10 Simple Ways to Overcome Disappointment

Posted by 1 December, 2008 (12) Comment

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Everyone is disappointed at some point in their life. Perhaps you didn’t receive the grade you were hoping for on your math test. Maybe you didn’t perform as well as you had hoped for in the big championship soccer game.

My recent disappointment is that despite a good amount of effort, my wife and I have not secured our first real estate investing deal that I put into my goals for 2008. We’ve had quite a few that were very close to going through, but we haven’t quite made it over that “hump”.

Disappointment can be an ugly thing. Disappointment can be a temporary feeling for some people or it may drag others to depression depending on the severity of the disappointment and the mental state of the person. Disappointment has actually been classified as a type of mental stress (see reference).

So, what are some ways to overcome disappointment!

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1. Exercise – If something is bothering me, I exercise. I don’t exercise to try and forget about the problem necessarily. I exercise and work through the problem in my head and I seem to always come to a solution. Perhaps it’s the endorphins helping out, but I seem to always come to a resolution.

2. Focus on the Future – There’s a reason why the rearview mirror in a car is small, but the front windshield is large. Focus your attention on what’s in front of you. Sure it’s good to know about the past, but DON”T DWELL ON IT!

3. Be with Friends – It’s amazing what being around friends will do for a person. If you are disappointed about something, find and friend and go talk about your disappointment. A lot of times people think their situation is unique when more often than not, many people have been through the same situation. Plus, it’s good to talk it through and a lot of times you’ll realize that it’s probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

4. Focus on What Makes You Happy – If you are feeling disappointed and watching a comedy makes you happy, go down to the store and rent a comedy from a DVD rental center. If you have kids and they make you happy, go play with them. It won’t take long before you forget about your disappointment.

5. Go Read – Reading can be a great tool to get your mind off of what’s bothering you and allow you to focus on the story in the book. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that reading is a new hobby for you if you are not already an avid reader.

6. Go Walk Your Dog – If you have a dog, walking them is a great way to keep your mind off of your disappointment. A lot of the dogs I’m around are soi friendly, it’s hard not to forget about your disappointment.

7. You Have Your Health – Despite your disappointment, you have your health. I know I get caught up in sports, goals and activities, but instead of focusing on the fact that we came up short in a soccer game or didn’t quite complete a goal, I focus on the fact that I have my health. I have a lot of friends that are not able to play soccer due to their health so I am certainly thankful for the opportunity to still play.

8. Be Alone – This my seem counterintuitive to some of the other ways to overcome disappointment, but sometimes and for some people, it’s good to be alone. I know I sometimes enjoy being alone so I can have some quite time to myself without the distraction of the television of other noises.

9. Motivation – When I am disappointed about an outcome, it motivates me to not to want to feel that way again. For instance, I’m disappointed that I will probably not make my goal of purchasing our first real estate investment. Instead of hanging my head low over the fact that I didn’t accomplish that goal, I’m going to regroup and double my efforts!

10. Forgive Yourself – Just as you are taught to forgive others for their wrongdoings, you must live to forgive yourself and realize that you are human and not perfect. Things don’t always fall the way you want them do, but if you plan and put enough effort into your goal, you’ll definitely give yourself a good chance at realizing that goal.

What other methods or tricks do you use to overcome disappointment?

Photo by Diabloooz, The-O

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What Would Happen if More People Were Financially Independent?

Posted by 23 October, 2008 (0) Comment

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I previously wrote about 10 Reasons Why I Want You to Be Financially Independent. I gave my 10 reasons, but I also asked what would happen if more people were financially independent. There were a few areas in our lives that I thought might change.

1. Would the US be happier?

2. Would there be a shift towards people studying the arts?

3. What would the stock market be like?

4. Would professional sports be as popular as they are today? Do people need this distraction if they are no longer going to jobs that they may not enjoy?

5. What about movie stars/celebrities? Would they be as popular as they are today?

6. Would we see a huge spike or slow-down in innovation?

7. What about professions such as psychology? How would it affect them?

8. If more Americans were financially independent, would we produce as much waste as we do? If we have more time, there is potentially less hustle and bustle and perhaps people would be able to fix household items that break instead of tossing it and going to Walmart to buy another.

I don’t know the answers, but I have my opinions. Before proceeding, I wanted to highlight what other people thought and discuss.

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Susan Schwartz:

Interesting scenario.

1. Would the US be happier?

Probably not. We might be more at risk if the rest of the world remained financially insecure. The level of resentment is already high, and I think it would get worse. But we’d probably be, by and large, more relaxed. I suspect, however, that some people would lose their money and some people would grow more. Because money is such a source of marital strife, there might be fewer divorces, less gold-digging by either gender, and less vicious divorces…maybe.

2. Would there be a shift towards people studying the arts?

I would love to see that. I read the list of majors students are taking these days, and I’ve asked “do you like it?” “It’s very useful and stimulating. It’s challenging.” BUT DO YOU LIKE IT?
It’ll let them make middle management and justify the horrific expense of college and grad school. They don’t have to like it; they have to do it. Actually, they don’t; but it’s a risk most people don’t want to run, and I can’t say as I blame them.

3. What would the stock market be like?

It’s still global? Still crazy. People are -interested- in it. The numbers that we’ve been tossing about — worst week, biggest loss, biggest gain, longest drop, biggest percentage drop — these are like BASEBALL statistics. Some people with more money than they and their families and their family foundation will ever spend invest professionally because they’re fascinated.

4. Would professional sports be as popular as they are today? Do people need this distraction if they are no longer going to jobs that they may not enjoy?

There might be even more sports, as people had more time to devote to participating in or observing -real- excellence. The migrations to trading camps would become hordes.

5. What about movie stars/celebrities? Would they be as popular as they are today?

What I said earlier about the pursuit of excellence, especially if more people studied the arts. But I think it’s human nature to look for people who seem more interesting and somehow more glittery.

6. Would we see a huge spike or slow-down in innovation?

With no need for desperate growth…I think at first we’d see a slowdown followed by growth as people got to work on what REALLY interested them, as opposed to what generated bottom-line results.

7. What about professions such as psychology? How would it affect them?

I think more people would study themselves; fewer would come in complaining of anxiety from external causes.

8. If more Americans were financially independent, would we produce as much waste as we do? If we have more time, there is potentially less hustle and bustle and perhaps people would be able to fix household items that break instead of tossing it and going to Walmart to buy another.

I think I’d have too many projects. This is a nice thought, but I don’t expect it.

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Les DeGroff:

That said, I think it is an interest question, and topic to consider because unless we blow it big time, we will have a future where such a thing is possible, along with greatly extended life spans.
Several of your sub-queries, hinge around how such a self sufficiency is enabled from the current economies…it might be technologies deflating living resource prices making in cheaper to live…in a speculative science fiction example, biotechnology creating house-trees and permaculture for the urbs. It might also be a political/economic restructuring either by a negative income tax or a requirement that money creation go through citizens rather than banks and current capital holders. Also from the science fiction space, might be a virtualization addiction where large portions of population drop out of competing and lower their consumption to basic rations plus being “jacked in”. The mythical depictions of nanotech with reproductive and anything producing machines would be another path to deflation.
Before I get to bullet points, one of the largest issues in self sufficiency may be land resources vs demographics. If populations continue to rise and the life extension I expect occurs, the key resource shortage may be real estate.
People in the US would probably not be significantly happier in aggregate. There are fuzzy social paradigms, “conservation of worry”, “retention of stress” and such that find when one level of concern is resolved, others substitute. There are also the perennial, non economic issues of dominance, love, competition. This hits 7, unless humanity is transformed, therapists and related frauds would still be present.
Items 2, 4 and 5, I think are all related. With in the population, there are groups that are actively doing, in the arts, sports, …. there are other large groups that are more passive consumers of entertainment and art.
The financial markets, even after we get through this crisis are not prepared for the changes that an enabled population would require, thus radical changes… in banking, industry, creation of wealth.
Innovations IMO would be a harder call, if one looks at such a transition as the thinkers about a technology singularity do, there would be a great increase and then we do not know. IMO, there are pressures in both directions, innovation including in the arts, and in look and feel would increase in and for a leisure society, but a long life (hundreds of years typical healthy lifespan) world might also become quite conservative.
As for waste, it depends on enabling technology and perhaps the level of luxuries that are considered basic in the new world.
Two more critical factors, are of course energy consumption and sourcing and the costs of health care (and life extension). ๐Ÿ™‚ I would be half as frantic about getting on with being employed for the remaining decades of my working life if I thought I could afford double digit inflation in medical services. OTOH, my own artificial intelligence automatic doctor and pull pusher would reduce those concerns.

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Chris Miles:

Interesting questions to ponder. I would ask, “Is financial freedom merely HAVING the resources or BEING financially free by being non-attached and therefore make money more easily. From my personal experience as well as seeing many become “financially independent”, most thought it was a state of HAVING and now no longer have it. By HAVING more money, it amplifies the perspective of the person. Money does not change the person, it only amplifies who they really are. If someone was stingy before getting money, they will be stingy after receiving it. If someone spent their money to serve others while living paycheck to paycheck, they will continue doing the same. The only ones that think they will change are those who have never been financially independent.
Furthermore, how would these people become “financially independent?” Did they get lucky in the stock market or real estate? Unless someone has learned how to serve and solve problems that creates a need in the marketplace, their financial freedom won’t last. If one becomes financially free by merely throwing money at some investment, they will likely lose it at some point.
To answer the above questions, if people became financially free by brainlessly living on income generated by some investment, all of the above problems will be amplified. More money will be wasted leading to greater debt. Sports professionals and entertainers will be paid more because they will spend it frivolously. Stock and real estate markets would be more volatile and psychologists would be busier than ever. Money has never solved problems nor created problems. Money is only a tool that brings out people’s true colors.

Links:

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Shawn Carter:

1. Of course. Having wealth and being dependent on the government/relatives is a world of difference.
2. Maybe. People are always studying the arts: bill boards, web, Mtv, etc.
3. No difference. Stock market is based on psychology, which remains the same regardless of wealth. In fact, people would be more fearful and more conservative.
4. Popular sports probably would be more popular, since you could affford 120 channels and tickets to the game at anytime.
5. Movie stars would likely not be as popular, but people love gossip regardless of wealth.
6. I think you would have a spike in innovation due to the smart money being smarter… ie. you don’t get wealthy without using your brain to invest wisely.
7. Better paid psychologists. Maybe less, since wealth tends to get rid of other vices, since you have to be stable to remain wealthy.
8. Probably more waste. There might be more conservation programs and recycling.

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Jim Parker:

Current US Tax law promotes debt & spending: can write-off the property taxes & interest on the mortgage, can take-out a second mortgage and take another write-off, if you have credit card debt can roll that into your second mortgage and write that off too.
Why bother saving when your interest, capital gains & dividend payments are taxed, oftentimes at ordinary income tax rates.

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Coby Neill:

It would be heaven on earth.
Peace, creativity and joy would dominate.

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Rob Schmansky:

Reduce the tax burden and create a situation where your govt is financially independent and you’d see a lot of positive answers to your questions.

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Sam Brannon:

a – its completely possible
b – under the current societal structures, somebody would always be working to change that. to achieve it and maintain it would take a new level of awareness/consciousness
c – if we could figure out a way to maintain it, creativity would be unleashed across all arts and sciences… it would truly unlock the collective human imagination.

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Lots of great answers. I’m going to give it a whirl.

1. Would the US be happier?

My opinion is that the US would be happier. We would no longer have to burden ourselves with working at a job we don’t necessarily enjoy (if that happens to be the position of the person). Our relationships would have less strain since we aren’t worrying about money. I’m not sure about you, but I spend quite a bit of my mental capacity thinking about making money. Without worrying or thinking about money for many hours out of the day, I would be able to “laser focus” on making me and the people around me happy.

2. Would there be a shift towards people studying the arts?

I don’t think there would be a major shift towards the arts. I think most people in general end up where they would like to be. I think that a lot of people that majored in something for the purpose of making money (i.e. Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer) will eventually find their way towards their calling in life regardless of their financial independence status.

3. What would the stock market be like?

I think you would see the stock market become more turbulent. As stated before, the stock market is global. I think you would actually see it become more turbulent once the majority of trading is done by less stable (my perception) countries with a lot more people (assuming that Americans are not trading as often due to their financial independence).

4. Would professional sports be as popular as they are today? Do people need this distraction if they are no longer going to jobs that they may not enjoy?

I think people will enjoy sports whether they are financially independent or not. For a lot of people, it’s part of their culture (Hook’em Horns!).

5. What about movie stars/celebrities? Would they be as popular as they are today?

I do think they would remain popular, but perhaps not to the same degree. If more people are financially independent, they will most likely be very conscious about money spent and thus will not be as tempted to dress like movie stars.

6. Would we see a huge spike or slow-down in innovation?

I think we would actually see a spike in innovation. Some people are born innovators and I don’t think you can take that out of people.

7. What about professions such as psychology? How would it affect them?

I think people would have more time to fix their own problems and the profession will decrease in usefulness.

8. If more Americans were financially independent, would we produce as much waste as we do?

I think financially independent people tend to be frugal. Frugal people tend to be very conscious of waste thus I think less waste would be created.

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What are your thoughts?

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Free Amazon Gift Card

Posted by 20 October, 2008 (1) Comment

I’m participating in the 10 Day Give. Part of my 10 Day Give is to give away a $20 Amazon gift card. In order to be eligible for the gift card, please place in the comment section below, the nicest thing that you’ve done for another blogger this week (8:00 am CST on Oct. 20th, 2008 – 11:59 pm CST on Oct. 24th, 2008). Please be specific and list the web address of the blog that your great deed has gone toward. The only rules of the contest are that you can’t do something nice for me. The winner will be announced next Monday morning (October 27th) in the Cool Links weekly edition so be sure to stay tuned via RSS!

Categories : Happiness Tags : , ,

10 Reasons Why I Want You to Be Financially Independent

Posted by 13 October, 2008 (5) Comment

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Iโ€™ve wanted to be financially independent starting about 2-3 years ago.

Iโ€™ve been out of school and in the work force for 6 years. The first few years out of school, I think I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help the world. I started out at a fuel cell company because I thought fuel cells would be beneficial in helping wane the US off of oil. Now I work in a lab playing with carbon nanotubes which have their own set of “green” possibilities not limited to being the best material for electrical conductivity. Working on the cutting edge of technology is very cool, but both scenarios have me working until I’m 65 or longer and that doesn’t sit well with me.

My idea of financial independence is a situation where one is in a financial position to work or not and still enjoy the necessities of life plus a few luxuries without relying on government assistance.

I want you to be financially independent. Heck, I want to be financially independent as well, but weโ€™re focusing on you, not me.

Can you imagine what the US would be like if more people were financially independent?

Some questions I’d like you to ponder:

1. Would the US be happier?

2. Would there be a shift towards people studying the arts?

3. What would the stock market be like?

4. Would professional sports be as popular as they are today? Do people need this distraction if they are no longer going to jobs that they may not enjoy?

5. What about movie stars/celebrities? Would they be as popular as they are today?

6. Would we see a huge spike or slow-down in innovation?

7. What about professions such as psychology? How would it affect them?

8. If more Americans were financially independent, would we produce as much waste as we do? If we have more time, there is potentially less hustle and bustle and perhaps people would be able to fix household items that break instead of tossing it and going to Walmart to buy another.

I want you to be financially independent, and here’s why:

1. Stay in your relationship

Relationships are important. Life and business is all about relationships. One of the most important relationships you can have is with your wife, husband, or significant other. It is disputed whether financial issues are the major cause of divorce (see artcle by Liz @ MSN Money), but not worrying about money, I’m certain, would have a positive impact on your relationships. I’m not sure about you, but in my opinion, during a divorce, the only person that really wins is the attorney. In addition to not having disputes over finances, if you are financially independent, you don’t need to work. If you don’t need to work, you have a lot more time to spend on developing and nurturing those relationships. I know I would love to spend more time with my wife, family, and friends because time is our most precious commodity. You can never get it back unless you are Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. It’s these strong bonds that I believe to be one of the most important ingredients to a “good” life and being happy.

2. Volunteer

If you are financially independent and not working, you need to be doing something productive. Why not volunteer for a local organization or habitat for humanity. Here is a list of possible reasons you may want to volunteer per Susan J. Ellis of Energize, Inc (find the original post here)

  • to feel needed
  • to share a skill
  • to get to know a community
  • to demonstrate commitment to a cause/belief
  • to gain leadership skills
  • to act out a fantasy
  • to do your civic duty
  • because of pressure from a friend or relative
  • satisfaction from accomplishment
  • to keep busy
  • for recognition
  • to repay a debt
  • to donate your professional skills
  • because there is no one else to do it
  • to have an impact
  • to learn something new
  • for freedom of schedule
  • to help a friend or relative
  • for escape
  • to become an “insider”
  • guilt
  • to be challenged
  • to be a watchdog
  • to feel proud
  • to make new friends
  • to explore a career
  • to help someone
  • as therapy
  • to do something different from your job
  • for fun!
  • for religious reasons
  • to earn academic credit
  • to keep skills alive
  • because an agency is geographically close
  • to have an excuse to do what you love
  • to be able to criticize
  • to assure progress
  • to feel good
  • to be part of a team
  • to gain status
  • because you were asked
  • to test yourself
  • to build your resume
  • to be an agent of change
  • because of personal experience with the problem, illness, or cause
  • to stand up and be counted

3. Increased Mental Health

If you aren’t worrying about money, you probably aren’t as stressed out. Stress kills. Have you ever snapped at your kids or significant other after a long day at work? Gone. Traffic to work and the mental strain that is puts you through. Gone. All of that sounds pretty sweet to me. I try VERY hard to make sure I don’t bring work or traffic stress home, but sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I’m not trying to say that if you are financially independent stress will permanently go away, but I’m sure your stress level will decrease significantly.

4. Increased Physical Health

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You aren’t in the office 40 plus hours per week. You aren’t in the car for upto 8 hours per week (16 hours if you live in Los Angeles). That’s a lot of time that is now available to you to take care of you and your body. There are a ton of benefits that you would see in your physical health without worrying about money. Without a job, you would be able to dedicate more of your time to working out.

5. Time with Friends and Family

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I often feel badly that I don’t spend time with my little brother or that I don’t make it down to Austin to hang out with old friends. There is no good excuse, but unfortunately there are only some many hours in a day.

I hope this is never a scenario that anyone has to go through, but if you are financially independent and a family member falls ill, you would be more able to help out. I know quite a few people who tend to their friends or family at the detriment of their own financial well being. Financial independence would put you in a position to help if needed.

6. Foreclosures

I feel greed fueled a lot of the foreclosures we are seeing today. If you were financially independent, you more than likely wouldn’t have a mortgage much less have the need to borrow 106% to purchase a house.

7. Happiness

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I truly hope that you enjoy what you do 8+ hours per day and 40+ hours per week. The unfortunate situation is that most people do not like their jobs. Financial independence could put an end to your ball and chain routine and enable you to find something that will make you happy. Life is way too short so you should focus on being happy during the time you are here.

8. Pass the Knowledge of Financial Independence to Family and Friends

Pay it Forward. You could help your friends and family achieve financial independence. This would not only help them financially, mentally, etc, but you’d be able to spend more time with them since they are no longer working the long hours required by their jobs.

Teaching your kids to be financially independent will give them the flexibility to choose the major they desire as opposed to choosing the major that pays well in order to pay back student loans (I’m not speaking from experience ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

9. Hobbies

It’s tough to keep up with any hobbies. My wife and I have a tough time keeping up with hobbies and we don’t have any kids so I can only imagine how hectic it gets with a full house. Well, if you just added 40+ hours to your week, you’ll have time for some hobbies. You could finally learn how to paint, write the great American novel, or take up yoga. I’ve always wanted to take up some sort of martial arts. I think that the discipline would be good for me, but it would also help me stay flexible, meet other people with similar interests, and I’m sure I would become stronger.

10. Education

You should go back to school. Because you would have 40+ hours of extra time every week, you could go get that art history degree! I know I would like to learn a foreign language or take a carpentry class.

Do you want to be financially independent? If so, let me know how I can help. If we are able to gather a lot of support for this goal, perhaps we can all help each other achieve it. Are you already financially independent? If so, send me an e-mail and I’d love to interview you about your adventure.

happinessisbetter [at] gmail.com (sorry, spam likes me ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Photos by Tigr, Joe Shlabotnik, kiskisbreeze, Hamed Masoumi

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Happiness is U-Shaped

Posted by 4 September, 2008 (5) Comment

According to Jerry Kennard (article), if we could draw out a diagram over our lifetime, our happiness level would be in the form of a “U”. If there is in fact a midlife crisis, that would of course fall in the middle of our lifetime at the bottom of the curve. The study suggests that this is independent of gender, economic status, and a range of other factors.

Here’s a look at The Guardian in an article published this year (link).

They found that the following may be the reason for this U-shaped happiness curve:

“However, one possibility is that individuals learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses, and in mid-life quell their infeasible aspirations. Another possibility is that cheerful people live systematically longer.”

A third possibility is that older people might compare their lives with their peers’. Seeing their friends die could mean people value their remaining years more highly.”

My take is that at the beginning of the U-shape, or early on in life, people are generally too ignorant and lack the life experience to know that life isn’t always easy. Sometimes, there are bumps in the road. The age old question of “would you rather be dumb and happy or smart and miserable” comes to mind.

Later in life, it seems as though a lot of people become disillusioned. They had all of these life long goals that they feel will never come to fruition. And why didn’t they? Some people have had extenuous circumstances. Other people may claim that “life got in the way while they were making other plans” in the form of work, children and other responsibilities. But, as I heard from a speaker the other evening, “you are in life exactly where you want to be”.

Later in life, when the happiness curve is heading upwards, people may be coming to terms with their “life’s work”. I also agree with the author from The Guardian that “seeing their friends die could mean people value their remaining years more highly”.

Does happiness in your life have to take the form of a U-shape? I hope not. Thankfully, we all have choices in life. What are you going to choose?

Here are some other articles I found on the topic:

@ Ethelbert’s Transcripts

@ Smart Economy

@ So When are You Going to Retire

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