In the 12th century, philosophy was simple and inflexible. A man was born into a certain family and inherited his father's trade. A peasant raised his children to follow into his footsteps. Perspectives were narrow and improvement unthinkable.
Say goodbye to the medieval mentality
The fate of each person was
to accomplish certain prescribed tasks and preserve tradition. A good
part of a person's earnings was spent to maintain his position: to keep
housing, attire, and diet according to his condition. Those who
succeeded in improving their social status represented a very small
The medieval mentality encompassed a mixture of
short-term frenzy and long-term resignation. On feast days, banquets
were held and wine consumed, but during the rest of the year, passive
acceptance was the rule. Silent suffering was viewed as a sign of
People in the Middle Ages focused on immediate advantages
and lacked long-term plans. A peasant in the 12th century would not
have viewed a good harvest as an opportunity to save money, move to the
city, and start his own business. In his mind, a good year was just a
temporary escape from misery, not a step towards a better situation.
Living in the era of unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurs
age offers almost unlimited opportunities to those who possess ambition
and initiative, but it demands a radically different philosophy. Unless
you acquire sound financial habits, chances are that you won't be able
to seize those opportunities.
Unfortunately, not everybody makes
the effort to pursue improvement. If you doubt my words, ask yourself
the following questions: How many people save regularly in order to
achieve financial independence? How many make to-do lists regularly?
Material growth is linked to psychological growth. Wealth is the
consequence of vision and persistence.
Our world offers numerous
opportunities to individuals who want to exercise their creativity and
entrepreneurship. Businesses can be started with little capital, digital
technology can be used to enhance productivity, and the internet allows
everyone to sell his products around the globe. If you want to improve
your situation, there are no limits to what you can achieve.
barriers to self-improvement are mostly psychological
excuse can justify renouncing this immense array of possibilities. The
barriers to improvement are mostly psychological. Irrespective of your
current situation, you can embrace transformation. If you take action,
you can improve your life.
The transition from the Middle Ages to
modern thinking began in the 13th century, when Thomas of Aquinas wrote
down his observations on the nature of individual initiative. His views
about risk represented a major advancement vis-à-vis medieval beliefs.
His understanding of the existence of different prices in various
markets put an end to the medieval mentality and introduced the world we
know, where each man determines his own destiny.
you ask people about what is blocking their progress, you might hear the
same answers that were given in the 13th century: insufficient
resources, limited opportunities, excessive competition, and lack of
contacts. Even though the world has drastically changed, not everybody
is conscious of the opportunities.
Unlike peasants living in the
Middle Ages, we no longer inhabit an immobile world that limits our
ambitions. Is it your goal to further your education and accelerate your
career? Do you dream of starting your own business?
Saving some money is often the first step to a better life
saving some money is going to be the first step for making improvements
in your life. You are going to have to let go of your impulse to spend
money today and focus instead on the opportunities down the road. Time
will reward your efforts if you define your objectives and carry out a
plan to attain them.
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 three ideas to help you gather that
 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.
Extend the lifetime 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
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?
Eliminate detours and unnecessary travel: 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.
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.
Your claim to a better future
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
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