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.
Can you recall the last time you were really angry at someone? So much so that you were physically shaken just at the thought of them? Rarely does this feeling of anger help us in getting what we want. Often, it will work against us, resulting in more pain, unnecessarily.
Even the most gentle of personalities can temporarily turn into a vindictive rascal, if pushed far enough.
A friend of mine is going through a divorce with a spouse who is unreasonably prolonging the process. He’s sad, hurt, upset, frustrated and very, very angry. Words of anger and hatred spout out of his – otherwise polite and thoughtful – mouth. He was no longer his authentic and peaceful self. And he didn’t like who he was becoming.
Through helping him come to a place of understanding and forgiveness of his ex-spouse with love, compassion and humility (we had to dig deep), I realized that the same tools can be used in dealing with other negative emotions.
For sake of simplicity, we will use anger as the target emotion to overcome. Keep in mind that it can be applied to overcome other non-conducive and intense emotions such as jealousy, guilt, hatred, regret and fear.
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.~Mark Twain
Can you recall the last time you held a grudge against someone? Perhaps it was a friend who betrayed you, a stranger who wronged you, a lover who left, or a parent who unintentionally hurt you. Perhaps this has happened recently and feelings of regret, resentment, and injustice are fresh enough that it still stings. What can we do to overcome these feelings and painful memories?
I recently received an abrasive and angry email from someone falsely accusing me of something on a personal level. I was shocked and hurt. The “Cave Woman” in me jumped out and my initial instinct was to write something hurtful back to her, in an act of self defense. My second instinct was to give her a list of reasons why she was wrong, in an attempt to refute her false accusations, thus defending my ego.
In the end, my rational self knew that engaging with her would only trigger more negativity, so I didn’t. I woke up the next morning with defensive thoughts running through my head, like a dark cloud, hovering over me. Thoughts of retaliation had been dancing around in my mind in what seemed to be a never-ending cycle.
I hated this feeling. In fact, I hated the feeling of hating this feeling. Even though, I knew rationally and intuitively that I was getting nowhere by feeling upset, annoyed, and wronged, it felt impossible to control these thoughts and to not be bothered by them. I knew I had to release this energy to set myself free. The key to mental freedom was within me and nowhere else.
What can one do to overcome these negative thought patterns? What can we do to relinquish ourselves from feelings conjured up by other people’s actions? This article takes a detailed look at how we can free ourselves from negative feelings of resentment and anger resulting from personal episodes of injustice.
I recently sat down with several highly enthusiastic achievers, all of whom have many ambitions. These casual chats revolved around the theme of, “How do I turn my ambitions into reality?”
I deeply admired their energy and drive, but it became clear as to why they were not seeing their desired results: Trying to do too much at once.
Despite the social illusion that we can have it all, we only have a limited amount of energy and time. Even if we think we can achieve it all during our heightened state of enthusiasm and inspiration, when reality hits, we’ll find that striving to achieve it allat once will result in exhaustion and disconnection with our inner selves.
Instead of striving to achieve it all, how about striving to achieve what’s most important to us? How about striving to be fulfilled and happy? How about striving for personal wellbeing and meaning?
Can you recall the last time you had to deal with a negative or difficult person? Or the last time someone said something with the intention of hurting you? How did you handle it? What was the result? What can you do in the future to get through these situations with peace and grace?
No matter where we go, we will face people who are negative, people who oppose our ideas, people who piss us off or people who simply do not like us. There are 6.4 billion people out there and conflict is a fact of life. This fact isn’t the cause of conflict but it is the trigger to our emotions and our emotions are what drive us back to our most basic survival instinct; react and attack back to defend ourselves.
In these instinctual moments, we may lose track of our higher selves and become the human animal with an urge to protect ourselves when attacked. This too is natural. However, we are the only animal blessed with intelligence and having the ability to control our responses. So how can we do that?
I regularly get asked “How do you deal with the negative comments about your articles? They are brutal. I don’t think I could handle them.” My answer is simple, “I don’t let it bother me to begin with.” It wasn’t always this simple, and took me some time before overcoming this natural urgency to protect myself and attack back.
I know it’s not easy, if it was easy, there wouldn’t be difficult or negative people to begin with.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way
to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle.
As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.~Steve Jobs
Ever since I learned about the concept of financial independence five years ago, the seed of a dream had been planted. My dream: Having the freedom to deliberately choose how I spend every day – to have complete freedom of time.
As of last week, my dream became a reality.
I left my job at Amazon to start this new life chapter. I have three goals:
To complete a triathlon
To learn French
To live everyday fully, as if my last
My answer to the question “What do you do?” will now be “I spend fulltime pursuing my passions.”
I find myself blurting out I don’t know as an instant answer to questions I don’t have immediate answers for. Lately, I’ve been noting how these simple words made me feel, and I’m starting to take notice that on some level, these casual words are effecting my emotions and self-esteem.
Saying I don’t know, I’m sorry, I can’t and “I don’t want to but have to” are slowly changing my mindset. Through my observations, I’ve noticed how common it is to use these popular phrases without giving them a second thought.
Do you find yourself saying the words I’m sorry or I don’t know often? Did you know that this over-sighted language pattern is actually limiting our potential to happiness and ultimately getting what we want?
Let’s have a closer look at each one and notice their effect in our internal mental space. Let’s, also, consider some alternative phrases we can use in their place, which are more conducive to our personal growth.
Before diving in, let’s point out a few things about our unconscious mind.
Can you remember the last time you stepped into a room full of strangers and felt that self-conscious and awkward feeling rush over you? Or that heart thumping moment when you wanted to ask someone on a date, but were too shy to do so? Or wanting to approach someone for business, but was too hesitant to actually do it? That anxiety in the pit of your stomach in social situations? Does it always feel like something is holding you back?
Regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted, we can all relate to that feeling of shyness at some point in our lives. Socially, we tend to have the misconception that only introverts experience shyness, but that is not true. Shyness has more to do with being uncomfortable with one’s self, especially around other people.
This article is the result of collaboration between Amanda Linehan, an introvert, and Tina Su, an extravert. Together, we wanted to shed some light on the topic of shyness in a collective perspective from both extremes. We will also share the ways that we used to turn shyness into personal empowerment.
Are you in a stage of loving your life so much that you would pay money to live it? If not? What can you do about it? A common question asked is, “I really want to feel that way, but I’m just not passionate about anything. How do I find passion?”
A friend of mine asked me that question a few weeks ago. He has a high paying job and what appears to lead a full and fulfilling life, complete with volunteering and interesting hobbies. But he felt that something was still missing. He was looking for his purpose and genuinely wanted to find his passion. “I like a lot of things, but I don’t have any passions. How can I find passion, Tina?” This is a great question, and one that got me pondering about the topic. This article specifically looks at finding passion in your job.
When I first learned of the mini-retirement concept, I was immediately attracted to the idea. To me it represented freedom. I had all these romantic notions associated with it, and when I found a way to take three months off from work, I jumped at the first chance and ran with it.
While traveling is an eye-opening experience and a chance to see how others live in vastly different cultures. It is exhausting, on many levels. It quickly became clear to me that the romantic concept of traveling is flawed.
I often ask people: if you had all the money in the world, what would you be doing? The most popular answer is: to quit my job and start Traveling. There’s nothing wrong with this answer, I too have given it many times. However, in this answer, we include the notion of escaping our current realities while longing for something else in its place. And when we actually get to that place which we’ve longed for, disappointments sets in, for it did not meet the expectations conjured by our imagination.