Sunday, 14 December 2014

The root cause of self-confidence and optimism

Anxiety and depression, the undesirable companions of modern times, are spreading their nets over growing segments of the population. If those problems have not been solved yet, we can certainly not blame it on the lack of trying:

Unfortunately, from the many pharmaceuticals in the market against this predicament, none has proven universally effective, it is unclear to what extent therapy helps and which sort is best, and furthermore, special diets and exercise often consume the little energy that people have left.

The symptom and the cause

Treating the symptoms without correcting the cause will bring about little improvement. Smoking or eating chocolate might improve your mood for a while, but in the long run, those approaches are unsustainable for your health.

If we look around these days, we can not fail to notice how psychological problems aggravate in times of recession. When the economy was growing, have we not all witnessed how optimism rendered people happier? Should we not conclude that there is a direct link between economic security and mental well-being?

You will find many books that argue that the best way to face difficulties is to change your thoughts. Those books will tell you that you can become positive and motivated by means of repetition and suggestion, even though the reality around you sucks like a vacuum.

Although the cheerful approach does work for some people, for many others, groundless optimism shows little success as a method of improving their life. Luckily, there is an alternative method for those who prefer more down-to-earth solutions.

Better than positive thinking

The theory is that we can be happier if we improve the level of economic security in our lives, since that would eliminate a good part of the reasons for anxiety and depression. Irrespective of any positive thinking, people who are able to cover their living expenses for the next months tend to worry much less when they lose their job.

Can anyone accumulate enough savings to achieve a reasonable level of economic security? Is there a way for all of us to reach the peace of mind and well-being that come from feeling in control of our own life? Yes, this is indeed possible, whatever your personal situation.

The guaranteed way to economic security is to live modestly. If you make little money, you should spend even less, so that every month you can save some. If you make a lot, you should spend with caution and regularly put aside part of it. Rainy days don't bring the blues to those who are depression-proof, so forget about psychological tricks and focus on the facts of reality.

It is up to you to adopt a lifestyle that will allow you to accumulate sufficient savings and enjoy the self-confidence that goes with them. Rational living is the root cause of self-confidence and optimism. Living frugally might not make you popular, but it will surely make you wiser and much more resilient.

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


[Image by Gordon M Robertson under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]