Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How to increase your ability to seize the next opportunity

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:
 

Redefine what's 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


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.

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.  

In the US and in some other countries, you can use Kindle Unlimited to download my latest book for free  

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

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Five strategies to increase your self-confidence

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.

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.
 

Small steps

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.


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.
 

Build 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.


Work 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.


What to do next


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, 28 March 2015

Smooth operators get more out of life

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.



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 

Friday, 27 March 2015

The two essential ingredients of a strong self-confidence

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.

Methods that don't work

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.

Two key elements


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. The keys to a strong self confidence are having a clear long-term goal and taking consistent steps in that direction day after day.


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

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The 134 best blogs about personal development

  1. Abundance Tapestry
  2. Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Always Well Within
  4. Advances in the History of Psychology
  5. Anxiety No More
  6. Anxiety Slayer 
  7. Art of Non-Conformity (Chris Guillebeau)
  8. Art of Charm, The (Jordan Harbinger)
  9. Association for Psychological Science
  10. Barrie Davenport 
  11. B Brown Random Tagline 
  12. Brian Kim
  13. Bold Life, The
  14. Bounce Blog, The
  15. British Psychological Society
  16. Calm Monkey, The 
  17. Chance Scoggins 
  18. Craig Harper (Australia)
  19. Daring Adventure
  20. Deric Bownds Mindblog 
  21. Do it myself (Glenda Watson Hyatt)
  22. Dragos Roua 
  23. Dumb Little Man 
  24. Early to Rise
  25. Egoist Blog, The
  26. Ellis, Debbie Joffee
  27. Elliott Hulse 
  28. Empower Blog (Dr Hiten Vyas)
  29. Enjoying the Small Things (Kelle Hampton)
  30. Escape Adulthood
  31. Experimental Philosophy 
  32. Extraordinary Ordinary, The
  33. Fancy Feet (Heidi Cave)
  34. Flourishing Life, A
  35. Four-Hour Work-week (Tim Ferris)
  36. Gail Brenner 
  37. Gala Darling
  38. Greater Good 
  39. Happiness in this World 
  40. Happiness Project, The
  41. Happy Girl
  42. History of Psychology 
  43. Home-life Simplified (Australia)
  44. Hope to Cope 
  45. Ian's Messy Desk 
  46. Influence People (Brian Ahearn) 
  47. Inspire Me Today
  48. James Altucher
  49. John Vespasian
  50. Jungle of Life, The
  51. Kimchi Mamas
  52. Larry Winget
  53. Les Brown
  54. Life Dev 
  55. Lifehack 
  56. Life Optimizer
  57. Literary Lawyer, The
  58. Live Bold and Bloom 
  59. Living Rationally 
  60. Living with anxiety 
  61. Love and Smiles 
  62. Maverick Philosopher 
  63. Manage Your Life Now
  64. Martin Poldma 
  65. Meant to Be Happy 
  66. Mindful 
  67. Mindhacks
  68. Miz Meliz
  69. Mudita Journal
  70. My Super-Charged Life
  71. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
  72. Oliver Burkeman
  73. OK Dork (Noah Kagan)
  74. One Crafty Mother
  75. Optimistic Life
  76. Panic and Depression 
  77. Partially Examined Life, The 
  78. Penelope Trunk 
  79. Personal Excellence 
  80. Personal Success Factors
  81. Personal Success Today
  82. Philosophers Anonymous
  83. Philosophy and Life  
  84. Philosophy Blog, The
  85. Philosophy Etc 
  86. Philosophy in a Time of Error
  87. Philosophy Talk 
  88. Pick the Brain
  89. Please Feel Beautiful
  90. Positive Blog 
  91. Positive Provocations
  92. Positive Sharing
  93. Prolific Living
  94. Providentia
  95. Psych Central
  96. Psycholocrazy 
  97. Psychological Science
  98. Psychologies Magazine (United Kingdom)
  99. Psychology of Well-being, The
  100. Psychology Today Blogs
  101. Psychology Tomorrow Magazine
  102. Pursuit of Happiness
  103. Radiant Soul Space (Otiti Jasmine)
  104. Ramble. Focus. Ramble.
  105. Rational Philosophy
  106. Rationally Speaking
  107. Recovering Engineer, The
  108. Reflecting a Life 
  109. Research Digest on Brain and Behaviour 
  110. Richard Koch
  111. Robert Ringer
  112. RSD Nation 
  113. Start of Happiness, The
  114. Sensophy (Jacob Sokol)
  115. Shake Off the Grind
  116. Simple Productivity Blog  
  117. Situationist, The
  118. Splintered Mind, The
  119. Stefan Molyneux 
  120. Steve Pavlina
  121. Steven Aitchison (Change your thoughts, change your life) 
  122. Talent Develop 
  123. Teaching High School Psychology
  124. Time Shifting
  125. Tiny Buddha
  126. Today is That Day
  127. Tracey Cleantis
  128. Try to Stay Positive 
  129. Unclutterer 
  130. Unlimited Choice
  131. Up Popped a Fox
  132. Vishnu's Virtues
  133. Wisebread
  134. Zen Habits

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Waiting for the perfect opportunity is perfect nonsense

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.

Exaggerated expectations

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.

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.

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.

In the US and in some other countries, you can use Kindle Unlimited to download my latest book for free  

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

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Nothing is learned by making the same mistake twice

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. 

Errors that persist

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.

Making the link


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.

Don't turn in circles


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

Monday, 23 March 2015

Make resilience your biggest strength

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. 


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


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Stop zigzagging and embrace consistency

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.

Increased personal effectiveness

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


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. 


In the US and in some other countries, you can use Kindle Unlimited to download my latest book for free  

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

Friday, 20 March 2015

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

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."

A big waste of time

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.

Discard 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.

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 March 2015

A great philosophical lesson about when to 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.

Little incentive to change

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?

When prejudice persists

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?

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.

Are you doing the right thing?

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

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Overcoming your constraints in a clever way

 
by John Vespasian

The thesis of this book is that the dominant ideas about how to reduce stress are ineffective because they are irrational. They hardly provide any short- or long-term relief. Reason is the only workable method to relieve stress permanently, a method that requires work and dedication, but provides excellent results.

This book presents many real-life examples that will show you how to eliminate stress in tense situations, bring peace of mind to your life, make choices that enhance your self-reliance, avoid nerve-wrecking inconsistencies, and lead a good life based on reason.

The principles presented in this book are supported by extensive historical evidence, logical arguments, and workable strategies. If you are serious about reducing the stress in your life, this book is for you.


Chapter 1 - The key skill for overcoming negative stress
What to do when problems begin to accumulate
Don't let difficult people get you down
How should you deal with unfairness?
Living happily despite rejection and negative criticism
The essential element for sleeping well

Chapter 2 - No more stress from financial difficulties
Breaking out of a stressful lifestyle
Raising yourself from disaster
Don't make this major mistake if you can avoid it
What you shouldn't do if you value your time
Here is a recipe proven by experience

Chapter 3 - A structured approach for reducing stress
The characteristics of effective remedies
Facing rapid changes and excessive pressure
An unusual method that produces wonderful results
How to reduce your tension by improving your routines
The temptation to do things you don't need to

Chapter 4 -The straightforward way to eliminate conflicts
The man who painted himself into a corner
When situations get out of control
Surviving and thriving in the face of conflict
Long hours don't necessarily lead to success
The most dangerous threat you can encounter

Chapter 5 - Get rid of anger definitively
Don't let this popular nonsense mislead you
Understanding where negative emotions come from
The drop that makes the glass overflow
Eight powerful strategies for reducing anger

Chapter 6 - Learning to overcome discouragement
Don't adopt these counter-productive strategies
How to stay afloat during difficult times
Coming out a winner despite severe adversity
A great formula for leaving discouragement behind

Chapter 7 - How to become immune to sadness
A challenge that millions of people continue to face
The main reason why people feel stressed
Breaking out of pessimism once and for all
Discarding ineffective emotional reactions

Chapter 8 - The end of worry and preoccupation
Serenity amidst poverty and sickness
How to reduce your exposure to emotional fallout
Practical techniques for getting rid of worry
Learning to be optimistic

Chapter 9 - The type of lifestyle that minimizes stress
Do you want to function better?
Here is a lifestyle worth imitating
Overcoming your constraints in a clever way
Never be embarrassed to do the right thing

Chapter 10 - The escape from stressful routines
How to put your dissatisfaction to good use
Bold steps can create exciting possibilities
If you are tired of boredom, here is some advice
The adoption of effective practices

Chapter 11 - Advice for seemingly insoluble problems
When no solutions are in sight
An advantage that you can always create for yourself
Stay away from defeatism and resignation
The critical skill for surmounting daunting obstacles

Chapter 12 - Keeping a clear mind in the face of prejudice
What to do in the face of overwhelming social pressure
Stay alert and don't overlook these threats
Are you inadvertently following a terrible example?
A safe method for navigating dangerous waters

Consistency: The key to permanent stress relief
by John Vespasian

Sunday, 15 March 2015

A simple way to protect your peace of mind

Chances are that your complete existence will go through a major upheaval in the next years. Such disruption might be of a nature that you cannot imagine at present. New technology may render your job obsolete. Global competition could devalue your education. A major economic shift might put you out of business.

Long-term security

Luckily, there is a simple way to protect yourself. All you have to do is to adopt a frugal lifestyle. Reducing your present cost of living can be achieved in many ways, for example, by spending less money on food, lodging, transportation, energy, travel, entertainment, or insurance

The resulting subtraction from your present enjoyment will be more than compensated by gains in long-term security. Commit yourself to save regularly in order to create a margin of safety. Accumulated resources will allow you to face calmly any disaster that the future may bring.

A man who feels confident and serene makes more of his days than an anxious short-term thinker. Too many are those who live under the threat of a mounting pile of debt. They are paying a high price for giving away their independence in exchange for momentary pleasure.

The delusion of stability


Do not fall prey to the delusion of stability. Reduce your current cost of living and create a financial reserve for difficult times because, sooner or later, they will come. If you are undecided about what expenditures to cut, make a linear reduction of 5% in all your budgets and take it from there.

In addition, it is a good idea to have a back-up financial plan for unforeseen situations. For example, no matter how good your health insurance is, its coverage won't be universal. Similarly, your protection in the field of liability indemnity might be less than you think. What would happen if, due to some unfortunate event, you were to lose your protection altogether? Do you have a back-up plan?

Overspending is frequently caused by overconfidence. People feel sure that nothing bad can happen to them. They overestimate their strengths and underestimate their risks. They place their future at jeopardy in order to enjoy transient advantages that will be quickly forgotten.

You will be better off if you reduce your current costs. Aim at creating an emergency fund to which you can resort in times of need. Even a modest financial reserve can do wonders to alleviate misfortune or adversity. Discard the delusion of invulnerability and assess your risks objectively. Make the commitment to save at least 5% of your net income every month.

The psychological benefits


Furthermore, leading a prudent lifestyle can deliver the psychological benefit of enabling you to make correct decisions very quickly. Are individuals who save to buy a home morally equivalent to those who gamble away their salary? Would you take a loan to finance your medical studies in the same spirit as you would borrow cash to purchase a recreational boat?

Rational values align decisions with reality, leading man to certainty and prosperity. In contrast, relativism wears man down by trying to justify arbitrary choices. Happiness needs to be sustained by facts, not by excuses. Personal well-being cannot be maintained by means of inconsistent behaviour.

Frugality goes hand in hand with logic and realism. You will enjoy life more if you reduce your living costs and create financial safety for yourself. Pick up pen and paper and make a list of ten items of expenditure that you can cut without any negative impact on your lifestyle.

Make more with less by adopting an entrepreneurial approach to life. If you are committed to search for better alternatives, you will find them. If you remain alert to better opportunities, you will seize them. Give priority to safety over short-term pleasure. Serenity and self-confidence will be the result. Reduce your costs and enjoy life more.


In the US and in some other countries, you can use Kindle Unlimited to download my latest book for free  

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

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