Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How Immanuel Kant succeeded by going nowhere. Personal development does not happen without a distinct goal. How to be rational and find peace of mind

Travelling for pleasure is a modern phenomenon. Before the twentieth century, few people undertook long journeys if it was not for investment or trade. Moving from one country to another was uncomfortable and expensive. Before vaccination became an everyday procedure, malaria and yellow fever presented major health risks for those travelling to tropical areas.

Who can resist the advertisements?

In our days, public taste has shifted to the opposite extreme. From teenagers to pensioners, millions of individuals devote their holidays to visiting distant cities. Airlines offer affordable tickets to cross the ocean, inviting consumers to spend their next vacation exploring exotic cultures. Who can resist their enticing advertisements?

The fact that large numbers of people travel for pleasure provides evidence of its popularity, not of its benefits. Many individuals count smoking, overeating, and excessive drinking amongst their favourite occupations. The enjoyment derived from those activities does not automatically qualify them as advantageous. Judgement should be passed on the basis of rational assessment, not of popularity.


Novelty can be pleasurable, but also exhausting

While dogs and cats appear perfectly contented to move around without purpose, human beings tend to become restless. Travelling dissolves our routines and forces us to start from scratch. Encountering novelty can be pleasurable, but too much of it leads to exhaustion.

Spending your vacation in an unusual location guarantees that you will meet new people and taste exotic food. For the duration of the break, you will forget your routines and feel exempted from preoccupations. The idea is that, since you have worked hard for months, now it is your turn to enjoy a holiday.


Don't you have better things to do? 

On the other hand, if you are one of those who loves his work and is inclined to introspection, you might experience some doubts: Should you really be there? Don't you have better things to do? What is the point of all these vacation trips? Are you not wasting your time?

Our mental patterns are more than five thousand years old

The vision of life as a sequence of work interrupted by holiday trips was born a century ago, but our mental patterns are more than 5.000 years old. The practice of going away at regular intervals and leaving everything behind would have seemed incomprehensible to most 19th century entrepreneurs, composers, or inventors. They would have looked at us with surprise and inquired about the purpose of all that travelling.

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is known to have spent his entire life in Konigsberg, a city that nowadays belongs to Russia. Apparently, he never wandered more than a few kilometres away from Konigsberg, where he worked for decades as a university professor. If he had wished to travel, he possessed the means to do so.


Kant did pretty much the same every day, but he had a clear purpose

Kant never crossed the ocean to see America and never visited Russia, even though St. Petersburg is not far away from Konigsberg. He never went to London, never set foot in Paris, and never spent a summer in Rome. For all we know, he did not even go to Berlin for a weekend. If this sounds boring to you, wait until you read the whole story.

Due to financial difficulties in his youth, Kant was forced to interrupt his studies for a couple of years. He eventually managed to obtain an advanced degree and, when he was 31 years old, he landed a teaching job at the University of Konigsberg, where he would continue to lecture until his retirement decades later.

For most of his life, Kant did pretty much the same every day, irrespective of the season. He would have breakfast, walk to the University, teach his classes, have lunch, do some research, write a few pages of his next book, return home, and have dinner.


His goals kept him busy, leaving him little room for other activities

When his friends urged him to have a more active social life, Kant politely replied that he had no time. There was always some exciting subject that he was researching or some important book that he was planning. His writing kept him busy, leaving him little room for travel and other activities.

After a quarter of a century at his job, he produced his most important book, the Critique of Pure Reason (1781). When the volume was published, Kant was already 57 years old and fully conscious of the importance of what he had accomplished. History would prove him right. His work has exerted foremost influence on philosophers during the last two centuries.

The insights contained in Kant's book prepared the ground for scientific discoveries and industrial development. His ethical theories, which underline the role of reason, stressed the importance of individual responsibility.


Do not assume that you are obliged to follow the latest fashion

Would Kant have written such exceptional book if he had spent several weeks per year travelling for pleasure? Would he have produced such extraordinary achievement if he had interrupted his work at regular intervals?

While exotic vacations are fine for some people, other individuals find them disruptive. Depending on your personal philosophy and the type of activities you like, extended travelling might or might not be the right thing for you.

Do not assume that you are obliged to follow the trend. If there is a lesson to be learned from Kant's life, is that you can attain great success without going anywhere. Travelling for pleasure can be great fun, but if there are better things that you could do with your time, do not let anybody decide for you.


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

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

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


FREE E-BOOK: Overcoming barriers to personal growth. How to deal with difficult people. Stress management. Personal development in difficult circumstances

  • How to be rational
  • Psychological health despite problems and obstacles
  • Stop worrying
  • How to get self-confidence
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • How to build your self-esteem
  • 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, 30 October 2012

The best psychology and philosophy blogs. Finding peace of mind through personal growth. Self-help techniques that work. How do you find happiness?

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • How to be rational
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Overcoming failure in life
  • Stop worrying and increase your self-confidence
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your metal health in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Stop fighting and learn to deal with difficult people
  • Advice on relationships
  • How to cure anxiety and depression
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Psychology and philosophy blogs
  • The effective cure for stress
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan

The best 10 blogs about how to be rational
  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

Monday, 29 October 2012

Rational living, rational investing. Personal development starts with sound personal finance. How to invest in times of high inflation. Best stocks to buy today in the stock market

The upcoming inflation is written on the wall. The purchase of public debt by the central banks of several major countries is an unmistakable indicator. Nobody knows when consumer prices will begin to go up across the board, but it might be a matter of months.

Investing in times of inflation requires a shift in our mental patterns, since prices no longer serve as reference of value. If you have lived during the last decade in a country with 3% annual inflation, are you ready to cope with 10% price increases per year? What would you do if currency depreciation accelerates to 15% or even 20%? Here are some ideas:

1. Reduce your cash and bond holdings

When prices rise at a high speed, fixed-rate debt loses value equally fast. If you buy a treasury bond at 2% and interest rates go up to 4%, you will incur a substantial loss when you sell your bond. Cash is the worst possible holding during inflationary periods, since it loses purchasing power by the day. You will do better if you buy assets or products as soon as you receive money, since those items will be worth more tomorrow.

2. Spread your investments internationally

Do not trap yourself into artificial restrictions. Nowadays, in most countries, citizens are allowed to invest their savings internationally. If you have doubts about the applicable rules, check with your lawyer or investment advisor. Even in the case of global inflation, currencies and assets do not depreciate at the same rate. You will be much better off if you diversify your risks amongst different territories.

3. Focus on shares of good companies

Traditionally, precious metals and real estate are the investments of choice in periods of sharp currency depreciation. Real estate in particular is perfectly fine if you can cope with a situation of lack of liquidity, since in some areas, it takes several months to sell a house. In contrasts, shares of good companies spread in different geographical markets offer the multiple advantages of liquidity, dividends, and risk diversification.

4. Collect dividends in a strong currency

If you live in a country that is likely to experience high inflation during the next years, it might be a good idea to invest your savings in foreign shares that pay dividends in a hard currency. The Swiss Frank has maintained its purchasing power for years much better than other currencies, but it is not the only choice. Ask your investment advisor about the relative strength of different currencies and make an informed decision.

Do not build your future on the moving sand of inflation. There are plenty of choices available to ensure that the value of your savings will be maintained. Rapidly rising prices have many disadvantages, but they also represent opportunity. Instability brings about change. It is up to you to take the necessary measures so that change affects your investments in the right direction.

In this context, these are some ideas that I am currently researching for my own investment portfolio:

Halliburton (HAL)

At today's price of USD 32.40 per share, Halliburton seems an attractive place to invest. The company carries a relatively small amount of debt and is well positioned to take advantage of the foreseeable increase in the price of oil due to inflation and to higher demand in the growing Asian economies.

Halliburton currently fetches a price-earning ratio of 11 and a yield of 1.3%, but the dividend may improve if the profits grow in the future. What I like best about Halliburton is that its sales and profits should grow at least as fast as any upcoming inflation.

France Telecom (FTE)

The damage caused by the crises in Europe seems already discounted in the price. The current quote of the American Depositary Receipt at USD 11.38 leaves you with a price-earnings ratio of 6.35 and a yield above 13%. These reflect of course a pessimistic outlook of investors about the future of France Telecom.

In my view, the future of this company does not look as dark as most analysts think. It should not be forgotten that France Telecom draws about 30% of its sales outside France. The company's level of debt in the balance sheet does not seem overly worrying either.

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

The shares have a quote of USD 59.90 at this time and the level of debt in this bank's balance sheet do not worry me too much. If profits continue to grow at a steady rate, the dividend should stay at current levels or perhaps increase. A yield of 4.7% in a hard currency is not to be despised if inflation becomes a problem.

This bank fetches a price-earnings ratio under 11, but it is not well diversified internationally. I see this as a conservative investment for capital preservation coupled with a reasonable dividend.

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


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

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

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

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Trust you initiative more than anything else. Concentrate on pursuing rational goals. Always look for workable plans. Figure out how to start your project now. How to be rational and find peace of mind

Packaged foods are conditioned to suit the taste of the consumer, which varies from country to country. Bread is baked differently in cities that are just a hundred kilometres away. Our culture feeds on sugar contained in cakes, cookies, ice cream, and alcoholic drinks.

Opponents of the Western diet will warn you that sugar is going to kill you. Actually, not only sugar, but also alcohol, red meat, white flour, and other elements of the modern fare. Contemporary medical studies have proven those admonishments true to a good extent, but they also acknowledge that death will very rarely be the penalty for eating a beef hamburger.


Check the facts and make rational decisions


The reasonable conclusion is that some foods create certain health risks; you should be aware of them and select your meals accordingly. Nowadays, few people contend the principle that bad food is detrimental to your vitality.

If you don't make a minimum effort to gather correct dietary information, you will make random choices. If you eat appallingly, you will suffer the consequences. In terms of food, science has established that sweetness is not always conductive to wellness.


Prejudice and fear lead to counter-productive action

Can we remove counter-productive actions also from other areas of our life? How much of what we believe about the world holds true upon detailed examination? Are our convictions solidly based on facts? What about our ethical values and fundamental goals? Do we resort to prejudice in order to hide irrational fears? Do we appeal to tradition in order to safeguard inefficiency?

It takes a strong will and massive efforts to modify the way we eat. On many occasions, men and women undertake such changes only as a last resort, for instance, after having suffered a heart attack or being diagnosed with cancer.

Social pressure to do the wrong thing is often difficult to resist


Embracing a better diet becomes a major challenge when individuals endure constant social pressure to behave irresponsibly. Business meetings in Russia are still being closed with rounds of vodka. When colleagues and customers push you to drink, it is very difficult to resist, even if you are conscious of the negative consequences of your actions.

Inferior food and excessive alcohol undermine our health. Falsehoods sabotage our interests and place heavy burdens on our shoulders. Misrepresentations can be pleasant and enticing despite their lethal consequences.

Train yourself to make better decisions


The bigger the falsehood, the less that will remain of your independence. If you subscribe to misrepresentations, they will erode your entrepreneurial abilities. You will forsake your initiative and become psychologically dependent. How can you replace common myths by effective truths?

1. Trust you initiative more than anything else


Misplaced hope should make way for initiative. Do you ever tell yourself that someone, somewhere is going to recognize your talent? Good things do not necessarily happen to those who wait long enough. The effective truth is that, if your talents are underutilized, you'd better take action to promote them. It is up to you to improve your situation.

2. Concentrate on pursuing rational goals


Irritation should make way for constructive action. Imagine that, after suffering some minor abuse or discrimination, you become enraged, lusting for revenge. Is someone going to come to fix the world and put an end to unfairness?

The truth is that everybody makes mistakes. It is seldom worth it to devote your time to correcting other people's minor faults. Put the unpleasant story out of your mind and move on. Apply your efforts to pursuing your goals, not to telling people off.

3. Always look for workable plans


Passive acceptance should be replaced by workable plans. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who gets divorced in his mid-forties. For this man, it feels good to hang around his old friends and be comforted for the difficulties that he is encountering, but is this an effective behaviour?

Maybe they will introduce him to someone nice who will put his life back on track. Otherwise, he will just have to get used to loneliness, won't he? The truth is that he needs to make a workable plan to rebuild his life. Should he join a health club? Should he use on-line dating to meet a new romantic partner?

4. Figure out how to start your project now


Postponement should make way for entrepreneurship. Imagine that you practise a beloved hobby that you would like to turn into a source of income. Unfortunately, everybody is telling you that you should not take risks at your age. You hear that your best chance of success is to stay put in your job until retirement age.

The effective truth is that it takes a long time to establish any sort of business. The sooner you start your entrepreneurial career, the better off you will be in the long term. Postponement does not reduce risk. A sensible approach would be to start up your business on the side, devoting your evenings and weekends to it.

Entrepreneurship is the key to personal growth


In every single case, hesitation delays progress. Do not allow wrong ideas to park your projects for years. Do not be contented with bromides that waste your life. Throw away misrepresentations and adopt an entrepreneurial attitude based on facts. Waiting only keeps you down. Action solves problems.

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

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

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



Consistency: The great accelerator of personal development. Stop running in circles and embrace rational living. The psychological advantages of having a strong sense of direction

While time runs only in one direction, human beings have the privilege of hesitating and zigzagging. Nobody can prevent you from destroying what you have built in the past. You can do away with your possessions and reputation. You can neglect to use your talent and education. You can move forward or start from scratch.

The great accelerator of personal development


Consistency becomes ethically relevant when it is anchored on fundamental virtues such as honesty and independence. A man can be consistent with his best or worst actions; coherence with the former enhances his moral stature; loyalty to evil precipitates his demise.

Personal effectiveness is fuelled by virtue and accelerated by consistency. A rational man desires to build higher. He wants his health to improve, or at least, not to deteriorate. He expects his family to become a growing source of joy. In his work, he aims at expanding his business or advancing his career.


Contradictions lead to waste and irritation

If he acts in alignment with reality, his expectations will be fulfilled barring extreme bad luck or misfortune. On the other hand, if he behaves inconsistently, chances are that he will make a mess of his life.

Contradictions lead to waste, irritation, and chaos. A wise man corrects his mistakes and reaffirms his commitment to doing what is right. A fool dismisses lessons from experience and blames his errors on others.

When marriages fall apart due to lack of commitment, they leave adults scarred and children stranded. When companies change their strategy too frequently, they accumulate mistakes. When investors buy and sell shares too often, they fail to achieve substantial capital gains.

Personal growth requires a strong sense of direction

On most occasions, contradictory behaviour arises from inconsistent convictions. Without a strong sense of direction, coherence is unsustainable. Without integrated values, ethics become meaningless. Without a reliable compass, maps can provide little certainty.

Even if individuals who perform counter-productive actions are willing to correct their mistakes, they seldom identify what they have to do. The difficulty does not lie in detecting failure, but in extracting valid lessons from experience.

Avoid making the same mistake over and over


If we do not grow in knowledge, we are bound to repeat our errors. The damage that will ensue could have been avoided. If we had understood the cause of the problem, we could have adopted preventive measures. If we had been able to detect the signals of danger, we could have steered our ship out of trouble.

What keeps us making the same mistakes repeatedly? What blocks man's ability to improve? In the great majority of cases, the culprit is relativism, the belief that a good outcome may result from random behaviour.

If people are determined to ignore the link between present actions and future consequences, they will not listen to rational arguments. Even when a person is responsible for catastrophic failure, he will deny any error or fault.

Irrational ideas always lead to inconsistencies


Wrong ideas blind man to reality as effectively as visual impairment. Individuals who embrace relativism choose to ignore the law of cause and effect. In this way, they curtail their ability to learn and become psychologically inert. Neither facts nor emotions can move them, because their minds do not link those elements to each other.

Relativists refrain from questioning their actions and convictions. They consider life unpredictable and causality unfathomable. When they propose improvements, they present them as opinions. When they present opinions, they treat them as facts. When reality belies their philosophy, they reply that both are true but that none of them matter.

Turning around in ethical circles is exhausting. Behaviour A may be encouraged on Monday, elevated to supreme virtue on Tuesday, and discarded on Wednesday. Behaviour B may become fashionable on Thursday, lose popularity on Friday, and be written off on Saturday. A new doctrine might be embraced on Sunday, but for how long?

Woe and waste, when shall this game end? Human beings cannot build knowledge on moving sands. We need a stable morality as much as we need a regular intake of vitamins and minerals. What cannot be apprehended cannot be validated.


Rational values multiply personal effectiveness and happiness

We need a code of values that can be improved through trial and error. Should its length prove excessive, we can reduce it. Should its frame prove too heavy, we can resize it. Should its contents prove too abstract, we can turn them to simple words.

Active minds detect opportunities because stable values connect them to their environment. In contrast, those with shifting views cannot tell the blur from the colours. Without distinct goals, there are no workable plans. Inconsistent convictions lead to wasteful contradictions.


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

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

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


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Free e-book: Overcoming barriers to personal growth. How to deal with difficult people. Stress management

  • How to be rational
  • Psychological health despite problems and obstacles
  • Stop worrying
  • How to get self-confidence
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • How to build your self-esteem
  • 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, 23 October 2012

How to be fearless amidst constant threats. The logical approach to personal development. Stay away from the folklore of irrationality. How to be rational and maintain your serenity

Imagine for a moment that you would able to go after your goals without having to fear criticism from friends and family. Would you devote more efforts to pursuing your ambitions if you did not have to worry about ridicule in case of failure? How far would you invest yourself if you never had to deal with discouragement and doubts? 

We fear failure more than we crave success

 There are good reasons why we fear failure more than we crave success. If we formulate the proposition in purely material terms, the discomfort suffered from not having any car is far superior than the advantages derived from having two cars; similarly, the terror of losing all our savings in a stock market crash is stronger than the perspective of doubling our assets if stock prices rise.

Worry and anxiety are powerful inhibitors of achievement. Fear can make us discard viable initiatives; apprehension may consume our energies and prevent us from moving forward; concern can block reasonable attempts to improve our situation.


Our minds tend to blow risks out of proportion

We stay behind because our minds blow risks out of proportion; we give up too soon because we underestimate our capacity to adopt preventive measures; we walk downtrodden paths for fear of lions that we have never seen; we stick to unproductive routines to avoid the discomfort associated with change.

Books and lectures that recommend to take risks remain unconvincing to most people. Common sense weighs heavier than motivational speeches. Change is disruptive; we crave what we can gain less than we dread what we can lose. Cheerful words and doubtful promises are not sufficient to assuage our concerns. Only realism can prompt us to overcome fear; only rationality can lead us to take entrepreneurial risks.


Self-confidence needs to be built 

Thinking must take place before action if such action is to be productive; planning must take place before implementation if success is to be attained. Self-confidence needs to be built before it can be applied; skills must be acquired before they can be employed. How can we overcome exaggerated fears and take well-calculated steps? In which way can we increase our chances of success?

Using reason to dismantle doubts and inhibition

Reason is the most powerful tool for dismantling falsehoods. If we grow convinced that we stand a good chance of accomplishing our goals, we will become less worried and more adventurous. Logic is our cardinal ally for contesting overblown concerns. The best way to face fear is to demonstrate its irrationality, namely:

1. Compare the risk with its actual likelihood


The intensity of a potential catastrophe is independent of the likelihood of its occurrence. Salesmen promote insurance policies by painting vivid pictures of misfortune, but their sales presentations seldom mention the actual statistical probability of such misfortune taking place.

2. Assess threats objectively, not emotionally


The perception of risk is heavily influenced by cultural stereotypes. Saving rates differ from country to country according to how citizens see their future; the willingness to change jobs and move to a distant city is higher in the US than in Europe; the proportion of the population that invests in the stock market also varies from country to country.

3. Quantify the potential damage 


Potential dangers need to be quantified in order to be properly assessed. If emotions take control, they will exaggerate the negative consequences of risk. On many occasions, the material damages that people actually suffer are minor compared to the accompanying psychological discomfort.

4. Eliminate distortions from your perception



Many things we fear arise from stories written by marketeers. Why do California residents protect themselves more often against earthquakes than against divorce? Because salesmen market earthquake insurance very effectively, while at the same time, few couples are aware that a pre-nuptial agreement can protect them against a devastating divorce.

Taking the time to assess risks objectively is essential for making good decisions. If you are considering a challenging professional move, forget about irrational fears and ask yourself the right questions: if your new job proves to be a disappointment, what is the actual likelihood of your becoming unemployed? Even if you lost your new position, how long would it reasonably take you to regain employment?

We worry about risks that have been exaggerated by marketeers trying to promote their products or services. Those who sell pension plans frequently paint grim pictures of retired people living in poverty and rightly so. There is no reason why salesmen should refrain from offering their insurance policies, but it is up to us to appraise risks according to their true gravity.


Use reason to acquire an unbreakable self-confidence

The next time that you hesitate between taking action or staying put, do not make a decision until you have assessed all facts. Make an effort to discard emotions that might be polluting your perception. Quantify the positive and negative aspects; weigh off the severity of risks with the likelihood of their occurrence.

Logical analysis reshapes risks and unveils opportunities. Thoughtfulness replaces concern with prudence and worry with caution. On most occasions, a rational assessment of advantages and disadvantages will prompt individuals to take initiative. Becoming an entrepreneur in your everyday life begins with understanding risks and our ability to deal with them effectively.


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

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

[Image by jimbowen0306 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]


The best 10 blogs about how to be rational. Stop worrying and increase your self-confidence. Develop your critical thinking skills. The effective cure for stress

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • How to be rational
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Overcoming failure in life
  • Stop worrying and increase your self-confidence
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your metal health in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Stop fighting and learn to deal with difficult people
  • Advice on relationships
  • How to cure anxiety and depression
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Psychology and philosophy blogs
  • The effective cure for stress
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan

The best 10 blogs about how to be rational
  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

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism. How to keep your serenity in all circumstances. Finding peace of mind through personal growth. How do you find happiness?

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your serenity 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

The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism
  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

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The best 10 blogs about personal development. Self-improvement techniques. Where do you find happiness? Develop your critical thinking skills

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your mental health in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Advice on relationships
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • How to build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • 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

The best 10 blogs about psychology

Free e-book: Overcoming barriers to personal growth. How to deal with difficult people. Stress management. How to build self-confidence and self-esteem

  • How to be rational
  • Psychological health despite problems and obstacles
  • Stop worrying
  • How to get self-confidence
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Stress management
  • How to build your self-esteem
  • 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, 19 October 2012

Location is not a philosophical issue. Seek personal growth where it is actually possible. Don't hang around where there are no opportunities

If you want to waste your life, you just have to devote your days to searching for things where there aren't. A second formula for squandering your resources is to chase people that are unavailable. The same goes for attempting to travel to places that are not accessible. 

Nobody possesses perfect knowledge

We all engage in this kind of pursuits occasionally and that's fine, since nobody possesses perfect knowledge. What is heartbreaking is when someone persists in trying to reach an impossible goal. Children engage in such attempts and so do mice trapped in a maze; adults should know better than that.

Counter-productive behaviour arises from self-inflicted blindness. We sabotage our interests when we allow our desire for comfort to obscure the truth. If you want cheap oranges, go to Morocco, not to the airport deli.
 
 
Take action consistent with reason

If you wish to move towards prosperity, take action consistent with reason. This principle, if applied consistently, can bring major improvements to your life. A wise man in search of a job does not go to the desert. If you do that, you might get lucky and find the only opening available, but chances are that you won't.

Imagine that you are working at a factory located in a small town that does not offer other employment possibilities. What should you do if the factory shuts down? You should not waste time hanging around waiting for a miracle. You should pack your things, get into your car, and drive to a place where companies are hiring.

Choose the easy way to prosperity and do not try to sell products where there are no buyers. Sometimes, you find large numbers of empty houses in a thinly inhabited area. This happened because real estate developers made a wrong calculation and wasted a fortune. 



Focus your efforts on places where there are opportunities

Putting up buildings on locations where few people are interested to buy or rent constitutes pure waste. The lesson to be drawn is clear. Focus your efforts on places where there are customers, jobs, wealth, opportunities, and friendly people.

Nobody should go to Siberia on holidays seeking warm weather. People who prefer to live in areas where cold temperatures reign most of the year usually have good reasons for doing so, such as cheap housing, low criminality, or specific job opportunities.
 

Stay away from barren fields

Location is not a philosophical issue. A man can choose to live wherever he likes best, but if you happen to love warm weather, Siberia shouldn't be amongst your favourite destinations.

Every minute devoted to pursuing the impossible is gone forever without profit. The world is complicated enough as it is. Attempting to hit unattainable targets is pointless; it does not even make a good hobby. Take the easy way to prosperity: stay away from barren fields and focus your efforts on fruitful land.


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

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

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


The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism. Self-help techniques that work. How do you find happiness?

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your mental 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

The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism
  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

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Don't manage stress, eradicate its cause. Be rational and fearless. Critical thinking leads to self-confidence. Say no more often

There is a cure for stress. It is not a drug and it is not a fantasy. It won't cost you money, but it is not for free. Many people who try it out feel born again, others rejuvenated. The remedy is known under many different names. You may call it simplification or streamlining, reduction or selection, focus or elimination, logic or rationality. 

Concentrate your energies on essential areas

An efficient approach to living is easier to name than to implement. Minimizing stress requires man to concentrate his energies on the essential areas of his life. This is a goal that can only be achieved by establishing priorities. Eliminating stress results from making choices and embracing simplification.

Why are so many people reluctant to set priorities in their lives? Why do they prefer to run in circles rather than follow a straightforward path towards their objectives? Individuals affected by stress frequently lack consistent criteria to make decisions. Men and women who live in anxiety often fear standing still for a minute and questioning their own contradictions.
 

People with a strong sense of direction seldom suffer from stress

Overloading one's days with senseless activities is a psychological defence mechanism against the fear of taking responsibility. Rational decisions are impossible for people who lack a sense of direction. On many occasions, having too much to do is an excuse to avoid facing indecision. Small talk with one hundred acquaintances cannot replace a deep conversation with one close friend.

Stress is to the human soul what indebtedness is for a business. Both are problems that compound with time unless a workable strategy is adopted. Intelligent choices enhance professional and private results. Efficiency begins with clarity.

Resources, in particular time, are limited in all human endeavours. We minimize stress when we apply simplification, concentration, and selection to make the best of what we have available. Those three elements constitute the rational approach to eliminating anxiety and maintaining a healthy psychological balance.
 

Simplification allows personal growth

Simplification, the opposite of complexity, results in more energy. Fruit growers prune trees once per year in order to reinforce the vigour of the healthiest branches. Lean trees produce more fruit than those loaded with moribund branches. In the same way, stress is minimized when we make rational choices and discard activities that waste our time and bring little satisfaction.

Concentration improves results in business and private life. Shepherds cull herds to prevent contagious sickness to spread. By nurturing only healthy sheep, they ensure an optimal result. The benefits of concentration also apply to human affairs. Minimizing stress involves abandoning wasteful activities and focusing our time in areas of importance.
 

Free up your time for what really counts

Selection frees up time for what really counts. Every man should aim at a future that is better than his present. Know your priorities and reaffirm them at every opportunity. Clever retailers sell slow-moving items at low prices in order to make space for more popular goods. In order to minimize stress, we need to make clear decisions and abandon unattainable goals.

Individuals succeed in reducing stress when they acquire a rational approach to living. Anxiety disappears from our lives when we follow logical and consistent principles. Thinking long-term allows man to identify his goals and priorities. Thoughtfulness allows man to gain visibility and increase his efficiency.

Productivity experts advise workers to clear up the factory floor in order to allow them to see their own mistakes. It is only after misplaced tools and obsolete inventory have been removed that people figure out how to improve and change their ways. Without visibility, there can be no transformation. Without choices, there can be no progress.
 

Rationality is the best way to reduce stress

Setting priorities and making rational decisions constitute the best way to reduce stress in our lives. A cluttered agenda is a cage full of paradise birds waiting to be released. Those birds are your best ideas, the ones that you have not yet formulated. Simplify your life and sharpen your ambitions. The birds are ready to fly. Open the cage door and set them free.

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

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

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


Finding peace of mind through personal growth. Self-help techniques that work. Best 10 blogs about rational psychology

  • The best blogs about personal development
  • How to be rational
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Overcoming failure in life
  • Stop worrying and increase your self-confidence
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your metal health in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • Stop fighting and learn to deal with difficult people
  • Advice on relationships
  • How to cure anxiety and depression
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Psychology and philosophy blogs
  • The effective cure for stress
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan

The best 10 blogs about how to be rational
  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

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The John Vespasian invesment portfolio. Where to invest at this time. Top stocks, national and international. My best 23 investment ideas. Dividend stocks

These are my best investment ideas at this time, the stocks that I am buying or researching in the stock market today. The basic philosophy of my portfolio is to seek solid companies that can grow without excessive risk, and that can produce a regular stream of income in the future.

When it comes to investing for future income, I favour dividend stocks that produce a regular income stream year after year, especially if they are well diversified amongst sectors and countries. I try to avoid companies that have excessive debts and those that are betting their future on the success of a single product.

My goal is to identify solid dividend and growth stocks for making conservative investments. I don't mind investing in a company that is not currently paying dividends, provided that the company is investing its earnings to achieve a fast growth in sales by developing new products and expanding into new markets.

When deciding which stocks to buy now, I look at the short-term and long-term perspectives of companies. In my view, the best companies follow a clear, understandable management strategy that allows shareholders to see where the company is going. As a matter of principle, I stay away from companies that I do not understand.

The composition of my portfolio also takes into account where to invest at this time. I try to identify appealing companies on a national and international level. Occasionally, I would invest in a country that is generally considered as high-risk if I can see good reasons to expect an improvement of the situation in the mid-term.

Making money from investing is difficult and my portfolio does not aim at achieving quick, short-term gains, which I consider too difficult to predict. I select stocks on the basis of both financial and philosophical criteria. I want to obtain a good return on my investments, and at the same time, I am looking for investments that provide peace of mind. For this reason, I typically choose solid, well established, and well managed companies. 

In terms of disclosure, readers should take into account that either I already own shares of these companies or that I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio. Before making any investment decision, readers should make their own research and check thoroughly several independent sources.

The John Vespasian investment portfolio
  1. Baidu (China) Despite its high price-earnings ratio, this company is performing excellently and achieving a very fast growth of the top line. Even if it does not pay dividends, this company can be regarded as a rather conservative investment. Its total market and its market share should continue to grow in the foreseeable future, and it has little debt in its balance sheet.
  2. Ford Motor Company (United States) Sales continue to increase and the company is very well established internationally to take advantage of any improvement in the worldwide economic growth. The low price-earnings ratio of its shares reflects in part the fact that the balance sheet is loaded with debt. However, the quality of the company's products should make up for this drawback.
  3. Sasol (South Africa)  As the South African economy continues to grow, its energy consumption should rise. This energy company has little debt in its balance sheet, a low price-earnings ratio at this time, and it also pays a good dividend. It makes a good margin on its sales and its top line continues to grow year after year.
  4. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada) Despite generalized fears about the health of the banking sector, this particular bank does not worry me. Its balance sheet looks solid and its lending operations are well diversified internationally. At the moment of this writing, the price-earnings ratio of the shares is reasonable and the company is paying a good dividend in a hard currency. 
  5. Sysco (United States) The wholesale distribution of food does not seem like a high-growth business, but it has the advantage of requiring large amounts of capital if you want to run it efficiently. Smaller operators have difficulties competing with this company, which runs a highly effective distribution network. The small amount of debt in its balance sheet, combined with a good dividend, make these shares an attractive investment in my view.
  6. United Technologies (United States) The unique combination of several high-technology businesses makes this company very attractive. On the one hand, the company makes elevators for buildings and factories, which typically generate a steady income from maintenance contracts. On the other hand, it runs a top manufacturing operation of aircraft engines. In addition, this company pays currently a good dividend. 
  7. Posco (South Korea)  This is one of the biggest steel producers in the world. Its main production facilities are located in the area of the world where economic growth is the highest. The company has relatively low debt, a modest price-earnings ratio, and it is currently paying a good dividend. If you believe, as I do, that the world economy will continue to grow, you may want to take a closer look at the shares of this South Korean company. 
  8. Medtronic (United States)  As the population in industrialised countries continues to get older, more medical devices will be needed. This company is a world leader in devices such as pacemakers and heart valves. It sales are growing year after year, and it is making a very good profit margin on those sales. Furthermore, this company has little debt in its balance sheet and currently pays a good dividend.
  9. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)  This company is a truly global steel maker, with manufacturing capabilities in all main markets of the world. What I like best about this company is that its balance sheet carries relatively little debt, a circumstance that should allow the company to go unscathed through any economic downturn. Its top line continues to grow from year to year, and it is currently paying a good dividend.
  10. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden) This international manufacturer of telecommunication equipment is benefiting from the rapid upgrade of telephone networks around the world. The company's balance sheet has a small amount of debt and the sales of its products continue to grow. The fact that it is paying a good dividend at this time increases the appeal of its shares for conservative investors.  
  11. Procter and Gamble (United States)  This company possesses wonderful brands of household consumables that are sold around the world. The company's ability to develop and promote top brands is legendary. Its balance sheet carries little debt and, at the present time, the shares are paying a good dividend. The fact that the company is very well diversified internationally makes its shares particularly attractive in times of economic upheaval.
  12. Pepsico (United States)  This company has two very strong legs, beverages and snacks, and those allow it to run a highly efficient distribution network around the world. I like in particular the fact that the company's balance sheet is healthy, and that the company is currently paying an attractive dividend. Low economic growth in some parts of the world should not prevent this company from growing in other places.
  13. Delhaize Group (Belgium) Despite the fact that this company has been barely growing during the last years, it possesses a remarkably healthy balance sheet, a low price-earnings ratio at this time, and it is currently paying an attractive dividend. If its new strategy attains some measure of success, its profitability should increase. The company is well diversified internationally, an aspect that increases the appeal of its shares for conservative investors.
  14. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (Japan)  This company has been going through a period of little growth in the last years, but it has a healthy balance sheet with relatively low debt. The fact that the company has currently a low price-earnings ratio, and that it pays a good dividend at this moment, make its shares particularly attractive.
  15. Schlumberger (United States) This company is a world leader in providing services to major oil companies. As the price of oil continues to rise, more exploration will be needed to find new oil wells. This company should profit from this trend. The low amount of debt in its balance sheet and the fact that the company is currently paying a good dividend may appeal to long-term investors. 
  16. IBM (United States) This is a high-technology company that continues to grow even in a negative economic environment. The low amount of debt in its balance sheet and the dividend make its shares attractive, as well as the fact that the company is very well diversified internationally. For the long term, this trend should continue unchanged, and the profits of this company should continue to rise.
  17. Caterpillar (United States) A company that has grown its sales very fast during the last years. Despite the debt in its balance sheet, this company possesses a great international brand, high quality products, and a well-established network to service its machines. As long as the economy continues to grow in a good part of the world, this company should continue to do well.
  18. eBay (United States) In addition to a well-established internet retail platform, this company possesses one of the most widely used internet banks in the world. Its internet banking operations continue to grow at a fast pace and make its shares attractive for growth investors. Furthermore, its balance sheet carries very little debt, and this fact should allow this company to overcome any headwinds that it may encounter in the future.
  19. 3M Co (United States) The low price-earnings ratio, coupled with the good dividend at this time, make the shares of this high-technology company particularly appealing for conservative investors. Its innovative product development and the wide range of markets in which it operates should allow the company to continue to grow in the future. In addition, it possesses a healthy balance sheet.
  20. Astra Zeneca (United Kingdom)  This is one of the major international pharmaceutical companies, and it has a solid balance sheet with low amounts of debt. The sales of its products are well diversified across the world, and its shares remain attractive despite the fact that the company has growth its top line at a low speed during the last years. Its strategy of acquiring smaller firms with high-potential products should pay off in the mid- and long-term.
  21. Market Vectors Africa (ETF Africa) The African economy is growing overall at a good rate, a fact that is not widely known to people living in industrialised countries. This Exchange Traded Fund holds shares of major companies in countries such as Egypt and South Africa. The fact that this funds pays a good dividend adds to its attractiveness. This investments vehicle may appeal to those who are looking to diversify their portfolio globally.
  22. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (ETF Russia) As a private investor, it is not easy to invest in the Russian economy. This Exchange Trade Fund holds a portfolio of major Russian companies, primarily in the energy, banking, and telecommunication sectors. In addition, the fund currently pays a good dividend to investors. This investment vehicle may appeal to those who wish to place part of their savings in Russia.
  23. Kraft Foods (United States) This company owns many great international brands and a well-established distribution network. In addition, it possesses an impeccable balance sheet. If the management of the company succeeds in increasing its sales and profitability, even marginally, shareholders should benefit in the next years. Its shares might appeal to conservative investors who like global companies with strong brands. 
Disclosure: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

Tickers: BIDU, F, SSL, BNS, SYY, UTX, PKX, MDT, MT, ERIC, PG, PEP, DEG, NTT, SLB, IBM, CAT, EBAY, MMM, AZN, AFK, ERUS, KRFT 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Develop your critical thinking skills. Keep your serenity in all circumstances. The best 10 blogs about philosophy.

  • Psychology and philosophy blogs
  • Self-improvement techniques
  • Where do you find love?
  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Keep your serenity in all circumstances
  • How to communicate effectively
  • The best blogs about personal development
  • Advice on relationships
  • Finding peace of mind through personal growth
  • Self-help techniques that work
  • How do you find happiness?
  • Blogs about goal setting
  • How to make your personal development plan

The best 10 blogs about philosophy
  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

Monday, 15 October 2012

St. Bernardino's formula for overcoming hard times. Personal growth in extreme circumstances. How to be fearless


"I have never seen times like these," admitted Bernardino. "The pest has wiped out half of the population of Siena." Giovanni Capistrano looked at his friend and shook his head. "We are indeed facing the end of the world," he replied. 

Sometimes you may think that you are facing the end of the world

"We have run out of salt for the fish, ink for the copyists, and candles for the chapel," enumerated Bernardino. "We don't even have cloth to make robes for the novices!"

Capistrano took in a deep breath and, instead of giving an answer, he murmured a prayer. He was convinced that the catastrophes that had happened during the last years were a punishment from God and that no resistance was possible.

In the year 1419, the economic depression ravaging Tuscany had reached gigantic proportions. Bernardino was 39 years old and he had seen with his own eyes land prices go down by 80% in a twenty-year period. It was difficult to imagine that things could get worse than they were already.
 

It was difficult to imagine that things could get any worse

Although Bernardino appreciated Giovanni Capistrano highly, he was also conscious that his friend was more gifted for theological disputes than for solving practical problems. Since Bernardino was the prior of Santa Maria Monastery, finding solutions was his job.

After the morning prayer, he left the chapel through the back door, crossed the monastery's orchard, and walked into the woods. Like every time he had to make a difficult decision, he needed to be alone for a while.

"We have hardly enough to eat as it is now," Bernardino reflected as he advanced towards the river. "Should I tell novices that our monastery cannot accept new vocations at this time and send them away?"
 

Something had changed since the last time

Suddenly, Bernardino stood still and looked around puzzled. Something had changed since the last time he had been in the woods, but he couldn't tell what. Intrigued, he advanced fifty steps and reached the riverbank. It was only at that moment that Bernardino realized what had interrupted his thoughts. It was the noise! He was so used to long hours of silence in the monastery that he had forgotten the relentless sound of nature.

Summer had arrived and Bernardino was immersed in a cacophony of cries from birds, cicadas, and tree frogs. He sat down on a stone in front of the water and tried to concentrate his mind on the most pressing problems.

Like every year, the summer had made the river water level go down by two feet, uncovering in the middle of the stream a long, narrow island. Bernardino knew it well, since it had served him as playground in his childhood, many years ago.

Bushes that had remained submerged during the winter were now showing deep green colours and had become the ideal basis for swallows to build their mud-nests. Bernardino smiled when two yellow butterflies flew above his shoulders, fearlessly headed towards the island.

He lowered his head and prayed silently for guidance. Nine young men had requested to join the Santa Maria Monastery as novices. Bernardino was the prior and it was up to him to decide on the postulants' admission.

The economic depression had drained the monastery's resources to such an extent that there was no way for Bernardino to feed nine additional monks, let alone provide them with novice's robes. On the other hand, additional help was badly needed to cultivate the monastery's land.
 

"I have found a solution," announced Bernardino 

When Bernardino returned to the monastery one hour later, he found Giovanni Capistrano sitting on a bench in front of the chapel, reading the Bible. "I have found a solution," announced Bernardino approaching his friend. Capistrano lifted his eyes from the book and scrutinized Bernardino's face. "To the economic crisis?" he retorted sceptically. "Or do you mean a solution to the pest that is decimating the population of nearby cities?"

"If we cannot change the whole world," went on Bernardino, "let us at least focus our efforts on doing whatever we can to improve our situation." Giovanni Capistrano closed the Bible and stared at Bernardino, wondering what he was talking about.
 

I realized that the solution was before my eyes

"I was sitting by the river thinking about our problems," Bernardino continued, "when I realized that the solution was before my eyes. It is summer now and swallows have built their nests on the island in the middle of the river."

He turned around and pointed at the cedar tree beside the chapel. "The energy of nature never stops. Season after season, year after year, animals and plants grow and live further. If there is a storm, birds might stand still for a few hours, but only to move on relentlessly as soon as the weather improves."

"Swallows don't sit around paralysed by fear of the end of the world," continued Bernardino. "They pick up whatever materials are available and build their nests, trying to make the best of any given circumstances."

Giovanni Capistrano shrugged his shoulders. "Indeed, birds are always moving, but they are stupid animals that cannot reflect about the future. Otherwise, swallows would not build nests on the island every summer. When the river water level goes up in September, the island will be flooded and the nests will be washed away."
 

We don't have to repeat our past mistakes

Bernardino nodded. "That's the point, Giovanni. We are men, not birds, and we don't have to repeat our past mistakes. On the other hand, we can learn from animals that life is meant to be lived by relentlessly moving forward, not by complaining that things should be otherwise than they are."

"That's very philosophical, but I can't see how it relates to our current problems" objected Capistrano, laying the Bible on the bench and standing up. "That will not help the Santa Maria Monastery feed nine new novices. Unfortunately, we have to send those postulants away."

"No, let's welcome those new vocations and thank God for sending them to us," answered Bernardino. "Those nine novices are the help that we need to cultivate the monastery's land. If necessary, we will pawn our gold chalice to get us through the next months."
 

A pro-active attitude in difficult times

Incredulous, Giovanni Capistrano shook his head. "Even if a pawnbroker in Sienna took the chalice, that wouldn't bring us enough money to purchase nine monk's robes for the novices."

"Follow me," ordered Bernardino, starting to moved towards the chapel. With Giovanni Capistrano on his trail, he entered the chapel, walked past the wooden benches, and stood still in front of the brown drapes that covered the wall. "We'll use those to make monk's robes. When the economy recovers, we'll have new drapes made for the chapel."

Indeed, the economy recovered little by little. Six years later, by 1425, the Santa Maria Monastery was restored to its old splendour. Bernardino's pro-active attitude in difficult times earned him a well-deserved reputation and, soon after, Pope Eugene IV offered him a bishop's appointment.


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

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

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