13 tips for improving your personal happiness

13 TIPS FOR IMPROVING PERSONAL HAPPINESSYou’ll be as happy as you choose to be.

Yes, life can be challenging. Yes, life can be full of frustrations and disappointments. And yes, other people can drive you nuts at times.

No one’s life is perfect and everyone has problems.

However, your level of personal happiness will be dictated by how you choose to look at life.

You can let life’s challenges make you feel miserable or you can refuse to let anything get you down.

You can just say to yourself, I’m going to be happy and nothing is going to stop me.

You will find that being happy isn’t as hard as it appears to be at times.

Here are 13 ways that will help you increase your sense of personal happiness and improve your life too:-

1. Talk to yourself positively:

One of the greatest contributors to unhappiness is what’s going on in our heads.

Everyone is prone to self-doubt and feelings of not being quite good enough.

Everyone worries about being ‘found out’ in their job.

It’s easy to assume that in some way you’re not really very good at what you do and you think eventually someone will notice. Have you had that experience dear reader?

We all struggle to appreciate that we’re actually better than we think we are and that if we really couldn’t do the work for which we are paid, someone would have noticed already and they would have said something.

Negative self-talk can really grind you down. So stop it now.

Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk.

Tell yourself constantly that you’re better than you think you are and that you have every reason to like yourself.

And adopt this saying as your personal mantra; I’m as good as anyone and I will show them all that I’m better than most!

Repeat it to yourself frequently and every time when even the slightest hint of doubt pops into your mind.

2. Value the people in your life:

Your social network, i.e. the people with whom you interact, and your relationships are essential to your personal happiness.

Human beings are social animals. We’re not solitary creatures like cats. We need other people, frustrating as some of them can be at times.

Remember we’re all different. We’re all individuals. So accept people for who they are and what they are. Everyone has many sides to their individual personalities. No one is perfect.

So look for the good in people and don’t judge their less flattering sides too harshly. Never forget, we all have a less flattering side.

However keep away from personality clashes and arguments. Let go of any resentment you may feel towards individuals. Just remember they’re not perfect, just like you.

If an argument seems inevitable, seek first to understand and then to be understood.

By understanding the other person’s point of view and why they feel the way they feel, you just might find you get along with them so much better.

And even if after you’ve listened carefully, if you still think they’re wrong, so what?

You can always agree to disagree.

You don’t have to prove you’re right and they’re wrong.

It doesn’t have to be about you proving you’re right all the time.

Peace and harmony are of much greater value to your personal happiness than being proved right.

So just let it go. 

3. Be grateful:

Being grateful for whatever you have, is an important part of your personal happiness.

Being thankful is a great attitude to develop.

If you think about it, I’m sure there will be at least as few things for which you can be truly thankful. Simple things like having a laugh with a friend whilst having a coffee or a meal.

They don’t have to be big things.

Little things that put a smile on your face are far more important to your personal happiness than any amount of material possessions.

In fact, material possessions don’t make you happy at all. Mostly the resulting clutter they create is just a source of stress and extra work.

Take the time to thank those people who provide you with even the smallest things. Making a point of saying thank you will help you realize just how abundant your life is in reality. 

4. Avoid doom and gloom:

The media tends to focus on bad news.

Unfortunately, bad news attracts more attention than good news and media channels are focused on ratings. They make money from eyeballs watching and ears listening.

They’re in the business of making money not cheering you up, so they’ll focus on bad news always.

It is a fact that most news is depressing and stressful.

With 24 hour rolling news channels our lives are filled with a lot of stuff that can fill us with doom and gloom if we’re not careful.

Watching, listening to, or reading the news will detract from your personal happiness.

So, if the news is just a source of doom and gloom then it’s a good idea to get less of it, don’t you think?

Switch it off and find something else to do that will cheer you up.

5. Manage your time wisely:

Your time is precious and it should be used and managed wisely.

Just because someone expects a piece of your time doesn’t mean they’re entitled to it.

Only you can judge whether they’re worthy of your time. And it’s perfectly reasonable to say No if you think that’s appropriate.

No one has an unlimited amount of time. We all have just 168 hours per week. So we all must make the most of our time because time is far too important to waste.

If someone requests a piece of your time then make sure they have a very good reason to justify it. Otherwise just say No politely but very firmly.

It’s your life, so live it your way. 

6. Find something to make you laugh each day:

Let’s face it, life is far too short to be serious all the time.

Occasionally we need to laugh to alleviate our stress levels.

Laughter is the best medicine, or so they say. And I think it’s true. A good laugh can really cheer you up.

So make sure you enjoy a good laugh at least once a day. It may be watching a sitcom you love or a funny animal video on YouTube. Whatever puts a smile on your face then that’s fine. You need to smile because it will help you relax.

It may be a funny joke that makes you laugh.

And if that happens, remember to share the joke with family and friends. That way you get to laugh twice. Once when you hear the joke and again when you share it.

Laugh and laugh vigorously every single day. 

Personal Happiness7. Let people know what they mean to you:

If people matter to you then be sure to let them know occasionally.

Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you.

Being open about your feelings is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

It’s a sign that you’re confident enough in yourself to let people know what they mean to you.

It’s a sign that you recognize how important it is for people to know that they matter to you. They’ll appreciate it and that will enhance the bond between you. 

8. Don’t bottle up your negative emotions:

Pent-up feelings of anger and frustration are bad for your health.

Yes, we all feel angry occasionally but suppressing it is counter-productive.

If you’re not happy about something it’s better to say so.

Occasionally you may need to say so forcefully too. However, never say it in a way that’s mean and hurtful. That’s just being unpleasant.

And if you do say something which you later recognize as mean and hurtful then apologize. Never be afraid, or too proud, to apologize.

You won’t be the first person to say something you later regret but don’t compound the offence but failing to offer a sincere apology.

At the very least that will show you’re big enough to recognize when you’re in the wrong.

If you can learn to express your anger and frustration in a way that will not cause injury or hurt to anyone then you’ll be on the road to being a very decent human being. 

9. Have a sense of purpose:

It’s important to have a sense of purpose.

To work each day at something in which you excel and which gets you out of bed in the morning.

Working hard at something you love can bring you great personal contentment.

Your work is your contribution to society and potentially the legacy you leave behind.

For instance, John Lennon left a wonderful collection of songs that we still listen today almost 40 years after his death. That’s a fantastic legacy.

Work gives you a sense that you have the capability to finish tasks.

Work is a source of satisfaction when you take on a challenge and use your skills and know-how to complete it. In this way, you grow in character.

Through your work, you use your time profitably and when the working day is done you feel you’ve earned your rest and recreation.

Work well done, with a sense of purpose, will make you feel good about yourself. 

10. Never stop learning:

Learning does not finish when you leave school or college. Learning is a lifelong process. And it does not necessarily involve formal tuition.

You can be self-taught and learn by doing.

You can read books and watch instructional DVDs or video tutorials on YouTube.

You can listen to audio-books and podcasts in your car or whilst travelling on public transport.

So be a committed student and work constantly on being a master of your craft.

Working constantly on achieving mastery will increase the value you can offer in the workplace and it will make you a very attractive proposition is the job market.

Learning is a joyful exercise, particularly if it’s a subject you love.

The more you learn, the greater will be the number of skills you can offer. The more skills you have the more value you add. So, learn something new each and every day.

And remember; learning will also broaden your horizons. Learning is a positive experience, so never stop learning. 

11. The power of faith:

Faith can be a great comfort in times of trial. Believing there is some higher power helps us to appreciate our place within the universe. We are nothing more than specs of dust in a great cosmic cloud.

Faith adds discipline to your life. Whichever faith you choose is not important. Well, I don’t think so anyway. However being part of a spiritual group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations encourages inner peace and personal well-being.

It also encourages the idea of service and putting others first.

Never underestimate the power of faith. 

12. Don’t let pollution take its toll on you:

Pollution comes in many forms but it all takes its toll of your personal happiness and well-being.

Life is full of toxins, hazardous places, loud noises, light pollution and much more.

Minimize your exposure to these negative elements because they’re an assault on your senses and they’re not good for you if you’re over-exposed to them. 

13. Regular exercise improves your health and well-being:

A sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for anyone.

Our bodies were built for movement. So exercise daily.

That doesn’t mean you must go to the gym. Neither does it mean you must participate in formal sports teams or clubs.

You can exercise in simple ways like running, jogging, a brisk walk or even an informal game of football or tennis with friends in the local park.

Even if you’re just taking your dog for a walk then that’s exercise too.

Alternatively perhaps you could walk to and from work, if possible, rather than using your car or public transport.

Just do what your body was made for and you will feel a bit more alive.

Conclusion:

Today’s underlying message is that you can choose to be happy or not. It all depends on how you choose to look at life and the slings and arrows that life sends your way.

There’s nothing to be gained by being miserable and a sense of personal happiness is better for your health and well-being.

So choose to be happy and develop habits that will lead you to a state of personal happiness.

It’s not easy of course, and it does take some work but it’s well worth the effort.

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7 tips for becoming your best self in 2021

Best SelfSuccessful people are generally regarded as being the best at whatever they do.

However, to be the best at what you do, you must start with becoming the best person you can be. That is, you must be your best self. In other words, you must find the hero that lies within you.

There’s infinite capacity within you to excel but to realize at least some of your potential you must work at becoming the exceptional person you really can be.

The obvious question is, where do you start?

So today I offer you 7 tips to help you become your best self:-

1. Know your purpose:

If you’re going to be the best person you can be then you cannot just drift through life hoping that it will all just fall into place. It won’t. Nothing happens by accident.

You cannot drift through life with little direction or purpose, not if success is your aim.

Drifting may seem attractive to some but it’s not the way to discover contentment, health and wealth?

It never has been and it never will be.

You must determine your life’s purpose, or your mission if you like.

Having a sense of purpose is essential. With it you’ll have your own compass that will guide you to your true north all the time.

2. Know your values:

What really matters to you dear reader?

Having a set of values is important. Having a moral code is important too.

Civilization is underpinned by accepted values and a moral code.

Values are the benchmark against which we measure ourselves and any successes we may achieve.

For instance, achieving success by cheating will not make us feel good about ourselves because we’ll know we didn’t play fair. We were dishonest and we’ll know we were dishonest.

It can only feel like a real achievement if it was won in a fair fight. A bit of gamesmanship is one thing but cheating is quite another.

So what is it you value most dear reader? Pause for a minute and give that question some thought.

Make a list of your top three values.

Then check your goals against those values. Are your goals congruent with your values? Certainly they’ll need to be.

If a goal doesn’t align with any of your top three values then you must get rid of it.

Anything you achieve that is inconsistent with your values will not make you feel good about yourself.

You will only recognize you as your best self when you consider yourself against the values that matter most to you.

3. Know your needs:

Every human being has needs. Having needs is part of the human condition.

Abraham Maslow put it best when he described the hierarchy of needs.

Physiological needs, the need for safety and security, the need for love and belonging, the need for self-esteem, and the need for self-actualization.

We all need these things to varying degrees.

We all need certainty. However certainty can be boring, so we also need a little uncertainty or change to make life more interesting. The problem is uncertainty can make us feel insecure which is why we tend to feel uncomfortable when we experience change.

You’ll have your own specific needs dear reader and it’s important to identify them.

If you’re to live authentically then the life you live should be consistent with your needs. You can only be you. Anything else would be a fake.

Perhaps attention and recognition are your greatest needs?

Then again, perhaps what truly matters most to you is family and friends?

Perhaps you have a need to become a mum or a dad?

Alternatively, perhaps you have a burning need to play a musical instrument or to write?

Whatever your needs if they remain unmet it will stop you living authentically.

So list your top five needs and make sure any goals you have are consistent with meeting them.

Know your needs and make sure you work towards meeting them before it is too late.

Best Self4. Know your passions:

It’s often said that the three things we need in life are a passion, a purpose and a pastime.

Passion is important.

If you have a passion for what you do, you’ll do it well.

If it really matters to you of course you’ll do it well. And if you do it well people will notice. And when people start to notice then demand for your services will increase. And once demand for your services increases then your value will increase.

So it’s a virtuous circle.

Knowing what you truly like and enjoy doing is part of really knowing who you are as a person.

Knowing your passions allows you to express yourself and to make your own unique contribution to life.

And by expressing yourself and leaving a legacy you’ll pay tribute to all those people who inspired you to become the very person you really could be. To become your best self.

5. Live from the inside out:

Your body is the temple in which you will live your entire life.

If that temple is in bad shape then that’s hardly a basis for you becoming your best self, is it?

So be in tune with your body and take care of it.

Eat sensibly and exercise regularly.

Put your physical and mental well-being at the heart of everything you do.

Appreciate the world around you. Stop to smell the roses occasionally. Allow yourself to be in spiritual contact with nature and the world around you.

When you feel stressed and pressured, take the time to breathe deeply. This will help you relax and quiet your distracted mind.

Above all, listen to what your heart is saying. Follow your heart but take your brain with you, of course.

6. Know your strengths and work to them

We all have our own strengths. We all have a natural talent for something and there are things that others will recognize that we’re very good at.

You’re no different dear reader. So what are your strengths?

At what do you excel in comparison to other people? For what are you recognised as the ‘go-to’ person by your colleagues?

Knowing your strengths and making sure you’re working to your strengths is essential if you’re to be your best self. Certainly you won’t get far if you’re working to your weaknesses.

So what positive traits do you possess?

What would other people say are your strengths?

Your authentic self will be expressed best by working to your strengths, naturally.

If you’re good at what you do then you’ll do it well. And doing it well will increase your self-confidence.

And confidence is an essential ingredient to you being your best self.

7. Serve others:

Human beings are social animals and we live naturally in groups and societies.

Being part of society means making a contribution to it.

We must all make a contribution particularly if we are striving to be our best self.

Living authentic lives means we must develop an interconnected sense of being.

If you’re true to who you are, living your life’s purpose and giving your talents to the world around you then you are providing a service to others.

To contribute to society you must serve others in some way. And giving your best in what you do is the service you share with others. That is your spirit; your very essence. That is your raison d’etre.

Service to others provides its own rewards.

Sharing your gifts with the world can be pleasing indeed. Knowing your contribution was a contribution only you can make can be truly satisfying.

Know you’ve made a real difference and then you’ll have achieved your best self.

Please share this post with your friends:

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Please share it now and I’ll be ever so grateful. You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

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Copyright © Mann Island Media Limited 2021. All Rights Reserved.

How to sell anything to anybody and make money

Selling is a subject that often gets a bad name. Some people even look down on those who choose to make their living by selling.

However we’re all trying to sell something all of the time. Even if it’s just the skills we have or a service we can provide, if we’re to make a living then we must sell something, wouldn’t you agree dear reader?

Learning the art of successful selling is actually very important and everyone should seek to improve their selling skills, if only to ensure that they can sell themselves effectively.

Selling is a process and by learning a few simple techniques you can improve your ability to sell.

So what are these techniques?

1. Know your product:

Ultimately, it’s all about the product.

If you want to sell anything successfully then you need to know your product really well and you need to believe in your product too.

That product has to be something that you would buy yourself.

You need to know the product in detail, all the features and all the benefits; all the advantages and all the disadvantages.

Then you need to know all about your competitors’ products that your customers could buy as an alternative to your own.

This is important if you are to position your product against that of the competition and to counter any reasons given by your customer as to why they might be reluctant to buy from you.

You really do need to be able to talk about your product favourably, relative to any other options that may be available to your customer.

2. Know the problem your product solves:

Ultimately, every product must solve a problem for the customer. A product must make the customer’s life easier in some way.

If a product doesn’t solve a problem for the target customer, why would they buy it? Why would any customer part with good money unless the product made their life easier?

So it’s simple really. You must have a good understanding of the problem or problems for which your product can be an excellent solution.

And you must be able to explain this is simple, straightforward language.

How to sell anything to anybody3. Capture buying intent:

Cold-calling is the most inefficient and soul-destroying sales approach there could possibly be. Phoning or door-stepping people and saying, “Want to buy this?” will have a very low success rate.

The key to successful selling is capturing warm sales leads. In other words, you must capture buying intent.

If a customer walks into a shirt shop then you know they’re looking for a shirt and therefore you have a very good chance of selling them one.

So find ways to engage people who are actively looking for something like the product which you are selling.

To do this you’ll need to ensure that your customers and potential customers have visibility of your product.

You must raise awareness of the product, as well the features and benefits and the value it offers. You must create desirability too.

4. Know the customer’s needs:

Your product should have a target customer. You must know the sort of person for whom the product offers an ideal solution.

In other words, you must know who the product is aimed at and what their needs are likely to be.

To understand the customer’s needs you may need to ask some questions first.

For instance, using the shirt selling example again, a customer may be looking for something to wear for a formal occasion or perhaps they’re looking for something more casual. You want to ensure that the shirt you sell them is right for their needs.

So you must identify the ways in which your product will satisfy the customer’s needs because, if you make a sale, you want the customer to feel they’ve got exactly what they wanted.

You want to ensure that they get a good buying experience. You certainly don’t want them to feel like they’ve been cheated in some way.

5. Sell the benefits:

You don’t sell the product to the customer, you sell the benefits.

In what ways will your product improve the customer’s life? In what ways will your product potentially be an answer to the customer’s prayers?

In what ways does your product offer good value for money?

You don’t have to be the cheapest on the market but you do need to be able to convince a customer that it makes sense to buy your product rather than simply going for the cheapest product on the market.

A customer won’t part with good money unless they believe your product will add value to them in some way.

6. Know why your product is their best option:

Now dear reader, if you’re in business, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s a highly competitive world out there.

Put simply, today’s customers have plenty of options.

You must be able to convince a customer on why your product is their best option.

If you’ve got a good story to tell about your product then you can stimulate the customer’s interest.

And once you’ve got the customer interested then you can gently apply pressure to close the sale.

And don’t be shy when it comes to applying pressure gradually.

Business is business and if you don’t close the sale you can be sure that someone else will.

There’s an art to knowing how much pressure to apply of course.

You shouldn’t push too hard because that can result in a negative reaction from the customer.

It can also leave customers feeling like they’ve been sold something they didn’t really need.

If that happens, you’ve made a sale but lost a customer. That’s counter-productive.

The last thing you want is an unhappy customer because they’re likely to tell a lot of people about a bad experience.

Bad publicity and customers bad-mouthing you can really hurt your business if you’re not careful, needless to say, I’m sure.

 Conclusion:

No business or individual can succeed without making sales.

If it’s your job to sell then you really have got to sell. And if you don’t sell, you’ve failed. Simple!

If you don’t make sales and meet your targets, then the result is likely to be that you’ll lose your job very quickly.

Business can be an unforgiving environment, as I’m sure you’re only too well aware dear reader.

No company can afford the luxury of having people on the payroll who don’t deliver the results for which they are paid.

And let’s face it, we’re all paid to deliver results.

In order to sell, the question to which you must have a very good answer is, “Why should the customer buy my product?

If you’ve got a good answer and you’ve targeted the right customer, with buying intent, then you’ve got a good chance of making a sale.

You also want to be confident that you can leave the customer feeling that in exchange for the money they’ve spent, they’ve received good value and a good buying experience.

So learn the art of successful selling. It will pay you a handsome dividend.

Further reading:

Now there are plenty of good books and excellent authors on the subject of selling.

Here are some I really like and which I’ve found very useful for improving my own sales skills. I recommend them to you, dear reader:-

  1. The Psychology of Selling: The Art of Closing Sales – By Brian Tracy
  2. The Art of Closing the Sale – By Brian Tracy
  3. How to Master the Art of Selling – by Tom Hopkins

All of these books are available on Amazon and you can check them out further by clicking on the links above.

DISCLOSURE: Please be aware that there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. So should you make a purchase via one of the links then this website will receive a small commission from Amazon. There will be no extra charge to you as the purchaser. These commissions serve only to pay for the upkeep of this website. Your understanding is appreciated. Thank you.

Please share this post with your friends:

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So please share it now. If you do I will be ever so grateful and you’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

You’ll be helping your friends and you’ll be helping me too. So you really can make a difference to the lives of others.

Thank you.

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How to spot a liar and be your own lie detector

How to spot a liarIntroduction:

Liar, Liar pants on fire” as the old saying goes but how to spot a liar in any situation? If only it was so easy to spot a liar, simply by looking at whether his or her pants were actually on fire.

Unfortunately that’s not really the way life works is it?

And handy as it might be to carry around a lie detector at all times, well that wouldn’t be very practical either, would it? Well, not a lie detector of the physical variety anyway.

So what’s the next best thing?

The next best thing would be if we could become our own lie detector, surely?

However, would that be possible?

The answer is yes. With a little effort, it’s possible to develop the skills to spot a liar. You just need to think about the signs.

Become a lie detector:

Now this is really important because we live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with fake news, weasel words, half-truths, untruths and outright lies.

Politicians are definitely the worst culprits but just about everyone in life tells the occasional lie when they feel it’s necessary.

That’s human nature, of course. Which means it’s essential we learn the skills that will allow us to judge whether what we are being told is the truth or a lie at any given time.

How to spot a liar:

So how do you spot a liar?

Essentially it’s all about looking for clues.

Those little signs that will reveal whether what we’re being told is likely to be true or not. A lie detector looks for clues and we can too.

In the TED Talk video embedded here, Pamela Meyer offers her observations on the signs or clues to watch out for to see if someone is lying to you.

I must say that I found this video both useful and interesting and it’s definitely worth a few moments of your time.

The ability to spot lies is a powerful skill which everyone can develop.

You really can become your own lie detector and it’s worth the effort.

If you can only work on developing one skill then lie spotting would be a good one I think.

Recommended books:

If the video whetted your appetite for developing your lie detector skills then you might consider adding some books to your personal reference library.

A good start would be Pamela Meyer’s own book Liespotting.

However there are a couple more I can recommend too. My Top 3 are:-

  1. Liespotting by Pamela Meyer
  2. How To Spot A Liar: Why People Don’t Tell the Truth and How You Can Catch Them by Gregory Hartley
  3. 100 Ingenious Ways To Detect Lies: How To Spot A Liar Like A Pro by W. Kenn

Click on the links above and take a quick look at them.

You’ll not lose anything just by checking them out. So do it now whilst it’s all fresh in your mind.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. However, there will be no additional charge to you in making your purchase. Nevertheless, these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers. Your understanding is truly appreciated, dear reader. Thank you.

Please share this post with your friends:

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If so, then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

So please share it now. If you do I’ll be ever so grateful and you’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

Other articles you might also find interesting:

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9 tips for getting the most from your work

getting the most from your workDo you feel valued by your employer? Now just think about that question for a second, dear reader.

I’m sure you’re aware that companies are very good at circulating messages which include platitudes such as, “Our employees are our most important asset. We value our employees.

However, you have to ask yourself how many of them really mean it?

The answer is few, if any, in my experience.

Now to be fair, many employers probably think they mean it at the time such messages are circulated to the workforce.

Staff in the Human Resources department may be genuine when they issue such statements. Nevertheless, the reality is almost always quite different, however right on and trendy your employer tries to be.

Rarely are employees truly valued by their employers.

Most companies regard people as a commodity to be used when they’re useful and then discarded when they’re perceived to be no longer of use.

So what does this all mean for you?

Well for a start it means that you have to look after your own interests.

If you don’t look after your own interests then no one else will, that’s for sure.

If you think someone, somewhere is thinking about your best interests then, with the exception of your parents, then that’s unlikely at best.

It’s all down to you to get the most from your job and your career.

You must decide what you want; you must decide where and how you can add the greatest value; you must decide what’s the next logical move for you, in pursuit of your goals; and you must decide on the timing of when it’s appropriate to move.

Occasionally you might get lucky and a great opportunity will fall straight into your lap. However, that doesn’t happen often, if at all.

Remember that you are the captain of your own ship.

So you decide where it goes and you must steer it accordingly.

It would be a mistake to rely on others to plan your career, quite simply because they won’t and it would be naïve to think otherwise.

So here are my 9 tips for getting the most from work.

Getting the most from your work1. Take a pragmatic view:

Now, reading this, you might think that I have a jaundiced view of companies and corporate life.

Actually I don’t; this is simply a realistic and pragmatic view based on many years of experience.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money.

If a company has stuff that needs doing then they are willing to pay good money to get it done.

However once that work’s been done, or is no longer required, then employers see no reason to retain people. Why would they? After all, they’re in business to make money, surely?

So be realistic and take a pragmatic view. That way you won’t be disappointed.

2. Recognise the psychological contract:

Let’s be fair, the company’s approach is no different than the one we’d take as individuals.

If we need our house painting, we hire a painter and decorator. Our house gets painted and when the job’s been done we pay the painter for the work completed.

We don’t start worrying about the painter’s job satisfaction or career development. The psychological contract between us and the painter ends when the bill has been settled for the work completed. That’s the way it is. Simple.

So why should we expect our employers to be any different?

Companies are not charities or job creation schemes. Commercial companies have to make a profit, if they’re to grow and survive, and costs have an impact on profit, obviously.

The psychological contract we have with our employer is one where we do stuff for them and then we’re paid for our efforts at the end of each month.

We’re the hired help and once we’ve been paid that’s where the psychological contract ends as far as our employer is concerned.

Your employer will not spend his or her time worrying about your aspirations or your dreams. Once again, it would be naïve to think otherwise.

3. Accept commercial reality:

Commercial reality whether we like it not is that all companies exist to make money for their owners. It’s that simple. Why would anyone start a company for any other reason?

So if you think that your loyalty will be appreciated by the average employer then I think you’re either mistaken or deluded.

Employers will take everything you give and a bit more besides, but once you’re no longer required they will be as ruthless as they have to be. If it’s their survival versus your career aspirations, there’s only one outcome, and it will have nothing to do with your aspirations.

If they weren’t able to be ruthless when necessary then that could put the whole company and the jobs of everyone involved at risk. So there’s a good business reason for the way companies tend to operate.

Furthermore, ordinary people don’t spend their money unnecessarily, so why should we expect a company to be any different?

From time to time you’ll meet leaders of real stature and class who will treat you very well. However they’re the exception rather than the rule.

Most senior executives are driven only by self-interest, in my experience. Once you’re no longer of use, they will be as ruthless as they have to be. That’s the way the world works, so don’t expect it to be any different for you.

4. Don’t expect loyalty to be reciprocated:

The point I’m making is that you must be ruthless too. You must look after your own interests, constantly.

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to be working with your own agenda in mind. Deliver the results for which you’re being paid of course but always with one eye on your own best interests.

In any job you should make sure that you know what you’re meant to be doing and what you’re meant to be delivering.

What you’re delivering must add value. You should know what that value is and you should be confident that it’s not something that can be done by a machine. If it is, then the chances are that one day it will be and you will be out of a job.

Never do anything out of a misplaced sense of loyalty because that loyalty is unlikely to be reciprocated. At work you have to be very business-like in everything you do.

The name of the game from your standpoint is to earn a living. If it’s not obvious to you what your contribution is meant to be then you should start to worry. And if you cannot explain what you’re meant to be doing in a couple of lines then it’s time to move on.

If you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing then the chances are that your boss is wondering too. And once your boss starts to question your role then there is a risk that it won’t be too long before your job is eliminated in a future cost-saving exercise.

5. Look after your own interests:

Remember this: No one owes you anything.

Life is what you make it.

As I said earlier, you’re the captain of your own ship. You should be steering that ship in a direction that suits you and your ambitions. Steer the good ship ‘Me’ in the direction you wish to go and not in the direction someone else wants you to go.

You should be following your own agenda and within the framework of your own plans.

If you think your employer has plans for you then you’re fooling yourself.

You will only figure in your employer’s plans for as long as it makes good business sense for them to include you in those plans.

If they can’t see how you’ll add value to their plans then a parting of the ways might not be far away.

6. Take every opportunity to develop your experience:

You may make mistakes occasionally and you may do things for employers which for whatever reason come back to bite you. If you do, don’t worry. Just learn any lessons from the experience and move on.

Lessons learned are far more valuable to you than anything someone else can tell you. That commodity based on life’s lessons is known as experience and it’s a very valuable commodity indeed.

Take every opportunity to broaden your experience and grow. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. The more you have to offer the more employable you’ll be and the greater will be your financial rewards.

7. Have realistic expectations:

Never expect loyalty from your employer and you won’t be disappointed.

You’re not indispensable and neither is anyone else.

If you weren’t around then someone else would be hired quickly and the business would move on. And in all probability you’ll soon be forgotten.

The chances are that someone else will take the credit for any significant contribution you’ve made but you’ll probably take the blame for everything that’s wrong, including things in which you had no involvement at all.

That’s life, unfortunately.

8. Work to you own agenda:

If you make sure you look after your own interests, then your achievements will be all yours and you’ll be on the road to success.

You have to carve out the success you want; no one else will do it for you.

Add real value to your employer for as long as you can or for as long as it makes sense within your own plans for you to do so and then it’s time to move on to the next opportunity.

Don’t get overly sentimental; you’ve got to be as ruthless with your employer as they would be with you. It’s perfectly reasonable to work to your own agenda, and that’s exactly what successful people do.

9. Keep reading; keep learning:

Never underestimate the value of reading and continual learning.

The more you read, the more you learn and the more you learn the greater will be your value.

Read one good book related to your work or personal development each week and over a year that’s the equivalent of a PhD‘s worth of knowledge gained.

Increase your knowledge by that amount every year and you’ll be light years ahead of your colleagues.

Increase your value and you increase your ability to earn more. And what’s not to like about that?

So, make sure you allocate at least 30 minutes per day for your reading, and more time if you can.

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How to find the right job for you: Simply Explained

Do you enjoy your work? Do you have a job you love? Do you wake-up each morning filled with enthusiasm for the day ahead? Alternatively maybe you just feel your job allows you to earn an income but beyond that you can’t wait until 5 pm when the working day is over? Perhaps you’re constantly asking how to find the right job for you?

If that’s you then you’re not alone.

The acid test when you’re not sure is to ask yourself the lottery question.

What does that mean? If means you ask yourself this, “If I won the lottery and money ceased to be an issue; would I continue to do the work I’m doing now or would I try something else?

Yes of course if you won the lottery you’d have a little fun with the money first, but eventually your life would need a sense of purpose and routine again.

So how would you fill your time then?

If you enjoy what you do, and you are recognized as being very good at it, then you’ll do your job well and you’ll be successful at what you do. And if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Now, how good would that be?

So if you’re not happy with your job right now, the next question to ask yourself is, “What do I really want to be?

To answer that question, you really need to consider two things:-

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you enjoy doing?

These are quite different things but if you can find the sweet spot between them then you have the basis for finding a job you’ll love. So the steps to job heaven are as follows:-

STEP 1: What are you good at?

Not merely competent but really good at?

Think about that question carefully and be honest with yourself.

What activities are intuitive to you? Things you can do easily and readily without having to give them too much thought?

Ask friends and colleagues for their views, and ask them to be really honest with you. Ask people you work with about the tasks for which they consider you to be the absolutely, first choice ‘go-to’ person?

Gather together this information and make a list.

STEP 2: What do you enjoy doing?

Then make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing.

Which activities really give you a buzz?

What activities get you so absorbed that you really lose track of time?

What activities would you do for free or as a hobby, if you couldn’t make a living at them?

Paul McCartney once said that if he couldn’t have made a living out of writing songs and playing music, he’d have done it as a hobby, simply because he loved it so much. In fact, it was his hobby before it was his living.

What activities make you feel the same way? Make that list and don’t be reasonable.

All this requires time for reflection and careful thought, as well as feedback from other people. So do give it the time it deserves.

Don’t jump to conclusions. You do want to ensure you get it right, don’t you?

STEP 3: Where is the common ground between your lists?

When you have your two lists ready, the final step is to identify the common ground between them, the point at which the two lists intersect.

How to find the right job for youIf you find an item that is contained on both lists then you have found the Holy Grail.

Finding something you’re genuinely good at and have a real talent for, and which is also something you really enjoy, will give you the greatest chance of success in life.

It is essential you find the common ground between your lists because:-

  1. If you really enjoy it, you’ll stick with it.
  2. If you’re really good at it, someone will notice

And if you get it right, sometimes people will sprinkle fairy dust on you too. And then a magical career beckons.

Finding job heaven is never about luck.

If you’re doing something you enjoy doing and you’re doing it well, you’ll stick with it long enough to get someone’s attention. And when you get their attention, you’ll dazzle them because you’re doing it well.

That’s not luck; it’s hard work, perseverance and timing.

Once you’ve identified what you want, the next question is, “How do you get it?” That’s another challenge, entirely.

Have you managed to find job heaven? If so, you’re lucky indeed. Enjoy every moment.

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking;

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How to build wealth from nothing – 5 Top Tips

How to build wealth from nothingThere’s nothing you can do about being born poor. If that was the case, then it was just unfortunate. However, you don’t have to go through life poor.

It is possible to build wealth over time and plenty of people do, frequently from absolutely nothing.

Many people born poor become very wealthy through their own efforts and you can too dear reader.

Here are five tips to help you build wealth from nothing.

How to build wealth from nothing:

1. Pay yourself first:

You may well appreciate that making money can be relatively easy, whilst holding on to it is very, very hard.

We’re all constantly bombarded with reasons why we should spend our money in return for some fleeting sense of gratification. Would that be an experience you recognise dear reader?

It doesn’t have to be that way of course and rich people know that only too well.

So what do rich people do that’s different to everyone else? Simple! They always pay themselves first.

And what do I mean by paying yourself first?

I mean the moment you’re paid, you take a slice off the top of your income immediately and you put it away somewhere safe. And by a slice I mean say 10%, or more if you can afford it.

And what do I mean by somewhere safe?

Well initially that would be depositing your money in an interest-bearing account.

However, once your money starts building into a larger sum then you can start thinking about other forms of investment that’ll give you greater returns potentially. Stocks and bonds for instance.

Building a capital sum is important because as your money grows it starts to generate a second income stream for you. That may not seem important to you now but it will be as you get older.

So paying yourself first is a discipline to which you must adhere until it becomes a habit you do without thinking.

You must always put some money away and you must make that money work hard for you. You must grow and protect your investment portfolio with careful diversification and over time you’ll find yourself building a sizeable fortune.

So here’s today’s mantra for you: Pay Yourself First. Never forget that please dear reader.

2. Be an investor, not a speculator:

You must understand that there’s a big difference between investing and speculation. They’re not the same thing at all.

I don’t wish to imply that there’s something wrong with speculation though. There isn’t.

In the world of finance, speculation brings liquidity to the market and therefore it does have its place.

However, speculation tends to operate on the ‘greater fool’ principle.

By that I mean someone is prepared to buy an asset for a given price in the hope that it can then be sold quickly to someone else, the greater fool, for a greater price.

This is what professional speculators do and they can make money this way because they know what they’re doing and they have sophisticated systems to support them.

However, for ordinary people speculation is like gambling in a casino. And you should never invest your money as though you’re gambling in a casino.

You might get lucky occasionally of course but over time your losses will outstrip any gains you might make, and almost certainly by a significant margin.

So my recommendation to you dear reader is you should never speculate. Instead, you should focus on becoming an investor.

By investing I mean buying stocks and shares in solid, well managed, cash-generative businesses which have the ability to pay good dividends on a sustained basis.

Buy stocks worth holding for the long term. This will provide you with a steady income stream from the dividends regardless of any short to medium term volatility in the market. And spread your risk by building a diversified portfolio.

If you reinvest your dividends then over time you will find that this approach should give you a good return on your money.

If you want to make money and build capital, then my advice to you dear reader is to be an investor, not a speculator.

3. Focus on value not price:

The legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.

With this observation, he’s making a very important point. There’s a distinction between price and value.

A low price for an asset doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be getting value.

And a high price doesn’t automatically mean you would not be getting value.

Price in itself is not a measure of value. You must consider other factors to judge value.

When you’re buying any financial asset, says stocks and shares, you should always focus on value and you must establish metrics by which you can adequately judge the intrinsic value within that asset.

Judged in isolation price is just a number, nothing more.

A lower price means absolutely nothing if you’re getting little or no value in return for your money.

Never, ever forget that it’s the intrinsic value that will determine whether something is really worth buying or not.

Get real value at the right price and then you can get a decent return over time from an investment.

4. Create a personal private income:

Much as we all aspire to do work we love, you must never forget dear reader that ultimately work is simply a means to an end.

Essentially work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. In turn, that money is then the fuel on which we run our lives.

Money provides us with the means to put bread on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs and those of our loved ones of course.

If you work hard enough you can earn a lot of money.

Manage that money wisely and you can build capital. Invest that capital intelligently and you can create your own personal private income streams.

When you have a decent private income in your own right then you can truly pick and choose the work you do.

Then you only have to do what you enjoy doing; that thing that gives you a genuine sense of purpose.

Creating a personal private income is a worthy goal and it’s well worth the effort.

That way you’re in control of your own life and no one else can dictate what you should and shouldn’t do.

You’ll be in control of the good ship ‘Me’ and only you then decide where it goes.

The message here is, work hard now, so one day you don’t have to work hard.

5. Never forget what matters most:

It would be very easy to believe that a life filled with lots of money and materiality will make you blissfully happy. Well let me tell you, dear reader, in isolation, it won’t.

I’m not suggesting that these things are not important but you must get your priorities right.

Yes, of course, go out there and make money. Manage it carefully. Buy nice things and enjoy some of that money too.

However, to be truly happy you must never lose sight of the most important thing in your life and that is family and friends. People are social animals; we’re not solitary animals like cats. We need other people and most of all we need our loved ones.

So make time for your loved ones, especially your children. Enjoy their company and make the most of every minute with them.

Never focus on work to the exclusion of your family and friends. Without them you have nothing. Money is important of course but people are much more important.

Never lose sight of the people in your life.

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21 favourite quotes to inspire you when you’re feeling down

Favourite QuotesQuotes can be such a source of inspiration, especially when we’re feeling a little down. When everything’s not quite going in the way we’d like, it’s helpful to reflect on the wisdom of successful people.

Successful people weren’t always successful. They started out as ordinary people with a dream and a determination to follow that dream and take it as far as they could.

And in getting to where they are they’ll have met many obstacles along the way and at times they too will have felt a little down.

No one has it that easy. The only difference is that successful people keep going. They never give up.

Successful people make sure they have a source of inspiration for when they need it. They always have something to lift them when times get tough.

When I’m feeling a little down I love to reflect on inspirational quotes. I love them.

Here are 21 of my favourite quotes that certainly inspire me when I’m in need of a lift.

Favourite quotes:

  1. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. ~Steve Jobs
  2. Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. ~Samuel Johnson
  3. Every artist was first an amateur. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie
  5. Whoever is happy will make others happy, too. ~Mark Twain
  6. You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Christopher Columbus
  7. Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. ~Conrad Hilton
  8. That’s precisely the question everyone should be asking—why the hell not? Why not you, why not now? ~Timothy Ferriss
  9. The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour. ~Vince Lombardi
  10. It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are. ~E.E. Cummings
  11. Do not let what you cannot do; interfere with what you can do. ~John Wooden
  12. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford
  13. Use what talents you possess. The woods will be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~Henry Van Dyke
  14. You are what you think about all day long. ~Dr Robert Schuller
  15. The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy. ~Malcolm Forbes
  16. Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. ~Howard Thurman
  17. The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame. ~Rod Steiger
  18. Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use. ~Ruth Gordon
  19. Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions; they are easier to handle than dumb mistakes. ~Author Unknown
  20. Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. ~Albert Einstein
  21. What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left. ~Oscar Levant

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21 thought-provoking quotes about inspiration

Quotes about inspirationDo you need a little inspiration occasionally dear reader, because I know I do?

From the feedback I receive regularly from readers, it seems that most people find quotes an excellent source of inspiration.

And not just quotes from the great thinkers of course. Rather it’s those observations from ordinary people about life and the human condition that can be truly inspiring.

So today I offer you 21 thought-provoking quotes about inspiration.

And let me say, they’re not so much about inspiration, they’re intended to be a source of inspiration for you.

Most of all, each and every one of these quotes offers something different by way of inspiration I think.

These quotes will make you think too, which is important.

If you’re trying to develop your own philosophy for dealing with life and the people around you then these quotes should help you.

So read them all, reflect on them and see how many of them you can work into your day.

Quotes about inspiration:

  1. Everyone is good at something and once you find it, what you can achieve is limitless. ~Andrew Flintoff
  2. The deepest craving of human nature is to be appreciated. ~William James
  3. Every man has three characters: that which he shows; that which he has; and that which he thinks he has. ~Alphonse Karr
  4. The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is neither likely to make money nor find much fun in life. ~Charles M. Schwab
  5. Never mind what others do; do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day and you are a success. ~William J.H. Boetcker
  6. Don’t be afraid of failure. If something doesn’t work, use what you’ve learned to try and try again. ~Sir James Dyson
  7. Even if your vision is flawed, if you have the passion and the implementation skills, you’ll get there [in the end]. ~Jim McCarthy
  8. The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling. ~Lucretius
  9. Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. ~Haim Ginott
  10. A truly loving parent won’t be looking for payback from a child. The child’s happiness, self-confidence and independence are the only rewards for good parenting. ~Roy Sutton
  11. Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree. ~Marian Wright Edelman
  12. If you look around at successful people, the movers and shakers are those who are positive, who won’t take no for an answer, and who make things happen – either for themselves or for others. ~Carole Spiers
  13. I think one of the most pervasive evils in the world is greed and acquiring money for money’s sake. Once you have six houses and a plane it is just about a number. It’s never been anything I understood. ~Kevin Bacon
  14. Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. ~W. Clement Stone
  15. There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found while journeying east and west. The only folks we really wound are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know. We please the fleeting guest. And deal full many a thoughtless blow to those who love us best. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  16. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ~Martin Luther King
  17. Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. ~Dr Norman Vincent Peale
  18. Other people may not like what you choose to do but as long as you’re not hurting anyone else then it is your business and yours alone. You weren’t put on this earth just to please other people. ~Roy Sutton
  19. The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny. ~Albert Ellis
  20. My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success. ~ Helen Hayes Brown
  21. The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. ~Pearl S. Buck

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Were any of them particularly relevant to you and your life right now?

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15 Quotes by Elon Musk to help get you thinking

Quotes by Elon MuskBorn in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk is a technology entrepreneur and engineer. He holds South African, Canadian and U.S. citizenship and is probably best known as the co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Inc.

In 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People.

Apparently his net worth is around $19.4 billion and he’s listed by Forbes as the 40th-richest person in the world.

By any definition, Elon Musk is a clever and successful man and of course, it’s always worth listening to successful people.

So today I offer you 15 quotes by Elon Musk dear reader.

He’s an interesting character and his observations will certainly get you thinking I’m sure.

15 Quotes by Elon Musk:

  1. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart. ~Elon Musk
  2. I hate writing about personal stuff. I don’t have a Facebook page. I don’t use my Twitter account. I am familiar with both, but I don’t use them. ~Elon Musk
  3. When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour. ~Elon Musk
  4. If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it’s a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not. ~Elon Musk
  5. People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else. ~Elon Musk
  6. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself. ~Elon Musk
  7. There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing. ~Elon Musk
  8. Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster. ~Elon Musk
  9. People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working. ~Elon Musk
  10. I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. ~Elon Musk
  11. Man has the power to act as his own destroyer – and that is the way he has acted through most of his history. ~Elon Musk
  12. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment. ~Elon Musk
  13. We can’t have, like, willy-nilly proliferation of fake news. That’s crazy. You can’t have more types of fake news than real news. That’s allowing public deception to go unchecked. That’s crazy. ~Elon Musk
  14. Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product. ~Elon Musk
  15. In order to have your voice be heard in Washington, you have to make some little contribution. ~Elon Musk

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You did? I hope so anyway.

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