Sunday, 30 September 2012

Ignore the gloomy predictions from the media. How to be fearless and find happiness in life. Critical thinking skills

Why would anyone devote efforts to convince himself that he cannot improve his own situation? Although many individuals are conscious of the disadvantages of psychological immobility, such paralysis is frequently endorsed. Millions of men and women fall prey to self-imposed restrictions that they could remove if they wished.

Personal development is the opposite of immobility


Why are restraining beliefs so ingrained in society? What makes human beings support fantasies in word and deed? How is it possible that some people devote their energies to pretending that paralysis is an acceptable approach to living?

Three reasons explain why human beings are often deeply invested in immobility. Social convenience is the first, since it feels good to belong to the majority. Financial benefit is the second, since many doors are closed to those who ask uncomfortable questions. The third motive, fear of rejection, is perhaps the strongest.

Each of those justifications possesses extraordinary appeal on its own. All three combined are almost irresistible. Nevertheless, experience proves that, in the long run, doubt and psychological paralysis will destroy a man's life.

Personal growth is more important than short-term convenience


Social convenience can lead people to repress their best initiatives. The habit of seeking conformity deprives men of the force to pursue their dreams and stake their claims. However, the financial benefits of immobility, although sweet, tend to be short-lived.

In industrial societies, the negative consequences of rejection tend to be exaggerated by the media. Nowadays, global markets allow innovators to find their customers anywhere in the world even if their ideas are not appreciated by friends and neighbours.

Thinking for yourself is difficult in the face of opposition. The golden advantages of social convenience always seem, at first sight, the obvious choice, but conformity and passivity make man's happiness impossible. Becoming aware of long-term consequences of immobility and taking rational initiative mark the path to success.

Inaction and conformity have so many advantages that, for some people, they become the choice by default. Few are told that those short-term benefits are dwarfed by their lifetime costs. Seldom is the fact mentioned that long-term passivity wipes out man's capacity for attaining success and happiness.

How to be fearless and find happiness in life


Psychological immobility arises when people are overwhelmed by problems, threats, or obstacles that look insurmountable. Logic and evidence provide the means to dispute and eliminate from our mind the fallacies that feed mental passivity. Rationality is what allows a person to make reasonable calculations and take action to improve his life.

For instance, if you want to avoid psychological exhaustion, you should never take it personally when people do stupid things. Never allow yourself to be paralysed by the fact that other persons have made a large mistake.

Stand up and resume your efforts to attain success. Get back on your feet and avoid the temptation of passivity, since it produces nothing and leads to nothing. Motivational paralysis only serves to waste your life.

Make a point also to ignore gloomy predictions from the media, friends, or family. Most depressing statements are not true anyway and the world is not coming to an end. Do not join people wallowing in their misery. Never fall into immobility out of fear of things that, most likely, will never happen. Asses your alternatives, pick up the best, and begin to move in the right direction.
 

The solution is self-improvement through rational living

What looks today as universal malignancy often turns to be just another benign local problem that is quickly forgotten. What today seems a serious challenge has often little long-term significance. For those who refuse to be paralysed, catastrophes frequently contain the seed of profitable opportunities.

When people embrace passivity, that's the best time to take swift action. A crisis, personal or otherwise, should be faced through relentless initiative, not with immobility. Nobody but you can decide when a game is over.

Psychological paralysis is the worst enemy of achievement and happiness. Immobility is always a losing proposition. What you learn on bad days builds your creativity and strength of character. For those who remain alert and active, opportunities are created every minute.


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

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

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

My best 20 investment ideas. Stocks to buy in the market today. What to invest in. Dividend stocks. Solid growth stocks

  • Stocks to buy in the stock market today. 
  • What to invest in for future income
  • Dividend stocks to create an income stream
  • Solid growth stocks for conservative investors
My best 20 investment ideas
  1. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  2. Sysco (United States)
  3. United Technologies (United States) 
  4. Medtronic (United States)
  5. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)
  6. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  7. Pepsico (United States)
  8. Delhaize Group (Belgium)
  9. Nippon Telegraph andTelephone (Japan) 
  10. Schlumberger (United States)
  11. IBM (United States)
  12. Baidu (China)
  13. Caterpillar (United States)
  14. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  15. eBay (United States)
  16. 3M Co (United States)
  17. Astra Zeneca (United Kingdom) 
  18. Market Vectors Africa (ETF Africa)
  19. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (ETF Russia)
  20. Kraft Foods (United States)

Disclosure: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

Build self-confidence and self-esteem. How to be rational and find peace of mind. Manage stress and eliminate anxiety.

  • How to be rational
  • Psychological health despite problems and obstacles
  • Stop worrying
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Self-development in difficult circumstances
  • How to find peace of mind
A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about how to be rational

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The best 10 blogs about how to keep your metal health in all circumstances. Develop your critical thinking skills. Be rational

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love? 
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your metal health in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Advice on relationships
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Psychology and philosophy blogs
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan
  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Stop worrying. Stress management. Put an end to anxiety symptoms. Psychological health despite problems and obstacles.

  • How to be rational
  • Psychological health despite problems and obstacles
  • Stop worrying
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Self-development in difficult circumstances
  • How to find peace of mind
A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about how to be rational

Friday, 28 September 2012

Ten massive benefits of rational living. Personal development requires a rational philosophy. Inconsistency creates stress

Ideas are precious and constitute the basis of civilization. Without the concepts of free trade, freedom of speech, and human rights, our standard of living would rapidly fall to medieval levels. Personal goals shape a sustained vision that transforms our talents into valuable products of services.

Closed doors reflect fear of change


Closed doors reflect fear of change. Rational objectives will take you forward, but it is essential that those are compatible. Inconsistent principles rob each other's force and deplete each other's resources. Keep you door open to new concepts and ideas, but make sure that those are logically integrated.

When you discover that some of your goals are wrong, you should discard them. On the other hand, if your ambitions are annoying but consistent, keep them, since they might lead you to a breakthrough improvement.


Integrated goals will take you places

Integrated goals will take you places, but inconsistent ambitions will wear you down. Pursuing compatible goals increases personal effectiveness and enhances creativity. Consistent ideals also improve man's reasoning capacity. Modern life requires instantaneous choices. Individuals who possess well-integrated goals can deal with complexity in the most effective manner.

Rational men ensure the consistency of their actions by defining clear objectives for the remaining decades of their life. Effective living requires that our choices, minor or fundamental, are aligned with our overriding goals. Individuals who follow this principle tend to become an outstanding success.

People who lack consistent goals often sabotage their own efforts. Pursuing integrated objectives requires sustained focus and can bring spectacularly positive results.


Ten massive advantages of rational living


Few persons establish a definite direction for their life, but those who do, can reap enormous benefits. Motivational consistency brings, amongst others, the following advantages:
  1. Financial resources can be used with a minimum of waste by avoiding random decisions and useless purchases
  2. A clear vision of the future feeds the motivation to develop specialized skills and accumulate intellectual capital.
  3. Consistent objectives build perseverance and credibility. On the other hand, random behaviour tends to damage a man's reputation and destroy his assets.
  4. Rational goals lead men to entertainment that reinforces values and involves aspects of learning.
  5. Compatible, long-term objectives provide the energy needed to undertake ambitious projects that make a difference in one's living conditions.
  6. Logic and ambition supply the resilience needed to undertake boring maintenance tasks that bring substantial long-term benefits.
  7. A stable vision and a lifetime perspective lead man to avert excessive risks, lotteries and other forms of gambling.
  8. Consistent objectives render man's mind active and willing to explore innovative options. In contrast, contradictory goals lead to mistakes, waste, and paralysis.
  9. Long-term ambitions enable man to accept mistakes as part of a learning process. The opposite phenomenon, intolerance, frequently arises out of pursuing contradictory targets. Individuals torn apart by diverging goals find difficult to explain their own actions.
  10. Convictions in line with reality allow man to connect deeply with other human beings. Irrational objectives prevent individuals from communicating clearly, leading to irritation, confusion, misunderstandings, and errors.
Human beings can guide their lives properly only by reason. Dogs and cats perceive a narrow part of reality, but man is aware of hundreds of interconnected details, past and present, that are relevant in each situation. Our mind calls for logic and consistency. Happiness becomes impossible if we ignore our rational nature.

Personal growth: How to lead an effective life

Workable, compatible, long-term goals render man truly human. Leading an effective life requires individuals to select rational objectives that comprise their whole lifetime. A consistent vision that reaches into the next decades is the most reliable tool for making optimal choices in the present.

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

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

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

My best 18 investment ideas. Stocks to buy in the stock market today. What to invest in for future income

  • Stocks to buy in the stock market today. 
  • What to invest in for future income
  • Dividend stocks to create an income stream
  • Solid growth stocks for conservative investors
My best 18 investment ideas
  1. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  2. Sysco (United States)
  3. United Technologies (United States) 
  4. Medtronic (United States)
  5. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)
  6. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  7. Delhaize Group (Belgium)
  8. Nippon Telegraph andTelephone (Japan) 
  9. Schlumberger (United States)
  10. IBM (United States)
  11. Baidu (China)
  12. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  13. eBay (United States)
  14. 3M Co (United States)
  15. Astra Zeneca (United Kingdom) 
  16. Market Vectors Africa (ETF Africa)
  17. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (ETF Russia)
  18. Kraft Foods (United States)

Disclosure: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

Free e-book about how to be rational and find peace of mind. Stress management under difficult circumstances


  • How to be rational
  • Stop worrying
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overcoming obstacles to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Self-development in difficult circumstances
  • How to find peace of mind
A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about how to be rational

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The best 10 blogs about psychology and personal development: Self-help techniques that work. How to be rational

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Psychology blogs
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan

Stop worrying and live more: How to be rational, manage stress, build your self-confidence, and find peace of mind


  • How to be rational
  • Stop worrying, live more
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overcoming obstacles to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Self-development in difficult circumstances
  • How to find peace of mind
A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about personal development

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Why frugality takes so much effort. Self-development and personal improvement. Spend less and live more

Publishers love biographies because they usually sell well for many years. People enjoy reading about the shattering mistakes made by illustrious individuals, such as a great actor who accepts a role in a trash film that ruins his career, a successful investment manager who makes a bad decision and suffers enormous losses, or a millionaire who marries the wrong woman and ends up in devastating divorce.

Personal growth despite wasted opportunities


Biographies provide details about how eminent persons waste opportunities and turn themselves into fools. On some occasions, errors are made out of insufficient knowledge, but frequently, vanity and greed play a major role in self-destruction. What readers of biographies seek to learn above all is how to overcome feelings of sadness and guilt after having made a gigantic blunder.

As soon as we realize the full extent of a major mistake, emotional misery arises from comparing our present to a parallel universe that would have existed if we had not wasted our opportunities. Such negative reactions overlook that errors and waste are the result of the knowledge available to a person at a certain moment. In essence, what an individual knows and feels are the only relevant factors in his decisions.

How to become independent: Make wiser choices


A man should strive to discard waste as matter of principle, but after making a dreadful mistake and suffering major losses, he should avoid comparing himself with someone else. It makes little sense to lament how well you could be doing if you had made wiser choices. The only thing you can do is to learn from the situation so that you can perform better next time.

Each human being is born in different circumstances, each life is unique. Individuals grow at their own pace and learn their own lessons. Errors and waste provide us with painful but irreplaceable experience.

Finding happiness by being rational


Do not linger on illogical comparisons that bring nothing but misery. Stand up and look ahead. Your next achievement will bring you farther. Mistakes will make you a better human being and show you the way to happiness if you acquire rational habits. When it comes to avoiding waste, no other habit is as powerful as frugality.

Suffering a major loss has few benefits other than rekindling personal ambition and making people realistic about how the world works. Whatever your level of income, frugality constitutes a significant virtue. Even if contemporary society rarely promotes temperance and thrift, individual prosperity is the consequence of savings and investment.

The law of cause and effect governs the world. Nothing escapes its reach, no one can circumvent its application. What you do today determines the level of tomorrow's pay. In addition to economic advantages, frugality also brings psychological benefits. Stress, anxiety, discouragement, and fear will not haunt the house of the austere.

Discarding waste and embracing frugality lead to peace of mind. Worries won't keep awake at night those who live with measure. Leading a rational life spares man the effort of following the latest fashion. When we dismiss artificial alternatives, we are left with the fundamental. Serenity is the result of simplification.

Choosing frugality instead of waste will allow you to make fast and consistent decisions. When you trust your own judgement more than external opinion, you learn from mistakes and develop your skills. Frugality, which is based on stable values, leads to decisiveness. A man who possesses clear priorities can reject inconsistency without need of long discussions.

Using your critical thinking skills


A prudent conduct brings the added benefit of risk reduction. A judicious man protects himself when at risk and tries to avert threats whenever possible. The tension of complex choices can wear out even the most balanced mind. On the other hand, a straightforward and consistent approach reduces errors of oversight. Shunning unnecessary cost keeps risk exposure low.

Resisting the allure of short-sighted decisions leads to more enjoyment of life. Ignoring the noise of false opinions liberates resources. Frugality enables man to breathe free of encumbrances and focus his efforts on what really counts. Happiness is not the result of accumulating tasks, but of a few essential activities that make a difference.

Discarding waste brings man wealth, but the material advantages of frugality go hand in hand with its psychological benefits. Disregard the unnecessary and pay attention to the crucial elements of a good life. Realizing that most things possess little relevance is what enables man to make wise choices.


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

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

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

The best 10 blogs about self-improvement based on philosophy. How do you find happiness? Practical psychology

  • The best blogs about rational philosophy
  • The best blogs about objectivism
  • How to resolve conflicts
  • Practical philosophy and psychology
  • Self-help through personal development
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Self-improvement based on philosophy
  • Communicate your ideas more effectively
  • Personal growth through clear values: Work less, live more

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Altucher Confidential
  3. Rationally Speaking
  4. Voices of Reason
  5. The Objectivist Standard
  6. The Rule of Reason
  7. Rational Jenn
  8. Mudita Journal
  9. Thinking Objectively
  10. Alexander Marriott

How to be rational and find peace of mind. Build self-confidence and self-esteem. Overcoming obstacles to personal growth

  • How to be rational
  • Stop worrying
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overcoming obstacles to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Self-development in difficult circumstances
  • How to find peace of mind
 A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about how to be rational

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The ideal remedy against discouragement. How to find happiness through self-improvement and personal growth

Reading History is the ideal remedy against discouragement and dissatisfaction. During difficult periods, man can gain perspective by learning how his ancestors turned problems into opportunities. Past centuries have repeatedly shown how individuals with limited resources can face life's challenges and overcome extraordinary obstacles.
 

Dealing with failure in life

Hesiod, an Ancient Greek poet, recounted in the year 770 B.C. that "the world did not welcome me when I was born and each season brought nothing but problems and difficulties." The reason for such lamentations was that a court decision in favour of his brother, Perses, had deprived Hesiod of his inheritance at an early age, forcing him to earn his subsistence by working in other people's fields.

As a result of adversity, Hesiod soon acquired first-hand experience in all kind of farm labours and gained expertise in breeding goats and sheep. "Watching the sheep kindled my ambition," he recorded. "I realized that, unlike sheep, I had the capacity to take control of my future."

During the winter, Hesiod witnessed how the cold temperature in the mountains of northern Greece often culled herds by half. Later on, he would write that the destiny of animals, unlike that of human beings, is fully dependent on the weather. The young shepherd spent a long time preparing himself in the solitude of the mountains until, one spring, he walked to Chalces, a nearby village, and enrolled in the annual poetry contest.

Making your personal development plan


In Ancient Greece, winning a poetry contest was a ticket to fame and opened the door to a political career. That year, competition was particularly fierce since Homer, the most famous poet of the time, had come to Chalces to take part in the contest.

On the eve of the competition, Perses asked his brother to which God he would be devoting his poem, as it was customary to do on such occasions. Hesiod smiled and shook his head. "My poem is not about Gods, it's about sheep." Perses stared at his brother incredulously, but did not make any comment.

At the beginning of the contest, the jury separated the participants in two groups, one for the morning session and the other for the afternoon. After that, the winners from both groups would face each other in the evening finale.

Homer achieved an easy victory in the morning competition, but the jury deliberated long before picking the afternoon winner. Who was this youngster Hesiod? It was the first time that anyone had ever heard a poem about sheep in the mountain.

Using critical thinking skills


Amiphidamas, who was the mayor of Chalces and the president of the jury said that he liked Hesiod's poem. "That shepherd has interesting ideas," he told the other judges of the contest. In a way, Amiphidamas' view was not surprising, since he owned the largest herd of the village.

In the evening, torches were lighted to illuminate the theatre. Peasants from surrounding villages had come to Chalces to see the poetry finale, which featured Homer against an unknown shepherd called Hesiod. The result of the contest was predictable and Perses bet heavily against his brother.

Homer recited a poem recounting the Trojan war and his performance galvanized the young. His strong voice and impeccable speech brought the audience memories of long-forgotten Gods and glories. When he finished his declamation, the jury nodded satisfied. Nobody doubted that Homer would come out winner.

How to find happiness through personal growth


Then the young shepherd Hesiod came to stand before the public. "How hard life is," he started, "and how recurrent our miseries." Puzzled by the unusual beginning, the audience held their breath to be able to hear better. What was this poem all about?

It was the story of a farmer who lost half of his herd every winter due to extreme cold. In his poem, Hesiod noted the scarcity of sheep in the winter, their over-abundance in the summer, and how sheep prices oscillated with the change of seasons.

"I asked the oracle for an answer," recited Hesiod, "but he told me to look for it myself." At that point, part of the audience murmured their disapproval. Undaunted, the young poet questioned his public. "What to do in face of winter scarcity? Should man suffer passively the caprice of the Gods?"

Hesiod's poem was called "Work and Days." His conclusion was unmistakable. A wise man should buy sheep in the summer at a low price and wait for the winter's cold weather to bring back high prices and the opportunity of a profitable sale.

When Hesiod finished his performance, the audience remained silent. Half of the jury members were in favour of Homer, but Amiphidamas' preference allowed the young shepherd to carry the day. Hesiod's rhyme had been awkward and his presence on stage unexciting, but the judges had found his poem "highly instructive for ourselves and future generations."


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

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

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

How to be fearless. The best 10 blogs about stress management and how to build self-confidence

How to be fearless. The best 10 blogs about stress management and how to build self-confidence.
  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

The key to personal development. How to be rational and find peace of mind


 The key to personal development. How to be rational and find peace of mind. A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living: Free e-book about personal development

Monday, 24 September 2012

Personal development in extreme circumstances. Overcoming challenges to self-improvement and personal growth

When everything is lost is the best time to try the impossible. History contains many examples of individuals taking bold action and turning around desperate situations. You have more resources than you think. There are more possibilities around than it is apparent to the eye.  

How to achieve personal development in extreme circumstances

Take the case of Venice in the year 1314, with interest rates at 20% that made almost impossible for anyone to borrow money. Since the King of France had forbidden Flemish merchants to take part in the Fairs of Champagne, imports of cloth into Venice had stopped altogether. Without Flemish cloth, Venetian dyers had been forced to fire hundreds of workers, pushing the economy into a deep recession.

Pietro Alvise, the son of a Venetian merchant, did not allow the situation to bring him down. Instead, he made a bold proposal to his father, Luigi Alvise. "What you are proposing is impossible, Pietro," admonished the old man, shaking his head. "Many have tried it before and no one has succeeded. It's better if we wait until the market recovers."


Do not put your self-improvement on hold

Pietro Alvise looked at his father and took in a deep breath. It was imperative that he found the right words. If he could not convince his own family, how would he be able to convince anyone else? "That's the point, father," he emphasized. "The market is not going to recover. Don't you see the rising interest rates? Aren't our friends going bankrupt one after the other?"

Undecided, the old Alvise stared at his son. Who could deny that the economic situation was catastrophic? "I know that it can be done, father," insisted Pietro. "We don't need the Fairs of Champagne. We can build larger ships, galleys able to sail around Spain and France. We will take leather, spices, and glassware to Bruges and return with a full cargo of cloth."


Personal growth despite massive obstacles

During the next weeks, Luigi and Pietro Alvise called relentlessly on other merchants in Venice until they managed to line up 100 investors ready to fund the construction of a double-deck galley. The new ship had two masts and weighed 500 tons, something unheard of at that time. Traditional Venetian galleys possessed only one deck and rarely exceeded 200 tons.

Pietro Alvise's double-deck galley was financed, designed, and built in the middle of the worst economic recession that Venice had ever experienced. In June of 1314, the ship sailed away from the Venetian lagoon, arriving two months later in Bruges. The trade expedition was a resounding success, turned around the economy of the area, and served as a basis for Venetian domination of world commerce during the following decades.


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

My best investment ideas: Stocks to buy in the stock market today. What to invest in.

My 17 best investment ideas. Stocks to buy in the stock market today. What to invest in.
  1. United Technologies (United States) 
  2. Medtronic (United States)
  3. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)
  4. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  5. Delhaize Group (Belgium)
  6. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (Japan) 
  7. Schlumberger (United States)
  8. IBM (United States)
  9. Baidu (China)
  10. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  11. eBay (United States)
  12. 3M Co (United States)
  13. Astra Zeneca (United Kingdom) 
  14. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  15. Market Vectors Africa (ETF Africa)
  16. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (ETF Russia)
  17. Kraft Foods (United States)

Disclaimer: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

Self-improvement and personal development. How to be rational and find peace of mind


Self-improvement and personal development. How to be rational and find peace of mind. A presentation of The 10 Principles of Rational Living:  Free e-book about personal development

Sunday, 23 September 2012

There can be no personal growth without entrepreneurship

The great period of Ancient Roman prosperity lasted only two centuries, until the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 C.E. Nevertheless, the physical and intellectual assets accumulated during those years have allowed Roman civilization to exert its influence until our day. The teachings of the past should never be forgotten, since the principles of how to achieve happiness and success are immutable. We don't need to waste resources making mistakes that can easily be avoided if we pay attention to History.

Lessons from history about personal development


From the best times of Ancient Rome, we can learn important lessons about how to lead a rational life. Although technology and social context have evolved, we should still pay attention to recommendations of wise individuals who have learned from their errors, frequently after paying a heavy price. The following principles summarize essential elements of how to lead a rational life and enhance our chances of attaining happiness.


Entrepreneurship is the way to personal growth


[1] You should aim at becoming an entrepreneur, irrespective of your social origin, since individual initiative has repeatedly proven to be the ideal tool to create wealth, independence, and psychological well-being. During the golden age of Ancient Rome, the number of self-employed people grew faster than in any previous time in History, as large parcels of uncultivated land were put to agricultural use for the first time. In the 21st century, the same phenomenon is taking place on the internet, which has become the great liberator of entrepreneurial energies without distinction of sex, race, age, or personal history.

 

Personal development requires critical thinking
 
[2] Devote your efforts only to feasible projects. There are more good ideas around that there is capital to fund them. Although the economy of Ancient Rome experienced sustained growth in the second century C.E., writings from that period show that it was not easy to obtain a loan. Contemporary financial institutions are thousands of times more efficient than the modest mortgage markets of Ancient Rome, but the number of individuals looking to borrow money has also grown exponentially. At any given time, there are always many more people in the world willing to borrow money than there are funds available. Do not waste your energy on projects that have no real chance of obtaining financial backing. Focus only on workable ventures.

Learn to think like an entrepreneur


[3] Look for alternative ways to achieve your goals. In Ancient Rome, individuals with vision faced similar obstacles as nowadays. How do you fund trade expeditions? Which goods should you import and export? Entrepreneurial men in ancient times quickly realized that the traditional Roman approach to business finance, a mortgage on a piece of land, was inadequate to conduct commercial enterprises. Through trial and error, they created different types of partnership contracts that have evolved through the centuries into our modern venture capital funds. Do not give up when traditional methods prove unsuitable to carry out your ideas. Seek further until you find a practicable solution.

The link between salesmanship and friendship


[4] Salesmanship opens the door to tolerance and friendship. Ancient Romans learned the hard way that a commercial attitude was the only way to maintain a high standard of living. The first and the second century C.E. led to massive wealth creation due to an expansion of tolerance and entrepreneurship across Europe and the Middle East. Conflicts, although frequent, were limited in range. In the present context, when millions of individuals across the world are devoting their creativity to international commercial ventures, rationality is respected as the cardinal virtue of those who achieve business success. Effective salesmanship is nothing but logic applied to commerce.

Living in accordance to Nature marks the path to happiness today as it did it in Ancient Rome. Logic and consistency remain the pillars of personal growth. If you doubt that rationality is the best way to conduct your life, read History and study the dire consequences of prejudice and abuse. The events of past centuries prescribe that each of us should become entrepreneurial instead of expecting free help to come to us.


Finding happiness through relentless self-improvement

Instead of imitating others, let us learn the lessons of ancient wisdom and keep away deceitful theories that contradict the facts of History. We need to develop enough resiliency to avoid being overwhelmed by other people's opinion or lack of it. Studying Ancient Rome is a very effective method of reinforcing the idea that we should not waste our time trying to establish paradise on earth.

Discarding new proposals that do not work and favouring proven systems is a sign of wisdom. The same logic applies to walking away from situations where people tell us that rationality doesn't count. Let us avoid repeating the faults of the past and do what is right, even if it happens to be unpopular.


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

The best 10 blogs about self-development and happiness

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Philosophy and Life
  3. The Philosophy Blog
  4. Experimental Philosophy
  5. The Partially Examined Life
  6. Philosophy etc
  7. Philosophers Anonymous
  8. Maverick Philosopher
  9. Philosophy Talk
  10. Philosophy in a Time of Error

How to find peace of mind through rational living


How to find peace of mind through rational living: Free e-book presentation of “The 10 Principles of Rational Living”

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Statistics are not life. How to be independent and self-confident. Enhance your critical thinking skills

If you are planning to consult statistics before making a major decision, you'd better check your sources twice. Many proclaimed truths are solely based on opinion. Countless times, surveys do little more than elevate preferences to models of conduct that are to be followed out of convenience or for personal gain. Every morning, we should remind ourselves that serious errors have been committed in the past by placing blind trust in numbers produced by self-interested parties.

There is no future in repeating the faults of history


Our best protection against misguided statistics is not searching for alternative data, but using our common sense to interpret the conclusions presented to us. We should check if the recommendations match our experience and knowledge of the world. We should assess the consequences of the outcome of such surveys, ask ourselves uncomfortable questions, and take the necessary time to think things through.

When it comes to determining the direction of your life, never trust other people's calculations without subjecting them to rational examination. No matter what results from a survey, its conclusions can never be as reliable as your own perception of the world. No matter how sophisticated a mathematical model may be, it will never match the accuracy of your direct inspection of the facts. 


Beware of wrong conclusions presented as true

The following list presents six sensitive areas where you should be particularly attentive to check the logic of any recommendation that is presented to you.

[1] In general, you should not expect someone else to solve your problems. Statistics proving otherwise should be subject to close scrutiny, since they seem to contradict a fundamental aspect of human nature. We all love to help family and friends, but should we believe any survey that promises uncertain help from indeterminate strangers? Check things twice before you act on such conclusions.

[2] Human beings become most effective when they concentrate on work they love, or at least, on work that matches their best talents. Do not decide on your career solely on the basis of statistics. A survey might show you, for instance, what are the average salaries in different professions, but remember that, within each field, there are large differences of income due to individual expertise, ambition, and dedication. Take career statistics with a grain of salt and rather use your common sense to identify which professional path is suitable for you.


Discard exaggerated expectations


[3] In the same line of thought, try to acquire the mental fortitude to discard preposterous expectations. Never trust studies that provide evidence that you can make a quick fortune by entering a business field where you don't posses any knowledge or experience. That kind of statistics, even if based on real data, frequently portrays a window of opportunity that has already closed by the time you hear about it. Be prudent and don't go blindly for things that look too good to be true.

[4] Statistics that prompt you to waste your resources or risk your health should be regarded with utmost scepticism. If someone proves to you with numbers that work and play are equally productive, you should not believe it. If a survey tells you that it doesn't matter whether you take care of your health or not, you should stick to your salutary habits and rational good choices. Such surveys make the headlines precisely because they are controversial and contradict basic common sense. The data might be true if applied to particular circumstances, but the conclusions make little sense as general advice.

[5] Surveys that predict awful consequences from seemingly harmless activities should be assessed with caution. For instance, a study showing that people holding a certain type of job die young might reflect the statistical truth. Nevertheless, if you read its conclusions in full, you will realize that many individuals in that profession live substantially longer than the average. Ask yourself what are the factors that make those men and women reach an advanced age and seek to draw lessons that you can apply to your life.


Distrust people who say there is only one way

[6] Trial and error are part of the natural learning process in any field of activity. For this reason, you should question the scientific value of any survey that enthrones a specific method of doing things. Are the conclusions based on local circumstances or do they have general application? Has the study been conducted with impartiality or do you have reasons to suspect the existence of conflict of interests? Whenever you face a recommendation to narrow your field of inquiry, compare the statistics to what you know from experience, and see if the conclusion makes sense.

The purpose of surveys is to extract lessons from reality, but without method and logic, data cannot teach us anything of value. Place your common sense above all statistics and your reason above all calculations. Trust your immediate perception more than a hundred volumes of allegedly scientific conclusions, since in life, you will have to pay for your own mistakes. Always check twice what seems to be lie beyond doubt and question what appears self-evident. Let your own independent judgement guide your life according to reason and reality.


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

Best blogs about how to be rational. Conflict management. Critical thinking

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Work less. Stop worrying. Stop fighting. Live more. Free e-book

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Self-development starts with self-definition: How to be fearless

Studies have identified many factors that contribute to career success, but so far, nobody has been able to build a convincing model to predict an individual's future or how much happiness a certain profession will bring him. In case of doubt, people will opt for the safe choice and this is why you seldom hear career counsellors recommend risky artistic professions that may lead to unemployment.
 
Routine advice is worthless advice

This sort of routine advice aims at achieving social insertion. Risk is identified as a problem, safety as the solution. However, a career recommendation based on conventional truth is never going to inspire a daring adventurer. In times when the market requires creativity at all levels, a fearful approach might prove fundamentally wrong, or perhaps, it is wrong in all circumstances.

In the year 1820, Bertel Thorvaldsen, an acclaimed romantic sculptor, travelled back from Rome to his native Denmark. Thorvaldsen was then 50 years old and at the pinnacle of his fame. During his stay in Copenhagen, he talked to many aspiring artists, giving them generous advice and encouragement.

One night, when Thorvaldsen returned to his hotel after a reception in his honour, he was told that a boy had been waiting for him all day. Intrigued, Thorvaldsen looked around the hotel hall and found a poorly dressed kid asleep on a chair.
 
It is late kid, go home 

He walked up to the boy, shook his arm gently, and whispered to him: "It is late, kid, go home." Startled, the boy opened his eyes and jumped to his feet. "I was waiting for you, Herr Thorvaldsen. I have been waiting for you all day."

That must true, thought Thorvaldsen, since the boy looked so exhausted and hungry that he was pitiful to see. "I wanted to ask you for advice on my career," the kid went on. "I cannot decide whether I should become a novelist or a poet."

A heartbreaking tale

Out of compassion, Thorvaldsen ordered a glass of warm milk for the boy and listened to his story. It was a heartbreaking tale. With adolescence, the kid had lost the striking voice that had gained him praise and a small income in his home town, and had joined the thousands of unemployed youth that roamed the streets of Copenhagen.

"This is why I have thought of becoming a writer," the boy explained shyly, taking three ruffled pages out of his pocket and handing them over to Thorvaldsen. Strange enough, the idea of asking a sculptor for literary advice seemed to fit the kid's pathetic situation.

It was obvious that he had no chance


Thorvaldsen devoted a few minutes to reading the text and was appalled to see that it contained innumerable grammar and spelling mistakes. It was obvious that the boy had no chance of becoming a writer. Even if it was cruel, it was better that he learned the truth right away, so that he could at least learn a trade.

"What is your name?" asked Thorvaldsen, returning the pages. "Hans-Christian," replied the boy full of hope. "Hans-Christian Andersen." A silence ensued, as Thorvaldsen searched for the least hurtful way to express his judgement.

He stared at Hans-Christian Andersen for a long while as he remembered his own artistic ambitions as a young man, many years ago, but of course, his own situation had been completely different. Thorvaldsen took in a deep breath and shook his head. "Look, Hans-Christian," he began, "I don't know how to tell you this."

In the critical moment


At that moment, Andersen nodded and gave the sculptor a crazy smile. That was what he had been waiting for. He was about to hear the words of encouragement that he needed so badly. He was sure that an artist of the calibre of Thorvaldsen would be immediately able to recognize his literary talent and point him in the right direction.

"What do you think, Herr Thorvaldsen, should I become a novelist or a poet?" he asked again, this time full of confidence. Fascinated, Thorvaldsen looked at the kid's bright eyes and realized how foolish he had been. "I have no doubt, Hans-Christian," he answered softly, "that you can become both."


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

My 13 best investment ideas: Stocks to buy in the stock market today, what to invest in

  1. Medtronic (United States)
  2. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)
  3. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  4. Delhaize Group (Belgium)
  5. IBM (United States)
  6. Baidu (China)
  7. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  8. eBay (United States)
  9. 3M Co (United States)
  10. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  11. Market Vectors Africa ETF
  12. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index ETF
  13. Kraft Foods (United States)

Disclaimer: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

Free e-book: How rationality leads to happiness, how to be an entrepreneur

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How to manage stress, overcome anxiety, build confidence and self-esteem

It takes a while before a man realizes that he is going to die some day. Some people never become conscious of their mortality and continue to waste their days until the very last moment. Drug consumption, including alcohol, is a failed attempt to appease the anxiety created by the fundamental truth that time moves in only one direction.
 

Limited resources force you to make choices

Accepting that your days are limited is a precondition for making the best use of your time. With happiness as a long-term goal, personal growth becomes a short-term objective. With longevity as a desirable aim, good nutrition becomes a crucial element of the good life. The trend is given by Nature, but each individual must define his own strategy.

Gaining understanding of the fact that each passing day is irrecoverable exerts enormous pressure on the insecure. They wonder incessantly if they are doing the right thing or enough of it. They speculate about a myriad of other activities that they could be carrying out instead. They terrorize themselves with statistics of who is doing what, how fast, and how well.

Anxiety is never the right answer


Should we let anxiety drive our lives? In the pursuit of our goals, how can we strike the optimal balance between peace of mind and personal growth? An hour always has sixty minutes and every new day offers us another twenty-four hours. Exaggerated time-consciousness and focus on achievement may lead men to a psychological misery not better than the destitution of the idler.

Personal growth requires balance as much as it demands passion. The path to happiness should be first drawn with charcoals and then brought to life with oil colours. We learn as we walk. Mistakes are inescapable as we sometimes take the wrong turn of the road. Nobody possesses the ability to make all the correct choices.

Looking for a workable solution


No man can at the same time concentrate all resources on his future and enjoy the hours of the present. Each individual is born and raised in different circumstances. Genetic, family, and personal qualities vary heavily from one person to the next, even within the same family. The philosophical approach to happiness should not deviate from the hard rules of reality.

Imagine a young man who, growing in the most favourable environment, identifies his lifetime ambitions when he is fifteen years old. He may well spend the rest of his life pursuing his goals, but there is no guarantee that he will achieve them. Anyone entering a professional field has to learn the trade and assimilate its written and unwritten rules.

Sooner or later, lack of knowledge, bad luck or misunderstandings will slow down his professional progress or bring it to a complete standstill. Any biography that you may read will provide evidence of the universality of this principle. Trains stop from time to time, careers stall, and fortunes are sometimes lost.

Occasionally, evil forces may play a role in the demise of a great ambition, but those cases are more rare than popular accounts tend to portray. More often than not, discouragement is the visceral response to failure. Summer grows the seeds nourished by spring rain and winter kills the trees weakened by autumn storms. However, when it comes to human beings, our mental versatility allows us to develop extreme resiliency and surmount all disappointments.


Experience has taught me the best strategy

What is the best approach to adapt the rhythm of our personal growth to our own conditions and situations? Can we define a formula that applies to all men, all countries, and all historical periods? Experience has taught me that best strategy is to identify your target, start moving immediately towards it, and correct mistakes along the way.

Relentless action will take you farther on any road you choose, but the crucial aspect in the happiness quest might not be motivation but efficiency. Everybody can raise his motivation level, at least for a while, by attending rallies and listening to speeches. You can chant and dance around, you can dream and speak your heart out, but very little will be achieved.

Other people may support your endeavours or oppose your initiatives, but in the long-term, their actions play only a minor role, like the noise of a train running on its track. Indeed, the sound accompanies the train, but what moves the wagons is the engine, not the noise.
 

Dreams and motivation are not enough

Discard motivation and let action drive you to a better life. What you do counts more than what you dream about. Gaining efficiency and speed on your path to happiness are desirable effects connected to the choice and extent of your actions. If you wish, spend some time cultivating your motivation, but do not let it develop into a game of its own. Talking is not tantamount to doing.

Fast and cheap mistakes are the cardinal accelerator of human success. Inexpensive errors are the sweetest way to happiness, in particular when those errors are rapidly admitted and corrected. Learn a lesson from each of them and avoid repeating the cause and effect. This factor alone can compound the positive effects of your work and lead you to levels of achievement that you previously thought beyond your reach.

The experience acquired in a few years of continuous action will teach you more than several decades of exquisite motivational talks. Reality is too complex to be reduced to pure theory. This is why personal growth can be achieved only through experience.
 

Relentless action is the rational solution

Knowledge is spread in the market like minerals are contained in sea water. If you wish to become a great surfer, you will have to taste the water hundreds of times. Your reflexes will become faster as you learn how to profit from the changing wind. In your search of happiness, let practice take precedence over speculation. From mistakes, you gain insight and a sharper vision, while empty talk will just eat up your limited time. Choose the way of action.

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 Mostly Dans under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Best 10 blogs about metaphysics, psychology, and how to find happiness

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Mindhacks
  3. Life Optimizer
  4. Wisebread
  5. Life Coaches
  6. Unlimited Choice
  7. The Positive Blog
  8. Zen Habits
  9. A certain simplicity
  10. The Happiness Project

Free e-book: Stay away from difficult people and find happiness instead

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Failure in life? Do not overestimate motivation and inspiration. How to build real self-confidence and self-esteem

When someone is looking look for a job, he sends his resume around, replies to advertisements, and finally, he gets invited to interviews. Being the employment market what it is, candidates are rejected in nine out of ten cases. A week after the interview, they receive a phone call informing them that another applicant has been chosen to fill the open position.

How to cope with arbitrariness


Sometimes, there is a good reason why another person has been selected for that post, but a certain element of randomness influences a large proportion of hiring processes. On many occasions, the choice cannot be rationally justified and one should not waste time trying to figure out mysterious reasons that do not exist.

An element of arbitrariness is not foreign to those cases, as it happens in countless human activities. Why did you buy this make of car and not that one? Would you repeat that purchase today? How did you come to choose your family doctor? Do you remember how you met each of your best friends?


The effective way to deal with failure

What is surprising is people's reaction to failure and rejection. Chances are that the candidate who has not been selected for a particular job will get to hear from his family and friends that he should improve his attitude, manners, clothing, hairdo, and who knows how many other aspects.

Salesmen who go through a difficult period also get served a menu of motivational speeches and meetings to discuss their attitude. In other professions, such as sports, acting, or management, the story runs a parallel course. The problem, you will be told, is in how you see the world.

Well, luckily, this is not true. Motivation and attitude play a certain role in performance, but their importance should not be overemphasized. If you pause to think for a second, you will realize that the professionals whom you most trust don't seem to be excessively driven or motivated.


Motivation and inspiration are overrated

What you expect primarily from your doctor, lawyer, plumber, or car mechanic is not that they are greatly inspiring, but that they do a good job and deliver competent service. Action is what we want to see. Service is what we want to receive. Predictable, rational action is one million times more valuable than attitude and motivation.

Action is the essential factor that gets things done, sold, and delivered. The candidate who has not been selected for the job should not spend too much time wallowing in self-recrimination about what he could have done better. If he can draw some useful lesson for the future, so much the better, but in most cases, a failed interview was just a sale that didn't close.


Drawing the rational conclusion

Don't devote your worthy hours to speculate about undefined psychological factors, arbitrary theories, and nonsensical advice. Professional salesmen know that, given enough time and effort, they will find more customers. Watching, hoping, and talking seldom help. Only relentless effort can bring you closer to success.

Athletes are motivated when they compete, but in the end, it is their past training what usually determines who will win the race. Instead of speculative advice, choose the wisdom of rational action. Let others wonder if the world should be this or that way. Move on, redouble your attempts to reach the place you want to be, and let your actions speak for themselves.


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 Jack Fiallos under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The 10 best blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism, personal growth, and self-development

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Altucher Confidential
  3. Rationally Speaking
  4. Voices of Reason
  5. The Objectivist Standard
  6. The Rule of Reason
  7. Rational Jenn
  8. Mudita Journal
  9. Thinking Objectively
  10. Alexander Marriott

Free e-book: How to be rational, personal improvement, how to manage stress

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link