Comment

5 Tips for Saving More and Worrying Less

 

Money, or a lack thereof, is often the source of much stress and trepidation. There are so many things that you want to do, but they all require the one thing you don't have in abundance: money. Many of us often find ourselves living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Fans of the hit AMC show, Breaking Bad, know the conundrum that the show's leading character, Walter White, found himself in. As a humble Chemistry teacher with a disabled son, his funds were very limited. So, when he discovered that he had cancer, desperation struck. Eventually, he became the leading producer of high quality crystal meth. As the story unfolds, Walter becomes obsessed with money and power and eventually meets his demise.

I'm not saying that we should all aspire to enter the illegal drug trade and dominate the world like Walter. Instead, I am suggesting that there is more that you can do so that you can better manage your money and find other legal income generating opportunities. The following tips center on developing shrewd money management skills and reducing your worrisome nature.

Tip #1: Always Pay Yourself First

This is a principle that I learnt almost 12 years ago when I read Robert Kiyosaki's best selling book "Rich Dad Poor Dad". Regardless of your income and financial obligations, always ensure that the first thing that you do when you get paid is save. Ideally, your savings each month should be about 20% of your net income. This may be difficult for some people, but this percentage should never fall to less than 10%. 

A strategy that I use to ensure that I save is to transfer that 20% to a USD account as soon as I get paid. That account is dubbed the "untouchable account". Other people I know have asked their banks to create a standing order. So, the bank would take the amount stipulated and place it in another account on the client's behalf. If you are not an extremely disciplined person, creating a standing order may be the best option for you.

Tip #2: Save Those Coins

This is one of the areas that I tend to falter on. Most times when you shop you will get a few coins as change. Instead of using them to make another purchase, place them in a savings jar at home. One of my coworkers has two coin jars: one for $10 coins and the other for $20 (we live in Jamaica). He has disciplined himself to avoid using the money in those jars. In less than 6 months, when he took the jars to the bank, he had saved 200USD (25000JMD). So, this small saving plan made a huge difference.

Tip #3: Ask Yourself the Important Question

Each of us has our weak spot when it comes to spending. There are certain things that we won't think twice about splurging on. For some women it may be a gorgeous handbag. For some men it may be the latest technological gadget. Whatever your weak spot is, think before you buy. Do you really need that new hand bag when you have 10 more in your closet? Do you really need the new Samsung Galaxy S7 when your S5 is working perfectly well? Always ask if you really need the item before buying it.

Tip #4: Stop Worrying About Things You Can't Control

Although not directly related to money management, this is an important point. Instead of beating yourself up about a situation and wallowing in self-pity, take action and find a solution. If there is no solution, leave it be. Things have a funny way of working out in ways we least expect them to.

Tip #5: Start Freelancing

The internet offers a plethora of income generating opportunities. It's quite intriguing that with just a few clicks of a button, you are able to interact with clients from all over the world in the comfort of your home. There are several freelancing websites available. Before you set up a freelancing account, however, think about the skills you bring to the table. I realized that I have a passion for content writing. So, I offer content writing services through Upwork, Fiverr and my website cemwritingservices.com. I find Fiverr to be the best site in terms of finding work. Do some research and find a freelancing website that fits your skills. Feel free to contact me for free advice if you're a bit unsure or just need a bit more guidance.

 

Becoming a shrewd manager of your income is something within your reach. Follow these tips and you would be surprised by the positive direction your life takes.

Comment

Comment

5 Tips for Creating an Online Startup

                                            Content writing services at your fingertips

                                            Content writing services at your fingertips

The creation of the world wide web in 1989 by Tims Berners-Lee ushered in the dawning of a new era. People were no longer restricted to connecting with people in their immediate surroundings. The world was now their oyster. Several advancements in technology over the past two decades have created a global marketplace. Tech savvy individuals are able to eliminate the need for a storefront or office space for their startups. With access to a good internet connection and the right computer hardware and software, it is possible to create a successful online business. These 5 tips are important considerations for online startups.

Tip #1: Social Media is Your Friend

As a startup it is highly unlikely that you'll have a large consumer base (if any at all). Social media will help you connect with your target audience and build your brand. Create a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram page. Ask your friends to write interesting tweets and Facebook posts about your business. Utilize attractive images and videos. Don't jump into Facebook and Twitter ads too quickly. Instead, utilize the power of hashtags and mentions. As your follower base grows, invest in a few ads. Make your social media presence felt.

Tip #2: Research Your Competitors

A simple Google search can help you find your greatest competitors. Pay keen attention to what they offer. Identify the strengths of your business that set it apart from the competition. Customers want to know what's different about what you have to offer. Give your customers a compelling reason to invest their time and hard-earned money into your products and services.

Tip #3: Begin with Freelancing Websites

Depending on the type of service you offer, creating a website may not be the best decision in the early stages of your business. There are several freelancing websites available that can give you a good starting point. Showcasing your expertise on these sites will help you seem more reputable to the consumer. I saw great success with Elance (now UpWork) in the early stages of my online career. Now I use Fiverr. Both platforms offer the right starting point for a burgeoning online entrepreneur.

Tip #4: Build a Well Developed Website

Once you have established your brand in the online space, it's time to create a website. Remember that your website is a reflection of you and what you have to offer. Invest the time an money to make your website stand out. You may not be able to afford a web designer. However, platforms such as Square Space and Wordpress offer user-friendly templates that you can use to build your own website. I used Square Space to build my website cemwritingservices.com and I am pleased with the result.

Tip #5: Believe in Your Brand

This may seem like the most obvious bit of advice, but it's something that young entrepreneurs tend to forget as time progresses. There will be naysayers and clients who crush your spirits. Choose to be undaunted by their words. Believe in who you are and what you have to offer. The more confidence you have is the more likely your business will succeed.

 

Anyone can create a successful online startup. Follow these tips and you will surely build a brand that you are proud of. My passion is creating stellar content. I offer my services to my clients through my website cemwritingservices.com, Fiverr using the username ChrissyM001, and Upwork using the username Christine McLean. Believing in what I have to offer is what has propelled me to succeed over the past 3 years in the online space. Feel free to contact me if you're in need of any content writing services.

Comment

Comment

Winning the Cancer Battle

Cancer. The big C. The simple utterance of each of the word's syllables causes overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness.It is even more heart-wrenching to witness a young adult grapple with the effects of this terrible illness. In 2010, while studying at the University of the West Indies, I was shocked to see one of my high school batch mates with horrible red blotches on her skin. She had also lost a lot of weight, but still had that memorable smile that warms everyone's hearts. We started chatting and I inquired about the blotches. At that point she thought it was just bad eczema. Little did she know that she was beginning to show signs of a rare form of cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma. Samantha is one of the warmest, friendliest, and most generous persons you will ever meet.

Sammy 1

There is nothing negative that can be said about Samantha. She has touched many lives and been an inspiration to many. Her battle with cancer over the past 5 years has been a challenging one. Countless hospital visits, numerous medications, and numerous radiation treatments have worn her body.

Sammy 2

Samantha needs our help to get a life-altering treatment in the United States. The treatment costs 3000 USD. We have established a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds needed for her to get this treatment. Any support you can give would be greatly appreciated. Make a donation and spread the word. The link for the campaign is gofund.me/z6w9dt3g. Help us help her win this fight.

Comment

Comment

4 Tips for Surviving as an Indie Author

Signature You have always dreamt about crafting your own novel. The ideas have been running around in your head for years, but you just haven't mustered up the courage to put pen to paper. Time and fear are the only two factors standing in the way of your dream. As time progresses, you overcome your fear and find the time to put your piece together. Excitement courses through your veins as you go through the final stages of getting the book ready for publishing. What you do next will determine your success or failure as an indie author.

Every man, woman and child is now an author. Just go on the Amazon.com website and look at the thousands of books available. Surviving as an indie author in this competitive marketplace can be a very daunting task. What makes it even worse is the fact that there are people out there who promise to market your book and increase your sales for a fee, but really can't fulfill their promises. You end up spending hundreds of dollars to get your book noticed to no avail.

Over the past year and a half I have learnt a lot about the self-publishing industry. Simply put, it can be a real pain in the ass. However, I have discovered four tips that can help you keep your focus and see gradual success as an indie author.

Tip #1: Turn Your Discouragement into Motivation

There are days when you will look at your stats and wonder why you even bothered to publish your book in the first place. The countless hours that you spent writing and marketing the book will seem meaningless. Don't give up. Let those stats be your motivation to try harder. Remember the few reviews that you've gotten from people who really love your work. Continue to push. The early days of your writing career are spent paying your dues. One day you will master the art of book marketing. Keep writing and promoting.

Tip #2: Effectively Utilize Social Media

It is one thing to create a Facebook author page and Twitter account. It's another to keep these social media accounts active and engaging for your followers. Post consistently on your social media pages. Find content that is relevant to your genre and talk about it. On Twitter, it is a good idea to post three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). It is also a good idea to post on Facebook at least once per day. Use attention grabbing headlines and discuss ideas that you know people would want to talk about. Feel free to even share your experiences.

Tip #3: Encourage People to Review Your Work

It has been said that only about 1 in every 100 persons will write a review of a book they've purchased. However, you can tip the scales a bit by actively seeking reviewers. Do a general Google search for reviewers in your genre and offer them free samples of your book. Join book reviewer groups on Goodreads. Connect with other authors. Use as many media as possible to connect with people who will read and review your book. The more positive reviews you get is the higher your ranking will be. This increases your book's visibility.

Tip #4: Offer Your Book for Free

It is true that you didn't create your book only because you love to write. You also wanted to earn a little extra money. However, if you aren't an established author the best way for you to get you name out there is to offer your book for free. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers Kindle Countdown Deals every three months for your book. It's best for you to choose their option to sell the book for free for five days. You can choose when those five days would be. Once you've chosen those days, PROMOTE them heavily.  Find reputable websites that allow you to promote countdown deals for a small fee. Write posts on Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook. Get the word out there. Increased downloads will eventually equate to more reviews for your book.

 

Never forget your passion for writing. Let it feed your desire to succeed as an indie author. Follow these tips and you'll start seeing greater success within a few months. Let me know any other tips you have for succeeding as an indie author by commenting below.  Don't forget to get a copy of my novella at this link :) Click here.

the art of deception-04

 

 

 

Comment

Comment

The Road to Progress

The triumph of the Jamaica Labour Party has ushered in a new wave of hope amongst Jamaican youth. Gone are the days when we mumble amongst ourselves about poor governance and what should be done to set Jamaica on a truly successful growth path. We want our voices to be heard. We want to hold our leaders accountable. We want to be a part of making Jamaica the place to live, grow, work, do business, and raise families.  Therefore, I am making the bold move to express some of my thoughts on what I think the government should do on the road to prosperity. Invest in Agriculture

Firstly, I think that we have to focus on increasing productivity. Our agriculture sector provides the best means by which to do that. Investments should be made in creating a top-notch agriculture sector that produces goods that give us a competitive advantage on the global marketplace. In a Gleaner article published on May 21, 2015, it was stated that the Ministry of Agriculture projected approximately “one billion dollars in earnings from honey production in 2015”. Can the new government build on what has already been done in this area so that our earnings can increase?

Castor bean oil production is another area that has not been sufficiently tapped into. With its variety of uses, castor beans provide Jamaica with a viable means of earning foreign exchange. The previous government had begun work in supporting people who wanted to embark on castor bean farming and castor bean oil production. However, growth was slow in this area. Can the present government pick up the pace and make this a booming aspect of the agriculture industry?

Although this is an area of great contention, legalizing marijuana can significantly increase our income. I agree that there are several factors to consider as it relates to the misuse of the substance and the negative psychological affects it has. However, there is a wide range of medicinal benefits that marijuana offers that cannot be ignored.  California has achieved 1 billion dollars in profit from medical marijuana. Can we regulate its use and production so that we can reap the same benefits?

Investing in the agriculture sector will not only improve our GDP. It will also address issues of unemployment since more support will be available to farmers. The government could also consider providing incentives to those who study agriculture management courses so that we can create a truly top of the line agriculture sector.

Invest in the ICT Sector

Secondly, our country is filled with so many smart, talented and creative ICT professionals. We have excellent programmers and ICT experts.  In the global marketplace, expertise in ICT is highly valued.  Our ICT experts want greater freedom to create and innovate. However, they cannot do this with the hefty price tags that are placed on computer and technology imports. Can the government address these tax issues?

Additionally, our Jamaican online businesses need greater freedom to conduct online transactions. The main online financial marketplace is PayPal. However, great financial restrictions in our country prevent PayPal from opening its services to Jamaicans. How can the government address this?

Invest in Literacy

An educated society has greater chance for success. However, education in a broad sense is inaccessible to most Jamaicans. I believe that our focus should be on ensuring that at least 90% of adults and all of our children are literate. Being able to read and write makes a great difference in opening up opportunities. This, I believe, should be done on a constituency level through collaboration with Members of Parliament and local parish councils. How can we utilize our unemployed English teachers in literacy programs across the country?

 

These are just a few ideas and concerns. I am sure that many other young people have more that they wish to say. Hopefully, this will be read by the right people who can implement great change.

 

Comment

Comment

Maturing in Singledom

holding-hands

(Image Source)

Experience teaches wisdom...at least that's what most people say. The tangled web of emotions associated with complicated relationships can often result in experience being thrown through the window and foolish decisions being made. At least that's what my experience has taught me. My experience has also taught me that it may be best for me to be alone and embrace the life of a single woman. Although there is no textbook prescription for a perfect relationship, I have been doing a lot of reading to try to understand how my personality affects my interactions and who would really b the right type of person for me. I started viewing sites such as http://www.astrologycompanion.com/virgo-compatibility/ and taking compatibility quizzes until I saw this image today:

61d9935921cd55c79c7bd8fb264f3e9f

Anger boiled within me as I read the chart. Who really has the audacity to tell me that I am compatible with no one? Why should I allow people's opinions to dictate who I choose to spend the rest of my life with?

This led to me doing some introspection. Each experience I have had has taught me aspects of my personality that I need to change and things I need to do to be happier and enjoy life. I describe these revelations as my "shining lights". Hopefully these shining lights can be your guide as you navigate the waters of singledom.

Shining Light 1:  No One Controls Your Happiness but You

Earlier this year on of my friendships turned sour. This greatly affected me because of how close I was to the person. The pervading thoughts in my mind sucked the joy out of me. Talking about it with my friends didn't help. In fact, it made how I felt worse because I felt it was something I should have battled on my own. Last week I decided to forgive the person completely. Only then did I feel a weight lift off of my shoulders. Only then was I able to communicate with him without feeling resentment. Only then did I realize that when I do enter a relationship, I should avoid harboring resentment in my mind and make the difficult choice to forgive. No one should have power of my thoughts in that way ever again.

Shining Light 2: Create Your Own Experiences

As an introvert, I understand the value of solitude. However, I have never been able to appreciate the value of solitude when going out. In my mind it makes no sense to go out without company. With my very limited budget I have learnt the value of going out alone. There are times when I leave work and find somewhere to just sit and chill with my thoughts. I'm even thinking about taking a road trip sometime next year when I can round up some cash. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your own company.

Shining Light 3: Loneliness Doesn't Validate Settling

Sometime last month I met an interesting character. Thankfully, he showed is true colours early enough for me to realize that he wasn't worth my time. However, there have been times when my loneliness has gotten so bad that I have thought about contacting him (it's a good thing I deleted his number). Loneliness doesn't make settling for the wrong person worth it. It's better to be alone than to be in an unfulfilling relationship. I have even begun to look at the beautiful relationships that my friends have and used their experiences as examples of what I want for myself.

I am embracing and enjoying my single life. If a relationship is to happen then I will welcome it with the right person. The three shining lights I have outlined will be my guiding principles stepping into the future.

Comment

1 Comment

Rules of Survival by Jus Accardo

RoS (1)

It is always good to find a book that grabs you from the first word and maintains your interest throughout. Rules of Survival does just that. Accardo takes you on a whirlwind journey of betrayal, romance, and finding the truth. Kayla's search for the truth about her mother's past results in a myriad of events that ultimately lead to a truth that reader's never expected. The passion between Kayla and Shaun draws you in and makes you fall in love with them. There is an appropriate level of twists and suspense that make you want to turn the pages and read more. You won't want to put this book down after the first chapter.

I connected with Accardo to find out more about her. One would figure that writing is her hobby. That's far from the case since she opted not to go to school at the Culinary Institute of America and instead decided to pursue a career in writing. Although she loves cooking, her love for fiction took precedence. She says that her motivation to become a writer came from the fact that, as a child, she sometimes didn't like the way the books she read ended. So, she would always try to rewrite them and the writing became addictive. The mastery of her craft truly shows in her work. She is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance.

You can purchase a copy of Rules of Survival by clicking either of the links below.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

You can also check out her new book Ruined here.

1 Comment

Comment

It's FINALLY here!!!!

Hey everyone! So, my first novella is finally ready for purchase on Amazon.com. I have gotten good reviews for it from those who have read it thus far. It really is worth your time and is very affordable (only $2.99). So, please purchase and leave a review!!! Click on the book's image below to be directed to the Amazon page.

the art of deception-04

Comment

2 Comments

Confidence and Self-Perception

8453148_orig

(Image Source)

One of my friends constantly repeats this famous Marcus Garvey quote to me whenever I begin to wallow in self-pity. It portrays a very powerful message that I'm only now beginning to embrace. If suffering from a severe lack of confidence was a recognized psychological condition, I would be diagnosed with it. Lacking self-confidence only produces defeat and causes you to see every challenge as an insurmountable obstacle. Don't get it twisted though. Having confidence doesn't mean being narcissistic or full of too much pride. Confidence requires having a healthy view of one's self and abilities while humbly accepting the fact that there will always be others out there who are better than you. So, how can someone who has a negative self-image develop this healthy sense of confidence? This is a question that I constantly ask myself and I think I have finally discovered some possible answers.

Find What You Love

There is something magical about finding something that you're truly passionate about. I have found that I truly enjoy writing and I function at my best when I am sitting in front of my laptop pouring my thoughts onto the computer screen. When you realize that something really comes to you naturally, you begin to truly believe that you have something to offer to the world. Finding a passion is more difficult for some people than others. However, it isn't impossible. Keep dabbling in things that interest you and one day you'll truly discover what really makes your heart sing.

Constantly Look for Learning Opportunities

Oftentimes the areas where we lack confidence are the areas where we have the most inadequacies. It's easy to be confident in something you're naturally gifted at, but it's much harder to feel that same level of confidence in something you feel you lack the ability to do. I fervently believe that each of us can do anything that we set out minds to. I know the areas in which I feel most inadequate and I have decided that, instead of lamenting on how incapable I feel, I am going to constantly look for advice from those who are gifted in the area and do my own research. Once I do these things and implement what I've learnt, I am sure improvement will follow.

Believe in Yourself

No one else is going to feel as strongly about your dreams as you do. You are the master of your happiness and emotions. It is amazing how simply saying the words "I can" with great conviction can change the way you perceive and act on things. The word can't should not be in your vocabulary. Believe in the beautiful person you are and have the potential to become.

Don't be defeated by your lack of confidence. Make a decision today to truly believe in who you are so that you can move forward into your destiny.

2 Comments

3 Comments

Following Your Dreams

Last week Sunday I had an interesting conversation with my dad. For a little over a year I have been battling depression and I have developed a tendency to retreat into a very dark place when my depression is at its peak. Life had begun to be meaningless to me. Every day I woke up wondering what I was living for...why I had to be alive. However, there is one thing that my dad said that has stuck in my head, "When you give up on your dreams your life becomes pointless. Never give up on your dreams." Dad has no clue what I battle daily. In fact, no one does. But that statement made me feel as though he was seeing my thoughts and putting them on the right trajectory. Life is pointless when you lack vision and hope. Life is meaningless when you refuse to dream. I prefer using the phrase "follow your dreams" instead of "chasing your dreams" because the word chasing implies that your dreams are running away from you. That's not the case. Regardless of who you are, your dreams should be a constant vision in your mind. They are there to encourage you when all hope seems lost. They are the guide that takes you on a path of great success, even if they seem elusive. 

There are three key principles that I believe can help all of us to hold steadfast to our dreams.

Be Optimistic

Pessimism and negativity serve one purpose- draining my energy. I am sure that both of these characteristics drain your energy as much as they drain mine. If you view yourself and your life negatively then it stands to reason that you will view life as pointless. Make a conscious decision to view the positive in every situation, regardless of how bleak that situation may seem. Positive thoughts attract positive experiences. 

There is ALWAYS a Lesson to be Learnt

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt over the past year is how to interact with people. I have made many mistakes in this regard, especially with some newfound friends. However, I am slowly learning from my experiences. Don't allow your experiences to weigh you down. Instead, find the lesson that you need to learn from them. When you learn the lesson, you won't make the same mistake. 

Understand Who You Are

One of the prevailing thoughts in my mind is that I don't fit in with any group of people because of my personality. I accept people fairly easily, but people find it hard to accept me. I am slowly beginning to realise, however, that the main person who needs to accept me is me. When I am able to accept myself then those in my personal circle will be able to accept me.  Having the right circle is important to realising my dreams because I need that support system. 

Understanding who I am also encompasses identifying my passion. Passion is what makes us get up each morning feeling happy to face the day. Passion is what drives us. I am slowly piecing my passion together, but I know that when I get there something magical is going to happen. I felt compelled to express my random thoughts today. Dreams are important. They drive our passion and our passion empowers us to face each day. Don't give up on your dreams. Live, breathe, and see them everyday. 

3 Comments

1 Comment

Sweet, Sweet Jamaica: A Country of Untapped Potential

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwfw2bYfaBo[/embed] Jamaica is my home. There is nothing more comforting than living in a country filled with natural beauty and warm and friendly people. On the flip side, however, is the reality that Jamaica's beauty is being overshadowed by inept leaders, a poor economic climate, and a lack of opportunities for youth. The Jamaican dollar now stands at JA$116 to US$1 with the possibility of it reaching JA$120 to US$1 before the end of 2015. It pains my heart to know that the potential of this country is being wasted in the hands of leaders who are more concerned with keeping up appearances than meeting the real needs of our people. The voices of our youth are seldom heard and taken seriously. I don't intend to leave my country, but I am troubled by the fact that I see no hope on the horizon.

Our Inept Leaders

There are several examples of mismanagement of the country's resources by our leaders. Two particular examples presently come to mind. The first is the purchase of Outameni by the National Housing Trust (NHT) with taxpayer's money. One would hope that the property would have been purchased to create housing solutions for Jamaicans. However, it seems to be more of an under the table deal that won't benefit tax payers in any way. One hundred and eighty million ($180 million) of taxpayers dollars were spent to purchase this property. Let's see what happens within the next two years. Will it still be a barren piece of land or will some type of development that benefits the poor and middle class be erected?

The second is the flurry of road construction that occurred to facilitate the visit of United States President Barack Obama. I do appreciate the fact that money has to be spent when such an important public figure visits. However, this flurry of road work with money that the country doesn't have was ridiculous. Our leaders are ashamed to present the reality we have to face each day with our poor roads. That money could have been better spent creating sustainable job opportunities for young people.

The issues with our leaders isn't limited to present circumstances, however. Leaders with a narrow minded perspective have caused this country's economic downfall. Whenever a party comes into power, most of what the previous party began is thrown out the window even if what was there was good. So, it's a perpetual cycle of starting from scratch unnecessarily. It is also true that over the years our leaders have depended too much on foreign imports of goods that we produce right here. Instead of creatively expanding our export market, our leaders chose to increase our import bill. It is, therefore, no surprise that we are in our present predicament.

Our Poor Economic Climate

When someone tells you that the Jamaican dollar is now $116 to US$1, it is not a statement that should be taken lightly. The sliding dollar means a higher cost of living on already inadequate salaries. The poor continue to get poorer. The government should be commended for implementing more policies for encouraging small business growth. However, there are some young people who find it difficult to set up their businesses due to lack of funding and the tedious process required to set up the business. Jobs are very hard to find and the unemployment rate continues to increase.

A Lack of Opportunities for Youth

To be fair, the government has attempted to improve the education system by opening more schools and ensuring that children get the best quality teachers. They have also provided more tertiary financing opportunities through loans, scholarships and bursaries. However, when a young person graduates from a tertiary institution there are limited options in the job market. I know of people who have been jobless for years upon graduating. There is something wrong with this picture and I don't think the government has found the right solution.

I love my beautiful country. It is a nice place to live because of the people and the natural beauty. However, it is also a depressing place to be when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

1 Comment

Comment

Creating Your Own Happiness

lklklk The past few months have been difficult for me. In this small time frame I have felt more like a failure than any other time in my life (and there have been several times in my life when I've felt like a failure). Every aspect of my life has EPIC FAIL written all over it- my lackluster love life, my career, and my spirituality. My friends keep telling me that I'm an over-thinker, I'm not aggressive enough, I'm not observant enough, I need to let loose. You know what, they're right. I am not enough. However, there is one thing that I have come to realize. I am in charge of my own happiness. I can't control my fate or the outcomes of my actions, but I can control my attitude and my happiness.

This morning I came up with four keys to happiness. I want to start using these keys to open doors to a better a more fulfilling life. Maybe this strategy will work, maybe it won't. At least I would know that I've tried.

Key #1: Let Go

In order to move forward you have to let go of the hurt of the past. I know that I will be perpetually unhappy if I keep holding on to bad memories and constant hurt. There comes a time when we all just have to shake the dust off, forgive, forget, and move on. The others who have harmed you have already moved on so what are you really holding on to?

Key #2: Discover Yourself

Because of how I was raised I don't think I had the opportunity to fully discover who I am and what I really want out of life. Granted, I was raised well by my beautiful mother who taught me strong values and principles. However, I think I've gotten to a point in my life where I don't want to feel like I have to be afraid to explore and learn more about me. I have lived under an umbrella of people's expectations. Those expectations are meaningless to me now. Now, I want to come from under the umbrella and feel the beauty of the rain.

Key #3: Realize that No one Else Can Make You Happy But You

If we depend on other people to make us happy then we will continuously be disappointed. People will always disappoint us simply because they are imperfect beings. However, when you know what you enjoy doing then you can just go out and do it. If you enjoy karaoke, why not treat yourself to a karaoke evening? If you enjoy going to the beach, why don't you drive there one evening and enjoy the beautiful sand and surf? When you enjoy your own company and truly understand who you are, you attract and exude happiness.

Key #4: Finding Love Isn't Necessarily the Answer

Some of us accept the notion that finding our soul mates will answer our happiness issues. That's a lie. If you can't be happy on your own, how do you expect someone else to make you happy? Also, as I said in key #3, we can't depend on others to make us happy because we will continuously be disappointed. Love has its limits. There is hardly any human being who would go out of his or her way to keep a perpetually depressed person happy. In all honesty, perpetually depressed people are a pain to be around and hard to commit to. Don't be one of those people.

Comment

Comment

My Whirlwind of Emotions

What I say doesn't matter How I feel doesn't count

The sounds of my weeping heart aren't heard

No one understands my whirlwind of emotions.

Who I am isn't understood

I don't fit in, I don't belong

My weaknesses tear me apart

I'm all alone in my whirlwind of emotions.

It's wrong for me to feel

It's wrong for me to desire

It's wrong for me to want to be me

My whirlwind has become a tornado.

The turmoil within my heart

Makes me cry every night

When will I ever be enough?

No one understands my whirlwind of emotions.

Comment

1 Comment

Love is a Decision

  image

 

Society has brainwashed us into believing that love is a fairy tale. Love is portrayed as a beautiful romance that is full of happiness and joy and a knight rescuing a damsel in distress. In reality, however, this is far from the case. Love begins with attraction. We are attracted to others because of their physical appearance and personalities. However, those attributes aren't enough to make a relationship last. Love is a decision to...

Be Faithful

When there are so many options to choose from, it can become difficult to not develop a wandering eye. True love influences you to nip those desires in the bud and remain faithful to your partner. There is no giving into any moments of weakness. There are no excuses. Love is a decision to be faithful regardless of the challenging situations you are presented with.

Be Selfless

Oftentimes we enter relationships because of what the other person can provide for us. Some of us enter relationships looking for someone to meet our emotional needs; others are looking for someone to meet their financial needs; some are looking for both. Love is a decision to let go of our needs and consider the needs of our partner. It doesn't mean that you're going to become a sacrificial lamb and ignore your own needs. Not by any means. However, some people make their relationships all about them with minimal consideration to the other person's needs. That's not what love is about. Love is about meeting your partner's needs and if both of you are doing that, both of your needs will be equally met.

Be Supportive

We all have dreams and goals. When you're in love you should know what your partner's dreams and goals are so that you can support him in accomplishing them. Traditional wedding vows also say that a couple is to stay together "For better or for worse...in good times and in bad". It seems like people forget this line when circumstancs become difficult. When there's no money left, you're still supposed to make a decision to love. When your husband is struggling, you're still supposed to make the decision to love and help him find a way out.

Make the Relationship Last 

Some things are not worth holding on to. We all know that. Before you give up on your relationship though, you have to make an effort to put the pieces back together. That's what love is about. You don't leave something because it's broken. Instead, you do everything to fix it. When all of that fails then it's time to move on.

 

Love is more than just physical attraction and butterflies in your stomach. It's more than just admiring a winning personality. It's a decision to be faithful, be selfless, be supportive, and make the relationship last. It's not easy, but those who go through the fire often emerge stronger then they were before. Don't give up on love.

1 Comment

4 Comments

What Makes Him Mr. Right

ffhgfg It has often been said that the best person to get into a relationship with is someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. Of course you'd have to share some core values, but the difference in personalities helps to add spice to the relationship. At least that's what we've been told. Here, what works for magnets (where opposite poles attract) is being applied to the one ting that unites two people on deeply intimate levels- a relationship. People are starkly different from magnets. We're dynamic and colourful- a juxtaposition of right and wrong. There is, therefore, no rule or book or school of thought that can truly dictate what makes an individual right for you. It's something you discover on your own. The following are some tips that can help you on the road to discovery. Discovering Mr. Right is something only you can do, but these tips can help guide you in the process.

Understand Who You Are

There is no way that you're going to find the RIGHT person if you are completely clueless about who you are.  When you don't understand who you are, yon begin to look for answers in the people you surround yourself with. Some of these people may take advantage of that and only leave you more damaged and confused. Understanding who you are is a process that takes time. There are some people in their twenties who are still completely lost. If you are one of these people (maybe you're not in your twenties, but you're still lost) then you can use the QDR strategy to begin the journey of self-discovery.

Q- Question

Ask yourself important questions. What do you believe? Why do you believe what you believe? What are your dreams? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? You will discover the answers to these questions overtime, but the point is to seriously think about them. They are the gateway to the next step on the journey.

D-Discover

The only way that you are going to be able to test whether or not your answers are correct is through experience. Go out more. Interact with people more. Step outside of your comfort zone.

R-React

When Thomas Edison discovered that he could solve the problem of a lack of bright, steady light in the night time, he didn't just sit on his idea. Instead, he reacted and created one of the most useful inventions- the light bulb. As you discover more about who you are, react by gaining more experiences in what you enjoy and believe. Stand true to your values. Doing these things will help you attract the kind of person you'd want to spend a lifetime with.

Be Wary of Who You Spend Your Time With

Your life partner isn't necessarily going to be a random stranger you meet at some dingy bar. Instead, he more than likely will be that friend you've had for months or years. This truth means that you need to be careful about who you allow into your inner circles. Don't keep people who don't respect who you are. Even if your personalities and values differ, that respect will prevent them from leading you astray.

Don't Be Afraid to Give Someone Who Is Similar to You a Chance

It is true that we are often attracted to people with personalities opposite to our own. So, a quiet and reserved woman may be attracted to a more outgoing and verbose man. Being with that type of person helps you to discover things about yourself that you may never have discovered with someone with a personality similar to yours. The flip side to this, however, is that people who are opposites often don't understand each other. In fact, they began to irritate each other after awhile. For instance, the verbose man may eventually become annoyed by the very quiet woman.

This doesn't mean that you can't find Mr. Right in someone opposite to you, however. It simply means that you shouldn't rule out someone with a personality similar to yours either. He may just be the one for you.

 

There are no hard fast rules when it comes to relationships. What is true, however, is that you need to understand who you are and what you stand for in order to attract the man who is right for you. He may already be within your reach...you just need to open your eyes and get rid of your checklist. At the end of the day it's about who you're happy with. It's about the person who brings out the best in you while you bring out the best in him. It's about the man who can be your best friend and who can accept you for who you are, flaws and all. It's also about you being able to be all of these things for him as well.

4 Comments

Comment

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Comment

Comment

Are Relationships Really To Be Desired?

gfgf Every day, at some point in the day, I find myself thinking about being in a relationship. Either that or I'm thinking about the program or decor for my wedding.This has been especially true this month since it seems like almost every person on my Facebook friends list has been getting either married or engaged. I never knew December was the month for love birds!

Many single ladies often find themselves in the same predicament- dreaming about the perfect relationship. I'm not expecting a perfect relationship because I know no such thing exists. However, last night I had to stop myself and really question why I want to be in a relationship so badly. After all, a relationship is much more than just the warm feeling you get when you think about that special person. It most certainly is more than the ridiculously expensive wedding that you'll be encouraged to put on. It is a commitment of mind, body and soul. You can no longer focus solely on your needs, dreams, and desires. Instead, you have to ensure that you also pay attention to all that your partner wants, dreams and desires. The more I think about it is the more fearful I am about being in a relationship. I've been there and I know how completely I give myself to my partner. Do I really want to go through that again only to end up being alone after years of commitment?

A Beautiful Relationship is Formed with the Right Person

I've been told on countless occasions that you can be ridiculously happy in a relationship if you find the person who is right for you. I've even observed couples who've been married for years and still seem happy. My fear is that I will never experience that reality. How can I know that the person is right for me? Will he come with a check mark beside his face?

You Get to Know Someone by Dating

Dating is one of the best ways to get to know someone. Granted, most people put on a front to impress those they are dating. Nevertheless, after one or two dates it's sometimes fairly easy to know if you and the other person will click. The thing with dating though is that it requires money. At this stage of our lives, the people in my circles don't have much of that (neither do I for that matter). Yes, there are creative and inexpensive ways to date. Has anyone I know ever thought of them or tried them? Of course not. So, dating is restricted to occasional link ups and chatting via text messages, What's App, or Facebook. Don't get me wrong...doing these things does help people get to know each other over time. However, going on a date every now and again would be nice. My fear is that I won't find someone who will make that effort to think outside the box with his limited budget.

A Relationship is About Giving Yourself Completely to Someone

It is terrifying to know that relationships involve complete trust and being willing to share all your fears and desires with someone. It really is. It's hard to do this with a best friend much less someone who you're not sure will stay around. Is it really possible to trust so completely? Is it even ok to give yourself so freely?

I know that I've been rambling, but I just had to get these thoughts out. I would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave comments in the space provided below this post.

Comment

Comment

Dare to Be by Steve Maraboli

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Comment

Comment

In Your Arms- Nico and Vinz

Nico and Vinz are new kids on the block. Their debut single Am I Wrong has received great acclaim and popularity. There are three things that I think make them great artistes:

  1. The lyrics they write. Very rarely do I hear music that is so uplifting and motivating. Nico and Vinz have an uncanny ability of capturing the struggles faced by the average individual in beautiful sound.
  2. Their unique sound. Nico and Vinz use catchy African beats in their songs. Doing this helps to set them apart from other artistes. When you hear one of their songs play, you know it's them.
  3. Their melodic voices. Nico and Vinz have very distinct sounds that are pleasant to listen to. they each have been blessed with a gift.

Now let's talk about the song In Your Arms. There are times in our lives when we really feel like we can't go on. There are days when we will feel like we're nothing at all. However, there is that one person who always makes everything seem alright. For many people, that person is God. For others, that person is their spouse or partner. Whoever the person is, Nico and Vinz remind us that he or she helps to make life worthwhile. Click here to see the official music video for this song.

Comment

Comment

Self Pity

kkkk It is so easy to become consumed by the troubles and concerns of your own life. This is especially true when you begin to compare yourself with others. More often than not I find myself wondering why I can't find a partner and be happy like my friends. I also often wonder why I can't reach a place of financial stability where I don't have to think very carefully about spending money to enjoy the simple things in life. I'm constantly battling with feelings of inadequacy and often deem myself to not be good enough. What I have come to realise, however, is that self pity gets you nowhere. Overcoming self pity is not a simple task. Nevertheless, I've come up with three simple tricks that you can use to free yourself from this negative attribute.

Stop Comparing

Self pity often begins when we start to compare ourselves to others. You were made the way you are for a reason. Your skills and abilities are valuable to someone in this world. The aim isn't to be perfect; it is to be proud of who you are and become the best you can be. You'd be surprised by how working humbly in your own corner can help you to gain respect of your superiors. Work hard doing what you know you can do. Over time you will begin to improve your skills and even develop other useful skills if you maintain this focus. You may even get a promotion that you may have been overlooked for had you remained bitter about not being like someone else.

Think Positively

In the first chapter of my book Becoming the Best You: Ten Pressure Points that Lead to a Successful Life, I discuss the power of positive thinking. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Have you ever observed extremely positive people who are happy about life? Their optimism is contagious and they're a joy to be around.  They also receive more opportunities than the average person. Change your perspective on life and you will begin to see a dramatic change.

You Aren't the Only One With Problems

Regardless of the number of problems you think you have there are several other people in the world who have far more problems than you. Yes, you may have too many bills to pay or your house may be falling apart, but there is someone out there with no job and no home. Focus your energy on trying to find solutions to your problems instead of dwelling on the fact that you have problems. Also, look for ways to do good for others. The more you give is the more grateful you'll be for the little you have.

 

Use these tips to help you break free from the shackles of self pity. Life is short and you shouldn't spend it wallowing in negative feelings.

Comment