About pbilodeau01

Born in Berlin, N.H.; bachelor of arts, major in journalism, Northeastern University; master's degree in urban studies, Southern Connecticut State University; was an editor and reporter at New Haven Register, an editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a reporter at The Meriden Record-Journal. Now a freelance writer and editor.

WHAT YOU COULD DO WITH YOUR SUMMER-JOB MONEY

#saving #investing #SummerJobs #stocks
It’s summer, and students (college and high school) are getting jobs as lifeguards, cooks etc. that pay an average of, say, $10 a hour.
In practical terms, most of those students will sock away a good bit of what they earn to pay for college, or some other higher education.
But Rubicoin, an educational investment app., calculated what you could do in the future if you decided to invest that money in the stock market.
Adam Shell wrote a short piece for USA Today on the study. The article also was published June 8, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rubicoin calculated how much money a worker earning $10 an hour in a 25-hour workweek for 13 weeks, each summer for the past four years, Shell writes.
“If they invested half of their before-tax pay equally on Aug. 31 each year in the four FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), the $6,500 investment since 2014 would be worth $15,899 today, Shell quotes Rubicoin. If a student favors a bigger bet – investing in Netflix alone – it would have been worth $22,639, or $19,544 if they invested in just Amazon.
Certainly, these FANG stocks have skyrocketed recently. Doing that now, when they are at high prices, would be impractical. Doing it then, when their prices were relatively low, would have been a big risk for a student.
Perhaps planning your financial future would be better after your education is finished. Every dime you earn should be saved for the expenses for school – unless, of course, you come from a wealthy family and can do what you want with what you earn. Most students, however, are not in that position.
So, here’s another thought: what if you could take a percentage of what you earn in ONE summer, invest it in something that might give you the kind of bright financial future that no one will take away from you? A small investment, plus some part-time effort on your part throughout your life, could lead to an income stream that could allow you to never worry about money again.
There are several such ventures out there that could do that. To check out one of the best, message me.
There are few financial advisers who would recommend that a student invest a chunk of his summer income in stocks – despite their potential – would be a big risk.
Young investors should start out conservatively. They should move gradually from a bank savings account – get out of that as quickly as you can – to conservative funds, to stocks with some potential as your nest egg grows.
The important message from Shell and Rubicoin is to start saving your money while you are young. The more you can do at a young age, the more you will have as you get older.
Remember that the job you think is secure now may not be so in the future. Having the discipline to save and invest carefully, with the proper advice, will hopefully prevent devastation later in life.
In short: when you are off from school in the summer, work (more than 25 hours a week, if you can). Use that money to invest in your education. When your education is finished, continue the pattern of saving a certain percentage of your income, progressively investing over time.
If you use the money before retirement, make sure it is for something like buying a house. Don’t blow it on vacations and other non-durable items. Keep saving for a retirement that could come before you want it to.
Remember: the little things you do when you are young will give you more options in the future.
Peter

HOW TO DEAL WITH TOO MUCH MONTH AT THE END OF THE MONEY

#spending #saving #overspending #TrappedByLifestyle
“People … make $250,000, $500,000 a year and they don’t know where their money is going,” says financial adviser Lori Atwood.
How can this be?
Thomas Heath spoke to Atwood, and wrote an article for The Washington Post. It was also published in the April, 9, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“How does a family drop $500 in one month at McDonald’s?” Heath asks. “When you have a husband and wife with high-powered jobs working 10 or 12 hours a day, who feels like cooking?” Heath writes.
Atwood, Heath writes, calls the phenomenon, “trapped by the lifestyle.”
Yes, people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – working, working, working – yet have no savings. “It’s true, but ridiculous, “: Heath quotes Atwood, founder of Fearless Finance financial software.
Speaking about folks who live in Northwest Washington, D.C., Heath quotes Atwood as saying many people have “over-housing. They don’t have to have the house they own,” she’s quoted as saying.
Over-housing, she says, is a savings killer, along with child care expenses, private school tuition, student loan payments etc.
“People say getting rid of x,y,z is not an option,” Heath quotes Atwood. “Groceries, electricity and heat are not options. Anything else is on the table.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Is your lifestyle killing your future? Are you living well above, instead of below, your means?
If so, you can do something about it. As Atwood suggests in the article, you can start by moving to more affordable, yet adequate, housing. There are plenty of places you can live in which the schools are perfectly fine, the neighborhood is safe and it’s relatively easy to get back and forth to work.
Lifestyle entrapment also generally leads to being time-broke. If you’re working that hard to make a good living, chances are you are missing out on some things you should be a part of, or present for, i.e. some of your children’s accomplishments.
No one should advocate that a parent should be around for EVERY activity for a child, but you should understand the difference between the important ones, and the lesser ones – the ones you can really skip if something important occurs in your job.
If you find yourself trapped in a certain lifestyle, as Atwood points out in the article, find out where your money is going, what is necessary spending and what is not, and prioritize.
If all this not only makes you financially broke, but time-broke as well, there are many vehicles out there that will let you, by spending a few non-working hours a week, augment your income. There’s even one that will allow you to find ways to spend less on essentials, as well as non-essentials. To learn more about that, message me.
The article illustrates that it isn’t just poor people who are broke. Others who are making good money are making poor decisions on how they spend it. They don’t realize they are, essentially, mortgaging their futures to have certain things now.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with working hard, making good money, giving your kids perhaps something you didn’t have as a kid, etc. Just understand that the future will not take care of itself. You have to plan for your own future.
Besides, wouldn’t you like to have something to show for all your hard work, long after you stop working?
Peter

LONLINESS IN THE WORKPLACE CAN BE QUANTIFIED

#LonelinessInTheWorkplace #loneliness #workplaces #SolitaryJobs
Some people are lonely at work.
So what? Who cares?
Well, loneliness has a cost to employers, according to an article by Danielle Paquette for the Washington Post. It was also published March 31, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“According to researchers who study the issue, the economic damage caused when employees suffer feelings of isolation could soon worsen as offices become increasingly automated and more people work remotely,” Paquette writes.
“Employers who tackle the issue now – rather than brush it off as a personal matter – will save money in (the) future,” Paquette quotes Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, a psychiatrist and chief innovation officer for BetterUp, a workplace consulting firm in San Francisco.
According to the article, Kellerman’s team crunched data from a survey of about 1,600workers across the country to better understand the risk by profession. The results, published in the Harvard Business Review, alarmed Kellerman: “Sixty-one percent of the lawyers in her sample ranked ‘above average’ on the loneliness scale from UCLA,” Paquette quotes Kellerman.
“Generally, the happiest – and most productive – workers feel like valued team members,” Paquette quotes Kellerman.
So, are you feeling lonely at work? Do you often – or always – work by yourself? Do you get to talk to anyone during your work time? Does your employer ONLY care about what you do, rather than who you are?
What if someone could show you a way to make money that would essentially REQUIRE you to interact with people. What if someone could show you a way that could not just potentially put extra money in your pocket, but also potentially exceed your current income? And, what if someone could show you a system in which advancement depended on how many people you helped succeed? To learn about such a vehicle, message me.
The article quotes a Gallup poll that found 42 percent of working Americans said they did some of their job remotely, a four-percentage-point jump from 2012. It also quotes a recent study from the global consultancy firm McKinsey, which predicted that demand for office workers in the U.S. will drop by 20 percent over the next decade because of technological advances. That could mean smaller or more siloed teams, it said.
So if loneliness at work has a grip on you, get a grip. Look for a situation that will allow you more interpersonal interaction. Oh sure, dealing with people can be a pain. But, as the article says, the alternative not only takes a toll on workers, but is costly to employers in terms of productivity.
The proverbial water cooler, cafeteria or other workplace gathering spots may be going out of favor. Try making it a point of sticking your head into someone’s workplace every day, just to see whether they are receptive to people.
Who knows? Maybe you can find people with common interests that you never knew had the same interests as you. Perhaps you can become friends and socialize outside of work, if it’s not possible to socialize at work.
If you are an employer, you might look at ways to conduct team-building exercises, personal growth seminars etc., for the folks that have solitary jobs. You may get a lot more productivity from them by doing that.
Peter

TAKE TIME TO THINK

#TimeToThink #TakeTimeToThink #MakeTimeToThink
We’ve all seen a person sitting still, staring into space.
That person may tell you that he or she is taking time to think.
That’s not a bad thing. In fact, according to Napoleon Hill, it’s a good thing to do.
He discusses it in his book, “Lessons on Success: 17 Principles of Personal Achievement.”
“One of the ways to increase your flow of ideas is by developing the habit of taking study time, thinking time and planning time,” Hill writes.
“Be quiet and motionless, and listen for that small, still voice that speaks from within you. Contemplate the ways in which you can achieve your objectives,” he continues.
It’s best not to do this at work, lest your employer think you are, well, just staring into space.
Also, everyone has a time of day at which he or she thinks best. For some, it’s first thing in the morning. For others, it may be late in the evening. You know yourself, and the best time that good ideas seem to come to you.
For some, it may be in your sleep. If a good idea wakes you up, get up, write it down and go back to sleep if it’s the middle of the night.
So who in the world has time to think? Every minute of every day is filled with “life” – job, kids, home chores, hobbies etc. For many, there’s barely a quiet, solitary moment, let alone a few minutes.
It may require a life adjustment so that you can MAKE time to think.
Hill, who also wrote “Think and Grow Rich,” and other experts on leadership and success preach that no one can be truly successful unless he or she can THINK success.
Many believe their lives are so “full,” getting by without one crisis after another is considered a success. Most of us want to do more than just get by.
Still others revel in the chaos of life. You may know someone who isn’t happy unless he or she is miserable. Such a person also can’t stop talking about what’s wrong in life.
But experts on success encourage people to look for the positive. Appreciate the good in their lives. Embrace the thought that things are not only good, but will only get better.
If you are among those positive, optimistic thinkers, and are looking for a vehicle that will allow you not only to improve your situation, but allow you to help others improve theirs, many such vehicles exist. To check out one of the best, message me.
So take time to think. It’s best to do so in private, so people don’t presume you are just aimlessly gazing at nothing.
Think about not only where you are, but where you want to be. Cultivate the ability to dream, if you don’t have it already.
Think first about WHY you want to be successful at whatever you are doing, or want to do. Chances are, once you know why, the how will somehow present itself. When it does, you have to be looking for it.
Don’t just get by. Instead, to quote leadership expert John Addison, get after it.
“Life” will continue to consume you unless you make your own quiet time. When you do, think about what you want from life, not what life is taking from you.
Peter

ATTENTION GRADUATES: SIFT AND SORT THE ADVICE YOU GET

#graduation #GraduationMessages #GraduationSpeeches
Graduation speeches, at least to the graduates who are just looking to celebrate and party afterward, can often draw a groan.
It seems to many of them to be something they must sit through. Perhaps it’s good training for the next corporate meeting they will have to attend.
But they also may find a few nuggets of good advice among the long, drawn-out talks.
Jena McGregor, in a Washington Post article, highlighted some well-known speakers’ pearls of wisdom. The article was also published May 29, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Oprah Winfrey, for example, gave the typical “do what you love” advice when she spoke at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the article says. Then, she said:” You need to know this: Your job is not always going to fulfill you,” McGregor writes.
Yet, Oprah also advised the graduates to be so good at what they will do that “your talent cannot be dismissed,” the article quotes her.
Undoubtedly, some of those graduates will find out that even though they are very good at what they do, perhaps even winning awards etc., whoever they work for might not recognize it. And, they may also discover that even good people get laid off when each of the many reorganizations they will witness takes place.
Meanwhile, Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of the Chobani Greek yogurt company, told this to grads of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania: “It’s great that you are a Wharton MBA. But please, don’t act like it,” the article quotes him.
His point was the great training that Wharton has given the graduates shouldn’t make them think less of others who have not been so academically blessed.
“Don’t let (your degree) get in the way of seeing people as people and all they have to offer you, regardless of their title or position,” the article quotes him.
Certainly, graduates have their own ambitions. They have come this far and have put in the work and time – hopefully having some fun along the way. Some may come out of school not knowing exactly what they want to do. For some, it may be a craps shoot as to what opportunities their degrees will give them – or not.
Then, they face the issue of jobs not turning into what was expected or promised. Will they be able to roll with whatever happens? Make no mistake: the unexpected will happen.
If you are a new graduate in a period of indecision about your future, know that there are many ways out there to earn a potentially substantial income with a few part-time hours a week away from your W-2 job. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, sift and sort every piece of advice you get. Some advice, though well meaning, can stifle what you might want, or be destined, to do. Other advice can encourage you to shoot for the moon. Know that the moon can be there for the taking if you shoot properly and consistently over time.
See the good in everything you do, and everyone you encounter, as you endure some drudgery in each endeavor. Don’t ever be afraid of pursuing your dream. It, too, could be there for the taking with the right effort and strategy.
Peter

A DISTURBING TREND: RETIRING BEFORE YOU WANT TO

#retirement #RetirementPlanning #layoffs #buyouts
It’s an alarming trend, a letter writer wrote.
People in their 50s are getting laid off, he continues. The workers may get an optional early-retirement package which, if not taken, leads to a layoff a short time later, he continues.
Or, he says, it may mean becoming a contract worker making half the money with fewer, and more expensive to you, benefits. “A friend who refused a package last year will retire with much less this month because of shortsightedness,” he writes.
The letter writer signed his missive “B.” He wrote the letter to Peter Dunn, the USA Today columnist known as “Pete the Planner.” His column was also published March 4, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
To sum up Pete’s response, he advises: “Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper, and create a series of hash marks on the line, representing future age markers. Next, list major life events on the timeline. Be sure to note events such as your mortgage payoff year, when you reach age 59.5 (when retirement funds become available) and when you hit 62 (the first chance to activate Social Security). …
“When I drew my line, I noticed my need for money peaked at age 53,” Pete continues. “If I were to lose my job at or around 53 years old, I would be in big trouble. Therefore, I want to be sure not to take on any additional obligations around that time in my life. Knowing when you’re the most at risk is a reasonable way to avoid additional risks,” Pete writes.
He goes on to say that the age timeline will help people evaluate any early buyout options.
This topic is trending at a rapid pace. Pete advises that retiring at a normal age, with “normal” benefits etc., is challenging enough. Retiring early because one is forced to can be torture, he writes.
Planning is obviously a wise decision, but the best laid plans can go awry when you least expect them, or want them, to. So, we are in a milieu in which we have to PRESUME that we will not be able to work at our current jobs for as long as we want. Reorganizations will come frequently. Bad managers will come into your life and throw you out – or force you to leave on your own.
The age-old advice is to spend less and save more, as consumer adviser Clark Howard preaches. If you “have to have” the latest, up-to-date gadgets, think about whether your current gadgets are serving you well. A rule of thumb might be: if a new gadget will give me pleasure, and is not a necessity of life, postpone buying it and live with the older technology. When the old stuff craps out, then replace it.
If you have, say, a daily habit of buying a cup of coffee in the morning, you might think about buying a Thermos and brewing your own coffee to take with you.
In other words, examine the little things you do in life that cost you money. Do you really need to spend it? Remember, too, to think value rather than price. Sometimes, buying better stuff up front will keep you from buying multiple cheap things later on.
Finally, if you are planning your financial life as best you can, but you don’t think it will be enough when you get shown the door at work, think about investing a few part-time, off-work hours in something that may not only augment your income, but could surpass it. There are many such vehicles out there. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, draw the diagram Pete suggests. This is especially good for folks who are less careful about their spending. Save well. Invest well – or as best you can – with a good, trusted adviser.
In today’s world, for many people, retirement decisions, unfortunately, are made FOR them by others. Be prepared for that decision to be made for you, as early as tomorrow, no matter how old you are.
Peter

MILLENNIALS NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT MEDICARE

#millennials #Medicare #RetirementSavings #HealthCareSpending
Millennials may be a long way from Medicare eligibility.
But they need to care about it now, lest it runs out of money, or pays fewer benefits, when their time comes.
“Previous years’ surpluses, stowed away in a trust fund, will cover the (funding) gap until 2029. After that, Medicare Part A will be able to cover 88 percent of promised benefits, rather than 100 percent,” writes Liz Weston, a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet.com. Her column was published March 3, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Weston also writes that the younger folks need to figure out ways to cut health care spending in general.
Let’s break down the situation. First, as Weston writes, some in Washington are itching to cut Medicare, which provides relatively affordable health insurance to the 65-and-older demographic. Depending on what happens in Washington, health care costs could go up for millennials as they age. “Without a sturdy Medicare system, health care for older Americans could quickly become unaffordable,” Weston writes.
Also, young people in the private insurance market – those who do not have decent insurance benefits from their employers – should think about buying individual insurance policies now. Sure, you think you are young and won’t get sick or injured, but what if you do? Plus, they are relatively affordable for young, healthy folks. Also, having a health insurance policy young may make it easier for you to get health insurance when you are older.
Young folks tend to spend less time thinking about eventualities when they get older, so they tend to spend more and save less. The earlier in life you start saving, the more comfortable you’ll be when you get older. Also, retirement won’t necessarily come when you want it to. Companies reorganize frequently, and jobs you think are indispensable today could be gone tomorrow.
“Millennials already have enough burdens. They earn less, have a lot less wealth and owe a lot more in student loan debt than previous generations did at their age,” Weston writes.
So what’s a young person to do? First, have a bona fide, regular savings plan. Even if you can only put, say, $5 a week into it at the beginning, do that religiously. As your income increases, add more. Any raises you get should go into that fund, so, as your income increases, you can learn to economize on living expenses. Whatever you do, don’t touch that money until many years down the road.
Easier said than done? Perhaps. So you have to make a point of doing it, perhaps sacrificing some immediate pleasures to ensure you are keeping your promise to yourself.
As your savings increase – when your fund builds to a point that keeping it in a bank account seems unprofitable – find a trusted investment adviser who can guide you through the different investment vehicles for each stage of your life. Unless you are a financial professional, trying to manage your own investments can be risky. Obviously, some risk is warranted, but good, objective advice on the type of risk for your situation is essential.
Then, think about how you use your time. Are the things you spend your non-work time on enriching you? If not, there are many vehicles out there that, with a small investment of time consistently, can make you money. To check out one of the best, message me.
Young folks need to worry about Medicare, if they want it available to them when they reach that stage of life. So, pay attention to what happens in Washington. But, also, set up your own life so that no matter what happens, you’ll have the best life you can get when you reach your parents’ or grandparents’ ages.
Peter

DON’T JUST FIND HAPPINESS; CREATE IT!

#happiness #CreateHappiness #optimism
Happiness doesn’t just happen.
It is created.
Sometimes, as author Ellen Petry Leanse tells us, we have to hack our brains to create happiness.
She discusses the topic in her book, “The Happiness Hack.”
She writes that we have to overcome distractions, create real connections, find more calm and master new habits.
Though technology has many benefits, it also creates many distractions, she writes.
It’s been said that some people aren’t happy unless they are miserable.
Workplaces are filled with people who constantly complain, and try to drag happy people into their pity pots.
There’s more gloom and doom out there than most people can stand. Some take vacations from social media to get a break from it.
Part of being happy is being optimistic. It’s also appreciating the good we all have in our lives.
Certainly, circumstances will knock us off course. We may experience illness, death of someone close to us, economic hardship etc. But we have to fight to overcome circumstances and regain our happiness.
We all can think of things we would like to have to enhance our happiness. Yet, not having those things immediately should not deter us from appreciating the good things we already have.
Perhaps our circumstances are such that we believe we are not where we think we should be. If your economic circumstances are that way, and if you are willing to look at a different path, message me.
Leanse uses in her book a quote from an unknown source that says, “ When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Such wisdom is rare among grade-school pupils. Yet the idea is spot on.
We all have different definitions of happiness. Some can find happiness no matter the situation. Others can find despair even when their lives are quite good.
No matter what makes you happy, look for it. Find it. Perhaps you don’t know what will make you happy. That’s no reason not to look for it.
Don’t just look for it. Create it. Look at all the positives around you. Don’t let the negatives, or negative people, affect you.
If you have a job, find things about that job, no matter what they are, that you like about it. Focus on those things. Certainly, there are tasks we must do that don’t create happiness, but one can push through those to focus on what makes us happy.
The distractions will come, as Leanse points out. But don’t let those distractions taint your overall happiness. Happiness is not just there for the taking, it’s there for the creating.
Peter

ROBOTS, OTHER COUNTRIES KILLING U.S. JOBS?

#robots #AmericanJobs #efficiencies #CreativeDestruction
Do you believe robots, or manufacturing in other countries, are killing American jobs?
A recent article in The Guardian carries the headline, “Robots will destroy our jobs – and we’re not ready for it.”
Economist Joseph Schumpeter describes technological change as “creative destruction.” Actually, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the U.S. labor force in 1950 was 62 million. By 2000 it was 79 million and it’s projected to reach 192 million by 2050.
These bits of information come from an article by Walter E. Williams of Creators Syndicate. It was published Feb. 21, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Though the ‘creative destruction’ process works hardships on some people who lose their jobs and are forced to take lower-paying jobs, any attempt to impede the process would make us all worse off,” Williams writes.
It’s tough to understand the value of technological progress if you’ve been shown the curb from your job. Many people have lost relatively good-paying jobs, and been forced to take lower-paying jobs, if they were lucky enough to find a new job at all. The recession of 2008 has taken a toll on many.
The Williams article tells of the 62 million in the work force in 1950. Back then, progress was definitely slower. People could count on the jobs they had to be around for as long as they wanted to work. Some of those jobs were hard, either on the body, mind or both.
Back then, many workers were represented by unions, which helped impede some process innovations and efficiencies to keep more people working.
Today, fewer workers have that kind of representation, and the number keeps decreasing. Workers are essentially on their own to plan their careers.
As a result, in many cases, careers come to a premature end, and workers are left figuring out what to do next.
But just as technology has been, by and large, a good thing for the U.S. and the world, having workers determine their own destinies can also be a good thing, if you want to look at it differently.
It’s been said in several different ways that hardship creates opportunity. Though the opportunity may be difficult to see if circumstances have dealt you a difficult blow, they are out there for those willing to look for them.
If you have lost what appears to be a good job, and are not yet ready to retire, there are many ways out there to make money other than through a traditional W-2 job. To check out one of the best, message me. You might even see a great way to help your friends overcome difficult circumstances.
The U.S. has moved over the centuries from a primarily agricultural economy, to a primarily manufacturing economy, and is continuing to move into a more technologically based economy. You, as perhaps a temporarily displaced worker, can’t do anything to fight that. In fact, no governmental entity can do anything to fight that. If we try to impede innovation here, someone else somewhere will innovate, leaving the U.S. in the dust.
So the next time you try to blame robots, cheaper overseas labor or other advances on your circumstances, remember that you can’t stop those things. You can only look for ways to help yourself to a better life.
That may require a change of mind-set, or departing your comfort zone, but ANYONE can do it. If you don’t find a solution immediately, keep looking. You just might meet the person who will show you how YOU can change your life for the better.
Peter

OVERSTATING PROBLEMS

#OverstatingProblems #optimists #pessimists #poverty
“Can’t overstating problem energize us in terms of solving them?”
So asked Philip Galanes, during lunch with Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of 10 books.
Galanes wrote about his conversation with the two for The New York Times. The article was also published in the Feb. 11, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There’s a paradox in letting yourself be very, very upset about what remains to be done (for the common good),” Gates said. “There are still parts of the world that are still like 40 years ago. But to read (Pinker’s) book and think it says, ‘don’t worry, be happy’ (borrowing from a Bobby McFerrin title), is to misread it. Because seeing the world through the eyes of that poor kid ideally wants to make you give some money, even though there are many fewer such kids than 50 years ago,” Gates said.
“Extreme global poverty has been reduced from 90 percent 200 years ago to 10 percent today. That’s great! Or you can say: more than 700 million people in the world live in extreme poverty today. They’re the same fact, and you have to be able to describe them to yourself in both ways,” Pinker says.
This snippet of a long conversation illustrates that there is more than one way to look at the world.
Some of the information we hear would lead us to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and perhaps we need to straighten it out. Or, others would have us believe that past efforts to solve problems have had a great effect, and that, though the problems are not completely solved, the situation is much better than it was years ago.
It’s perhaps the classic difference between an optimist and a pessimist. The old adage talks about viewing a glass of water as either half empty or half full. But it is more than that.
It starts with how you feel about yourself each time you wake up in the morning, or later in the day if you work at night. Is every day you do so a good day? Or, is it just another day?
Do you long for weekends, and dread the weekdays? Do you feel as if you are on a treadmill during the week, and finally get a break from it on weekends (or whatever your regular days off might be)?
Experts say you can change how you think. You can take stock of what’s good in your life, and be thankful, rather than think of what’s not so good and be resentful, or sad, or feel doomed.
You can think about what you really want in life, or you can presume you’ll never get what you really want, and settle for something OK, or tolerable.
You can see retirement as a goal to allow you to do what you want, or you can do what you want sooner, rather than later. Or, worse yet, you can see yourself as working at a job you hate until you die.
So, are you thankful, or dreadful (meaning full of dread, as opposed to an awful person)? Give yourself a break. Always – and you can pull this off – look at yourself as blessed and grateful.
If you need a vehicle to help you turn your life around, there are several such vehicles out there for those willing to look for them. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, if you are on that treadmill of dread, stay on it only as long as you need to. Start looking for things that will help get you off it.
Your thoughts have the power to improve your life. Be an optimist, for there are very few, if any, successful pessimists. Take stock of the good in your life and build on it. It could start you on a path that will allow you to achieve your dreams sooner rather than later.
Peter