be brought up with a set of values too. Fail to give them those things and you fail as a parent. Materialism is no substitute for the things that really matter most.

32. On your social life:

You’ll never fit into every social group, nor should you try. Just focus on finding a group of people that are right for you. In other words, find your tribe. People that are welcoming to you, with interests like yours and personalities that appeal to you. It’s better to be in the company of people that appreciate your company, rather than trying to fit into groups that don’t really want you there at all.

33. On experts:

There are plenty of people referred to as experts whose ideas and recommendations can prove to be stupid beyond belief. Listen to experts by all means but then use your own judgement. Don’t be fooled by people, just because they’ve got an impressive job title. If your instinct says they’re wrong, have the courage of your own convictions and act accordingly. Just because an ‘expert’ said it, doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

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The Guy in the Glass

The Guy in the GlassIf you’re unfamiliar with the poem, The Guy in the Glass dear reader, then I recommend you spend a few moments to consider it now.

I’m sure you’ll know that life’s not a rehearsal. Whether we like it or not, we’ll live it only once.

So it seems obvious to me that we must make the most of our time and try to enjoy every moment. That’s a healthy personal philosophy by which certainly I try to live, most of the time, at least.

Literally enjoying every single moment is not possible of course.

There will always be good times but, inevitably, there will be bad times too.

Let’s face it, you couldn’t appreciate the good times without experiencing a few bad times along the way, could you?

Now, I am a firm believer in the notion that you only get out of life what you put in.

If you just drift along, with little effort and a lot of unwise choices then your future is likely to be unexciting at best, unless you get very, very lucky.

Whereas making some effort to realise your full potential; deciding what you want and pursuing your dreams with hard work and determination; this approach is more likely to lead to better life experiences.

Ask yourself this question, “When I’m old and frail and reflecting on years gone by, how will I feel if I’ve wasted those years?

The problem with time is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t get it back. So, surely time is our most precious resource?

The answer to the above questions matter only to you.

You’re the one who must look at yourself in the mirror each day. You’re the one who must look yourself in the eye.

You may fool other people with tales of what might have been but you can’t fool yourself.

Deep down you’ll know whether you tried or not. You’ll know whether you made a lot of choices you wish you hadn’t made. You’ll know whether you cheated yourself. And let’s face it, regret lies at the heart of cheating yourself.

So my advice would be, don’t do it.

When you look in the mirror each day, ask yourself some searching questions:-

  • Are you making the most of your natural talent, whatever that might be?
  • Are you looking after your body and your mind?
  • Are you developing habits which will be detrimental to your wellbeing?
  • Are you looking after those who matter most to you?
  • Can you reflect on your life so far with at least some degree of pride and satisfaction?

If you’re getting too many negative answers, then perhaps it’s time for some changes in your life, don’t you think?

Reflecting on today’s idea is what got me thinking about the poem The Guy in the Glass, mentioned above.

This poem is included as part of the process Alcoholics Anonymous use to help their client base.

However, I think it’s relevant to us all, regardless of whether we’re alcoholics or not. The underlying message is that your behaviour should be consistent with the need we all have to be able to look ourselves in the eye.

It really is a thought-provoking verse and, despite its title, the message applies equally to men and women. The glass is, of course, the mirror on your wall. The poem was written by the late Dale Wimbrow in 1934 for publication in The American Magazine:-

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Valuing people must take precedence in the modern age

Valuing PeopleOne thing you’ll learn as you get older is the importance of valuing people.

We all can get so carried away with our work and careers and we can forget what really matters most.

Now I’m sure that your work is important to you and perhaps you even believe that you’re indispensable to your employer?

If you really believe that then, all I can say is, dream on.

From experience I can tell you that there’s no such thing as indispensable when it comes to being employed.

If you were to die tomorrow then your employer would replace you in a matter of days and the company would carry on without you. You won’t be missed for long and in all probability you’d be forgotten fairly quickly.

That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your life has balance.

Yes, of course, you need to work, to earn an income to put a roof over your head and bread on the table. So in that sense, work’s important. However, it shouldn’t be everything to you. Some things are much more important.

Don’t let time slip through your fingers without having spent some of it on a regular basis with those that really matter to you; the people closest to your heart. That is, your loved ones.

Your employer may not miss you for very long, should you pass away, but the family and friends you leave behind would feel a sense of loss for the rest of their lives.

Work gives us a sense of purpose and a sense of identity too, but only people really matter. So valuing people must always take precedence over work and material things.

So make sure you enjoy some time with those that matter to you before it’s too late.

And, you never know, it could be later than you think.

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