Changing a rule.

Lately I have been writing about the 5 determinant factors that I’m convinced, define how we live our lives. I still have two to go, but this week I want to share something I have been giving much thought to and I’d love to hear your point of view so PLEASE share your comments with everybody.

It’s about a change of paradigm, changing the rule or better said the way we think about money.

Do you want more money?

Well, here’s the change I’m talking about: You don’t necessarily need to make more money in order to have more of it available. On the contrary, what you need is to do is spend more…intelligently what you have.
I’m not talking about spending less and depriving yourself of the things you need or like, but rather I’m talking about clearly understanding what our real needs are.
If we do so we’ll see that we do have enough to cover the 100% of our needs.

It’s not new to say that in order for us to search for our personal realization; we first need to ensure all of our needs are completely met. And like it or not, these are mainly covered with economical resources.

But here is the secret of many millionaire men and women: To make money, first you have to get rid of the need of having money.

Usually we would be mistaken and think that we then needed to look for new ways to earn a whole lot more money. But that is exactly where the trap lies. This kind of thinking is desperate and desperation usually leads us to making impulsive decisions, which in this case, could mean accepting a work or commercial proposal that, even though could help us improve our economic urgency for 1 or 2 months, it would not ensure doing anything for us personally, and most likely than not, since we would be “making more money” we could start spending a lot more of it which would get us right back to our original predicament.

On the other hand, if we change the way we think about this, even when it may sound dangerous and even foolish, not to take the other job; by prioritizing our expenses and eliminating or at least reducing to a minimum those expenses that in the end don’t really add any value to our lives, we would be pushing aside the need to make extra money.
In my case, a useless expenditure that I have is all the chewing gum I buy.

By getting rid of this valueless expenditure we free a big amount of money, making it available to cover the really important needs we have in our lives, including, yes, even a lot of personal treats.

This way we can get rid of the need to earn more money because we would already have our needs satisfied; Something that would allow us to work on our personal and professional growth, making us more productive and efficient, which in the short, medium and long run, will result in having a better income and, of course, more money.

Again, with all this, I’m not saying that we should not look for a better job that promises a higher income, what I am saying is that when we do so, we better be sure that all our needs are already covered, so we can take the job not because of the money, but because it is right for us.


Factor #3: What we let into our mind: what we watch & read.

In his book The monk who sold his Ferrari, Robin S. Sharma makes an analogy of the human mind as if it was a garden that needs special care, that needs to be sown, watered and cleaned so it stays productive and in great shape, and he then explains how each of us needs to act as a soldier who is standing guard a the entrance our garden, so nothing and nobody enters it and pollutes it.
And I can’t think of a better comparison to talk about the third determining factor on how we live our lives: what we let get inside our mind, what we watch and what we read.

Definitely whatever we let into our mind, if we are selective and careful, can provide it with knowledge, energy, happiness and positive thoughts, or if we are not, can fill it with fear, decontrolling images, confusing ideas and stress.

How familiar is this situation to you? It is the end of day, its 9:00 pm and everybody at home went to their rooms to rest, your get to bed or sit on your favorite couch, you turn on the TV and tune in the first TV series that’s showing: a crude and violent, crime filled series where even the director gets shot. I think there’s even one promotional spot that actually says something like “now with more violence and kidnapings…”, Can you believe it?
But it doesn’t stops there, after the show finishes you tune in the late night news and spend the next hour watching all the tragedies, lies, frauds, crises and crimes that happened during the day. And right after that you want to go to sleep. Is it really surprising that after all the GARBAGE you let into your mind, you cannot go to sleep and have nightmares?

Let me share a couple of tips to improve the quality of what you let get inside your head:
1- Stop watching news every night! oh but what is this guy saying! I need to stay well informed every day!” you might be thinking right now. But I couldn’t be anymore serious. Try this for a week: Next Monday watch the news and try to remember what important notes you saw, then do not watch or listen to any news show until the following Monday, I’m sure you will notice that you are listening pretty much to the same information you heard a week ago. And relax, if you are really worried that you might miss very important news, you’ll see you’ll find out anyway. And in case you cannot live without news, then use technology in your favor: download a RSS reader and select just the exact type of information you need and then the sources that you trust.
2- Change your preferences of TV content. I’m not suggesting you stop watching Warner Channel or Sony Entertainment to just watch National Geographic, I’m only saying that we all could be a little more selective about the stuff we expose our minds to. I mean, unless you are a serial killer in disguise, I don’t think you can be a big fan of TV shows where everybody is killing everybody in a very graphic way. We need to ask ourselves: Is this what I’d like my kids to see and accept as a normal part of life? Children do what they see, they learn doing what the see, so if they see you usually watch this type of series, they will see it as normal and will start watching those too, and whatever stuff good or bad they see in them, they will remember.So why not then try to watch something nicer for a change?

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Now, lets talk about what we read… … … … … … … … … … … …
It’s ridiculous how very little we read now a days. It results incredible that in this day and age, when information is more available than ever, people isn’t reading.
We are so spoiled by TV that it is really hard to find a young person reading a good book instead of watching the idiotic box.

I myself must confess that it wasn’t until I turned 23 that I really fell in love with reading. Before that I would refuse to read, I would rebel against it, and I would read only what was mandatory to pass a subject at school or college.
Until one day I bumped into a great science fiction novel by a very famous (but back then unknown to me) author: Dean Koontz, the name of the book: Fear Nothing. And I must say that I have not stop reading for a single day since then.

Maybe some are in a similar situation than mine 10 years ago, maybe some others do like reading but feel there is not enough time to do so, so I wanted to share a couple of advices I once was given:
1- “ Always, no matter where you are going, take a book with you. There are hundreds of times that you can use to read a good book: when you are in line in a bank, when you are having lunch by yourself, when you are waiting in a reception for a meeting, etc.”
2- “The person that you will be in 5 years from now, will be a direct reflection of two main influences: the people you meet and the books that you read.”

Don’t know what to read? Luckily technology comes to the rescue again! There are tons of on line sources where you can get great stuff to read, my favorites are:

www.Shelfari.com a social network around reading, where you can find what members around the world are reading and what they think of it.

Blogs, blogs and blogs! I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned these before but here are my personal favorites:

Visit them, read them, enjoy them and share them, and tell me if with these you still think you don’t have great tools to stand guard at the entrance of the garden of your mind.


Fun Magicians

Well, before I start talking about factor #2, I wanted to share a fun video so we can start the week with a big smile!

Factor #2: Our talk.

Every time you say hello to someone in the morning, and they ask you how you are, what do you answer? “Not so good”, “bad”, “things are getting harder by the minute”, “hanging in there”, “at least I am here”, etc. Or do you give a more up beat and positive answer like “I’m doing great!”, “I’m happy to be alive!”, “I’m enjoying life!”?
Whenever you are talking with a friend, about another friend who is not present at the time, how do you refer to him? Do you criticize him and talk about all his defects? Or do you praise him and mention how much you like him?
The same goes for your job, when you talk about your daily tasks, your boss or the company you work for.
Exactly what type of language do you use?

The words we say, just like our thoughts, have a great influence on how we live our lives. When we talk negatively about anything, we surround ourselves with negativity. On the other hand, every time we talk in a positive, productive way, we create a positive context that invites us to continue doing so.
However, without a doubt, this is one of the hardest factors that determine the way we live our lives, to control.

I, personally, am still in the daily struggle to ensure that the words that come out of me are positive and productive, something that, specially in the beginning, is really hard to do because we are so used to answer just to answer, that in most occasions we don’t even think about what we are saying.
Luckily, just like any other habit in life, after practicing for a while, it should become a natural practice in us.

It’s like they say: “If you don’t have anything good to say, keep quite”.

But, just how can we break the habit of talking ill about anything? This is a question that I have not been able to easily answer, since, like I just mentioned, I’m still working hard to break it myself. And even though, as the time passes, I have more days in a row talking positively, there are still a lot of times when the bad habit of talking ill, judging or stereotyping gets the best of me.

That said, there is an exercise I once read about and that I have been trying to practice lately. It consists of asking yourself three questions right before you say anything:
1- Is what I’m about to say really necessary, will it really contribute to the conversation?
2- If I say this, could I be hurting, criticizing or affecting anyone, present or not?
3- Is this really the right moment to say this?

Worth giving it a try, don’t you think?

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.