Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Without values and commitments, life becomes chaotic. Reality is forgiving of innocent mistakes, merciless with dishonesty

When you were a kid at school, you probably endured lots of preaching about the virtue of flexibility. Most likely, the moral speeches you heard were accompanied by fulminating diatribes against rigidity. Imprecise is right and exact is boring, you were told. Weightlessness is strength and fragility is solidity.

Without values and commitments, life becomes chaotic

In terms of ethics, this approach leads to the enthronement of relativism as a moral absolute, which is of course absurd, since when anything goes, fuzziness is portrayed as sharpness, ignorance as information, and confusion as wisdom.

On the other hand, look at what happens when we turn our attention from theory to reality. When values and commitments lose their contours, life becomes chaotic. If you doubt my words, talk to anyone who has lived for a while in a country where basic principles have been abandoned:

* CONTRACTS ARE IGNORED. The stories that you read in newspapers about doing business in unstable countries only reflect a small part of the horror. Without people's willingness to keep their word, society simply disintegrates. Without enforceable contracts, all that remains are shady transactions and an extremely high cost of living.

* INSECURITY BECOMES DOMINANT. Once ethics become dispensable, life turns into a race of cheating and abuse. If people begin to question fair, well-functioning agreements that have been long established, everything is up for grabs. When psychological manipulation becomes the currency of the day, any sort of purchase turns into a nightmare.

* MISTAKES GROW WITHOUT LIMIT. Productivity is always the first victim of moral decay. Without honesty, agreements on time, results, and compensation lose all meaning. Reliability and credibility are the best cost-reduction tools in business. When those two disappear, the effort needed to complete any task grows exponentially


Reality is forgiving of innocent mistakes, merciless with dishonesty

All this is, at the same time, bad news and good news. Even if some people advocate moral relativism, you are not obliged to adopt vagueness as personal philosophy. Even if someone persons around you behave dishonestly, you can decide to stay dependable and truthful.

A wise man seeks compromise in negotiations, but only when essential moral principles are left untouched. Reality is forgiving of innocent mistakes, but merciless with those who twist facts and corrupt their soul.

Your peace of mind and self-confidence depend on your rational principles. Stick to them and they will show you the way. For the sake of your present happiness and future health, reject temptation and pass the test. Your decisiveness will be enhanced and your results will improve.


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

Monday, 29 April 2013

Never give up before the game is really over. Never allow yourself to limit your own potential. The most important element in the equation is never mentioned

Depression has become so common in our society that, most of the time, we don't even notice it. You can only see the phenomenon through the darkness its exudes. Motivation becomes paralysis. Vision breaks apart in doubts. Energy can no longer be replenished and attention gets distracted.

Never give up before the game is really over

If you look around, you will find plenty of examples: Co-workers who lately have been looking sort of sad, call up the office, name some vague problem at home, and disappear for week. Students who have been at the top of their class, start to fail one exam after the other. Thoughtful friends, the kind who used to have strong opinions, suddenly turn silent.

What is the cause of this wide-spread ailment? Where is this malignant wave coming from? The automatic response in those cases is to blame the world. When you talk to men and women who suffer from the blues, you will often find them willing to enumerate all the negative conditions affecting their life.

Those complaints will usually have a sound basis in reality. Some people will tell you stories of abuse and unfairness, injustices of all sorts, inefficiency and dishonesty. Others will speak about their sickness, the ingratitude of their family, treason by friends, loneliness or divorce.

The most important element in the equation is never mentioned

Nevertheless, those explanations remain insufficient to justify the overweening levels of depression in our society. The most important element in the equation is never mentioned. Why is nobody pointing out that, for every dispirited person, you can find a reasonably contented one who is enduring similar difficulties?


Misfortune and catastrophe are not to be trivialized. Bad luck and sickness can wipe out your savings, your business, your family, and put to test your will to keep on living. Serious problems and painful periods do occur in most people's lives. My point is not that one should become foolishly cheerful in the face of adversity.

Pharmaceuticals aimed at alleviating distress can help to a certain extent, although they are frequently loaded with secondary effects. My message is that, in the worst possible moments, a man owes to himself, to his happiness, to reflect and act with proper perspective. What one should keep in mind is that, on many occasions, depression is a synonym for short-term vision.

Rational thinking is the only antidote that has repeatedly proven its effectiveness against discouragement and depression. Seeing obstacles and disadvantages in the frame of a lifetime helps to reduce them to a manageable size.

Never allow yourself to limit your own potential

Drop the false comfort of self-pity. Never allow yourself to limit your own potential. Never give up before the game is really over. Remind yourself everyday that life offers many opportunities. Define your long-term target, sharpen your arrows, and leave the blues behind. You have better things to do.

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

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Long live the wise. Does it bellow at dawn while other sheep are still asleep? Sheep spend their whole lives in slumber

Change makes us reassess our life and sharpen our vision. Surprises test our principles and determination. Setbacks make us wonder if our efforts are worth anything. The stronger our fear of uncertainty, the more desperate our need to cling to the past.

Long live the wise


Such were the questions that occupied Krishna's mind one summer morning, when he was meditating under a banyan tree near the river. He heard steps behind his back and the voice of Nadu interrupted his thoughts. "Long live the wise, Krishna," saluted Nadu.

Krishna opened his eyes and saw that Nadu was carrying a black sheep in his arms. When Nadu set the sheep on the ground, the animal stared briefly at Krishna, found him uninteresting, turned around, and began to drink water from the river.

"My father is worried and has sent me to ask you for advice," explained Nadu, pointing at the black sheep, that then started to eat grass, looking perfectly healthy. "We don't know how this has happened, but we fear for the other sheep."

"When we walked out of the house o
n Monday morning, we found this black sheep standing in the middle of our herd." Nadu made a small pause and reflected. "Of course, we had heard stories about black sheep, but we always thought that they didn't exist."

Krishna stood up, walked up to the animal, and caressed its head. "At the beginning, we didn't give it much importance," continued Nadu, "but the next day, strange things began to happen, like in the stories we had heard."


Does it bellow at dawn while other sheep are still asleep?

The animal lifted its head and began to ruminate contentedly the grass that it had just eaten. "Does it bellow at dawn while other sheep are still asleep?" inquired Krishna. "Does it refuse to return home in the evening? Does it try run away at the smallest opportunity and encourage other sheep to join it?"

Surprised, Nadu confirmed all points. He had not expected such focused questions from Krishna. How come that Krishna knew so much about black sheep? Nadu was terrified of the possibility that other sheep in the herd might also become black.


Sheep spend their whole lives in slumber

 "Tell me, Nadu," continued Krishna, "is it not true that sheep spend their whole lives in slumber, never try to run away, and always follow the herd without delay?" Nadu nodded, wondering where Krishna was heading with his questions.

At that moment, the black sheep turned to Nadu and stared at him impatiently, as though it was wondering why Nadu was so slow in drawing the obvious conclusion. A long silence ensued before Krishna spoke again. "The truth is, Nadu, that this animal is not a sheep."

Nadu, instead of being shocked by the news, took the whole matter rather philosophically. He immediately accepted Krishna's offer to relieve him of the animal, ran back to the farmhouse, and informed his father that the problem was solved once and for all.

Krishna then traversed the forest, followed closely by the animal. In the afternoon, they climbed a mountain and reached a hidden valley, where hundreds of similar black creatures were placidly eating grass and having a great time.

When the newcomer joined the others, it was warmly welcomed. Krishna observed the animals play
while the sun went down. He didn't understand them and he didn't know where they came from, but he was sure of one thing. Those were not sheep.

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

How to stay rational in a chaotic world. Maintaining your psychological strength despite problems and obstacles.

  • How to stay rational in a chaotic world
  • Maintaining your psychological strength despite problems and obstacles
  • Techniques to stop worrying even when you have a thousand problems
  • How to get self-confidence when living in a hostile environment
  • Overcoming barriers to personal growth, internal and external
  • How to deal with difficult people in your business and personal life
  • Stress management under difficult circumstances
  • How to build your self-esteem in times of adversity
  • Overcoming anxiety and excessive concern
  • The low-cost approach to self-development
  • How to find peace of mind in a world of non-stop noise
A free presentation of my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living:

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Keep the money, I take the time. You can often deliver more value just by increasing the speed. Velocity and frequency are redefining success

"Time is of the essence," is a clause that lawyers insert in contracts when the date of delivery plays a crucial role. In those cases, even one day of delay might determine that commitments have not been satisfactorily fulfilled.

Keep the money, I take the time


When heavy contractual penalties apply, the whole undertaking could become a nightmare for the party who has incurred the delay. The experience of 50 years of Japanese management techniques only serves to confirm that speed has become a critical success factor in all fields of human endeavour.

Producing and exchanging value, whether physical or psychological, is the fundamental reason why people interact. In this sense, purchasing commercial products and services is not that different from enjoying conversation with friends or family. It all boils down to giving and receiving some kind of value.


You can often deliver more value just by increasing the speed

 Five decades ago, Japanese firms began to develop a management style based on extreme cost-awareness. Their experimentation with different techniques quickly led to the conclusion that the best way to deliver maximum value was to increase the end-to-end speed of processes. This principle applies equally to design, engineering, factory organisation, and sales.

In the case of car manufacturing, this approach has resulted in a relentless shortening of delivery times. In Japan, for example, the period elapsed between the order placed by a customer and the date of delivery of a new car specially made for him is often under 20 days.

The constant drive for improvement has led, at the same time, to progressively better working conditions in that industry. The manpower required to manufacture some vehicles has already fallen below 40 hours, which is the standard weekly working time in most of Europe.


Velocity and frequency are redefining success

In our private lives, speed and frequency have also become part of the definition of success. Wide-spread inexpensive Internet connections determine in part how often we call up parents or relatives who live far away. Low-cost airlines allow us to visit them more often. On-line dating permits contemporary men and women to meet potential partners outside their circle of acquaintances.

In our age, speed is taken for granted in most products and services. Nobody has the time to wait. In many fields, providers can no longer charge premium prices for preferential attention. Immediate availability has become the first criterion that might lead us to try out a new supplier. If you cannot offer that, your company might not survive for long.

Should we be reluctant to allow time-consciousness to drive our actions and choices? In my view, we have reached a point where one seldom has the alternative to do otherwise. In every business and profession, speed is of the essence.


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

Friday, 26 April 2013

You will never lack reasons for renouncing your soul. Ignore comments that don't make sense. Learn to see mistakes as part of the cost of living

"This will never work," is a remark that you will hear too many times. In all your ventures, personal or professional, you will face moments of discouragement. You will wonder why on earth you are attempting to improve anything. You will question if progress, however small, is possible at all.

This is not foolish thinking. Doubts are justified. The proof that achievement is impossible lies perennially all around. It is something that, if you had looked before, you would have found. You can bury your dreams as deep as you wish.

You will never lack reasons for renouncing your soul

  • Ninety-two per cent of new businesses shut down within five years. In some countries, the failure rate goes as high as ninety-five out of a hundred.
  • Two out of five marriages end up in divorce.
  • Major companies reject more than a hundred candidates for every new hire.
  • Some people need to date for ten years before they meet someone who is a good match.

Misery and self-pity are well grounded on reality. On the other hand, so are serenity and confidence. Pick up a biography of anyone remarkable and you will read how many horrendous mistakes he made. Talk to someone who is successful and hear him recount the formidable obstacles that he had to surmount.

Are both positions correct, optimistic and depressed? The facts are the same, the difference lies in the inner flame. Fearful views are restrained, upbeat visions enjoy a wider range. The right perspective enhances psychological experience. Philosophy is the foundation of resilience. These are my recommendations for turning low spirits into confidence:

Ignore comments that don't make sense


When people make remarks outside their field of expertise, they usually don't know what they are talking about. Don't get angry at those who try to discourage you or describe your situation as hopeless. Even friendly judgements are often passed without knowing all the facts. If you hear advice that makes sense, use it. If criticism becomes virulent, shrug your shoulders and keep calm.

Learn to see mistakes as part of the cost of living


In most fields of human endeavour, demands for immediate perfect results are unrealistic. Each person possesses unique natural endowments and disadvantages. Individuals are dealt different cards in terms of talent, looks, material resources, and family connections. Comparing your opportunities with someone else's is a meaningless exercise. Accept your misfortunes and errors as part of the cost of living. Make new plans and move on.

Intelligent persistence wins in the long term


Life offers no one a guarantee of success, but intelligent persistence works. Action and ambition always bring about problems and mistakes. Through reason, we can learn from a setback, remedy a lack, and change our track. Errors are not isolated strains, but links in a learning chain. A long-term perspective makes you deserve as many chances are you may wish to claim.

"So far, this has not worked, but the game is not over yet," is the sensible reaction to problems and mistakes. Taking a long-term perspective will help you climb the next steps also in periods of stress. Your boat has still a long way to go. Adjust your course and continue to row.


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

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why are entrepreneurial skills present in some people, but not in the rest of the population? Entrepreneurs possess a clear sense of direction

Problems are a nuisance, sometimes easy to detect and solve, often not. On the other hand, they represent a source of opportunity for entrepreneurs. Discrepancies, deviations from the normal, and failure to meet expectations can reveal the existence of profitable markets that, until that moment, had remained invisible.

From the many who notice problems, few actually view them as business opportunities. Complaining is universal, but the talent to devise profitable solutions remains extraordinary. 


Why are entrepreneurial skills present in some people, but not in the rest of the population?

McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc, is the archetype of the entrepreneur who seized an opportunity based on facts that were known to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Although personal initiative plays an important role in starting up a new venture, nothing will ever happen if profitable business opportunities are not perceived in the first place.

Linking entrepreneurial vision to family background is a theory that explains some entrepreneurial careers, but many others do not follow this pattern. Business founders and talented managers come from all segments of society. In my view, entrepreneurial vision is not the result of a single factor, but a combination of three elements:

Entrepreneurs possess a clear sense of direction


Ambition motivates entrepreneurs more than it drives other men and women. Pursuing financial, professional, or artistic achievement with passion creates a constant sense of alertness. Once the direction is established, deficiencies and irritation do not result in paralysis, but in accelerated growth.

Entrepreneurs are insatiably curious 


Psychological flexibility, more than actual knowledge, frequently avoids man-made catastrophes. Entrepreneurs welcome rational criticism and use inputs to grow. They know that their individual expertise, taken in a global context, is infinitesimal. Entrepreneurs love to ask questions and are willing to listen. This is what allows them to detect opportunities that otherwise remain ignored.

Entrepreneurs are quick to seize opportunities


Speed is an essential constituent of efficiency. In any area of human activity, few are ready to jump immediately from thought to action, from conception to implementation. One reason why entrepreneurs achieve more is simply because they try out a wider array of solutions to a problem. The quicker you are willing to start, the faster you will discover what to keep and what to discard. Action increases efficiency, which in turn breeds opportunity.

A clear sense of direction increases an individual's ability to see beyond irritation, to identify opportunities, and to build profitable solutions. If you detect a deviation from the standard, ask yourself if normality should be redefined. Examine discrepancies with curiosity and, above all, be willing to try out your ideas. If you don't push your boat away from the pier, you will have nothing to steer.


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

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Being healthier by consuming less. You can profit from troubled times. Value creation begins with observation. Never entrust your future to chance

The Philosophy of Builders
by John Vespasian 

The factors that lead to prosperity and happiness have changed little through the ages. From the lives of accomplished men and women, we can extract the three principles that they have used to build a better future: self-reliance, tolerance and entrepreneurship. 

This book presents how individuals can use these principles to overcome adversity and improve their lives. Through the analysis of situations in the areas of relationships, career, health and investments, it shows how to overcome pessimism and discouragement, walk the path of least resistance, simplify your life and reduce costs, and focus on real opportunities. 

The ideas are illustrated with examples from the lives of Paracelsus, Jane Austen, Thomas of Aquinas, Gutenberg, Jules Verne and many other historical figures, showing how they overcame obstacles and built a better future for themselves.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Achieve basic stability
Never underestimate what one man alone can do
Establish the foundation of long-term achievement
Attack problems one by one
Do not allow vanity to paralyse you
Pay attention to danger signals
Build on existing strengths
Learn to view problems in perspective
Wait only the strictly necessary


2. Overcome pessimism and discouragement
Assess risks rationally, not emotionally
Quantify what you can expect
Passive acceptance is not the way to go
Dispute negative thinking patterns
Embrace a philosophy that leads to happiness
Avoid inconsistent decisions
Read inspiring authors


3. Walk the path of least resistance
Discard unworkable plans
Use realism to avoid waste
Look at what people are actually buying
Adopt a lifestyle that suits your temperament
Use long-term goals to determine your direction
Stay out of hopeless ventures
Avoid relativism and scepticism
Find an outlet for your talents


4. Take measures to prevent problems
Be prepared to face misfortune
Concentrate on crucial factors
Pay attention only to quality information
Identify potential threats
Look for simple prescriptions
Protect yourself effectively
Increase your resilience against adversity


5. Simplify your life and reduce your costs
Don't fall in the trap of short-term thinking
Enjoy the benefits of the immigrant mentality
When should you be willing to overpay?
Choose inexpensive alternatives
You can learn the basics quickly
Being healthier by consuming less
The solution to stress: simplification


6. Start new projects with minimum resources
Gather support as you go
The danger of getting stuck in abstractions
Avoid inaccessible markets
Do not be intimidated by other people's achievements
Most barriers are psychological
Small but regular steps often lead to success


7. Focus on real opportunities
Select a low-risk approach
You can profit from troubled times
How to identify promising ideas
Should you worry about the state of the economy?
Use low-cost marketing techniques
Redefine what is essential
Value creation begins with observation


8. Adopt productivity as a way of life
Do not assign excessive weight to mistakes
In case of doubt, opt for a logical explanation
Steady work is preferable to occasional jobs
Choose stories that promote achievement
A change of speed might be all you need
Work only on one major project at a time
Let go of linear expectations
Never entrust your future to chance
Keep flexible and alert


9. Take relentless action
Fill your days with worthy activities
Experiment to find out what works
Adopt effective routines
In crucial matters, do not leave anything untried
Continuous action breeds opportunities
Rewrite your personal history
Can you turn adversity into an asset?
Action is the best way to overcome obstacles



The Philosophy of Builders
by John Vespasian

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Get it good, but get it cheap. Discard theories that are unnecessarily complicated. Reject advice that is too impractical. Do not pursue contradictory goals

The effect of hundreds of books, magazine articles, and television programmes on nutrition has been negligible. In our days, the great majority of the population continues to eat in ways that sharply increase their risk of major illness and shorten their lifespan. 

Get it good, but get it cheap
 
Social scientists have come up with three explanations for this fact, but are still discussing which one is exact. To make things worse, these three theories leave us little margin to react:

Discard theories that are unnecessarily complicated


Nutrition advice, some argue, is so abstruse that will always remain dry and unappealing to most men and women. Recondite knowledge is destined, by its very nature, to the chosen few. In other words, this is how it is and there is no way around that.

Reject advice that is too impractical


After reading a nutrition or weight-loss book, motivation lasts only for a couple of weeks, others sustain. The whole advice is so impractical that cannot be implemented by anyone leading a normal life. It is as though you expected everybody to be interested in growing tomatoes on his windowsill. Who on earth can spare the time and energy to do that?

Do not pursue contradictory goals


The advice you read in one book is quickly contradicted by the next publication or television programme. Was nutrition not supposed to be an empirical science? How come that experts cannot agree on whether you should ban chocolate from your diet?

Who has the patience to navigate through thousands of pages of conflicting prescriptions? A third group of commentators concludes that, if specialists are still discussing the pros and cons of orange juice, the whole thing might not be worth the effort.

Which hypothesis is right? 


All three are correct in part, but none of them draws conclusions worthy to impart. The blindingly obvious has been left unsaid, as it often happens when truth is uncomfortable to spread. This is the most likely and, in my view, most accurate explanation: The health formulas proposed in those programmes are simply too expensive. No individual will prolong a diet that he can barely afford.

Organic vegetables, exotic fish, esoteric spices, and the like are easier to recommend than to obtain. The health challenge of our time does not consist of finding new theories to preach. What we need is to bring good nutrition within everybody's reach.


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




Saturday, 20 April 2013

Plan the minimum, go for the maximum. Never concentrate all your expectations on a single path. The more inefficient the current solution, the greater the opportunity

Career planning is a delusion created by wishful thinking. The idea that an individual can precisely steer his way from job to job in a rapidly changing society is unrealistic. Instead, a man should have long-term goals and let his career develop according to market opportunities.

Plan the minimum, go for the maximum


If you keep your eyes fixed on a point in the horizon, chances are that you will overlook possibilities that arise in your immediate environment. Rationality demands having a long-term vision, but implementation details should be modified to fit current opportunities.

Have you ever wondered why indifference is the usual reaction to innovation? Is it not amazing that potential customers, who would be so well served by a new service, are not even willing to listen to a sales pitch? The world is barren land for dreamers, but an endless source of opportunities for problem-solvers. Conventional wisdom preaches that where there is a will, is a way. Possibly, but who wants to walk a path leading to constant disappointment?

If you are about to start a new venture, please remind yourself of the fact that there are 70% chances that you won't survive beyond the fifth year. Some markets show even higher failure rates for new products or services, as it is the case of packaged foods, soda drinks, and restaurants.

Statistics tell us how hard it is to attain business success. The same level of difficulty applies to career planning. Is there a way to predict if a new service is destined to be buried by consumer indifference? How can we ensure that we only launch products that have a reasonable good chance? What strategy maximizes our probability of having a satisfactory career?

Never concentrate all your expectations on a single path

The answer is to discard the myth of perfect planning at the same time that we avoid random moves. Never put all your business resources into making new stuff and throwing it blindly into the market. Never concentrate all your career expectations on a single path. In those cases, hoping for the best is bound to reveal itself as an expensive delusion.

History has repeatedly proven that new undertakings enjoy the best prospects of success when they are aligned with strong demand in the market. Such demand is frequently shown through factors such as annoyance, dissatisfaction, and misery.

The ideal business or career situation consists of serving customers who are deeply annoyed by a problem. Take away your eyes from rigid career objectives and look at the world as an entrepreneur. Ask yourself who is dissatisfied with existing solutions and see if you can propose something better. Find a distribution system that is miserably under-utilized and figure out how to improve it.

Hitting trouble spots doesn't guarantee commercial or career success, but it is as close as you can get. Instead of making unrealistic plans, seek out fields of activity where annoyance has become apparent. The angrier the potential customers, the more receptive they will be to new solutions. Do you remember the irritation at airport check-in lines before the adoption of electronic ticketing?


The more inefficient the current solution, the greater the opportunity

When you detect dissatisfaction in the market, take good note. The more inefficient the current solution, the higher the value that you can add. Commercial and career success are all about adding value. Do you remember that, not so long ago, it was impossible to deliver packages overnight?

Remember that inefficient distribution systems may also offer extraordinary opportunity. The less profitable the current method, the more avidly it will embrace innovation. Thousands of retail locations have seen their value doubled thanks to fast-food franchises. Discard the myth of career planning and, instead, see if you can see solve a burning problem. Those who prove able to alleviate long-standing pain can attract enthusiastic customers.

Accepting reality can be a difficult undertaking. Maybe for that reason, Nature has endowed us with two eyes and two ears to perceive the world and only one mouth to contradict ourselves. Stick to your strategy, but shun rigid plans that might prevent you from taking swift action when unexpected possibilities arise.

Your long-term goals should be broad enough to allow you to move forward in good or bad markets. Abandon the myth of strict planning and the expectation that you should reach a specific career goal before you reach a particular age. You are a unique human being and so is your situation. From time to time, luck may offer you the chance of rapid advancement. When such opportunity comes up, seize it.


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

Friday, 19 April 2013

How persistent are you in pursuing your crucial interests? What are you doing today in order to improve your skills?

No writer was ever such a failure in life as Henry Miller before his mid-forties and seldom has any successful contemporary author ever received such limited financial compensation for his books during his lifetime. Nevertheless, his rise as a literary power in the second half of the 20th century was as unstoppable as a tidal wave.

The first contact with Miller's novels leads most readers to an overwhelming silence, the nervous quietness that takes over the savannah after the last cry of an antelope that has just been put down by a hungry lion. 


Why is Miller's work so different from anything that had been published until that time? How come that it generates such deep feelings of admiration?
Rationality is the way to happiness 
The answer does not lie in the story-lines of Miller's books, since, to the extent that they have a plot, it is usually a messy one. His novels remain far away from the classical three-act structure of beginning, middle, and end, since the purpose of Miller's work is not to establish a direction, but to explore every bifurcation of the road.

The ascent of Miller's work in popular appreciation reflects the awakening of contemporary culture to the concerns of the individual, namely, self-fulfilment and philosophical integrity. His texts don't describe each character's motivation, but paint all necessary details to allow readers to come up with their own fresh perspective.

Miller composed his books using a portable, mechanical typing machine. The manuscripts, which are now deposited at public libraries in the United States of America, show corrections made by hand here and there, but not that many.

Whether you are attracted to Miller's books or not, there are important lessons to be drawn from his work methods. Those teachings might be of interest, not only to writers, but to anyone pursuing demanding long-term ambitions. 


Like an old-time travelling salesman, Miller never hesitated to propose his work to any potential buyer that he could find, in his case, book and magazine publishers. More often than not, rejection was quick to come, frequently accompanied by unfavourable comments. 

Day after day, decade after decade, Miller shrugged his shoulders at negative reactions and moved on in his search for publishers who would appreciate his work.
Consistency: The key to permanent stress relief 
Despite difficulties, he always maintained a constant purpose all through his life. Have you ever had your possessions stolen or your house burnt down to the ground? Have you gone through bankruptcy? Have you had your assets sold at a public auction to pay your creditors?

Tragic as these events may be, experience shows us that victims react differently: A few suffer a nervous breakdown from which they never recover. Many are psychologically paralysed for months. Others immediately get back on their feet and start to rebuild their lost fortune.

In the case of Miller, problems did not take the shape of bankruptcy or material loss, but he did have his novels rejected many times before publication. In addition, distribution of his best-selling novel "Tropic of Cancer" was forbidden in some countries for years for reasons of public morality. 


Without the ability to maintain a lifetime perspective, Henry Miller would have given up his literary ambitions one thousand times along the way.
The 10 Principles of Rational Living
Miller also worked relentlessly. How much your dreams mean to you is a question that no one can answer without examining every aspect of your motivation. In any case, if there is one thing that you can learn from Miller, is that it pays to choose a passion that allows you to exert your talents everyday, during good and bad times.

This principle was so ingrained in Miller's mind that, when he was not working on a new book, he would spend his time painting. His watercolour canvasses did not earn him millions, but he sold many of them, creating in this way a secondary source of income for himself.

How persistent are you in pursuing your crucial interests? What are you doing today in order to improve your skills? Recent medical studies seem to indicate that passion and dedication contribute positively towards helping human beings reach old age in good health. I am not sure if this is true, but the fact is that Henry Miller lived to become 89 years old.

Whether medical advances will one day extend human lifespan to 120 years is a matter of speculation. In the meantime, chances are that you will live to become 80 years old. May each of your birthdays serve to commemorate the achievement of a higher step in your rise towards your ambitions.


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 Derek Keats under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]
Rational living, rational working 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Never expect someone else to solve your problems. Concentrate on work you love. Ignore silly rules and preposterous expectations

Every morning, it pays to remind ourselves that there is no future in repeating the past. After some time of doing this, the message sinks in and we become more adept to drawing lessons from past mistakes, lessons such as:

* Never expect someone else to solve your problems
* Concentrate on work you love.
* Ignore silly rules and preposterous expectations
* Don't waste your resources

* Mix fun and productivity in every task
* View mistakes as learning experiences
* Drop false ideas that keep you paralysed
* Design your own future and paint your own dreams

* Avoid nasty and deranged individuals
* Delegate as much as you can
* Devote more time to your close friends
* Seek creative alternatives in every situation

* Turn off the news (which are always pretty much the same as the day before)
* Learn to see everything in perspective
* Read your favourite books more frequently
* Park your car and take a long walk

* Spend more time thinking about what's important
* Never expect magic
* Mistrust first impressions and, instead, go for substance
* Pursue your goals relentlessly, despite short-term difficulties

* Prevent problems so that they never happen
* Cook often at home and enjoy wonderful food
* Escape noise, conflict, and nonsense
* Remind yourself that, in the end, time is all you have
 


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

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The myths of the single skill and the unique opportunity. How a proactive attitude helps you overcome difficulties. Become tolerant of mistakes, since you will make so many

The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

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

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

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Avoid waste and embrace frugality. Shun overcommitment and worry. Concentrate your resources on essential tasks. Throw away unworkable plans



Rationality is the way to happiness
by John Vespasian

In a world where philosophy is often reduced to catch-phrases and empty theories, this is a passionate defence of logic and consistency as the keys to happiness. Personal effectiveness, the basis of well-being and success, results from rational goals, workable plans and relentless action. 

In the areas of career, health, relationships and investments, this essay shows how to let go of wasteful propositions, pursue compatible goals, cultivate perseverance and resilience, minimize problems and maximize opportunities. Inspired by the teachings of Aristotle, Maimonides, Erasmus, Montaigne, Epictetus and Spinoza, the book encourages readers to embrace rationality and adopt a self-reliant, entrepreneurial attitude.


Table of Contents

1. The untold key to success and happiness
Ten positive trends rarely reported by the media
The way to independent thinking
Trust only your own statistics
Achieving happiness through rationality
Wake up to a sharp vision of reality
Important lessons from history
In search of principles that make sense


2. Fundamental skills that everybody should master
Relentless initiative creates opportunities
An active mind looks for alternatives
Cultivate perseverance and resilience
Avoid waste and embrace frugality
Shun overcommitment and worry


3. The easy way to prosperity
Select a career where you can make a good living
Principles of accelerated learning
Using Ancient Mongol tactics to find employment
Discard the myth of career planning
Growth sectors in the 21st century
Those who can sell are always received well


4. Philosophical ideas to make the best of your life
Take the perspective of a lifetime
Focus on practical solutions
Self-confidence arises from preparedness
Pursue compatible goals
Concentrate your resources on essential tasks


5. Get out of losing situations
Immobility is the enemy of achievement
Train yourself to face nonsense calmly
Throw away unworkable plans
Read the writing on the wall
Take simple measures to protect yourself
You have more options than you think


6. Avoiding major mistakes
Preserve your independent thinking
Don't make the same mistake as Confucius
Entrepreneurship is the opposite of resignation
Abandon perfectionism right now
Waiting for the world to change is a waste of time


7. How to find love without making a mess of sex
Rational values are the basis of great relationships
Overcoming the main obstacle to meeting new people
The high cost of short-term romantic involvement
The entrepreneurial factor in love and friendship
What is the crucial success element in dating?
Break free from artificial social constraints


8. Saving and investing to secure your future
Take control of your financial life
Principles of rational investment
Techniques for reducing risk
How to develop self-confidence as an investor
Saving regularly brings peace of mind
The advantage of turbulent times


9. Principles of optimal health
The teachings of Maimonides
Living in accordance with nature
How psychology can improve your health
Modern theories about prolonging life
How some people live to become 100 years old
The low-cost approach to good nutrition
Effective methods for minimizing stress
Sleeping well by natural means


10. Seeking personal growth one day at a time
Embrace rational principles
The link between personal effectiveness and happiness
Become an entrepreneur in your everyday life
Do not be discouraged by your limited resources
Clear thinking gives you the ultimate advantage
It is on slow days when you make big breaks


11. Conclusion
The human need for logic and consistency
Achieving happiness in a chaotic world
Philosophy summarized in a single sentence
It takes a while, but it can be done


Rationality is the way to happiness
by John Vespasian

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Rational decisions require a strong sense of direction. Less complexity leads to more effectiveness. Concentration improves results. Selection frees up time for priorities

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. From those who try it out, some feel born again, others rejuvenated. Experience has shown however that many cannot cope with the freedom that the medicine brings.

The remedy is known under many different names. You may call it simplification or reduction, downsizing or streamlining, selection or choice, reshuffling, refocusing, elimination, or termination. In any case, the concept will be much easier to name than to implement.


Rational decisions require a strong sense of direction

In order to be able to concentrate our energies on the essential areas of our lives, we must first establish clear priorities. The latter, of course, is what makes some people shun simplification. What they dread, like mice running in circles, is to stand still for a minute and question their contradictions.

Rational decisions are impossible for those whose life lacks a sense of direction. Overloading one's days with senseless activities is a psychological defence mechanism against the terror of taking responsibility. Too much to do is an excuse to avoid facing indecision. A hundred random acquaintances cannot replace conversation with one true friend.

Newspapers often report of companies that collapse due to excessive debt. Stress is heavier for the soul than indebtedness for a business. Efficiency begins with clarity. Selection enhances results. Resources are limited in all endeavours, but the time of our lives is the most scarce resource of all.



Less complexity leads to more effectiveness
 

Fruit growers prune their trees once per year in order to reinforce the vigour of the healthiest branches of each plant. Lean trees will produce more fruit than those whose moribund branches have not been cut off.

Concentration improves results


Shepherds cull their herds at regular intervals to prevent contagious sickness to spread. We all are naturally reluctant to give up possessions accumulated in the past, but frequently, liquidating non-performing assets and reinvesting the proceeds is the best strategy.

Selection frees up time for priorities


Retailers put slow-moving items on sale or give them away for free in order to make space on the shelves for more popular goods. Are you investing endless efforts in a dead-end career? How can you reinvent your past and aim at a future that is spectacularly better than your present?

Productivity experts who advise manufacturers always start by asking workers to clear up the factory floor. It is only when misplaced tools and obsolete inventory are removed from the work space that people begin to see their own mistakes. Without visibility, there can be no transformation.

A cluttered agenda is a cage that houses paradise birds waiting to be released. Those birds are your best ideas, the ones that you have not formulated yet. It is high time to 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 The 10 Principles of Rational Living

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

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

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Make your personal safety one of your top priorities. Do not volunteer giving any personal details to strangers. Save regularly, create a reserve fund for emergencies

Anyone who tells you that you should always be yourself under any circumstances does not have your best interest in mind. On the contrary, placing yourself in difficult situations for no good reason will prevent you from enjoying life and leave you little energy to develop your talents. Being authentic is great, but not at any cost.

Make your personal safety one of your top priorities


When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you will be much better off if you do it the right way. Minimizing your psychological and financial dependence on other people's opinion is a prerequisite for being able to make your own choices without fearing dire consequences. My point is that it is perfectly rational to avoid confrontation in situations from which you cannot walk away.

Increasing individual independence from third parties' opinions is such a fundamental skill that it should be taught at school. The idea that only millionaires possess the means to speak out their mind is false, although unfortunately, such an argument is frequently invoked to favour conformism. The truth is that everyone can take steps to protect his privacy and integrity. In my experience, the following two strategies are particularly useful:

Do not volunteer giving any personal details to strangers


There is little advantage in providing details of your private life to strangers, colleagues at work, employers, suppliers, or anyone who does not belong to your circle of close friends. Why should you give anyone the opportunity to use that information against you or the power to manipulate you in anyway?

Rudeness is unnecessary to protect your private life and, to prying questions, it is often wise to give a vague reply. In most cases, people will accept your reluctance to provide personal details and change the subject.

Save regularly and create a reserve fund for emergencies


Accumulating a financial cushion will do wonders to protect your peace of mind and personal freedom. The temptation to engage into doubtful business or professional practices can hardly tempt a man who possesses enough savings. He will be able to used those to quit his job and spend a couple of months searching for a new position.

Nobody needs to be a millionaire to be able to do that. The real bedrock of self-confidence is not magic or make-belief, but financial foresight. If you save regularly every month, it should not take you too long to accumulate a financial cushion that can take you through a rough period in your professional life.

Make the decision to bring your dependence on other people's opinion down to a negligible level. Find polite ways to show your determination to protect your private life. It is easier than you think and it will save you lots of problems down the line.

Establish a reasonable monthly savings goal for yourself and stick to it until you reach your desire level of safety. By adopting these simple measures and implementing them consistently, you can substantially enhance your well-being, peace of mind, and happiness.


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

Only 3% of the population read books, so what? Three factors that make books irreplaceable. Presentation of well-argued minority views. Access to complex ideas

It happens every spring, but this year, the questioning has been particularly intense. Every month of April, on occasion of the London Book Fair, newspapers publish articles speculating if it still makes sense to publish books.

Only 3% of the population read books, so what?


At the turn of the 21st century, one thousand book titles were published for every feature-length film made. Today, the ratio is one to six hundred. The number of films produced every year has increased and, at the same time, the number of published books has diminished.

"We live in a visual world," sociologists argue. "In many areas, the written word is becoming a relic of previous centuries." Media analysts blame the trend on video-games and portable DVD players. Others simply say that reading requires too much effort after our long work schedules.


Three factors that make books irreplaceable

In my view, those commentators are missing the point completely. Despite the abundance of cheap visual entertainment, readers' motivation remains strong. The reason why people read books has nothing to do with the demands of society and everything to do with individual psychology.

1. Presentation of well-argued minority views

Visual media, due to its structure and economics, is unable to express minority views in a consistent, intellectual manner. In this respect, all has been tried and all has failed. Complex ideas cannot be transmitted without the written word. No photograph and no film can replace a chain of reasoning built in clear sentences.

2. Access to diverse, complex ideas


Films, television, and radio, despite the growing number of channels, can only thrive when they aim at large audiences. They can offer multiplicity in the multitude, but no original ideas. Digital video has reduced the budget necessary to make a film, but not the distribution costs. Actors, good lighting, and a decent soundtrack are still expensive. Books, on the other hand, can still be published and distributed cheaply.

3. Direct contact with innovative reasoning


In a film, special effects cannot cure the problems of a weak scenario. Even great acting is unable to sustain a filmed story that doesn't make any sense. How long ago is it since you saw a really thought-provoking film? How often do you gain deep insights from watching television? The written word remains the ideal means to transmit innovative ideas.

The good news about reading is that three per cent of the population still remain avid readers. One out of thirty-three is not a bad proportion at all. A strong audience for writers is still there and it is not going to become smaller in the foreseeable future.

Do people read internet blogs for the same reason that they love books? Is it because they want to read original ideas? Do they do it in order to enjoy some fresh writing? I suspect that, for most, the main drivers are the joy of discovering something new and a steadfast refusal to join the other thirty-two.


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

Friday, 5 April 2013

The massive personal advantages of becoming an entrepreneur. There will be no ceiling on your growth. There will be fewer constraints on your creativity

Starting anything new entails risks and demands dedication. Whether you decide to take up playing piano, learning French, or building model aeroplanes, it is going to cost you money, time, and a fair amount of frustration due to inevitable beginner's mistakes.

The massive personal advantages of becoming an entrepreneur

Irrespective of the technical difficulties of your chosen endeavour, nothing can be compared to the level of commitment required to get a new business off the ground. The sheer number of different tasks that entrepreneurs must perform, from product development to marketing, is overwhelming.

On the other hand, entrepreneurship possesses three characteristics that render it uniquely inviting and reassuring. No other human activity offers these advantages to its practitioners. It is regrettable that many men and women graduate from their studies without knowledge of these facts:

1. There will be no ceiling on your growth


If you spend some time doing research, you will find areas of enterprise that require little or no formal education and negligible start-up investment. By combining elements of your background, knowledge, and personal circumstances, you can come up with innovative business models. In today's global market, you can subcontract most routine tasks and concentrate on what you do best.

2. There will be fewer constraints on your creativity


While many areas of human action impose strict rules to be followed, entrepreneurs remain free to choose their path. North or south, right or left, the business owner can follow his intuition without need to ask for permission. His only arbiters are his cash flow and his customers' satisfaction. Each entrepreneur determines his own speed and how he will break the barriers to his growth.

3. There will be no limits to your learning


Business is the ideal field for the active mind. No discipline is foreign to the committed entrepreneur. The man who manages his own enterprise is a practical philosopher and a street intellectual. Entrepreneurs' tolerance of mistakes comes from their experience of dealing with all kinds of people. Creativity and resiliency are skills that entrepreneurs develop by facing daily challenges.

If the great potential of entrepreneurship is so well established, what explains that it is only able to attract a small part of the population? There is one reason, one major obstacle that prevents many from crossing the line. You can name it marketing, distribution, income generation, or simply sales.

4. You will learn to overcome your biggest fears


The fear of being unable to achieve enough sales is what blocks 99% of those who entertain the idea of becoming entrepreneurs. Other obstacles pale in comparison to this one. If you succeed in getting over this initial hurdle, chances are that your business will be able to face whatever problems might come your way.

Compared with previous centuries, our digital era has not essentially changed the answer to the sales question. In the field of commerce, like in any other area of life, action is the best antidote against paralysing fear. 


Start small, try different things, see what works and what doesn't. Learn from mistakes, don't be discouraged, and ignore malevolent criticism. Take limited risks, follow market signals, be persistent, and you will eventually get it right.

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

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Keeping a cool head in times of adversity. How to use rationality to overcome misfortune. Four rational steps you can take. Advance on your chosen path

Few are able to keep a cool head when facing daunting obstacles. Frustration derived from hardship leads many to despair. When misfortune and tragedy strike, empty promises won't help. What advice can be given to those who suffer from physical deficiencies or find themselves discriminated on the basis of their origin, background, or personal history?
 
Keeping a cool head in times of adversity

Television and magazines are full of recommendations for disadvantaged individuals. "Be positive and have confidence," they are told. "Better times are coming." On many occasions, such bromides are dispensed by those who have never encountered serious problems in life or who have inherited most of what they possess.

No wonder that envy and discouragement are rampant in contemporary society, possibly more than in any previous era of humanity. Already in the year 326 B.C., Aristotle emphasized the importance of seeking virtue as a way to attain happiness. Unfortunately, the voice of the philosopher seems long forgotten.

How to use rationality to overcome misfortune

Nowadays, many of those affected by personal deficiencies, instead of seeking out a rational response, turn to nihilism, obsession, or revenge. None of those approaches works, none of them has ever improved anything. What is the reason of their popularity? Why do people follow those paths?

Nihilism will deprive your life of direction, replacing ambition by neglect and dereliction. Your vision will become blurred and you will be reduced to perceiving, from everything, the worst. Purpose will be buried by random decisions, convictions will turn into derision.

Obsession will narrow your range to the minimum, pushing you to devote every hour to senseless goals, such as acquiring fame and power. History tells of many small men who became murderers to enhance their feeling of self-importance. This is not the way.

Revenge will waste your life by focusing your attention on past misfortune. Getting even seldom solves problems and frequently results in additional harm. Revenge will consume your efforts and resources, leaving you empty-handed, sad, and mad at yourself.


"Wisdom is the most general of sciences," observed Aristotle, "since it requires man to know principles and to follow them. Prudence, on the other hand, is a virtue concerned with the particulars of human action. Prudent is the man who can tell, at the same time, what is the best and what is feasible for him."

Four rational steps you can take

The rational approach for dealing with bad luck and misfortune starts and ends with reality. Cards are not evenly distributed in the game of life. Expecting others to compensate you for present or past trouble is unlikely to improve your situation. If anything, pity and compassion will paralyse you. What to do then? In my view, these four are the steps that one should follow:

1. Understand your own uniqueness:
You are unique in your genetic characteristics and personal circumstances. Do not compare yourself with others. It is irrational and brings nothing but misery.

2. Make a workable plan: Discard unrealistic expectations and decide to make the best of your situation. Look for practical solutions. Assess different alternatives. Make a plan and implement it.

3. Adopt a long-term focus: Realize that, more often than not, focused long-term activity is able to counterbalance personal deficiencies, major obstacles, and even tragedy. Keep on advancing on your chosen path and don't look back.



4. Maintain your serenity: If you look around, you will find plenty of examples of people who have succeeded despite overwhelming burdens. Maintain your serenity and trust the principle of cause and effect. There is no guarantee of success, but intelligent persistence has proven many times to work.

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