We all feel a bit blue at times and need a bit of cheering up. Here are some things you can do to quickly put a smile back on your face.
Every day we are greeted with more headlines about how horrible the economy is and how we are just minutes away from another Great Depression. Well, I said it when they tried to talk us into recession and I will say it again now: Have your economic crisis. I choose not to participate.
There are some bad things happening in the financial markets right now. And things may get worse before they get better. Especially if the government gets involved, as they always want to do. But we are not all using our last dime to fuel up our SUVs so we can drive over to the soup kitchen.
In fact, when you look at polls about the economy, lots of people say they are worried. However, when the questions are asked another way, they say they are doing fine—but they are worried about other people. You know, the people with the sad stories they keep seeing on the news.
Think about every story you have read about the economy over the last several years. For example, before every holiday season we get all of the stories about how merchants expect spending this year to be lower than last year. They are going to have to resort to sales (gasp!) to get customers into the stores. As if there were never sales at holiday times in the past.
The best part comes when the season’s spending is tallied up. We get the headlines about how spending was “only” 5% higher than last year, and what a disappointment that is. Huh? After you told us everyone was expecting spending to decline, a 5% increase is a disappointment? I am not a math whiz, but I understand that a 5% increase is better than a decrease.
Almost every story I read has a similar agenda: make people think things are terrible and there is no good news. I had this reinforced this morning when I saw a reporter’s request for people to interview for an upcoming story about whether or not workers will have enough money to retire. They were looking for people in three categories, and not one of them included people who feel comfortable that they do have enough money to retire. Every person they will interview will be someone who makes the reporter’s point about how bad things are.
Are there people who, whether through bad decisions or just plain bad luck, are hurting? Certainly. There always have been, and there always will be. We all feel for the people who fall on hard times and most of us look for ways to help them. But don’t fall for the lie that we are all “just one paycheck away from being homeless.”
There are things you should do to protect yourself. For example, you might want to reconsider having more money in any one bank than the FDIC will insure. Don’t spend money you do not have for things you do not need. Do not borrow to purchase depreciating assets, and that includes almost anything you would buy with a credit card. All of these things are good advice even when the economy is booming.
I am going on strike, starting now: I am not going to read any of the stories about how bad the economy is. ‘Bye, media. You will not be missed. Start the Great Depression without me.
Losing weight is simple: Eat less and exercise more. Simple, right? But not easy, as you can attest if you have ever tried to drop those stubborn pounds. Keeping the commitment to make healthy eating choices and hit the gym regularly is hard.
That is the way it is in much of life, including business. We know what we should do—that’s simple. But doing it, consistently and for the long term, is anything but easy.
How can you stay on the right track, doing the simple things that will make you successful? Here are some tips for doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. [Read more…]
Do you dwell on the bad side of life, believing that you are just being realistic by accepting negative thoughts and feelings? Do you hear yourself saying things such as, “Well, isn’t that just my luck,” or, “I can’t do anything right,” without even thinking about them?
Allowing your mind to dwell on the negative definitely affects how you feel, and may even affect what happens. After all, if you always expect bad things to happen, will you take the actions necessary to make good things happen? Probably not, because you have internalized the idea that good things do not happen to you.
You may believe that how you think can not change, but that is not at all true. You can make a conscious choice to think positive thoughts and change how you feel.
Think positive but realistic thoughts
As part of your philosophy, realize that you can control your thoughts, as long as you are mentally healthy. And you will remain mentally healthy if you practice positive but realistic thinking.
Make constructive suggestions to yourself daily. But don’t make them so all-inclusive that your rational mind will laugh at them. For instance, Coue’s formula, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better,” worked for those who were not analytical. But it couldn’t work for anyone who said to himself, “But that’s ridiculous. The pain in my big toe is not getting any better; I’ve never learned to control my temper, and my headaches are not vanishing.”
Positive affirmations are fine, but they must be keyed to one’s realistic expectations.
“This will pass,” is more realistic than, “Everything is getting more wonderful every minute.” The unconscious mind will accept, “I am going to sleep well, and wake up feeling fine tomorrow morning,” sooner than it will accept, “I am going to sleep well every night of my life.”
Give the unconscious mind positive thoughts to chew on, but don’t give it unrealistic thoughts that the conscious mind refuses to swallow.
You and you alone control your real thoughts. Thieves may break down your doors and enter your house, and steal your possessions. But you are always safe in your innermost thoughts. No matter what life does to you, you can control them.
The man who learned to be happy. Gamaliel Bradford, the famous biographer, once said that he would have spared himself many years of suffering if he had known in his youth the lesson he learned much later: that he could think about anything he wanted to, and dismiss all thoughts that irked him from his mind. You can learn this lesson today, right this instant.
Let us remember what Alfred Loomis said: “I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things—sorrow, misfortune, and suffering—are outside my door. I am in the house, and I have the key.”
Use the key to alter your thinking and change your life in meaningful ways.