Positivity Post https://positivitypost.com News about Positive Thinking, simplifying life, reducing stress, inspiration, personal growth, personal finance and happiness. Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:01:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 The American People Are Turning Against Hollywood https://positivitypost.com/the-american-people-are-turning-against-hollywood/ https://positivitypost.com/the-american-people-are-turning-against-hollywood/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:01:42 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11056 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Has Hollywood lost touch with the average American? As more people reject the sports and entertainment machine, one must ask, are their values out of sync with the country’s? Looking at the chasm between average Americans and the entertainment industry, the answer is yes.

I read an article the other day that really made me stop and think. Many celebrities and professional athletes are clearly anti-Trump. That in itself is not an issue, because this is a free country and we’re entitled to our political views. But, many in the sports and entertainment industries seem to be violently anti-Trump — in fact, they seem to be combatively opposed to any Republican. Is their aversion to anything “conservative” based on reality, or does it stem from a close-minded bias?

From The Daily Mail:

The stats don’t lie. Within minutes of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech, CBS News revealed their YouGov poll approval ratings on it.

  • Unsurprisingly, 97% of Republican speech watchers liked it.
  • More surprisingly, 72% of Independents liked it.
  • Staggeringly, 43% of Democrats liked it.
  • Overall, CBS reported that 75% of Americans approved of the speech.

Interestingly, 8/10 Americans in the poll felt the President was trying to unite the country with his speech and two thirds of Americans said it made them feel proud.

Less than a quarter that watched said it made them feel scared or angry.

Contrast this reaction with the instant and so tediously predictable blind rage spewed by the world’s liberal celebrities on social media before, during and after the address.

From my own unofficial poll – i.e. my own eyes on Twitter – I’d say 99% of them were so furious at the speech they could barely think straight.

‘I was told darkness could not exist in the light. But here it is, for everyone to not see,’ tweeted Sarah Silverman.

Jim Carrey tweeted an illustration of sharks across a map of America, then another of a weeping Abraham Lincoln and the caption: ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.’

Andy Lassner, producer of the insufferably smug The Ellen Show sneered: ‘Good luck ‘Saturday Night Live’ on trying to make this any more f***ing ridiculous than it already is.’

Jeffrey Wright raged: ‘Can’t even watch this vile, deceitful fraud and his bizarre cult of self-interested sycophants.

Patton Oswalt seethed: ‘I’m gonna fact check this speech: whatever he just said was bullsh*t.’

Jessica Chastain urged people not to watch the speech at all.

Billy Eichner fumed: ‘The President is a lying, incompetent, racist, misogynist sack of sh*t.’

And George Takei spouted: ‘I’m not watching some frothing orange gorilla read off a teleprompter.’

On and on it went, with these stars and many more assuming America agreed with them.

But it turned out the vast majority of Americans DIDN’T agree with them, which suggests they’re no longer listening to what celebrities say about politics or Donald Trump.

The article goes on to say that Americans are increasingly turning against our celebrity-obsessed culture, pointing out that viewership for the Grammy’s was at an all-time low, adding:

Why? Because Americans are sick and tired of entertainers preaching about politics at awards shows, particularly when they’re all preaching from the same liberal Trump-loathing handbook.

It’s hard not to agree with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders when she said yesterday: ‘I think if Americans cared what celebrities thought then Hillary would be president but they clearly don’t. Frankly, I feel sorry for these people. They’re so focused on hating this president that they’re missing all of the great things that are happening in this country.’

I wonder, were these and other celebrities even listening, or were they so focused on mindlessly rejecting everything outright, that they pounded their tweets out in an oblivious rage?

The gist of the article, which you can read here, is that celebrities, whether they be actors, singers or sports stars, are increasingly out of touch with the general wishes of the American people. Moreover, these celebrities are perceived as pushing their views on the average American — most of whom do not boast a net worth in the $millions and most of whom do not live in mega-mansions with fences, security systems and bodyguards.

But it also speaks to the American people being increasingly fed-up with the whole Hollywood mystique and what they perceive as elitist hypocrisy. Just this week, Robert DeNiro and other celebrities attended “The World Government Summit in Dubai. According to news reports, Mr. DeNiro and other American celebrities in attendance, immediately launched into an anti-American rants, with DeNiro quoted as saying:

“I flew here last night from a backward country, a place where science once reigned and lately has been replaced by ignorance.” He drew applause after predicting that Trump would be voted out in the 2020 election. Last year, at the summit he said that Trump has caused America to lose its position as a global ambassador in the fight against global warming because “we have a leader who’s not leading, that doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

So what does this have to do with positivity?

A great deal.

Being a positive person and having an open mind go hand-in-hand. Positive thinkers are generally confident enough in their own beliefs to not feel threatened when they hear other views. Plus, learning and expanding one’s horizons are hallmarks of being a positive person. Forcing one’s views on another is not the trait of a positive person — being pretentious and dictatorial are polar opposite to being a positive person.

Many celebrities seem to be rejecting everyone and everything they don’t like, without any consideration of facts — they’re lashing out and as the expression goes, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”  What’s worse, they use the platform of their star power to try and force everyone else to agree with them.

This is not about politics or President Trump; I’ve been very open that I am not a fan of Mr. Trump. However, he is the President and as an American citizen, I believe my obligation — my duty,  is to have an open mind. I will never see any politician as our great savior, but what harm does it to do at least listen, consider, compare, question and then, after due diligence, make my own conclusion?

I believe that our pop-obsessed society has reached a turning point. People who work hard to make a better life for their family are starting to reject what they see as brow beating from an out-of-touch elite who live obscenely opulent lives. Hollywood and professional sports are seeing a drastic decline in their revenue and as people stay home and tune out, the sports and entertainment industries are watching their power and influence decline — this most assuredly scares them

President Trump isn’t perfect, but no politician is, nor will they ever be. When we close off our mind and impulsively reject and attack anything they do or say, we’re ultimately only hurting ourselves. That’s why for me, the best approach is to listen, question, verify and then, conclude for myself what I will and will not accept. Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes should consider how they are being perceived by the average American — entire industries have been brought to their knees through popular “revolt,” and I think we’re seeing that revolt quietly and peacefully unfold now.

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One Easy Step Matters https://positivitypost.com/one-step-matters/ Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:01:13 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11151 The hallmarks of any good society are fairness, freedom, compassion, peace and prosperity. This includes benevolence in protecting the most vulnerable of its citizens, including animals and nature. Today, animals are especially vulnerable and they need our help.

While some species have been brought back from the brink of extinction, others have taken their place on the endangered list. Humans are cross-breeding animals at a disturbing rate, creating hybrids that suffer from life-long ailments. Natural habitats are being destroyed at an alarming pace. In short, wildlife across the globe is suffering at the hands of man. But, all it takes to help, is to make that first, one easy step:

If, as we convince ourselves, humans are the superior life form on planet earth, then we should be above any and all forms of animal abuse. Please consider helping animals in distress in whatever means you’re able to.

Learn more about taking one step to help animals.

 

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Our Age of Fury and Hate https://positivitypost.com/our-age-of-fury-and-hate/ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:01:57 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11104 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Once upon a time, people listened and thought before they spoke. In days of yore, people were more open-minded and they considered differing views, usually loathe to react in any particular extreme. Boy, times sure have changed.

Somewhere along the way, our willingness to listen and learn has changed. Today, an increasing number of people have a knee-jerk reaction to anything they see or hear that may conflict with their own views — I say “may” conflict, because so many among us don’t even bother to listen and absorb before they react. And sadly, reactions today are one of two extremes: “I love it!” or, “I hate it!” This extreme rash behavior is in itself a notorious characteristic of negative people, but its also a direct result of a society that is increasingly focused on pessimism.

There is little question that a direct cause of this new acrimonious, all-or-nothing mentality is caused by politics. A line has been drawn in the sand and some expect all of us to choose sides — for them, you must be liberal or conservative and you must vote along those lines…period.

I happened upon an article this week which typifies this new political dynamic:

Some students reacted negatively to quotes they believed were from President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union Address, until realizing they were actually quoting Barack Obama.

Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips spoke to students outside John Jay College in New York City, who unanimously criticized the supposed Trump quotes, describing them as “warmongering,” “aggressive,” and “immature.”

The quotes, taken from some of Obama’s State of the Union addresses, included threats to destroy the Islamic State, statements of America’s military strength, and attacking China’s economic policy.

“Well, first off, ISIS is fake,” replied one man. “It’s something the government made up so they can continue doing what they want to do, which is world domination.”

“The way that he approaches things is very aggressive, and that’s not the best way to approach situations,” said another woman.

When Phillips revealed that the quotes were in fact from Barack Obama, many of the participants were surprised.

“Some people are quick to judge Donald Trump just because of a few things he’s said, but I think if they paid attention to his whole presidency, maybe they will have a better outlook on him and perspective in general,” added one thoughtful respondent.

Reaction to Donald Trump’s real State of the Union address was overwhelmingly positive, with a recent NBC News poll revealing that 60 percent of Americans approved of its content.

Students Hate Quotes from Trump’s State of the Union, Until Realizing They Are Obama’s

Ron Kew, Breitbart

Now I’m not a fan of Breitbart News, nor am I a fan of President Trump. But, why should that keep me from reading an article from a source I normally don’t rely on? Just because it was on Breitbart, doesn’t necessarily make it untrue, nor does it mean I should knee-jerk reject it simply because it’s from a source I rarely visit.

This story is a good example of people rejecting words and ideas outright, simply because they believe them to be from someone they don’t like —a Democracy simply can’t function like that, because openness, including one’s mind, is critical.

Politicians have turned us into a nation divided. People vote party lines, often not even learning what a candidate stands for. When their candidate is elected and ultimately lets them down, we get the reaction “blech, they’re all the same!” If we know that, why not learn about all candidates and vote for the one that will best do the job, regardless of their party?

This week, our great nation saw yet another mass shooting at a School and our age of rage and hate is a direct cause of this tragedy. At some point, the American people will need to come back  together to reunite our nation, so that “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all…” truly means something again. We’ve had enough divide and negativity and if we’re to thrive as a nation, we need to get back to our core values of positive thinking, cooperation, love and compassion.

 

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I Am So Popular! https://positivitypost.com/i-am-so-popular/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:01:36 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11138 One of my dear friends was recently bragging about how many friends she has. Knowing her for many years, I know most of the people she could call “friend” – and while impressive, it certainly wasn’t the 953 she claimed. Was she leading a double life, I wondered?

Then it dawned on me that she was babbling talking about her 953 friends on Facebook. Yep, she’s got lots of ‘friends’ on social media, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into having true friendships. This fact reminded of an Aesop fable I read as a child:

The Hare With Many Friends

A Hare was very popular with the other animals in the jungle who all claimed to be her friends.

One day, she heard the hounds approaching her and hoped to escape them by the aid of her Friends.

So, she went to the horse, and asked him to carry her away from the hounds on his back.

But he declined, stating that he had important work to do for his master. “He felt sure,” he said, “that all her other friends would come to her assistance.”

She then applied to the bull, and hoped that he would repel the hounds with his horns. The bull replied: “I am very sorry, but I have an appointment with a lady; but I feel sure that our friend the goat will do what you want.”

The goat, however, feared that his back might do her some harm if he took her upon it. The ram, he felt sure, was the proper friend to ask for help.

So she went to the ram and told him the case. The ram replied: “Another time, my dear friend. I do not like to interfere on the present occasion, as hounds have been known to eat sheep as well as hares.”

The Hare then applied, as a last hope, to the calf, who regretted that he was unable to help her, as he did not like to take the responsibility upon himself, as so many older persons than himself had declined the task.

By this time the hounds were quite near, and the Hare took to her heels and luckily escaped.

Moral of the story :

He that has many friends, has no friends.

Having true friends is vital to our mental health and happiness. Studies show that having meaningful relationships can even prolong life. Of course, some of us may be fortunate to have 953 real friends, but often, most of those people are acquaintances, some of whom we never actually see in person. When it comes to social media connections, the key word is connection — friends are those people we spend time with and speak to regularly and they’re the people with whom we share an intimate connection.

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Why a Meaningful Life Leads to Lifelong Happiness https://positivitypost.com/why-a-meaningful-life-leads-to-lifelong-happiness/ https://positivitypost.com/why-a-meaningful-life-leads-to-lifelong-happiness/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:01:26 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11025 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/The pressure to be happy is taking us down the wrong path in life. What does being ‘happy’ really mean? How do we know if we’re living a fulfilled life? These are questions asked throughout history. Will they ever be answered?

When asked what it would mean to live a “good life,” a lot of people say “I just want to be happy.” And in that response, may lie the problem — or perhaps not the problem, but rather, the challenge.

I’m of the belief that happiness is not something we find, but something we embrace, because the key to being happy, is usually found within us.

In her book, “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters,” author Emily Esfahani Smith firmly believes that “All the intense pressure to feel bliss is making us chase the wrong thing. What makes life truly worth living is meaning.”

“If you’re chasing happiness, you’re building your castle on a very shaky foundation because the feeling can slip away easily. Meaning is something that endures, that you can seek out and find.”  – Emily Esfahani Smith

Why a life of meaning is so vital

According to Smith, human beings are wired to seek out meaning — to have a purpose.

Smith points does point out though: “The happy life is associated with being a taker, whereas the meaningful life is associated with being a giver. It requires sacrifice and requires us to put our own needs and desires on hold. But that ultimately leads to meaning because there’s something in us that wants to know that we’ve made a difference in the world and that our lives amounted to something. We weren’t just kind of here for this short period of time, chasing our own goals.”

Smith added: “When you’re on your death bed and reflecting back on your life, what you are going to be proudest of are the things that made your life meaningful. You won’t necessarily regret not being happy, but you’ll regret if you didn’t lead a meaningful life.”

It’s not easy: happiness vs. meaning

Obviously, if we pursue selfish pleasures that we think make us happy, we end up living a life filled with short-spurts of happiness. At the end of the day however, one cannot look back on life and think “wow, I really did something with my life!” Living a life that is meaningful takes focus and sacrifice, but ultimately, it makes life more fulfilled — more whole and valuable and thus, much happier.

How can we create a meaningful life?

Smith says it’s cultivating the four pillars of meaning:

Belonging: We all need to find our tribe and forge relationships in which we feel understood, recognized, and valued—to know we matter to others. This may be the most important pillar, because we are social by nature and having meaningful relationships with others is essential.

“We get a lot of our cues about how our lives are going by the way people treat us. If people treat us like we don’t matter — if they ostracize us, bully us, reject us — that communicates to us, ‘Oh, maybe my life isn’t worthwhile.'” – Emily Esfahani Smith

Purpose: We all need a far-reaching goal that motivates us, serves as the organizing principle of our lives, and drives us to make a contribution to the world.

The first step is to discover what our strengths are. If you’re struggling with this pillar, Smith suggests taking a VIA Character Strengths Test.

Once we discover our personal strengths, our purpose is about using them to give back and serve others for the better.

Storytelling: We are all storytellers, taking our disparate experiences and assembling them into a coherent narrative that allows us to make sense of ourselves and the world.

What is your story? How do you see yourself, describe yourself…perceive yourself. This pillar requires us to do deep reflection on our life and get a feel for how our individual experiences have shaped us. And, while they may have shaped us, they don’t need to define us.

Transcendence: During a transcendent or mystical experience, we feel we have risen above the everyday world and are connected to something vast and meaningful.

Seek out and cherish those times — even just moments that uplift us and make us feel joy and “above it all,” and connected to something much bigger. This may happen for you in Church, or in private prayer, meditation, or even while out in nature.

“You don’t have to travel to India to find transcendence; it can be in your own backyard. One study found students who were asked to gaze at a grove of towering eucalyptus trees for a minute felt less self-centered and more generous,” Smith said.

Live life bold and beautiful

Living a life of meaning makes us feel more secure, welcome, grounded, accepted, loved, appreciated and perhaps above all, it helps us to do something good in the world. A life of meaning helps us to leave our mark of positivity and goodness and this above all, is the very definition of happiness. Rather than chasing happiness, we should let our inner joy bubble up and envelop us by living a life of purpose and meaning.

 

Check out Emily’s website to learn more!

 

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The Unbreakable Bond Between Mother and Child https://positivitypost.com/the-unbreakable-bond-between-mother-and-child/ Thu, 08 Feb 2018 10:01:11 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=10982 The miracle of giving birth is absolutely awe inspiring. And as hard has men might try to imagine it, the extraordinary experience of bringing a life to into this world is something only females can truly understand first-hand.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes two to make a baby and Daddies are as important as Mom, but only women can comprehend the sacrifices needed to carry a baby through 9 months of pregnancy — and only women feel the physical agony of giving birth. It’s this experience that solidifies that miraculous maternal instinct that bonds Mother to child for their entire lives.

This touching video may provide some insight for men, because it shows the very first minutes of baby’s life and the first time she sets eyes on the woman who gave birth to her — her adoring mom.


This video has gone viral, capturing hearts all around the world. The powerful bond between baby and Mother is just so incredible. Moms and Dads are very special and children have a deep love for both parents. Moms however, always hold a very special place in our hearts, and for very good reason.

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Our Kids are Facing an Unprecedented Threat https://positivitypost.com/our-kids-are-facing-an-unprecedented-threat/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 10:01:24 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11083 Over the past few years, I, like many people, have become increasingly alarmed about the state of our younger generations — those mystifying millennials and Gen Z’ers. Now, we have a new term that’s shaking things up — iGen. And iGen, is of particular concern.

Changes in the views and social behaviors of Millennial and iGen have caught the attention of researchers, psychologists and sociologists and justifiably so.

What is iGen?

iGen is really the new term for Gen Z . But before we move on, here is a breakdown of the various generation labels:

  • Baby Boomers: people born between 1946 – 1964
  • Gen X: people born between 1965 – 1979
  • Millennials: people born between 1980 – 1994
  • iGen: people born between 1995 – 2012. Dr. Jean Twenge is generally credited with having come up with this very apropos label.

“A generational label needs to capture something about the generation’s experience, and for iGen’ers, the Internet and smartphones have defined many of their experiences thus far – thus the name iGen, like iPhones and iPads. One survey found that 2 out of 3 teens has an iPhone (specifically an iPhone, not just a smartphone).”Dr. Jean Twenge

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, who has authored the must-read book, “iGen,” and her interview was a real eye-opener. Dr. Twenge has been doing research on generational differences for over 25 years, but around 2011 -2012, she noticed trends and patterns that raised alarm bells:

“Around 2012, I started to see some sudden changes in the big national surveys – depressive symptoms and loneliness started to go up, and (after going up for 20 years) happiness started to go down. Other sources – like national screening studies on depression and statistics on teen suicides – showed the same pattern, with increases after 2010-12. I wondered what was going on, so I thought about what might possibly have caused these shifts. The Great Recession was officially over by 2010, and unemployment started to fall around 2011, so it seemed unlikely that the economy was to blame. This period didn’t see any cataclysmic events – and certainly none that kept accelerating over the next five years.

Then two things happened. I found the Pew Center’s data showing that the end of 2012 was when the percentage of Americans owning a smartphone crossed 50%, and I found (as others have among young adults primack.net) that teens who spent more time on screens were less happy and more depressed. So this was a suspicious pattern: A sudden rise in mental health issues when smartphones became ubiquitious, and a link between screen time and mental health issues. (For more on this, see Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?). Overall, iGen is a less confident, more uncertain, more anxious generation than Millennials were at the same age. That may at least partially be due to their adolescence spent on their smartphones.” – Dr. Jean Twenge

So what happened around 2011-2012?

As Dr. Twenge points out, this was around the time that the percentage of Americans owning iPhones crossed over the 50% mark. The resulting outcome of that statistic should really give us all cause for concern, because it basically resulted in:

  • More children and young adults were documented as stating that they had increasingly felt “hopeless, useless and sad,” to name a few. More of our nation’s young felt inadequate and that they “couldn’t do anything right,” as well as having feelings of depression. It’s also important to note that between 2011-2014, there was an estimated 50% increase in clinical depression.
  • Kids and young adults stated that they felt more isolated, lonely and left out — meaning, they felt they were marginalized in life.
  • Suicide rates increased.
  • iGen’ers also reported getting less sleep, doing fewer outside activities, including “dating” and spending time with friends.

It seems to me, that as the iPhone and other smartphones became so pervasive, our young in essence retreated from the physical world into the iWorld — spending more time glued to their “smart device” than actually living and enjoying life. And clearly, this phenomena has had dire results:

What’s going on?

As to why children and young adults are demonstrably more depressed because of electronics, it seems to be related to an increased competitiveness. When I was a kid, if I was upset or bored, I went outside to play — either by myself, or, with neighborhood kids. We didn’t care how we looked or what we wore and we couldn’t turn on a phone and see what other kids were doing or had posted on social media — we were in our own little world of fun, and it was a very good world!

A smartphone isn’t just a phone — it’s a mini computer capable of surfing the web, exposing the user to social media and mindless games and questionable web content. Kids today can’t really relax and be in the moment, because they’re constantly checking Snaphat, Twitter, Instagram or some other social network.

How can a child today develop normally and safely, if the ominous web is a constant presence in their life? iGen kids don’t really know what it is to be off-line — they rarely just play, or read an actual book or even spend time with their family.

Occupational Therapist and educator Victoria Prooday, warns:

“There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children… Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments

Victoria offers some very useful advice on what can be done about this national emergency, and you can read more at yourot.com

What can be done?

Clearly, experts are very concerned with this trend. I don’t think anyone can deny that kids today are less happy and less secure than the youth of yesterday. Whatever the exact causes, the advent of the internet and smartphones are clearly significant factors. Personally, I don’t understand why anyone under the age of 18 need a smartphone. Many of my friends refuse to give their kids any more access to electronics than they need — they give their children a basic phone, because that is all they need until they are mature enough to handle more.

Hopefully, as more parents see this as the epidemic it has become, there will be a return to basics — where kids can just be kids and we take the time to teach our children that life will never be found through the internet. Life is meant to be lived bold and beautiful and it’s meant to be experienced in the real world —and that means getting out there and experiencing the best of life as it happens in real time and not through a screen.

Read more:

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Dr. Jean Twenge

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children

 

* top image courtesy of flickr

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Words of Wisdom to Help You Live Your Life to the Fullest https://positivitypost.com/words-of-wisdom-to-help-you-live-your-life-to-the-fullest/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 10:01:46 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11058 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/As the old and true saying goes, there’s no time like the present. And when it comes to living our life…and I mean really living it, there surely y is no better time than now. So as the week winds down, make this day the day you truly start living life to the fullest.

I know most of us think we’re living our lives, but honestly, upon reflection, doesn’t it sometimes feel as if we’re just meandering through life? We all need a good kick in the pant sometimes, because it wakes us up and gets us moving. When it comes to genuinely living life to the fullest and making the most out of it, that kick in the pants can’t come too soon.

Here are some superb quotes and sayings to help get you motivated:

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” — Anonymous

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.” — Albert Einstein

“I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it.”     — Maya Angelou

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” — William Shakespeare

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Life is to enjoyed, not endured.” — Gordon Hinckley

“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” — Santosh Kalwar

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” — Earl Nightingale

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”          — William James

“Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.”H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“My life is my message.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” — Mario Fernandez

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone see its.” — Confucius

“We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.” — Roy T. Bennett

And since we live in some pretty intense times, this one is particularly apropos…

“Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

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Compassion and Happiness Go Hand-in-hand https://positivitypost.com/compassion-and-happiness-go-hand-in-hand/ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 10:01:26 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11042 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/The net is awash in tips on how to be happy and self-help gurus are devoting so much energy to help us “be happy,” it’s fairly obvious that the pursuit of happiness is hot. In fact, it’s super hot right now. Of course, you probably know our perspective on happiness…

We’re of the belief that happiness isn’t something one searches for, but rather, is something we allow to come to life within us — meaning that happiness is actually within our grasp any time we chose to let it evolve and take root in our life.

However, to let that inner joy manifest itself, there are some things we need to do first, so we can unlock that happiness and let it flow within us. One of the keys to a life that is content and joyful, is to be a compassionate person.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

The dictionary defines compassion as: “a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering and, sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  – The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama’s words reveal a universal truth: happiness isn’t exclusively about us. Happiness may always be within in us, but to really let it flow, we need to always think of other’s happiness as well.

Huh?

“Scientific research suggests that being compassionate can improve our physical health, emotional well-being and naturally, our relationships. Some scientists believe that we have a “compassion gene suggesting that compassion may even be vital to the survival of our species. 

Because compassion is a natural human instinct we believe now that is essential to a healthy and fulfilling life. Compassion naturally bonds and connects us to others. It does not require belief in a religion — but it is a sort of spiritual practice.”  – Dr. Andrea Pennington

So compassion improves our physical and mental health, which are vital aspects of being happy in life. And, the great news is, we can actually train ourselves to be more compassionate.

So how can we tell if we’re compassionate or not?

You can relate to other people.
Finding commonalities with other people is a sign of being compassionate — when we can relate to others and empathize with them, we’re demonstrating an ability to seeing things from their perspective.

“Compassionate people are very outward-focused because they think and feel about other people. They have that ability to feel others’ feelings, so they’re very socially connected.” – Clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, Ph.D

You don’t put emphasis on material things.
According to a study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, while money doesn’t buy happiness, it also doesn’t buy compassion. Researchers concluded that as an individual’s social status improves, his compassion for others may actually decrease. Their conclusions bolster previous research published in the journal, Scientific America, which found that being in a higher social class also negatively impacts a person’s ability to pay attention while interacting with others.

So having wealth doesn’t guarantee compassion, and may actually weaken it. A truly compassionate person doesn’t solely focus on material gain for the self, but rather, puts an emphasis on always helping other people.

You have genuine empathy.
A significant element of being compassionate is giving and doing for others, even if only in small ways. Empathy, which is the action of being aware of, understanding and being sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experience of another, is necessary to be able to give to and help others.

“When we take actions that are caring and loving, we feel more love in return. This is why compassionate people act on their kindness, whether it’s through volunteering or just being a shoulder to lean on — and overall they’re much happier for it. If you’re going after happiness, you don’t get as happy as you would if you’re going after generosity. A hedonistic way of pursuing happiness really doesn’t work for most people.”  – Clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, Ph.D

You feel and show gratitude.
Even if you’ve not yet had the opportunity to truly be a compassionate person, odds are that at some point, someone has done something for you. Showing gratitude, which is an element of being empathetic, means you have been touched by that act of kindness and showed thanks for it.

“Just thinking about our gratitude for other people makes us feel happy. And it’s slowing down and expressing those types of things that makes us more caring and loving.” – Clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, Ph.D

You have self-compassion
Some people struggle with the concept of “self-love” because it seems so hedonistic. But, rather than call it “self-love,” “self-compassion” is more apropos. If you can’t cut yourself some slack, how can you be expected to do that for others? Be kind and compassionate to yourself, so you can be free enough to do so for other people.

“Self-compassion is actually really, really key to becoming a more compassionate person overall. It’s hard to feel for other people something we don’t feel for ourselves.”

“We often think the way to change bad behaviors is to beat ourselves up,” Firestone says. “But self-compassion is actually the first step in changing any behavior you want to change.”

— Clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, Ph.D

You share your knowledge.
Compassionate people don’t want to horde their talents and gifts — they want to share them, without thought for personal gain. Teaching, helping, showing, coaching — all are ways to be compassionate, because you’re giving something of yourself, in this case knowledge or skill, to other people.

“True compassion exists when you give your strength, guidance and wisdom to empower another so that you can see who you really are and live in a greater capacity and expect nothing in return. True grace exists when the ‘teachers’ realize that the gift was really theirs — to be able to teach another.”Jen Groover

You forgive
To forgive is to set yourself free from anger and bitterness. It’s also to set someone else free too. Compassionate people forgive — they may not always fully forget, for we are all human after all, but to forgive is vital. How can one be compassionate, if they never forgive?

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” ― Steve Maraboli

There are of course many attributes of being compassionate. Perhaps the most important thing for us to remember, is that to let ourselves actually experience the happiness that is within us, we must be willing to give, help, support, encourage, uplift, motivate, share and care. For only when we do so for others, can we truly feel our own happiness wash through us.

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Take These Steps for a Stable Retirement https://positivitypost.com/take-these-steps-for-a-stable-retirement/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 10:01:57 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11016 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Most financial planning experts agree that there are certain steps people should take to ensure a stable retirement. Even if you’re only in your 30’s or even 20’s, its not too soon to start planning for your golden years. The following tips are a must-read to ensure you’re prepared.

Like a rapidly growing number of people, we’re really big fans of Wise Bread — their articles are superbly written, timely and very informative. One of our favorite Wise Bread writers is Emily Guy Birken. One of Emily’s articles on Wise Bread lays out 6 steps to a stable retirement and it’s a must read!

Here, courtesy of Wise Bread, is that article by Emily Guy Birken:

If you are new to personal finance, you might find yourself thinking that reaching retirement is sort of like reaching a mythical place like Hogwarts. In both cases, the process required for entry is never adequately explained — and getting there yourself feels more like fantasy than reality.

While it’s unlikely that an owl will ever arrive to welcome you to a magical school, retirement is actually attainable for each and every muggle. In fact, the rules for reaching a stable retirement are relatively simple and require absolutely no financial wizardry on your part.

Here are the only six things you need to do to achieve a stable retirement — no magic wands required.

1. Always spend less than you earn

No matter how much you make, you need to live on less than you earn. This is the kind of so-simple-it-feels-obvious advice that many personal finance experts take for granted, but keeping your expenses below your income is the cornerstone of saving for a stable retirement. Many people assume that they need to make a certain level of income before they can afford to start saving for retirement, but that’s not true. As long as you always spend less than you earn, you can always save toward your retirement.

If you’re not sure how to go about reducing your expenses so that you’re no longer spending everything that comes in, start by tracking your spending. This will help you better understand where your money is going so you can cut back on unnecessary spending. (See also: Save More and Spend Less by Increasing Your “Mental Transaction Costs”)

2. Max out your retirement contributions

Both your employer-sponsored 401(k) and your individual retirement account (IRA) have yearly contribution limits that you should strive to meet every year. The 2017 contribution limits are $18,000 for 401(k) plans (plus an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions if over age 50), and $5,500 for IRAs ($6,500 if over age 50). The traditional versions of these investment vehicles are tax-deferred, which means you are funding your accounts with pretax dollars. Roth 401(k) plans and IRAs are funded with money you have paid taxes on, but they, like the traditional vehicles, grow tax-free.

Many people can’t afford to meet the full contribution limit for their 401(k) plan, plus maxing out an IRA as well. However, getting as close to the maximum contribution as you can for both of these vehicles will put you well on your way to retirement stability. In addition, many employers offer a 401(k) contribution match — and not maxing out this kind of matching program is akin to leaving free money on the table. (See also: How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?)

3. Work at least 35 years

While retiring early is a common dream among many workers, leaving the workforce before putting in 35 full years of employment could damage your bottom line in retirement. That’s because your Social Security benefits are calculated using the 35 highest earning years in your career. If you have less than 35 years of work experience, the Social Security Administration uses zeros to create your benefit calculation, lowering your average earnings and your payout. If you don’t have 35 years of employment history, it’s a good idea to keep working to get those zeros replaced in your Social Security calculation.

Doing whatever you can to increase your monthly benefit will make a big difference in your bottom line once you retire. The most important increase you can make is to work at least 35 years total — although waiting as long as you can to take Social Security benefits is also an important strategy for increasing your monthly Social Security check. (See also: 6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement)

4. Avoid debt

We live in a society that tells us we can have it all right now and pay for it later. The problem is that we will indeed pay for it later — with an impoverished retirement. While it may be possible to finance the lifestyle you want with debt, you will have no money available to save for retirement or otherwise invest. In addition, the added interest expense of borrowing money to pay for your lifestyle just makes it that much more expensive and unsustainable. (See also: 5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt)

5. Invest for the long-term with index funds

While the movies show investing as a kind of game that you win by figuring out when to buy low and sell high, the best way to make sure your money grows is to follow a long-term buy-and-hold strategy.

A 2016 DALBAR study on investment behavior revealed that investors routinely underperform the market despite solid annualized returns. For example, at the end of 2015, the S&P 500 was averaging a return of 8.19 percent. That same year, investors saw returns top out at a measly average 4.67 percent — and this pattern is not new. Why such a discrepancy? Simple; rather than employing a buy-and-hold strategy, investors routinely try (and fail) to time the market. Year after year, their returns suffer as a result.

You can use statistics and a long investment term to your advantage by investing in index funds. These funds aim to replicate the movement of specific securities in a target index, which means an index fund is going to do about as well as the target securities will do. (See also: Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News)

6. Take care of your health

Your health can have an enormous impact on your financial stability in retirement. That’s because health care costs are a major concern in your older years, especially since this is one aspect of your retirement budget that you may not have control over. According to a 2016 Fidelity study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will need about $260,000 to cover their medical and health care costs for the rest of their lives.

While kale smoothies and daily kettlebell workouts cannot ensure your good health in retirement, taking good care of yourself throughout your life does improve the odds that you’ll stay healthier as you age. You can consider each jog and healthy meal as an investment in your future.

Reaching retirement, one step at a time

Achieving a stable retirement doesn’t require any magic. Instead, it’s a matter of following some simple rules that will ensure you have the money you need to retire comfortably.

 

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About the article author:

Emily Guy Birken is a former educator and lifelong money nerd who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of three books:The Five Years Before You Retire,“ “Choose Your Retirement,” and the forthcoming “Making Social Security Work for You.” Her work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Kiplinger’s, MSN Money, and The New York Times online.

Read other superb articles from Emily Guy Birken and Wise Bread.

Visit Emily Guy Birken’s websiteFollow Emily Guy Birken on Twitter. Follow Emily on Facebook.

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