Positivity Post https://positivitypost.com News about Positive Thinking, simplifying life, reducing stress, inspiration, personal growth, personal finance and happiness. Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:40:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 The Deadly Threat of Greed https://positivitypost.com/the-deadly-threat-of-greed/ https://positivitypost.com/the-deadly-threat-of-greed/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:01:38 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11786 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Greed. The dictionary defines “greed” as “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” Our world is awash in greed. Strike that — it’s better stated that our world is falling to pieces because of greed and its only getting worse.

Some days, it seems as if the entire human race is consumed with some degree of greed. People covet, politicians crave power, celebrities lust after fame and fortune and corporations are driven to any lengths in the pursuit of profit.

You probably remember that several years ago, people started to openly challenge the“made in China” issue. Around the time that this concern was all over the news, I had seen one quintessential American toy company pulling out all the stops with their advertising campaign during the Christmas season. Curious, I did some research to find out where they made their iconic “American toys” these days. I wasn’t really shocked to learn that they were making almost their entire product line overseas. What did shock me however, was their hypocrisy. They were saturating the media with reasons why hard-working Americans should buy their toys, yet they obviously didn’t feel the American worker was worthy enough to employ. This is kind of duplicitous, don’t you think? They won’t hire Americans, but they still want us to buy their classic “American” toys for our kids.

It boils down to greed

The primary reason they make those classic “American brand” toys in China, is because of unadulterated greed. They couldn’t care less that the majority of their sales come from North America, but they won’t employ us — they simply care that they can save .50 cents per unit to make it abroad. So I wrote to their CEO and asked:

“How is it you expect the American people to be able to buy your products, if companies, such as yours and countless others, send the jobs overseas?”

I never got a reply.

Corporate greed it seems, is now motivating companies to declare that robots and other forms of AI (artificial intelligence), are the wave of the future and that people really won’t be needed at all — why pay any human, if you can get a machine to do the work for free? Apparently blinded by their unconstrained greed, they forget one important thing” no jobs = no money = no sales. Are they really this dim?

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, Robots could replace nearly a third of the U.S. workforce by 2030.  A third of the nation’s workforce laid off in just 12 short years!

From that article in the Washington Post:

Over the next 13 years, the rising tide of automation will force as many as 70 million workers in the United States to find another way to make money, a new study from the global consultancy McKinsey predicts.

That means nearly a third of the American workforce could face the need to pick up new skills or enter different fields in the near future, said the report’s co-author, Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute who studies business and economics.

“We believe that everyone will need to do retraining over time,” he said.

The shift could displace people at every stage of their career, Chui said.

By 2030, the researchers estimated, the demand for office support workers in the U.S. will drop by 20 percent. That includes secretaries, paralegals and anyone in charge of administrative tasks.

During the same period, the need for people doing “predictable physical work” — construction equipment installation and repair, card dealing, security guarding, dishwashing and food preparation, for example — will fall by 30 percent.

Around the same time that article appeared, Bloomberg published this one:

Robots Are Coming for Jobs of as Many as 800 Million Worldwide.”

As many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labor force.

That’s according to a new report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations by the research arm of McKinsey & Co.
 
The consulting company said Wednesday that both developed and emerging countries will be impacted. Machine operators, fast-food workers and back-office employees are among those who will be most affected if automation spreads quickly through the workplace.
 
Even if the rise of robots is less rapid, some 400 million workers could still find themselves displaced by automation and would need to find new jobs over the next 13 years, the McKinsey Global Institute study found.

We’ve all heard the expression “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” This is a classic example. The rush to automate is based solely on unbridled greed. “They” say people will need to be re-trained to do other jobs, but that rarely happens and those other jobs either never materialize, or they come too late.

I’m not an Economist and I don’t pretend to be an expert, but it seems to me that these corporate beasts are feeding on themselves, devouring their own bodies, without a thought for the consequences. So yeah, they may save some money, but look at the drastic effects this will have on every single industry on the planet — hotels, airlines, car makers, vacation resorts, oil & gas companies and yes, even toy companies — all will wonder “gee, why aren’t people buying our product/service?”  Well…go ask that robot over there and see if it can help you!

Happiness will always elude greedy people. Greed is toxic and deadly — it has a permanent corrupting effect on a person’s character and spirituality, causing strife and pain where ever it is allowed to fester unabated.

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” —    Erich Fromm

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The Seasons of Life https://positivitypost.com/the-seasons-of-life/ Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:01:25 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11770 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/We shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover and the same can be said for people. Too often, we see a person and without knowing their full story — their true story — we judge them. I wonder how many good people and potential new friends we have tossed away by doing this?

People, like nature, change. In essence, we go through seasons and those seasons can affect us all differently. The story of the wise father and the Pear tree is an excellent lesson on not judging a person by one season:

The Seasons of Life

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.

The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree’s life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are – and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life – can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Don’t judge a life by one difficult season. Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.

– Author unknown

“Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me and don’t talk about me until you’ve talked to me.” – Unknown

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7 Pointers on How to Achieve Your Life Goals https://positivitypost.com/7-pointers-on-how-to-achieve-your-life-goals/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 09:01:04 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11754 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Can a life plan be broken down into steps? You bet it can. Most people who have achieved their life-long ambitions usually start with some kind of “list.” That list of course, needs to be fluid and not too rigid — but having a step-by-step plan is essential.

Its not just steps though — to achieve our dreams, we need to have the right mind-set and that too can be a list of steps, actions or reminders.

Having ambition and setting goals is an integral part of who we are. Whether you have your heart set on becoming a Doctor, writing a best-selling novel or starting a business, everything is achievable — it simply takes the right mindset, courage and, planning.

So how can you reach your full potential and realize your life’s dreams? Some of the pointers below are the perfect starting point:

1. Dream

Something is stirring inside of you that makes you want to achieve your goals and that’s why your life’s dream starts in the heart and mind. Those dreams need to be nurtured and the mere thought of them should inspire you. So dream and dream big — think of the possibilities and imagine yourself achieving your dreams. Don’t let anyone try to bring you down either. They’re your dreams and you should let them flow and help propel you forward.

2.  Picture

At some point in time…probably lots of times, people who make it big imagined themselves as the CEO of a corporation, or as a famous writer — they daydreamed themselves right into the place they wanted to be. This is very healthy! So whatever your goals are, imagine yourself having achieved them and let your imagination propel you toward making it a reality.

3.  Believe

No matter how big your dreams are, you have to believe in them. History is full of people who came from nowhere, but they went on to be epic! They overcame odds and they worked hard, but they achieved their life’s dream. So can you — believe in yourself, believe you’re entitled to achieve your goals and believe that you will.

4.  Plan

At some point, we all need to scope out our ambitions/dreams and this means creating a plan. Find a quiet place to write out what your goals are and develop a plan: do you need to get a specialized degree? Will it mean moving to a new city? Try to develop a step-by-step plan and realize that it will probably change as time progresses. The plan should be more fluid than rigid at first.  The ‘plan’ is basically your strategy for what you’ll need to accomplish each step.

5.  Share

Don’t keep your dreams to yourself. Tell everyone who you think will encourage you. The more you say it, the more you’ll believe it and the more people will support and encourage you.

Note: the other reason why you should tell people about your goals is because you’ll also need some help along the way and people power is a tremendous resource. For example, can someone put you in touch with a friend who has achieved what you want to achieve? Can a relative give you a book that will help you along the way? Sharing and networking are important parts of the journey.

6.  Work

Dreams not only need to be planned and talked about, they need to be executed — that means we actually have to do something to get the ball rolling. Most people who’ve made it big will tell you that it took lots of hard work and that even when they reached the top…they kept on working. Be prepared to do the work necessary to realize your life’s ambitions.

7.  Enjoy

While the journey to achieving your dreams may be hard work, it should always be fun. Be prepared for set-backs, accept that you may at times feel defeated, but don’t give up. Make the journey as fun and exciting as you can — join groups that relate to your goals, read books on the topic, particularly by people who are now doing what it is you want to go. Keep yourself motivated and make the journey as fun as possible.

Another good tip is to find something that relaxes and revitalizes you. When you’re feeling worn out, retreat to that personal sanctuary to re-charge your personal energy. That could be the woods, by a lake, or even just a long hot bath — whatever it is that helps to make you whole again.

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”  – Gail Devers

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New Study Finds the News is Polarizing Americans https://positivitypost.com/new-study-finds-the-news-is-polarizing-americans/ https://positivitypost.com/new-study-finds-the-news-is-polarizing-americans/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:01:29 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11732 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/America’s toxic addiction to news is causing a dangerous divide across the country. The news business has become less about reporting facts and more about profits. We’re consuming more news than ever and we’re drowning in information, but starving for knowledge.

Dr. Neil Johnson, a Physicist who heads up the University of Miami’s Complexity interdisciplinary group, has found that when it comes to consuming news of any kind — real or fake — Americans are now descending into a state of extreme polarization. His research shows that the extremes on the left and right side of the political spectrum now vastly outnumber those Americans who fall into “the middle ground.”

Alarmingly, it seems that Americans could not care less if the news they digest is real or fake, as the act of ingesting news has become more important that accuracy and truth. Conservatives rush towards news programs and websites that they believe are the most accurate, while liberals do the same on their side of the spectrum. What we have as a result, are people who are only getting one side of the story and who come away believing that their views and sources are the correct/best/accurate ones, while the others are, well…not.

It’s Never Just Black and White

The problem with this dangerous trend is that we’re becoming a nation drowning in information and opinions, but devoid of factual knowledge.The CNN’s and Fox News’s of the world need to fill the air time, so they’ve made the “talking head” the new American hero — that pundit who blathers endlessly, pontificating their opinions, regardless of accuracy. Opinion is the key word here, because that is what a great deal of our “news” is these days — personal opinions. Disturbingly though, more and  more Americans are lapping up these opinions and then spreading them as true, accurate, hard news. Is it? Nope. More often than not, it’s just one person’s personal views, with the occasional ‘factoid” mixed in to make it sound more legitimate.

Let Me Live in My Bubble

Compounding the problem is the Tech industry’s unhealthy need to create an algorithm for everything and everyone. Take Netflix for example — if you watch 2 or 3 movies with a similar theme, they assume that’s all you want to watch and take away your other choices. What if it was just that one day that I wanted to watch sophomoric comedies? Facebook and Twitter are notorious for doing this too — they’re covertly codifying and classifying us and then pushing what they think we want to see. If you’re a conservative or liberal, then most of what you’ll see are topics/news of that same nature. How is this a good thing, when the result is that we’re being forced into a bubble, based on their assumptions.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  ― George Bernard Shaw

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”  ―Isaac Asimov

This intensifying polarization is a dangerous trend. We’re allowing ourselves to be bundled together into classifications and this takes away our freedom to be independent thinkers. But we need to ask ourselves this — what if those sources are so biased that they’re wrong? How can we possibly hope to grow and evolve if we’re so busy finding reasons to remain at odds with each other?

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”― Winston S. Churchill

We know that our adversaries are taking full advantage of this polarization by promoting fake news and creating strife, so do we really need to make it any easier for them to divide us?

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” ― Abraham Lincoln

A Solution

Until Americans realize the damage this polarization is causing, I don’t know if we’ll see much change. Collectively, I believe we need to admit the problem and then look at the causes and cure them. They say “the truth lies somewhere in the middle” and I believe this to be true. News should be about facts — proven, accurate facts, as best as they can be reported at the time. When we start interweaving opinions and even conspiracy theories into the news, we risk drowning in falsehoods.

We also need to consider that the “news” we’re being given today, seems solely focused on the trashy — while the they bombard us with salacious stories, wars, famine and other real news stories go unreported and thus, unnoticed — how can we allow that to continue?

“The closed mind is a disease. You need to have an open mind; otherwise life will just pass you by.” ― Danny Wallace

“If you cannot be open-minded, then you do not possess your ideas, your ideas possess you.”   Bryant McGill

An open mind is absolutely vital to our own development, but also to our nation’s health and this means questioning, verifying and then concluding. How can this possibly happen, if we live in a bubble and only consume news and opinions that we believe match our own? How can we hope to make life more pleasant, productive, prosperous and positive, if we’re so busy seeking out ways to make our differences even more pronounced?

“The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities – warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful – happier.” ― Dalai Lama

Read more:

News is entertainment and entertainment is news

California Senator Introduces Bill to Kill Free Speech, Requires State-Sanctioned Fact Checkers to Approve Online Content

Twitter Bots Post Two-Thirds of Links to Popular Sites on the Platform

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Argg!! I’m So Angry I Could Scream! https://positivitypost.com/argg-im-so-angry-i-could-scream/ Mon, 09 Apr 2018 09:01:29 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11710 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/“Hey, buddy! Yeah, I’m talking to you! You gotta problem?” Look at someone the wrong way these days, and you may just find yourself in the unenviable position of encountering a hothead — that perpetually agitated and hostile person who is in constant battle mode.

The age of rage. Why are people so angry today? What could have happened to make more of us so uptight, mad and unhappy? Well, there are many theories and one interesting thought is that anger isn’t really the true issue. Rather, anger is the response of some to whatever it is that they’re allowing to boil-up within them, until it comes bursting forth in outward hostility to others. As to why some people are so angry these days, I don’t think anyone actually knows precisely why — and it’s this failure to find out the reason(s) that is causing rage and violence to become part of the norm.

So what are some reasons people are so angry today? Here are some thoughts:

Stress:

People today are under tremendous stress. Much of that stress is inflicted by external sources, but, some of it we inflict upon ourselves. We have stress at work, stress to succeed, stress at home and stress that we bring on ourselves by trying to do all and be all. When we’re constantly running in a frenetic mania, how can we possibly find the time to relax and unwind? We’re angry because we’re frazzled, but we don’t need to be — people need to get off the mad rollercoaster and just breathe!

People feel they’re losing control:

The world around us whirls like crazy and that goes for corporate America too. People are no longer valued and companies willingly burn through their “human resources” without a second thought. Artificial “intelligence” is all the rage and greedy companies are giddy with the prospect of replacing human workers with robots. The fools. If there are no jobs, who do they think will be able to buy their products and services? So people are angry because they no longer feel secure or valued by the corporate monster.

Politics and news 24 x 7:

We are a nation obsessed with politics — we’ve devolved into an “us vs. them” mentality. We are literally drowning in politics and its our own fault. The question is, why? Politicians are all cut from the same cloth — many of them are petty, childish, arrogant and self-absorbed. And because the news is now on an endless ‘braking news’ cycle, we’re incessantly exposed to their outrageous behavior. Government for the people, by the people? Hardly. Today, its government in spite of the people. Is it any wonder why people are so angry, when the very folks we elect to lead the country turn out to be completely unqualified?

Technology Overload:

Has technology made our lives easier? Maybe on some levels. But its also made our lives more complicated. We’re inundated with technology  — come home from work already stressed and you just want to surf the net a bit, only to find your computer has installed some update that causes it to go haywire. Face it — technology has created a lot of stress and tension in our daily lives. We’re glued to our phones and iPads — we’re losing the art of face-to-face communication and we’re paying a steep price for that loss of human interaction. Social media is another major cause of anger, because in reality, its an unfulfilling way to spend our time.

What Can We Do?

The Mayo Clinic has some great tips on how to handle anger. I’m including them below, but not all the details, so make sure to visit the link to read them in full:

  1. Think before you speak
  2. Once you’re calm, express your anger
  3. Get some exercise
  4. Take a timeout
  5. Identify possible solutions
  6. Stick with ‘I’ statements
  7. Don’t hold a grudge
  8. Use humor to release tension
  9. Practice relaxation skills
  10. Know when to seek help

See full Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper from the Mayo Clinic.

Ultimately, some causes of stress are beyond our control. But, we’re needlessly subjecting ourselves to stress and negativity that we can control. I wholeheartedly believe we need to take a step back — to tune out and turn off. Avoid news for a while. Don’t read anything about politics. Leave the gadgets turned off. Stop, live, breathe and enjoy! The frenzy of life is causing people to lash out in anger and unless we change, our world will become a much harsher place.

If we make the time to decompress and re-charge our mental energy, we can greatly reduce the causes of our anger — and I truly believe that we need to make this change pronto.

 

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen

 

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We Should All be More Like Rose https://positivitypost.com/we-should-all-be-more-like-rose/ Fri, 06 Apr 2018 09:01:01 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11661 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Have you noticed that time seems to be advancing faster than ever? I thought it was just me, but talking to a lot of people, it turns out, they’ve noticed it too. A year passes and it feels more like just a few months have gone by — I mean, how are we already over 3 months into 2018?

This phenomena means that we truly need to appreciate every moment and make every day count. Wake up in a good mood, resolve to have a good day, have a spring in your step, talk to people and, listen to them too. Find something exciting to do, start that hobby you’ve always dreamed of, take that cruise, climb that mountain…do things that matter and will give your life more meaning.

A great story that speaks to the importance of making the most out of life, is about a woman named “Rose” – a lady who wisely said “You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.”  Read on to see how Rose lived every moment to the fullest:

An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me, with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:

“We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.

If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of Rose. Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.  We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

Dan Clark

Rose was one smart lady. Time is precious, so why waste it living in negativity? We have to grow up, of course, but why can’t we retain our child-like sense of awe about the world? Why can’t we dream, hope and whistle a happy tune every day? The truth is, we can, because we have the ability to make our life anything we wish, so lets dream big!

Shake off anger. Kick negativity to the curb. Let go of envy and all harmful emotions for that matter. Create your life, then go out and live it with passion and vigor…every single day!

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Here’s How Millennials Can Plan for Retirement https://positivitypost.com/heres-how-millennials-can-plan-for-retirement/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 09:01:06 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11574 As the saying goes, “it’s never too early to _____________.” For retirement planning, this is especially true. Times have changed and millennials need to do some extra strategizing to prep for their golden years…starting now.

Tim Lemke authored a brilliant article on Wise Bread that lays out 8 things millennials can do right now to ensure a secure retirement. And as our readers know, we’re big fans of Tim and Wise Bread, so here is that article, courtesy of wisebread.com:

8 Things Millennials Can Do Right Now for an Early Retirement, by Tim Lemke and courtesy of Wise Bread.

When you’re young, it’s hard to think of retirement planning as a priority. You have barely entered the workforce; now you have to think about what to do when you’ve stopped working?

But if you are of the millennial generation, the road to a comfortable retirement should begin now. And with the right moves, you may even be able to retire early. Consider these financial moves to supercharge your retirement plan.

1.  Develop a net worth mindset

One of the keys to saving for a comfortable retirement is to focus on accumulating things that grow in value while reducing your liabilities.

This means earning and saving as much money as possible while eliminating debt. It means investing and watching your money grow, through things like stocks and real estate. It means avoiding spending money on things that will lose financial value or have no value to begin with.

This mindset will help you develop a high “net worth,” calculated by how much your assets exceed your liabilities. You can’t retire unless you have a high net worth, and you can’t get there unless you make the right financial choices — especially at an early age. (See also: 6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative)

2.  Open an IRA

If you have any earned income at all, you can open an individual retirement account (IRA), which allows you to invest in almost anything and enjoy tax savings along the way. With a traditional IRA, any money you invest is deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, contributions are taxed upfront, but any investment gains can be withdrawn tax-free when you retire. You will pay a penalty and taxes if you withdraw money before you turn 59½.

These retirement accounts can be powerful saving vehicles if you have the discipline to set aside as much money as you can. The earlier you invest, the more time your money has to grow. (See also: 5 Retirement Accounts You Don’t Need a Ton of Money to Open)

3.  Put money in a 401(k)

If you are employed by a company, there’s a good chance that you have access to a 401(k) or similar plan. Don’t ignore your human resources representative when they hand you a stack of plan documents urging you to sign up.

A 401(k) plan allows you to invest in a variety of mutual funds and other investments, and your company will often match your contributions up to a certain amount. Money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. You should invest as much as you can into your 401(k), but it’s imperative that you at least contribute enough to get the maximum in matching funds. Your contributions, coupled with the matching funds, can add up to millions of dollars by the time you decide to retire. (See also: 401K or IRA? You Need Both)

4.  Open a taxable brokerage account

There’s no rule that says all your investments need to be in retirement accounts. Regular taxable brokerage accounts don’t have the same tax advantages as IRAs or 401(k) plans, but they do offer other perks, chiefly the flexibility to withdraw money whenever you want it. This is especially key for someone looking to retire before age 59.

Taxable brokerage accounts can be used to accumulate dividend stocks, bonds, or other investments that provide income that will allow you to retire early. (See also: 7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have)

5.  Get a side hustle

To accumulate enough money for an early retirement, you’ll need a healthy and steady income. If your day job doesn’t quite pay enough, look for other ways to generate cash. This may mean freelance writing or playing guitar at local coffee shops. Maybe it’s tutoring math, working as a DJ, or doing ASMR videos on YouTube.

If you’re young, you have energy and freedom, and the ability to make some cash on the side. Earn it, invest it, and watch it help you retire for good from work at an early age. (See also: 14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash)

6. Learn to budget

It’s simple: The only way to invest money is to save it, and the only way to save it is to spend less than you earn. This may be easier said than done, especially if you aren’t making a lot of money early in your career. But it needs to happen.

Start by tracking your spending so you know precisely where your money is going. Then create buckets for various categories of spending (rent, food, entertainment, etc.). Budgeting requires focus and discipline, but can be fun — and ultimately rewarding — when you see your savings grow. (See also: 9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!))

7. Tackle that debt

You may have student loans. As a result, you may also have credit card debt. If this is weighing you down, it’s time to do something about it or an early retirement will be impossible.

Begin by going after some of the most onerous debt first — usually, this is the credit card debt with the highest interest rate. Once the debt is eliminated, you can begin to focus on actually saving and investing, rather than simply making ends meet. (See also: The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt)

8. Get insured

The ability to retire early is as much a product of avoiding disaster as accumulating wealth. It’s hard to save and invest aggressively if you find yourself saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, or expenses to replace items lost when your apartment flooded.

You may think that health insurance is a waste of money because you are young and in good shape. You may think that you’re a good driver and don’t need comprehensive auto insurance. But if you truly want to gain financial independence and work toward an early retirement, you must be properly insured. Even if you have insurance now, review your policies to make sure you’re covered at the right levels. Fail to do this, and you may find a single disaster will send your financial future off track. (See also: 15 Surprising Insurance Policies You Might Need)

 

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If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit Wise Bread, I encourage you to do so — they’re fantastic!

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About the article author, Tim Lemke:

Tim Lemke has spent more than 20 years as a business writer and spent many years as a journalist for publications in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area. He has covered issues relating to personal finance, investing, economic development, technology, and the business of sports. He has worked for the Washington Times, Washington Business Journal, and Maryland Daily Record. He managed a local news website for Patch and recently served as manager of digital content for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Currently, he is a freelance business writer for various corporate and non-profit clients.

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Adorable Bear Family Takes a Dip in Pool https://positivitypost.com/a-bear-family-takes-a-dip-in-a-pool/ Mon, 02 Apr 2018 09:01:01 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11620 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Its’ funny how some people think that animals are dumb. You and I know that’s hogwash, because animals are actually quite smart and have emotions just like we do — they feel sadness, fright and joy. For us bi-peds, animals are an endless source of amusement, joy and inspiration!

Watch as this delightfully entertaining family of Black Bears takes a dip in one New Jersey family’s pool. But folks, be warned, a cuteness overload is quite possible!  Enjoy!

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Don’t Let Perceived Barriers Hold You Back https://positivitypost.com/dont-let-perceived-barriers-hold-you-back/ Fri, 30 Mar 2018 09:01:31 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=11581 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Who doesn’t love a good “and the moral of the story is…” lesson? I know I do and when I was a kid, these kinds of stories were part of our childhood education. Today though, they don’t really make their way into the classroom.

A lot of the moral tales read to us as kids centered around being kind or having a strong sense of purpose and determination. I found one recently that harkens back to similar stories I read as a child and I’m pleased to share it with our readers:

Shark Bait

A marine biologist was involved in an experiment with a shark. He placed a shark in a tank along with other small bait fishes.

As expected, the shark ate every single fish.

The marine biologist then inserted a clear fiberglass wall to create two sections within the tank. He placed the shark in one section and smaller fish in the other section.

The shark quickly attacked, but then he bounced off the fiberglass. The shark kept on repeating this behavior and it just wouldn’t stop trying. All the while, the small fish in the other section remained unharmed and carefree. After about an hour, the shark finally gave up. 

This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks. Each time, the shark got less aggressive. Eventually, the shark got tired and simply stopped attacking altogether.

The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass. The shark, however, didn’t attack. It was trained to believe in the existence of a barrier between it and the bait fish.

The moral:  Many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark, we choose to stay with past failure and believe that we will always be unsuccessful. We build a barrier in our heads, even when no ‘real’ barrier between where we are and where we want to go exists. Don’t give up. Keep trying, because success may be just a try away.

– Author unknown

The moral of this story is right on. We shouldn’t be so quick to give up and abandon our dreams. If you have a set-back, figure out how to overcome it — your goals/dreams may take a bit longer to achieve, but at least you’ll get there. When we give up…story over.

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7 Positive Thinking Tips That Will Help You Overcome Negativity https://positivitypost.com/7-positive-thinking-tips-that-will-help-you-overcome-negativity/ Wed, 28 Mar 2018 09:01:50 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=9666 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/One of the most valuable habits we can adopt is to proactively think in a more positive way. I use the word “habit” because that is precisely what it is — a conscious practice that over time, becomes a habit and thus, second nature.

Thinking and acting more optimistically makes us feel more alive and free because as we shake-off the negativity, we get a powerful feeling of revitalization in our life. Stress and anxiety begin to melt away and our sense of purpose and meaning in life starts to come alive – that sense of hope and possibility for our life is reborn.

But how do you adopt the habit of thinking and acting more positively? The answer depends on the individual, but there are specific habits you can adopt that will get  you going on the right path. You can start off with these 7 daily habits and once you get rolling, I have no doubt you’ll take off running from there:

 1.  Replace the negativity in your mind, body and life

We’re all prone to letting negative, detrimental thoughts into our head. Once in our minds, they manifest themselves in every aspect of our life.

“What you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create.” – Adele Basheer

Become mindful of your thoughts and reactions to internal and external influences. When negative thoughts pop into your head, stop and ask yourself why you’re thinking and feeling that way — analyze them to get control over them. This holds true for negative thoughts you have of yourself, as well as other people, so when you have critical thoughts about another person, figure out why and ask yourself if those thoughts are warranted.

Another good habit it to look at your life as a whole and write down 3-5 sources of negativity that you feel are impacting your life — this can be people, work, TV shows you watch, websites you visit, your eating habits — anything that you perceive as bringing negativity into your life.

Once you’ve identified them, scope out what you can do to reduce or eliminate them.

The objective is to gain control of your thoughts, actions and reactions, so that you can master them, and not the other way around. This takes mindfulness and a willingness to face the negativity with determination to eliminate it.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

2.  Don’t overreact

We’re all guilty of making mountains out of molehills and this is particularly true if we’re gripped by negativity. When we’re negative, we’re vulnerable and we tend to see everything as more of a problem that it really is. One way to combat this is to again, be mindful of your reactions and before you react and conclude, think — take a deep breath, look at the situation and ask yourself “Is this really such a big deal? Will this matter to me tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year?”

“Respond; don’t react. Listen; don’t talk. Think; don’t assume.” – Raji Lukkoor

3.  Don’t dwell on the future or ruminate on the past

Some of the more harmful negative thoughts we let over-take us stem from dwelling on the future or ruminating on the past. We all do this — it’s human nature. However, just because it’s human nature doesn’t mean we can’t control it.

Always looking forward or backwards means we’re not settled in our present. We do need to think about the future and we should remember our past, but we can’t control what has not yet happened, or has already taken place.

How can we stop this cycle? Mindfulness comes into play again —  when we catch ourselves doing this and its centered around negative thoughts about the future or the past, we need to snap ourselves back into the moment. To make this a habit, try:

  • Spend several minutes every day focusing on the now — stop and smell the roses (may sound like a cliché, but it’s not). Look at the sky, the river, the puppy playing in the park. Consciously look for beauty and joy in the present and before you know it, you’ll be doing it more often and recognizing the good things about life today.
  • Set aside time to think about the past and the future. We need to acknowledge our past and plan for our future, but rather than dwell on it, try setting aside an hour during the week to focus on it — to remember days gone by and to wonder about the future. Usually, as we shake-off negativity, we’re more positive about the future and thinking about it doesn’t become a negative, because we see all the possibilities that lay before us.

4.  Don’t compare yourself to others

A sure way to feel bad about yourself is to compare yourself to other people in the wrong way. No person has an idyllic life, no matter how much they try to portray one. We are all unique and in that distinctiveness, we find our power and destiny. It’s hard not to compare our lives to other people, but when we’re in negative mode, it happens upon us so easily — we feel down, so we look at others and think “why does she have it so easy in life?”…odds are, ‘she’ doesn’t. If you find yourself comparing your life to other people, consciously stop and re-align your thoughts. With positivity comes confidence, and one important step is to accept who we are, maximize our strengths, and strategize on how to minimize or eliminate our weaknesses.

“The only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” – unknown

5.  Let off steam

If you let negative thoughts take up residence in your mind, they’ll drag you down. To get rid of these parasitic thoughts, sometimes we need to let off a little steam. Try having a set time or a set trigger that will prompt you to face those negative thoughts and kick them to the curb. A good physical workout can help, as can having a venting buddy — a friend or family member who will let you vent about your frustrations, even if they don’t offer any advise. In turn, you can do the same for them — the key is to just let it all out and once in the light of day, those negative thoughts lose most of their power.

6.  Share the positivity

Positive people share their optimism. A daily habit with mutually beneficial reward is to be the supportive person someone else may need. A smile, an encouraging word or being a sounding board may seem insignificant, but helping someone else not only makes the other person better off, but it makes us feel good too. Share your positivity by adopting the daily habit of helping someone else.

 7.  Be realistic

Becoming and remaining a positive person isn’t easy and it is by no means a magic elixir. It takes commitment, but the end result is very much worth the effort. Remind yourself that you’re only human and be realistic in your expectations. Slowly, day-by-day, things should improve and you’ll find that being positive is far more valuable than being negative.

A few other habits to incorporate include:

  • Start every day off with an infusion of positivity by reading or repeating some positive affirmations. For example, one could be: “Today is a good day and I will make the most out of my time — I matter, I care and I’m in control of my own life.”
  • Get plenty of rest and exercise: this is actually a daily habit all of us can benefit from.
  • Have a “re-charge” activity or safe place: what relaxes  you and makes you happy? Try to have something healthy and positive to do, or someplace to go that is calming, to help you regain your perspective — this could be a quite room to read a book, or a long hot bath…whatever works for you.

 “In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” – Eckhart Tolle

 

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