Here is a summary of the questions that I have answered this week:
Too many problems
QUESTION: Someone feels paralysed by the fact that he has too many problems, and he doesn't know where to start in order to improve his life.
ANSWER: It often happens that people feel paralysed by the fact that they have too many problems, and they don't know where to start in order to improve their lives. More often than not, the best way to proceed is to stop working on anything that does not require immediate attention, to drop all activities that are not conductive to immediate dramatic improvements. The most difficult problems can be easily identified by elimination. Those problems are usually the ones that can wipe you out if you don't take immediate action to avert the danger. The second step is to identify the correct course of action, the solution to solve those problems. This can be easily accomplished by applying the principles of rational living. Once you have completed those two steps, you will see your hesitations vanish all by themselves, and being replaced by a strong motivation.
Choosing the right path
QUESTION: How can I know if I am choosing the right path at the right time?
ANSWER: For those who want to turn around their lives, those who want to make radical improvements in their daily experience, it is critical to make correct strategies choices. If you fail to look beyond the horizon, if you fail to ask yourself where you want to be in twenty years from now, chances are that all your time will be taken up by mindless routines. Without a strong sense of purpose, human beings cannot maintain a course of action to achieve long-term goals. Without a clear vision of the future, you will easily will be swayed, distracted, and delayed. The only way to make sure that you make the right choices is to adopt a rational philosophy, rational values, and rational goals.
When no solution is in sight
QUESTION: What is the best approach for dealing with severe problems when you cannot easily find a solution, or when you suspect that no good solution can be found?
ANSWER: Sooner or later, everybody has to face severe problems that cannot be easily solved, or that seem impossible to solve at a reasonable cost. Take heart. Millions of people in history have overcome life-threatening sickness, bankruptcy, poverty, unfairness, unemployment, and a myriad of other problems. First, take a deep breath and assess what the real chances are of those problems being lethal. Can they wipe you out definitively? Can they destroy your life completely and irreversibly? If the answer is negative, as it will typically be the case, you are already on your way to finding a solution. Rational thinking is the most effective method for improving your life, the most effective method to surmount obstacles and circumvent problems, should they prove unsolvable.
How to overcome failure
QUESTION: My life is a mess and I feel that I have failed at everything. When I compare myself to other people, I feel that I have not achieved anything important.
ANSWER: A good percentage of the population describe their lives as a mess, and experience strong feelings of having failed at everything. The negative emotions are reinforced when those people compare themselves to individuals who have achieved important goals. Yet, those negative emotions are the result of a dangerous logical fallacy. For starters, it does not make any sense to judge your own value by comparing yourself with someone else. What should you compare the results attained by individuals whose circumstances, background, and opportunities are totally different? If you want to achieve more in your life, which is a perfectly healthy ambition to have, you should first reject the temptation of judging yourself subjectively. Then your next task should be to acquire a rational philosophy, embrace objective values, and establish rational goals.
Dealing with stress and worry
QUESTION: I have tried everything to reduce my levels of stress, but nothing works. My stress situation has become so bad that I often experience concentration difficulties and make a lot of mistakes as a result.
ANSWER: If you have tried everything to reduce your levels of stress, and come the conclusion that nothing works, I must tell you that you are wrong. Even if your stress prevents you from concentrating your mind on your work, the problem can be addressed and the situation improved. The number one obstacle that prevents people from finding peace of mind is that they are looking for a short cut, a magical solution to their problems. Let me tell you that this approach is unlikely to work. More often than not, stress can be substantially reduced, and people can learn better patterns of thought, but such a transformation is going to take some time and effort. An effective approach for reducing stress is to embrace a rational philosophy, and practise its tenets every day.
Regain your peace of mind
QUESTION: How can I regain my peace of mind? In the last two years, there have been many changes in my life, some of them for the worse, and I feel that I have lost my serenity forever.
ANSWER: The idea that people lose their peace of mind because of some recent event has happened, or because they have been going through a tough period during the last two years, is difficult to believe. Similarly, I have difficulties to give credence to people who claim that they have lost their serenity due to the problems they are facing. Self-confidence and peace of mind constitute fundamental character traits that a person might take years to shape, but that offer the advantage of protecting that person from discouragement in the next decades. Let us not delude themselves by focusing on irrelevant details, by assuming that problems are more complex than they are. Serenity is typically the result of embracing a rational philosophy. Peace of mind is the natural companion of rational living.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by TeeF86 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license
terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]