This question requires more insight than I can possibly write in one short article, so I would like to do something I have not done here before – divide this answer into two parts. It will be published as two pieces. With your permission, here is Part 1.
As with so many other such questions requiring a value judgement, an answer is a matter of perspective; after all, it is your life. The actions that I believe might improve your life are not necessarily the same ones you feel would improve your life. I do have one very important request: If you are reading this and if you are feeling very depressed, or feel in a state of despair, I urge you, please, seek professional help immediately. A professional can help you work successfully through your issues. Only you truly know how you feel. Please do this. It WILL improve your life.
This discussion is about YOU. So what do YOU wish would change in your life? There are both philosophical answers to this question, and there are action answers as well. For example, finding your purpose in life is a philosophical journey. I addressed this topic in a previous article you can read. What is Our Purpose in Life?
In this article, I will address answers that require action on your part, such as improving your health or increasing your wealth, or reducing your stress. Perhaps spend more time doing those things you enjoy, and less time doing those things you do not. Many possibilities lie right in front of us.
Generally, if you consider yourself a happy person, do you desire change? If so, examine your motivation. Perhaps strive to improve yourself by introducing more discipline into your life. You probably know many people who have started some project or resolution and then stopped, drifting back into their old ways. If you truly want change, you cannot allow this to happen to you. If you have not done so, skip using an iPad or computer this time and actually handwrite up a schedule that includes changing your routine to engage in activities that will improve you physically, intellectually, or socially. The process of physically writing engages your brain in different ways and better cements what you write. Some suggestions on improving your net worth or reducing stress will follow later in this article.
More importantly, what if you feel unhappy? Think about that a bit. Why? Once you can identify “why”, you can work the problem and decide if you should change something in your life, and if so, how best to do it. Knowledge can lead to power. That is a true statement.
If you are an individual who feels unhappy because you feel you’ve been slighted in some way and deserve something more – more money – more things – just more –frankly I know several people who are similarly unhappy. Most compare themselves and what they have with others. I used to be one of those people, and we tend to pick those who do far better than we do, rather than those who do worse. I always found this to be a fruitless endeavor. I sometime wonder if people love to be miserable. I was miserable too – once. Then I did something about it. We are not our neighbors, nor are we our brothers or sisters. We have all lived different lives, and had different opportunities in life.
Look around you. There will always be people who are better off than you. Accept it.
Some unhappiness is caused by a person’s misperception of reality.
I am always amazed with people who believe that most others live the lives they watch on TV.
The US Median Family Income according to the Census is now $52,250. Median, as opposed to average, means half of American families earn more and half earn less. Many families today include two working individuals, which explains why the Social Security Administration shows median income per individual at $29,015. It is not uncommon for us to be told in the press or on TV that families earning $250,000 a year are middle class. That is not correct, and actually is an income that would put such a family in the top 2%. (FYI, the top 1% starts at $388,905 per year) Median is the middle – again half above and half below. That means the REAL middle class family earns around the median – $52,000 a year, and if you are single, $29,015.
Most probably, there are many more who are far worse off than you. Should we be more grateful and more appreciative of what we have? I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t be ambitious. But I am suggesting questioning if your numbers are realistic. We are not all going to fit in the top 2%. That is why it is the top 2%. To be the top 2%, 98% must be below it.
Most of us are dependent on our income to pay for everything and spend far too much of our lives in pursuit of money. So how can we get out of that rut especially if we owe much and see no way out?
Let’s first do some strategic planning. Professional financial planning is preferable but it can be expensive, so we will try to cover some of the basics for you to do yourself.
You will need to write down all of your sources of income, and write down all of your expenses. Make a list of everything you own. Make a list of everything you bought, but do not yet own – such as a car, perhaps. We will come back to all of this.
You need to think about WHAT you have in your life, look at your expenses, and decide if you really wish to keep paying for all of those items or can do without them. Why do you have them in the first place?
Personally I think family is most important. I think family is more important than my job. I insisted over the years on spending time with my wife and children- now all grown up. Many, myself included, spent time taking care of my parents too. We also all deserve time for ourselves.
Many things are a matter of perspective. We all tend to live mostly in our own little worlds. We get into routines, and spend much of our lives there. One day we realize we are older, perhaps our children are grown, and maybe we’ve missed some major life events because we allowed ourselves to be too busy, or perhaps a loved one or close friend has passed away and we weren’t prepared for it. We didn’t get to spend enough time with them, or we missed getting to say goodbye.
What stresses you most? If you could change it, would you do it? If we can figure this out, will you take action? It takes courage to make changes. We won’t know if our lives will improve or maybe they might even get worse. What you do know is how things are for you now.
Remember we have all made conscious choices- sometimes the wrong ones. We can go on living our lives, but chances are things then, will remain the same. Maybe we should not allow that to happen. Maybe we need to think how we would like our lives to change. You need to think what you want to be different. Then you need to create a plan to get to your new goals.
The second question is WHERE you are in your life- how close are you to retirement? Do you have enough time to make change meaningful?
What are your thoughts? Are you in a rut?
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Originally posted 2015-11-16 06:44:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter