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By Leo Babauta

Recently a couple of our loved ones died, and my family have been hit by grief and loss. I’ve been letting myself feel it as much as I can, and letting it bring our family closer together.

It’s not the only time death has hit our loved ones in recent years — aside from my father and Eva’s dad dying, we’ve had other close relatives and friends die as well. It can hit you pretty hard.

I’ve been coming to see death differently as I’ve been studying as a Zen student, and while it doesn’t take away the grief, I’ve been finding it helpful:

Death isn’t the end.

I don’t believe in an afterlife, not in the traditional religious sense of heaven or hell. But I do believe that what we think of as death is just a continuation of an ongoing process.

Let’s think of an apple: it is formed from water from the apple tree’s surroundings, sugar and other materials the tree gathers from the ground and air and sunlight … so before the apple was an “apple,” it was the world around it. The world came together to make an apple — it’s not like it just appeared from nowhere. The apple grows and continually changes, and then falls and becomes the earth again. There was never a start or end to the process, it was just continually ongoing.

Everything is like this: part of an ongoing process, without a real beginning or end. People included. In fact, what we think of as a person is just a part of the ongoing process of the world.

And when a person dies, they aren’t gone. They become the earth. They grow into apples, and mangos, and breadfruit, and water buffalo (what we call “carabao” in Guam).

That’s just the person’s body. Their personality doesn’t end either — we remember them, and laugh about jokes they made, and retell their stories, and live lives inspired by them. Their legacy becomes a part of us, of our families. A part of all of humanity, just as they were a continuation of the legacy of the people who shaped them.

The loved ones who died are not gone. They are in all of us, in their kids and grandkids. In the culture and society they helped to shape. In the work that they did, the DNA they passed on, the spirit that they instilled.

My loved ones are in me, and I honor them with every act.

The post Death Isn’t the End appeared first on zen habits.

I always love everything like this

The Opportunity in Adversity

By Eckhart Tolle

Life unfolds between the polarities of order and chaos. It is important at this time to recognize these two fundamental opposites, without which the world could not even be. Another word for disorder is “adversity.” When it becomes more extreme, we might call it “chaos.”

We would prefer, of course, to have order in our lives, which means to have things going well. We would like relative harmony in our lives. Yet, that very often is marred by the eruption of some form of disorder. And, usually, we resent that—we get angry, or despondent, or sad.

Disorder comes in many, many forms, big and small. When disorder comes it usually creates a kind of havoc in our lives, accompanied by strong underlying beliefs. “There’s something very wrong, this should not be happening, maybe God is against me,” and so on. Again, we need to understand that disorder, or adversity, is inevitable and is an essential part of a higher order.

 From a higher perspective, a higher level, the existence of order and disorder, or order and chaos, is a necessary part of the evolution of life.

 Many people have found that they experience a deepening, or a deeper sense of self or beingness, immediately after and as a result of having endured a period of disorder or chaos. This is sometimes called “the dark night of the soul,” a term from medieval Christianity used to describe the mental breakdown that many mystics experienced prior to awakening spiritually. There was an eruption of disorder, of destruction. Then, out of that, a deeper realization arose.

 And although that can be very painful, the strange thing is, it’s precisely there that many humans experience a transcendence. A strange fact is that it almost never happens that people awaken spiritually while they’re in their comfort zone. Or that they become deeper as human beings, which would be a partial awakening. It almost never happens. The place where the evolutionary shift happens, or the evolutionary leap, is usually the experience of disorder in a person’s life.

And so your life then moves between order and disorder. You have both, and they’re both necessary. There’s no guarantee that when disorder erupts this will bring about an awakening or a deepening, but there’s always the possibility. It is an opportunity, but often, it is missed.

 So here we are at this time, and our mission is the same: to align with the present moment, with whatever is happening here and now. The upheaval that we’re experiencing at the present time probably will not be the last upheaval that’s going to come on a collective level. However, it is an opportunity—because although this is a time for upheavals, it is also a time for awakening. The two go together. Just as in an individual life, you need adversity to awaken. It’s an opportunity but not a guarantee. And so what looks tragic and unpleasant on a conventional level is actually perfectly fine and as it should be on a higher level; it would not be happening otherwise. It’s all part of the awakening of human beings and of planetary awakening.

To learn more about Eckhart’s teachings on Conscious Manifestation, click here.

Join for free and receive upcoming articles, teachings, special announcements, and more.

The post The Opportunity in Adversity appeared first on Eckhart Tolle | Official Site – Spiritual Teachings and Tools For Personal Growth and Happiness.

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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me. At that point, I was 30 and had just been married for a few months. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids, much less when I was having them.

So I simply said, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who regretted not having children because they had put it off until it was too late, and women who had difficulty conceiving because they had waited too long or because of their own biological issues, almost told as an implicit way to tell me that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing kids right away.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant, invasive questions surrounding “When are you having kids?” from relatives, friends, and nosy people, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

If you think that it ends after you have a kid, it doesn’t. The people who had previously told you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. This repeated questioning and attempt to shape people to fit their expectations seem to never end.

The problem with asking “When are you having kids?”

I understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the life path we’ve been told is the way of life.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ, which means to birth sons and raise daughters) and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng, which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren, used to signify the epitome of happiness).

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, as if expecting you to give them a straight answer.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s invasive. It’s also presumptuous.

1) Having kids is not the only path to happiness

To begin with, having kids is a personal and private matter. Whether people want to have kids or not is none of anyone’s business, and people most certainly shouldn’t be opening conversations with “When are you having kids?”, as if the only goal of a person’s life is to have kids. Even if it’s for the intent of having a heart-to-heart, a question like “Do you have any plans for kids?” would be more appropriate.

But in case one needs specific reasons to understand why such a question is invasive, the first thing to understand is that everyone has their own path in life. This path is not always the same for everyone. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden.

Having kids is a lifelong commitment and takes a tremendous amount of work and time. Anyone who has kids, and has raised them by themselves, would understand this. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid. For some, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it is better to remain childless, rather than have children just to fit society’s mold. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because others think that having kids is great and amazing, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, and has dedicated herself to her personal purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person (or woman) by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and political activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei, Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting the narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and everyone needs to realize that.

2) You may cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[8]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[9] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[10]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some people could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world. I personally think one of the worst things someone could do is to simply have kids for the sake of it, and then afterward give their child sub-standard care, something which I feel many people do.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, my husband and I were happy spending our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids, not in the way my culture obsesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“This person’s baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you like to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they don’t want kids,
  2. they have not thought about having kids but they don’t need you to prod them,
  3. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  4. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (d), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking people “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like you would to a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, like I mentioned in the beginning, you can simply ask, “Do you have any plans for kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a half-hearted or evasive answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change one’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths and there’s nothing wrong with them.

My husband and I eventually decided to have a baby and we now have our beloved baby girl. Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only irritated me and made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision and has nothing to do with them. It was after we enjoyed married life without kids, and had the space to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are things that I’m working on that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it.

Thanks big self-improvement fan here

You’re working hard on all the right goals… so why does it feel like there’s something missing?

Because fulfillment comes not just from achieving your dreams, but enjoying your life along the way.

If your day-to-day feels stale, stressful, or just lacks that spark of inspiration you used to feel, it’s time to bring back the missing ingredient —

FUN!

Having fun shouldn’t be something you have to earn, but a daily practice. Research shows that being playful actually makes you smarter, healthier, and more creative. It also helps you avoid the #5 regret of the dying. But most importantly, prioritizing fun simply makes life more enjoyable.

In this MarieTV, I answer a question from Leona, who asks:


Fun is an inside job, always within your control, and a choice that you have to make every single day.
Click To Tweet


Though I’ve been a single mom and gone through some pretty difficult circumstances, I have very few regrets. But I do have one thing I need to correct at once, otherwise I will regret it very much… How do I have a ton more fun in 2021?

If you’d like to have more fun this year, it’s time to rediscover that silly, playful, childlike part of yourself.

Watch this episode to learn three science-backed strategies to de-stress, be spontaneous, and start enjoying life again.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Learn how to be ambitious without stressing out all the time and avoid the five regrets of the dying with Bronnie Ware.

How are you feeling in the fun department these days? Are you a little fun-anemic? Do you need to turn up the dial on play? Or are you already enjoying your everyday life to the fullest? No judgement here — just be honest with yourself.

Whether you’re feeling stuck in a rut of stress, work, and responsibilities or you’re already a walking piñata bursting with whimsy and joy, turn your insights into action now.

In the comments below, let us know:

How will you #BringTheParty to your life today?

Remember, it can be as simple as a dance break or playing your favorite music while you do the dishes. The more you bring the party, the stronger your relationships will be, and the more enjoyable life becomes.

Don’t wait for permission. You deserve to enjoy your life — today and every day.

XO

The post 3 Ways to Have More Fun Today (And Everyday) appeared first on .

posts like this are why I love social media

Does self-care ever feel overwhelming or like another thing on your to-do list? Maybe you feel like you desperately need self-care, but you’re never sure exactly what you need in the moment. This leads to a quick Google for “self-care ideas” which gives you a million suggestions that leave you feeling more stressed out than when you started.

Learn about the seven pillars of self-care and take the self-care quiz to see which type of self-care you need right now.

There’s a lot of information out there about self-care, and it’s a complex topic that only makes things more confusing. All you know is that you need to take care of yourself, but you’re not sure what that should look like.

I have a simple solution to avoid overwhelm: look at self-care in terms of seven pillars. Seven might sound like a lot, but once you know them, you can better recognize what needs work in your life instead of trying to do everything. Plus I’ve created a self-care quiz you can take to see which type of self-care you need right now!

Overview of the Pillars


The seven pillars of self-care work together to bring a sense of wholeness to your life. I previously wrote about the five dimensions of self-care in this post, but I’ve added two other elements because I felt like they were missing from the original list: recreational and environmental.

7 pillars of self-care

The pillars of self-care:

  1. Mental
  2. Emotional
  3. Physical
  4. Environmental
  5. Spiritual
  6. Recreational
  7. Social

How to use them:

Seeing this list might feel overwhelming. You might think you have to find some kind of perfect balance between them all.

You don’t need to focus on finding a perfect balance between them all. Instead, you might need to focus on one area for a day, a week, maybe even a month. When you’re ready, you can focus on others.

What’s most important is noticing which one area needs attention so that it doesn’t start dragging the other areas down with it.

Now that we’re a little less overwhelmed, let’s explore the pillars of self-care in more detail:

The 7 Pillars of Self-Care


1. Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care

Mental/intellectual self-care is about cultivating a healthy mindset through mindfulness and curiosity. Mental self-care is important for developing a healthy mindset, growing your skills, reducing stress, and enhancing your knowledge and creativity.

Examples of mental self-care:


2. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care

Emotional self-care involves taking care of matters of the heart with healthy coping strategies and self-compassion. Tapping into emotional self-care helps you understand yourself more, better deal with challenges and setbacks, and develop healthy emotional responses.

Examples of emotional self-care:

  • Watching a deep movie
  • Listening to your favorite songs
  • Writing down positive affirmations
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Setting boundaries to protect your time and energy

3. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care

Physical self-care involves taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, good hygiene, and proper sleep. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem.

Examples of physical self-care:

  • Eating meals at regular times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Drinking more water
  • Taking vitamins daily
  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Trying a new workout class or video (here’s a playlist)

4. Environmental Self-Care

Environmental self-care

Environmental self-care involves taking care of the spaces and places around you. The more you take care of your immediate environment, the more it will help you to thrive and feel a sense of belonging where you are.

Examples of environmental self-care:

  • Arranging your workspace to be more comfortable
  • Exploring somewhere new (even if it’s in your own town)
  • Decluttering your living space
  • Going outside for a walk
  • Appealing to your five senses (e.g. light a candle, adjust the lighting, put on comfortable clothes, sip a warm drink, and put on your favorite playlist)

5. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care

Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your soul through activities or practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning to your life. Dedicating time to spiritual self-care can help you find more meaning in life, feel more grounded, and develop a sense of belonging in life.

Examples of spiritual self-care:

  • Spending time in nature
  • Finding a community to contribute to (online or offline)
  • Identifying your values & what’s meaningful to you
  • Volunteering or contributing to a cause you believe in
  • Connecting to a higher power (whatever that means to you)

6. Recreational Self-Care

Recreational self-care

Recreational self-care involves taking care of your inner child with hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences. Recreation is important because it lets you get away from the pressure of your to-do list and simply enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer.

Examples of recreational self-care:

  • Taking time for hobbies and creative activities
  • Going on an adventure by yourself or with others
  • Taking time to do absolutely nothing (and enjoying it!)
  • Playing board or video games
  • Switching up your regular daily routine

7. Social Self-Care

Social self-care

Even though self-care is about you, it’s important to connect with other human beings on a regular basis. Social self-care means cultivating healthy relationships and connecting with people who get you. Seeking out positive social connections helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance. 

Examples of social self-care:

  • Spending time with people whose company you enjoy
  • Calling or seeing your relatives
  • Writing a letter to a friend (pen-pal style!)
  • Talking to a support group
  • Chatting in an online forum or community

Which pillar do you need to focus on? Take the self-care quiz!

Self-care quiz

If you’re not sure which pillar of self-care you need most, take the self-care quiz to find out what to focus on first.

My hope is that this quiz will become a tool you use whenever you feel indecisive or unsure of the type of self-care you need. Come back to it whenever you need it!

Take this quiz here. Feel free to let me know your results in a comment below!

The post The 7 Pillars of Self-Care and How To Use Them appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

Who else thinks method is cool ?

A common TV trope features someone who’s down on their luck and forced to borrow from someone with questionable moral scruples: a loan shark, the Mafia, a representative from Wells Fargo.

As fate would have it, they fall further and further behind, until they’re in an even greater bind. Soon they’re being pursued by the loan shark, who threatens to break their legs, or by Wells Fargo, which forces them to remain on hold for hours. The rest of the story unfolds as the protagonist desperately tries to resolve their dilemma. What will they do? How will they get the money? 

“Getting the money” makes for a good plot foundation, since money is something that everyone wants. And when you don’t have it, it becomes all that you think about.

But what if you didn’t have to “get the money”? What if you just decided to not care?

I started thinking about this after I paid too much for something recently. I didn’t negotiate well, and it bothered me for a day or two. Why did I do that? I thought later. I should know better.

I felt bad, I realized, because that’s how I’m conditioned to feel. The psychological principle of loss aversion holds that we are irrationally afraid of losing. We would rather give up the chance to win big than deal with the likelihood of small losses.

“Irrationally afraid” is the key point, especially when it comes to money. Most of the time, there’s no loan shark threatening to break your legs. When you make a mistake and lose money, you simply have … less money. Fretting over it isn’t going to help. Not only that, but the more time you spend fretting, the less time you have at your disposal to make new money or otherwise just live your life.

Even if it’s a relatively large amount of money you’ve lost due to some mistake, the problem is still temporary. There are only two possible outcomes: you’ll either get the money back (somehow) or you won’t.

I was talking with my friend Amanda after I made the mistake, and she said I shouldn’t worry. Specifically, she said this:

“The thing about money mistakes is that you can always get more money.”

I realized she was right: paying too much was a mistake, but not one that will make much of a difference years from now. This is true of most mistakes that have to do with money: unlike other kinds of mistakes, money mistakes rarely have permanent consequences.

A protagonist who worries about money mistakes can make for good TV, but it’s a bad way to live the life in which you’re the protagonist.

Life is about deciding what to pay attention to. You pay attention to what’s important to you, in both positive and negative ways.

Part of paying attention is choosing what to worry about, and money is one of the most common worries. We know that rich people worry as much about money as poor people do, so merely “getting rich” doesn’t solve money problems (though, to be fair, most people who are poor would love to experience being rich for a while in order to make up their own minds).

This is not like saying “being poor is better than being rich” or even “money is not worth thinking about.” Instead, it means money is worth thinking about on a higher plane of thought.

(For example: What IS money, actually? In short, it’s something that at least two people or institutions agree is worth something else. This is true whether it’s cash, cowry shells, or cryptocurrency.)

***

When you feel stressed about money because of decisions you’ve made, maybe you should consider the all-important question: “What’s the worst that can happen?” Most of the time, you realize a) the worst-case scenario isn’t that bad, and/or b) this scenario isn’t likely to occur.

As I reflected on my recent money mistake, I thought back on times in my life when I had less money, before I learned to feel rich at the W Hong Kong breakfast buffet. The same truth applied even then, whether I recognized it or not. Sometimes I did recognize it, and sometimes I missed it.

I recognized it when I decided to invest much of my savings and future earnings in my quest to visit every country in the world. I still remember some of the negative comments my guest posts on personal finance blogs attracted back then. Clearly, accepting the challenge of “going everywhere” was a wonderful decision! I would do it all again tomorrow.

In fact, I justified my choice at the time by saying that it didn’t cost all that much, relatively speaking. Now I think: well, that’s true, but also not really the point. Even if it had cost much more, it was still a wonderful decision that I would do it all over tomorrow.

Back to the thesis: most mistakes that involve money are temporary; they do not have long-lasting consequences.

  • If you find that you’ve been spending too much, you can learn to save
  • If you’re in debt, you can learn how to get out of it
  • If your income is low, you can focus on increasing it

Millions of people have done each of these things, so surely you can, too.

Perhaps most of all, however, you can decide to worry less about all of these things. Money causes great stress and worry, and not only among those who are truly poor. Yet it’s all for something temporary!

What would happen if you turned your attention to more important matters?

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Image 1: Vitaly Taranov
Image 2: Tim J

Worlds best mindset super fan

How are you supposed to be confident about something when you have nothing to feel confident about?

Like, how are you supposed to be confident at your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in social situations when no one has ever liked you before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in your relationship when you’ve never been in a successful relationship before?

On the surface, confidence appears to be an area where the rich get richer and the poor stay the fucking losers they are. After all, if you’ve never experienced much social acceptance, and you lack confidence around new people, then that lack of confidence will make people think you’re clingy and weird and not accept you.

Same deal goes for relationships. No confidence in intimacy will lead to bad breakups and awkward phone calls and emergency Ben and Jerry’s runs at three in the morning.

And seriously, how are you supposed to be confident in your work experience when previous experience is required to even be considered for a job in the first place?

The Confidence Conundrum

If you’ve always lost in life, then how could you ever expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus the cycle of suckage continues.

This is the confidence conundrum, where in order to be happy or loved or successful, first you need to be confident… but to be confident, first you need to be happy or loved or successful.

So it seems like you’re stuck in one of two loops: either you’re already in a happy and confident loop, like this.

Or you’re in a loser loop, like this.

And if you’re in the loser loop, well it seems damn near impossible to get out.

It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. Or Domino’s ordering its own pizza. You can spend a lot of time cuticle-gazing trying to mentally sort everything out, but just like with your lack of confidence, you’re likely to end up right back where you started.

But maybe we’re going about this all wrong. Maybe the confidence conundrum isn’t really a conundrum at all.

If we pay close attention, we can learn a few things about confidence just by observing people. So before you run off and order that pizza, let’s break this down:

  1. Just because somebody has something (tons of friends, a million dollars, a bitchin’ beach body) doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is confident in it. There are business tycoons who totally lack confidence in their own wealth, models who lack confidence in their looks, and celebrities who lack confidence in their own popularity. So I think the first thing we can establish is that confidence is not necessarily linked to any external marker. Rather, our confidence is rooted in our perception of ourselves regardless of any tangible external reality.
  2. Because our confidence is not necessarily linked to any external, tangible measurement, we can conclude that improving the external, tangible aspects of our lives won’t necessarily build confidence. Chances are that if you’ve lived more than a couple of decades, you’ve experienced this in some form or another. Getting a promotion at your job doesn’t necessarily make you more confident in your professional abilities. In fact, it can often make you feel less confident. Dating and/or sleeping with more people doesn’t necessarily make you feel more confident about how attractive you are. Moving in with your partner or getting married doesn’t necessarily make you feel any more confident in your relationship.
  3. Confidence is a feeling. An emotional state and a state of mind. It’s the perception that you lack nothing. That you are equipped with everything you need, both now and for the future. A person confident in their social life will feel as though they lack nothing in their social life. A person with no confidence in their social life believes that they lack the prerequisite coolness to be invited to anyone’s pizza party. It’s this perception of lacking something that drives their needy, clingy, and/or bitchy behavior.

How to Be More Confident

The obvious and most common answer to the confidence conundrum is to simply believe that you lack nothing. That you already have, or at least deserve, whatever you feel you would need to make you confident.

But this sort of thinking—believing you’re already beautiful even though you’re a frumpy slob, or believing you’re a raving success even though your only profitable business venture was selling weed in high school—leads to the kind of insufferable narcissism that causes people to argue that obesity (something that is more detrimental to your health than smoking cigarettes) should be celebrated as beauty and that it’s, like, totally OK to carve your name into the Roman Colosseum, because, you know, selfies.

A lot of people soon realize this doesn’t work and so they take a different approach: incremental, external improvement.

They read articles that tell them the top 50 things confident people do, and then they try to do those things.

They start to exercise, dress better, make more eye contact, and practice firmer handshakes.

This is admittedly a step above simply believing that you’re already confident and that you don’t belong in the loser loop. After all, at least you’re doing something about your lack of confidence. And actually, it will work—but only for a little while.

Again, this type of thinking only focuses on external sources of confidence. And remember, deriving your self-confidence from the world around you is short-lived at its best and completely fucking delusional at its worst.

So no, external improvement is not a sustainable solution to the confidence conundrum. And feeling as though you lack nothing and deluding yourself into believing you already possess everything you could ever dream of is far worse.

Read that again.

The big charade with confidence is that it has nothing to do with being comfortable in what we achieve and everything to do with being comfortable in what we don’t achieve.

People who are confident in business are confident because they’re comfortable with failure. They realize that failure is simply part of learning how their market works. It’s a reflection of their lack of knowledge, not a reflection of who they are as a person.

People who are confident in their social lives are confident because they’re comfortable with rejection. They’re not afraid of rejection because they’re comfortable with people not liking them as long as they’re expressing themselves honestly.

People who are confident in their relationships are confident because they’re comfortable with getting hurt. They’re not afraid to be vulnerable and tell someone how they feel and then establish strong boundaries around those feelings, even if it means being uncomfortable (or leaving a bad relationship).

Building Confidence Through Failure

The truth is that the route to the positive runs through the negative. Those among us who are the most comfortable with negative experiences are those who reap the most benefits.

It’s counterintuitive, but it’s also true. We often worry that if we become comfortable in our failures—that if we accept failure as an inevitable part of living—that we will become failures.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Comfort in our failures allows us to act without fear, to engage without judgment, to love without conditions. It’s the dog that lets the tail go, realizing that it’s already a part of himself. It’s the Domino’s that cancels its own order, realizing it already has the pizza it wanted. Or something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to publish this article comfortable with the fact that some people will probably hate it. And eat my pizza.