Friday, 31 January 2014

Choosing sustainability over short-term satisfaction. Are you creating long-term assets? Do you spend your days surrounded by people you like? Are you embarked on a path of personal growth?

In retrospect, it is easy to identify dead-end projects. If we look back at Alexander the Great, we can see that his dream of conquering the world was a foolish adventure. Similarly, if we look back at the Byzantine Empire, we can see how the erosion of principles ruined its legal system.

On the other hand, acknowledging that a beloved current activity may be a dead-end project is a whole different question. Human beings seldom stop detrimental actions even when errors become apparent; instead, we come up with a hundred reasons in favour of continuing what is manifestly unworkable. We do not want to lose face by admitting that we have made a mistake.

Choosing sustainability over short-term satisfaction


Sustainability marks the difference between difficult undertakings and dead-end enterprises. A feasible plan leads to a better future; a hopeless proposition, to endless nightmares. High-quality service leads to satisfied customers; wasteful chaos, to regrets. Learning valuable skills leads to increased productivity; senseless memorizing, to unbearable boredom.

Although there is no foolproof formula for identifying dead-end projects, experience provides us with effective guidelines. The sooner we recognize a losing pattern, the faster we can correct it or escape it. The following questions can help establish if a project is worth pursuing or not.

Are you creating long-term assets? 


Valuable undertakings provide the foundation for a better future; detrimental activities destroy resources. The worst sort of ventures are those that create permanent liabilities. Never embark yourself on an enterprise that requires you to make disproportionate commitments.

Do you spend your days surrounded by people you like?


Dead-end projects attract bitter persons who relish in sharing their misery. Enterprises that possess a culture of aggressiveness hire workers who are nasty and mean. Those environments are not conductive to success; seek out kind people and do your best to avoid the rest.

Are you developing valuable skills?


The best games make us acquire useful habits and think for ourselves; similarly, the best sports improve our overall physical condition. In contrast, dead-end activities have restrained scopes with no wider application; they are doomed to remain hobbies forever.

Can your work be expanded to a global scale?


Minority languages, despite their many charms, cannot match the array of possibilities offered by English, Spanish, French, and German. Projects with strict local focus provide few opportunities for growth and learning. Activities with a global view allow participants to meet many interesting people.

Are you embarked on a path of personal growth?


History changes markets and fashions; the clock cannot be turned back. Worthy activities follow current trends and attract new customers; in contrast, unworkable projects attempt to maintain dying traditions; they have already lost the race against time.

Stop wasting time on dead-end projects. As soon as you identify a losing pattern, discard rationalisations and analyse your motivation. Shun activities that keep you running in circles; instead, seek out opportunities for growth and learning; choose projects that enhance productiveness, cooperation, kindness, and friendship.



Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Moving from hesitation to determination. Contradictions lead to waste, chaos to irritation. Wrong ideas can blind you to the facts of reality. What cannot be comprehended cannot be validated

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 you can start again from scratch.

Moving from hesitation to determination


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 fueled 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 out of his life.

Contradictions lead to waste, chaos to irritation


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.

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

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

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

Wrong ideas can blind you to the facts of reality


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

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

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


What cannot be comprehended cannot be validated

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.

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.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Afraid of nothing, but prudent all the time. Common sense weighs heavier than motivational speeches. Are you exaggerating the likelihood of potential disasters? Do not make important decisions without assessing the facts

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

Afraid of nothing, but prudent all the time


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

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

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


Common sense weighs heavier than motivational speeches

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

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

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

Are you exaggerating the likelihood of potential disasters?

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

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

It is wise not to allow unbridled emotions to take control


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

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

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

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

Do not make important decisions without assessing the facts


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

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


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Monday, 27 January 2014

Moving from excessive stress to focused efficiency. Personal development is not possible without clear priorities. Why you need to make long-term thinking a daily habit

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

Moving from excessive stress to focused efficiency


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

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

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

Personal development is not possible without clear priorities


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

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

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

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

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

Why you need to make long-term thinking a daily habit


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

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

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


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The perfect remedy for discouragement and dissatisfaction. Using to a full extent your capacity to control your future. Interesting ideas about personal development. Recommendations proven by experience

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

The perfect remedy for discouragement and dissatisfaction

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

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

Using to a full extent your capacity to control your future


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

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

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

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

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

Interesting and valuable ideas about personal development


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

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

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

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

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


Listen to recommendations proven by experience

"I asked the oracle for an answer," recited Hesiod, "but he told me to look for it myself." At that point, part of the audience murmured their disapproval. Undaunted, the young poet questioned his public. "What to do in face of winter scarcity? Should man suffer passively the caprice of the Gods?"
Hesiod's poem was called "Work and Days." His conclusion was unmistakable. A wise man should buy sheep in the summer at a low price and wait for the winter's cold weather to bring back high prices and the opportunity of a profitable sale.

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


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by freeparking (of a painting by Alma Tadema 1836-1912) under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Integrity of character calls for consistency of ideas. The ten advantages of knowing what you want in life. Workable, compatible, long-term goals render man truly human

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

Integrity of character calls for consistency of ideas


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

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

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

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

The ten advantages of knowing what you want in life


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

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

Human beings can guide their lives properly only by reason. Dogs and cats perceive a narrow part of reality, but man is aware of hundreds of interconnected details, past and present, that are relevant in each situation. Our mind calls for logic and consistency. Happiness becomes impossible if we ignore our rational nature.

Workable, compatible, long-term goals render man truly human


Leading an effective life requires individuals to select rational objectives that comprise their whole lifetime. A consistent vision that reaches into the next decades is the most reliable tool for making optimal choices in the present.

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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

Friday, 24 January 2014

Why you should trust facts but be sceptical about statistics. Human beings are most effective when they perform work they love. Dire predictions based on seemingly harmless activities should be regarded with caution

If you are planning to consult statistics before making a major decision, you'd better check your sources twice. Many proclaimed truths are solely based on opinion. Countless times, surveys do little more than elevate preferences to models of conduct that are to be followed out of convenience or for personal gain. 

Every morning, we should remind ourselves that serious errors have been committed in the past by placing blind trust in numbers produced by self-interested parties.

Why you should trust facts but be sceptical about statistics


There is no future in repeating the faults of History. Our best protection against misguided statistics is not searching for alternative data, but using our common sense to interpret the conclusions presented to us. 

We should check if the recommendations match our experience and knowledge of the world. We should assess the consequences of the outcome of such surveys, ask ourselves uncomfortable questions, and take the necessary time to think things through.

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


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

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

Human beings are most effective when they perform work they love

Second, human beings become most effective when they concentrate on work they love, or at least, on work that matches their best talents. Do not decide on your career solely on the basis of statistics. 

A survey might show you, for instance, what are the average salaries in different professions, but remember that, within each field, there are large differences of income due to individual expertise, ambition, and dedication. Take career statistics with a grain of salt and rather use your common sense to identify which professional path is suitable for you.

Third, in the same line of thought, try to acquire the mental fortitude to discard preposterous expectations. Never trust studies that provide evidence that you can make a quick fortune by entering a business field where you don't posses any knowledge or experience. 


That kind of statistics, even if based on real data, frequently portrays a window of opportunity that has already closed by the time you hear about it. Be prudent and don't go blindly for things that look too good to be true.

Fourth, statistics that prompt you to waste your resources or risk your health should be regarded with utmost scepticism. If someone proves to you with numbers that work and play are equally productive, you should not believe it. 


If a survey tells you that it doesn't matter whether you take care of your health or not, you should stick to your salutary habits and rational good choices. Such surveys make the headlines precisely because they are controversial and contradict basic common sense. The data might be true if applied to particular circumstances, but the conclusions make little sense as general advice.
Dire predictions based on seemingly harmless activities should be regarded with caution

Fifth, surveys that predict awful consequences from seemingly harmless activities should be assessed with caution. For instance, a study showing that people holding a certain type of job die young might reflect the statistical truth. 

Nevertheless, if you read its conclusions in full, you will realize that many individuals in that profession live substantially longer than the average. Ask yourself what are the factors that make those men and women reach an advanced age and seek to draw lessons that you can apply to your life.

Sixth, trial and error are part of the natural learning process in any field of activity. For this reason, you should question the scientific value of any survey that enthrones a specific method of doing things. 


Are the conclusions based on local circumstances or do they have general application? Has the study been conducted with impartiality or do you have reasons to suspect the existence of conflict of interests? Whenever you face a recommendation to narrow your field of inquiry, compare the statistics to what you know from experience, and see if the conclusion makes sense.

Always place your common sense above all statistics

The purpose of surveys is to extract lessons from reality, but without method and logic, data cannot teach us anything of value. Place your common sense above all statistics and your reason above all calculations. 

Trust your immediate perception more than a hundred volumes of allegedly scientific conclusions, since in life, you will have to pay for your own mistakes. Always check twice what seems to be lie beyond doubt and question what appears self-evident. Let your own independent judgement guide your life according to reason and reality.

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Thursday, 23 January 2014

The law of cause and effect governs the world. Do not linger on illogical comparisons: they bring nothing but misery. Resisting the allure of short-sighted decisions leads to a better life

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

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

Do not linger on illogical comparisons: they bring nothing but misery


Stand up and look ahead. Your next achievement will bring you farther. Mistakes will make you a better human being and show you the way to happiness if you acquire rational habits. When it comes to avoiding waste, no other habit is as powerful as frugality.

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

The law of cause and effect governs the world


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

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

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

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

Resisting the allure of short-sighted decisions leads to a better life


Ignoring the noise of false opinions liberates resources. Frugality enables man to breathe free of encumbrances and focus his efforts on what really counts. Happiness is not the result of accumulating tasks, but of a few essential activities that make a difference.

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


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


Monday, 20 January 2014

How to overcome restraining beliefs and be more confident. Thinking for yourself is difficult in the face of opposition. Stand up and resume your efforts to attain success

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

How to overcome restraining beliefs and be more confident

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

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

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

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

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

Thinking for yourself is difficult in the face of opposition


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

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

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

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

Stand up and resume your efforts to attain success


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

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

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

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

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


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Saturday, 18 January 2014

The delusion of constant progress and universal understanding. How to deal effectively with ignorance and prejudice. The accumulation of knowledge does not necessarily lead to wisdom

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 delusion of constant progress and universal understanding


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.

How to deal effectively with ignorance and prejudice


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?

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.
 

The accumulation of knowledge does not necessarily lead to wisdom

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.

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.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Friday, 17 January 2014

It is time to clear the board and take effective action. Misplaced hope should be replaced by a workable plan. Irritation should be replaced by constructive action. Passive acceptance should be replaced by initiative

How much of what we believe about the world holds true upon detailed examination? Are our convictions solidly based on facts? What about our ethical values and fundamental goals? Do we resort to prejudice in order to hide irrational fears? Do we appeal to tradition in order to safeguard inefficiency?

It is time to clear the board and take effective action


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

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

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

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

Misplaced hope should be replaced by a workable plan


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

Irritation should be replaced by constructive action


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

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

Passive acceptance should be replaced by initiative


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

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

Immobility should be replaced by entrepreneurship


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

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

In every case, hesitation delays progress


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

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

One thing that you can do much better than Aristotle. Personal initiative is the key to meeting potential new friends. Take advantage of favourable and unfavourable circumstances

 
Aristotle was a great philosopher, but entrepreneurship was one thing that he never managed to understand. In the Nicomachean Ethics, his essay on justice and morality, he views society as a market where human desires are stable, where the demand for each product is constant, and each purchase has a predictable price.

One thing that you can do much better than Aristotle


You don't need to look at the world for long to rate Aristotle's view as highly unrealistic. The truth is that, in the field of work and commerce, prices vary incessantly. New products appear daily on the market. Growing ventures create jobs, while old-fashioned industries are reducing the number of their employees. Trading conditions change, markets move, and money circulates.

Businessmen are conscious of the fact that initiative leads to success. Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of innovation. Economic growth begins with one person making the first move and showing the way. In order to surpass average results, a man has to step out of the routine.

In the world of business, clients and profits are the result of entrepreneurship. A company that has profitable sales can always borrow money. Bankers seldom refuse a loan to businesses that generate positive cash-flow. Personal initiative fuels innovation and drives companies to higher levels of performance.

Personal initiative is the key to meeting potential new friends


The situation is not much different in the area of relationships. Friendship and love grow stale without personal initiative. Developing a happy social life requires a certain type of entrepreneurship. This is a factor that cannot be replaced by any amount of wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, the entrepreneurial factor in love and happiness is frequently underrated or denied. Television repeatedly shows stories where success happens by chance. Films love to portray heroes who attain happiness by coincidence without any effort from their side. Those tales are mostly made-up and a wise man should never take them as a fair representation of reality.

Entrepreneurial activity involves shifting resources through time and space. A businessman might, for instance, borrow money at 6% interest in order to invest it for a 10% return. If he does that several times with growing sums of money, chances are that he will become very wealthy.

The example can be applied to the field of relationships. If you wish to enjoy a great social life in the future, you should make the effort to establish new contacts regularly. Even if you just meet one new person per week, sooner or later, you will get to know a few individuals who share your values.

Take advantage of favourable and unfavourable circumstances


Friendships and love relations can begin in the most unusual circumstances. The key requirement is that individuals should be open to an initial contact. Brief introductions may lead to further interactions that develop into long-term relationships. This is why entrepreneurs are always alert to unexpected opportunities and love to meet new people. You will observe the same attitude in those who enjoy happy social lives.

Entrepreneurial minds can be spotted by their extreme impatience at school or during their apprenticeship. They dislike slow motion and are driven towards activities that produce tangible results. They want to lead a life of growing improvement and continuous progress. They view speed as a synonym of efficiency.

Let me encourage you to adopt an entrepreneurial attitude in the area of personal relationships. Everybody has constrains in terms of time and resources, but those limitations should not prevent you from seeking out opportunities to meet new people whom you might find interesting.

Conferences that revolve around your favourite subjects constitute great places for meeting like-minded individuals. In the majority of cases, those initial contacts will not lead to friendship or love and that is precisely the way it should be.

Entrepreneurs are only interested in opportunities that are right for them. They know that, before they can embrace one successful idea, they will have to discard many others that lead nowhere. Possibilities are infinite, but resources are always limited.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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


Monday, 13 January 2014

How to avoid blocking your own personal development. The key to avoid going down the wrong path. The importance of restating your vision once and again

A clear perception of the world brings man unlimited rewards, but learning to see the truth is seldom easy and never without cost. Only by developing an ambitious and realistic vision of the future can man escape the trap of paralysis. Without sharply-defined objectives, we tend to fall into conformity, a bank from which we can borrow short-term convenience in exchange for a mortgage on our soul.

How to avoid blocking your own personal development


 "Men should avoid the distractions of pretence and delusion," wrote German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in the year 1842. "Expectations disconnected from reality always result in disappointment and sorrow."

Take the time to reflect about what you want to achieve in life and try to condense your dreams in one sentence. Without self-starting motivation, man is easily blinded by a fog of contradictions that lead to expensive mistakes.

Only a self-image of health can permanently prevent individuals from consuming unhealthy food. People who have not established self-preservation as a goal, keep on consuming damaging substances despite being aware of their long-term negative effects, in the illusion that, somehow, they alone will be immune to the consequences.

The same principle applies to decaying work environments. Men and women who have not determined ambitious long-term objectives for themselves, tend to close their eyes to signs of decline in the company they work for in order to avoid the nuisance of searching alternative employment.

The key to avoid going down the wrong path


Write down your own vision of the future and keep it where you can see it. Defining your destination will help you avoid wrong relationships and avert people who drag you down. Men who lack firm ethical values tend to ignore character flaws in people they meet and often go as far as attributing non-existent virtues to whomever they find sexually attractive, even if that person is manifestly keeping them away from the path of achievement.

Defining your goals in life will not render you immune to errors, but will help you minimize them. When it comes to choosing the right alternative, few habits are as effective as standing still, questioning what looks too good to be true, and checking its consistency with your established objectives.

The importance of restating your vision once and again


"Only an unclouded vision of reality allows man to perceive truth," observed Schopenhauer. "Decisions based on facts render individuals self-supporting, which is the key of happiness." History shows that lack of rational values, more than ignorance, constitutes the main block to progress. A man should never forget that his advancement towards success and happiness depends on his loyalty to his own rational objectives.

Write down your fundamental goals and summarize them in one sentence. Restate your vision of the future at every opportunity and discard options that don't match it. Only by our achieving philosophical clarity can our actions be consistent and effective. Moving continuously in the direction of your goals will maximize your chances of success and happiness.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by Mara 1 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us


Sunday, 12 January 2014

A powerful idea that has brought relief to many. Three mistakes that can destroy your peace of mind. Stay away from theories that don't work. The personal benefits of a peaceful philosophy

Rational living, rational working
by John Vespasian

Are you trying to live rationally and facing all kinds of difficulties? How do you deal with people who won't listen to logical arguments? How should you react to situations of massive unfairness?
 

This book provides practical advice on how to live rationally and maximize your chances of happiness in every situation. Amongst others, it will show you how to minimize stress and maintain your peace of mind, benefit from the advantages of non-linear thinking, avoid short-sighted decisions, and increase your resilience during times of adversity.
 

Each chapter contains real-life examples of individuals who have used reason to surmount obstacles, solve personal problems, and recover from setbacks. The ideas presented in this book will help you make better decisions, increase your effectiveness, and enjoy the benefits of rational living. 

TABLE   OF   CONTENTS

Introduction


Chapter 1. Become conscious of your uniqueness

A method for building an unshakable self-confidence
Overcome weaknesses in one area by strengths in others
Let go of distractions and focus on your unique talents
The man who taught me how to make the best of setbacks
It is time to discard meaningless comparisons
Why do millions of people waste their talents?


Chapter 2. Dream in decades, but live by days

Get rid of work overload and improve your results
The type of deadlines that generate little stress
Quick relief for those who are about to quit
The right way to deal with adversity
Before you make a rash move, read this
A proven solution to a critical problem

 

Chapter 3. Understand that most people won't understand
Are you afraid of rejection and failure?
The most effective method for overcoming self-doubt
Warning: irrational motivation can wipe you out
Do not trust inaccurate interpretations
When the wrong choice turns out to be right
Making difficult decisions with as little risk as possible

 

Chapter 4. Look for healing in nature
Can you maintain your good habits in difficult times?
Three inexpensive remedies for everyday complaints
How emotional stability helps you lead a good life
Practical steps to reduce harmful stress
Do you want to become a centenarian?
The fountain of youth has already been discovered

 

Chapter 5. Call things by their names
Two thieves that are stealing your life away
How to become immune to manipulation
Exotic explanations are seldom true
A powerful idea that has brought relief to many
Seven types of irrational behaviour to stay away from
The courage to keep asking questions

 

Chapter 6. Find serenity in silent places
Three mistakes that can destroy your peace of mind
The dire consequences of short-sighted behaviour
How an overstressed celebrity regained his serenity
People who are free of anxiety do this every day
An ancient formula for tranquillity in times of turmoil
Stay away from theories that don't work

 

Chapter 7. Embrace non-linear thinking
A widespread delusion that can kill your motivation
Four practical lessons you can learn from monks
The opportunities that lie behind disruptive events
How to produce good results with few resources
A non-linear approach is often the only one that works
For those who believe that they have no opportunities

 

Chapter 8. Stay away from evil people
The personal benefits of a peaceful philosophy
Individuals seldom change in any fundamental way
Avoid recklessness and you'll have a brighter future
Nobody can explain colours to the blind
Withdrawal is a mighty weapon
A true story that showed me how to stay safe

 

Chapter 9. Make resilience your biggest strength
Ignore fairy tales and you will do well
How rationality reinforces your strengths
If you want to sail far, keep the wind on your back
Enjoy the luxuries of a simple lifestyle
Is the best option so close to you that you cannot see it?
Avoid the temptation to exaggerate your problems

 

Conclusions  
Recommended reading

Friday, 10 January 2014

Setting a standard of value that accurately reflects reality. Why logic is indispensable for making good decisions. If you are pursuing contradictory goals, you are condemning yourself to a life of high stress

Relinquishing individual thinking and embracing a standard lifestyle brings enormous advantages. For instance, it will save you time when making decisions. It will also spare you embarrassment when it comes to hiding the truth. However, irrationality and conformity cannot provide the basis for good relationships.

Setting a standard of value that accurately reflects reality


The opposite side of the psychological spectrum is filled by non-conformity, which often boils down to blind loyalty to some other style. For instance, non-conformists prefer to practise dangerous sports instead of spending their holidays on the beach.

Their hobbies might include playing exotic games instead of watching films. They seldom go for a walk in the park, but they might spend a fortune on a tour in the tropical forest. The clothes of non-conformists, instead of clean and well ironed, tend to be messy and torn.

Whether you choose conformity or non-conformity as basis for your relationships makes little practical difference. In both cases, your years will be filled with more or less colourful souvenirs, not with happiness. Imitating distorted pictures is not the way to create great paintings.

Adopting values that make no sense will not move you towards success and happiness. The exaltation of inconsistencies will not render your feelings more intense. Walking a downtrodden track leads to a dejected spirit. In the field of love and friendship, thoughtlessness is not a path you want to take.

Why logic is indispensable for making good decisions


Rational values constitute the alternative to unsatisfactory relationships. If you embrace logic, you won't need to spend your days wondering which sub-culture leads to less dismay. Wisdom consists of identifying principles of human relations inspired by reason, applying them in our daily lives, and correcting our mistakes.

Seeking out thoughtful persons as friends or spouse plays a crucial role in attaining happiness. Sound choices are the result of man's rational evaluation of people and events. Achieving individuality requires our deep involvement with human beings who respect logic and consistency.

In order to develop happy relationships, we must allow our mind to filter out the noise of culture and fashion. We need to stop believing in myths. Neither specific clothes, nor gadgets, nor living in a specific location can provide the basis for good personal relations. Only people who share rational values are really able to communicate, understand, and appreciate each other.

Large number of men believe in arbitrary moral standards, but you are not obliged to imitate their foolishness. The idea that things can be done only in one specific way is false. The expectation that people must accept imposed values is unworkable. If you have ethical questions, look around until you find logical and consistent answers.

If you are pursuing contradictory goals, you are condemning yourself to a life of high stress

As friends or spouse, seek out exclusively individuals who can think for themselves. Abandon contradictory goals. Never get involved with persons whom you know to be dishonest, since they are unable to maintain good personal relationships. Deceit is synonymous with inconsistency. False ideas conflict with facts and with each other.

Anxiety is the mark of those who move at random, without destination. Animals do not need perspective, but humans do. In order to achieve great personal relationships, you need to determine your direction. A wise man cannot be satisfied with short-term relationships. Superficial personal bonds take a disproportionate amount of time and cannot provide the pleasures of deep conversation.

Rational values embody principles that are common to all thinking human beings. Those values are distilled from reality by means of observation and logic. Irrational people cannot establish steady relationships because their behaviour continuously clashes with the demands of the world.

The law of cause and effect, the fundamental principle of existence, governs the relations between men and women. The relationships that you build today will determine how your future plays out. Your choice of friends and spouse will play a key role in your happiness.

Reason tell us how to lead our lives, whom to befriend, and who is worthy of our love. Let reason establish your ambitions and priorities also in the field of human relationships. Fashion and imitation provide the short-term contentment that comes from conformity, not real happiness.

In the long term, superficiality always leads to disaster


Superficiality adds much expense to you detriment and brings little worth to your experience. Shrug your shoulders at unrealistic advice. Ignore invitations from irrational people, either as friends or love companions. You will spare yourself enormous costs and trouble.

In your choice of spouse, never pay attention to fashion or cultural expectations. Do not sell yourself short by exchanging your rational values for the worthless pleasures of conformity. Adopt logic and consistency as your only criteria for love and friendship.

Happiness calls for steady purpose and continuous action. Choose the way of reason and adopt consistent values. Developing relationships with other rational individuals can be a slow process, but it is extremely rewarding. It will enable you to lead a successful life and enjoy the company of the best of humanity.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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