WHY SO PESSIMISTIC, AMERICA?

#recession #unemployment #optimism
“In America today, women are liberated, while combined individual wealth is the highest in the world – China, in second place, barely has 35 percent of what we do.”
So writes Jack Hunter, politics editor for Rare.us, in a column published Aug. 28, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So why are so many Americans bummed out? Hunter asks.
The first reason, Hunter suspects, is that the country still hasn’t recovered fully from the 2008 recession.
“Comparatively low unemployment numbers mask massive workforce dropouts, and, while sage stagnation is partially a myth, pay still hasn’t risen as consistently as it might have,” Hunter writes.
He also blames the bombardment of the 24-hour news cycle, on which tragedy predominates. Finally, he blames a “tin-eared” government and political class that has little in common with those they regulate.
Let’s break down how things are. The recession produced gobs of unemployment. Those who have found new jobs in many cases are not being paid nearly what they were being paid beforehand. Many who haven’t found jobs have given up looking.
Despite good job availability in some areas – most big rigs on the road are advertising the need for drivers, for example – people either aren’t taking advantage of those openings, or may not be qualified to take those jobs.
Couple that with the fact that truck driving, in most cases, doesn’t pay what it once did, even though the work is just as hard, or even harder given the increased traffic on the roads. That’s a disincentive to wanting to take the jobs.
Eventually, wages will start to increase as demand for labor increases.
Although “now hiring” signs are popping not just on the trucks, but at other places of employment, most of the available jobs are those with which one would have difficulty making a living. Many people are cobbling together a couple of part-time jobs to try to pay their bills. Folks like these are not going to necessarily embrace what’s good about America.
The news cycle spends lots of time on bad news, but the bad news has to be reported. Many news outlets try to balance off the bad news with some good, uplifting stories. Hunter talks about America’s success at the 2016 Summer Olympics as one of those uplifting stories.
Certainly, a polarized government like ours will be slow to solve problems, but the cure for most of the country’s ailments lies outside the government’s wheelhouse.
So, on balance, life is pretty good for a lot of people. If you don’t believe you are among them, there are ways in which you can act to improve your situation. There are many ways potentially to make money without the benefit of a traditional W-2 job. To find them, you first have to be willing to look, perhaps, outside your comfort zone. If you’d like to check out one of the best, message me. You might see how people perhaps just like you took their futures into their own hands and helped others do the same.
To get that positive mind-set, look for the good things in your life – friends, family etc. Focus on those. Then, begin to do all that YOU can to find a solution to the problems in your life. The holiday season is perhaps the best time of year to do that. The joy of what is good shines at Christmas, and that joy can spark optimism for the new year.
Remember, too, that, for most of us, there is no great benefactor out there. We must provide for our own futures. If you see life that way, you’ll be better equipped to celebrate the ups and deal with the downs.
Peter

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WHERE ARE YOU?

#newyear #happynewyear #jointheride

The new year is coming this week. Do you know where you are?

Not your precise location, but where you are in life?

Better yet, do you know where you want to be? Is where you are en route to where you want to be, or are you currently off course, or lost?

If you’re off course, or lost, do you know what you need to do to get back on course? Do you see yourself never knowing where you are going, or even where you want to go?

Let’s start where you are, because it’s really the only place to start from.

If you are young, say 20-something, or 30-something, you are probably en route to somewhere. Do you have an idea of your ultimate destination? Your destination is all that’s important, because you’ll undoubtedly hit some bumps in the road, or turns that will get you off course. If you know that, you’ll know what you have to do to get back on course.

If you are fortunate enough to have a smooth ride to your ultimate destination, great. Chances are, though you won’t, so plan on unexpected diversions.

One way to combat diversions is to form good habits. If you like gooey desserts or snacks, forgo one a week. If you buy a cup or two of coffee a day, consider cutting out one or two a week. Better yet, make your own coffee at home and bring it with you. Same with any meals you might eat at work.

However you do it, figure out the money you are saving and PUT IT AWAY into a safe investment. Do the same with any raises you get at work, though these days, raises are scarce. Don’t touch what you’ve saved.Let it grow.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll have at, say, age 50.

If you’ve reached 50 or higher, time is not on your side. But those same llitle things can still help you. Keep in mind, though that there are many vehicles out there that might help you make up lost ground. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Younger folks, too, may find a way to get to their destinations faster by exploring this option.

So take the time to figure out where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

Consider being an entrepreneur. For a good manual on how to do that, check out Darren Hardy’s book, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.”

Regardless of what you do, plan for obstacles, but know your destination. And, know what you need to do to get there.

Happy New Year!

Peter

CELEBRATIONS AND STRESS

#holidaystress #celebrations #holidays #Christmas
No matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year, make sure you celebrate and have fun.
Often, though, this time of year is one of stress and, as Gregg Steinberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay University in Tennessee calls them, “irrational thoughts.”
Steinberg, who discussed this in a column in the Dec. 21, 2014, edition of the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, says we often feel that the pressure is on us to be perfect. We have to cook the perfect holiday feast or keep that perfect holiday cheer.
Quoting famed psychologist Carl Jung, “Perfection belongs to the gods; the most we can hope for is excellence,” Steinberg writes.
Trying to be perfect during the holidays is impossible, causing us to suffer instead of feel joy, Steinberg writes.
In other words, feel the joy, love and other goodness of the season. Strive to make the celebration as good as it can be, without overthinking things. If you enjoy baking, go ahead, but don’t make it feel like a project. If you hate to bake, don’t. Leave it to those who love it. Or, if you must have baked goods around, attend one of the many holiday bake sales at churches, schools etc. If all else fails, buy what you like at the store and be done with it. Don’t stress about it.
Don’t agonize over that perfect gift for someone. Find what you think someone will like, buy it and give it to the person whenever you open gifts. Unless you love to spend hours shopping and fighting crowds – many people do – if you see something you think someone might like or use, grab it, pay for it at the checkout counter and go. Don’t add irrational stress to the holiday experience.
Here’s the tough part of keeping holidays joyful. At least for a while, forget about your troubles. Yes, that’s certainly easier said than done, especially if you have just lost a loved one and have had some financial hardships. In the latter case, just do what you can and don’t feel compelled to overspend. Those who love you would rather see you joyful than stressful. It doesn’t matter to them what you can or can’t afford.
How do you forget about your troubles if you are overwhelmed by them? Think about what is good in your life, and be grateful for those things. Focus on those things during this season. It will enhance your joy and reduce your stress.
Steinberg goes on to talk about irrational beliefs vs. realistic ones. He suggests making a list of all your beliefs that put pressure on you, and ask whether the beliefs are grounded in reality. In many cases, what you believe is true, or believe you must do, is based on opinion rather than fact. If such beliefs are hurting your performance, or causing you unhappiness, it’s time to find more rational beliefs, Steinberg writes.
Perhaps it may be time to check out something that could change your life. There are many things you may, or may not, be aware of that could turn you into a joyful person. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You could find that fun way to relieve much of what stresses you.
Most importantly, have a joyful holiday season, and a prosperous new year. Examine your life and find out what is really important, and what is not. This should be a time of joy, not stress. It should be a time of celebration. Time with family, friends and life itself is certainly worth celebrating. Things don’t have to be perfect to be fun.
Enjoy. Celebrate. Live!
Peter