Beginner’s Guide To Managing Money

How to set up a budget

The first step to taking control of your finances is doing a budget.

It will take a little effort, but it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and going out.

Setting up a budget means you’re:

  • Less likely to end up in debt
  • Less likely to get caught out by unexpected costs
  • More likely to have a good credit rating
  • More likely to be accepted for a mortgage or loan
  • Able to spot areas where you can make savings
  • In a great position to save up for a holiday, a new car, or another treat

 

What you need

To get started on your budget, you’ll need to work out how much you spend on:

  • Household bills
  • Living costs
  • Financial products (insurance…)
  • Family and friends (presents…)
  • Travel (car costs, public transport…)
  • Leisure (holidays, sport, restaurants…)

A great way to work out your budget is with our free and easy-to-use Budget planner.

Just grab as much information as you can about your income and spending (bills, bank statements…) and get started.

You can save your information and come back to it anytime you like.

Alternatively you can set up a budget using a spreadsheet or just write it all down on paper.

There are also some great free budgeting apps available and your bank or building society might have an online budgeting tool that takes information directly from your transactions.

 

Getting your Budget On Track

If you’re spending more than you have coming in, you need to work out where you can cut back.

This could be as easy as making your lunch at home, or cancelling a gym membership you don’t use.

You could also keep a spending diary and keep a note of everything you buy in a month.

Or, if you do most of your spending with a bank card, look at last month’s bank statement and work out where your money is going.

 

Cutting your household bills and your mortgage

For many of us, household bills make up a large chunk of our spending.

The good news is that it’s easy to save hundreds of dollars  off your bills by following our tips.

You can also save hundreds and even thousands of pounds by shopping around for a new mortgage, or reviewing the one you already have.

 

Paying off loans and Credit Cards

If you have loans or owe money on credit cards it usually makes sense to pay off the debt that charges the highest rate of interest first.

Examples include:

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards, which normally charge the highest rates of interest
  • Personal loans from the bank, which normally charge a lower rate of interest than credit or store cards

It is important to make sure you don’t break the terms of your agreements.

So even if you’re focusing on paying down another debt, you must pay at least the minimum on any credit cards and your monthly required payments on any loan agreements.

Set a Savings Goal

Some people find it hard to get motivated about saving, but it’s often much easier if you set a goal.

Your first step is to have some emergency savings – money to fall back on if you have an emergency, such as a boiler breakdown or if you can’t work for a while.

Try to get three months’ worth of expenses in an easy or instant access account.

Don’t worry if you can’t save this straight away, but keep it as a target to aim for.

The best way to save money is to pay some money into a savings account every month.

Once you’ve set aside your emergency fund, possible savings goals to consider might include:

  • Buying a car without taking out a loan
  • Taking a holiday without having to worry about the bills when you get back
  • Having some extra money to draw on while you’re on maternity or paternity leave

Investing your savings!

This is an Important one that many people look over. As your savings start to grow, you can:

  • Put more money into your pension. It’s a great way to make sure you’ll be able to live more comfortably later in life.
  • Make an investment plan based on your goals and timeframes.

Dealing with Overwhelming Debts

Often, the hardest part of paying off your debts is taking the first step.

 

It’s tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore your bank statements and demands for payment, but it won’t make the problem any better and could make it worse.

So, take a deep breath and open any letters you’ve been ignoring.

Once you’ve done this, at least you’ll know what you have to deal with and you can work out what you need to do next.

 

 

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The Investment That keeps on Giving

Invest in Yourself and your Personal Development

When you invest in your personal development you take responsibility for your life, your circumstances and your happiness. You become the agent, the doer, and the effecter.

If, on the other hand, you sit back and don’t make the effort to take charge of your life you set yourself up for events to affect you. If you’re unprepared and not proactive you will end up reacting to, rather than affecting what is going on around you.

It would be like being on a boat that springs a leak. If you haven’t prepared for the possibility, you’ll be scrambling around bailing out water, panicking, and hoping you don’t sink. If, however, you had anticipated this could happen, you have the proper tools handy, you fix the leak, secure your vessel and proceed with your journey.

Two very different responses to the same obstacle.

So it is with life. Nothing is guaranteed or always goes smoothly as planned. Not your job, your relationships, your health or anything else. Given that uncertainty, in order to make your life work, you have to plan, set goals, prepare and bring your best game (the best you).

Where do you start?

Once again you start with yourself . You invest in your personal development and work on being the best that you can be.

When you do, everything else comes together in seemingly effortless fashion – your relationships, your work, your home life, and your over-all sense of well-being. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges and obstacles. There always are. It just means that you are better equipped to handle them.

How do you go about it?

Devise an personal development action plan or checklist to follow. It can be flexible and serve as a guide or outline for what you want to accomplish. Write it in journal or chart format so you can monitor your progress.

For example:

Under Health
– Will incorporate a new exercise into routine. (If you don’t have a routine this     is a good time to start one.)
–  Will cut down on fat/food intake and try eating a new fruit or vegetable each     month.
–  Will drink an extra glass of water each day.
–  Will go to bed a half hour earlier.
–  Will cut down on junk food.

Under Intellectual Development
– Will read a new book each week (biweekly or monthly).
–  Will go to the art gallery, theatre or symphony/concert once a month.
–  Will listen to a new musical genre or artist.
–  Will read about a different philosopher or literary figure once a month.

Under Emotional and Spiritual
–  Will learn to meditate, or learn a relaxation or deep breathing technique.
–  Will take time for myself to rejuvenate, contemplate and connect.
–  Will make a point of spending some quality time for family and friends.
–  Will visualize and use affirmations to get into the positive thinking habit.

You can devise any kind of plan or schedule that suits your tastes and needs. The important part is to make a conscious decision to actively engage in personal development. Always be willing to stretch yourself, keep an open mind and learn new things.

 

Benefits of Investing in Your Personal Development

  • Will be proactive and affect change rather than merely react to or be at the mercy of it.
  • Enjoy a sense of mastery and accomplishment.
  • Be better able to maintain control of your reactions and emotions.
  • Better clarify and define your goals.
  • Live life more consciously, purposefully and deliberately.
  • Be more focused and centered.
  • Acquire more self-awareness, self-trust and self-confidence.
  • Be more genuine and true to yourself .

Take the time to invest in yourself by developing all aspects of your
being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. To be the best you can be is to live life to the fullest!

 

 

6 Great ways to Expand your Comfort Zone and Get More out of Life!

From a psychological standpoint your comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.

For the most part your comfort zone is a reflection of your self-image and how you think and expect things should be.

When you are in aexpand your comfort zonen uncomfortable situation, or one that doesn’t fit your expectations, you usually do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable again.

For many people, even if they are unhappy or unfulfilled, their natural inclination is to stay within the comfort zone simply because it is familiar and safe. Many stay in jobs, relationships, and situations that have long since lost their relevance only because they are afraid of the unknown. The truth is that security does not reside in anything outside of ourselves; instead, it lies within us.

Unfortunately, if you choose to remain in your comfort zone you will never find out what your true potential is or what you are capable of achieving. Nor can you really succeed at anything without venturing out of the comfort of your safety net.

If, however, you make the decision to move beyond the circumstances, people, and experiences you are familiar with, you move out of your comfort zone and onto the path of personal development. It is a path that forces you to stretch yourself, push your limits and become more than you were.
Of course you don’t have to do anything extraordinarily out of character, like climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the English Channel if you have no inclination or desire for it. Stretching yourself does not have to be that extreme.

Anyone who takes a new subject in school, learns a new language, takes up a new sport or starts a new job, operates out of their comfort zone in the beginning.

Ultimately, if you ever want to achieve anything noteworthy or out of the ordinary expanding your comfort zone is a must!

Here are some other things you can do:

    1. Break from a routine or habit you’ve had for a long time and find a different, perhaps better way to do it.

 

    1. If you’re typically a sedentary person take a break from reading or the computer and find a physical activity you can enjoy and partake in. If you’re normally very active, learn to wind down, read or relax.

 

    1. Read a book, watch a movie or listen to music in a genre you’re not familiar with. If you usually read mysteries, try reading an inspiring biography, if you like action movies, try a romantic comedy, if you just listen to rock, try some jazz music.

 

    1. If you happen to be a shy person and have trouble speaking in front of people, join a group like Toastmasters International where they encourage you to speak in public by using positive and helpful techniques. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you’ll be and the better you will feel about yourself.

 

    1. Go to an ethnic restaurant and try a dish from a culture different from your own. It will stimulate your taste buds and possibly open up a whole new cuisine.

 

  1. Volunteer at the downtown mission or soup kitchen for a day and realize how comfortable your life really is, while helping someone at the same time.

Benefits of expanding your comfort zone:

  • Enhances your enjoyment and experience of life
  • Stimulates brain activity and therefore boosts your mental health
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Makes you more resilient
  • Helps prevent getting stuck in a rut or becoming depressed
  • Challenges you to improve yourself
  • Prevents atrophy

Stretching yourself and expanding your comfort zone is an important part of personal development. Each step advances you to the next level and keeps you on the path of self-improvement.

Top 50 ways to be Happier

Who doesn’t want to be happier? Furthermore, is happiness as elusive as we may have been lead to believe?

I think not.

Certainly much has been written about the pursuit of happiness lately, however, I believe it is much simpler and probably easier to be happy than we think.

Perhaps in this increasingly complex world that we live, we are over-complicating what it takes to be happy. Happiness often lies in the simplest of things.

Here are 50 simple ways in which you can add to your happiness:

1. Accept that life is not perfect.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
3. Don’t take others too seriously.
4. Appreciate yourself.
5. Have meaningful goals – they give you purpose.
6. Get a pet.
7. Cultivate friendships. To have friends, be a friend.
8. Be supportive and seek support when needed.
9. Don’t confuse materialism with success.
10. Know that money does not buy happiness.
11. Enjoy what you have.
12. Simplify your life.
13. Be more creative.
14. Be yourself.
15. Be more spontaneous.
16. Spend more time with happy people.
17. Keep a happiness journal for writing about the things that give you joy.
18. Find what you love to do and make it your life’s work.
19. Be willing to learn and experience new things.
20. Be flexible.
21. Be open-minded.
22. Enjoy simple pleasures.
23. Practice gratitude.
24. Think improvement, not perfection.
25. When things aren’t going well; know that it will pass.
26. Know that it’s not what happens to you, but how you perceive it that’s important.
27. Learn to live in and savor the moment.
28. Exercise regularly.
29. Get enough sleep.
30. Maintain a healthy diet.
31. Enjoy good conversation.
32. Have a hobby.
33. Take time for fun.
34. Practice moderation.
35. Cultivate an appreciation for the arts.
36. Read inspiring material.
37. Help others.
38. Have faith.
39. As Richard Carlson has said – Don’t sweat the small stuff.
40. Smile for no particular reason.
41. Be agreeable.
42. Love yourself.
43. Listen to good music.
44. Watch less TV.
45. Give it your best.
46. Pamper yourself.
47. Practice mindfulness.
48. As Bessie Anderson Stanley wrote in her little verse Success: “Live well, love much and laugh often.”
49. Be happy now. Don’t make it conditional.
50. Share your happiness with others.
Interestingly, I experienced more happiness in the compiling of this list. As I contemplated each point it made me happier just thinking about it. Who’d have thought it?

15 Life Lessons They Don’t Teach you in School

There is the type of eucation we get in school and there are life lessons we learn along the way.

Both are important.

The only problem is that life moves us far along before we figure out what’s going on and the wisdom we hope to have gained is sometimes late in coming.

To spare you some of the hard knocks and trial and error, here are some life lessons to help you along.

 

The Life Lessons

1. As Richard Carlson has said, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, and most of it is small stuff. Much of the time we get stressed and worked up over “stuff” that in the grand scheme of things really doesn’t matter. When we allow ourselves get too caught up in it we ruin our perspective and don’t take time to enjoy the moment.

2. Life can be unpredictable and throw you some curves. Just say “never” and see what happens! To avoid the jolt when life’s surprises come your way, be prepared by being open-minded and maintain the positive mindset that welcomes the life lessons offered.

See the article: Tips on Overcoming Adversity

3. The most boring word in any language is “I”. It’s wonderful to be self-confident and self-sufficient, however, it’s not all about you. There is nothing more monotonous than hearing someone talk about themselves and their accomplishments endlessly. Being self-centered is not the same as having self-confidence.

4. People are more important than things. Relationships are more important than any material goods you may acquire on the road to success. Without the love and support of family and friends in life, material goods are not of much use. Setting your values and priorities can help you establish what’s important.

5. Nobody else can make you happy. Your happiness and state of mind are your responsibility. It’s up to each of us to know what it takes to be balanced and happy. Our relationships enhance our lives and make them richer, but they do not “make” us happy. We do.

6. Character and integrity count. It’s important to be a person of honor. Your good word and deeds inspire trust and confidence from family, friends and employers. Be the kind of person others are proud to know.

7. Forgive yourself, your friends and your enemies. We are all only too human. All of us slip sometimes and make mistakes. Holding grudges and past hurts only serves to prevent us from enjoying life to the fullest.

8. A good joke can be better than any pill. Take time to laugh each day. Humor really is good medicine.

9. There are no substitutes for exercise, eating well, and fresh air and sunshine. Never take your health for granted, or underestimate how much feeling good physically affects your moods.

10. Persistence will eventually get you almost anything. Never give up. Keep your goals and dreams alive.

 

11. Television probably ruins more minds than drugs. Get away from the TV and read, exercise, learn and stretch yourself.

12. It’s okay to fail. Everyone has failed at one time or another. Failure is a great life teacher. It teaches us humility and how to correct our course of action. Thomas Edison had a great attitude towards failure. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

See article: Overcoming fear of Failure

13. Learn from the mistakes of others. There’s an old Zen proverb that states: “It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.”

14. Don’t be afraid to show and tell others you love them. Life is short, so learn to give and receive love. Love and be loved.

15. Live so that there is only standing room at your funeral. Be the best spouse, parent, friend, boss or worker that you can be so that you can  leave the world a better place than you found it.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Tom Bodett

10 Most Valuable Character Traits

The 10 Character Traits

1. Be Honest. Tell the truth; be sincere; don’t mislead or withhold key information in relationships of trust; don’t steal.

2. Demonstrate integrity. Stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong; be your best self; resist social pressure to do wrong.

3. Keep promises. Keep your word and honor your commitments; pay your debts and return what you borrow.

4. Be loyal. Stand by family, friends, employers, community and country; don’t talk about people behind their backs.

5. Be responsible. Think before you act; consider consequences; be accountable and “take your medicine.”

6. Pursue excellence. Do your best with what you have; don’t quit easily.

7. Be kind and caring. Show you care through generosity and compassion; don’t be selfish or mean.

8. Treat all people with respect. Be courteous and polite; judge all people on their merits; be tolerant, appreciative and accepting of individual differences.

9. Be fair. Treat all people fairly; be open-minded; listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and feeling.

10. Be a good citizen. Obey the law and respect authority; vote, volunteer your efforts; protect the environment.

These principles are also an excellent basis for developing a Personal Value System.  As mentioned, you cannot go wrong by using them to guide your actions.

These character traits also facilitate the development of solid friendships, good careers and just as importantly, they establish an excellent foundation for success in life.

A Personal Value System

A personal value system is a set of principles or ideals that drive and/or guide your behavior.

Your personal value system gives you structure and purpose by helping you determine what is meaningful and important to you.

It helps you express who you are and what you stand for.

If you are unaware of, or become disconnected with your values, you end up making choices out of impulse or instant gratification rather than on solid reasoning and responsible decision-making.

 

Your values define your character . They impact every aspect of your life including:

  • personal and work behaviors
  • your interactions with family, friends and co-workers
  • your decision-making processes
  • the direction you take in life.

This is why it is so important to know what you value, why  you value it and what precedence it takes in your life.

Four Categories of a Personal Value System

Personal Values – Personal values are those traits we see as worth aspiring to, and that define our character.

Spiritual Values – The values that connect us to a higher power and give us a sense of purpose beyond our material existence.

Family Values – To love and care for those we are close to; our children, our parents, other family members, and our friends.

Career Values – The best use and expression of our talents and skills for the purposes of contributing to society and for monetary compensation.

 

Which values do we as social beings find desirable?

No matter what tradition we are brought up in, there are characteristics we value in others which transcend social, economic and religious boundaries. Some of these characteristics are:

Integrity
Integrity is trustworthiness, honesty and uprightness of character. We value people of integrity because we know what to expect from them. We know they will act honorably and that they will do what they think is right. We want people with integrity as our friends, on our teams and in our organizations.

Respect
Respect is honoring the worth and dignity of all people. Those who respect others treat them with fairness and courtesy. They treat others the way they themselves wish to be treated.

Loyalty
Loyalty is a commitment and faithfulness to a person or cause. Those who are loyal to their family, friends, organizations and country stand behind and support them during good times and bad times. They can be counted on to be there when the going gets difficult and to help out when the chips are down.

Responsibility
Those who accept responsibility are reliable, dependable and willing to take accountability for who they are and what they do. They believe they have a moral obligation to help others and to make a contribution to the society they live in.

No matter what values we choose live by, it is vital that we look at the big picture, assess what we want our role to be, and map out how we intend to conduct our lives.

Why Quick Fixes Don’t Work!

Quick FixQuick fixes don’t work in personal development!

Most of us don’t want to hear this, but; there really are no quick fixes or short cuts to personal development (or to anything else worthwhile, for that matter).

The road to bettering ourselves is a long continous one that requires time, commitment and self-discipline.

Of course, it’s human nature to look for the quickest, easiest way to get what we want. We tend to look for the one size fits all solution to our problems. We want to find the book, the DVD, or program that will fix us and make everything all right – overnight – and we want it pronto!

Well here’s the reality – apart from being improbable and unrealistic, most things just don’t work that way. One of the reasons they don’t, is that quick fixes are neither lasting, nor sustainable. A quick fix for any problem is only meant to hold things together until an effective long-term solution is found. It’s merely the proverbial band aid.

Making positive lasting change in your life takes time and this is why:

    • A new habit takes at least 21 days of consistent effort to set in – When we try to change a behaviour/habit or implement a new one, it takes at least 21 days of consistent repetitive behaviour for it to set in. If it happens to be an addiction, it could take as long as 35 days, or more. No quick fix is designed to change habits.

 

    • Habituation and homeostasis factors – Habituation refers to the things we do daily without having to think about doing them. Another way to put it is ‘getting used to things’. Homeostasis, a term used mostly in the context of biology, is a regulatory function that keeps an organism stable. An example would be when temperatures outdoors fall or raise significantly, our body temperature remains stable. Psychological homeostasis works similarly in that it keeps you fixed in the same habits or mindsets whether they are working for you or not. That is why it’s so hard to change a habit. Habituation and homeostasis, while they are necessary mechanisms so that you don’t have to rethink how to do everything every single time you go to do it, they make it very difficult for quick fixes or behavior changes to take hold permanently.

 

  • Certain endeavors rely on ongoing repetitious strategies in order to take effect – If you want to lose weight permanently, or if you intend on having successful relationships, plan to work on it for the long haul. For instance, if you want to lose 20 pounds of weight, you cannot do it by eating little and well for only one day. Instead, you would have to implement a plan whereby you consume and expend a set amount of calories consistently over a given period of time. Then the weight would come off slowly and steadily.Likewise, to maintain a good relationship, you couldn’t be pleasant and agreeable with someone for one or two days and then expect to have an understanding or connection. It would take days, months, sometimes even years to build a trusting, mutually fulfilling relationship. It cannot happen overnight.Only by working on goals slowly and steadily can you achieve lasting and rewarding results. By contrast crash dieting, blitzing, cramming, or bombarding (quick fixes) will derail your efforts.
  • It takes hard work and commitment – How many times have we started a new project, exercise routine, or diet plan bursting with energy and enthusiasm only to see wane and wither away? Too many, I’m sorry to say. The truth is, it isn’t easy to stay focused and committed, which is why, once again, we look for the quick fix instead of buckling down and getting on with it. If we recognize that it will take time, hard work and continued dedication to develop and improve ourselves, we would save a lot of time and heartache.

Examples where quick fixes have backfired:

Who doesn’t want to be rich?

In 1993 Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery. She subsequently became deeply in debt to a company that lent her money using the winnings as collateral. What she came to realize is that in our culture we tend to believe that money solves all problems and if people had more of it their troubles would be over. Unfortunately, when money is acquired quickly and suddenly it can cause more problems than it solves.

Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice (1985, 1986) amounting to approximately $5.4 million. Today the money is gone and Adams lives in a trailer.

William Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his Social Security check. “I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare,” says Post.

Susan Bradley, a financial planner who wrote Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall, says “People think windfalls are about money. But it’s really all about change and transition … and people need time to adjust.” (i.e. quick fixes do not last, nor do they actually fix anything).

What happens when we crash diet to lose weight quickly?

Although much has been written lately about how losing weight quickly is unhealthy and unproductive many still attempt it. Losing weight too quickly, like any sudden change to your body, is dangerous. We know that fad diets, diet pills, and fasting indeed induce rapid weight loss, however they also cause you to lose muscle mass and may injure the heart and other vital organs in the process. The answer? Instead of aiming for an overnight miracle (quick fix), opt for a sensible nutritious eating plan as well as a realistic exercise regimen.

The bottom line is that personal development, or self-improvement, is hard work! It takes time, consistent effort, focus, discipline and patience. Remember the work you do daily, monthly and yearly culminates in a rewarding, successful outcome.

5 Tips on Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming AdveristyWhether we like it or not, adversity is part of life. Overcoming adversity is one of the biggest hurdles we face.

As Havelock Ellis wrote, “Pain and death are part of life. To reject them is to reject life itself.”

Problems, large and small, present themselves to us throughout our whole existence.

Regardless of how sharp, clever, or happy-go-lucky we are, we will encounter struggle, challenges, difficulties and at times, heart wrenching moments. Is this meant to be a negative, cynical assessment of what we have to look forward to?

Not at all!

 

In fact, thank goodness for adversity! Learning to deal with and overcoming adversity is what builds character and resilience. Every challenge and every difficulty we successfully confront in life serves to strengthen our will,confidence and ability to conquer future obstacles. Herodotus, the Greek philosopher, said, “Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.”

When you respond positively and constructively to your biggest challenges the qualities of strength, courage, character and perseverance emerge from deep inside of you.

Of course, since we are human, it is very easy to get caught up in the self pity, unfairness of life, or ‘why me?’ traps. When we do, we fail to recognize the opportunities for wisdom and growth that accompany adversity. However, as soon we allow ourselves to think more clearly, we are able to let go of self-defeating and unproductive thoughts and get down to the business of dealing with what’s before us.

The Tips For Overcoming Adversity

1. Be aware of, and accept that adversity is inevitable in life. As has already been pointed out, adversity is part of life. To avoid or resist it will only make it persist. Everywhere you look in the world there is unmistakable struggle. There are floods, tsunamis, wars, and calamities of all types. Even within your own circle of family and friends there is death, loss and tragedy. Although pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. So what do you do?

2. Build your internal resources. Before adversity hits, work on cultivating emotional strength, courage and discipline. When you make yourself aware that certain difficulties are inevitable, you can prepare yourself mentally for confronting adversity head-on. It would be no different than a warrior going to battle. He (or she) prepares himself physically and mentally for any possibility. He knows it could be ugly, daunting, and grueling, but he is equipped. More often than not, when you’re prepared for the worst, the worst never happens, or it’s much less severe than anticipated. Another invaluable inner resource is faith. Faith that everything will work out; faith that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and faith that “this too shall pass.” Everything in life has its place and purpose.


3. Build your external resources. Build a support system of family and friends. When the going gets tough, we all need encouragement and support. We need someone to talk to; someone to help ease the burden. You would be surprised to discover how often a friend has had a similar experience and can help guide you through the difficult time. Even just knowing a friend is there when you need them can be most comforting.

4. That which does not kill you doesn’t always make stronger. Sorry Nietzsche! While I agree with Nietzsche, in principle that – “that what does not kill you will make you stronger”, I do not necessarily agree with him in practice. For instance, if you do not have enough built-up resilience or experience in dealing with difficulty, adversity can crush you. On the other hand, if do you have sufficient resilience, then indeed it will make you stronger. How so, you ask? Resilience like any muscle is built up gradually and exponentially with repeated exposure to obstacles. If you lack practice in confronting obstacles (as when you choose to avoid them), one traumatic event can take you down.
To underscore this point, developmental research has shown that traumatized children are more, rather than less, likely to be traumatized again. Likewise, those who grow up in tough neighborhoods become weaker, not stronger, and are more likely to struggle in life.

5. Take inspiration and learn from others who have dealt successfully with adversity. There are many inspiring stories of people who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. They triumphed over their adversities to live successful, productive lives instead of surrendering to it.

Here are some examples:

Helen Keller: Lost her sight and hearing due to a mysterious fever when she was only 18 months old. She overcame her deafness and blindness to become a strong, educated woman who spoke about, and promoted, women’s rights.

Winston Churchill: Overcame a stuttering problem and poor performance in school to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and one of the most influential political leaders of the twentieth century. He was also known for his powerful and rousing speeches.

Wilma Rudolph: The Olympian born prematurely, the 20th of 22 children. She overcame double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio to become winner of three Gold medals in track at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.

J.K. Rowling: Born to a poor family; left a bad marriage with a young baby to live on government assistance; wrote her first Harry Potter book and was turned down by most publishers until Bloomsbury Publishing picked it up. Need I say more?

Determination, resilience, and persistence enabled all of these great people to push past their adversities and prevail. If they could do it, surely the rest of us can summon the strength and courage to do overcome our adversities!

Points to Consider

  • The difficult times in life help us appreciate when things are going smoothly.
  • Look for the learning opportunities in every adverse situation.
  • Decide whether you will allow your experience to make, or break you. Depending upon how you choose to perceive it, it could go either way.
  •  Be prepared to accept the worst, should it occur. When you have prepared yourself mentally for the worst, it rarely ever happens, and if it does, it seems less so because you are better equipped to handle it.
  • Cultivate faith, courage and resilience. The more of these qualities with which you are armed, the lesser the impact of the adversity.
  • Remind yourself that adversity is part of life. Accepting adversity, helps you overcome it.

Overcoming adversity is one of our main challenges in life. When we resolve to confront and overcome it, we become expert at dealing with it and consequently triumph over our day-to-day struggles.

4 Life-Changing Tips on Developing Patience

PatiencePatience, a challenge for most of us, is the ability to tolerate waiting, delay, or frustration without becoming agitated or upset. It is being able to control your emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with difficult or frustrating situations. It comes from the Latin word pati which means to suffer, to endure, to bear.

Needless to say, patience is not easy to attain and it’s probably harder now to achieve than ever before. In today’s world of ‘instant everything’, technological advancements and readily available credit have allowed us to obtain, experience, and consume practically anything we want – almost immediately. Do we even need to be patient anymore?

Well, if we want to reach our goals, have successful relationships and achieve personal peace, the answer is a resounding yes!

Anything worthwhile and of importance cannot take place right away. It takes time, dedication and effort to achieve; so even in this day and age, patience is a virtue.

The Benefits of Developing Patience

  • Reduces stress levels and makes you a happier, healthier person.When you learn and practice patience you don’t get as angry, stressed or overwhelmed. You are more in control of your emotions and in a better position to deal with difficult situations with ease and poise.This promotes longevity and makes you a happier, healthier person.
  • Results in better decision-making. When you’re patient you take the time to assess the situation, see the big picture, and weigh any pros and cons. The chances of making a big mistake lessen because you avoid making it in haste. Taking the time to problem solve requires patience and deliberation.
  • Helps develop understanding, empathy and compassion. You are automatically more understanding and compassionate with others when you yourself are patient. Patient people take the time to process what they go through and are able to determine what it takes to overcome obstacles so they are more understanding of others. This results in better, more fulfilling relationships with spouses, friends, children and bosses.
  • Helps you understand and appreciate the process of growth. As mentioned earlier anything worthwhile takes time and effort to achieve. As the old saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Planning, growth, evaluation and measurement all take time, and taking time takes patience.

 

 

Tips on How to Develop Patience

  1. Take a day where you make patience your goal for the entire day. Make a concerted effort to take your time and think about everything you do, be mindful and live in the moment. At the end of the day, observe all the ways in which you’ve made smarter decisions, got along better with others and actually understood what took place. Learn to do it on a daily basis. Developing patience is much like physical exercise because it requires persistence and effort.

 

2. Slow down. If you have the tendency to rush around and try to hurry things up, want things done immediately and can’t wait for things to take their natural course, STOP. Take several deep breaths before you act or make a move. For example, if you’re in a long lineup at the grocery store or in heavy traffic, make the decision to pause and not get worked up. Do some isometrics, listen to the radio, or just enjoy the view. Getting impatient won’t make things move along any faster, so why get worked up for nothing?

3. Practice delaying gratification. When you want to reach for that dessert, second drink, or buying your tenth pair of red shoes, stop and think about it first. Maybe you don’t need or want any of them that badly after all. You can save yourself some money or added calories.

4. Practice thinking before you speak. At times we blurt out the first thought that comes into our heads without considering the consequences. If we’re patient, pause and go over what we want to say, we can avoid hurting or offending others.

 

Situations for which patience is a must:

–  Reaching most goals
–  Losing weight
–  Having a baby
–  Becoming a professional career person such as a doctor, lawyer, engineer
– Becoming a top athlete
– Becoming a virtuoso in any musical field
– The healing of any wounds or illnesses
– Getting over loss or tragedy

Patience is definitely a valuable character trait to develop. It may appear to be passive, however it is an active, purposeful and necessary form of self-discipline. Without patience many of our actions would be counter-productive and ultimately much time and energy would be wasted spinning our wheels. Surely, patience is a time-tested virtue.