3 things you need to know about money

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MONEYToday I’d like you to think about some things you need to know about money, dear reader. In other words, think about what it all really means.

It’s natural to dream about being rich, of course.

Most people dream about being able to buy whatever they want and go anywhere and everywhere they’d like to go, possibly even in a private jet.

The attraction of having that pot of gold is why a lot of people will chase every rainbow.

However, whilst money is necessary for sustaining life, there are some things you should really understand about money.

Here are three of them:-

Things you need to know about money:

1. Having money brings its own pressures:

A great fortune is a great slavery. ~Seneca

It’s reasonable to want to create wealth and build a fortune. As suggested above, you want to feel financially secure, don’t you? Why wouldn’t you?

However, being financially secure doesn’t mean you’ll have a life without problems and worry.

You’ll just have different problems and different things to worry about.

No one goes through life without problems. Dealing with problems and challenges is an inevitable part of human existence.

Put simply, having money brings its own pressures.

Once you’ve got money your biggest concern will be to ensure that you hang on to it.

Inevitably that means you can become a slave to managing your money, preserving its capital value and protecting your fortune.

Being wealthy may be a nice problem to have, but it’s no less of a problem for that.

So keep it all in perspective.

Things you need to know about money2. Money can never be more important than people:

We love to earn money, who doesn’t? It gets you things. ~Katie Price

Earning money is great and it does allow you to buy things you want and things you need. However money won’t take care of you when you’re ill.

Yes, it might enable you to buy in some hired help.

However, that’s not the same as having someone around who genuinely cares about your well-being. That someone for whom you matter much more than money ever will.

In my experience, whilst money is important, nothing in our lives matters more than friends and loved ones. Human beings are social animals. So only people matter to us really.

Never focus on money to the point where you neglect the people who should matter most to you. Forget about them and eventually, they will forget about you.

You can have all the money in the world, but you’ll have nothing at all without friends and loved ones.

Go out and earn lots of money by all means, and enjoy it too.

However, always maintain a sense of balance in your life and make sure that you allocate some time for the people who matter most to you.

An investment of your time in the people you love is an investment that will pay dividends.

3. Money is a precious resource so use it wisely:

A penny saved is a penny earned. ~Benjamin Franklin

I make no apology for repeating Benjamin Franklin’s money mantra, repeated frequently by generations of well-meaning parents to their profligate children. It’s as valid today as it was in his day.

Whether Franklin was referring to money saved when making purchases or money saved from income is not obvious in his statement but that doesn’t matter.

The underlying point is that you have to be careful with your money because saving money is the key to building wealth and becoming financially independent. No one ever got rich by wasting their money.

Money like time is a precious resource, so use it wisely.

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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 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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4 cornerstones for how to speak so people will listen

How to speak so people will listenHow to speak so people will listen is a common challenge many of us face on a daily basis.

There’s an old saying that states that; it’s not just what you say but the way that you say it.

And it’s very true, how something is said is as important as the words being spoken.

Now just think about that for a second. We can use exactly the same words in different ways and we will deliver completely different messages.

How something is said also has an impact on whether people listen to us or not. We’ve all met engaging people who capture our attention and we’ve all met a few boring people too, I’m sure.

In the video included here, Julian Treasure offers some excellent insight into how to speak so people will listen to you.

His underlying message in the video is that we must learn to speak with power to get our messages across to other people.

Julian Treasure suggests that there are a number of habits we must avoid if we are to speak with power.

He says in his view there are Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking, albeit he does note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. His deadly seven are as follows:-

  1. Gossip: Speaking in an unkind way about other people.
  2. Judging: People are unlikely to listen if they feel they’re being judged.
  3. Negativity: It’s hard to listen to people with a negative attitude.
  4. Complaining: It’s hard to listen to a moaner too.
  5. Excuses: You won’t be taken seriously if blame is always elsewhere.
  6. Exaggeration: This can border on lying and who listens to a liar?
  7. Dogmatism: Where facts are confused with opinions.

So, can we change if we suffer from all or some of these deadly sins?

Yes, of course, but it does take a little work and a better understanding of how improvements can be achieved.

How to speak so people will listen:

In the video, Julian explains that there are four cornerstones to powerful speech. He uses the mnemonic HAIL to explain these as follows:-

  1. Honesty: Being clear and straight
  2. Authenticity: Being real and being yourself
  3. Integrity: Being true to your word
  4. Love: Wishing people well. And we all like to be appreciated, surely?

However understanding these cornerstones is only the beginning of the process because, as stated earlier, how you say what you’ve got to say is important too.

Julian then discusses aspects of speaking such as Register; Timbre; Prosody; Pace; Pitch; Volume; and the use of Silence. To address many of these issues you may need the help of a voice coach of course but knowing about them is a good start.

Julian also suggests some simple voice warm-up exercises for you to use before you give a speech. They’re so easy you can use them immediately.

Being a TEDTalk you’d expect this video to be both interesting and useful and it doesn’t disappoint. I found Julian Treasure’s ideas fascinating and if you’re someone who regularly speaks in front of an audience, large or small, then I am confident that you’ll find this video helpful.

This video has had over 22 million views on YouTube so clearly, Julian Treasure’s ideas have resonated with a significant audience already.

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A Motivational A – Z Guide to Success

Guide to SuccessLooking for a guide to success?

We could all use one, right?

Well here is a concise A- Z guide of the things you will need to bear in mind.

Perhaps it’s a little over-simplified if I’m honest, but it does cover all the bases, of that I’m quite sure.

If you need a guide to success then print this list and pin it above your desk and refer to it constantly.

And please pass it on.

A – Z Guide to Success:

  • (A) Achieve your dreams. Avoid negative people, things and places.
  • (B) Believe in yourself and in what you can do.
  • (C) Consider every angle and look at things from both sides.
  • (D) Don’t give up and never give in.
  • (E) Enjoy. Motivation happens when you’re happy with life.
  • (F) Family and Friends. Never, ever lose sight of them.
  • (G) Give more than what you believe is enough.
  • (H) Hold on to your dreams. These should drive you onward and upward.
  • (I) Ignore those who belittle your ambition. If you believe you can, what they think is irrelevant.
  • (J) Just be you. The key to failure is trying to please everyone.
  • (K) Keep trying no matter how hard life may seem.
  • (L) Learn to love yourself. You’re as good as anyone.
  • (M) Make things happen. The harder you work the luckier you’ll get.
  • (N) Never lie, cheat or steal. Always play a fair game.
  • (O) Open your eyes. Be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • (P) Practice makes perfect. Be a student of your craft and work towards mastery.
  • (Q) Quitters never win and winners never quit. Be a winner, not a quitter.
  • (R) Ready yourself. Be prepared and be ready when opportunity strikes.
  • (S) Stop procrastinating. Get on with it. It’s later than you think.
  • (T) Take control of your life. Discipline and self-control are key to success.
  • (U) Understand others. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
  • (V) Visualize it. What will success look like to you? How will you recognize it?
  • (W) Want it more than anything. It must matter to you if you’re to keep going when it gets hard.
  • (X) X-Factor is that little bit of magic that makes you different from all the other wannabes. When you’re truly motivated, you’ll deliver that extra something that will help you shine like a star. Shine like a star and you’ll get noticed. Get noticed and you’re on the way to achieving success.
  • (Y) You are unique. You have special qualities no one else has. So work to your strengths and do the things that only you can do.  That way you will begin to shine like a star.
  • (Z) Zero in on your dreams and just go for it. Don’t stop until you get to where you want to be.

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3 of life’s lessons learned that you really should know

Life's Lessons LearnedMany regular readers will be familiar with the three life’s lessons learned that I’ve included here today, but that won’t be true for everyone, of course. It all comes down to experience really, wouldn’t you agree?

Well dear reader, please don’t feel that you must make every mistake yourself in order to learn.

Learning directly from the mistakes of others is a perfectly valid strategy. You can also listen to and learn from lessons others have learned the hard way.

There’s no finer education than the University of Life, School of Hard Knocks.

So, allow me to offer you three of life’s lessons learned, that you’d do well to bear in mind.

1. Money can’t make you happy:

If you’re not happy without money then having money won’t change how you feel about yourself.

We experience happiness not through the things we purchase but through our personal philosophy, as well as our relationships with other people. Human beings are social animals, and we all need other people.

If you want to be happy you must never lose sight of the most important people in your life, i.e. family and friends.

Spend time with them and enjoy their company, especially your children. Make the most of every minute you have with your loved ones.

Yes, of course, go out there and make some money. I’m not suggesting money doesn’t matter because it does. It’s up there with oxygen for sustaining a life worth living.

So you must manage your money carefully and invest some of it too.

Enjoy some of your money, of course, and buy nice things occasionally too. Life’s too short not to enjoy at least some of your hard-earned cash from time to time.

However never focus on money and work, to the exclusion of your family and friends. Without them you have nothing. Money is important but the people in your life are far more important.

You could have all the money in the world but without your friends and loved ones you’d have nothing at all.

2. Life is too short to do a job you hate:

You should never do anything for money alone.

Yes, you need an income and yes, it’s nice to have plenty of money in your pocket. Let’s face it we’d all like to have plenty of money, wouldn’t we? That’s human nature.

However, no amount of money will compensate you for the drudgery of doing a job you really hate.

If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it well. And if you don’t do it well eventually you’ll come unstuck. It will all end in tears. Now is that really what you want, dear reader?

Remember this also; one day, you will die. You’re not going to live forever, nor would you want to.

What a shame it would be if on your deathbed you felt you’d completely wasted your life. Now, how bad would that be?

So find a job you enjoy.

That really is important. You’ll spend one-third of your life at work and that’s a long time to be doing something you really hate.

Yes, there will be aspects of every job that you might find tedious or frustrating. However, it’s important to find something that you mostly enjoy.

And if you haven’t found that job you love yet? Then just keep looking, until you find something you’d do for free if you couldn’t earn a living at it.

When it comes to a job, money shouldn’t be your primary focus. Find the right job; do it well; add real value, and the money will follow, all in good time.

3. Greed can lead to expensive mistakes:

There’s a classic telephone scam, which never fails to catch some people out.

The way it works is a salesman or woman working in a ‘boiler room’ somewhere offshore calls you with an offer for you to purchase an asset at a price which they’ll tell you will guarantee you an enormous profit.

It might be stocks and shares or it might be plots of land in some faraway place but the underlying message is always the same.

Essentially they’ll tell you that next to no one knows about the availability of this asset just yet but when they do the price of the asset will go through the roof and just keep on heading in an upward direction.

They’ll tell you that whatever they have to offer is a steal and that you have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and make an absolute killing but you have to buy today or you’ll miss out.

The salespeople always sound friendly, and very plausible and they’ll make it all sound very professional. They’ll even take a little time to make you feel that really they’re trustworthy.

This scam plays on our greed and our gullibility.

We believe what we’re being told because we want to believe it. We just love the idea that we might get something for nothing too.

However, if you part with your money, when presented with such an offer, that‘s the last you’ll see of it.

The asset will be worthless or even non-existent. You’ll have been scammed.

Furthermore, if you’re foolish enough to buy, you’ll also be put on a ‘sucker list’ which means you’ll get inundated with similar calls from other high-pressure salespeople offering similar ‘deals‘.

In reality, any deal that sounds too good to be true will always prove to be too good to be true.

There’s no easy money to be had anywhere. Take that from someone who’s spent a lot of time looking.

And anyway, think about it, if it was that good a deal why would they be telling you?

If there really was a killing to be made, they’d simply invest their own money and bag the ‘profit’ for themselves, surely?

Never allow yourself to fall for it.

And never, ever allow yourself to be bounced into buying anything just because they tell you that this deal is only available today.

In sales language that’s known as a ‘call to action‘. It’s the oldest sales trick in the sales handbook.

The idea is to bounce you into making a purchasing decision before you have time to think it all through properly.

Don’t be a mug and don’t be foolish enough to line other peoples’ pockets at your own expense. As the old saying goes, invest in haste, repent at leisure.

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13 tips for improving your personal happiness

Personal HappinessYou’ll be as happy as you choose to be. You might not think so, but that is a fact.

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. They’re facts too.

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.

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

You’ll 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:-

Tips for improving your personal happiness

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 people:

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:

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. 

7. Say how you feel:

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. Avoid 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:

Tips for Personal HappinessIt’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 to 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 audiobooks 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 in 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, or at least that’s the way it seems.

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. Minimise your exposure to pollution:

Pollution comes in many forms but it all takes its toll on 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. Take regular exercise:

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. Taking regular exercise improves your health and well-being.

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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How to find the right job for you: Simply Explained

How to find the right job for youDo you enjoy your work, dear reader? 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 the question, “how to find the right job for you?”

If that’s you then you’re not alone.

The Lottery Question:

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

What does that mean? If means you ask yourself this, “If I won millions on 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?

Never work a day in your life:

If you enjoy what you do, and you’re 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?

How to find the right jobNot 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 the way he earned a 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: Which items are common to both 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.

If 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 your perfect job is never about luck.

Find the right work for you:

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 the perfect job for you?

If so, you’re lucky indeed. Enjoy every moment. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking;

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The debate about identity politics and how we get beyond it

Identity PoliticsThe debate about identity politics has dominated much of the news in recent months. Surely we must find a way to get beyond it? In that, I refer to getting beyond the problems associated with identity, rather than the debate itself.

We’re all human beings first:

Whether we think of ourselves as Black, White, Christian, Muslim, Jew or some other form of ethnic or religious identity, in reality, we’re all just members of the human race, surely?

In my opinion, we’re human beings first and other forms of identity second. We’re all just people.

We all want the same things:

As people, we all want the same things if you think about it.

Ideally, we all want a peaceful, prosperous life and a better world for our children?

We want a roof over our heads and the ability to put bread and food on the table.

Equally, we all want to feel secure.

We all want our lives to have a sense of purpose and a reason for us to get out of bed each day.

And, of course, we all want to enjoy some leisure time with family and friends, occasionally.

Life’s too short:

Life’s too short to worry about anything else, surely?

As human beings, we have much more in common than we’re often able or willing to recognize and those things that apparently separate us are often more imagined than real. Well, I think so anyway.

In my experience, there are good people everywhere you go in this world.

And yet, as human beings, we often fear people simply because they are not a reflection of ourselves.

We fear what we don’t understand.

If only we could just see others as human beings first. They’re people just like us, with hopes, dreams and a desire to be loved, accepted and respected by others.

Respect people and get to know them:

If only we could just treat people with respect, regardless of whatever sense of identity they present to the world. If only we could respect others just for being themselves.

I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work in many parts of the world and I’ve learned that if you make the effort to get to know people, whoever they are, you begin to see them in a different way, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or creed.

If you try to understand them and their lives, suddenly you realize that they’re actually just like you, or not so very different at least.

Wherever you go, people are just people. We laugh, we cry, we eat, we sleep and we all have to go to the bathroom occasionally.

Yes, there are a few bad ones of course but most people are honest and decent and if you treat them with respect, you will get their respect in return. In my experience, wherever you go people just want to be treated fairly.

Avoid making assumptions about people:

Identity Politics When you meet people from a culture which is different to your own, it’s easy to make assumptions about them. However, how can you be sure you’re right unless you get to know them?

Judging is easy but it’s hard to know what someone else’s life is really like. Unless you’ve actually walked a mile in their shoes, you couldn’t possibly know what their life is really like or what challenges they face on a daily basis.

So you can’t judge anyone unless you make the effort to get to know them.

And for me, that’s the underlying problem for all humanity.

We judge people first without making the effort to get to know people. We make assumptions and judge on perceived stereotypes rather than treating people as individuals.

For instance, it would be easy to assume that all Muslims have the same extreme views as those fundamentalists making media headlines fighting for the establishment of the so-called Islamic State or ISIS.

I have lived and worked in the Middle East for many years and I know that this is not true. Some of the finest people I’ve ever met are Muslims.

I have many Muslim friends for whom I have the greatest respect. I’ve also known many Christians, Jews, Buddhists and more for whom I could make a similar comment.

Seek first to understand:

I’ve learned to treat people as I find them and not as others tell me I should find them.

I concern myself only with the content of their character. I try to treat others with respect and I find that generally if I do, I get their respect in return.

If only we could all treat others in the way that we’d prefer them to treat us then I think the world would be a better place. And surely our aim should be to make this world a better place?

In the words of Stephen R. Covey, we must Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

Identity politics:

Identity politics has the potential to divide us all in a way that could be detrimental to everyone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can get along with each other if we respect people for who they are and what they are and judge them only by the content of their character.

Look beyond obvious differences to the person within. It’s what’s on the inside of people that matters most. Well, that’s my opinion, dear reader.

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