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Finding Your Inner Drive and Motivation

Do you know what motivates you, or how even how you make decisions in your life? Many of us think that we understand our internal drivers, but often we go through life not taking the time to see how our choices are shaped, or what our real passion is in life.

This article reviews some of the common ways to explore and discover your internal motivation or inner fire, and determine what drives you.

The four steps to finding your inner drivers that we will discuss include:

  1. Psychological Tools
  2. Exploring Spirit
  3. Expressing Your Creativity
  4. Finding Yourself in Community

You can use one or all of these methods of finding your inner motivation. Combining all of these approaches together is most helpful way to look at what drives you and can propel into the next step on your life’s journey.

Psychological approaches to finding your motivation

In this day of self-help books, reality television and readily available therapists, it’s not difficult to find a myriad of approaches to finding your inner drives. In this section, we’ll look at some of the psychological approaches and tools that can help you to learn more about yourself.

Most of us are familiar with the terms conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. The beginning of the movement to understand our inner motivations began with the work of Sigmund Freud at the turn of the last century. We’re all familiar with the classic Freudian slips, when we “accidentally” say something our conscious mind wouldn’t normally say. Freud’s protégé, Carl Jung created a somewhat spiritualized approach to psychology with his work. He was the first to coin the word synchronicity, which talks about the surprising coincidences that seem connected, but have no real causal connection, at least that we can see.

Since that time, psychology branched off into social, behavioral, clinical, developmental and others. If we look at the most influential psychologist, B. F. Skinner, a behavioralist, topped the list. Major thinkers in developmental psychology include Erik Erickson and Jean Piaget. In the 1960,s the work of Albert Bandura spurred on cognitive psychology. Others like Carl Rogers created a humanist approach to this work. In a sense all of the different types of psychological approaches are geared towards finding what motivates us all to do what we do in our lives.

To read a high level overview of the ten most important pyschologists, visit VeryWell. So, how does all this theoretical psychology relate to pop psychology and helping you find your inner motivation today? It could be laborious to read the works of the psychologist above, and you may find that their theories don’t necessarily apply to you in a way that really makes a difference in your life.

Personality Tests

On this site, we’re here to give you some places to start finding your inner motivation now. One way that many people find useful and enjoy doing is using personality tests to see yourself and to also see how you compare to others. There are many personality tests that you might find useful. We’ll discuss two that are popular helpful.

  1. Meyers-Briggs
  2. Authentic Happiness Testing

Many businesses and individuals find the Meyers-Briggs test to be helpful. It’s based on the work of Carl Jung, and divides the population into 16 different categories based on their mixture of introversion/extroversion, intuitive/sensate, thinking/feeling, and judging/perception. This test is often used to chart career interests and see how your internal way of being might interact with a different personality type. For a small fee, you can take the test online.

Another very popular personality test is the Authentic Happiness Inventory Questionnaire developed by Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylania. Seligman created the Positive Psychology movement, which is a newer branch of psychology that uses empirical studies to explore positive emotions, strength-based character and healthy organizations. His work has helped him to identify individual’s strengths and build upon those. Over 700,000 people around the world are involved in this project. You can take the test, find your strengths and participate in his group at the Authentic Happiness site.

While it’s great to read, and explore your personality, let’s explore some of the other ways in which you can discover what gives you passion and the drive to live your life’s purpose.

Exploring Spirit

You don’t have to believe in a deity that is an old man in the sky, to find value in connecting with your own spirit. One of the ways that we can find our inner motivation is to find a connection with spirit or soul or what can be called something greater than ourselves. In this step of finding your inner motivation we will focus on three topics:

  • Defining what spirit means to you
  • Aligning with Spirit
  • Essence versus Ego

In many ways this step of exploring spirit is the life long process that we are all taking to uncover our best self and highest motivations.

Defining What Spirit Means to You

What does spirit mean to you? In many ways your response to this question is a reflection of your inner motivation. You can have a spirit of invention, of curiosity, of seriousness or of humor. And you can participate in one of the many spiritual traditions in the world.

In his book, Four Spiritualities, Peter Tufts Richardson described four types of spiritual journeys – unity, devotion, works, and harmony based on the Meyers-Briggs personality test discussed above. Depending on your upbringing, personality, and influences in life you may find that it is time to define or re-define your relationship to a power greater than yourself.

So how does connect to spirit help find your inner motivation?

Spirituality is a mirror of the way in which we our lives and our relationship to each other, and our environment. If you’re not comfortable with religious ideas such as having a soul or spirit, you may simply prefer to refer to your conscience or deeper process. By seeking out spirit, you begin the process of discovering your inner motivation.

Aligning with Spirit

One of the challenges of finding our inner motivations and aligning with spirit is that so often we want to deny our humanity in the quest to align with spirit. All major religions talk about this theme of removing the masks that we wear and exposing our humility. Yet, we tend to think this means that we have to deny some of our inner drives and motivations.

We need to acknowledge both the highest and the lowest in life. As we seek to align with or live our life with spirit, this is where we have the opportunity to see some of our desires are to haveg the newest dress or fastest car, and some of them are ones we wouldn’t even consider such as the desire to let go of arrogance or greed.

When we look at commonalities along the spiritual path of discovery we find a couple common themes. Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute talks about aligning with the spiritual path by understanding that we all share two common challenges that we all suffer and that change is a reality in life.

It’s often when we confront suffering or the need to change, whether expected or not, that we have the opportunity to see our deepest motivations.

Aligning with our spirit allows us to use our unique gifts and talents to find our motivation and embrace change. Another way of looking at the process of connecting to spirit is to see that it is both an inward and outward journey of change that helps us to relate to everything that we create or happens to us in our lives.

Essence versus ego

Many philosophers, poets and mystics talk about finding our essence. This is another aspect of looking at our inner motivation and drive. How does working with spirit differ from that approach? In almost every spiritual approach there is there is the path of being a seeker. Some spiritual traditions consider our inner essence to be impure or sinful, while others talk about our essence as being pure, compassionate and kind. In either approach the goal is to become more god-like in our actions and the way in which we present ourselves.

You may have heard many spiritual discussions about having an ego as though it is something to get rid of. Having an ego is another way of saying that we are human, and that we are individuals. When we look deeply at all spiritual paths, all traditions point out how ego-driven, human beings make mistakes, and need to both purify and forgive ourselves and others.

Spiritual ideas can get confusing when we are trying to determine what really drives us to make both wise and unwise choices. If you’re reading this article, it’s because you want to make wiser choices, and align with your highest purpose in life. However, you may think that you don’t have time for spirituality or that it’s too rigid. The task for you may be to find the spiritual path or inspirational people, texts, and ways of living that appeal to you. The path you choose is a reflection of that part of your inner drive that strives to be the best person you can be.

In many ways, the drive to find inner motivation requires an embracing of both your humanity and your highest potentials. So, look at what you think is the most ideal way of being in the world, and assume that is already part of who you are. Also, look at what you don’t like about yourself, and look underneath those habits and ways of viewing situations. If you keep digging underneath the areas you don’t like to see, you may find that as Pema Chodron, says you’re not ok, and that’s ok. Click here to watch a Bill Moyers video discussing her views.

If you have any inclination towards spirit, it can be very helpful to align with your highest conception of what is possible for yourself every day whether through meditation, prayer, yoga, or even exercises such as running or walking. This can be a way of finding your motivation over time. Each day ask yourself what is my motivation in this moment and for what I want to be or accomplish today.

Expressing Your Creativity

In this section, we will review two ways of finding your inner motivation through creativity:

  • Artistic Expression
  • Finding Flow in Your Life

We’ll look at the more traditional idea of artistic expression from a high level, and then the work of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi on finding what makes your life flow.

Artistic Expression

We don’t always think of creativity as way of finding our motivation. We tend to think the opposite, that we need motivation to be creative. Yet, if you think about it, you are creating your life every day with the choices that you make.

So, another approach that has helped me and many others is the practice of writing or journaling every day and writing stream of consciousness. Over the years, this practice can lead you to find your own voice. Your voice is basically your motivation expressed in the world.

This concept was introduced to me a long time ago, through the work of Julia Cameron, and her book The Artist’s Way, which can help you get started discovering and recovering your creative self.

Yet, you don’t necessarily need to read a book to find your creativity. You can also simply start following your own inclinations on what might be of interest to you. You can take art, music, photography and other types of classes.

Finding Flow

For some people, the artist’s way is not necessarily their type of creativity. Creativity is also expressed through the work we do. Often, business talks about creativity as innovation.

So, consider where do you feel a need to create something different in the world? Answering this one question can be a doorway to finding your inner motivation. Looking at what you dislike about the world is often the place to find where your creativity might be best used.

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi developed groundbreaking work called on what brings us happiness, fulfillment and puts us in a state of flow. Joseph Campbell refers to a very similar concept of finding your bliss. Czikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow the Psychology of Optimal Experience began his discussion of flow. He later wrote a book, Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention that links these ideas even more closely. The Flow Psychology blog shares some videos and postings based on his ideas.

Essentially flow and creativity are linked. Find the things that you can spend hours doing and completely lose track of time, and that probably is where you are both creative and flowing. This can be anything from gardening to renovating homes to creating new computer programs to scientific discoveries.

At first, it may be difficult to see flow in your life, and thus your motivation, if you’re blocking yourself from seeing what you truly care about. You may never have allowed yourself to find what brings you flow. In that case, start experimenting and trying different experiences. Give yourself permission to explore interests and hobbies that you have never tried. For some people, looking at flow can the very best way to find your motivations and desires. When you find those, then you can start shifting into more and more of that activity in your life.

Czikszentmihalyi’s theory is that money doesn’t make life worth living. Only being in a state of flow can give us happiness and fulfillment.

If you would like to hear more about flow from Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, listen to this video of him speaking at TED.

Finding Your Motivation in Community

One of the best ways to learn more about yourself is finding the right community to help you grow. We often can see parts of ourselves best, by seeing a mirror in others. This is the motivation for our site.
If you’re looking to find your inner drive, ask yourself what kind of communities attract you and repel you. Do you feel like you don’t have a tribe or community that suits you? It may be that you have been growing, and the communities that suited you in the past no longer fit.

Fortunately, the Internet provides an amazing opportunity to create new communities and find people that can help you find and express yourself. The mission of our site is to provide an ongoing support in helping to find out who you really are and finding answers to the big questions in life, such as:

  1. Why am I here?
  2. Am I alone?
  3. What creates happiness?
  4. Can I connect to spirit?
  5. Am I safe?

We are here to help you connect to yourself and others by providing you with the ideas of many of the world’s leading thinkers on how to create and live your own life goals. We would love to hear your feedback and questions.

Finding Your Inner Motivation Questions

The following list of questions is a type of summary checklist to help you pull of these ideas together.

  • Can you learn more about your personality and personal strengths?
  • What are your personal strengths?
  • How has your personality shifted over the years? How?
  • Have you determined what spirituality means for you?
  • Can you create or expand upon a spiritual practice to learn more about your inner motivation?
  • Have you been creative today?
  • Could you create an Artist’s date with yourself as Julia Cameron suggests?
  • What attracts you or repels you?
  • Are you in a state of flow anywhere in your life?
  • What do you need to do or be to stay in a state of flow more often?
  • If you had all the resources you needed, how could you make a difference in the world?
  • What communities are you a part of?
  • What ways can you create community in your life, so that you live more in line with the person that you want to be?
  • Could you join a community that would support the next steps of your life journey?

Take the next few weeks to seriously answer these questions and listen to some of the resources in this section of the site, and this will help to prepare you for moving to some of the next steps in determining the next steps on your life’s journey. Be patient with yourself because our inner motivations change.

You may find that what was important to you five years ago may be very different than what matters to you today. Give yourself the freedom to see what motivates you now. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we will always want the same thing in life, no matter what circumstances change in our life. It’s a good idea to look at these questions again whenever your life changes in the ways you expect, and the ways you don’t.

Suggested Reading and Links

The following resources combine many of the principles, discussed in this article to help you think of different ways to look at your inner motivation:

Psychological Path

Spiritual Path

Creative Path

Self and Community


How To Find Happiness

People have been chasing happiness for as long as mankind has been on Earth. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when the snake told Eve that she would be on the same level with God if she would just eat the forbidden apple. Eve obviously was under the impression that it would make her life better in some way. In essence it would make her happier to have complete knowledge. In the end her search for happiness simply revealed to her that she was naked and got her kicked out of Paradise for all time. One wonders why she wasn’t already happy, living in a beautiful garden with all her necessities provided for her without even having to work for them.Pleasure Versus Happiness

Mired in Misery

That was just the beginning. Down through time people have spent countless fortunes and thrown away marriages, families, homes and reputations all in the name of trying to find happiness. Cave men knocked each other over the head with clubs so they could take another man’s woman, his dinosaur, or his cave. In the Wild West, men would stage shoot-outs over something minor, and then ride off into the sunset with the wife of the man they had shot. Nowadays, men and women hire hit people to do away with their spouse or the spouse of the object of their illicit affections, because they think they would be happier with someone else. Millions of people lose the best things they will ever have all because they get the notion that they are not happy. They are fooled into thinking that someone else or some other situation will make them happier than what they already have.

You Can’t Buy Happiness

Countless people pay therapists truckloads of money because they believe that they can tell them how to find happiness. Divorce lawyers are able to live in luxury because so many people believe that the key to finding happiness may lie in finding a new spouse, or perhaps living the single life. Bankruptcy courts, credit card companies, finance companies, and mortgage companies continue to grow, in part because people believe that the key to happiness is having a magnificent home or fine furniture, clothing, and cars. Too many women believe that if they could just get that diamond necklace or ring to show off to their friends, then they would be happy. That fur coat, which would be the envy of all the girls, would surely make her life complete. Those same women may be married to men who are working ninety hours per week in order to maintain the type of lifestyle which affords for them their brand of happiness. Perhaps they, themselves, work long hours in order to help keep up the pretense of opulence in their lives. For too many people, things never seem to satisfy the thirst that they identify as the absence of happiness.

What is happiness, and why is it so elusive for so many people? Why is it that millions of people spend multi-millions of dollars trying to find something that doesn’t have to cost a cent, and may be right under their noses? Why do scores of people have to look so hard to try and find something that other people seem to possess naturally? What do happy people know that others don’t? Are you among the millions of people who wish they could feel happy again? Have you forgotten exactly what happy feels like? There are some basic things that you can do to introduce happiness into your life again. If you will begin to practice these basic things until they become habits, you will see a remarkable difference in the way you perceive your life.

Excessively Seeking Pleasure Destroys Happiness

Culturally we have confused the difference between pleasure and happiness, with profound negative impacts.

The extremes of pleasure lead to addiction.

Pleasure is driven by dopamine.

Happiness is driven by serotonin.

Dopamine down-regulates serotonin. Thus the more pleasure you seek the unhappier you become.

Define Your Happiness

Take some time to take stock of your life as it is. Figure out why it is that you think you may not be happy. As crazy as this may sound, sit down and make a list. Write down the things in your life that you think may be prohibitive to your concept of happiness. Is it your job that you don’t like? Do your in-laws make you crazy? Does your spouse do a million things on a daily basis that you don’t think you can stand much longer? Have you looked in the mirror and found yourself to be a perfect specimen of human kind, and deserving of much better than what you have? If so, it may be time for you to don your grown-up panties and admit that you may be your biggest problem. A biggie for most people is to admit that fairy tale lives exist only in fairy tales, which exist only in story books. The rest of the story is that real life is better than fairy tales. There is profound satisfaction in dealing with day-to-day issues and normal people. You will be at your most free point in life when you fully realize that you are not perfect and that life is not going to be perfect for you, but it can still be soul-stirringly satisfying.

Now, let’s get back to the list. On the other side of the page, list everything you can think of in life that brings you pleasure and the things that used to bring you pleasure, but don’t anymore. Figure out why they don’t. Have you stopped doing them? If so, try doing them again. Give your inner child another chance to play.

After you have completed your list, take a moment to study it. Ask yourself again what it is in your life that makes you feel unhappy. Consider whether your feelings may be situational. This means that there may be a situation, perhaps temporary, which is causing you angst. Remember that the key word here is temporary. In this case, there is a good chance that your negative feelings will be temporary too. Consider changing those things that cause you unhappiness only if the changes would not hurt other people. You should be very slow to make major changes in your life if they will negatively affect other people. Making someone else unhappy almost never makes you happy in the long run.


One of the most basic common traits of a happy person is thankfulness. This is an excellent starting point for anyone who wishes to feel happier almost instantly. Every person has some things for which he or she can feel thankful. It is true that in some situations you may have to dig deep to find things to include on your thankful list, but they are there. The old adage about counting your blessings has remained good advice through the years for a reason. It works. Start with the very basics. If you were able to get out of bed this morning, be thankful. If you weren’t able to get up, but had someone to help you, be thankful. Do you have a healthy family who has a home in which to live? Be thankful. Never mind that this same family may drive you crazy on a daily basis. At least you have a family who most likely loves you. If you have food to feed that family and your other basic daily needs are met, you are blessed. If you have a job to help pay your bills, you are better off than so many others. By now, surely you are getting the idea of how to be thankful. Don’t start with being thankful for the new car or new house. Those are the gravy on life. When you are making your thankful list, begin with those things that you would choose to save first if you were faced with losing most of the stuff of life.

You would be very thankful for your family if you stop to think for a minute how it would feel to lose them. One therapist actually suggests for those who can’t feel excited about their life to play a kind of game. Pretend for one minute that you have lost everything you have, including your family. Try to imagine the devastation you would feel in your very soul. Then imagine the unspeakable joy you would feel if you suddenly found out that it was a mistake and you had it all back. The therapist advises to concentrate on that feeling and hold onto it every day. You will find that your most basic blessings are your greatest ones. Pretty soon you will find that the gravy will matter less, and the basic meal will be your mainstay.


It has been said that a day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel. If you aren’t already praying daily, it can be the most helpful habit you will ever form. Thank God for your blessings and ask Him to help you find your true happiness again. You will realize a change in your thinking as you come to depend on the Lord.

Notice the Small Stuff

Have you ever noticed the way that a child will examine everything in nature very closely? This is a habit that most adults have grown out of, but which is a highly helpful one to re-establish. Take a minute from your busy day to look around you. Make sure you notice the sunset, the moon rising, and stars twinkling. Get up a few minutes early and watch the sun rise. When was the last time you actually smelled a rose, or any other kind of flower? You don’t know what you are missing. Meditate for a few minutes on the splendor of these miracles, and realize that your problems are actually very minor in the scheme of things. Breathe in the fresh air and feel it going into and out of your lungs. You will find yourself feeling much more lighthearted almost instantly.

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is a close relative of thankfulness. Remind yourself as often as you can how blessed you are. Tell yourself and others that things are going to turn out okay. Even if you are only giving lip service in the beginning, say it anyway. Continue to repeat this over and over to yourself until you begin to feel it. Some say you can fake it until you make it. That means to act like you believe it even if you don’t, and soon you will believe it. It’s like playing football and running for a touchdown with the ball. There may be four giants from the other team in the way, but you would keep on running and trying to get to the goal. That is the way we should live life. Yes, there may be giant problems, but keep on going anyway. Tell yourself that you are going to make it. Many preachers will tell you that you should speak of those situations in your life as though they were already what you want them to be. That is excellent advice. Medical professionals agree that positive thinking is vitally important for our health. Staying positive lends exponentially to helping our bodies operate at their maximum potential. All these things are not just coincidence. There is really a magnificent benefit to positive thinking.

Don’t Over-analyze

This could be the flip side to positive thinking. Don’t spend any of your precious time thinking about all the things that could go wrong in your life. It has been said that worry is like paying interest on money you didn’t even borrow. It is a sad waste of time to sit down and ask yourself if you are truly happy. Many times your psyche can be influenced in its thinking simply by introducing negative thoughts into it. Think about putting salt into something that is supposed to taste sweet. It taints the taste of the food. Wouldn’t it be just as easy to tell yourself that you are happy as to ask yourself if you are? Sometimes less really is more. In this case, less negative is more positive. Don’t pick apart your life until you find something wrong with it. Refrain from turning over every rock. Therapists who make their living from your troubles probably would really like it if you looked for every negative in your life and tended it until it was grown, but truly happy people know that some rocks are better left unturned.

Select Your Friends Carefully

It is possible that the source of your discontent isn’t coming from inside your own life. Do you spend time with people who make you uncomfortable? Sometimes this is unavoidable, as in a job atmosphere. We all have people at work on whom we must turn a deaf ear, in order to avoid murder and mayhem. With those who would purposely try to intimidate you, be professional and don’t let them endanger your job. Take the high road.
It is your so-called friends who can really impede your happiness if you let them. If you have a friend who tries to make himself or herself feel better by pointing out your faults to you on a regular basis, cut them loose immediately. They are not your friends. They are using you to feel better about themselves in a way that is not okay. Your time is too important to waste it on people who purposely try to bring you down. Try to stay away from chronically negative people. If you are already feeling less than happy, you don’t need help to be that way. Spend time with happy, upbeat people. It will rub off on you.

Help Someone

In these days when it is very popular to look out for number one, this may sound like corny, or even dangerous, advice. If you have helped someone before, you already know the high you get from doing so. If you have never been in a position to help someone else, you are missing out on an excellent happiness booster. It is sad to say, but it is a sure thing that you have to be selective to a point about whom you help. There is a scam on every corner. Helping someone can be as simple as carrying groceries for your elderly neighbor. Next time you are going to the store, call that neighbor and see if they need anything. Or just call them once in a while to check and see that they are okay. You may see a co-worker who seems to be having a particularly bad day. Take a minute and ask if she wants to talk. Perhaps someone needs help that you could give them on a work project. Think of it as time invested in you as well as in them. By helping someone else, you are investing in your happiness quotient. Remember that it doesn’t have to be earth-shaking to be considered help, and to make you feel better.


Every medical and psychological professional highly recommends exercise as a happiness booster. Studies show that exercise raises levels of endorphins, which are the happiness hormones. Whether it is doing housework, working in the yard, or working out in the gym, exercise is a great benefit physically and mentally.

Love Yourself

You can be the best friend, neighbor, husband, wife, or parent there ever was. But if you are not your own friend, you will not feel happy and complete in your life. Before you can truly love others and love your life, you must love yourself. If there are things about you that you don’t admire, what can you do to change them? Don’t equate loving yourself to loving your physical body. Most people, especially women, do not love something about their bodies. It is our heart and soul that we should be concerned with accepting and admiring. Take a look at yourself inwardly. Examine your attitudes. Are you someone that you would like to have as a friend if you were not you? If you detect things inside that you don’t admire, think about what steps you can take to change those undesirable attributes. However, don’t be more critical of yourself than you would be of someone else. You are the one who will be with you for all of your life, no matter what. It is vitally important that you like yourself.

Forget About the Joneses

Don’t give in to the temptation to measure your happiness by what you have in comparison with what other people have. No one else is living your life. An important thing to remember about the Joneses is that you may not know what is going on behind their closed doors. Years of living will reveal to you that everyone you will ever see has their own set of problems. Do they live in a mansion that you wish was yours? Do you also wish that you had the gigantic mortgage which they probably have? Be very careful when admiring the Joneses, that you realize that whatever you admire about their life may not be exactly what it seems. All you know is what they choose to let you see. What you do not see may be even more disillusioning than anything you have going on in your life.

It is vitally important to maintain a healthy perspective on your life, before you declare yourself to be unhappy. Consider whether your feelings may be due to a hardship in your life which will turn around at some point. If this is the case, hold on and draw strength from knowing that your life will get easier again, and know that you can make it through the rough patch.

One final but priceless pointer as you search for happiness is to know your limitations. If you are truly sad, do not be afraid to reach out for help from trusted friends or even professionals. Only you can make the decision of when to reach out and seek help beyond that which you can give yourself. Life is too short not to take advantage of every viable and positive resource as you seek to find happiness.


How to Be Creative

Have you ever wished to look at the world in a different way than you do now? Have you ever watched someone paint and longed to follow in their footsteps? Though the question remains unanswered on whether or not creativity can be taught, no one can claim that it is impossible.

Some people have always held on to the belief that you are born creative; that, somehow, if you are not ingrained with the ability, it is impossible to grasp. This is definitely not true. Everybody has a bit of it in them, even if they never come to realize it. Or, even if it is brought to their attention at one point, they choose to shrug it off and move on with their lives.

Creativity is not only exclusive, it is exceedingly hard to use, they believe. This may stem from low self esteem, or their idea of what a creative person is. Sometimes what is seen as a flaw can become a deep advantage in some aspects of life.

Becoming creative does not happen overnight. You cannot expect to suddenly be the next popular writer or artist in the blink of an afternoon or even a year. It is slow moving process, one that requires patience for anyone who wishes to keep at it. However, the results will be worth it, no matter how long it takes. You will know a thrill that you did not before, something that hits you at the very core and makes you smile.

How can you spot a creative person?

  • Creative people tend to let their minds become lost in a daydream. Perhaps they are stuck in a particularly dull class, and choose instead to stare at the wall and think of an upcoming vacation. Or maybe they spot a color in their environment and it reminds them of a story that they have been meaning to read. When their mind is not otherwise occupied, other things will take its place.
  • They have an active imagination. A tea cup becomes a bathtub for the bugs and rodents hiding in a home, or an old chair becomes the throne of a mighty king. A crayon is not just a stick made of wax; it is a great weapon. To them, nothing is ever as it seems, and nothing is set in stone. These are the people that write the stories members of society enjoyed as a child, and may still enjoy even as age and cynicism sets in.
  • Environments that freely allow the use of creativity are a good place to find someone who excels in creativity. After all, if they are creative, a workplace that encourages the opposite could be quite stifling for them. There would be nobody to talk to and very little would be available to fuel their urges.
  • They are not afraid to admit to people that they enjoy being creative. In fact, they will likely want to exclaim it from the mountaintops. There are few, if any, obstacles in their path of life; somebody could go out of their way to discourage them, and it would perform very little damage.

How can you harness your own inner creative genius?

  1. Do your best to ignore the passing trends. You may not understand the reasoning behind this, but it is important, nevertheless. Tapping into what is popular at the moment, and ignoring the design aspects that you enjoy, are a surefire way to damage your creativity. Instead of trying to figure out what will get you the most money and attention, stay true to your own feelings. Stay on the path that is yours, without copying others. After all, just because it is popular, that does not guarantee that it is of any value.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Many people do not realize this, but the amount of sleep you receive at night can determine just how well your thought process functions. If you are lucky to get four hours a night, then you will find yourself so tired that being creative just isn’t on the agenda. Take frequent naps, choosing areas that are out of the way from any loud sounds, and let the mind and body get its much needed rest. If you typically stay up late, go to bed early. If you eat many sugary foods, cut back so that you will not be too wound up later on.
  3. Do not pay attention to what others have already put together in the past. This does not mean that you will be going out of your way to copy exactly what they did, as if you came up with the idea yourself. This is meant to push you to distance yourself from those things; to not use what has already been made in your projects. In your mind, they do not exist and have never come to be. They do not influence you. Should they appear at all, it is not on purpose.
  4. Do not watch television; at least, do not do so on such a frequent basis that you are unable to get the creative juices in your mind flowing. Spending several hours a day on the couch, watching a soap opera and eating popcorn will do you few favors. Turn the television off before it consumes you and takes precious time away. If you believe this will be difficult, ask a friend or family member to act as the person who cuts you off from it. Have them turn it off for you, despite any protests.
  5. Do not limit the amount of materials you use when putting together your masterpiece. Just because you have always focused on pastels, that does not mean that crayons and markers are out of the equation. Just because newspapers dominate your projects, that does not mean you cannot switch to colored construction paper in the middle of working on it. You are never truly stuck in your chosen ways, and should not treat the idea of it as such. It is fine to explore different options; how would you be able to grow if you did not?

What should you look for in your special area for creating?

Everybody should have a place set aside for their creative process. What works best varies from person to person, but many would agree on certain characteristics and requirements.

  • It should not be cluttered. If the place you wish to use is full of dirty laundry and piles of forgotten papers, it is not likely that you will be able to fix attention. The smell from the lack of clean, or even the awareness that you are surrounded by such things, could act as a great deterrent. If you must use the space, consider cleaning it first.
  • There should be few, if any, distractions present. If there is a television or computer, have them removed as soon as possible. You may not be able to work if you are aware that a television show you watch will be coming on soon. Having the very thing that can bring the show to you nearby will only cause lose of concentration and many wasted hours. You will end up feeling guilty, and that never assists positively in anything. It is safer to never have had such things around in the first place.
  • The area should feel welcome and opening; you should never feel trapped in any way. This is supposed to be a space that makes you happy and inspired; a prison cell-like atmosphere would hardly cause a person to want to pick up a pencil and dream. If inside, fill the place with stimulating colors; whether the color is simply bright or it is your own personal favorite, be sure to include it. You can also choose to do your thinking outside; just make sure that where you go is safe. The middle of the road, for instance, would not be a terribly proper idea.

What creativity exercises can you do?

There are a number of activities you can do to force your inner artist to get out and play.

  1. Taking a box of crayons, select three colors and place them in the area in front of you. These are the only colors you will be allowed to use in order to create a picture. It does not need to be of anything specific, nor are you expected to complete the drawing in a certain amount of time. Take time off if you so wish and go off to do other things. You will be surprised at how you are forced to rethink when you are limited in what you can do.
  2. If you have never owned a diary or journal, consider the investment. Fill the pages with whatever might creep into your mind, even if inspiration should occur in the early hours of the morning. You can discuss what you had for breakfast, what somebody sitting next to you on the bus was wearing, and so on. The options are limitless, and only take a few moments to create at a time. Soon you will have a written work of art on your hands, to enjoy for years to come and share with others.
  3. Listen to music in a language that you are not fluent in. Some people find this rather strange, but it can work wonders for those who give it a try. When you cannot understand the words, you are forced to listen to the music in the background; you are free to make up your own lyrics and let images float through your conscience.

What Does it Mean to Grow?

There are many different meanings for the word “grow.” It can refer to children getting larger, to what happens when a wise financial investment is made, to what can happen to a tumor, and to many other types of change. There is another kind of multi-faceted growth that individuals experience. It is the kind that denotes progress, improvement, and positive change. Perhaps the best example of this kind of growth is exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ.

Almost everyone knows the story of how Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, because there was not room in the inn. However, after the birth account, the scriptures say very little about all the years of Jesus’ life until he was about the age of 30. There is a single verse, Luke 2:52, which described what occurred during that time period. It says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

This verse describes the complete cycle of intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual growth that every person should seek. Let’s look at what is involved in these four kinds of growth which so neatly fit together to form a perfect whole.

Growth in Wisdom

Many wish to be wise, but people sometimes do not understand what that entails. Some think that having great knowledge indicates a person is wise, but wisdom is different from knowledge. Knowledge is knowing many facts. A lifetime of study can leave a scholar with many facts, but without the capacity to apply them in the best possible way. Wisdom is the ability to evaluate knowledge. It involves seeing the larger picture, including the meaning and significance of a particular situation.

A more technical definition from the Free Dictionary is, “Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight. Common sense; good judgment.” One could say wisdom means making the best decisions with the knowledge available. There is nothing our leaders in Washington, D.C., in our state capitals, and in our communities need as much as wisdom. The fact that so few officials demonstrate wisdom makes it even more essential that we as individual citizens do demonstrate wisdom.

Grow in Stature (physical growth / conditioning)

There have been countless resolutions broken that deal with this subject. All the promises to lose 20 pounds, start running regularly, get more sleep, and reduce the stress level that are made, but soon forgotten, are failures to properly grow in stature. The U. S. Army used to have a slogan, “Be all that you can be.” Growing in stature means physically being all you can be. Eat a proper diet; work hard, but get enough rest; when medical treatment is required, get it promptly. Physical fitness both lengthens and enhances life. It means a person is physically ready for any opportunity that presents itself. This message of the importance of physical growth is especially needed now as America is faced with the ever increasing obesity of its people. This kind of growth also means you are more likely to be physically present. Overeating and unhealthy habits cut years off of life. A good question is, “Would you rather smoke or live to see your grandchildren grow up?” A commitment to this kind of growth will probably extend your life.

Grow Spiritually (in favor with God)

Learning how to grow spiritually is a never-ending journey that relates to a person’s relationship to God. For the born-again Christian, the process involves a love for God that grows with the passage of time. Spiritual growth comes as a person follows the teachings of the scriptures. These things are easy to understand, but difficult to do on a consistent basis. Jesus has said the greatest of all commandments is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second greatest commandment is to love others as you love yourself. The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the letters of the Apostle Paul, the beautiful writings in Psalms and Proverbs, and all the rest of the Bible teach how to grow spiritually.

Every person, whatever their religious background is, can grow spiritually as they seek to reject evil in their lives and do that which they believe to be best. Spiritual growth is a basic foundation stone for a successful life. God loves you and wants the very best for you.

Grow in Relationships (in favor with man)

So many problems are due to faulty relationships. On the international level, at work or school, in families, especially in marriages, and almost everywhere else, there are problems and hurt because we can’t get along with each other. Prisons are filled with anti-social individuals. Divorce courts and counseling services stay busy dealing with people who have bad relationships. There is one small fact that can be an enormous help in developing better relationships. That fact is that a person can only change and be responsible for his own actions and attitudes. We cannot make decisions for other people. How does this truth work out in actual life?

Five actions that will improve your relationships:

  1. A basic relationship problem is selfishness. The individual committed to improving relationships will be willing to focus more on giving than on receiving. A willingness to give without receiving back provides a powerful incentive for change to the other person
  2. It’s true, “nobody’s perfect,” but it is also true a lot of us want to stay just like we are. Having a willingness to change is like an elixir to relationships.
  3. Perhaps the most difficult words to say in the English language are, “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” If you can and will admit it when you are wrong, it will create peace and harmony.
  4. Most of us like to talk a lot more than we like to listen. When a person is not just ready, but is actually eager to listen, it opens the door to honest communication.
  5. The fifth way to improve relationships is basic and should be a part of every statement and action. It is be a person of integrity. Be a person that others know they can always trust.

The five guidelines discussed above on how to improve your relationships by changing yourself are not complicated. They are not difficult to accomplish if you make a commitment to these five principles and stick to that commitment.

Growth in Wealth

Throughout history debt has periodically been purged across all of society. As societies age & debt builds up it begins to tear away at the fabric of society.

At the peak of the housing bubble 80% of Citigroup’s mortgage paper was dubious & their entire board was aware of it. And, while getting bailed out, Citigroup filled the Obama Presidential Cabinet with their picks. What makes the 2008-2009 financial crisis unique is it is the first time that society collectively bailed out the criminals who almost destroyed the global economy, while passing the bad debts onto the rest of society.

Elevated debt loads, activist central bank intervention and low rates have suppressed volatility while increasing asset prices.

Those aspects coupled with a boom in passive investing make external investments more speculative than they appear.

Adding to the absurdity, even Citibank is warning against negative societal consequences of increasing income inequality – the exact outcome one would expect after banks got bailed out for writing bad loans & the recovery was driven primarily by asset price inflation. Those who had a lot of financial assets gained from the money printing. Those who did not lost from the inflation, as purchasing power was shifted from income to corporate profits & capital gains.

The four best things you can invest in are:

  • paying down debt: Americans carry over a trillion dollars in credit card debt. Carrying a credit card with a rolling balance not only costs an atrociously high interest rate, but the money is paid back using earnings from post-tax income. Each dollar saved acts as a soldier which can keep fighting to offer opportunities to earn additional money. But built up debt that is charging you interest does exactly the opposite. Mr. Money Mustache offers a lot of great advice on making the most of your savings and paying down debt.
  • your education: some people equate college and education as being one and the same, however in many cases people will get a higher economic return by gaining deep expertise in a trade which is hard to outsource (like plumbing, electrical work or welding) or by becoming an expert in a new field where there are perhaps few accredited educational opportunities available. By the time a field is standardized most of the outsized gains from it have already been extracted unless the field successfully lobbies to artificially constrain competition. And if the purchase of education comes with a high debt load that may limit the buyer’s opportunities to take outsized risks as they are required to make monthly debt payments.
  • your health: the adage “health is wealth” can seem tiring and overstated to a young person, but as you age, when health deteriorates literally nothing else matters. Eating low quality foods high in carbohydrates can cost far more in terms of latent health impacts than it saves in a lower upfront price.
  • lowering living costs: people who have a low living cost have greater flexibility in being able to try new ideas. success as an entrepreneur is typically failing over and over again until something finally works, learning from each mistake until the cumulative learning drives the insights to understand needs and market timing, allowing the entrepreneur to create enough momentum to more than offset all the headwinds they face.

Tax laws in the United States and many other countries favor long-term capital gains over ordinary income. Therefor it is easier to grow wealthy by saving an extra dollar than it is to move to a highly competitive location in a highly competitive field. People who move to whatever field is hot may earn more, but they’ll also pay a higher effective tax rate along with more income taxes.

A person can invest in bonds or the stock market while living anywhere. They do not need to live in a bubble to invest in the fastest growing parts of society. Any business owner who is confident in the future of their business should aggressively reinvest into their business when it is new to accelerate growth, as profits are taxed heavily, while companies like Amazon.com have paid little corporate tax in decades.

What This Kind of Growth Means to You

What will it mean to you personally if you experience growth that is based on growing in wisdom, physical fitness, closeness to God, and good relationships?

  1. It will mean that you are smarter, stronger, more spiritual and “cooler.”
    • smarter = wisdom
    • stronger = stature
    • more spiritual = in favor with God
    • “cooler” = in favor with man
    • wealth = ability to help others financially, or to leverage the labor of others to help do things you want to do but may not be able to
  2. It will build your self-confidence. You will feel no need to brag or boast because of the quiet confidence in your mind and heart that growth brings.
  3. It will make you a far more pleasant spouse or companion. Your family and friends will enjoy your company more.
  4. It will change and enhance many different aspects of your life. Good attitudes always bring good results.
  5.  It will result in a sense of freedom, peace, and greater joy than you have previously experienced.
  6.  It will lower stress levels in your life and help you to eliminate worry. It makes for living with quiet confidence.
  7.  It will help you concentrate on what is important and not waste your life dealing with trivial matters.

The Experience of a Wise Woman Who Experienced Great Growth in Her Life

Albert Einstein made a statement about intellectual growth that actually applies equally well to all four of the basic kinds of growth. He said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth, and not stop until death.” There are people who have done that and give a wonderful example of what a growth-filled life is all about. Perhaps no one better exemplifies multi-faceted growth than Helen Keller.

Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. At the age of 19 months, she became ill with what doctors then called brain fever. The illness left her both blind and deaf. Helen, as a child often screamed, threw tantrums, and smashed dishes. When Helen was seven, her family employed a teacher to work with her. The teacher, Anne Sullivan, truly worked a miracle as she taught Helen to finger spell and, more importantly, how to understand the meaning of words. With Anne Sullivan’s teaching and Helen’s own intelligence, she progressed rapidly intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Helen Keller enrolled in Radcliffe College in 1900. She was the first deaf/blind person to do so. She was the author of books, toured the world, made speeches, and performed with a vaudeville troupe.

Helen Keller grew from being a rage-filled child, grabbing food from everyone’s plates, to a kind, loving person who donated great sums of money to the American Foundation for the Blind. She also worked tirelessly to improve the living and working situations that many blind people experience. Perhaps the fact of growth can be seen most clearly in some of Helen Keller’s quotes. She said:

  1. “The world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming it.”
  2. “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”
  3. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched … but are felt in the heart.”
  4. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
  5. “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – – the apathy of human beings.”

When a person wonders, “Is it possible for people to change or is multi-faceted growth really an option?” he need only look to the lives of people like Helen Keller. They demonstrate the reality of growth. While most people live more ordinary lives, without the tragedy and high drama that Helen Keller experienced, there is still plenty of room for growth and change in everyone’s life.

What Happens When You Grow in Wisdom, Stature, Spirituality, and Relationships

When you grow in this way, it is as inevitable as night following day. You will focus more of your attention on others and less on yourself. It will become natural to see people as being more important than things.

  1. You will be more prone to notice and enjoy the people you meet each day. Almost everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. Ask them about what they are most interested in, and they will be glad to talk.
  2. You will not look down on anyone, because you will recognize their worth is as great as yours. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I have never met a man who was not my superior in some particular area.”
  3. You will be able to make friends more easily. Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can make in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
  4. The process of growth never is completed. You can continue to grow and strengthen your character throughout your life.
  5. If you have grown in the four basic qualities of life, the door will open for you to dream big and to accomplish your dreams.
  6. For those who are growing, there should not be a fear of failure. You will experience individual failures, but keep on trying. Keep on following your dream and giving your very best effort. It is the road to success.

How You Can Help Others Grow in Wisdom, Physical Fitness, Spirituality, and Relationships

  1. People who have children would do well to encourage their growth in these four areas. Talking with children about simple things that can encourage understanding and progress in this multi-faceted type of growth will help them learn. Providing a good example for kids is always vitally important.
  2. The good example given by an individual who has grown in all four characteristics discussed will be an incentive for other co-workers and friends to pursue this lifestyle.
  3. If someone comments to you about your lifestyle and attitudes, be willing to share with them how you are trying to live and what it has meant to you in your life.
  4. Those who have grown can benefit their country by supporting and voting for any candidates for public office who demonstrate that they too have grown.

The question arises, “If a person grows in some of the four basic areas of growth, but not in all of them, what happens?” Is that okay? While it is better to grow in some than in none, it is highly undesirable to fail to grow in all four ways. Wisdom, spiritual fitness, spiritual maturity, and good relationships are all vitally important to creating a successful, meaningful life. If a person fails to grow in all four ways, his life will always be unbalanced, like a table that does not sit firmly on all four legs. Without all four areas being developed, life will never be as happy or productive as it could be.

Go for it! You can do it! You can have that kind of balanced life.


How to be a Good Parent

If parenting were easy, everyone would do it. Fortunately for mankind, some choose to abstain. But for those of us who decide that it is our duty to propagate the species, it falls to us to discover how to do it right, and earn the coveted title of a “good” parent. Since kids don’t come with a manual, generations of humans have taken it upon themselves to write one. Dr. Spock, Dr. Dobson, Dr. Laura, even Dr. Seuss have all given us insight into child rearing, for better or for worse.

Since there’s no lack of parenting advice out there, it becomes necessary to distill it down to a digestible size, removing the filler and leaving only the good stuff. To that end, here’s what you need to know to be a good parent.

Needy Children and your Role as Provider

Children aren’t born with everything they need to survive. There are animals who pop from the womb, ready to forage and feed from breath one. Human children are a different kind of animal. As a parent, you have a role to fill, first as provider, then as teacher, and finally as guide. Let’s begin with the basics.

The Essentials

Even before the child is born, the name you choose for it may have a big impact on how successful the baby is in life.

Children need three essential provisions from their parent to survive – food, clothing, and protection. But to thrive, these three mustn’t just pass for survival.


Proper nutrition is important for children to grow, especially in early development. The digestive system of infants is not fully developed at birth. Food must be introduced gradually, and at the appropriate stage in a child’s development. Even after a child is mature enough to handle most foods, a healthy and balanced diet is important for optimal growth of key organs, such as bones, muscles, the heart and the brain. Failure to administer a proper diet could lead to obesity, tooth decay, stunted growth, and a weakened immune system.


As any teenage girl with tell you, clothes are essential. Yes, as a parent, you are obligated to clothe your children as to protect them from the elements. But beyond that, you are also teaching them how to think about clothing, and appearance. Putting to much emphasis on clothing styles and brands may lead a child to attach their identity to what they wear. On the other hand, giving too little thought to what your children are wearing may lead to social awkwardness, bullying, or poor self esteem.


As mentioned earlier, clothes provide protection from the elements, but there are other things children need protection from as well. When a baby is born, one of the first tasks a parent must perform is to baby-proof their environment. Instead of protecting the house from the coming baby invasion, baby-proofing refers to protecting the baby from itself. This role continues throughout development, as you must protect your child from things that may harm them, even things they may not see anything wrong with. Your advanced age, er, wisdom, has likely given you a prospective on life which a child cannot yet have. In addition, you must protect your children from others, any external influences which you perceive to be harmful. This could be the internet, television, aunt Suzie, anything that might expose your child to risks they are not yet equipped to defend against.

Probably the most harmful thing in your child’s environment will be you the parent. You’ll make mistakes. So often we push to correct for some of the mistakes that our parents made that we forget some of their wisdom.

And while a new child may be a great source of joy, it will also be a source of conflict and stress. It is quite important that your child’s emotional state is protected by minimizing any sort of yelling or fighting in front of the baby. This, in turn, also means you as a parent will need to put in extra effort to maintain your health by exercising, eating healthy & sleeping as best you can.

The Obvious

Now that we’ve looked at three basic childhood needs, how about three more that are just obvious.


As a parent, there is a responsibility to pass on knowledge to your offspring. It starts simple, with helping them take their first steps, say their first words, and potty on their own for the first time. Then, the questions come, and the role of educator expands to include teaching right and wrong, how to learn, and the realities of a complicated world. School has a role to play in your child’s education, but there is no role as important as the role of parent.

Here is the My Brilliant Brain documentary by National Geographic, which delves deeper into the topic of education and brain development.


If you’ve been around children for any length of time, you’ll know that hygiene isn’t inborn. Children depend on their parents for instruction in how to care for their bodies. This is necessary to prevent infection, and to avoid any social damage unhygienic living evokes.

Medical Care

Human bodies are vulnerable, and human bodies get sick. But the bodies of human children get sick – a lot. Some parents see sickness through the lens of personal experience, comparing a child’s symptoms to their own. This can be dangerous, as children need extra care until their bodies build up immunity and strength over time. A parent must be sensitive to the medical needs of a child, and be quick to act if medicinal care is needed.

About 20% of children have colic. This can make any and all solutions seem moot as the child can cry for hours on end. Anti-colic formula bottles and gripe water drops may help ease some of the pain, however colic can last for many months.

The Difference

Beyond the basics, and outside of the obvious, there are a few needs that a good parent should fill, which really make the difference between a surviving child and a thriving child.


There are many ways to define love, but it is often best to look at it in terms of what it does. Love is affectionate. Love puts others before self. Love extends compassion. Love is vital for a parent to understand a child from an emotional perspective, rather than simply an academic one. If you want to make a difference in the life of your child, give love. It never fails.


Passing on values from parent to child is necessary to give the child a center of gravity, and provide them a base set of guiding principles from which to start. The things you value represent wisdom gleaned from generations of your predecessors, as well as experiences in your own life which have made an impression on your view of life and living. Children will rarely adopt all of the values of their parents, but they will use them as a means to orient themselves to the world and as a foundation to build their own unique set of values which they will eventually pass on to their children.

Transition to Adulthood

One of the most necessary, yet often overlooked, roles of a parent is to assist the child in the transition to adulthood. When a child turns 18, they do not automatically have all the skills they need to successfully navigate the adult world. Skills like running a budget, choosing a career, maintaining a home, and raising a family are not generally part of the high school or college curriculum. These skills have been honed over time by the parent, some through costly and time-consuming trial and error. The parent can save much headache and expense by passing some of these learned, life skills on to their children. The child will most likely test this advice, and make some of these mistakes anyway, but they will recognize their errors much faster, and maybe skip a few grades in the school of hard knocks thanks to their parent-teacher.

To The Principle! Some Guidance from your Counselor

Raising children isn’t just about filling needs. Parenting is an art, and to properly craft children into healthy, happy adults, there are a series of time-proven principles that should be applied throughout the life of a child. A parent who provides food and shelter, sends their child to school, clothes them and cares for their basic needs, may still end up with a child who is resentful, lacks confidence, and is generally unprepared for real life. Here are some principles every parent needs to employ.

The Time Value

One of the most consistent findings by child physiologists, when studying areas such as behavioral influences, emotional stability, and sense of well-being as it relates to children, is that the amount of time the parent spends interacting with the child significantly affects all of the aforementioned areas, with more time having a positive effect and less time having a negative effect. Children crave it, and parents find it hard to give it, yet time might be the most important factor in the development of a healthy child. Something as simple as sitting down at the dinner table every night as a family can dramatically effect the child’s sense of security and feeling of value as a part of the family whole. Time spent helping children with homework is also an excellent time to bond, and keep up with day-to-day events in the child’s life. Some feel it is also important for families to take at least one family-only vacation per year, with minimal electronic distractions. This trip could be as simple as a campout to as elaborate as Disney World. The point is to get the family in a context of fun and relaxation, where the worries of work and school can be left behind.

Honesty is the Best Policy

An atmosphere of truth is critical for any parent-child relationship to succeed. A parent must demand truth from their child, even when the trash is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Lying cannot be tolerated if the parent hopes to maintain respect and control over their children. On the other hand, lies must also be avoided by the parent. A pattern of deception modeled by the parent will damage the relationship, even if the deceit is not directed at the child or the deceit is considered to be a “white lie”. As a parent, always demand truth, from yourself and from your child.

Leading by Example

Speaking of modeling behavior, when it comes to your child, what you do is far more important than what you say. Life lessons which you attempt to pass on to your child verbally will fall on deaf ears if they are not exemplified in the way you live and how you act. For instance, trying to instill in your child the importance of not smoking will likely be dismissed if you yourself continue to smoke. Children inherently adopt the behavior of their parents, sometimes intentionally, but often subconsciously. Be careful what you do, because the next time you look at your child, you might see a little you.

The Zen of Awareness

If a parent wants peace of mind, they will seek to become aware. When children are young, it is vital to be aware of things like what your child is putting in their mouth, the location of every staircase in the vicinity, and how many times they pull on their ear in a given day. As they grow, the need for awareness does not diminish. Knowing how your child is doing in school, who their friends are, who their friend’s parents are, and what game or fashion trend they are currently into can mean the difference between success and failure in your role as parent. The art of awareness is closely related to principle of time. Often the time spent with your child will give you insight into the key areas of their life and set off alarms when lines are being crossed.

Leverage isn’t just for Bankers and Architects

If lines are being crossed, what can a parent do? It is of great value to recognize that every parent has some leverage that can be applied when correction is needed. Some of the best forms of leverage are stuff, access, and freedom. As a parent, you hold the cards. You can take away toys, video games, even special foods to pull your kids back in line. You can limit access to cell phones or television, and you can certainly restrict freedom of movement, either by grounding or banning certain activities. It is important to apply leverage gradually, in order to give your child time to change and to leave new options for use in the future.

Consistently being Consistent

Leverage only works if there is follow through. If a parent says they are going to take toys away for a week, then gives them back in a day, the child will learn that the threat of grounding for a week only means one day’s restriction. Be consistent. Think trough ahead of time how you are going to handle correction. Create a plan and stick to it. Children do not respect weakness, so show them you know what you’re doing by lovingly maintaining order through consistency.

Listening for Communication

In trucker speak, Parent, you got ‘yer ears on? The parent-child relationship will be fraught with difficulty if the line of communication are not open. Many times, the child is speaking, but it is the parent who isn’t listening. Children communicate in many different ways, and it is the job of the parent to try and understand what they are saying. Is your child crying out for help? Do they feel comfortable talking to you about difficult issues? Are you available to listen? Communication gets more and more difficult as the child gets older, but it also gets more and more significant, so provide opportunities to share openly with your child. Remember, if they can’t get advice from you, they will get it from their friends, and that may not be the advice you’d want for them.

Navigating Thorny Issues and Smelling like a Rose

Raising children can be complicated, even when everything is perfect. But it can get difficult and frustrating when factors outside of your control begin to interfere with the relationship between you and your child. Here are areas that you might want to think about ahead of time.

Friends don’t let Friends have the wrong Friends

Children make friends, and they tend to spend a lot of time with those friends. But not all of those friends are the kind of friends that you as their parent would want for them. In the early part of your child’s development, you will be the single most influential person in your child’s life. But are the preteen period, things change. Your child’s friends then begin have more influence over your child’s direction, beliefs, and activities that you do. This may be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be when you understand that you can influence whom your child chooses as their friend. The key is to influence their peer group, or the pool of friends from which they can choose. Team sports are often a good place for your child to find friends because those kids are busy, working toward a goal, and required to maintain good grades. Church youth groups are another good social outlet. Instead of encouraging your child to be friends with certain people, encourage them toward activities and organizations that tend toward the friends you would want your child to have.

Development. Period.

To ensure that your child gets what they need when they need it, it is useful to pay attention to key periods of development in the life-cycle of a child. There are two periods that have been found to hold enormous importance in how children ultimately turn out. The early years, between three and six years of age, have been shown to have a great impact on essential language skills, basic habits, and general personality. Then later, around sixth to eighth grade, another development leap occurs in the areas of cognitive development, critical and abstract thinking, and growth in the frontal lobe area of the brain. Understanding these key periods can help you focus your efforts on the right training at the time that their minds are ripe to receive it.

One To Many

Having one child is tough. Having many is rough. All of the issues we have looked at so far are multiplied with each child added to the family. To be sure, multiple children aren’t without their benefits. They are built-in playmates for one another, and bonded together for life by their family ties, but there can also be added stress. With multiple children, it is important to avoid any type of favoritism, whether due to age, gender or personality. Children become keenly aware of their place within the family, and it is important to give each one a well-defined role to play in the family whole. Like nations or business, children compete for resources. Make sure that each child feels that their needs are being met, at least as well as those of their siblings. Try to spend time with each child individually, rather than treating them as a group, as is the case much of the time. Remember to plan ahead, because what you do for the oldest will be expected for the youngest as well.

Help! I’m a Parent – Where to go from Here

Becoming a good parent is a process, and it will take many more articles like this to equip you with the skills needed to master the fine art of parenting. Thankfully, learning to be a parent isn’t limited to the written word. There are many people in your life who can guide you down the path of parenthood. Seek wisdom from your parents; they raised you, remember. Talk to other parents; they have often been there recently and can give you timely advice. Consult with leadership at your local religious institution. Read books on the subject from educators who have devoted their lives to the study of parenting. And finally, keep up your search on the web. There is an unending sea of html out there ready to solve all of your parenting queries.

Go forth, young parent, and prosper.


How to be a Good Lover

To Build a Home

Falling in love may appear simple and splendid like the movies and songs portray, but the real struggle is presented by “staying” in love. What makes a relationship “work out”, what makes it flourish and blossom over time, offering a supportive and warm lifestyle that people covet? Falling in love is exciting and new each time, making it a highly sought-after ideal. It increases mental, physical and emotional health. But if a relationship begins to sour, all of those factors are affected whether directly or indirectly. We love for many different reasons: to feel accepted, to feel needed, to be comforted, and to fulfill financial need (sadly, in some cases), and perhaps even because it feels good.

No matter what the reasoning behind falling in love, there is usually a distinct method or path to take that keeps you “in love”. It’s like choosing to take a train from one place to another, but you have continuous destinations, each time readjusting to take something away from the ride. Although commonly known as a lightheaded, dizzy hearted state of being, love is a conscious decision that must be reapplied throughout the years you are together.

Many people miss this concept, thinking that love is going to be happy and blissful, the answer to already existent and future problems. It is an easy trap to think that once you have someone to share your life with, your load will get lighter. Certainly, having a companion to share life’s joys and troubles with is good, and there have been medical tests and polls that return the result that people who have firm, stable relationships are less likely to have extensive medical problems.

Sharing as One

Being truly in love is something you become as a couple, together. There has to be realism mixed with loving optimism, an openness about weaknesses but a gentle faith that the other individual can do better. It is a rough balance to keep, but is essential to making a relationship work beyond the first sparks. Because we are human and each have our quirks and things to work on, we need to go into the first throws of relationships with patience and great caution. If you think, “Oh, there is that one thing I can’t stand, but they’ll get rid of it over time…” you are barking up the wrong tree. People do not usually change but by subtle influences of acceptance and love. If you feel that your partner will later become more compatible, you are going to need a whole lot of luck to keep things going in the right direction.

Acceptance of one’s faults does not mean that you endorse their weaknesses; it means that you are willing to love them and encourage them to work on improving, but that it doesn’t affect your love. Parents are usually a good example of this kind of love. They know you are not fully developed and that you have the potential to overcome your childish foibles, yet they trust you to take specific steps to learn and to grow.

Keeping the Flame Alive

Several couples complain that the spark has blown out. Well, a flame has to have something to sustain it, whether it be oxygen or coal, or oil, there is always some method of reinforcement. A strong relationship is this way too. You need to find things, both large and small to keep the feelings fresh and bonding. Having a designated date night, or scheduling a lunch hour together during the hectic work day are highly recommended ways to help couples renew their attachment. It gives you time to talk about things that you can’t discuss in the few moments you see each other outside of bedtime. For couples with children, this is especially vital to keep your marriage running and to provide the best foundation for your family.


Selflessness is key to making a relationship work. This doesn’t mean that you let situations and your partner railroad over you in behalf of “the greater good.” There must be an equal portion of self-respect as well. People who learn to respect themselves AND to be willing to flexible in a relationship are much more apt to feel secure in their relationships. The bond can grow with the nourishment it needs. Make loving, daily sacrifices for your spouse or partner, no matter if it is as simple as doing the dishes or giving a back scratch, or best of all, listening to the things they are mulling over. People in a relationship value the ability to be heard, to discuss whatever concerns them. Not feeling judged or rejected is crucial to building trust between you.


Trust is fundamental. If you do not trust someone, you are not likely to feel safe sharing those deep and intense pieces of your heart and character with them. Focus on building integrity in your individual life. Integrity is where your words, actions and thoughts are aligned. If you are consistent on the little things, your partner can trust you to be so on the monumental things. You will not have problems with jealousy, faithfulness, and decision making, because you already trust them to make the right choices. Time tested love is supported by individual integrity and a devoted desire to move forward in the ways that are best for the both of you.


Over and over, marriage counselors drill the importance of open and frequent communication. The developments in today’s technology make contacting our loved ones incredibly easy. Talking through various mediums of communication during the day can help you feel connected and syncopated as a couple. Although high-tech methods like email, instant messaging, texting and cell phones can help you to have instance access to each other, it is important to take time for face-to-face communication. Easily we can go through a day, in our modern society, without having that deep interpersonal interaction that creates the unique facets of humanity.

Talk openly about your feelings, calmly and making time when you can give one another full attention. Being able to talk about everything effectively and compassionately makes it easier to stop arguments or misunderstandings before they happen. By listening at face value or by not assuming you know what the other is thinking before they convey it to you, both of you will learn to how to discuss any topic with clarity and competence. Gender gaps often lead to many dilemmas in relationships, although many can be overcome and conquered by adapting to a useful listening technique.


Beware of judgment. As a couple proceeds through day-to-day tasks, it is incredibly easy to fall into the pitfalls of critique and nitpicking. There are fundamental items that you must be aligned on, but the minor things often create “mountains out of molehills”. So what if he puts the toilet paper rolls on the wrong way? So what if she calls her mother twice a day? You build a companionship with those unique traits and learn to appreciate your quirks over time. If you don’t see eye to eye on a situation, talk until you both understand one another’s focus and be ready to compromise if need be. Being united is about giving and taking. Taking consideration of the other’s passion about something will help you to be empathetic towards their outlook. Focus on your strengths and encourage each other to overcome your weaknesses by distinct, obtainable steps, never focusing so much on changing that individual, but on supporting them as they move toward that change.

Share Goals

Become less dependent on friends and parents. In order to bind yourselves together, you need to make decisions and goals together. Shopping trips with your girlfriends or hunting expeditions with the guys are both fun and good on occasion, but the person you depend on and spend the most time with should always be your partner. It is much healthier for a marriage or dating pair to talk through their thoughts with their companion, rather than a secondary party. It makes it grating on a marriage to not have first priority discussion with your spouse, especially in the scenario that a wife calls her mother to complain about her problems, without also including her husband. You must take particular care to keep your connection as a couple as intimate and secure as you can, in order to nourish one another and grow closer as a couple.

Show Affection

Lastly, show your affection often and in a wide variety of ways. A gentle kiss goodbye at the beginning of a workweek may allow for a less stressful start. Holding hands and doors for each other in public places and at home shows that you value one another, whether people are looking or not. Consistently tell each other “I love you” and mean it. Make mental note of things you appreciate about the other and express it, in passing or with creative methods. It’s the little things that keep the spark alive. They do not have to be elaborate or expensive, just from the depth of your heart.

What Are Your Grounding Principles?

Practicing these principles has been a time-proven way to make love progressive and lasting. These things are preventive measures against an unhappy relationship, and if applied with determination and patience, the results will be unimaginably wonderful. Just ask the cute, elderly couples who walk hand in hand and never seem to see the wrinkles and years of hardship lined in the other’s features. People can experience true love in leaps and bounds that lead to crash course results, or with consistency and endurance that lead to lasting romance and happiness.

Every relationship is unique like a piece of art. And every relationship changes over time.

Think of some of your best memories and things that have bonded you deeper into your relationship.

What did they make you think of?

What can you do to bring those feelings alive?

Have any good ideas to share?

Please share them below!


How to Lose Weight

If you are a fan of the weight loss shows on television, then you know that the participants go through a thorough physical to determine their health and body mass index, among other things. The producers of these shows want to make sure that the participants start their weight loss program safely. The participants watch their calorie intake and have individual calorie burn goals. They also learn how to prepare healthy food and focus on portion sizes. You can use some of these strategies in your own weight loss program at home.

Where Do You Start if You Want to Lose Weight Safely?

Whether you have 20 pounds or 100 pounds to lose, if you follow these weight loss strategies, your weight will come off and will stay off. Most of us have been on yo-yo diets before. If you are not familiar with the term, it is when you attempt to lose weight and it goes up and down like a yo-yo. You lose five pounds, gain two, lose three, etc.

When starting your weight loss program, you can be enticed by those products guaranteeing fast weight loss with no exercise. There are also fad diets out there that an acquaintance swears their friend lost 50 pounds on! However, the truth is that these wonder diets and the popular diet pills can be very dangerous.

One of the things fad diets have in common, is they require the participant to fast. They can on occasion offer fast weight loss, however fasting, diet supplements and diet pills can affect some of your body’s organs adversely. You are better off to ignore the wonder diets that offer you a miracle and stick to safe strategies that can not only take the weight off but also help you maintain your weight loss program.

Strategies to Follow

One of the basic concepts in any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. With this in mind, the first thing you should do is determine what your normal calorie intake is on any given day.

Simply start a list of all the foods you normally eat. Remember the snacks you consume and do not forget to include everything you drink. If you use sugar or butter on your meals, include that in your list also. Keep track for at least three weekdays and a weekend to get your average daily calorie intake. The USDA has a handy MyPlate website. It offers a handy food lookup feature that allows you to enter a food, like Macaroni and Cheese. It will tell you the calories in that particular food. You can also compare calories of different foods to help you plan your menu.

By determining the calories in each of the foods on your list, you will be able to determine your average daily calorie intake.

How Many Calories Can You Safely Reduce in Your Diet?

You need to determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain your ideal weight. There are many calorie calculators online that will assist you in determining what you daily calorie consumption should be to reduce your weight. These calculators are more accurate than using the old ten times rule. This dated rule suggests that if you multiply your goal weight times ten, that the answer will be the number of calories you need to consume daily. If this were an accurate measure, a goal weight of 160 pounds times ten would be 1,600 calories daily. We do not recommend using this formula because it does not consider everything. Find a calorie calculator online and try it. They are generally more accurate.

Now that you know how many calories you consume in an average day and how many calories you are allowed in a day, you simply review your list and cut calories. This can be accomplished by cutting certain foods from your list or replacing them with lower calorie foods.

A good rule of thumb is that a pound of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. So, to reduce your weight by a pound a week, reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories a day. 500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories. Reducing soda, salad dressing, and simple carbohydrates can help you reduce calories from your diet quickly.

Food Substitution is a Good Option for Your Diet Program

One of the things that bother most people on a diet is the feeling of being hungry all the time, or at least not feeling satisfied after eating a meal. A great approach to consider trying is eating fewer calories without eating less food. If you can find the right combination, your diet will be more successful.

Following are some substitutions you should consider when planning your meals:

  • Replace all high calorie drinks with low calorie drinks: Water is an excellent alternative to soda pop and rich coffee drinks.
  • Replace Whole Milk and Dairy Foods: Virtually all dairy products offer a low fat alternative. Instead of drinking whole milk, consider drinking skim milk. Eight ounces of skim milk contains 83 calories. The same amount of whole milk contains 146 calories.
  • Replace Salad Dressings and Condiments with Low Calorie Version: Most toppings offer a light or low calorie version that will help you cut calories while still eating a full meal.
  • Replace Your Fried Foods with Non Fried Foods: Oil used in preparing fried foods is high in calories. Roasted or baked foods, like chicken, can be just as delicious but contain considerably fewer calories.
  • Increase Your Vegetable Portions: If you are able to increase your vegetable portion by at least fifty percent, your calories will be reduced significantly.
  • Replace High Fat Content Meat with Lean Meat: If you want to cut 60 calories from your hamburger, use 95 percent lean ground beef instead of 85 percent.
  • Increase Your Fruit Portions: Consider replacing your afternoon snack with a serving of fruit. Fruit is also an excellent alternative to those high calorie desserts.
  • Replace Sodium (salt) with Substitutes: Sodium helps you retain water weight. Substitutes adds flavor without adding salt.
  • Reduce Simple Carbohydrate Intake: many low-fat foods are high in sugar or have other refined simple carbohydrates in them which spike blood sugar levels only to have them then crash & leave you hungry again sooner. This cycle with high blood sugar levels also makes people become more leptin resistant by having them create excess insulin, which blocks leptin at the brain. Leptin release from fat cells is a big part of what tells people they are not hungry.

Consider these suggestions when you start planning your weight loss menu. We suggest planning a week in advance, and sticking to it. You will be able to eat well-balanced meals and meal planning will help reduce the temptations that are around you daily.

It is very important not to skip any meals, especially breakfast. Just eat smarter and maintain your weekly plan and you will start seeing results!

Exercise Is an Important Part of Weight Loss

The best way to increase the number of calories you burn in a day is add an exercise regimen to you weight loss program. Exercising will help the pounds disappear quickly.

Following are some exercise activities to consider:

  • Take an Evening Walk Around your Neighborhood: Make your walk a brisk one to help you burn calories. Your goal should be at least 30 minutes three days a week.
  • Ride a Bike or Swim: A bike ride or swimming can be an alternative to walking. Your goal should be at least 30 minutes three days a week.
  • Weight Training: Lifting weights will help you stay trim and can burn more calories than other exercise regimens.
  • Join the Gym: Exercise bikes, treadmills, and free weights are just some of the equipment available at the gym. The staff will be glad to show you the correct techniques to get the most out of your exercise regimen.

Rest a day between exercise regimens and get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can reduce your body’s ability to loose fat.

As you continue burning calories through exercise and eating right, you should consider adjusting your regimen. Increase your exercise time or add weight training for example. You will feel better if you add activities like jogging or maybe even shooting hoops. The key to any exercise that you incorporate into your weight loss program is enjoy yourself and have fun!

Every pound you shed and every compliment you receive will give you the confidence and motivation to continue. This confidence will help reduce the urge to give into temptations when they arise. If you maintain consistency in your weight loss program, you will be able to meet your goals.

To summarize some of the things you need to accomplish your goal weight:

  • Determine how many calories you currently consume and how many you can consume to maintain your goal weight.
  • Cut calories by replacing foods you normally eat with foods that have lower calories.
  • Plan your meals a week in advance and stick to it.
  • Incorporate exercise into your weight loss program.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Do not skip any meals, especially breakfast.
  • Use online calculators to help you meet your weight loss goals.

Do not forget to add vitamin supplements to your weight loss program. Vitamins and minerals are an important part to staying healthy.

Good luck with your weight loss program. If you share your success with others, you might motivate them to change their life also!


How to Stop Procrastinating

“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Procrastination is a common delaying tactic for tasks that are unpleasant or difficult to accomplish. Every day, we use minor delays to avoid small chores that are relatively unimportant. Over time, problems develop when procrastination becomes a “chronic, way of life” that infects all that we think, feel and do.

Chronic procrastination can lead to debilitating ailments, like depression, malaise and lethargy. Finally, social, financial and physical aspects of our lives can be dragged down by the inability to finish simple and complex tasks on time. People wait for tomorrow to complete their jobs for any number of reasons; carefully analyzing the roots and causes of this procrastination is essential to finding answers, so we can learn “How to stop procrastinating.”

What is Procrastination?


Procrastination is the behavior of delaying an action until tomorrow. The Latin etymology combines the terms for “Pro” (Forward) and “Crastinus” (Tomorrow). People move tasks “forward” until “tomorrow” when they procrastinate.

Time is limited, so it is very difficult to complete all tasks today. Some actions must be reserved until later. The negative connotation of the word, procrastination, suggests an unnecessary delay in doing something. Procrastination is essentially “not wanting to deal with something.”

Putting off some activity until a later time is natural, if there is a valid reason for the delay. When there is no valid reason, then procrastination is seen as a potential problem. “Moving the day of reckoning to a later date,” can be seen as a defensive coping mechanism attempting to resist negative circumstances.

People have a natural aversion to pain, stress, or risk. Others have such low self-esteem that they procrastinate because they don’t believe they can succeed. Some procrastinators feel like they have little control of their lives. They procrastinate because they do not want to face reality. They can’t handle the difficulties of specific obstacles, challenges or problems.

Time Management

Improper time management is a central problem in procrastination. People who are bad at regulating their actions waste a lot of time, becoming easily side-tracked. In the end, they “run out of time” to complete some of the most important jobs.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are abstract concepts of time. In reality, today is the only really concrete time when actions can occur.

Yesterday is gone. It only exists in some theoretical museum, stored away in some irretrievable vault.

Tomorrow never arrives, it only theoretical. You can’t touch tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, it turns into today.

Today is the only reality when action takes place.

Real and Imaginary Obstacles

Objective Assessment of Task Requirements

An objective assessment of inputs needed to complete a task should be conducted:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Tools
  • Time

When all of these requirements are met, and someone still procrastinates, then we must conclude that the delay is due to some underlying psychological factor.

Real Obstacles

People make many unconscious assessments before doing things: 1.) What is my risk, 2.) What is my reward, 3) What do I need, and 4.) What are my chances of success? If any of these factors are not within an acceptable range, then people won’t take an action. They will wait for circumstances to change in their favor.

When there are real obstacles to completing a task, then procrastination is a natural response.

Imaginary Obstacles

Procrastinators are experts at fabricating imaginary obstacles that prevent them from being successful. They want to “muddy” the waters and “shift blame” to fictitious forces holding them back. They might over-estimate the task or under-estimate their own skills in order to create “excuses.”

An objective third party needs to make an assessment, culling out all imaginary obstacles. What remains is usually “Fear.” Fear is a natural emotion that anticipates a negative consequence with some event due to bad experiences when previously engaging in the action.

Procrastinators ask themselves, “Why bother when I am doomed to fail?” They imagine factors preventing them from succeeding. Sometimes, the chances of success are virtually guaranteed, yet, the procrastinator still delays due to some underlying psychological fear.

Minor Procrastination is Normal

Living in such a busy age, there are so many minor and major tasks that must be accomplished every day, no one can get everything done all the time. Minor procrastination is natural and normal. Good procrastination avoids unproductive, time-consuming tasks that don’t accomplish anything tangible.

These are valid reasons for minor procrastination:

  • Money (You need enough money to complete the project)
  • Parts (Proper knowledge, skills, and tools are needed to finish the job)
  • Time (Crops must be picked at the right time)

“Murphy’s Law” says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Anticipation of potential problems should not discourage people from starting a project. Who knows what we will find once we begin a task.

Minor procrastination prioritizes our responsibilities, commitments and duties, delaying those items that are less important. We fix what is most immediate and necessary.

Major Procrastination can be a Psychological Disorder

When people procrastinate about everything, it suggests that there are deeper, underlying, mental problems involved. Chronic procrastinators can’t make easy decisions, or complete simple tasks. They accumulate unopened mail, unpaid bills and broken tools that worsen their situation.

While some procrastinators start with high hopes, ambitions and plans; they might fail to overcome obstacles. This failure to cope with minor defeats can lead to depression, malaise and frustration. Once they become depressed, they fall even further behind. They ask themselves, “Why can’t I succeed?”

Major procrastination can be a psychological malady. Chronic procrastination is troubling and can lead to disquieting consequences. It is like a flame that feeds itself. These procrastinators need outside help.

Underlying Fears

Victim Mentality

There are lazy, average and hard-working people who procrastinate.

Lazy procrastinators waste their time on unproductive pursuits.

Average procrastinators may feel like victims. At first, they tried; but they failed. They felt sad, frustrated and angry after their failure.

On the other extreme is the perfectionist. These folks have unrealistic perceptions of duties and responsibilities, believing that only the highest standards are acceptable. These workaholics can become tired and discouraged by temporary failure.

Pleasure versus Pain

Considering the motives, mentalities, and feelings behind procrastination is important. Most procrastinators fear pain, stress, or failure. Many have had negative experiences before with something. For example, when people feel pain when they go to the dentist, they are resistant to return. People have a natural aversion to pain.

People don’t procrastinate when they are dealing with a pleasant, pleasurable activity that immediately rewards them. When the risk is low and the reward is high, people are willing to engage in actions.

When people discover their proficiency – in shooting a basketball, singing a song, or completing a property sale – then they willingly perform these enjoyable activities. This success reinforces their willingness to try other activities.


Some people, institutions and governments procrastinate in order to gain leverage. Most governments never “fully fix” any problems, instead they attempt to “charge rents” for “managing” problems.

The police never arrest all the criminals; if they did, they would be unemployed. Every year, the government “creates” “new crimes” – “Seat belts” “Identy theft” “Driving while texting,” so that the police can continue to justify their existence and request budget increases.

Some people use “unfinished jobs” as “leverage.” “I’ll put you at the top of my list, if you give me something I need.” This form of extortion encourages people to delay actions until they are paid ahead-of-time.

Some workers procrastinate so they remain employed. “Dig a hole, fill it in.” They can remain employed because there is still work to do. People want to feel needed.


Excuses are meant to deceive us into ignoring the truth. Most procrastinators obfuscate, deceive and lie about their inactions. They avoid responsibility so they don’t need to admit their problem. They are in a constant state of denial.

“All men justify themselves.”

There are different types and levels of procrastination. Some procrastinators have a “chip on their shoulder” blaming some unforeseen bad luck, event or other person as the source of their problems. These procrastinators continually make excuses for their inability to finish jobs.

When there is no rational reason for procrastination, then people fabricate senseless “excuses” to evade responsibility. Excuses are easy and cheap. Nothing would ever get done if excuses reigned. We must invalidate the excuses before we can deal with the root problem.

Avoidance and Delay

When people procrastinate they reveal the “Tip of the Iceberg.” We see the avoidance of an activity. The most important question is “Why is someone avoiding an action?” We must try to understand the underlying causes of the procrastination.

Some people keep important bills unopened because they don’t have the money to pay them. Procrastination is a form of denial, allowing people to cover up their weaknesses. Procrastination helps some people feel empowered: while they feel like they don’t have the power to succeed at an action, at least, they still have the power not to do it.

Some people have heightened sensitivity to criticism, others have unrealistic expectations. Both conditions can lead to procrastination. Certain actions stimulate anxiety, so people avoid them so they can feel better. Procrastination is an attempt to avoid stressful reality

Once we understand what the procrastinator is attempting to avoid, then we can provide answers to the problem.

Low Self-Confidence

People who don’t believe they can successfully accomplish a task are most likely to procrastinate. These people have low self-confidence. Perhaps, they’ve had bad experiences when doing certain activities. Now, they are less likely to want to perform them in the future.

“I can’t do it, I can’t succeed because I didn’t succeed before,” some people tell themselves. Some procrastination is due to inadequate efficiency, self-regulation, or time management.

Children learn from early experiences about what they are good at. Those with high self-esteem believe they can succeed at nearly anything; they enjoy showing their talents to the world. There positive attitude is reinforced by their success.

If you have liver and ice cream in your refrigerator, you choose to eat ice cream because it tastes good. While your conscience tells you that you should eventually eat the liver (because it is more healthy), you choose the more pleasant-tasting food. Some procrastination works this way as people merely choose the more pleasant option.

While scientists, who study the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, identify it as the area responsible for behaviors, expressions and decision-making, they still can’t explain why people procrastinate.

Associated Mindsets, Habits and Behaviors

There are many mentalities that can lead to procrastination:

  • Pride
  • Guilt
  • Heightened sensitivity

Behaviors that might be associated with procrastination include the following:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Bad attitude
  • Depression
  • Hoarding
  • Messiness

“Maybe the problem will fix itself.”

A zebra sticks its head in the sand believing that if it does not see a threat, the threat will go away. Likewise, many procrastinators believe that by delaying action, the problem will disappear. Some try to assuage their guilt with the foolish thought – “Maybe the problem will fix itself.”

People have many unrealistic hopes. While, casinos always have the odds in their favor, people continue to gamble, hoping to win.

The truly successful do not depend primarily on luck; they engage in extensive planning to design, prepare and anticipate the achievement of their goals. They “Just Do It.”

Few problems fix themselves. A great example is “The Broken Watch Scenario.” Take a nice watch, hit it with a sledgehammer. Then place the pieces in a paper bag. How long will it take for the watch to reassemble itself?

The answer is “Never.”

Only conscious, concerted effort can fix most problems.


Employment requires completion of a task today. Procrastinators cannot succeed on any job, when they always wait until tomorrow. Work demands production of goods or services of value today.

Chronic procrastination can lead to many serious problems:

  • Depression
  • Failure
  • Financial
  • Frustration
  • Laziness
  • Malaise
  • Self-sabotage
  • Social

Continual procrastination is a waste of time, energy and money. Procrastinators can become antagonistic towards those who are goal-oriented, positive, and successful. Continued procrastination can lead to a lack of ambition that permeates all aspects of life. Ironically, it can lead to those painful experiences – stress, pain and failure – which the procrastinator was trying to avoid.


The successful “succeed” today. There is no great man or woman who has procrastinated forever. “Planning on doing something tomorrow” is no real plan. “Doing something today” is a real plan. Either you do something today or it doesn’t get done.

There are many different types of procrastination, so it is important to perform an assessment of the procrastination. Is it an isolated reaction to a specific negative task? Or is it a pattern of delaying making important decisions or taking actions?

A trusting friend, teacher or investigator must objectively consider all of the knowledge, skills and tools needed for completing the designated task. Are they all present? If everything needed for successful completion is present, then the question must be asked:

“Why does the procrastinator resist starting or completing the activity?”

Man naturally wants to succeed. When his actions work against that goal, there are serious problems. Are there other patterns of behavior that are associated with this chronic procrastination?

Many procrastinators need outside help, advice and direction in resolving their issues. Just as teachers show students how to learn, teachers must show procrastinators how to develop good habits for succeeding. Somehow, teachers must help procrastinators see their behavior for what it is.

Teachers must help procrastinators know that they are not alone. They should empathize and sympathize, but not enable the destructive behavior to continue. Some procrastinators respond to guilt trips, reinforcement, and social pressure.

Eventually, self-analysis on the part of the procrastinator must be accomplished. They must be honest with themselves and others. They must realize that chronic procrastination has serious problems in the end. Teachers must provide solutions on how to complete tasks more easily.

Good habits for coping with procrastination include the following:

  • Break big problems into smaller, more manageable parts
  • Get supplies together ahead-of-time
  • Write down your schedule hour-by-hour to see “how busy” you truly are.

People need to identify their goals. “Making lists” helps people prioritize their time and reduce stress. It improves time management. “Mixing elements with various levels of difficulty” provides a good balance. Creating separate short-term and long-term lists can help people concentrate more effectively on the tasks at hand.

People who get tired easily can plan on a periodic rest and work schedule: Rest on Day One, Work on Day Two. People can set a time limit so they don’t become too bogged down in work. People can work on a task seriously for a short amount of time, then switch to something else to relax their mind.

“The early bird gets the worm.”

Somehow, the fear of failure can drive procrastinators to negative behaviors. While everyone engages in minor procrastination, those who make procrastination a “way of life” are destined to fail. Real and imaginary obstacles must be removed, along with pointless excuses.

Improper time management habits must be replaced with good, solid patterns of behavior. Lack of confidence is a major source of procrastination; thus, people must have their knowledge and skills increased so they are better enabled to succeed. Problems are unlikely to disappear by themselves.

We must succeed today to achieve our life goals. Procrastination is natural. Tomorrow never arrives, so planning on completing our task tomorrow only delays the inevitable. Today is our only reality if we want to succeed.


How to Discover Who You Really Are

Plato wondered about it. So did Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. Most likely, your friends and neighbors think about it as much as you do, even if you have never discussed it. It is the eternal question, the one that has kept generation after generation staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night. Who am I? This whopper is a far throw from an easily solved puzzle. Throughout the course of history, the world’s greatest philosophers have found themselves grasping for words when questioned about identity. Through the ages, humans have wondered how to find who out about their own character. The process to finding your identity is not as easy as looking in the mirror and saying, “Hey, that’s me!” The process can be difficult, and even painful. However, finding one’s own true self can help in many ways. Self discovery can lead to a greater understanding of life, the world around you, and the unique being named “you”. By learning about yourself, it becomes possible to look at where you fit in the world, examine where you have been in the past, and decide upon where you want to go in the months, days, and years ahead of you. Identifying your identity can help to fortify the foundations of your belief systems. Finding out who you are can aid in questioning opinions, whether they concern introspective concerns or attitudes about the world around you. There are endless benefits to studying the self, from the personal to the professional and from the abstract to the tangible. Best of all, your journey to self discovery can start today.

Conquer Your Fears

Perhaps one of the most detrimental blocks in the quest for identity is the initial fear of searching for yourself. This fear of awareness of self stems from very real roots. What if you discover that you are not who you thought you were? What if you find something out about yourself that you don’t like? What if finding your identity makes you hate yourself? It is thinking like this, however, that can yield damaging results. Consider the risks of self discovery versus the risks of never truly knowing yourself. Discovering the self can hold risks, it would be deceit to say that it does not. It is quite possible that the examination of a personality’s garden can lead to a bountiful harvest of flaws. However, it is probable that the garnering of awareness about positive traits will far outweigh any personal blemishes. Knowledge about flaws can lead to acceptance or a willingness to change. On the other hand, the refusal to examine your life might end in uncertainty about stances on issues and blindness to weak points in character. The advantages of exploring who you are wipe away any ill effects achieved, making the journey well worth the small drawbacks involved.

Getting Started: An Interview with Yourself

Although the concept might seem to fall into the realm of silliness, questioning yourself about your identity can be one of the best ways to discover your personality. Think about when you meet someone new. How do you get to know them? You ask questions, of course. You ask about a person’s occupation, their family, their hobbies. Begin a personal inventory about who you are. Write down your answers to the following questions:

  • What do I do for a living? Do I like my work? Why or why not?
  • Where am I from? What role does my hometown play in my life?
  • What is my family like? How am I like other people in my family? How am I different?
  • What activities do I enjoy doing?
  • What do I mean to the people around me?
  • Where is my favorite place in the world? What have I experienced while I was there?
  • What do I dream of doing?
  • What three words would I use to describe myself?
  • What have I achieved in my life so far?
  • What do I like about myself?
  • What do I think of my physical appearance?
  • What is most important to me?
  • How do others see me? What are the good things they see in me? What do others wish I would improve?
  • What were my goals in the past? Have I achieved these goals? Do I still want to?
  • What kind of people are my friends? Do I share any qualities with my friends? Are these qualities that I admire?
  • Where do I see myself in five years? In ten years? In twenty?
  • What do I want most?
  • What did I want when I was younger? Have these dreams changed? Why?
  • If I could go back and erase one mistake, what would it be?
  • What do I miss?
  • What kind of person would my opposite be? What would I like or dislike about this person?
  • What would I do if the ramifications were of no consequence?
  • Am I happy? If not, why not?
  • What makes me happiest?
  • What do I look for in a significant other? Do I look for these qualities in myself? Have I found them?
  • What do I most strongly believe in? Why? What influenced my decision to believe in my convictions?
  • If I won the lottery today, what would I change in my life? What would I do and where would I go?
  • Who do I want to be?

The above list is by no means comprehensive and is meant to be used as a springboard for more specific questions. People have unique concerns, and will find which of the above are most applicable to their lives. Writing answers down is a key move in this exercise. Pausing to write gives time for introspection and forces thoughts to become real, concrete. Do not hold back. This is not the time for censorship. You don’t have to show anyone your answers, as this exercise is designed to help you and nobody else.

What will you discover? In the process of writing this article, I decided to get some real world research and take my own survey. The answers that I ended up finding out surprised me. Although I am a die-hard fan of the single life, my pen stopped when I realized that under the category of things I missed, I had written “being in a relationship”. I also know that if there where no consequences, and if money were of no importance, I would take off traveling and become a full time writer on the sandy beaches of Mexico, the cold tundra of northern Canada, the ruins of Rome, and the savannas of Africa. I don’t normally think about these topics on a daily basis, so it is no wonder that my reflections surprise me. The results of this test can be both shocking and life affirming. You may find that this starting exercise is a great way to see a summary of your traits and beliefs.

Find Out Who You are Not

Now that you have the most basic idea of who you are, another exercise will help you to determine who you are not. Ask yourself how you differ from those around you. What is unusual about you? Do you have any unique quirks or talents? What sets you apart from other people that you know? How do you express yourself? What experiences do you have that few others can claim? What skills do you have that are rare? This line of questioning can be almost as effective as the positive questions above. By circling around yourself with the things you are not, you can narrow down an idea of who you are and who you can become. It is like throwing darts. Although you may not hit the bullseye right away, the closer you get, the better you feel about knowing where to throw the next time. Using who you are not can be an effective tool of self discovery. Even the talents that you lack can be informative. Maybe you would like to be an artist, but lack the natural talent necessary to produce fine artwork. This does not mean that you can never be an artist. It just means that it might be in your best interest to take an art class. Maybe you are very glad that you are more thrifty than your friends. Your deal finding abilities could compensate for the fact that your job does not provide as much of a profit. Take pride in your individuality. Finding out who you aren’t can be useful in fostering a sense of self awareness and self confidence.

Ask a Friend

Although introspection is an excellent way of finding your identity, this method has its limits. At a certain point, it becomes extremely difficult to see how you look to the outside world. Asking others who you are to them can help you to determine your public image. This is the difference between looking at a mirror with a single sheet of glass and looking in a three-way mirror. It becomes possible to see much more with a friend than can be seen alone. It is important to pick your judges carefully. You might want to choose close friends to evaluate you. It is best to choose those people who will be the most honest without being overly critical. Ask your friends what they like about you, what they they your strengths are, and what they think you can improve upon. Ask them to describe you in three words. If they could tell you something that they don’t think you know about yourself, what would it be? Then, compare what your friends say about you to what you think about yourself. Find similarities between the answers. These are the strong attributes of your personality. Find the areas in which you are overly critical of yourself, and those flaws that you have overlooked. A side by side comparison of your opinions and those of others can bring you closer to a more realistic idea about your identity.

Where You Stand

Beyond your personal opinions of yourself, it can help to appraise your stance on important and controversial issues. Where do you stand politically? Are you a conservative? A liberal? Somewhere in between? Are you pro-choice, or pro-life? Do you believe that a certain group of people is better than another? Why? Do you hold prejudice against yourself if you do not belong to this group? What are your beliefs about religion and the afterlife, and how you fit in with these things? Do you want children? Do you want the comfort of marriage, or the freedom of single life? What is more important, love or money?There is no right answer to these questions, and even if you can’t find an answer or decide on one side definitively, you are still finding out something new about yourself. It may even help to put yourself in “would you rather” situations. Would you rather have all the knowledge in the world, or stay as you are? Would you rather have a large, expensive home, or a small, affordable one? This skill can cross over into everyday life. Would you rather work for company A or company B? Would you rather move away after school or stay close to your family? Asking yourself where you’re coming from on matters that you don’t normally think about in depth can help in determining your identity.

The Johari Window

The Johari window is an older technique, developed in the 1950’s by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. However, the relevance and effectiveness of the tool has resulted in continued usage by many professional organizations. The Johari Window, based in cognitive psychology, is a diagram that helps us to understand the way that we communicate as well as allowing for personal exploration. The “window” comprises four panes which are indicative of the different selves inherent in our lives. It is set up like this:

Known to Self Unknown to Self
Known to Others
Unknown to Others

The top left window, located at the intersection of known to others and known to self, is the “open self”. The open self includes all public information about you: your name, approximate age, appearance, wants, needs, and occupation. Like all categories, this changes when the “other” group changes. Consider the level of acquaintance as window cleaner. The closer we get to another person, the more clear the image in the window becomes. The second pane, in the top right of the window, is the place for things unknown to the self, but known to others. This, the “blind” self, could include the fact that I don’t notice that my eyebrow twitches when I’m nervous, a fact that causes much hilarity among my friends. This is where the friend interview comes in handy. The third pane, on the bottom left, is known as the “hidden” self, the place where secrets live. Divulging information in the hidden quadrant can improve communication. However, it is important to take caution in making secrets public. In the last pane, which contains the “unknown” self may be the most interesting quadrant. The unknown quadrant is the product of self discovery. Consider this hypothetical situation: you have never ice skated. You are terrified of falling, and have never stepped bladed foot on the ice. But the very first time you go ice skating, you discover that you do not fall at all and that you have perfect balance. This is why trying new experiences is important in the context of finding you identity. Try something new every day to expand the scope of your life experience, and thus, your personality.

Look at the “Why”

It is important to look at the reasons behind why you do the things you do, why you believe in what you believe in, and why you want what you want out of life. If you have a problem with intimacy, with letting other get closer to you, inspect the reasons why you’re having trouble. Have you been hurt in the past? Are you afraid to let people into your life for fear of being damaged again? This could impede progress in your personal relationships. Are you having problems dealing with stress at work? Maybe you don’t enjoy your job as much as you would like. Singling out those things which cause undue anxiety can improve your overall performance. Often, knowledge is enough to begin a metamorphosis to a better you.

Remember that “Me” is NOT a Concrete Concept

There is always room to change. Even if you discovered that there are many things which you do not like about yourself, at least now you know! Work on areas that need extra attention. If you talk over people in a conversation, focus on listening skills. If you have a hard time saying no, think of creative ways to refuse extra commitment when you have stacks of work to do already. If you find yourself refusing to ask for help, stop and think when a task has become too large. Start putting more effort in to areas where you already feel comfortable. Push the boundaries that hold you in your current situation. Bring out the positives in your personality. If you are regarded as humorous, use humor in your everyday life. If people find that you are compassionate, consider a career that allows care taking possibilities. Your talents may even lead to new opportunities. If you are a great public speaker, try acting in a community production! You might find that you enjoy activities related to your strengths. The best thing about meeting yourself is that there are endless possibilities. The self is a vast ocean. You can be a sailboat, skimming the surface, drifting over the rough patches. Or you can be a submarine, submerged in the experience, constantly looking for new discoveries, forever checking out possibilities on the horizon.

What to do with your Knowledge

Now that you’ve started to figure out who you are, what is the next step? Creating goals for the future might be the best place to start. Make a “bucket list”, a list of things you’d like to achieve over the course of your lifetime. These can be ordinary goals like “own my own home”, “start a family”, or “get a promotion”. They could also be off the wall dreams like “meet the lead singer of (insert really cool indie band here)”, “learn how to kite board”, “play guitar on stage” or “ride the world’s tallest roller coaster”. No goal is too silly or too hard to reach. After all, you know who you are, what you want, and what you are capable of achieving. Believe in yourself.

A Final Word

There is no substitute to knowing yourself. So often, we get wrapped up in worries about the world around us and forget to take care of ourselves. By focusing a little effort on self improvement, many people find that they lead more successful and productive lives. Individuality is a human right that we should take to its fullest advantage. Self-confidence is reflected in the personal and professional arenas alike. As humans, we like people who appear stable in their convictions. We are all drawn to a person who can speak their mind in a eloquent and productive manner. We like others who like themselves. Self knowledge is the first step to improving self esteem. Many who attempt to find the answer to the timeless question, “Who am I really?” find great joy in the answers. You are a culmination of your private opinions, the views of the people you come into contact, your unique background, and your hopes and dreams for the future. Maybe, after finding out who you really are, you can rise above studying the cracks on your ceiling and get to dreaming a little earlier. With that kind of security, why not start finding yourself today?

Additional Resources


How to Propose

It would be hard to imagine a world without love. In fact, the thought might fill the minds of some with terror. How many more wars would be started? What other problems could be expected? Thankfully, it is not likely to disappear from the human mind anytime in the near future.

Love comes in many forms; from enjoying a plate of spaghetti to a marathon of scary movies, there are certain things that bring great joy into the lives of individuals. Marriage is, of course, one of them. For those who believe they have found that special someone, taking that first step into the rest of their lives may seem overwhelming. But proposing does not have to be difficult. In fact, with the proper planning it may feel like a breeze.

How To Know You’re Ready

Nobody should ever feel obligated to propose. Before popping the question, first ask yourself if you are ready to make that move.

  1.  Your friends approve of them. In the past, the people closest to you most likely let you know frequently when they did not like the person you were dating. Perhaps they threw in a few hints while you enjoyed lunch together at the local diner. Maybe you received an email or two that stated right out that they thought you were making a mistake. It probably was not always welcome, but you came to understand that they were only showing concern for your well-being. When the right person has come along, your friends will be fine with your choice; they may even ask when you plan to take the relationship to the next level. Take this as a sign that you have come to the right decision about your girlfriend or boyfriend.
  2. Your sweetheart’s family feels like they are an extended part of your own. You have attended countless events with these people; birthday parties, holiday dinners, barbecues, family reunions, vacations, and so on. You have met your special someone’s parents, and they have met yours. All this time spent together makes you feel like you have perhaps always known them; like they were the missing relatives you never knew were lost. There is no need to panic, as this is a good thing. When you find yourself unable to picture life without them and your love, there are only so many directions you can head in.
  3. The little things about them do not annoy you. Chances are high that in past relationships there was personality incidents that made you frustrated. It could be that your boyfriend or girlfriend had a rather loud way of chewing their food, made worse when the atmosphere was otherwise quiet. They left their shoes in the middle of the hallway, causing you to trip over them on a regular basis. All of these things, gathered together, just made you want to scream. But if you find yourself laughing it off, or even believing it cute, you may have found the one.
  4. You know that they are ready and willing to be proposed to, and are fine with it. Some people drop clues when they want that lifelong commitment. When others attempted to do this to you, it may have set off red flags, making you want to flee into the hills or hide. But with this person, you feel as though you should not stop them; in fact, you do not want them to stop. The idea of marrying them does not fill you with dread, but a kind of happiness and excitement.

How To Mentally Prepare

Now that you know that you are ready, and the time is right, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and otherwise.

  • Realize that they may not say yes right off the bat. This may seem like a heartbreaking concept, but try to put yourself in their shoes. This is a huge decision, and making it hastily could be something that they would rather avoid. Should this happen, be prepared to shrug it off; give them space and do not rush them to provide an answer. They will get back to you eventually, and there is no reason to play the worst case scenario in your mind.
  • Know that sometimes the right time to propose has not come yet. A number of individuals make the mistake of wishing for marriage too early in a relationship. After all, the couple has barely had enough time to really get to know each other, let alone decide to tie the knot. This does not mean that it could not happen, but proposing two months into a relationship could lead to ill feelings and other problems. Your lover may be frightened off or even angry, and that is not something that you want.

Proposal Ideals

Herein rests the fun part. There are countless fun and creative ways that you can proclaim your love; below are just a few of them to take under consideration for future use.

  1. If the time has come to take a vacation near the beach, use this to your advantage. For one thing, you could spell out your proposal in the sand with shells. Invite them for a walk, having prepared your message ahead of time, and lead them to the special spot. You could also place the message on a toy such as a beach ball, requesting that they blow it up to find a surprise.
  2. If you dwell in an apartment building, consider contacting your fellow tenants. Let them know that you plan to propose to someone, and ask if they would be willing to assist. You may want to bribe them with cookies and other treats, and also behave in a manner that is appropriate. In order for this idea to work, you must have the willing cooperation of everyone. Have each selected neighbor leave their lights on, and bring your beloved outside. The excuse can be anything from running errands to spotting a friend on the street. If done right, the message in lights should spell out “Would you marry me?”
  3. Put together a special meal one night, set aside for just the two of you and nobody else. For dessert, prepare a cake with your message written out in frosting; do not leave it out in the open. Obscure it somehow in your refrigerator or another place where they would not be likely to find it, or else the surprise would not work out. If you do not believe that you have the skills for making a cake, it is perfectly fine to pick it up from a bakery. Once your date is in a relaxed state, full from the meal, bring out the delight for them to see.
  4. If the above suggestions do not get you going, try going to the movies. The ad space that plays across the screen before a movie starts can be used to your advantage. To do it, call up the theater and ask to rent a space for your big question. Make certain that you and your date arrive to see it when it will be up, or all that effort will have been for nothing. When the intended individual sees the message, get down on one knee and finish the deal.
  5. Send them a love letter. Some people are simply too shy to speak those words in person or in public, and for them this is the next best thing. You do not need to spend weeks studying books on poetry and the like, as the letter should not be too lengthy or complicated. Do not try too hard, simply write from the heart and you will not be able to go wrong. Use fancy paper and your best handwriting, placing the letter inside an envelope with a seal of your choosing. Do not forget to put in your proposal at the end.
  6. You may not believe that your enthusiasm for an mp3 player and other such devices could be utilized for anything, but you would be mistaken. All you need to do is put together a podcast or song featuring your proposal, slipping it onto their personal mp3 player when they are not around to see. If you are not sure of how to do that, there are many places online where such questions can be asked. The World Wide Web is a big place, and thus there is no shortage of experts on almost any subject one could imagine.
  7. If you are looking to propose around the holiday season, consider writing your proposal on a slip of paper and wrapping it. Choose the nicest wrapping paper you can afford, but do not opt to wrap the slip of paper by itself; such a thing would look suspicious, even cheap. Place the paper inside a large box, and when they ask if it is something they wished for, keep an air of mystery about it; their reaction when they finally see what it is will no doubt be priceless, a moment to share for years to come.

Mistakes To Avoid

As with anything else, there are things you should avoid thinking and doing when it comes to the big moment.

  • Do not put the engagement ring in food; not only is this unsanitary, but they may never realize that the ring is even there. The ring could be accidentally swallowed at worst, and covered in whatever it was sitting in prior at best; few things could kill a romantic mood quicker.
  • Do not choose a place or activity that completely clashes with your fiancé-to-be’s interests. For instance, if they do not care for sports, do not take them to a football game to propose. If fish is their least favorite food, a seafood restaurant would not be the most ideal location. Think about them first, and not just what you believe would make the coolest story to tell family and friends later.
  • Do not believe that marriage can fix suffering or dead relationships. Proposing to them is not going to suddenly make life much better and happier; nowhere is that guaranteed. Never take this theory to heart, as it can only lead to heartache.
  • Do not make the occasion impersonal. While writing a letter by hand works, writing an email or text message does not. Doing this will only make it seem like you are playing a joke; that you are not taking it seriously. If you will not be bothered to put more thought and work into it, how will they know that you will take the marriage seriously?