Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

A good read on how to afford anything

Ken here has wrote a really detailed article on how to adjust your lifestyle to lead a satisfying life. He has given us a clear insights on the way he conducts his life, on car buying, investment, and other ways to live frugally and yet not letting up on standards of living. Some of it could be really extreme, but they are possibilities that you can explore.

Excerpts:

Don’t Buy on Credit or Take out Loans

Only buy what you can afford. Don’t buy anything until you have the cash to pay for it.

Half of America doesn’t get that, and spends all its money barely making the minimum monthly interest payments on their credit cards each month. GAG!

This is awful. Few people have enough self control not to spend. We get all the pleasure by whipping out our card and satisfying ourselves today, while the payment part is way off in the future.

Sadly this is the genius plan of credit card companies, for whom your 30-day future becomes every day for the rest of your life making interest payments. They want you to get in so deep you’ll never be able to get out!

When it comes time to pay, VISA or Mastercard doesn’t want your money! They want you to make the bare minimum payment and get in deeper. They love charging you far more interest than any other loan would. The credit card companies collect 18% interest from you, while the money they loan to you costs them only a few percent.

They easily take in 10% profit per year from you on every dollar you have racked up.

They love it when you max out your cards and have no possible way to pay off the balance. This is the slavery condition in which they would love to have every cardholder. That’s why they give away cards like candy, especially to students and other people they know can’t possibly pay them off.

The few people that they do break (bankrupt) aren’t a concern. These companies make so much money on the other people that it easily covers the defaults.

Don’t let this happen to you. The only way to use a credit card is to pay it off in full each and every month. Never buy anything for which you don’t have cash ready to pay the bill when it becomes due. I always have, and have never paid one penny of credit card interest my entire life! Credit card companies have a insiders word for people like me: freeloaders. Tough, call me whatever names you want, I’m not going to fall into their credit-card Hell.

Never, ever use a credit card for credit, simply because the interest rates are too high. If you need a loan, go get one, and pay it off fast.

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. That’s the most important rule here.
Read the full article here

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Networking the right way

What is one thing that we need to do in order to be known? What is the secret to building contacts? How do we get to know people whose interest are similar to ours? How do we find people who can help us boost our business and/or traffic? You guessed it right – Network!

Networking doesn’t mean keeping tabs on everyone you’ve met since you were 5 years old. Networking is something that you do in order to build your contacts and resources that might benefit you and others in one way or the other. Some people are born with networking talents, they get out there and make friends easily whereas for some it is a learned act. I have learned networking the hard way. After running two small businesses both in the real world and on the internet and seeing two of my blogs die, I think I have learned some lessons on how to network to gain the most out of it.

Whether you are a born networking genius or a person trying to learn the ropes, we all know networking is the key to success and is critical to any business and the same goes for your blog, whether you run it as a business or hobby. Here are some tips on networking that I have found quite useful which has helped me gain contacts that are both influential and helpful when it comes to my blogging career.

Check out the full article here

10 Foolproof Tips for Better Sleep

There was a period in my life when I had a lot of problems with sleep. It took me very long to fall asleep, I was easily awaken, and I simply wasn’t getting enough of rest at night. I didn’t want to take medication and this led me to learn several tips and tricks that really helped me to overcome my insomnia. Some of these tips I try to follow regularly.

  1. Don’t worry about not getting enough sleep. Try not to worry about how much you sleep. Such worrying can start a cycle of negative thoughts that contribute to a condition, known as “learned insomnia”. Learned insomnia occurs when you worry so much about whether or not you will be able to get adequate sleep, that the bedtime rituals and behavior actually trigger insomnia.
  2. Don’t force yourself to sleep. The very attempt of trying to do so actually awakes you, making it more difficult to sleep.
  3. Go to bed only when you are feeling really tired and sleepy.
  4. Don’t look at the alarm clock at night. Looking at the clock promotes increased anxiety and obsession about time.
  5. Body-heating procedures. Some studies suggest that soaking in hot water before going to bed can ease the transition into a deeper sleep.
  6. Avoid oversleep. Don’t oversleep to make up for a poor night’s sleep. Doing so for even a couple of days can reset your body clock and make it harder for you to sleep at night.
  7. Sex. Sex is a well-known nighttime stress reliever. Healthy sex life enhances your relationship, relaxes your body, releases ‘happy’ chemicals, and even promotes wellness. And it welcomes sleep.
  8. Avoid alcohol as a sleeping aid. Avoid the use of alcohol in the late evening. The most common myth found among people is that they believe alcohol helps in the sleep. But the fact is alcohol may initially act as sedative, but it produces a number of sleep-impairing effects in the long run.
  9. Associate your bed and bedroom with sleep and sex only. Don’t watch TV, eat, or read in bed. Although these things help some people sleep, they can also give your brain the idea that bed isn’t just for sleeping – and this can keep you awake.
  10. Naps. If you suffer from insomnia, try not taking a nap. If the goal is to sleep more during the night, napping may steal hours desired later on. If you’re a regular napper, and experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep at night, give up the nap and see what happens.

Written by C. Simmons of HealthAssist.net

15 Sure ways to declutter your mind

from : zenhabits.net

The world of stresses and worries and errands and projects and noise that we must all endure inflicts upon us a mind full of clutter and chaos.

A mind that sometimes cannot find the calm that we so desperately seek.

I’ve had a number of readers write to me, thanking me for my articles on decluttering … but asking me, sometimes with a hint of despair, to write about decluttering your mind, not just your home or your desk.

It’s a valid request — if anything needs decluttering, it’s our minds, I think — but it’s also a daunting task. How do you declutter a mind? It’s not as if thoughts are just laying around, waiting for you to pick through them, finding the ones that should be kept and those that are ripe for the donation box. The mind isn’t like an inbox, that can be sorted through and acted upon.

The brain is a complex and confusing organ, the core of us as human beings (if you feel, as I often do, that the soul is in the mind and not in the heart). The mind is often covered in the scar tissue of old hurts and traumas, and layered in so many levels of consciousness not even the best of psychoanalysts has ever sorted through it.

So how do we begin decluttering? It’s actually not difficult, if you give it a little thought: simplifying shouldn’t be made complex.

You can declutter your mind with simple actions, things we’ve discussed here before, but things that are almost guaranteed to have a positive effect. Little things that can make a big difference, especially when used in combination. Choose a few to try out, and see if they work for you.

1. Breathe. So simple, and yet so effective. Take a few deep breaths, and then for a few minutes, just focus on your breathing. Concentrate on your breathing as it comes into your body, and then as it goes out. It has a calming effect, especially if you continue to return your focus to your breath when your mind strays. It also allows other thoughts to just float away. (Note: some people might call this meditation, but that word scares some people off, so we’re just going to call it breathing.)

2. Write it down. If you have a bunch of things on your mind, it helps to get them on paper and off your mind. This is one of the essential habits in Zen To Done (and GTD, of course) … writing down your tasks and ideas. This keeps your head from being filled with everything you need to do and remember.

3. Identify the essential. This one is practically a mantra here at Zen Habits. (Can you imagine it? All of us here at Zen Habits, sitting on a mat in lotus position, chanting slowly: “Identify the essential … identify … the essen … tial …”) But that’s because it’s crucial to everything I write about: if you want to simplify or declutter, the first step is identifying what is most important. In this case, identify what is most important in your life, and what’s most important for you to focus on right now. Make a short list for each of these things.

4. Eliminate. Now that you’ve identified the essential, you can identify what’s not essential. What things in your life are not truly necessary or important to you? What are you thinking about right now that’s not on your short list? By eliminating as many of these things as possible, you can get a bunch of junk off your mind.

5. Journal. Similar to “write it down” above, but with a little more depth. Journaling (whether it’s in a paper journal or online doesn’t matter) helps you explore different areas of your life that you don’t think about much. And this exploration might allow you to find some things on your mind that you didn’t realize were there, some things that can be eliminated or pursued. And just getting these thoughts into some kind of a journal is a way of getting them out of your mind as well.

6. Rethink your sleep. Sometimes we aren’t getting enough sleep, or our sleeping patterns aren’t ideal. I’m not saying that you should change your sleeping patterns, but sometimes it can do wonders. And if you don’t give it some thought, you won’t realize how much your sleep (or lack thereof) is affecting you.

7. Take a walk. Getting outside and doing some kind of physical activity is a great way to get stuff off your mind. I like to run or do yardwork, but whatever you do doesn’t matter. Spending some physical energy clears the mind.

8. Watch less TV. For me, television doesn’t relax me, although it might seem that vegging in front of the TV is good for relaxation. TV fills your head with noise, without the redeeming qualities of music or reading or good conversation. Watch less TV, and you’ll notice your mind begin to quieten.

9. Get in touch with nature. Similar to “take a walk” above, but without the bustle of activity. I like to go somewhere with water … the ocean, a river, a lake, even just a man-made fountain if nothing else is available. Or watching rain does the trick for me too. Somehow this can be calming and focusing at the same time.

10. Do less. Take your to-do list and cross off half the things on it. Just pick a few things to get done today, and focus on those. Let the rest go away. If you do less, you’ll have less on your mind.

11. Go slower. Seems kinda weird, I know, but walking and talking and working and driving slower can make a very big difference. It’s kind of like you’re saying, “I’m not willing to rush through life, no matter what artificial time demands others are putting on me. I want to take it at my pace.” And as a result, your mind is less harried as well.

12. Let go. Worrying about something? Angry about somebody? Frustrated? Harboring a grudge? While these are all natural emotions and thoughts, none of them are really necessary. See if you can let go of them. More difficult than it sounds, I know, but it’s worth the effort.

13. Declutter your surroundings. I’ve mentioned this before, but decluttering my desk or my home have a way of calming me. Having a lot of stuff around you is just visual clutter — it occupies part of your mind, even if you don’t realize it.

14. Single-task. Multi-tasking, for the most part, is a good way to fill your mind with a lot of activity without a lot of productivity or happiness as a result. Instead, try to single-task — just focus on one task at a time. Clear away everything else, until you’re done with that task. Then focus on the next task, and so on.

15. Get a load off. Sometimes it can make a huge difference to unload our troubles on another human being. If you have a significant other or a best friend or a close family member or coworker … unload your thoughts on them. And listen to them, to return the favor. Sure, it’s just talk … but it can make a huge difference to your mental sanity.

25 Killer Actions to Boost Your Self-Confidence

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings

One of the things that held me back from pursuing my dreams for many years was fear of failure … and the lack of self-confidence that I needed to overcome that fear.

It’s something we all face, to some degree, I think. The key question: how do you overcome that fear?

By working on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Without really thinking of it in those terms, that’s what I’ve been doing over the years, and that’s what helped me finally overcome my fears, and finally pursue my dreams.

I still have those fears, undoubtedly. But now I know that I can beat them, that I can break through that wall of fear and come out on the other side. I’ve done it many times now, and that success will fuel further success.

This post was inspired by reader Nick from Finland, who asked for an article about self-worth and self-confidence:

Many of the things you propose make people feel better about themselves and actually help building self-confidence. However, I would be interested on reading your input in general on this topic. Taking time out for your own plans and dreams, doing things another way than most other people and generally not necessarily “fitting in” can be quite hard with a low self-confidence.

Truer words have never been spoken. It’s near impossible to make time for your dreams, to break free from the traditional mold, and to truly be yourself, if you have low self-esteem and self-confidence.

As an aside, I know that some people make a strong distinction between self-esteem and self-confidence. In this article, I use them interchangeably, even if there is a subtle but perhaps important difference … the difference being whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others (self-esteem) and whether you believe in yourself (self-confidence). In the end, both amount to the same thing, and in the end, the actions I mention below give a boost to both self-esteem and self-confidence.

Taking control of your self-confidence
If you are low in self-confidence, is it possible to do things that will change that? Is your self-confidence in your control?

While it may not seem so, if you are low in self-confidence, I strongly believe that you can do things to increase your self-confidence. It is not genetic, and you do not have to be reliant on others to increase your self-confidence. And if you believe that you are not very competent, not very smart, not very attractive, etc. … that can be changed.

You can become someone worthy of respect, and someone who can pursue what he wants despite the naysaying of others.

You can do this by taking control of your life, and taking control of your self-confidence. By taking concrete actions that improve your competence, your self-image, you can increase that self-confidence, without the help of anyone else.

Below, I outline 25 things that will help you do that. None of them is revolutionary, none of them will do it all by themselves. The list certainly isn’t comprehensive. These are just some of my favorite things, stuff that’s worked for me.

And you don’t need to do all of them, as if this were a recipe … pick and choose those that appeal to you, maybe just a couple at first, and give them a try. If they work, try others. If they don’t, try others.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Groom yourself. This seems like such an obvious one, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and a shave can make in your feelings of self-confidence and for your self-image. There have been days when I turned my mood around completely with this one little thing.

2. Dress nicely. A corollary of the first item above … if you dress nicely, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll feel successful and presentable and ready to tackle the world. Now, dressing nicely means something different for everyone … it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a $500 outfit, but could mean casual clothes that are nice looking and presentable.

3. Photoshop your self-image. Our self-image means so much to us, more than we often realize. We have a mental picture of ourselves, and it determines how confident we are in ourselves. But this picture isn’t fixed and immutable. You can change it. Use your mental Photoshopping skills, and work on your self-image. If it’s not a very good one, change it. Figure out why you see yourself that way, and find a way to fix it.

4. Think positive. One of the things I learned when I started running, about two years ago, what how to replace negative thoughts (see next item) with positive ones. How I can actually change my thoughts, and by doing so make great things happened. With this tiny little skill, I was able to train for and run a marathon within a year. It sounds so trite, so Norman Vincent Peale, but my goodness this works. Seriously. Try it if you haven’t.

5. Kill negative thoughts. Goes hand-in-hand with the above item, but it’s so important that I made it a separate item. You have to learn to be aware of your self-talk, the thoughts you have about yourself and what you’re doing. When I was running, sometimes my mind would start to say, “This is too hard. I want to stop and go watch TV.” Well, I soon learned to recognize this negative self-talk, and soon I learned a trick that changed everything in my life: I would imagine that a negative thought was a bug, and I would vigilantly be on the lookout for these bugs. When I caught one, I would stomp on it (mentally of course) and squash it. Kill it dead. Then replace it with a positive one. (”C’mon, I can do this! Only one mile left!”)

Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu

6. Get to know yourself. When going into battle, the wisest general learns to know his enemy very, very well. You can’t defeat the enemy without knowing him. And when you’re trying to overcome a negative self-image and replace it with self-confidence, your enemy is yourself. Get to know yourself well. Start listening to your thoughts. Start writing a journal about yourself, and about the thoughts you have about yourself, and analyzing why you have such negative thoughts. And then think about the good things about yourself, the things you can do well, the things you like. Start thinking about your limitations, and whether they’re real limitations or just ones you’ve allowed to be placed there, artificially. Dig deep within yourself, and you’ll come out (eventually) with even greater self-confidence.

7. Act positive. More than just thinking positive, you have to put it into action. Action, actually, is the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you change yourself, one action at a time. You are what you do, and so if you change what you do, you change what you are. Act in a positive way, take action instead of telling yourself you can’t, be positive. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll soon start to notice a difference.

8. Be kind and generous. Oh, so corny. If this is too corny for you, move on. But for the rest of you, know that being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image. You act in accordance with the Golden Rule, and you start to feel good about yourself, and to think that you are a good person. It does wonders for your self-confidence, believe me.

One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe

9. Get prepared. It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Beat that feeling by preparing yourself as much as possible. Think about taking an exam: if you haven’t studied, you won’t have much confidence in your abilities to do well on the exam. But if you studied your butt off, you’re prepared, and you’ll be much more confident. Now think of life as your exam, and prepare yourself.

10. Know your principles and live them. What are the principles upon which your life is built? If you don’t know, you will have trouble, because your life will feel directionless. For myself, I try to live the Golden Rule (and fail often). This is my key principle, and I try to live my life in accordance with it. I have others, but they are mostly in some way related to this rule (the major exception being to “Live my Passion”). Think about your principles … you might have them but perhaps you haven’t given them much thought. Now think about whether you actually live these principles, or if you just believe in them but don’t act on them.

11. Speak slowly. Such a simple thing, but it can have a big difference in how others perceive you. A person in authority, with authority, speaks slowly. It shows confidence. A person who feels that he isn’t worth listening to will speak quickly, because he doesn’t want to keep others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Even if you don’t feel the confidence of someone who speaks slowly, try doing it a few times. It will make you feel more confident. Of course, don’t take it to an extreme, but just don’t sound rushed either.

12. Stand tall. I have horrible posture, so it will sound hypocritical for me to give this advice, but I know it works because I try it often. When I remind myself to stand tall and straight, I feel better about myself. I imagine that a rope is pulling the top of my head toward the sky, and the rest of my body straightens accordingly. As an aside, people who stand tall and confident are more attractive. That’s a good thing any day, in my book.

13. Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time. If you want to be a more competent writer, for example, don’t try to tackle the entire profession of writing all at once. Just begin to write more. Journal, blog, write short stories, do some freelance writing. The more you write, the better you’ll be. Set aside 30 minutes a day to write (for example), and the practice will increase your competence.

14. Set a small goal and achieve it. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. Set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieve it. You’ll feel good about that. Now set another small goal and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the better you’ll feel. Soon you’ll be setting bigger (but still achievable) goals and achieving those too.

15. Change a small habit. Not a big one, like quitting smoking. Just a small one, like writing things down. Or waking up 10 minutes earlier. Or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Something small that you know you can do. Do it for a month. When you’ve accomplished it, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

16. Focus on solutions. If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your career. “I’m fat and lazy!” So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So what’s the solution?

17. Smile. Another trite one. But it works. I feel instantly better when I smile, and it helps me to be kinder to others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy.

18. Volunteer. Related to the “be kind and generous” item above, but more specific. It’s the holiday season right now … can you find the time to volunteer for a good cause, to spread some holiday cheer, to make the lives of others better? It’ll be some of the best time you’ve ever spent, and an amazing side benefit is that you’ll feel better about yourself, instantly.

19. Be grateful. I’m a firm believer in gratitude, as anyone who’s been reading this blog for very long knows well. But I put it here because while being grateful for what you have in life, for what others have given you, is a very humbling activity … it can also be a very positive and rewarding activity that will improve your self-image. Read more.

20. Exercise. Gosh, I seem to put this one on almost every list. But if I left it off this list I would be doing you a disservice. Exercise has been one of my most empowering activities in the last couple years, and it has made me feel so much better about myself.
All you have to do is take a walk a few times a week, and you’ll see benefits. Start the habit.

21. Empower yourself with knowledge. Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by doing research and studying. The Internet is a great tool, of course, but so are the people around you, people who have done what you want, books, magazines, and educational institutions.

22. Do something you’ve been procrastinating on. What’s on your to-do list that’s been sitting there? Do it first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way. You’ll feel great about yourself.

23. Get active. Doing something is almost always better than not doing anything. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes … but mistakes are a part of life. It’s how we learn. Without mistakes, we’d never get better. So don’t worry about those. Just do something. Get off your butt and get active — physically, or active by taking steps to accomplish something.

24. Work on small things. Trying to take on a huge project or task can be overwhelming and daunting and intimidating for anyone, even the best of us. Instead, learn to break off small chunks and work in bursts. Small little achievements make you feel good, and they add up to big achievements. Learn to work like this all the time, and soon you’ll be a self-confident maniac.

25. Clear your desk. This might seem like a small, simple thing (then again, for some of you it might not be so small). But it has always worked wonders for me. If my desk starts to get messy, and the world around me is in chaos, clearing off my desk is my way of getting a little piece of my life under control. It is the calm in the center of the storm around me. Here’s how.

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – Walt Disney