Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How to increase your ability to seize the next opportunity

Living frugally will allow you to save the funds that you need to take advantage of the next opportunity. In the Middle Ages, there was no way to move forward, but in the present world, real possibilities exist. Here are some ideas to help you gather that initial capital:

Redefine what's essential

You can make important savings if you acquire frugal habits. Your utilities bill can often be reduced. You can cut down your energy consumption, for instance, by turning off the heating in rooms that you are not using all the time and by improving the isolation of windows and doors.

Consider extending the lifespan of your possessions. Clothes constitute a good example, in particular business suits. If you handle your wardrobe with care, it can serve its purpose for a long time without need of additional purchases.

For office work, it is usually a good idea to choose conservative designs and colours. They are less subject to the vagaries of fashion and you can wear them for many seasons. White shirts are particularly easy to match with dark clothing. Frugality can also apply to items such as mobile phones. If the old one is still working fine, do you really need to purchase the latest model?

Think ahead

Avoid the come-and-go that accompanies indecision. Thinking ahead is as important on the road as in other areas of life. If you plan your journeys carefully and drive smoothly, you can make substantial savings in motoring expenses. Make the effort to programme your trips for maximum efficiency.

If you need to buy groceries, can you find a supermarket on your route to work? If you are planning to visit a computer store, can you run some errands on the same trip? If the location of your home allows it, you may even be able to ride your bicycle instead of using the car, a practice that would be also advantageous for your health.

A better future

Stake your claim for a better future and redefine what is essential. Declare yourself willing to exchange short-term benefits for permanent advantages, and ignore the words of those who preach passivity. The world is more open to personal initiative today than ever before. If you reduce your lifestyle to the essentials, you will increase your ability to seize the next opportunity.  

In the US and in some other countries, you can use Kindle Unlimited to download my latest book for free  

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by chimothy27 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Five strategies to increase your self-confidence

How can you increase your self-confidence and self-reliance? The five practices that, in my own experience, have proven to work well are the following: desensitization to danger, risk reduction, creative persistence, building on existing strengths, and working by numbers. Many people instinctively use some of these methods at one time or other. Results can be greatly enhanced by applying them in a conscious and regular manner.

Desensitization to danger

Once you acknowledge that you live in fear of a specific threat, you must decide if you want to invest time to overcome paralysis and anxiety. The answer to this question is far from self-evident, since thousands of individuals accept timidity as a way of life. Becoming more assertive and adventurous is best achieved by taking small steps. Worry is vanquished by means realism, not by self-delusion.

A progressive loss of sensitivity to danger is the basis of learning to ride a bicycle. At the beginning, you move slowly and hesitatingly. With practice, your body begins to take control by realizing that the situation is much less dangerous than it feels. Desensitization through successive steps is the ideal method to increase self-confidence in situations that allow progressive exposure.

Small steps

Although History shows the many advantages of stock market investments, millions of people are terrorized of the idea of placing their savings at risk. Purchasing shares of a corporation is viewed as a disproportionate exposure to chance.

Acquiring knowledge about economics can help you assess the benefits of investing in the stock market. However, it will seldom push to you take the decisive step to overcome your fears. In cases where the problem is to cross the line for the first time, risk reduction proves a more powerful tactic than accumulating theoretical knowledge.

The first-time investor should simply ignore his fears, open a brokerage account, and make a small purchase of some conservative securities. During the following weeks, he might tend to check the price of his stock ten times a day, but as time goes by, the neophyte investor will get comfortable with the level of risk and be willing to purchase shares of other corporations.

Creative persistence

Our self-reliance increases when our accomplishments place us on a higher plateau of performance and satisfaction. Creative persistence demands constant exertion of effort and economy of energy. Our purpose is not to repeat unsuccessful attempts, but to assess failure, introduce variations in our approach, and progressively improve the outcome and reward.

Intelligent perseverance allows us to maintain our overall goal but modify our strategy as needed. A wise man asks himself incessantly how he can do things faster, better, and less expensively. Keep your long-term objectives, but show flexibility in your means and time schedule. Your self-confidence will increase at the same speed as your attempts generate better results.

Build on existing strengths

High achievers seldom possess a well-rounded personality. A person who is able to perform equally well on all areas is a rarity. An even character that is perfectly balanced in all facets should not be elevated to a psychological ideal.

Due to varying background and talents, individuals tend to excel on a few aspects, perform acceptably on many others, and prove deficient in some. If you wish to become more self-reliant, you should concentrate on developing your strengths instead of worrying about your weaknesses.

Work by numbers 

People who have low regard for themselves often expect too much. A man who demands to succeed in every endeavour should be viewed, with good reason, as wildly unrealistic. Such hard-headed attitudes produce high performance anxiety.

Facts and numbers provide the necessary perspective to deal with failure. A candidate who is rejected at a job interview might become needlessly enraged or depressed if he contemplates the event as a major injustice that has the potential to damage his career permanently.

In contrast, individuals searching for employment who are aware of the statistical odds against them tend to be more relaxed and resilient. If you acquire a realistic view of the amount of effort that you have to exert in order to find a good job, your temporary lack of success will not diminish your self-reliance.

During an economic downturn, there can be easily two dozen applicants for each worthy vacant position. Working by numbers means realizing that you might need two dozen interviews in order to get a desirable job. Internalizing that knowledge is bound to increase your serenity and render you more effective.

What to do next

Attaining stability on a higher level of personal effectiveness is the common purpose of the above systems to increase self-reliance. Take some time to decide which method you are going to use, make a decision, and carry out your plan. After you have followed the selected strategy for a few weeks, you will acquire better patterns of thought and become more self-reliant.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by Paul Mannix under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Smooth operators get more out of life

The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

In order to improve your life, you don't need to place your hopes on a lottery ticket or wait for the world to grant you the perfect opportunity. There is a better way and it is condensed in the principles of rational living, principles such as “think like an entrepreneur, not like a crusader,” “ignore the noise and focus on results,” “stay away from high-risk situations,” “find people who share your values,” and “develop strong long-term passions.” 

This book presents the principles of rational living in great detail, with numerous examples of people who have applied them successfully. The principles of rational living are sound ideas that can dramatically improve your life. Learn all about them and start applying them today.

1. Think like an entrepreneur, not like a crusader
A recipe for getting ahead in good and bad times
Debating and arguing are a waste of time
The true believer is the one who preaches by example
Entrepreneurs thrive on trouble and inconvenience
Unlike resources, opportunities are infinite

2. Ignore the noise and focus on results
If one road is blocked, take another
How to keep calm when you are surrounded by nonsense
The effective way to handle work overload
Learning from people who never feel discouraged
A proven strategy against career stagnation

3. Live inexpensively and invest for future income
Why the stock market offers the best opportunities
Common traits of great businessmen and investors
What kind of companies should you invest in?
A simple strategy is all you need
Adopt a realistic and practical approach

4. Choose a simple and healthy lifestyle
Don't just eat well, eat wonderfully
What is healthy, tasty, and easy to cook?
How to reduce everyday risks to your health
Eating healthily when you are travelling
Is it possible to slow down ageing?
Why it is so difficult to lead a simple life

5. Find people who share your values
Why you should ignore most of what you hear
The ugly duckling story repeats itself every day
Overcoming the resistance to changing jobs and relocating
Don't be original, be unique
Proven strategies for building great relationships
Would you recognize yourself in the crowd?

6. Listen to your emotions, but check the facts
Beware of exaggerated romantic tales
In dating and cooking, choose natural ingredients
How far are you willing to go for happiness?
Conflicting values lead to contradictory behaviour
The short distance between infatuation and obfuscation
Do not waste your best years pursuing unworkable ideals

7. Accept the inevitable hassles of life
Putting an end to exaggerated fears
Extreme reactions are foolish and wasteful
In praise of caution and circumspection
Can you remain self-confident in times of trouble?
How impatient people become stoic philosophers
Never grant problems more weight than they deserve

8. Stay away from high-risk situations
Death statistics make great bedtime reading
Tranquillity seldom comes cheap
Do not make an obsession of the perfect profession
Three situations that you should avoid like the pest
Every archer needs more than one arrow
The jungle never sleeps

9. Acquire effective habits
An hour has sixty minutes, a day twenty-four hours
In praise of staying behind
How a proactive attitude helps you overcome difficulties
Let go of the dead weight of prejudice
Smooth operators get more out of life
Personal effectiveness depends on patterns

10. Develop strong long-term passions
Comparing yourself with other people makes no sense
Don't drink the poison of contradiction
What heroes are made of
The myths of the single skill and the unique opportunity
Become tolerant of mistakes, since you will make so many
The link between integrity and passion

The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

Friday, 27 March 2015

The two essential ingredients of a strong self-confidence

Prosperity and happiness seem to be directly proportional to self-confidence. Individuals with initiative and persistence tend to achieve more than others who, despite possessing larger resources, behave timidly and confusedly.

Methods that don't work

Childhood experience plays an important role in building a strong personality, but nobody can do anything to change the past. If you wish to increase your level of self-reliance, you are going to have to use your creativity and take action in the present.

Methods that recommend repeating encouraging phrases to yourself seldom produce lasting effects. Monotonous messages, whether positive or negative, dull the mind. Such practices result in boredom, not in a dynamic personality. The systems that work are those that involve our mind and emotions at the same time.

Two key elements

The goal of increased self-assurance should not be pursued for the needs of the moment, but for permanent improvements in our lives. Changes in our fundamental psychological patterns have little worth if they cannot be stabilized and maintained.

A better future must entail a consolidation of any gains in self-reliance that we may be able to attain. A man cannot become self-confident just for a single day. An isolated incident that provokes major psychological changes contradicts human nature, although it may provide an interesting story for a film.

The main drivers of our personality are incredibly stable. Even minor changes require tremendous effort or sustained external pressure. The only methods that can effectively increase our self-confidence are those that, little by little, realign our thinking patterns according to consistent principles. The keys to a strong self confidence are having a clear long-term goal and taking consistent steps in that direction day after day.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by Jule_Berlin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The 134 best blogs about personal development

  1. Abundance Tapestry
  2. Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Always Well Within
  4. Advances in the History of Psychology
  5. Anxiety No More
  6. Anxiety Slayer 
  7. Art of Non-Conformity (Chris Guillebeau)
  8. Art of Charm, The (Jordan Harbinger)
  9. Association for Psychological Science
  10. Barrie Davenport 
  11. B Brown Random Tagline 
  12. Brian Kim
  13. Bold Life, The
  14. Bounce Blog, The
  15. British Psychological Society
  16. Calm Monkey, The 
  17. Chance Scoggins 
  18. Craig Harper (Australia)
  19. Daring Adventure
  20. Deric Bownds Mindblog 
  21. Do it myself (Glenda Watson Hyatt)
  22. Dragos Roua 
  23. Dumb Little Man 
  24. Early to Rise
  25. Egoist Blog, The
  26. Ellis, Debbie Joffee
  27. Elliott Hulse 
  28. Empower Blog (Dr Hiten Vyas)
  29. Enjoying the Small Things (Kelle Hampton)
  30. Escape Adulthood
  31. Experimental Philosophy 
  32. Extraordinary Ordinary, The
  33. Fancy Feet (Heidi Cave)
  34. Flourishing Life, A
  35. Four-Hour Work-week (Tim Ferris)
  36. Gail Brenner 
  37. Gala Darling
  38. Greater Good 
  39. Happiness in this World 
  40. Happiness Project, The
  41. Happy Girl
  42. History of Psychology 
  43. Home-life Simplified (Australia)
  44. Hope to Cope 
  45. Ian's Messy Desk 
  46. Influence People (Brian Ahearn) 
  47. Inspire Me Today
  48. James Altucher
  49. John Vespasian
  50. Jungle of Life, The
  51. Kimchi Mamas
  52. Larry Winget
  53. Les Brown
  54. Life Dev 
  55. Lifehack 
  56. Life Optimizer
  57. Literary Lawyer, The
  58. Live Bold and Bloom 
  59. Living Rationally 
  60. Living with anxiety 
  61. Love and Smiles 
  62. Maverick Philosopher 
  63. Manage Your Life Now
  64. Martin Poldma 
  65. Meant to Be Happy 
  66. Mindful 
  67. Mindhacks
  68. Miz Meliz
  69. Mudita Journal
  70. My Super-Charged Life
  71. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
  72. Oliver Burkeman
  73. OK Dork (Noah Kagan)
  74. One Crafty Mother
  75. Optimistic Life
  76. Panic and Depression 
  77. Partially Examined Life, The 
  78. Penelope Trunk 
  79. Personal Excellence 
  80. Personal Success Factors
  81. Personal Success Today
  82. Philosophers Anonymous
  83. Philosophy and Life  
  84. Philosophy Blog, The
  85. Philosophy Etc 
  86. Philosophy in a Time of Error
  87. Philosophy Talk 
  88. Pick the Brain
  89. Please Feel Beautiful
  90. Positive Blog 
  91. Positive Provocations
  92. Positive Sharing
  93. Prolific Living
  94. Providentia
  95. Psych Central
  96. Psycholocrazy 
  97. Psychological Science
  98. Psychologies Magazine (United Kingdom)
  99. Psychology of Well-being, The
  100. Psychology Today Blogs
  101. Psychology Tomorrow Magazine
  102. Pursuit of Happiness
  103. Radiant Soul Space (Otiti Jasmine)
  104. Ramble. Focus. Ramble.
  105. Rational Philosophy
  106. Rationally Speaking
  107. Recovering Engineer, The
  108. Reflecting a Life 
  109. Research Digest on Brain and Behaviour 
  110. Richard Koch
  111. Robert Ringer
  112. RSD Nation 
  113. Start of Happiness, The
  114. Sensophy (Jacob Sokol)
  115. Shake Off the Grind
  116. Simple Productivity Blog  
  117. Situationist, The
  118. Splintered Mind, The
  119. Stefan Molyneux 
  120. Steve Pavlina
  121. Steven Aitchison (Change your thoughts, change your life) 
  122. Talent Develop 
  123. Teaching High School Psychology
  124. Time Shifting
  125. Tiny Buddha
  126. Today is That Day
  127. Tracey Cleantis
  128. Try to Stay Positive 
  129. Unclutterer 
  130. Unlimited Choice
  131. Up Popped a Fox
  132. Vishnu's Virtues
  133. Wisebread
  134. Zen Habits