Monday, 30 September 2013

How irrationality generates stress, anxiety, and depression. Ignoring reality never works and can only lead to disaster. The first step to solve severe problems

Reality is not built on the basis of magic. Placing your trust on luck leads to overconfidence and does not increase your chances of success. Exaggerated expectations, instead of motivating individuals, paralyse their initiatives. An all-consuming desire to turn around immediately one's situation can lead to foolish actions.

How irrationality generates stress, anxiety, and depression


A man who has been diagnosed with cancer will only inflict unnecessary suffering on himself if he compares his physical condition with that of an Olympic athlete. The stronger his hope to find a miraculous fix for his sickness, the deeper his anxiety. His conviction that short-term radical improvement is possible will intensify his disappointment when a solution fails to materialize.

The belief in short-term radical improvement seems to be deeply anchored in human psychology. Our ancestors that hunted wild animals resorted to magic incantations to turn spirits in their favour. The sale of amulets and talismans in the Middle Ages fed on similar cognitive distortions.

Ignoring reality never works and can only lead to disaster


The sick want to heal without delay and the poor want to attain wealth overnight. Victims listen avidly to stories about secret recipes that grant men supernatural powers. Dreams of immediate achievement are predicated and encouraged. Demanding the impossible becomes a trend and people wrongly turn adversity into a claim.

Such approach does not work because it clashes head-on against reality. The world is ruled by the law of cause and effect, not by wishful thinking. Demanding short-term radical improvement can render you ineffective. More often than not, your actions will result in disappointment instead of improvement.

A wise man knows that, in times of adversity, stability is the first step towards a better life. In medical emergencies, first aid aims at preventing further injury and maintaining essential bodily functions. In corporate insolvencies, the goal of financial restructuring is to avoid bankruptcy and keep a business alive.

On most occasions, expecting short-term radical improvement is unrealistic and demoralizing. Those who suffer from life-threatening disease should focus their efforts, in the first place, on achieving stability and preventing their condition from deteriorating. The rational way of moving forward is to take small but steady steps.

The first step to solve severe problems is to achieve stability


If you have suffered misfortune, you can recover much faster if you discard unjustified expectations of short-term radical improvement. Let go of unworkable plans and exaggerated desires because they will only consume your time and waste your resources. Instead, concentrate on accomplishing stability.

Work your way through difficulties and reinforce your fundamental systems. Take measures to prevent the possibility of relapse. Build progressively on your accomplishments and preclude the chance of backsliding. Discard unrealistic hopes and shun hurtful comparisons. Focus your attention on achieving stability and let your improvements guide you to the next level.



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

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Past mistakes generate regrets, but those should not lead to paralysis. Most psychological misery that accompanies critical problems is unnecessary

Discouragement is frequently viewed as the inevitable consequence of serious problems, but does it really have to be so? If you allow yourself to be intimidated by the economy recession, you might be underestimating your professional chances. If you have endured an abusive relationship, have you lost confidence in people? If you suffer from severe health problems, have you lowered your expectations? 

Past mistakes generate regrets, but those should not lead to paralysis

Misfortune can modify our perception of reality, but we do not need to lose the sharpness of our vision. When bad experiences lead us to focus on obstacles, it is time to push ourselves to search for solutions.

Although a fair amount of trouble is unavoidable in life, we should not make our situation worse by driving ourselves to despair. People who go through bankruptcy may feel wretched contemplating those who inherit wealth. Similarly, those who go through divorce may envy couples who lead happy lives without apparent effort.

The shock of finding oneself too far away from success is unbearable for many individuals. Sadness and despondency intensify material problems, making them deeper and more painful. Victims who compare their disgrace with other people's prosperity only compound their damage. 


Most psychological misery that accompanies critical problems is unnecessary

The desire to recover what has been lost is natural and healthy as long as it is not exacerbated by social pressure. Emotional reactions can aggravate whatever losses we have incurred. Dismay can render victims deaf to common sense and blind to opportunity.

What is the reason of so much useless suffering? What makes people act against their interests? Why do they block their achievements? What's the point of placing additional obstacles on our way? Why does this phenomenon affect so many individuals?

Those negative consequences can be blamed on the myth of short-term radical improvement. Seldom has an idea wrecked so much havoc in the lives of millions of people. The victims of this wrong conviction are as numerous today as in previous centuries, showing that the lesson has not been learned from History.


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

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The dire consequences of irrational enthusiasm. How lack of prudence and perspective can destroy your life. What you can lose and what you can gain

The life of musician Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) provides a forceful illustration of the dire consequences of irrational enthusiasm. When Antonio was a child, his father, Giovanni Vivaldi, taught him to play the violin and took him around to perform in parties and ceremonies in Venice. 

The dire consequences of irrational enthusiasm

Those early contacts with the commercial market for music encouraged Antonio Vivaldi to develop his skills further. By the time he was 20 years old, he had become proficient at several string and wind instruments; from all of them, it was the violin that he played best.

Shortly after his 25th birthday, he obtained an appointment as music teacher at a municipal orphanage in Venice. The job involved teaching children to play the violin, training them to sing in the orphanage choir, and writing compositions for religious ceremonies.

Like most employees, Vivaldi soon realized that his position was not going to make him rich. Nevertheless, it provided him a stable income, a growing reputation as composer and performer, and contacts in the commercial music market that could prove profitable down the road.

How lack of prudence and perspective can destroy your life

Vivaldi's career exemplifies the dark side of exuberant optimism. While other musicians aimed at prologuing their appointments, he took disproportionate risks. His wrong assessment of the market led him to mistakes that wasted the assets that he had accumulated.

When Vivaldi was in his thirties, the orphanage promoted him to musical director in recognition of his excellent performance as teacher and composer. The new position brought him a higher salary and the possibility to devote more energies to commercial music ventures.

Without neglecting his job at the orphanage, Vivaldi branched out in the field of opera, which at that time constituted the most remunerative genre for composers. Venice possessed several theatres which competed with each other for audience and novelty.

Opera was a commercial market in which each new production could lead to large profits or financial losses. Vivaldi composed several dozen operas with varying success. A few of his pieces earned him substantial profits, while others quickly fell into oblivion. In parallel, his position at the orphanage continued to generate him a regular income.

What you can lose and what you can gain

If Vivaldi had maintained his strategy, he would have become wealthy with limited risk. His double role of musical director and opera entrepreneur enabled him to get the best of both worlds. By devoting his days to sacred music and his evenings to the theatre, he benefited from two complementary incomes and enhanced his reputation. 

Unfortunately, he became overenthusiastic and abandoned his well-structured life. Instead of maintaining a balance between his two occupations, he began to devote more efforts to the commercial market and seek commissions outside Venice.

During his forties and fifties, Vivaldi travelled frequently in pursuit of better appointments. He performed in Mantua, Milan, Rome, Trieste, Prague, and Vienna. His life became exciting and exhausting, leaving him little time for teaching. 

Although the commissions were quite lucrative, the money seemed to hardly cover expenditures. Travelling was uncomfortable and expensive. The continuous effort of chasing appointments in distant cities must have made Vivaldi regret his orderly life in Venice. While he was in Vienna trying to secure a new commission, he died in 1741, when he was 64 years old.

Are you perceiving reality objectively?

Vivaldi's excessive enthusiasm made him overrate the size and possibilities of the commercial music market. If he had been more realistic, he would have stayed in Venice and built on his assets. With less work and risk, he could have led a comfortable life.

A wise man does his best to avoid the delusion of exuberance. Appealing ventures in restricted markets frequently end in disaster. Never entrust fundamental decisions to your emotions. Growing consumer demand provides an open door to success, while projects sustained only by enthusiasm tend to have a dead-end.

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 dalbera 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. Overcoming barriers to personal growth. Techniques to stop worrying. Get rid of stress, anxiety, and depression

  • How to stay rational in a chaotic world
  • Maintaining your psychological strength despite problems and obstacles
  • Techniques to stop worrying 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 personal development
A free presentation of my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living:

Friday, 27 September 2013

Are you sure you are moving in the right direction? Check your results and review your strategy. Focus your efforts on projects that are worthy and sustainable

Delusion is a bad advisor, hardly better than ignorance or convenience. We all love to hear words of praise and encouragement, although the truth would serve us much better. If we face reality with courage, we can spare ourselves countless trouble in the present and costs in the future. A wise man does not place his trust on agreeable lies.

Are you sure you are moving in the right direction?


Wishful thinking has the capability of short-circuiting logic; beliefs that appeal to vanity should be examined with suspicion. Never accept at face value any idea pleasing to the ear, since it might contain more sugar than substance. Such is the case of the exaggerated qualities that many people attribute to enthusiasm.

Never allow self-reliance to render you blind to facts. When we start a new venture, ambition motivates us to move forward and overcome obstacles. Experienced entrepreneurs know how important it is to pursue opportunities with conviction, but they are also aware of the dangers of ignoring market signals.

Check your results and review your strategy


Growing consumer demand is a key element of success in any commercial undertaking. If your products or services aim at willing buyers, your business should do well. In contrast, if your efforts are met with indifference, you should consider the possibility that your strategy is mistaken.

Feeling enthusiastic about your venture may help you close some sales, but cannot sustain a company in the long-term. If the demand for your products or services does not exist, your activities will be short-lived.

Focus your efforts on sustainable projects


Markets are constructed in a such a way that practicality and utility weigh heavier than exuberance. In the end, people buy only what they like. No amount of cheerful advertisements can change the fundamental views of consumers.

Every time that a company has tried to sell what people dislike, it has resulted in financial losses. Enthusiastic projects that are not aimed at the public are dead-end propositions. Before you make commitments to an appealing cause, take a moment to examine if it is sustainable.


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

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Why it is so difficult to lead a simple life. Would you recognize yourself in the crowd? Listen to your emotions, but check the facts. In praise of circumspection

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, 25 September 2013

Can you redefine what is essential? Consider extending the lifespan of your possessions. Think ahead and avoid unnecessary effort. Stake your claim

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

Can you redefine what is essential?


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

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

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

Think ahead and avoid unnecessary effort


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

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

It's time to stake your claim for a better future


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

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

The best blogs about psychology


    The best blogs about psychology

    Sunday, 22 September 2013

    Five strategies to increase your self-confidence and self-reliance. Facts and numbers provide perspective to overcome stress and anxiety

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

    Five strategies to increase your self-confidence and self-reliance


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Rationality leads to increased personal effectiveness


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



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

    Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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

    Saturday, 21 September 2013

    The main drivers of the human personality are incredibly stable. The ingredients of a strong self-confidence. The importance of having a long-term vision

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

    The ingredients of a strong self-confidence


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

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

    The importance of having a long-term vision


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

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

    The main drivers of our personality are incredibly stable. Even minor changes require tremendous effort or sustained external pressure. The only methods that can effectively increase our self-confidence are those that, little by little, realign our thinking patterns according to consistent principles.


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

    Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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

    Waiting for the perfect opportunity is perfect nonsense. It is time to abandon unworkable theories. Shrug your shoulders at nonsense, embrace the truth

    Amongst all false philosophies, the worst ones preach that you cannot be happy until the whole world changes. Putting your life on hold until the world becomes better is the ultimate folly. Unfortunately, millions of people fall passionately for this idea, which seems to feed on every sort of misery and pain.

    Waiting for the perfect opportunity is perfect nonsense

    In past centuries and nowadays, many individuals show willingness to spend their lives waiting for tidal changes. Such persons talk persuasively and paint pictures of a better world. They make speeches in favour of present sacrifice in exchange for indeterminate future compensation.

    A life spent waiting will be devoured by emptiness and diluted by nothingness. Happiness cannot be attained through irrational hopes and exaggerated expectations. Problems rarely get solved on their own. Irrational hopes, instead of elevating your soul, will bury it in a deep black hole.

    Difficulties can be turned into prosperity only if you make workable plans, take swift action, stabilize the situation, and pursue feasible improvements. Passive waiting never leads to happiness. Chance will seldom reduce inconveniences in your environment. Luck cannot be trusted to remove obstacles from your path.

    Look at yourself in the mirror and ask how long you are willing to wait for happiness. The higher your self-confidence, the more determined you will be to advance your cause. Never trust promises that cannot be fulfilled. Instead of putting your plans on hold, redouble your efforts to attain your goals.

    It is time to abandon unworkable theories

    The faster you recognize unworkable theories, you better off you'll be. When people request you to wait indefinitely to receive your fair share, discard their assurances and search for alternatives. Life is too short to be wasted in pointless waiting. Do not let vain words interfere with your plans. Make sure that you pursue your objectives with relentless passion.

    If someone promises you a job at an indeterminate date, keep on searching for a suitable position. If people tell you to be patient, thank them politely for their advice and look for a short-cut to your goals. If your environment favours passivity, figure out how to motivate yourself to work harder in order to accomplish more.

    Shrug your shoulders at nonsense and embrace the truth

    Write down your answer to the question of how long you are willing to wait for happiness. Are you going to stop chasing your dreams until the world becomes a perfect place? Are you going to devote your best years to pointless discussions? Would you accept just to grow older without ever improving your situation?

    To those who preach endless waiting, let your reply be short and determined. Shrug your shoulders and tell them the truth. Life is too short for trusting uncertain predictions. It is up to each individual to face problems courageously, stabilize his situation, and transform it into opportunity. Your willingness to wait for happiness should not go beyond what circumstances dictate as absolutely necessary.

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

    Stress management under difficult circumstances. Techniques to stop worrying when you have a thousand problems. Stay rational in a chaotic world

    • How to stay rational in a chaotic world
    • Maintaining your psychological strength despite problems and obstacles
    • Techniques to stop worrying 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 personal development
    A free presentation of my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living:

    Friday, 20 September 2013

    The importance of saying no to things that don't work. Writing off liars and false promises. Do not wait for happiness. Take action now

    Since nobody likes to hear negative answers, the word "no" has almost disappeared from polite conversations. Instead of rejecting requests straight away, people often make vague promises or simply reply that they don't know. Even when refusals are uttered, they are usually phrased as "possibly, but not at this moment."

    The importance of saying no to things that don't work


    At least, outright rejections can push you to correct your approach. In contrast, indefinite answers only lead to doubt and paralysis. When someone tells you that he is not interested at this moment, he is implying that he might change his mind in the future. Is he inviting you to try again next month? How much time should you devote to pursuing undefined opportunities?

    There is hardly a bigger waste of time than waiting for future events that never come. Vague promises of attention, advice, jobs, funding, or friendship should not be taken seriously. You have to face the fact that, instead of substance, you are being served worthless hope. Do not expect much from such assurances. Instead, move on and search for better opportunities.

    Writing off liars and false promises


    In those cases, you should not only write off the promise but also the person who made it. Speculating about the seriousness of empty words is unproductive. You will be much better off if you devote your energies to seeking alternative solutions. Take action and do not waste a minute. You will be able to achieve much more on your own.

    The same principle applies to the cardinal purpose of philosophy, that is, the search of happiness. Although many ideas, groups, and individuals promise well-being and prosperity, few deliver anything worthwhile. Excuses and apologies are the likely output of unrealistic assurances.

    The story will play out in an all-too-predictable way. If you ask to receive your due, you will hear that the time is not ripe. You will be asked to be patient and wait a little longer. Your rational demands will be played down as immature. Your claims will be ignored and your plan of action, postponed.

    Do not wait for happiness. Take action now


    In that context, you need to ask yourself how long you are willing to wait for happiness. Will you delay your dreams until all pieces of the puzzle fall into place? Are you ready to make further investments in projects that fail to generate profits? How many chances are you willing to give people who repeatedly let you down?

    Although hope is universally presented as virtue, this should not always be the case. When hope is not based on facts and logic, it can destroy your life. Irrational expectations can make you waste your days waiting. Inconsistent wishes can pull your forces in opposite directions. Exaggerated expectations may submerge you into conflicts that cannot be resolved.


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

    Wednesday, 18 September 2013

    Achieving happiness through rationality. Take the perspective of a lifetime. Throw away unworkable plans. Entrepreneurship is the opposite of resignation



    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, 17 September 2013

    Ignore foolish fashions and focus on real human needs. The misconception behind worthless innovation. Are you moving in the right direction?

    The cult of innovation returns to haunt us every decade. In the stock market, such occurrences lead to disproportionately high valuations of technology companies. In colleges and universities, the demand for biotechnology and computer-science courses grows. In the job market, companies hire less accountants and more engineers.

    Ignore foolish fashions and focus on real human needs


    At those times, newspapers report the creation of novel businesses and professions. Radio talk shows announce that the world has changed and that nothing will remain the same. Television commentators ask viewers to forget traditional ideas about the economy and invest their savings on technology.

    Periods of foolish exaggeration end badly without exception. Shares experience a momentous rise before a collapse in their price. Companies cut down on research and salaries for scientists return to reasonable levels. Biotechnology graduates cannot find jobs in high-technology companies and opt for less glamorous positions in the food industry.

    The misconception behind worthless innovation


    The misconception behind those fads is that technology can multiply essential human needs. That idea is false. Every time that investors have fuelled immoderate expenditures on technology, it has proved a disaster. Every time that journalists have predicted an era of unlimited growth, it has led to economic catastrophe.

    Technology developments that are unconnected to fundamental human necessities require a long-term view that few companies can afford. Original research is a narrow path fraught with difficulties. Ground-breaking innovation demands extraordinary knowledge and dedication.


    Are you moving in the right direction?


    For these reasons, before you begin to walk such narrow paths, you should ask where they are going to lead you. Will your efforts take you to a crowded or lonely place? Is there a market on the other side of the desert that will reward you in case of success? In any case, you want to avoid working for years on a dead-end project.

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

    The best blogs about psychology


      The best blogs about psychology

      Sunday, 15 September 2013

      Nothing is learned by making the same mistake twice. The harm that relativism can inflict. How to avoid turning in circles of ethical contradictions

      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. 

      Nothing is learned by making the same mistake twice

      What prompts us to repeat the same mistakes? 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.

      The harm that relativism can inflict


      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.

      How to avoid turning in circles of ethical contradictions


      Turning in circles of ethical contradictions 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.

      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 The 10 Principles of Rational Living

      Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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

      The low-cost approach to personal development. How to stay rational in a chaotic world. Stress management under difficult circumstances

      • 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 personal development
      A free presentation of my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living:

      Stop zigzagging and embrace consistency. Personal effectiveness is fuelled by virtue, accelerated by consistency. Contradictions lead to waste, irritation, and chaos

      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.

      Stop zigzagging and embrace consistency 


      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.

      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.

      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.


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

      Saturday, 14 September 2013

      The philosophical lesson from a widespread strategic mistake. Why ignorance and prejudice often persist for long. Should you always tell the truth?

      At the beginning of the 16th century, life expectancy in Europe was much shorter that nowadays. Typhus and tuberculosis were fairly common. Influenza and common colds were lethal for undernourished peasants plagued by vermin and lice. Large numbers of deaths took place every winter.

      The philosophical lesson from a widespread strategic mistake

      Medicine at that time was evolving from mysticism into science. Renaissance physicians took over the knowledge from ancient Greece and Rome, developed their own ideas, and began to experiment with new treatments. The sale of curative herbs and potions was a booming business, although few of those remedies actually proved beneficial to patients.

      When wealthy merchants became sick, they had the means to pay for the services of the best physicians, from which there were only a few in each city. Since Universities produced small numbers of graduates, tending to the sick was a lucrative and prestigious occupation.

      The discovery of new medical knowledge generated opportunity and risk. On the one hand, innovative cures benefited patients and created the basis for further research. On the other hand, new remedies disrupted the established business of physicians and pharmacists.

      Medical practitioners had little incentive to abandon useless treatments for which they could charge hefty fees. The discovery of inexpensive natural remedies undermined their incomes and reputations.

      Historical distance allows us to contemplate the 16th century with a feeling of superiority. When we read about the beliefs that people upheld five hundred years ago, we react with amusement. Why did knowledge evolve so slowly? Why did ignorance and prejudice persist for so long?

      Why ignorance and prejudice often persist for long

      The best minds of the 16th century asked the same questions. Paracelsus (1493-1541) offers a striking example in the field of medicine. His real name was Theophrastus von Hohenheim, which he changed himself to Paracelsus. The philosophical lesson to be learned from his life goes far beyond the scope of medical techniques.

      We know little of Paracelsus' infancy. Like many middle-class youths of his time, he must have picked up the rudiments of Latin through private lessons. A knowledge of Latin was the only formal requirement to study at European Universities. The choice of subjects was mostly limited to theology, medicine, and law.

      While Paracelsus completed his medical studies in Ferrara (Italy), the pest broke out and began to decimate the population. Those who could afford it left Ferrara for the countryside in order to avoid contagion. The poor remained in town and the epidemic wiped out complete families.

      The municipality hired men to remove the sick from their houses and transport them to a closed camp outside the city wall, where they would be abandoned to die. Paracelsus, who was still a medical student, soon understood that medieval treatments, such as bleeding patients, were ineffective against the pest.

      This realization led him to experiment with alternative methods. When the pest receded and normal life returned to Ferrara, Paracelsus presented his new ideas at the University. To his surprise, his views were met with scepticism and hostility. The professors in Ferrara did not welcome suggestions that contradicted inherited knowledge.

      After graduation, Paracelsus travelled extensively throughout Europe. Sometimes, he would settle down in a city to practice medicine for a year; on other occasions, he would take up a position as surgeon in one of the armies involved in the wars that ravaged the Renaissance.

      As his medical knowledge and expertise grew, so did his irritation with the incompetence of fellow physicians. Thanks to his wide travelling, Paracelsus had accumulated impressive surgical skills and long experience in the use of herbs and minerals for curative purposes. In contrast, the average medic in the 16th century possessed only the little knowledge that he had acquired at the University.

      Should you tell the truth when it can lead to disastrous consequences?

      Paracelsus' effectiveness increased his fame, but his criticism of ignorant doctors made him many enemies. His conflicts with colleagues became extreme after he was appointed to teach medicine at the University of Basel (Switzerland).

      With the perspective of five centuries, we can clearly see how unrealistic Paracelsus' expectations were. It was undeniable that he had acquired more knowledge than other physicians; nevertheless, it was chimerical for him to expect his colleagues to make way for truth when innovation undermined their livelihoods and reputations.

      Is it not unfair that Paracelsus had to face such a strong resistance? Was his indignation at his ignorant colleagues not well justified? My point is that these questions are irrelevant because they are based on incorrect assumptions.

      Unrealistic expectations are hard to discard because they are based on delusions of entitlement. Paracelsus felt wrongly entitled to reshape the world according to truth and innovation, even though the great majority of his contemporaries had vested interests in clinging to the past.

      As a result, Paracelsus was forced to quit his position at the University of Basel a year later and return to his itinerant life. Although he was one of the best physicians of his time, he died in poverty before his 48th birthday.

      The fact is that knowledge, expertise, or desire do not grant magical powers to anyone. Unrealistic expectations lead to waste and decay. A workable plan is worth a million debates. Let go of chimerical projects and focus on what can be reasonably accomplished. Stay away from grandiose undertakings and concentrate on entrepreneurship, which is the practical way to achievement.

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