Book Availability

The information in this blog is now available as a book in Kindle format and paperback. To get your copy go to Amazon.  Free copy available in return for a review. Please request it via this blog.

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Watch Your Christmas Spending

Christmas spendingChristmas is a time when we like to do special things, including buying special foods and giving gifts. While these activities are beautiful, if on a tight budget, care needs to be taken not to overspend. If not careful, it is easy to get carried away by the spirit of the season and run up a credit card debt that we might still be paying off next December.  The following tips might help in ensuring that both the Christmas season and the new year are financially happy times.

Plan ahead. Ideally, begin your planning in January. Make a reasonable Christmas budget, for example, 2% of your annual food and miscellaneous items budget. Then start your Christmas saving at the beginning of the year by putting aside a small sum each week. You will hardly notice this sum missing, but over the weeks and months, it will grow nicely.

Evaluate your gift-giving list. If budget is tight, talk to the family and consider options such as limiting gift buying only for the children in the family and/or only the immediate family – not the nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. Another way is for each person to pull a name out of a hat and buy gifts only for the person whose name has been drawn.

Take advantage of sales. By planning ahead, you can make use of sales and discounts that you encounter during the year – even post-Christmas sales! Sometimes you may find inexpensive things at yard / garage / rummage sales which can make lovely gifts.

Be resourceful. Consider creating a gift using your own talents. This may cost you very little in terms of money, yet be greatly appreciated, and even treasured. For example, can you paint a picture, create a wood carving, knit a jumper, or make a quilt?

Avoid impulse buying. Don’t wait till the last week before Christmas to buy gifts. With the pressure of the situation, it is easy to get frustrated, buy on impulse and without thinking, and overspend. Rather, accumulate your gifts progressively, or slowly and steadily work on creating gifts for others.

Watch the credit card. While the plastic is convenient to use, keep track of how much you are charging on it. Don’t charge more than you are able to pay off within the interest-free period. Or, if the temptation is too great, simply resolve not to use the credit card and only spend a predetermined cash amount. Once the cash is gone, your shopping is finished – even if you haven’t gotten a gift for everyone you had in mind. Better that than waking up in January or February with a credit card hangover that will take you a better part of the year to pay off – with a high interest added, of course.

By exercising discipline and responsibility in connection with Christmas, you can have an enjoyable holiday season, as well as the rest of the coming year – with no unnecessary financial headaches and setbacks.

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Consider a Higher Reality

Higher Reality (symbol)Sometimes we may feel like no one cares, no one loves us, nothing is going right, life is not fair, we aren’t coping. And in the here and now, it may often seem that way. However, if you feel down and desperate or lost and lonely, consider that there may be a Higher Reality beyond the present physical experience that could help you to improve your life.

Many who have hit the rock bottom of their lives through addictions, career or business failures, terminal illnesses, or other hellish situations on earth cried out in their despair to “God” for help – just in case, as a last resort, even if they weren’t sure such a Being existed or was capable of hearing, much less helping. And miracles started happening. The Alcoholics Anonymous program and now many other programs are based on this principle that there are certain aspects of our lives that we are unable to successfully handle ourselves. This is what has made the various “Anonymous” programs successful – people in trouble appealing to a Higher Power as they understand it.

So if are able to, accept and honour a Higher Reality as you understand it (God, Ultimate Cause, Ground of Being, the Universe, etc.). Consider that this Being / Reality is friendly and loving, not angry and punishing as It may be often portrayed. We are often “punished”, or bad things happen to us, as a result of our own unwise or unskilful actions or that of others. There is a complex interaction of causes and effects that we are all subject to and potentially at the mercy of. Yet if we raise our consciousness to a higher level, consider that what we experience with our senses is not all that there is, and elevate our life style from a level of just self-interest to a level of serving others, we’ll receive help from unexpected sources.

Generosity towards others will come back to us. Looking for help beyond ourselves and expecting it, believing that it will come, will be rewarded. The universal principle of manifestation works more along the lines of “I’ll see it when I believe it” rather than the other way around.

Overall, we live in a friendly universe. Just look around and appreciate the beauty of flowers and animals, the provision of food and water from the nature around us, the sun being just the right distance from our little planet to give us climates and temperatures suitable for human life, and so much more. The God understood by mystics and the various religions is a Helper, Provider and Benefactor – especially for those who trust and honour Him. Try asking for help in prayer. Many have experienced powerful answers and deliverances when they had prayed. Why go it on your own, struggling with your limited human resources, when you can draw on the power of the universe?

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Ethics and Kindness

Cooperation

Many people desire wealth and success, believing that a lot of money, a big house, fancy car, a boat, etc. will bring them happiness. If only they could afford a Mercedes or a Ferrari, or have a luxury home in a posh side of town, or go on an exotic holiday! Unfortunately, even if a materially high standard of living is realised, the hopes for happiness may never materialize because physical possessions by themselves, no matter how abundant, do not bring happiness and money cannot buy it. Many a rich person has found this out. How many rich and famous, who seemingly had it all, also had unhappy marriage relationships, several divorces and remarriages, suffered from depression, and in the end may have even taken their own lives or died in another tragic manner?

If a high standard of living was the key to happiness, the people in the developed countries would have to be much happier than those in the developing world. Instead youth from well-to-do homes often live meaningless lives, seek happiness in destructive activities like drugs and alcohol, get into situations of violence, and even commit suicide.

Instead of focusing on a purely material pursuits, put some of your energies into doing good – serving others. Focus on being kind, helpful, compassionate. Wish others well, rather than being jealous of their possessions or successes. Thoughts are powerful energy that influence both those we direct them to and ourselves. If we wish people well by sending them thoughts of kindness, these thoughts will come back to us. The same will happen if we project thoughts of hate and envy – those energies too will come back to us. This is the law of cause and effect or what goes around comes around.

Aligning with principles of ethics, morality and kindness is still the way to a happier life than harbouring greed, hate and anger. Respecting others and building them up with words of encouragement and acceptance is far more conducive to a life of peace and contentment for both the giver and the recipient than tearing down with criticism, arguing and strife.

Even though in our post-modern era there is seemingly no right or wrong, the fact is that beyond misguided thinking, universal principles still hold and therefore honesty and integrity will in reality never go out of style and in the long run, be the best policy. Being kind and considerate, not just concerned about self-satisfaction, will bring feelings of joy and well-being. If you are both frugal and generous – frugal in conservation, spending, and not being wasteful, and generous in giving and sharing – you will be blessed. This is because according to the higher principles of the universe, to give is more blessed than to receive, and it is generally better to be kind than to be right at all costs.

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Gratitude

Gratefulness for friendsI believe that one of the most important keys to happiness and contentment in life is gratitude. It means being thankful for all that is happening in our lives with the hope that even the not so pleasant circumstances that we may experience will in some ways turn out for good – even if it is not clear how that could possibly happen. It includes realizing that things could always be worse and being grateful that they aren’t. It also means remembering with compassion those who are worse off than we are – there is always someone – and appreciating our own situation.

Even if money is scarce, be grateful that you have the basic needs provided, such as food on the table and roof over your head. Being grateful even for the small things in life puts us in a place where we become more and more aware of the intangibles, those things that money cannot buy, but which can be worth more than winning a lottery jackpot. Consider such things as the love of family and friends, the scent and beauty of spring flowers coming to life after a cold, dead winter, the sunshine and gentle breeze on the body, the fluttering butterfly that just flew past, the blue sky above. Focus on the stars above rather than the mud below and thereby rise above the negativity that often surrounds us in all forms and shapes.

I am aware that in some parts of our sad world, many are living in hellish circumstances. Yet, history is also filled with stories of those who survived concentration camps and similarly horrible situations by focusing on higher things, by seeing meaning in their suffering, by maintaining a strong hope that life would get better, and by learning rich lessons from their trials and tribulations.

Thankfulness and gratitude are principles resonating through the various spiritual traditions. These qualities place us into a higher frame of mind, higher state of consciousness, higher vibrational energy. Even if things are bad, being grateful for the good things in our lot will invariably make us feel better.

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Higher Principles

Higher principlesThis new section of the blog will include some transcending or spiritual principles, such as a higher purpose in life and gratitude. So stay tuned — to make your journey to and approaching the destination of abundant life even more satisfying.

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More Success Principles — Part 4

Positive associationsHere is the last instalment of success principles from Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles – How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be 

 


Keep your eye on the prize

To stay positive, motivated and focused on your goals, spend the last 45 minutes of the day acknowledging successes, reviewing goals, visualizing future success, and making specific plans for the next day. During the night, the subconscious mind will process this input in a powerful way. That’s why it is important to go to bed with positive, edifying thoughts.

Other end-of-the day exercises to keep us focused and moving ahead are: Sit with you’re your eyes closed and breathing deeply and ask a question such as: “Show me where I could have been more  … (effective, loving, mindful, …) today.” Take note of events that come to mind without judging. Then replay them in your mind the way you would have preferred to have acted. This will create a subconscious image for the next time a similar situation occurs.

Keeping a daily success journal is another tool for success motivation. Include five key events for each day under the following headings: Success (the event) – Reason (why successful) – Further Progress (what more can be done) – Next Action (specific plan).

Finally, at the end of each day, visualize the next day just the way you want it to go – in your mind create an ideal day in which you see yourself performing at your best in whatever you encounter. Making this a daily habit will make a huge difference in your life.

Remember your positive past
Most people remember their failures rather than their successes. That’s because from our childhood successes have been taken for granted, whereas failures are made a big deal of. Remembering our successes helps us to build a healthy self-esteem. Make an inventory of all your successes. Start with nine major successes – three in each third of your life to the present. Continue the exercise and list 100 successes. These can include passing each grade at school, getting a driver’s license, getting married, getting a job, etc.

Another good practice is to create a victory log – this can be added to daily. Also display your success symbols – prizes, trophies, diplomas, etc. Our environment impacts our moods, attitudes and behaviour. Therefore surround yourself with awards, pictures and other symbols that will remind you of your successes. This will subtly, subconsciously program you to seeing yourself as a winner, build confidence, and motivate you to further successes.

Another powerful exercise is to stand before a mirror at the end of each day and looking in the eyes of the reflection, acknowledge all the things you have done well during the day – achievements, keeping personal disciplines, resisting temptations, etc. Appreciate yourself for the various small and larger successes.

Be aware that within each of us live three separate ego states that make up our unique personality. They are the parent ego, adult ego and child ego. Encourage the inner child to behave by promising a reward when the job is done – and then reward yourself for your success. If we don’t do this, the inner child will start sabotaging us, keeping us from further succeeding. A reward is also an act of completion and will reinforce in the subconscious that succeeding is pleasant. As a result the subconscious mind will desire to work harder for you to produce more successes.

Move forward relentlessly
Practice persistence. High achievers refuse to give up despite obstacles and difficulties. They always get up after having fallen, never lose sight of their hopes and dreams, and will try again and again till their goal is realized. For every obstacle, stop to think of strategies to get around, over or through the block. Always be solution-oriented and eventually a way will be found that works. Remember that when one door closes, another one always opens.

Practice the rule of five. This means moving toward our goal step by step with a sustained effort of doing five things every day toward its accomplishment. Over a period of time this will make a significant difference and eventually the dream will become reality.

Exceed expectations and go the extra mile. This will make a big difference in financial rewards, personal transformation, developing self-confidence and being sought after.

Associate with positive and successful people. People influence us – we become like those we spend a lot of time with. Leave groups that complain and see everything in a negative way. Be selective and choose friends who are positive, happy, and growing. Avoid people who are negative and toxic.

By following these simple and common-sense principles, you can’t help but succeed. Even if your successes do not quickly bring great financial abundance – this may take time, the satisfaction of achieving your goals and accomplishing good things of and by itself will make your life more abundant.

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