Wednesday, 24 December 2014

How to use Christmas day to increase your confidence in the future

Experienced managers tend to focus on a few key parameters that tell them how their business is doing. Seasoned investors proceed in a similar way. Since they know the kind of opportunities they are looking for, they are able to discard unsuitable investment proposals after checking a couple of critical figures.

No one can take correct decisions for his personal development without knowing which elements are important. Gathering huge amounts of data will prove useless if complexity cannot be reduced to manageable levels. What you need are simple graphics or tables that show you how you are doing presently and what the trend for the future is.

The crucial elements

When it comes to running your own life, could you reduce information to a small number of factors? Is it possible to simplify reality to such an extent? Can a few numbers suffice to express your level of self-confidence and happiness? Can we isolate the crucial components of our existence and make projections for the next decade? Here are some examples:

  1. The general condition of your health.
  2. Income from your main business or activity.
  3. Overall level personal freedom.
  4. How many close friends you meet regularly.
  5. The size of your bank account and other liquid assets.
  6. Level of satisfaction with your home and living environment.
  7. How you rate the non-monetary aspects of your principal occupation.
  8. Happiness derived from your spouse and other family relationships.
  9. Overall perspectives for personal growth.
Gaining perspective

If routines fill most of your days, you should not allow random events to eat up the little free time you have available. Becoming conscious of the status in each area of your life and pushing for improvement requires substantial effort. Reducing situations to fundamental numbers can contribute to remind you where you stand and where we want to go. This is a particularly useful exercise to do on Christmas day or at the end of the year, in order to gain perspective for the coming twelve months.

More often than not, one or two figures should be enough to identify the issues closest to your heart. Even when you are dealing with immaterial elements, such as the non-monetary aspects of a business or profession, you should force yourself to come up with some number.

A highly beneficial process

Try to establish, for instance, where you are today on a scale from zero to ten, and where you want to be in a year from now. In a similar way, trainers encourage overweight people to track their weekly weight loss by means of a simple graphic.

The sheer exercise of decomposing your life into its main constituents can prove highly beneficial. Turning observations into numerals can allow latent irritation, frustration, depression, anxiety, or anger to be verbalized. The first time that you take the time to write all this down may result in a couple of surprises, but the process is bound to help you focus your efforts, and increase your confidence in the future.

In fact, if you can figure out the way to do it, the primary number that you need to watch is your overall happiness index, where it stands today and how to raise it to the highest level in the decades you have left. My best wishes for Christmas 2014.

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


[Image by Dunc(an) under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]