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A Time of Reflection

Christmas photo of Tommy, Tina and Blackie.

Happy Holidays to you and the ones you love! Thank you for being a part of the Think Simple Now community, and welcoming me into your lives.

Looking back on the year, didn’t it seem like it flew by in a blink? While it is easy to point out missed goals, time wasted, and many of life’s other disappointments, it is also just as easy to choose to see the beauty, the blessings, the gifts and the miracles we’ve received this year. If you find yourself at this crossing, choose happiness.

Let’s take this opportunity to take a few deep breaths and reflect on the year’s many gifts. Here’s a simple meditation I like to do:

13 Tips to Building Self Esteem

Photo by Kevin Russ
People with high self-esteem are the most desired, and desirable people in society. ~Brian Tracy

Can you recall the last time you were in an emotional slump, such that your beliefs in yourself and your abilities were slipping away? How can we maintain the beliefs we have in ourselves, such that we can live with less anxiety and more joy?

Just imagine the things we would accomplish if we had the belief that we could do absolutely anything, especially if we could maintain a level of self-esteem that no circumstance could shake. What would you be doing?

Self-esteem comes from positive self-imaging, and it is something that we proactively build for ourselves. Self-esteem doesn’t happen while we wait passively. When we leave it up to external factors, we build our self-esteem on sandy ground. What we want is a rock-solid foundation, and this only comes from building it within.

Throughout our daily routines, our minds are very good at picking up all the things we’ve done wrong, and it makes sure we are aware of them. With such a counter-productive force at work, we can benefit greatly by regularly working towards establishing and building our own self image.

I’ve learned that the way we view ourselves directly affects everything we do. People with high self-esteem get along easily with others, rarely get sick, and seem to have high energy reserves. Also, their high level of self-esteem corresponds with their high level of productivity, capacity of happiness and state of well-being.

Overcome Fear in the Economic Crisis

Photo by Lucia Holm

It seems that you can’t go even one day without hearing a comment, a remark, a report, or an article highlighting the current economic downturn.  How can we keep a positive attitude during these tough economic times?

It has become an unavoidable topic that comes up during business meetings, lunches, and social gatherings. A friend recently was forced to sell his house, and shared with me the tales of money lost and his many frustrations. Another friend jokingly remarked, “my 401K has turned into my 201k, I might as well have not worked for the past two years.”

I’ve done my best not to focus any energy on this topic, until I recently started receiving email from readers asking for advice on how to deal with the current economic situation, emotionally. Here is one such email from a generous reader that encapsulates the topic nicely:

“I am a recent graduate from a Masters program, have a very good job, but am constantly worried about what the future holds for me financially. Since most of the troubles in the world are out of my hands, how can I keep an upbeat attitude about life in general, during these tough times that are affecting so many hard working people.”
- James Richter

In this article, I will give my own perspective on this topic, and relay specific tips on dealing with fear during an economic downturn.

How to Achieve Anything

Photo: Kevin Russ. Check out his stock portfolio.

Is there a goal you want to accomplish, but just cannot find the time to start it? It might be something trivial like, to reduce the amount of TV watching, or time spent browsing the Internet. It might be, to become an early riser, or to quit drinking alcohol, or to start a home business. Whatever it is, what is keeping you where you are instead of reaching your desired destination?

I have several such targets in my life that I often think about, but rarely take action on. Each time I’m reminded of one of them, I would guiltily say, “I really should do [blah]“, and then forget about it until the next time guilt creeps back into my head.

One such target I have is to exercise. I’ve been talking about wanting to get in shape for about two years now. I even setup an arbitrary goal of doing a triathlon to get me excited. I did start to go running shortly after setting the goal, which lasted for about a week, before I became distracted with another target.

I like to think of myself as a pretty disciplined and motivated person – I mean, I write about this stuff! But, something about this particular target has been very psychologically challenging for me to take consistent action on. And I want to understand it.

38 Creative Gift Ideas

Photo by Stock Photo
How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.

Having spent my entire Thanksgiving weekend organizing and de-cluttering my living space, I am a bit afraid of acquiring any more stuff. I mean, I love receiving and opening presents, it makes me feel special… but soon it becomes just another thing that I take for granted, while adding to the clutter at home. As the saying goes, “The stuff we own ends up owning us”. Very true!

This year (and for all years after this), I’m advocating for no present exchanges amongst my circle of friends. Their love, friendship and occasional pet sitting favors will suffice. Thank you.

Having said that, many of you are still ‘obligated’ to produce presents. Thus, I’ve compiled this list of gift ideas, following last year’s tradition. Given my current bias towards owning nothing, this year’s list leans towards gift ideas that are practical, clever, frugal, or eco-friendly.

I had way too much fun compiling this list, and I hope that some of these ideas bring many more smiles to the loved ones in your life.

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