Sunday, 16 September 2012

How do you find happiness? Self-development, goal setting, and personal growth

Experienced managers tend to focus on a few key parameters that tell them how their business is doing. Seasoned investors proceed in a similar way. Since they know the kind of opportunities they are looking for, they are able to discard unsuitable investment proposals after checking a couple of critical figures.

The trap of useless complexity

No one can take correct decisions without knowing which elements are important. Gathering huge amounts of data will prove useless if complexity cannot be reduced to manageable levels. What you need are simple graphics or tables that show you how you are doing presently and what the trend for the future is.

When it comes to running your own life, could you reduce information to a small number of factors? Is it possible to simplify reality to such an extent? 

There are few things that really count in life

Can a few numbers suffice to express your level of happiness? Can we isolate the crucial components of our existence and make projections for the next decade? Here are some examples:
  1. The general condition of your health.
  2. Income from your main business or activity.
  3. Overall level personal freedom.
  4. How many close friends you meet regularly.
  5. The size of your bank account and other liquid assets.Level of satisfaction with your home and living environment.
  6. How you rate the non-monetary aspects of your principal occupation.
  7. Happiness derived from your spouse and other family relationships.
  8. Overall perspectives for personal growth.

Can you separate priorities from routines?

If routine fills most of our days, we should not allow random events to eat up the little free time we have available. Becoming conscious of the status in each area of our life and pushing for improvement requires substantial effort. Reducing situations to fundamental numbers can contribute to remind us where we stand and where we want to go.

More often than not, one or two figures should be enough to identify the issues closest to our heart. Even when we deal with immaterial elements, such as the non-monetary aspects of a business or profession, we should force ourselves to come up with a number.

Simple tracking of a single number

Let us establish, for instance, where we are today on a scale from zero to ten and where we want to be in a year from now. In a similar way, trainers encourage overweight people to track their slimming progress by means of a simple graphic.

The sheer exercise of decomposing our life into its main constituents can prove highly beneficial. Turning observations into numerals may, for example, allow latent irritation to be verbalized. The first time that someone takes the time to write all this down frequently results in a couple of surprises.

In fact, if you can figure out the way to do it, the only number that you need to watch is your overall happiness index, where it stands today and how to extend the years you have left in order to raise it to the highest level.

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


[Image by Billy Lindblom under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]

The best investments, what to invest in, stocks to buy in the stock market today

  1. Medtronic (United States) 
  2. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  3. Arcelor Mittal (Luxembourg)
  4. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  5. IBM (United States)
  6. Baidu (China)
  7. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  8. eBay (United States)
  9. 3M Co (United States)
  10. 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 to be rational, overcome fear, resolve conflicts, and manage stress

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