Collaboration

2017_cI’ve recently come to change my thinking of something. I used to feel like I didn’t achieve certain goals because I didn’t have time. I have a habit of getting interested in lots of things so then I end up with a bunch of things I’d like to get done (writing, working out, making jewelry, training my dog to do fancy tricks —  just to name a few) or lots of people I’d like to see. But most of the things I get done is when I have someone else to do it with.

I got serious about line dancing when friend started going to class with me, I became more consistent writing when my friend Tracey started writing with me (in fact she’s the reason I’m doing the A to Z challenge this year especially now that I am catching up! Check out her blog Krazy is the new Black). So perhaps the reason I haven’t made good on my gym goal is I don’t have a partner. I don’t need a person to make me go but knowing they’re expecting me to participate keeps me from putting it off to another day and even when I do put it off, I know I can’t get away with it for long. Plus it’s just more fun spending time with someone interested in the same things we are.

Is it easier for you to achieve your goals when you collaborate?

#AtoZChallenge

 

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Budget

2017_bIt’s not easy to save money these days when all you have to do is click a button on your phone and you can have practically anything within a few days, but there are options out there to help you save your money and keep track of your finances.

I am horrible at budgeting, but I have some family members who are using a website called You Need a Budget (YNAB) and they love it. YNAB gives you a free 34-day trial, but even better…YNAB gives students a free membership for a year (and 34 days) so I figured it wouldn’t hurt for me to learn how to budget.

I have this crazy idea that when I keep track of my money I actually have less of it. I still haven’t quite let that go, but there is also the concept of Kaizen, that small changes compound over time and I was intrigued by one of the ideas on the YNAB website.

YNAB has you look at your incoming money and plan what you will do with it. For example, you take your current pay check (you plan one paycheck at a time) and decide what items you have to buy (or what you plan to save), they call it having a job for your money. The idea that as you continue to do this you will be able to plan out paychecks in advance.

So, I’m going to give it a try. I hope over time I will become a better budgeter.

Do you have budgeting tips to share? And if you’re a student you can get a free year. You don’t have anything to lose 🙂

You can check it out at You Need a Budget. And if you’re a student you can get a free year. You don’t have anything to lose 🙂

#AtoZChallenge

 

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

Today is Albert Einstein’s Birthday

Einstein YoungDid you ever consider how great ideas come about? They probably don’t come to us by running around, being busy, and being consumed by noise.

Great ideas come from reflecting on the person you would like to becomeEinstein Older and figuring out how to use your particular knowledge to advance .

 

 

 

 

 

As we all know, Einstein had many great ideas and here are some quotes from him.

Einstein1

Einstein2

Einstein3

 

You can check out the following websites for more info about Einstein:

http://www.onthisday.com/people/albert-einstein

http://writersalmanac.org/ (scroll down after the poem)

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html

 

What are your favorite Einstein quotes?

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Why Do We Like Quotations?

Do you like quotations? Did you ever wonder why so many people are drawn to them? You can get blank journals with inspirational quotes, you can look them up on the internet, you can display them for inspiration. But why do we like them?

I think we like quotes because they have the power to draw our attention away from the stuff going through our minds and toward the things that matter to us. Here are some examples.

Quotes are Inspiring

I like one that comes from T.S. Elliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock .

“In a minute there is time.”

This quote is part of a longer verse, but what stands out about it to me is it’s a reminder that you don’t  need a lot of time to do something, something can be accomplished in even a minute.

ts-eliot

Quotes remind us of something we want to remember.

Eleanor Roosevelt “You must do the thing you cannot do.”

Which to me says you have face things that are scary to you.

e-roosevelt

Quotes can be funny and make us smile.

Here is one from Benjamin Franklin. It speaks for itself.

wine-quote

Quotes Can Be Comforting

We can write them on a post it and put them somewhere where we need to see it.

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Quotes Can Sum Up a Truth Succinctly

Many great quotes come from famous authors.

em-forester-quote

Some people even get tattoo quotes as a constant reminder. What are your favorite quotes?

hemingway-tattoo
Ernest Hemingway

 

You can leave a comment or email me at cherrie.ali@gmail.com.

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How Day Dreaming Can Help You find Success

I have friends who constantly win raffles and contests. It doesn’t require any skill on their parts—just enough faith to participate. Years ago, before seeing them win, I wouldn’t even enter contests because losing was upsetting. I thought of myself as someone who didn’t win contests and each loss reinforced this view of myself.

imaginationHave you ever imagined all the things that could go wrong? That’s what I was doing. How about imagining all the things that could go right? There are ways to use our imagination to improve more than just our outlook.

Daydreaming, or having pleasant thoughts about our life or future  is a way to use our imaginations to form new images, ideas, and concepts in our mind.

“The imagination is as essential for human growth as are sunlight and water for a plant, if it is to flower of bear fruit (Ignatian Spirituality).”

What happens if we don’t use our imagination?

It’s important to hope for good things. “Hope keeps us from being discouraged and helps us in difficult times (Hope CCC 1818).”  Surely, we want to rise above whatever it is that is troubling us now and expect a better life. How can we get there if we can’t even imagine what “better” would look like?

Going back to the contests example, I was limiting myself based on past experiences when the truth was the past had no bearing on the future. There was no reason I couldn’t win. Once I experienced people I knew actually winning, I saw that they all had one thing in common. They knew they were lucky, they saw themselves as someone who won contests. “When we think logically, we base things on our past experiences, but we can’t expect the past to be a blueprint for the future. Using our imagination empowers us, being negative, worrying and being anxious disempowers us (How Life Really Works).”

I was definitely disempowering myself by not having enough hope that I could win those contests.

Using your Imagination leads to success

Have you ever thought about what would make life more fulfilling? Bucket lists are a version of this—keeping an active list in mind of things we would like to achieve or experience in our lives.

Another way to make life more fulfilling is to imagine the type of person we want to be by setting aside time every day to think about this. In the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, the author suggests creating an Imagination Map-collecting images to create a vision of what we would like to be. Besides having something tangible to look at, it keeps us on the lookout for meaningful images.   This can be done by clipping magazine images and articles and making a 2-page paper collage (don’t go crazy and make it massive) or collecting images from the internet and saving them in a document.

One of the premises of the book is that by taking the time to think about ourselves, ideas will come to us that will help us use our special skills to make money or achieve the things we desire. This book is full of examples illustrating successful people who first imagined a brand-new idea and made it happen.

Once I observed my friends winning with their winning attitudes, it gave me hope. I started entering contests and imagining I could win and it started happening!

Note: Researching the imagination was fascinating. I found so much information that there will be more to come on this topic.

Do you have stories about how using your imagination changed your life? You can leave a comment or email me at cherrie.ali@gmail.com.

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Reminders

We live in the information age and with so much information floating around all of the time, it’s not always new information. It’s often stuff we know but it’s helpful to have reminders. I just started listening to the Optimal Living Daily podcast where they read other people’s blogs aloud every day. I started with the Personal Development podcast but there are also others focusing on Health, Finance, and Business Startups.

Forming an Opinion

Google Search

I’ve found Optimal Living Daily (OLD) valuable, at the very least because it draws my attention to a subject to ponder. Thinking about it causes me I form an opinion about if it’s useful to my life or not. For example, I loved the very first podcast I listened to that featured a blog post called 30 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year by Marc and Angel. I visited the website read other posts and loved it.

Self-Reflection

I wasn’t as inspired by another blog OLD read that commented on how taking pictures on vacations could cause people to miss the moment. This is because the picture taker is trying to find the perfect angle, playing around with filters, reviewing, and redoing shots. I definitely think this is possible, and it’s probably a great post for some people, but I know that when I take pictures I try to take it and be brief. I might take a quick look at a group shot to make sure I captured what I wanted and everyone looks good but I don’t spend too much time on a picture. Actually, I usually end up wishing I took more pictures!

Moving Forward

At any rate, hearing this podcast, drew my attention to the topic which was a great thing. Sometimes I’m hearing things  I already know but it’s good to have a reminder. It could be a reminder of what I want to let go of or what I want to do more of.

A or B…or C?

Decisions can change our lives radically— like moving across the country. This decision requires courage and energy to handle making the choice to move and then preparing to leave and adjusting to the new environment.  How do we decide? The intial idea emerges from desires seemingly out nowhere.

Information Gathering

The period before making the actual decision involves a process of formal and informal information gathering. Then there comes a moment when we’ve completed our information gathering and decide to act. Or we decide not to act. The information gathering reaches a definite end point. That doesn’t always happen though. Sometimes we avoid choosing and these non-decisions fall off our radar because we’ve gotten distracted by other things or we’re just blatantly ignoring it.

The Process

A few years ago, I decided to get another car. This process was vastly different than how I obtained my previous two cars. The first one was given to me. There was no choosing involved, only gratefulness of having a car. For the second one, I was going to buy a used car. Although I did test drive a few cars, I knew I wanted a particular brand, model, and it had to be either blue or green. That was my highly-sophisticated method for purchasing a car. Choosing the third car involved a scary amount of decision making. I would consider any car within a particular price range. I had to decide between new and used. I had to test drive different brands and models because I was totally open to anything. I read and re-read reviews on apps and magazines and I looked at lots of websites. In the end, it came down to three cars that I liked driving and then narrowed it down to the brand with the better reviews.

Experiencing the Chaos

I studied cars for about six weeks. During the early and middle weeks, it seemed overwhelming. I felt like I would never know enough to be able to decide. But then the process ran its course and just seemed to be winding down. I had been over all the information and wasn’t getting anything new. It just became time to make a decision. I chose and I was very happy with my decision. When the time came to get my fourth car, I just went with the runner up from last time because they were some features from the third car didn’t have that I missed having. I was still benefiting from the vast research I did for the third car, I didn’t have to put much thought into the fourth car.

What Could Have Been

Sometimes we have to decide on things that may be better for us but will leave us with some regret regardless. Perhaps it’s our college major. Like we changed a more fulfilling major for one that would make more money or vice versa. To paraphrase a quote from Elizabeth Craft from the Happier Podcast, being an adult is learning to live with regret. Not every choice may cause drastic regret, but we have to make choices in life and we have to let go of some things we would like.

A Fresh Start

As the new year rolls in, it gives us a chance to decide what we want in our lives and accept that there are just some things that we will regret and that’s ok. It’s part of life. But we have to make a decision at some point otherwise we will keep going around in circles mulling over the facts. We have to make a decision so we can progress. So when making a decision keep in mind there is a beginning and end point, don’t get bogged down by too much information, and realize that there may be some aspects of a decision that aren’t ideal but we can still appreciate it.

The Accidental Post

If you like inspirational books, philosophy, or psychology I highly recommend checking out Brian Johnson on YouTube, his podcasts, and website. He reads books and grabs what he calls are the big ideas to share in his episodes.

I just accidently published some notes I took on a podcast on a book called the Way to Love: Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello. I quickly tried to banish it but I know it went out to many of you as an email. 🙂

Here is another talk by Brian Johnson on another book by the same author.

 

 

Instead of trying to do one big amazing thing, try to do a whole bunch of things a tiny bit better

Do you find yourself trying to make big plans to improve your life but finding it hard to stick to the new plan? Instead of trying to do one big amazing thing, how about trying to do a whole bunch of things a tiny bit better.

This concept is called Kiwi Kaizan. Improve 100 things by 1% instead of 1 thing 100% and the effect will compound. (Kaizan means constant improvement. The Kiwi’s were a sports team.) We all want to eat better, exercise, save money, devote time to a hobby, etc. How do we go from hardly being able to keep a plan to being a success?

Instead of trying to keep your whole house or an entire room clean, start with a section or zone. I started with making my bed, then I moved on to trying to keep my dresser organized. It’s usually piled with makeup and mail. By attending to it every day, it’s less of a psychological drain than thinking about having to clean up a whole area.

Do you find it hard to save money? My friends have been doing that thing where you start out saving a dollar in an envelope and then you add another dollar every week for a year. You should have accumulated $1378 by the end of the year. This is a great example of seeing how your small effort compounds.  

If you need a different type of motivation how about going the other way? Instead of starting out with a dollar and increasing, you begin by saving $52 and decreasing the amount you save by a dollar every week (Save $51 dollars the second week, etc). For more on that you can check out Pocket Your Dollars 52 Week Money Challenge . I can see this method working better for me, I would be excited about it in the beginning, so it would be easier to start big.

Get a tiny bit better in the things you do. Make it a game to find things throughout the day that you can do to improve your life. Then increase it another 1% the next day. Your results will accumulate as you build better habits little by little.

This idea comes from Brian Johnson’s Philosophers NotesKiwi Kaizan