Category Archives for "Self-help and Career"
To find happiness we try to avoid or get rid of bad feelings, but the harder we try, the more bad feelings we create.
Russ Harris writes that everything we believe about happiness is inaccurate, misleading or false. These beliefs make us miserable – our very efforts to find happiness actually prevent us from achieving it. Everyone is in the same boat – including all those psychologists, psychiatrists, and self-help gurus who claim they have the answers.
The overwhelming majority of self-help programs subscribe to Myth 4. The basic claim is: if you challenge your negative thoughts or images and, instead, repeatedly fill your head with positive thoughts or images, you will find happiness. If only life were that simple!
It’s not that these techniques have no effect; they can often make you feel better temporarily. But they will not get rid of negative thoughts over the long term.
I’m willing to bet you’ve already tried countless times to think more positively about things, and yet those negative thoughts keep coming back, don’t they?
Thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories are not that easy to control. It’s not that you don’t have any control over these things; it’s just that you have much less control than you thought. Or else why aren’t we all living in perpetual bliss?
The actual degree of control we have over our thoughts and feelings depends largely on how intense they are, and what situation we are in – the less intense the feelings and the less stressful the situation, the more control we have.
The more intense our thoughts and feelings are and the more stressful environment we are in, the less effective our attempts at control will be.
Increasing self-awareness is a start. Noticing your thoughts and feelings during the day, possibly keeping a journal. In order to better deal with unpleasant thoughts we can make room for them, instead of pushing them away. We can feel them, explore them. You can observe yourself thinking, using a powerful, but often under-appreciated aspect of the mind, that of the Observer Self. And you can clarify what is important to you by understanding and connecting with your values and taking action to realize them.
The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living. You Comments Welcome below.
What does it do to a person's soul when they have a reason to look forward to the death of a loved one?
Stephen M. Pollan writes that our approach to money, career, and much else in life is outmoded, based on principles and beliefs that come from the past. Your fear of dying broke is an early twentieth-century fear carried forward to twenty-first-century life.
Having a mercantile approach doesn’t mean obsessing over money. It simply means using your job to generate the money you need to pursue your goals, rather than looking to the job itself to fulfill those goals. A career is simply a series of such jobs viewed from above and placed in some kind of context. And a life’s work need not be what is done on the job.Forget about retirement. Look at your working life as a lifelong journey up and down hills rather than as a single climb up a steep cliff that ends with a fatal step off the edge at the arbitrary age of sixty-five.
Combined, the four points made in Die Broke offer an alternative way to plan our finances, lives and careers. We can view work not as a life-long slog that ends with freedom and steady decline, but as a series of adventures. Much will be done to earn us money, some will be done for enjoyment. That money will go further if we are frugal and save, taking advantage of tax benefits to put money away for retirement. That retirement should never come, though, as you may find it more profitable and enjoyable to keep working. You can also keep spending. Month-long trips abroad, studying Renaissance art in Italy, going to the cinema and theater more often…
“The last check should be to the undertaker…and it should bounce.”
Our lives are often ruled by fears, even for the most seemingly successful people.
Susan Jeffers’ classic on understanding and dealing with fears. How to turn your fear and indecision into confidence and action.
Everyone has fears in their life and they can be broken down into three levels.
Level One Fears. These are the surface story. Fears that happen such as aging, becoming disabled, retirement, being alone, children leaving home, natural disasters, loss of financial security, change, dying, war, illness. Also fears that require action such as going back to school, making decisions, changing career, making friends, ending or beginning a relationship, public speaking, using the telephone, asserting oneself, losing weight, being interviewed, driving.
Level Two Fears. Behind level one fears are level two fears, fears to do with the ego. Rejection, Success, Failure, Being Vulnerable, Being Conned, Helplessness, Disapproval, Loss of Image. All these fears are to do with inner states of mind. They are generalized fears and can affect many areas of a person’s life. A fear of rejection will affect friends, relationships, job interviews etc…
Level Three Fear. At the bottom of every fear is the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may throw at you. All fears all translate to the level three fear:
So Commit! Commit yourself to pushing through the fear and becoming more than you are at the present moment. The you that could be is absolutely colossal. You don’t need to change what you are doing – simply commit to learning how to bring whatever you do in life the loving and powerful energy of your Higher self.
Charles chose to rehabilitate himself after a being paralyzed from the waist down. Before the accident, Charles had been blind to the fact his life had meaning. Now he believes he was more handicapped before the accident; only since then has he derived satisfaction from living.
Genuine giving is altruistic and makes us feel better. Give away your thanks, time, money, and love. When we give from a place of love, rather than a place of expectation, we usually get more back to us than we imagine.
Feel the Fear And Do it Anyway: Comment Welcome Below.
Seth Godin writes a book on quitting, specifically strategic quitting. Every new project (or career or relationship) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point – really hard, really not fun. At this point you may be in a Dip, which will get better if you keep pushing, or a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better no matter how hard you try.
It benefits to know which one you are in.
The market wants to see you persist. It demands a signal from you that you’re serious, powerful, accepted, and safe. The bulk of a market, any market, is made up of those folks who are in the middle of the bell curve, the ones who want to buy something proven and valued.
You know it, but you may not be doing anything about it. When it comes right down to it, right down to the hard decisions, are you quitting any project that isn’t a Dip? Or is it just easier not to rock the boat, to hang in there, to avoid the short-term hassle or changing paths?
Superstars are in fields with steep Dips. There is a barrier between those who try and those who succeed. This isn’t for everyone, that’s why there are so few Superstars. To succeed in the Dip you need to quit all your Cul-de-Sacs. You must quit all the projects, investments and endeavors that don’t offer you the same opportunity.
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller
Knowing When to Quit (And When to Stick). Comment Welcome below.
The two core abilities for thriving in the information economy are the ability to master hard things and to produce at a high level.
Cal Newport looks at the need for ‘deep work,’ the ability to focus for uninterrupted periods of time and gain a deep understanding of a subject, while forming connections and improvisations. He argues that deep work is rare, valuable and meaningful, and harder to achieve in an age of increasing distractions.
Discipline 1: Focus your most energy on the most important, reduce time on ‘shallow’ work.
Discipline 2: Reserve and record time spent in deep work
Discipline 3: Undertake weekly reviews, to work out what went well and what didn’t
Be Lazy: Give yourself downtime after work. Switch off.
- a) aids insight
- b) helps recharge energy
- c) usually replaces work that is not that important anyway.
Avoid new technology: Schedule time on the internet and social media both at work and at home.
Meditate: Focus your attention on a problem while undertaking physical activity.
- a) be wary of distractions (thinking of easier things) and looping (going over and over what you already know).
- b) structure your deep thinking
- i) identify the relevant variables to the problem and keep them in mind,
- ii) identify and work on your next step question (the next thing you need to do),
- iii) assuming you’ve solved the problem, review and consolidate your answer.
While social media have some benefits, the downsides may outweigh these. A tool should only be adopted if its positive impacts outweigh its negative impacts on reaching your goal. Not every new technology is good, and consideration is needed before we decide if and how we are to adopt them in our lives. Even when technologies are adopted we should be careful to use them not so much for entertainment, but to further our career and life goals.
by Cal Newport
Hatchet Book Group, 256 pp, $14.60.
Deep Work. Comments welcome below
Telling someone to follow their passion may potentially lead to a career riddled with confusion and angst.
Cal Newport looks at the passion hypothesis: that following your passion is what we all should do, arguing instead that job satisfaction comes through building up skills and then trading these for control. Along the way he introduces us to new concepts and mental models such as the craftsman mentality, career capital and control traps, illuminating the essential factors that make people satisfied with their job.
Rule 1: The passion hypothesis is not just wrong, it’s also dangerous. Telling someone to “follow their passion” is not just an act of innocent optimism, but potentially the foundation for a career riddled with confusion and angst.
Rule 2: Regardless of how you feel right now, building a craftsman mindset will be the foundation on which you can build a compelling career. Adopting a craftsman mindset first means passion follows.
Rule 3: Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfillment.
The 10,00 hour rule: The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice.
The phrase encaptures the idea that with deliberate practice you will build the skills necessary for a successful career and a successful career can be used to create missions. Missions can bring a unifying focus to a career and they focus energy toward a useful goal. They require career capital, little bets (which may or may not work out), and to be remarkable (i.e. worth remarking on).
by Cal Newport
Hatchet Book Group, 256 pp, $14.60.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Comments welcome below.
Financial Independence is the point where you can live off your savings. The more you can save now, the earlier that time will come.
Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin’s classic book on transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence. A book about capitalism, consumerism, money and what it means to us, and how to find meaning in life by doing work we love. Making a living, not a dying.
A book for anyone who wants to live and work on their terms, not societies, and needs money only to survive, not for status.
So here we are the most affluent society that has had the privilege to walk the face of the earth, and were stuck with our noses to the grindstone, our lives in a perpetual loop between home and job and our hearts yearning for something that’s just over the horizon.
We have come to believe that it is our right to consume. If we have money we can buy whatever we want, whether or not we need it, use it or even enjoy it. After all, it’s a free country. And if we don’t have the money…heck, what are credit cards for?
Born to shop. Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Life, liberty and the pursuit of material possessions.
As well as its transactional value money can be about power, security, status and social acceptance. Understanding your relationship with money and what it costs you to obtain is the first step to getting control of your finances. What does your job cost you? Take off the holidays, the commute, the meals out, the bottles of wine: all the things you might do to drown out your despair. How much of your daily expenses are really needed?
The authors ask us to be diligent and ruthless in understanding our earnings and expenditure and ensuring that we always save more than we spend.
by Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin
Viking Penguin, 363 pp, $9.55.
Your Money or Your Life. Comments Welcome below.