Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The key to happiness according to Titus Livius

The life of the Ancient Roman writer Titus Livius (59 BC-17 AD) provides a good illustration of the relationship between personal happiness and having rational long-term goals. 

A definite purpose 

When Titus Livius turned thirty-five, he looked back at his life and realized that he had not accomplished much. Like many Romans of good family, he had enjoyed a solid education, read widely, done some travelling, and also a little writing.

He had tried his hand intermittently at everything and achieved pretty much nothing. Since his life lacked purpose and ambition, Titus Livius felt ineffective and unhappy. He asked himself if he should continue living in the same way. Was there something that he could do to give meaning to his days?

The prevalent philosophies in Ancient Rome, stoicism and hedonism, did not provide an answer to his questions. Hedonism encourages man to live for the pleasures of the day and ignore long-term consequences. Stoicism seldom provides other contentment than the quiet acceptance of misfortune. Those two ethical theories often lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.

A long-term view

We do not know what made Titus Livius change his ways, but we do know the results. Instead of continuing to pursue random interests, he conceived a wide-ranging project that would take him decades to accomplish. Instead of wasting time in abstract speculation, he fixed himself an ambitious goal and figured out how to accomplish it.

By the time he turned thirty-six, he had already formulated how he was going to spend the rest of his life. He would write a History of Rome unlike anything ever written before. He would speak not only of facts, but also of heroes. He would recount not only events, but also the values that had inspired them.

Titus Livius' plan comprised researching hundreds of documents and writing 150 books, an enterprise that nowadays would keep busy a complete university department. He did most of the work himself and it took him four decades.

A demanding undertaking

Manifestly, he was very happy devoting his time to such a demanding undertaking. Such devotion to a single long-term purpose is essential to improve a man's personal effectiveness and psychological well-being.

When Titus Livius died, he was 77 years old. His only regret must have been that he had not started his project earlier, since he only managed to complete 142 books out of the 150 that he had initially planned.

Do you have similar objectives and plans in your life? Have you established long-term goals for yourself? Do you have a strategy that consistently favours your personal growth? Are you becoming more effective at what you do day after day?  


Image: Photograph taken by John Vespasian, 2014.

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

Rationality is the Way to Happiness

Monday, 27 July 2015

Sustainable self-confidence can rest only on rationality

Traditional behaviour models are crumbling in our midst. Old morality is taking the blame for current problems, although often through spurious argumentation. Never mind. Ethical decay has reached such an extent that many parents have given up all attempts to provide moral guidelines to their offspring.

A sense of direction

Where are we headed? Should we conclude that principles are relative? That happiness is unattainable through individual action? That success is more dependent on luck than on personal effort? To answer these questions, we must point out the connection between personal effectiveness and happiness. Sustained happiness requires sustained personal development.

Rationality establishes the basis for making productive decisions and developing valuable skills. Even in an unfavourable environment, individuals who possess strong values and motivation grow more effective with each passing day. Principles are not luxuries, but practical tools that enable progress and achievement.

Logic and consistency are the keys to quick learning and rapid implementation. A well-organized mind absorbs information more effectively than a mind affected by anxiety. Ethical certainty nourishes psychological stability and personal productivity.

Universal principles

Sustained personal growth relies on universal ethical principles. Rational virtues such as openness, tolerance, and honesty render individuals efficient and self-confident. Prosperity and happiness result from consistent action in pursuit of sensible goals. Nobody can predict the future accurately, but no matter how difficult the situation becomes, rational individuals will do better than average.

There is too much noise in the world and too many offers compete for our attention. We cannot accept every proposal that promises to improve our condition. Focusing our efforts on becoming more effective is a simple way to increase our chances of leading a more satisfying life.

New fashions that entertain your spirit for a while will distract you from important matters. We all want to experience the fresh before it becomes stale, but do you want to waste your days chasing the latest novelty? Leading a chaotic life is self-destructing. Without focus and personal effectiveness, there can be no real happiness.

Consistent values

Overcharging our agendas and accelerating our life is the equivalent of a sugar-coated sedation. The pursuit of faster results makes no sense if those are irrelevant to our long-term goals. Actions that contradict our plans and ambitions tend to lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Empty pursuits cannot still human hunger for happiness. Leading a meaningful life requires consistent ethical values, long-term plans, and effective implementation. The link between personal effectiveness and happiness cannot be denied.


Image by rduta under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

The Philosophy of Builders

Saturday, 25 July 2015

How to overcome the belief that you have no options

People become stressed, anxious, and depressed in relationships because, at a certain moment, they believe that they have no options. This is not true, unless you suffer from terminal illness and you have no time left. Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, alternatives exist to bad relationships.

Unexplored possibilities

An active mind is a precious treasure that is given to every human. If you doubt this, look at children. Their curiosity and excitement are irrepressible. An entrepreneurial spirit is not something you have to acquire, but your natural due. If later in life, you find that missing, you just need to reclaim it.

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities when it comes to meeting new friends and lovers. In each case, you might need to exert effort, look around, and experience some rejection. That's part of the price you pay for growing as a human being.

Once we are equipped with an entrepreneurial attitude, we should actually love it when someone calls our dreams unrealistic. In particular, when that person adds some trite remark, such as "in life, we cannot always get what we want." That's a sign for us to take action.

Discard and replace

If your parts supplier expects you to make your purchases at exorbitant prices, find a new supplier. If your internet provider acts as though you have no choice, change providers. If your computer repair shop informs you that they are the only experts in that brand of computer, throw away the old computer and purchase another brand.

If your bank announces that you have no other place to save, open accounts in three other banks. If your plumber tells you that your have to pay too much, learn how to replace the water tabs yourself. If a painter tells you that you can do things only his way, hire someone else to paint your house.

The examples above apply equally to a bad relationship or marriage. The time to step out of them is now, even if you cannot immediately figure out where to go next. You should make your priority number one to escape a situation that makes you feel unappreciated and belittles your best qualities.

Smile and move on

What about geographical constraints? Moving to another region or country to build a new life seems so complicated that most people don't give it much thought. Nevertheless, every year, millions of men and women go and live in another country in search of better conditions or to break completely with miserable past relationships.

When someone says that you have no choice, give yourself a break. Look hard at your situation and question why, when and how. Once you decide to replace a failed relationship with a better future, your eyes will begin to detect opportunities that you had never seen before.

When people express the view that you should be content with what you have, don't get upset and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Useless discussions are not going to save the day. More often than not, you will be better off if you just nod, smile, and move on.

The world is full of possibilities to connect with wonderful people and build great relationships. Don't waste a minute with those that believe that there is only one path to walk. You have better things to do.


Image by juanRubiano under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

Rational living, rational working

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Your first priority should be utterly simple

When people talk about priorities, they usually refer to items on which they spend substantial sums of money. A comfortable car and a large house are on the top of the list of many individuals, together with a well-paying, stable, and interesting job.

The paradox

Health is also important for the great majority of men and women. Products sold in supermarkets and convenience stores respond to this concern by promoting low-calories drinks, low-fat cookies, sugarless sweets, and cooking magazines.

Organic-food stores represent the last step in the evolution of this trend. Consumers want to buy the best produce, the purest bread, and fresh natural pastries. Even though the cost associated to those choices can be considerable in some cases, customers seem to be willing to pay for it.

The problem with spending additional money to consume so-called healthy products is that it does not seem to make a lot of difference. Those who devote more financial resources to purchasing sophisticated food and to joining health clubs are not necessarily the people who enjoy the best physical condition. Paradoxically, in the field of health, more investments do not always result in additional benefits.

An excellent choice

Making health your first priority is an excellent choice that works better if you implement it as inexpensively as possible. Self-reliance and self-confidence begin with frugality. Are you surprised? Does this sound illogical to you? Before you discard this theory, you might wish to check out longevity statistics around the world. Those who spend the most to preserve their health are not necessarily the people who live the longest.

The Ancient Greek physician Galen (circa 130 - 200 AD) recorded many interesting ideas on this subject, which was later expanded by other medics in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Although many centuries have passed, many discoveries of antiquity are still adhered to by modern medicine.

Galen spent his youth learning about sickness and treatments before he moved to Rome in the year 162. He has gone down into History as much for his medical discoveries as for his tremendous output as a writer. Even though a great part of Galen's work has been lost, what remains fills more than 20 volumes.

The close connection

His aphorisms, which condense medical truths in short sentences, reflect fundamental aspects of physical and mental health. One of the threads that runs through his writings is the search of simplicity. His advocacy of straightforward methods to improve man's well-being contrasted with the semi-magical medicine that was still being practised by most of his contemporaries.

Galen maintained that health and philosophy are closely connected. As a consequence, a man who wishes to maintain his vitality will do well to act prudently, respect ethical principles, and simplify his life. Simplification is one of the keys to accelerating your personal growth, and protecting your health.


Image by Petra Broda under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

When everything fails, try this

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The 151 best blogs about personal development

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

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Do not let problems slow you down

Contrary to trains, cars can change direction at the driver's will. Along the highway, billboards invite us to stop by and visit all sorts of tourist attractions. On the car radio, advertisers present us their wares, some useful and convenient, others pricey and counter-productive.

Overcoming obstacles

Distractions are many and increase by the hour. The longer the trip, the harder it becomes to keep the vehicle on the right track. If you carry passengers in your car, they will express their views about what you are trying to do. "Turn around and return," you will be told, "stop and let it go."

Our environment offers us support at the same time that it places obstacles in our path. Physical barriers are visible and material problems can be directly faced. If you experience hunger or extreme discomfort, your attention will seldom be deviated from the issue at hand. Pressing needs demand immediate action.

Surmounting difficulties

Stonewalls will seldom prevent your progress, since they can circumvented. Nor the price of gasoline, food, and lodging. Your delays will be caused more often by doubts than by certainties. Your lack of progress will be more frequently due to shifting convictions than to insufficient means.

Thinking is not automatic. Observing reality and reaching correct conclusions requires effort. Focusing your mind on what is relevant involves selecting and discarding. Establishing goals and taking consistent action demands concentration. No one but yourself is going to ensure that your current concerns are aligned with your long-term interests.

Unless you remind yourself daily of your priorities, chances are that you will spend your time dealing with the latest emergency, only to discover later, that the problem was inconsequential. Noise distorts music in the same way that fashion distorts principles. Not by contesting them, but by making them inaudible and invisible.

The reason why men read old philosophers is not to learn about the latest scandal, but to reaffirm essential truths. The news of the hour may entertain your attention and satisfy your curiosity. Novelties might provide you subjects for small talk with strangers, but superficiality leads to anxiety.

The key issue

Foolishness arises not so much out of ignorance, but out of the willingness to obliterate what we already know to be true. Balance and motivation require sharpness of intent. The key issues is that, unless you find a way to restate your goals every day, nonsense will contaminate reason and your determination will wane.

Personal objectives are meaningless if plans are not implemented. Relentless activity ensues from self-confidence, not from self-effacement. You need to find the manner to keep your purpose in view and your understanding fresh. Restate truth at every turn the road and ignore signs that tell you to stall.


Image by obbino under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

When everything fails, try this

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Here is the key to personal growth in difficult situations

There is no deeper disappointment in life than seeing your fundamental convictions contradicted by unexpected events. When facts turn upside down what you have believed all your life, disorientation and depression ensues. In those situation, doubts spread like wildfire across your philosophy, leading you to wonder if your other ideas are equally false.

Difficult problems?

Have you been wrong all this time? Have you perhaps misunderstood the teachings of antiquity? Does modern life require giving up all traditions, values, and principles of previous eras? To whom can you turn to seek confirmation, or at the very least, consolation?

Nowadays, millions of people are asking these and similar questions. The last decades have been particularly hard on those who had placed their trust on prudence and loyalty. The issue is whether thrift and careful investment have lost their sense and purpose.

Adversity and misfortune prompt victims to question their beliefs. The spectacle of great financial losses incurred by conservative businessmen is not edifying. In this context, it is perfectly fair to doubt your convictions. In a world that seems to reward chance rather than constancy, should one remain faithful to ethical rules?

The correct principles

Take heart and do not give up. Current events offer an incomplete picture of the story. Superficial and nonsensical ideas can only enjoy ephemeral popularity. The balance of time will soon regain its accuracy. Rational measurements will be restored.

Short-term defeat is just a temporary disturbance of the universal rule that links cause and effect. The principle of causality alone governs reality. None of us can escape it, ignore it, or contradict it. Correct principles remain uncontested through the ages. Essential ethical guidelines are meant to show us the way especially during difficult periods.

The law of causality, however, does not prevent connections between facts from working according to their own calendar. Consequences from past events can be wide-ranging. Sometimes, effects are only felt several years after their cause was initiated. The timing of History is seldom designed to fit our linking. Take these four examples and see if you can recognize yourself or someone you know.

The practical solution

First example. An employee who has worked loyally for a company during several decades loses his job due to the economic recession and finds himself on the street. Was he wrong in devoting so much effort to his work? Instead of performing excellently, should he have done as little as possible in his job?

Second example. A middle-aged manager who has been saving laboriously all his life now witnesses a stock market crash that devalues his assets in half. Was he mistaken in trying to secure his retirement? Rather than investing, should he have spent his income on frivolities?

Third example. A loving wife who has dedicated her best years to care for his family is suddenly confronted with her husband's infidelity. Was she too naïve in trusting him? Should she become sceptical of truth in human relationships?

Fourth example. A couple who lives frugally for decades in order to pay off their mortgage sees their home damaged by a flood. Instead of saving money every month, should they have spent as much as they earned?

A new perspective

No wonder that people feel overwhelmed, physically and psychologically, when they go through such circumstances. Unmitigated disaster can demolish our most cherished principles together with our hopes, savings, home, possessions, and social and family connections.

In the face of catastrophe, the only way to overcome doubt is to extend our range of vision. The law of cause and effect always works, even though its results may be slower than we wish. Great victories are always won at the margin, through consistent application of fundamental principles. Do not desert your convictions when short-term events turn against them.

No human story is exempt from trouble. This is why, given enough time, a sensible lifestyle always wins. Your long-term investment plans may suffer a setback, but their value shall be restored as soon as economic conditions return to normality. Your job may be lost in the business disruption caused by a recession, but you were right in trying to perform your best every day.

What really works

Do not question your good habits during bad times. Remain calm in the face of adversity and reaffirm your rational values. Recovery might be around the corner. Now it is no time to throw away your virtues. Learn to look beyond present disaster and figure out how to regain ground.

During a crisis, the best traits of your character become even more valuable. Honesty, frugality, and productivity ensure that you will be able to seize the next opportunity to get back on your feet. Stay alert and do not grow discouraged. Great victories are always won precisely at the moment when everything seems lost.

Linear thinking, so natural to our minds, is rarely accurate in seizing facts. Reality does not change at a steady pace. Prosperity seldom arrives at the moment we expect it. Success is the outcome of relentless, focused action carried out through the years.

Great victories are always won at the margin, by hanging on a little longer, by making an extra sale, and by saving an extra dollar. Virtues such as productivity and frugality allow us to enjoy life more intensely because they establish a permanent link between present desires and foreseeable rewards.


Image by Jeff Kubina under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

Rationality is the Way to Happiness

Saturday, 11 July 2015

What you need to do to get rid of stress and anxiety

Poverty has few benefits other than awakening personal ambitions and making people realistic about how the world works. Those are things, of course, that can be learned in many different ways without having to experience deprivation.

Peace of mind

On the other hand, whatever your level of income, frugality constitutes a choice of permanent value and the key to peace of mind. Contemporary society does not promote temperance and thrift. The story is seldom told of how present prosperity is the consequence of previous savings and investment.

The law of cause and effect governs supreme the affairs of the world. Nothing escapes its reach, no one circumvents its application. The same principle that brings perspective to centuries shapes the microcosm of daily life. What you do today builds tomorrow's structure and level of pay.

In addition to economic returns, frugality brings about substantial psychological advantages to the individual. Stress and anxiety remain foreign to the parsimonious. Discouragement and fear stay away from the house of the austere. If you live this way, these are some blessings to expect:
  • First, serenity and peace of mind. Worries do not keep awake at night those who live their days with measure. Leading a simple life spares man the effort of following the latest fashions. By quickly dismissing artificial alternatives as inappropriate, we are left with the fundamental. Serenity is the result of simplification.
  • Second, the ability to make fast and consistent decisions. Trusting your own judgement more than external opinion allows your skills to grow through success and mistakes. Stable values and sharp priorities are the prerequisite of frugality. Decisiveness is the will to recognize and reject the drawbacks of inconsistency.
  • Third, a generalized risk reduction in your life. A judicious man should protect himself when at risk, but is it not wiser to avoid danger in the first place? The tension of making daily complex choices can wear out the most balanced mind and lead to depression. Adopting simple ways of doing things reduces errors of oversight. Shunning unnecessary costs keeps exposure to chaos low.
  • Fourth, more enjoyment of life day after day. Ignoring the noise of the world liberates time and other resources. Priorities lose their meaning in overgrown agendas. Frugality enables man to breathe free of encumbrances and focus his efforts on the basics. Happiness is not the result of cumulating random tasks, but of concentration on projects that make a difference.
Personal development

Leading a simple life allows man to accumulate wealth and the peace of mind that comes with it. The material advantages of frugality go hand in hand with its psychological benefits. Discarding the unnecessary allows individuals to pay attention to the crucial elements of a good life and accelerate their personal development. Making wise choices starts with the realization that most things don't count.

Image by permanently scatterbrained under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

Rationality is the Way to Happiness

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Going from pessimism to optimism: The rational approach

Please turn off the radio and TV for a while and let me give you some realistic opinions. Despite all the gloom and doom, there are solid reasons for being optimistic in our times. If we keep our head cool and assess facts objectively, this is what we find.

An objective assessment

Economic restructuring is creating wealth. As a result of the current crisis, some companies are going bankrupt. In most cases, this means that assets are being taken over by a different management, people with new vision and ambitions. Those companies will stop producing what few want to buy and, instead, focus their efforts on better opportunities. Restructuring can lead to creating new wealth.

Moving to a better place has become cheaper. It used to be costly to move in order to take a new job, but things are changing. The cost of housing has been reduced in many areas of the world. If you want to move in order to pursue new opportunities, there has never been a better time. Even if you decide to change cities only for a while, you can now rent furnished apartments cheaply in many areas. The cost of moving can hardly prevent anyone from pursuing his dream.

Violence is decreasing. Despite grim news in the media, violence is decreasing around the world. There are still many unresolved problems and dangerous places, but overall, the situation is improving. The reason for this is purely practical: violence is bad for business. Production and commerce get people together. Selling things to each other goes a long a way towards preventing conflict.

You can profit from the fact that many assets are appreciating. While some businesses and currencies are losing value, other assets are appreciating. Instability creates opportunity. Although it might be uncomfortable and risky, remember that only dead matter is stable. Human beings thrive in change. Look for currencies and assets that are appreciating, invest your savings wisely, and you will be rewarded. Life flows in the direction of opportunity.

An effective solution

Tolerance and goodwill are increasing. There are many different opinions around the world. Some are foolish and unrealistic, but they hardly justify heated debates, stress, anxiety, or depression. Live and let live, people say. Tolerance is carrying the day amongst thinking individuals. As people travel and see the world, tolerance and goodwill increase.

Flexibility is allowing the creation of new employment opportunities. It is a workable and effective solution. If your industry faces a shrinking market, it is painful to lose your job, but try to look at it from a different perspective. Economic changes shift resources from low-profit to high-opportunity areas. The speed of that process shows the health of an economy. There can be no progress without change. Be flexible and use your creativity to adapt to the new situation.

Education costs are decreasing across the board. Inexpensive internet access and mp3 players have cleared the way for low-cost transmission of knowledge in all fields. Lectures that were accessible only in universities, can now be downloaded for free or for little money. For those who wish to learn, opportunity is continuously expanding.

The opportunities

You can benefit from enormous bargains. For a short while, we are living in an environment of decreasing prices and this is something that we all can profit from. Things that used to be hardly affordable have become cheaper for millions of people around the world.

Immigration continues to create jobs day after day. Frontiers are opening in many countries and millions of people move every year in search of a better life. Immigration continues to create opportunities for many. A promising future in a new environment. Immigrants bring ambition, knowledge, and tolerance to society. Immigration creates wealth for open economies and its positive effect can be felt in many areas around the world.

Low-cost communications enhance word-wide transparency. With television cameras and internet access everywhere, it has become increasingly difficult to be evil. Problems are immediately reported and people take action to improve things. When transparency increases, people become more ethical.

Do not let daily news get you down. Instead, look at the world with rational optimism. Some currencies are losing value and others are appreciating, but opportunities are being created everywhere. Two thousand years ago, Roman philosopher Epictetus said that a wise man focuses his effort on things he can control. That's something that we should keep in mind everyday.


Image by kokorowashinjin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

The Philosophy of Builders

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The 147 best blogs about personal development

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

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Why happiness calls for a stable long-term purpose

Culture and fashion are calls for conformity. Relinquishing individual thinking and embracing a standard lifestyle bring enormous advantages. They save you time when it comes to taking decisions. They spare you embarrassment when it comes to disguising the truth.

The opposite side is filled by non-conformity, which is just a different sort of style. Holidays are not spent on the beach, but practising dangerous sports. Hobbies do not include watching movies, but wandering in the tropical forest. Clothes, instead of well-fitting and colourful, are torn and monochrome.

Downtrodden tracks

You can choose either way to fill your years, not with happiness, but with souvenirs. Imitating someone else's pictures is not the way to create great paintings. Adopting values that make no sense will not move you forward nor render your feelings more intense. Downtrodden tracks lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. For sure, that is not a path you want to take.

There is an alternative, the same that has always worked. You don't need to spend your days wondering which fashion leads to less dismay. Wisdom does not entail rejecting principles that are preached, but comparing them with reason, and selecting those that work.

Individuality can only draw meaning from private reflection. Sound choices are the result of man's logical evaluation of the world. Before we start to compose our own song, we must allow our mind to filter out random noise. These are my three recommendations about how to move from inherited values to consistency with reality.

Three recommendations

  • First, stop believing in myths: Neither specific clothes, nor gadgets, nor locations lead to happiness. The majority might bestow moral credibility to arbitrary standards, but you are not obliged to buy in. The idea that things have to be done in one specific way is, more often than not, false. Shun rigidity and look around for fresh answers.
  • Second, abandon contradictory goals: Irrationality is synonymous with inconsistency. False ideas conflict with facts and with each other. Anxiety is the mark of those who move at random, without destination. Animals do not need perspective, but humans do. Drop ideas that do not make sense and rebuild your thinking structure.
  • Third, determine your direction: Universal principles can be distilled from observation, but each has a myriad of different applications. The law of cause and effect drives all existence, but your context is unique. No one can tell you how to lead your life best. Let your reason establish your ambitions and priorities. This is a proven method for increasing your happiness and personal growth.
Realize that the short-term contentment derived from imitation is not going to add value to your life. On the contrary, you may find out that it will only create expenses and headaches. Shrug your shoulders at unrealistic advice and ignore insincere invitations. Happiness calls for stable purpose and continuous action. Choose the way of reason.


Image by racEcar_yayas under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

The Philosophy of Builders