Sunday, May 31, 2009
What can you do?
This acceleration of shifts presents an important challenge for companies of all sizes, in all industries, and in all countries. Being outstanding at what is important today will no longer be enough to succeed. Business model innovation and implementation must be added to your company's strengths.
Consider the evolution in business models that may face almost any company manufacturing a product that requires many components. Most people realize that the ability to improve that product and reduce its costs is limited until the product is totally redesigned to have greater benefits for customers and fewer parts so assembly and maintenance are easier.
Most companies plan to do these redesigns every few years. The latest trend is to customize each product for each customer, as Dell Computer does for personal computers.
Business model innovation can obliterate the relevance of that time-tested approach, however, if greater benefits can be provided by offering a service to perform the product's function rather than selling a product at all. For example, rather than buying the product, the customer might outsource all of the activities that require that product.
For many companies, this has happened with information systems. As a result of efficiencies from combining the equipment needs of many customers, the demand for computer hardware grows more slowly than it did before.
That service in turn can be wiped out by a new business model that combines several services together to provide better results at vastly cheaper cost. That is happening today in industries where the information systems were being used to run manufacturing facilities. When a company decides to outsource its manufacturing, the new vendor may not need or want the information systems or the services to support them.
If a new supplier then finds a way to provide outstanding new product design and manufacturing services into an improved business model, that outsourcing supplier may lose the business to this new business model.
Notice that having been an industry leader would not insulate a company from losses due to better business models. As a result, most future industry leaders will be companies that rapidly and continuously improve their business models to become the industry's leader in this one capability.
And on it goes. As a result, only the most flexible business model innovators will be able to achieve that lofty marketing goal of having customers for life. Are you agile enough in business model innovation to take advantage of that kind of marketing?
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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Saturday, May 30, 2009
Do an Internship in Argentina and Discover the True Spirit of Tango by Enrique Helmbrecht
Doing an internship in Argentina is probably one of the best ways students will find to truly learn about the spirit of tango and improve their skills in the professional field as well.
Travelling abroad is a unique opportunity to come across impressive features that make each country shine in the international field. In this way, Argentina has become worldwide recognized for its passion for tango and as the birth place of this dance.
If your career develops in the artistic field, then doing an internship in Argentina will be a perfect choice to open your mind and get immersed into a culture that has a vast and deep rooted tradition that nowadays has as a prime exponent the tango dance.
The real origin of tango is blurred, as it usually happens with all things that are continuously transformed along history. By doing an internship in Argentina you will learn that the word tango was firstly used to describe the typical dance of black people in America. The meaning and the dance itself later on evolved incessantly and after one hundred years it defined and got to be known as an Argentinean dance in all terms.
As you do your internship program in Argentina you can practice tango in all the different academies spread along the country. Buenos Aires and Cordoba are the most important destinations that in Argentina where you can easily do your internship and perfect your dancing skills in a fast manner.
Anyway, if you don’t take tango lessons nor do your internship in a dancing school you will feel the spirit of this music in the everyday life of the Argentinean people. In Buenos Aires mainly, you can appreciate professional tango dances for free on every corner of downtown. As you do your internship on any subject, you can easily go around neighbourhoods that entirely resemble the soul of tango, like La Boca neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.
If you are in the mood for learning a little bit more about tango before doing your internship in Argentina, discover that there is much more to see than one sole style. Tango has incredibly developed into more sophisticated movements that reflect the influence of famous dancers through time. While doing your internship in Argentina you will encounter Canyengue Tango, Orillero, Milonguero and of course, Saloon and Show Tango. Each style has its own relevance in the history of the Argentinean dance and will introduce you in a particular way of looking at the tradition of country as you do your internship abroad.
Besides, it is important for you to know that tango originated in the suburbs of the city of Buenos Aires and was respectfully seen by the society in general. Later on, it grew in importance and got into the core of the city and the society in general. During your internship in Argentina you will find out in tango the essence of all social stratums.
Travelling abroad is a lifetime opportunity to gain a deep insight into different cultures. Argentina is by far an enigmatic and beautiful country that has become a widely chosen destination among students. If you are willing to do an internship abroad in the artistic field, then Argentina should be your pick. You will not only encounter tango, but also many other artistic expressions that are yet to gain international popularity.
Learn more about travel abroad Internships and volunteer opportunities at http://www.mentorabroad.org; A complete guide; Teach abroad, Academic studies and Spanish courses. Enrique Helmbrecht is the president of MentorAbroad and an experienced traveler and language learner.
Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Do-an-Internship-in-Argentina-and-Discover-the-True-Spirit-of-Tango/162608
Friday, May 29, 2009
Despite the amazing victory, he almost never took the oath of office. On December 18, 1972 while Biden was in Washington D.C. looking at his new office, his wife, Neilia, took their three children shopping for a Christmas tree. They were involved in a fatal automobile accident. Neilia and his infant daughter, Naomi, were killed. His two sons, Hunter and Beau, were critically injured.
His life suddenly and unexpectedly changed, Biden suddenly found himself as a 30-year-old widower and single father. He also found himself filled with anger and doubt. In his memoir Promises to Keep Biden wrote, “I began to understand how despair led people to just cash it in; how suicide wasn’t just an option but a rational option … I felt God had played a horrible trick on me, and I was angry.”
A career in the U.S. Senate suddenly didn’t seem that important as being there for his two sons. He considered resigning before even taking the oath of office. Beau recalled his father saying, “Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can’t get another father.”
Eventually other U.S. Senators like Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy convinced Biden to take the job the people of Delaware elected him to do. In January of 1973 he took the oath of office at his sons’ hospital bedside. However, because he still wanted to be there for his sons, he gave up his the home he and his late wife were planning to buy in Washington D.C. and commuted by train to and from his home - a practice he still continues.
Still, life wasn’t easy for the young Senator. At first he did the least amount of work required for his job. “My future was telescoped into putting one foot in front of the other … Washington, politics, the Senate had no hold on me,” Biden wrote. Senate staffers began placing bets on how long Biden would last.
No one would have blamed Biden for quitting. After all, he has lost half his family. But Biden didn’t quit. Despite his grief, Biden he hung on and slowly began rebuilding his shattered life.
It wasn’t until 1975, however, when Biden met Jill Jacobs that the pieces really fell into place. Falling in love again renewed Biden’s interest in life and politics. “It had given me the permission to be me again,” Biden wrote in his memoir. Two years later they married.
With his renewed passion, Biden continued what was to become a successful political career. He was re-elected five times to the Senate. He served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987-1995 and currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In 2008, after a second failed attempt to become the Democrat’s presidential nominee, he was asked to be Sen. Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential running mate.
“Failure at some point in your life is inevitable but giving up is unforgivable,” Biden said during his Vice Presidential acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
It’s impossible to say what would have happened to Biden if he had decided to give up.
But he didn’t.
For those who have lost a spouse, Joe Biden’s story is one of hope. If you continue to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult it may be, there are better days ahead. Despite the challenges and obstacles he faced as a 30-year-old widower, Biden rebuilt his life and his family.
Each day we make the decision to push forward or give up. Each day that decision will bring us closer to rebuilding our lives or falling back into darkness. Though difficult, Biden chose to live again and reaped the rewards of his efforts.
Abel Keogh is an inspirational speaker. His memoir Room for Two (Cedar Fort, 2007) is about the year following the suicide of his pregnant wife, Krista, and death of their premature daughter. He is now writing– a work of fiction. His website is www.abelkeogh.com. Abel is an Author in Open to Hope Foundation (www.opentohope.com) and Co-Editor in Death of a Spouse blog, www.opentohopedeathofaspouse.com
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We all feel that the world is stable and secure, that change and loss will not come into our lives. When it does, not only do we experience deep shock and sorrow, but our normal anchors disappear. Confusion, numbness, and helplessness can arise. Needless to say, it takes time to absorb these changes. Along with a sense of abandonment and sorrow, anger and struggle often replace the comfort and strength an individual needs. Most have little understanding of what they are going through, or what to expect in the future.
Yet crisis means opportunity. This period can become a time of growth and inspiration when handled properly. There are many ways in which loss and change can be dealt with so that an individual can benefit and grow as a result of it. When the journey of loss and change is properly understood and handled, much later grief and difficulty can also be forestalled.
The Dynamics of Loss And Change
When change or loss comes into our lives we see that we are not in control. Some have depended greatly upon a person, job or situation and have not gotten in touch with their own inner strength. Others have not paused to consider where their true security lay. When familiar supports are taken from them, they often have to re-evaluate their entire lives.
Different Ways Of Reacting To Change and Loss
Each person reacts differently. These differences must be respected. Some feel alone and abandoned. Others feel cheated by life, angry and threatened. Some reach out for love and comfort, others take time to be alone or withdraw. For some the need arises to maintain stability at all costs. They may go into denial and pretend that nothing much has gone on. (These individuals are just doing their best to maintain the semblance of normalcy). They do not f eel ready to react as yet.
The way we respond at a crucial point in life is the result of how we have lived our entire lives. Of course, sooner or later, reactions do arise. Reality will set in. When an individual feels more able to deal with their feelings, the repressed feelings arise to the forefront. It is important not to judge yourself or others for their way of reacting. When the individual is accepted for who they are at the moment, it is easier for them to let go, and move on.
Relating With Loss Directly
As time passes, it is important to allow oneself to experience what happened directly. In order to do so there is a fundamental assumption that must be questioned. It is the idea that pain is terrible and must be avoided at all costs. Instead, it is necessary to realize that pain is natural and change is an inevitable part of life. Once we stop fearing and fighting our feelings, once we learn to listen to them closely, we find that the pain itself has a meaning, it's there to be listened to.
As we become willing to experience our feelings as they arise, not only do we grow stronger, but the pain is then able to dissolve. We are then involved in the process of acceptance, of making friends with all of life. In this way we are actually healing and developing new strength.
Exercise: Do Not Resist Feelings
Feelings that are repressed indefinitely, come out later in different ways, including various physical symptoms, phobias and unwanted behaviors. If we do not address our feelings in one mode, they will appear in another - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It takes courage and strength to face our situation directly, and come to terms.
Do not try to control or resist feelings. They do not mean that something is wrong with you. When they arise be gentle with yourself, kind and patient. When these feelings are not resisted, they pass more easily. Not only will you find new comfort, but you will then become able to move forward, start again and relate with all of life.
Most are unprepared to deal with a time of loss or change. Strong feelings emerge and many respond with fear, anger or denial. It takes a while to abosrb what has happened and learn how to handle both the situation and emotions in a healthy, constructive way. This article describes the dynamics of loss and change and offers specific guidelines for handling feelings which are healing.
Turn a time of change and loss into one of strength and hope. In award winning e-book Journey Through Illness and Beyond; Get copy at http://www.journeythroughilllness.com . Top psychologist, mediator has helped thousands find strength, comfort and balance. Free Ezine and articles, http://www.brendashoshanna.com , firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.mediate.com/everyonewins
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Basically, from the mental and emotional perspective, people speak of such things as being “stressed out” or feel like they are having a “nervous breakdown!” This is serious business if the person can not find a healthy outlet for diffusing this kind of stress.
Within the spectrum of outward physical signs people can display a host of symptoms, but some of them that you can easily notice are nervousness, irritability, weight-loss and problems sleeping at night. No matter how you look at this, these can be considered early warning signs of more significant changes to come.
If your goal is emotional well being then you must be able to identify these high stress issues well before them become serious and cataclysmic breakouts.
Here are 5 very useful things that you can start to do immediately to get yourself on a better path towards mental stability and stress reduction.
• Exercise is huge in being able to diffuse negative physical and mental energy! However, it can not be for just a few minutes. You must find exercise that takes you out 45 minutes or longer if you can. It does not have to be something to where you have to go berserk! Just smooth to where you are nice and steady. The goal here is to stimulate the big-time release of the feel good hormone called beta-endorphins.
Special Note: These beta endorphins elevates ones mood and they can naturally make you feel better. Now, let’s not forget the amazing release of stress that is removed from the steady state of exercise. Stress test measurements on every level start decrease significantly when engaged in working-out on this level.
• Pick up a new hobby or learn a new trade. This can be whatever you love or have dreamed about. Something that brings about satisfaction within you. Research has shown that peace and calm comes over us when we are absorbed in a worthwhile goal, dream or aspiration. It can dynamically elevate your state of emotional well being.
• Do some volunteer work assisting those who are less fortunate that you. Perhaps it is doing something such as working with homeless people or preparing some really cool meals for senior citizens, or perhaps visiting them with a pet dog or cat. Did you know that seniors feel better when petting a dog or cat? No, I mean real deal hormone changes in their body chemistry and in turn they emotionally feel better, and so do you!
• Meditate and find your peace with God Almighty. Really, it gets pretty simple with is recommendation. Turn over your burdens to Him. Work yourself into strong prayerful meditation with God and ask for your stress and concerns to be lifted off of you.
• Stop trying to do so much with your days! Everything is not important. The bottom-line on this topic is that you must learn how to prioritize your efforts based on the school-of-thought that goes like this… “first things, first and last things, last; everything else too bad!”
Folks it is that simple and all you have to do is make the decision that right now, you are going to start to simplify your life right at this moment in time. It is truly the starting point for being on the road of self-discovery of emotional well being.
Article Source: http://www.discoveryarticles.com/articles/276252/1/How-to-Begin-the-Journey-of-Emotional-Well-Being/Page1.html
Author: Jeff Gadley is a former Registered Nurse, Olympic Athlete and Fitness, Health and Exercise Expert. Currently he writes helpful health articles to assist individuals with living a healthier lifestyle. How to Discover Emotional Well Being Visit the website - http://HealEmotionalPain.com
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The person who gets the most credit honing, if not creating all of the conversational hypnosis techniques that are currently being used today is Dr. Milton Erickson. What is even more remarkable about Dr. Erickson is that he was able to hone his conversational hypnosis techniques on his psychiatric patients during an era when it was illegal to combine hypnosis and medicine.
To learn more about Dr. Milton Erickson and conversational hypnosis techniques you should make time to visit this website LearnConversationalHypnosis.net
The website is designed to not only inform about conversational hypnosis techniques but to also teach you how to use conversational hypnosis in your own life.
When you will find that you have the truly amazing opportunity to purchase a conversational hypnosis course that is actually being taught by an internationally acclaimed master hypnosis, Igor Lebochowski.
The first thing you will get when you purchase the course is twelve audiotapes. Each of these audio CD’s equals one conversational hypnosis technique. For example the first CD will teach you conversational hypnosis techniques you will learn includes the three keys to conversational hypnosis, signs that the person you are trying to hypnotize has slipped into a trance, and a four stage hypnotic formula. With each CD you will learn additional conversational hypnosis techniques.
In addition to the audio CD’s you will also receive four small booklets that are designed to act like blue prints to simplify Mr. Lebochowski’s conversational hypnosis techniques for the moments when you don’t have time to listen to the CD’s. These blueprints are small and can easily be slipped into a purse, book bag, or briefcase.
A Copy of the Transcripts
The other item that you will get when you order the conversational hypnotic course is a 629 page manuscript that is full of the transcripts from every single session. This means you can further strengthen your understanding of the conversational hypnosis techniques by reading the transcript while you are listening to the audio CD. The manuscript is also convenient when you want to quickly double checks some bit of information.
The conversational hypnosis course is suppose to be easy to understand and is designed so that every person who purchase it will be able to successfully use conversational hypnosis to better their lives, but just in case you happen to get stuck with one of the conversational hypnosis techniques, you will be able to get live support offline when you purchase the hypnosis course. If for whatever reason you are not completely amazed with the conversational hypnosis course it comes with a sixty day, money back guarantee. For more details visit LearnConversationalHypnosis.net
Article Source: http://www.discoveryarticles.com/articles/281026/1/Conversational-Hypnosis-Techniques-That-Anyone-Can-Learn/Page1.html
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Anger work can serve as a path on your journey to wholeness, and forgiveness of yourself and others is part of what you may find along the way.
Maybe you don't feel guilty at the idea of getting angry. It's just that the whole thing simply frightens you. As far as you're concerned, anger is scary stuff. Maybe you decided never to get angry because you lived with someone who constantly ranted and raged, inflicting their anger on all who were near. As a result you have become just as extreme in refraining from anger as the enraged person was in expressing it. I often hear people talking as though if you really got into expressing your anger, it would send you "over the deep end" and you'd lose control, but I have never seen this happen as long as you don't take you anger out, either directly or indirectly, on another person or animal.
Years ago I worked with an older gentleman who had been in the Korean War and had repressed his anger about his war experiences for many years. He was convinced that if he ever let his anger out, something terrible would happen. I assured him that expressing his anger would be very beneficial for him and arranged for him to get a soft bat and a bed mattress so that he could do Anger Work. We went to a pre-arranged room where he was free to let out his anger while I held up the mattress. I must admit that I was a little nervous because he had talked in such detail about how his anger could destroy the whole hospital, let alone the mattress that I would be holding! I was glad to learn that his anger did not live up to his expectations. He did hit the bed hard, but he could only hit repeatedly for less than a minute. Instead of his anger destroying everything in sight, he found that the room, and even the bat, were virtually unaffected by his display of wrath. However, he did discover that he felt much less agitated afterwards.
As I said above, it has always been my experience that as long as anger is directed at objects and not people, no one will be harmed. Of course, don't go out and destroy a person's car or house, or item of sentimental value. This will hurt them indirectly. You do not want to hurt anyone with your anger, directly or indirectly.
Holding on to one's anger instead of letting it out as the gentleman who served in the war had is what begins the progression toward more and more serious problems. Perhaps you may have identified some specific experiences in your life as traumatic (such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse, a bad marriage, loss of a loved one, or loss of physical capability due to injury, etc.), yet still you have never fully processed those experiences or been angry about the pain you went through. Likewise with your emotional health, if you repress your anger year after year, you may not feel the pain for awhile, but the problems will come. These problems could include fractured or dysfunctional relationships, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, anxiety, psycho-somatic or stress-induced illnesses, phobias, addictions, or a general dissatisfaction with life. If you do not make the time to work out your issues, you will become increasingly dysfunctional. You will hurt other people by lashing out or withdrawing, and you will suffer from feelings of shame. Don't let your life go down that road. It's time to start cleaning those wounds so you can heal properly.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Puff is a licensed clinical psychologist and business consultant who has given hundreds of media interviews, including magazines, online magazines, TV and radio talk shows. This article is taken from his critically acclaimed book, Anger Work: How to Express Your Anger and Still be Kind. If you would like either a free unabridged download or free unabridged audio recording of his book, go to => http://www.doctorpuff.com/
Monday, May 25, 2009
Keeping life simple, many philosophers say, is one of the keys to happiness. But done the 'right' way, simplicity can be good for more than just food for philosophical thought. When you integrate simplicity into your spiritual growth activities, you do more than just remove the clutter from your life. This spiritual practice could help clear the path that you have to take to reach your spiritual goals.
The Clutter Curse
Nowadays, one problem that people commonly face is a life that's too complicated, full of too many concerns and details. And while there's nothing wrong with this per se, it tends to get in the way of your achieving a deeper communion with God. With so many other things to fuss over, it's so easy to lose your focus on what's really important.
Your spiritual life coach might suggest a practice of simplicity to solve just that. When used as a spiritual practice, simplicity gives you the chance to think about what's real and important, and then to put your mind and heart back on those. A simpler and less complicated life gives you more time and energy to spend with your friends, your family and - most importantly - God.
Change from Chaos
One thing you have to know about simplicity is that it isn't some one-time activity; it's a habit, a way of living that you adopt for the course of your spiritual life coaching and maybe even beyond. You have to be able to incorporate simplicity into your life from the very start and keep on living it all the way to the end. It's not something that you just pick up and then drop when you get tired of it.
For some people, living the ideals of simplicity might require some major changes, especially if you live the kind of hectic lifestyle that's typical in urban areas. All those changes, however, are worth it when you consider that you get new views on life, faith, God - all of it - with a less cluttered view.
Keep It Simple, Silly
A complicated, troublesome lifestyle distracts you from signs and messages that might just be the things you need to hear to deepen your relationship with your God. Living a simple, fuss-free life gives you more opportunities to view all the ways through which God works. His ways, they say, tend to be mysterious, but they're often very simple.
What you have to realize is that His works are all around you - you just have to slow down enough to be able to see all of them properly. A simple enough lifestyle can be a very effective (not to mention cost-free) tool for spiritual life coaching because it's conducive for that new view of spirituality that coaching aims to give.
Inquire with your spiritual practice about what other measures you could take to simplify and de-clutter your life. Sometimes all it takes to revive flagging faith is to slow down and smell the roses. After all, they were God's work too.
About the Author
Project-Transform has a team of highly qualified spiritual life coaches who can provide more details on spiritual practices and disciplines. Should you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact a Project-Transform coach by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or visiting the spiritual life coaching website.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
If you have had the chance to work or spend a holiday in Finland, you might have noticed that Finns never raise their voice.
Finnish men and women are remarkably polite towards friends and strangers and you will almost never see them quarrel. Finns are also known to be extremely honest and this is reflected in their incredibly low crime figures.
Most people react with disbelief when they hear these facts for the first time. "Human nature is similar everywhere," they argue. "We are all made of the same flesh and blood. Cultural myths are nothing but fairy tales."
To prove their point, they will look up on Internet until they find a news report about some atrocious murder in Helsinki and then they will smile satisfied. "You see, there are also criminals in Finland!"
Perfection does not exist. Indeed, Finnish youths shout at each other from time to time and criminality, although relatively low, is far from being eradicated.
My point is not that Finnish men and women inhabit an ideal society. I am just trying to bring to your attention the fact that verbal or physical violence constitutes a rare phenomenon in traditional Finnish society.
In this respect, Finns are amazingly different from other cultures. Foreigners who go to live in a small Finnish town for a year frequently experience a shock when they return to their own country. If you doubt my words, take a moment to reflect.
Pick up pen and paper and make a list of situations in the last month when you have witnessed verbal or physical abuse. Chances are that your list will be long.
* Business discussions that turn to shouting matches.
* Aggressive behaviour during sporting events.
* Humiliating treatment of employees.
* Loud, bitter, public recriminations between spouses.
Human life offers infinite occasions for disagreement and irritation. How is it possible that Finns systematically tend to avoid violence?
Is there a lesson that we could all apply to improve our private life and working environment? What makes traditional Finnish culture so peaceful?
The answer is deceptively simple. Apparently, Finns have found a better way to discourage unacceptable behaviour.
It is a way that involves not-doing, rather than doing. It is a form of punishment that can take life-threatening proportions in small Finnish towns isolated by snow during winter months. It is called ostracism.
Nobody will force you to be honest. You will be free to offend your neighbours. No one will prevent you from making as many enemies as you wish. There will be no shouting and few complaints.
Nevertheless, one day, when you really need help in a critical moment, people will just leave you alone.
A few decades ago, specially in small Finnish villages, ostracism constituted a horrifying punishment that only a fool would be willing to incur.
Nowadays, although modern technology renders snow and ostracism less threatening, honesty and politeness still remain at the core of Finnish culture.
"This is is an interesting principle," you might say, "but does it have universal application? Do we all need to go and live in Finland?" Frankly, I don't think so.
I believe that we can start small, right here. It is quite simple, actually. In fact, next time you are about to raise your voice, all you have to do is think of the Finnish snow.
JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian's blog about rational living.
About the Author
JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian's blog about rational living
Saturday, May 23, 2009
People have a difficult time dealing with uncertainty. They need to feel they have control over their lives and their financial futures. But the truth is that capitalism is inherently unstable and unpredictable. Market crashes and depressions are just as much a part of the capitalist reality as bull markets and boom times. As Douglas Kirsner (Free Associations, 1990) has argued, people have a strong emotional need to trust that the economic order is basically stable. When people are shocked by a stock market crash, when they refuse to believe that the future is uncertain, and when they are convinced with little or no evidence that everything will work out well in the end, they are displaying a tendency to create and maintain illusions. People prefer to deny the reality of uncertainty, powerlessness, and loss because they find it unbearable and anxiety-provoking. By replacing it with an illusion that they can predict the future and control it, they cling to a sense of security and power that is not real. Dr. Kirsner suggests that we must accept the inevitability of bad times as well as good times or we will blind ourselves to reality and act irrationally. We must not cling to what John Kenneth Galbraith called a “euphoric desire to forget” that recessions are intrinsic to the ebb and flow of capitalism. He concludes by saying that psychology can explain and warn the world about this illusion. But since the need not to know is at least as strong as the need to know, our message will likely not be heard.
Commentators on the current recession, aware of the cycles of panic and euphoria that drive the economy, argue either that fear is bad or that optimism is bad. In the Globe and Mail, for example, Ian Brown depreciated the “divas of doom” whose message is that we have a dire economic future ahead of us now. Even James Bray, the president of the American Psychological Association, wrote recently that psychologists should use their expertise to create a “confidence virus” to promote optimism in the land. On the other hand, Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote in the Globe that it isn’t undue pessimism that is dangerous, but undue optimism, which over the past twenty years has produced the bubble that has now burst. In my opinion, both undue pessimism and undue optimism are dangerous. In order to manage swings in the economy from the euphoria of the tech or housing bubbles to the calamitous panic we now seem to be experiencing, people must remember and accept that fluctuations in the economy are normal. The dialectic between optimism and pessimism in human nature must be dealt with by welcoming both of them, since both the positive and the negative are important in understanding and accepting reality. It is not an either/or proposition. We must juggle our hopefulness and our fear better if we are to modulate the cycles in confidence that drive the economy. Psychologists and the use of Toronto psychotherapy can help by making people aware of their illusions about the economy, by helping them deal with uncertainty, and by helping them accept both realistic caution and realistic hopefulness about the future. A Toronto psychologist may be a cornerstone in one’s quest to deal with these issues.Dr. Sandra R Palef Toronto Psychologist and Psychoanalyst with over 25 years of experience offering Toronto psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and marriage counseling
Friday, May 22, 2009
What if self help books just help the self which creates your problems in the first place? I'll get back to that in a moment. First I want to say that many such books certainly can be helpful. A book on how to speak in front of a crowd can help with that, for example, and a book on how to eat or exercise better can be valuable as well.
But then there are the books that are meant to help you become a "better" person in general. These are the ones about self esteem, motivation, attitude and self image. Do these make your life better? Some are useful, but there is one glaring flaw in many of them.
The problem I am referring to is the excessive focus on the "ego" self, as though helping that grow stronger or "better" is somehow an improvement. Some books recommend affirmations, for example, which you use to convince yourself that you are strong, wealthy, or healthy, without reference to reality. But what a fragile sort of confidence you gain when it is based on this sort of posturing.
Wouldn't it be better to have the capacity to be happy and at peace even if you are weak, poor, and ill? There is certainly nothing wrong with pursuing strength, wealth and health, but being attached to these outcomes as an important part of who you are creates a lot of unnecessary stress and suffering. Yet this is what many "self help books" encourage you to do.
Do we really want to encourage our ego self? This is the self that creates an image of who we "should" be, and reminds us (painfully) when we don't live up to that image. This is the self which tells us we need to impress others, to be "great" and to rush to achieve as much as we can to prove how "important" we are. It is forever comparing us to an ideal it invents and then making us suffer for not living up to it.
Following the advice of this false self is a recipe for anxiety and mental pain. Why, then, would we want self help books which encourage us to build it up, and to embrace it even more strongly, when letting it go is what we really need? We don't need such books.
This touches on areas that are commonly called spiritual, but the label isn't necessary. Simple honest observation can show us that whatever our true self consists of, there are also parts of us that encourage chasing false values based on what this ego self insists is important. Peace of mind is certainly more valuable than any of the temporary emotional highs we can get through that sort of "self help."
When choosing and using self help books then, avoid those which plainly encourage the ego self. These include any which suggest that success is about making lots of money, being better than others, impressing people, improving your "self image" through pretenses, or in any way building up a "self" that can be torn down. Look for those which help you let go of the nonsense associated with this "created" identity, and help you act from a deeper purpose and sense of who you are.
Copyright Steve Gillman. For free Self Help Books, and to get the free Self Help Weekly Newsletter, visit: http://www.selfimprovementnow.com
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Power of Questions
Ancient Greek philosophers since Thales, (624?-546? B.C.) followed by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, have used questions as the driving force of philosophical inquiry… the search for rational understanding and truth.
The concepts and process of the book Optimize Your Life! by Bernie Dahl are based on the power of questions, opening with the most important question of all in your life:
“Who are you?”
It then goes on to ask nine more questions about you and your world:
•What am I doing now?
•What do I value?
•What am I good at?
•What are my passions in life?
•What is a “successful” life to me?
•What are the “toxic” forces in my life?
•What do I want to have/do/be in life?
•What is my risk tolerance?
•What do I need to do to “clean up” my life?
As you answer these basic questions, new, deeper and more personal questions will arise for you to ponder, puzzle out, write down and set about to answer, as you take that exciting adventure of The Journey Into The Self.
“Our minds, bodies, feelings, relationships
are all informed by our questions.
What you ask is who you are.
What you find depends on what you search for.
And what shapes our lives are the questions we ask,
refuse to ask, or never think of asking.”
—Sam Keen, philosopher and theologian,
from Spirituality & Health, Spring 2000
“Ask an impertinent question,
get a pertinent answer.”
—Agent Fox Mulder, The X-Files
The #1 Question
Who are You?
You are a unique product of the cosmos. No one else in the universe has your exact genetic makeup unless you are an identical twin. Even if you are an identical twin, you will still be special in matters of the mind and soul. You have been given the greatest gift of all: the gift of life. The underlying existential question is:
“What will you do with the gift of your life?”
Since the dawn of time, humans have pondered that greatest of all personal questions. The Ancient Greeks advised us to view ourselves from three vantage points: body, mind, and soul. Addressing your body type and its current status is relatively easy, for your body is exceedingly tangible and readily identified, examined, and defined. However, dealing with your mind—your intellect—is more difficult, more mystical. The challenge of defining your soul, spirit, or psyche is greater, for that world is one of pure mystery.
Take a moment and a blank sheet of paper and write down up to 100 words that describes you as an individual, sort of a brainstorming view of yourself. You can also revisit that list and rework and focus your list along the lines of your body, mind, and soul. Remember, you can always return to this list in order to expand it or even correct some of the entries.
Next you may wish to rework your list based on anything that may define you, such as favorite foods, movies, music or even your dislikes. You may include good friends or evil enemies. You may include joys as well as sorrows. Just go for it… as many sheets as you wish!
On a new sheet you can list the highlights of your life, such as your birth, early life, education, family, skills development, and achievements. Next you can list the influential people who have impacted your life, past and present.
All this list making is in preparation for a concise statement of "who you are," but before we address that, make yet another list in response some other powerful questions:
•What am I motivated by?
•What am I angered by?
•What do I like about myself?
•What do I not like about myself?
•What are my key roles in life...now?
•What are the "toxic" people/forces in my life?
•What is/are the purpose(s) of my life?
•What are my ideas of a successful life?
Once again, you can take a blank sheet of paper and create your own worksheet on which you can answer these questions and update them later.
Yes, we are asking a lot of you here! Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a barrel, walked the streets of ancient Athens, carrying a lantern as he searched for an honest man. This process is, metaphorically, Diogenes’ lantern, providing light for you to better look honestly into your being.
Enjoy the adventure.
Next you can assemble all of this material into a complete statement, a personal inventory, answering the question:
"Who are you?"
“Knowing others is wisdom;
knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
mastering the self needs strength.”
—Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Source: http://www.articlecircle.com/ - Free Articles Directory
About the AuthorBernhoff A. Dahl, M.D. is a pathologist, author, keynote speaker, consultant, humorist and veteran mountaineer. He is currently writing a book about his near-death experience on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Dr. Dahl is the author of the International Bestseller Optimize Your Life! Visit TrionicsUSA.com for details or email Dr. Dahl at Drbdahl@aol.com
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Self help has been packaged and repackaged as self improvement, personal development, life improvement and many more incarnations.
The fact is self help is really about using the help of others to improve and help yourself, but does it work or is it just a "sounds good" crock?
The problem is that many so called "guru's" in the self help community peddle nothing but easy answers and positive thinking hocus pocus, without being honest or in some cases being downright unscrupulous.
These representatives of self help ultimately let everyone down, because in the end hard work beats all others inputs, but that's very rarely what people want to hear and you have to give people what they want to hear...don't you?
Truth, Improvement And A Dose Of Reality
The truth is that everyone can change to some degree, I doubt anyone would argue with that, but there is a veritable myriad of misinformation out there, with thousands of people who know nothing about serious personal development, who write their blogs with information that is little more than guessing what "works" - Even worse they very rarely ever practice what they preach.
There are certain truths about the improvement of ones' self that are set in stone. Effort is the cornerstone of change and if you believe that you can achieve anything of value and consequence without the application of some degree of serious input then you will not only fail but you will learn the biggest reality about accomplishment in the process.
Reality is that winners put in the hard yards - Losers look for easy answers. That's it.
You simply can't escape this truth, but once you come to terms with it...things can become exciting.
The Secret Did Many People An Injustice
The secret or the "law of attraction" confused many people. Everyone now knows someone who implicitly believes that if you focus and want something hard enough - You will get it as the universe heeds your deepest desires.
Unfortunately, these people we know that live by the secret are some of the poorest, unhealthiest underachievers around, so why is that so? - Effort is scary
The secret made millions of people think that if you close your eyes and wish - You get it. It just doesn't work like that. There is nothing inherently wrong with concentrating on the things you want, but not taking the physical step to make success a reality is just...well, it's a little naive to say the least.
I'm not saying that the law of attraction doesn't have a place in this world, because focusing on what you want is an essential spark in the machination of success, but to think that no effort will be required is to miss the point completely.
Positivity Is Essential, But Negative Hard Workers Still Win
Smile - It's contagious. Being happy and positive is wonderful and self help gurus everywhere inform you it is essential (which it is to a degree), but the fact remains that there are many negative people who succeed despite the fact that they are not a beacon of positivity, but because they work hard and understand the value of effort.
The lesson to be learned here is that if you really want to improve yourself, you must have the complete understanding that effort is the ultimate prerequisite for success.
Effort + Good Advice + Positive Mindset = 2 Thumbs Up
So, you know that nothing comes easy and you're o.k with that, but the problem you have is - Where can I find the right tools and information to assist my personal efforts?
There are many decent resources that can give you advice on various changes you wish to make. Many people want to increase their self confidence and feel better about themselves, this is one of the main things that self help deals with, but there is one website that focuses on the 4 fundamental areas of improvement, including Intelligence, Wealth, Happiness and Health.
Many people forget the IQ part, but this is an excellent way to boost your confidence and overall happiness as you learn to remember things with greater ease and take on new information with hunger and excitement.
The Solution Website offers honest advice and while it may at time not always be what you want to hear, it is offered in integrity which is trustworthy and reliable.
In Conclusion - Is Self Help Garbage?
No, not all of it and whilst the idea of helping yourself by using the knowledge of others may seem contradictory, the fact remains that the work to improve yourself must be done by you.
There is some really great advice out there and the truth is many people just don't have the tools to improve their situation, so good, solid information is a welcome addition to their personal development efforts.
Learn to spot the garbage from the good stuff and you'll set yourself in good stead to change your life in an honest and meaningful way, without hype or easy answers.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
by A J JamesIntelligent Dummies..hmmmnnn?
What's this all about then you ask? Well, the title of intelligent dummy is becoming more and more apparent as the over educated youth and the self proclaimed intelligentsia gain more and more knowledge and yet display less and less common sense.
Has Common Sense Become Endangered?
Common sense is not necessarily tied to manners, in fact some manners have no grounding in logic whatsoever - How does wearing a hat a table hurt any one? - Yet there are those "manner Nazi's" who would seek to inform you of your rude behavior (while thinking they were not being rude themselves by bringing your hat to attention).
Common sense is all about social sensibility while good manners is more about simple the things we can do to make those around us more comfortable, without us having to really alter our behavior drastically.
Have you ever been on an escalator that had room for someone to pass and yet you took up too much room and prevented this? You may not have realized that you have displayed a complete lack of common sense.
It's things like these that people in general are frequently starting to forget and it is creating tension in society, but it can be reversed.
Unfortunately, even the most intellectual folk fall prone to these brain-dead actions and for some part it is no wonder. We are smarter than any generation to precede us and we are growing smarter at a constant rate, however while this happens we also endure more mind numbingly ridiculous, medial tasks than ever before.
We have to spend hours on the phone to large corporations and government departments to sort out tedious affairs, we endure long waiting periods and peak hour traffic to get to and from employment which in itself may be mind numbing.
What about those traffic lights that are red and you stop, but there is no traffic and there are no pedestrians? - Ugh!
What Is The Answer To This Madness?
Well, while we can't stop all the medial tedium, we can pay more attention to our own actions and make small simple choices that make environmental interactions a more sober and satisfying accomplishment.
Little Things Count
Using your indicator in traffic can make all the difference to someone who has waited in rush hour traffic and just wants to get home.
Keeping left when walking (or using the escalator) so people in a hurry can pass you with ease.
Answering your phone in public in the same tone that you would talk to someone in close proximity with.
Little things help to keep the cogs of society socially lubricated, so try to do your part. As for the intelligent dummies, well you know who you are and only you can sharpen up those silly little foibles that stand between societal breakdown and utopia.
You can find more information on social development at http://www.thesolutionwebsite.com
Monday, May 18, 2009
Money on the sidelines
Many investors tend to follow a peculiar habit of having most of their money in equities when markets are near top conditions, but having little exposure when markets are at their lows. With the S&P 500 having declined substantially in 2008, there was a huge amount of money waiting on the sidelines. As at 26 November 2008, the U.S. Money Market Fund was increased to US$3.7 trillion, which amounts to 35% of the total U.S. market capitalization. It have since reduced to about 30% today resulting in a sudden surge in worldwide indices and equity prices recently.
Take a second look at properties
On average, the prices of Singapore private properties have dropped by 14.1%. Investors interested in including properties as part of their portfolios may want to start shopping around, as the property market traditionally lags the stock market by six months to a year. The recent article in Sunday times about failing rental yield in Q1 is a true soothsayer about declining property prices trend for the remainder of 2009.
For those with limited funds or lesser knowledge, property funds offer a more liquid alternative with lesser capital required.
Commodities point the way
To legendary investor Jim Rogers, commodities are a good indicator of market improvements. Agricultural commodities are finding renewed interest among investors, and are attracting attention if only because the world requires agricultural produce to continue running. The fact that commodities are required for consumption points to their continued demand.
Slow and steady is the key
Templeton Asset Management's Dr Mark Mobius, Traxis Partners LLC's Barton Biggs and Fisher Investments Inc's Kenneth Fisher, who together oversee more than US$40 billion, concludes that traders are too bearish and the latest equity rally is the beginning of a new bull market. Barclays Wealth's Head of Global Investment Strategy also advises investors to start adding risk to portfolios.
In light of these developments, a good strategy to adopt now would be to increase your investments in a slow and gradual manner. To this end, we strongly advocate a regular savings program as the appropriate way to increase exposure in your portfolio.
Those who have stay true to their RSP will have witness some result in their portfolio after the April rally, For those who missed out on it, we also advised that it is never too late to take action. In the current economic climate, navigating the road to recovery can be tricky. Too much caution can cause you to lose out on sudden upswings, while too little can result in unendurable consequences. However, with proper planning strategy, staying in the market can prove to be profitable and we are here to guide you all the way.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We live in a world of obesity. No, I'm not talking about our need to consume food, but our desire to consume stuff. Society today would have us believe that we need a fat pay check, a fat house, a fat SUV, and quite simply a fat life. Truth be told, there is nothing simple about it. Our primary identify is not fathers or mothers, or doctors or managers, but that of consumers.
This is the main problem with our society and economy today. It is estimated that on average we are targeted by over 3,000 advertisements per day. We are bombarded by ads that tell us we won't be cool if we don't have this, or we won't be attractive if we don't have that. Our society has created a lust for stuff and to feed this giant we must work harder and longer. And somewhere in our day we find the time to use the stuff - our iphones, our play stations, our flat panel TVs. Or perhaps we are busy installing our new stuff as we renovate our homes or pimp out our rides. This stuff allows us to email, to text, to call, to Facebook, and to Tweet. This stuff is supposed to make our life simpler, but has it? And where is the time for family? Where is the time for rest and reflection? I like to describe this syndrome as a whirling vortex of destruction. I think you understand what I'm talking about. Our life is being consumed by the society we created and we need to face up to this giant. There are those of you that are so overwhelmed by this problem that you would love to rid this physical, spiritual, and emotional clutter from your lives. You just don't know how. You feel trapped by the stuff in your life and you are so overbooked, overtired and overdone that you don't have the time or energy to change it. It feels like you are on a perpetual rollercoaster with no one at the controls.
- Are you one of these people?
- Do you feel like you need a break from the madness of life?
- Are you being pushed and pulled in every direction but it feels like nothing is getting accomplished?
No doubt we have all felt this way at some point in our lives. Maybe you feel this way right now. Perhaps you have tried to break free from the overcomplicated life you created. But just as you drop one thing from your schedule another two pop up. It can feel like a no win situation and all you can do is let time manage you. Now, we are faced with an economic recession that is taking jobs, finances and even marriages. So, what can you do to prevent becoming a victim of this recession? Well the first thing you should do is educate yourself. Get some advice on how to minimize the impact of a recession on your finances. Understand how you can manage your money and your life to survive a recession. Watch your expenses and your investments. Be realistic in your purchases; stop living the 'fat' life! I recently became a victim of the recession. After being employed in a professional career (actually 4 companies) for over 20 years, I let go due to the downturn in the economy. It's a harsh reality of what's going on in the world today. Don't let this happen to you.
Take an opportunity to review the "Recession Survival Strategy" and learn more about how to weather an economic recession and keep your investments, relationships and your family. It takes some diligence but the effort is worth it. The series of reports may be just what you need to break free from a life of obesity.
Andrew Hunter is a Certified Management Accountant and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with over 20 years of experience in Project Management and Operations. He and his wife Sarah attend Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton Alberta Canada.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andrew_D._Hunter
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Having to endure something awful usually has a least one positive outcome--you get honest with yourself about what's really important. An economic downturn can be the psychological two-by-four that makes you pause and take stock. We need to find actions we can personally take to deal with this frightening economy. One of the best is using it to reflect on what you really need in your life and what you don't.
When times are good, the focus of any given moment is on what's happening or needs to be happening, on what we have planned. But when things start to slow down--or stop--because of economic concerns, the first thing to look at is whether you really needed to be doing it in the first place.
Some of us are learning what it's like to not be working because of this downturn. What do you miss? The paycheck? That seems like a no-brainer, but maybe not. There are two ways to deal with a sharp reduction in income. Find a way to replace it or find a way to live on significantly less. Each has its benefits. Only you know which is the more authentic strategy for you.
How about plans we made for fun, either as vacation or as a retirement lifestyle? How authentic were those plans in the first place? More critically, have you grown beyond them in what you've learned about yourself since you made them? Are you assuming you HAVE to follow through on them because you've told other people? How important is that in the grand scheme of your life?
The tool that's absolutely essential to doing a good job of this is understanding what you value. When a downturn--or something more life-threatening like a heart attack--gives you the chance to reconsider the direction of your life, your values are the bedrock on which you can confidently rebuild.
So what do you believe? WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU?
This isn't about owning a specific model of car or even about getting a certain candidate elected. Go beyond the immediate in how you look at this. Also go beyond what's fashionable. Right now, fashionable means "going green." A laudable value and worth including, but not the sum total of what makes you a unique human.
The consequences of living from your values are highly beneficial. Knowing what's important for you makes it easier to find work that suits you. (Work is not always for pay. We may be talking about a volunteer effort or creative endeavor with this.) Knowing your values helps you avoid being directed by the mass media. (Just because cute little dogs are currently the rage doesn't mean you need one.) Knowing your values is the first step to acting on them. And acting on them is what makes life meaningful.
In retirement, knowing your values is critical. Values provide direction you need to thrive. When you leave work, the only direction that's defined is "out." Once you're past the door, it's up to you to figure out what to do with your time, your energy, and your money.
Perhaps you'll want to sit around for a while or take some time to clean the garage and redecorate the living room. You can do that. In fact they have a name for it now--"transitional sabbatical." But eventually, you will need something to do that makes each day valuable. Something that makes you feel connected and relevant. Something that honors your values.
What IS important to you? How do you even start to figure that out? Ask yourself these questions and be patient with the silence that comes at first. Sit without an answer for a few minutes--or days or weeks. When the answers start to come, respect them rather than editing them so others might be more impressed. These are YOURS. Claim them.
- What would you attend to if you had just one week to live?
- Who would you talk to if you could make just one phone call before life ended?
- What are you doing now because someone else thought it was important? What would happen if you stopped doing it? Is having that not happen important to you?
- If you had to continue in the direction you take next for the rest of your life, what direction would you choose?
- What one word do you want to describe your life?
It's important to know what's important. It's also hard to do when life is moving forward at full speed. Use the slow down to be sure you have the right stuff at the middle of your life. It's the best benefit of all in living through a sluggish economy.
Mary Lloyd is the author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love. She offers seminars on how you can create a meaningful retirement for yourself and consults to help your business attract and use retired talent well. She is also available as a speaker.http://www.mining-silver.com .
Thursday, May 14, 2009
We’ve all heard of what’s going on with the whole swine flu that’s been setting off in Mexico and which seems to be now spreading abroad. There’s quite the panic around it as it has taken several lives already.
But I’d like to gab about a different type of a Swine Flu. I have a person close to me, who when they get really annoyed, especially with the nonsense in the banking and credit industry, they typically refer to these nuisances as “swines” and in most cases…rightly so! You know, when you need to talk to someone about a bill, but the person you’re talking to lives half way around the world and speaking with English that’s so broken, it makes a two year old sound like a scholar. Yah, that’s when this person gets so pissed that these people are usually called “Swines” and cheeky ones at that, lol!
Unfortunately “Swines” seem to linger in the world of dating and singleness as well. Argh..some of the horror stories I’ve heard and the rare few I’ve encountered, makes me irrate sometimes. Once a dear friend of mine had ran into one of these “swines” and was quite the jerk to her. I was so upset, I contmeplated flying out to where she lives and giving that guy a good beating and a mouthful after his lashings!
Ladies, seriously, if you find yourself being surrounded with “Swines” in your dating life…one, get off the dating wagon for a while and really evaluate how you’re treating yourself. Because if it’s a pattern in your life, where you’re constantly having these type of low life’s swarming around you like fruit flies…then you may want to consider that you may have some issues lingering inside that need some serious attention.
Or if you find yourself in a scenario where you may not be dating them consistently, but have found yourself on a date or two that has “Swine” written all over him, let me give you a piece of advice. Walk out! No “Swine” deserves a minute of your time. So if you’ve found yourself on a date with one of these..the best thing to say is “Thanks, but NO thanks!” and leave. Call your ladies and head out for a night with them, don’t even dare waste your time with one of these, nor an evening for that matter.
So if you’ve been on the lookout for a cure to the “Swine Flu”…look no more. Take a dose of some good ole fashion Self Worth and then a dose of “Swine, Buzz Off!’…and sister you’ll be good to go!
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bella Gab is a place where others can come and enjoy a fun perspective of dating, love and relationships. Arica Angelo, also known as Bella, speaks from her experience, being single, married, and dating, she's done it all and is ready to share her experiences with her readers. So grab your coffee, sit back and gab with Bella! http://www.bellagab.com/
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Just when you thought you had all the fun you could possibly handle with North Korea, Al Quaeda and the winter that just won't die, along comes SARS – severe-acute respiratory syndrome. Just what everybody needs to reduce stress and maintain a positive attitude.
I recently fielded a call on this subject from one of my biggest fans: "You moron. What do you mean we can fight SARS with our heads? Can't you see? We are all going to die. Die. Die, I tell you."
"Please, mother. Don't panic. Panicking will only make it worse. You need to reduce your stress."
"What do you mean make it worse? How can it be any worse? People are dying all over the place. It's all over the news. Every day. This is just horrible."
"That's not a very positive attitude. So far, out of six billion people on earth, only about a hundred have died. Most of those are on the other side of the planet. That's not good for them, but the risk for us is way smaller than it seems."
"Then why does it seem like it's everywhere? Why won't the TV people stop talking about it?"
"Well, the TV people have all sworn a secret oath. They are to maintain high professional standards, report the news as objectively as possible and do whatever is necessary to scare people to death. See? It's simple."
"I don't know ..." "Sure, mother. Why do you think that if somebody walks into a McDonald's and blows away a table of nuns, it makes the headlines all over the country, but when 500 thousand people walk into McDonald's and order Big Macs that same day, there's not a peep out of the media."
"I don't know dear."
"Why do you think we always hear about airplanes crashing to the ground, but never about airplanes taking off safely? Three hours late, mind you, but safely nonetheless."
"And why do you think that the media focus on the handful of politicians involved in bribery, corruption, sex, violence, nepotism, pick-pocketing, slander, lying, demagoguery and falsifying their resumes, when they could probably find a handful of upstanding, honest politicians?"
"OK, dear. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps the media is blowing this politician thing out of proportion. But what about SARS?"
Reduce stress. Reduce stress. Reduce stress."SARS is simple. We all fight disease best when we are less stressed. So everybody should take a vacation and relax on a Mexican beach to reduce their stress. Then SARS would be defeated."
"But dear, do you really think six billion of us can fit onto a Mexican beach?"
"I suppose not. Which means we must take other measures to reduce stress. We can start by avoiding high-stress situations, such as malicious colleagues, cantankerous in-laws and violent movies."
"OK, I'm taking notes."
"Make sure you get plenty of sleep."
"Why? Does SARS leave people alone while they sleep?"
"No, but well-rested people fight off diseases better than worn-down, tired people. Sleep reduces stress."
"OK, what else?"
"Keep fit. Eat nutritious meals and get plenty of exercise."
"But won't exercise just wear me down? Then I'll be a sitting duck for disease."
"Don't exercise THAT much. Just enough to keep fit. And pray.
"I can do that."
"And don't pick on people with slanted eyes. Believe it or not, people are keeping clear of anybody who looks Chinese. I know many people of Chinese ancestry who have never even been to China. I know people born in China who have not been there for years. Why avoid people based on their ancestry, when SARS began just a few months ago?"
"I make decisions based on ancestry all the time, dear."
"You do, mother?"
"Sure, why do you think I'm your biggest fan?" David Leonhardt is author of a self-help happiness book. He also runs a Liquid Vitamins Store and serves as a SEO/SEM website marketing consultant
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Here are some statistics:
In 2007, there were 41,059 road deaths in the US. This, by the way, was the lowest since 1994. It is a pretty high number really if you bring it back to the reality of distraught families, children, parents, husbands and wives. Everybody can somehow relate to that. I lived in the Cayman Islands for 7 years. That number is more or less the population of the island I lived on. So in one year, it would be like almost an entire –albeit small – country destroyed.
Now let’s look at it from another perspective: There are just over 300 million inhabitants in the US. Going back to my 4th or 5th grade class (or was it later or earlier?), let me see if I can come up with a percentage. Please correct me if I am wrong: 41,059 out of 300,000,000 comes to about 0.013% of the population. It doesn’t seem like a lot any more, does it?
Cancer deaths are in the 500,000 yearly. That’s approximately 0.17% of the population. Cardiovascular diseases claim around 900,000 lives on average, i.e. 0.3% of the population. The total death rate in the US in 2008 was 8.27 per 1000 population, in other words 0.8%. The average death rate in Africa is about 13 or 14 per 1000, which is almost double. Some African countries reach the sad record of close to 30 per 1000.
So back to the US: As I am writing this, the airwaves are raving all over the world about 40 cases of a new form of flu that has not killed anyone yet in this country. 40 cases!!!! Out of 300 million people living in the US! Do you want to know what percentage that is of non-dead people? 0.00013%!!! Since when is that an epidemic?
Why have we been hearing about this constantly over the last few days? Airlines are cancelling flights to Mexico, people are cancelling their vacation… We have created a phobia! There are, as I write this, about 1600 alleged cases of the swine flu in Mexico, 149 confirmed deaths. There are almost 110 million inhabitants in Mexico, about 20 million of which are in Mexico City. Do I need to do the math?
Can we focus on the fact that 99.99987% of the American population does not have the swine flu? Can we focus on the fact that, this year, 99.2% of the American population is actually going to live and enjoy life? Can we remember that thousands of people drive their car every day and come back home safe? Can we be aware of all the life around us and enjoy it?
I would like to dare the media, just for one week, to show only positive news, to show the reality of the world and not just the drama, blood and twisted news that they always show. For each car crash that makes the headline, there have been thousands of safe trips in the very same spot. For each case of the swine flu, there are thousands healthy and happy kids in schools’ playground. Let’s put things into perspective and carry on living life!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Florence Bernard is a successful entrepreneur and the author of Better At School, The Essential Guide to Help Kids Improve at School. She is currently working on her next book. Her coaching services and seminars help countless children strive at school and their parents relax and enjoy parenting. You can find her excellent resources on http://www.betteratschool.com and more on her other activities on http://www.strive-consulting.com.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
There are several reasons why you should not panic in spite of the incessant media drum beat and the minute by minute updates. First, this is an extremely uncommon illness affecting a very small number of people, all of whom had mild illness and recovered without incident. Yes, it might spread further, but even so, let’s take a step back and keep in mind that we’re talking about influenza. And while full-blown influenza is no walk in the park, for most people it’s not even remotely life-threatening. It’s an unpleasant upper respiratory illness with systemic symptoms of fever, weakness and body aches, but from which you’ll recover.
Maybe this epidemic will get worse before it gets better. We can keep monitoring the news. But for now, calm in the face of hysteria is all important and common sense measures are warranted. So just stay prepared and calm. That's good thing to do among panic strikes.