business man with angel on one shoulder and devil on the other

A simple approach to getting a self-discipline breakthrough

business man with angel on one shoulder and devil on the other

It’s true. We all have two voices whispering conflicting messages in our heads, at any given moment of any given day. “Oh, what the hell. You can afford to eat that one donut.” Versus “If you eat that donut, you will be a pound heavier tomorrow.” One voice wants us to do what is good for us; the other wants us to do what we know is not good for us. 

If we followed the “good for us” voice all the time, we’d weigh what we would like to, get enough sleep, be incredibly productive, exercise regularly, hold our tongues when we should, and so on. If we follow the “bad for us” voice all the time, we’d end up fat, alone, broke, and unhappy. 

The deciding factor? Self-discipline. Self-control. Or, if you prefer, a less “harsh” term: self-management. 

This is the ability to take the “good” advice and ignore the “bad” advice. Learning how to do this is part of the growing up process.  Read more

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

How to be successful: Start with presence of mind

I’m going to start by telling you a short romantic story. It is 100% true; I know, because I lived it. After, I will explain how this relates to how to be successful in your own life. 

When I was twelve, my stepfather, who was not in any way nautical and had never done this before (or after), took me to a speed boat race being held in Mission Bay in San Diego. Being of an age when one starts thinking about such things, I found myself looking around at the men who were gathered there. Most of them could have come right out of that old “Grease” movie—hair greasy with gel, white T-shirts, with their cigarette packs rolled up into one of their T-shirt sleeves. “I could never marry anyone like that!” I thought to myself. 

Then I turned to my left as I was facing the water, and there were two young guys walking up the hill with their backs to the water. One of them in particular caught my eye. There was something about him that stood out to me, something different, something deep and profound. “That’s the kind of man I would marry,” I thought.  Read more

How to be more productive at work: Urgency vs. intensity

How to be more productive at work: Urgency vs. intensity

We all have endless todo lists, deadlines, and obligations. We are always searching for how to be more productive at work and how to be more productive in life, period. But some part of us wants to simply relax, to actually enjoy life, and to chip away at our personal bucket list. This tug of war creates its own stress, on top of the stress that comes from trying to complete all those items on our todo list. 

Personally, I have found stress to be something we create for ourselves. There actually is an answer to everything, if we apply ourselves and are patient about it. A sense of urgency actually distracts us from success; rather than focusing on the task at hand, it puts the emphasis on a negative thought: “I don’t think I can pull this off! What if I don’t make it?” 

In fact, a certain kind of focused intensity solves many problems, at work and at home.  Read more

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

How to reduce stress: The lost art of comforting yourself

You don’t see anyone comforting anyone else much anymore, anywhere, unless you are addicted to watching videos where someone super nice rescues a terribly neglected animal, or those videos where animals are snuggling up to people. And every so often, something like this pops up. But overall, it seems that so many are too rushed, too stressed, and too distracted by glowing screens to comfort others. There just aren’t very many good examples. That’s a shame, because the best answer to “how to reduce stress” is learning how to comfort yourself.

I think this is especially important now that we have so much bad news hanging over us. There is strife all around, and many of us are isolated in ways we never were before. If you learn how to comfort yourself, those “terrible” things become minor inconveniences that we know we will overcome. No matter what happens, we will have a friend at hand, ready to help us feel better and carry on. The peace you feel, once you have mastered this skill, will change your life.  Read more

How to Always Have Enough Money | Kristin Zhivago

How to always have enough money

How to Always Have Enough Money | Kristin Zhivago

There are plenty of articles on the subject of budgeting, living within your means, and how to have enough money to live comfortably. They all basically say the same things: Don’t spend more than you make; create a budget and stick to it; learn how to say “no”; and always save a portion of what you make. 

All absolutely sound advice, which, when taken, can help you meet a large part of the challenge. These things keep coming up because they work.

But I want to come at this from another angle. I want to talk about where money actually comes from, and how to make sure that you’re putting yourself in a position to earn enough. If you are not earning enough, even with careful budgeting and sound financial habits, you will always hear the wolf panting at the door.  Read more

Business 101: How business works

Business 101: How business works

Business 101: How business works

Finally! Graduated! Now what!? If you want to make a living, you are going to be working for a business, even if it is a non-profit business. Too bad it’s not a subject that they cover in school. Which is why so many people search for “how does business work” and “how to understand business.” It’s a mystery. 

And don’t think you can learn it from movies and TV shows, which tend to reflect show business, not the majority of businesses. I’ve spent some years in the entertainment industry, and found it to be more ego-driven and cutthroat than many other industries. What you see on your screens doesn’t reflect the reality of most businesses.  Read more

How to live life to the fullest even though the world is broken

How to live life to the fullest even though the world is broken

How to live life to the fullest even though the world is broken

My husband sums it up this way: “The world has always been going to hell in a handbasket. The trick is to stay out of the handbasket.” He is so right. And this great advice is at the core of, as they say, “living life to the fullest,” which is cliche talk for “how to have a great life.” 

If you spend just 5 minutes a day catching up with the “news,” you can get really bummed. The news, by its very nature, is filled with seemingly unresolvable turmoil. That’s what makes it news; there is a problem that has not yet been solved, and needs to be. 

Problems that have been solved are pretty boring.  Read more

The two keys to success in life: Kindness and common sense

The two keys to success in life: Kindness and common sense

The two keys to success in life: Kindness and common sense

What does “success in life” really look like? It means that you are happy more than you are not; that you love and are loved; that you achieve what you set out to do; and you have very few disappointments. In fact, if you focus on the two main aspects of life that make everything else work, you may end up with no disappointments at all. 

The two key aspects are kindness and common sense.

Kindness rocks

Civilization literally breaks down when there is a lack of kindness. Life as we know it depends almost 100% on people being kind to each other. 

What is kindness, really? Read more

How to make good decisions: Five ways to improve your decision-making skills

How to make good decisions: Five ways to improve your decision-making skills

How to make good decisions: Five ways to improve your decision-making skills

Your work life and your personal life are filled with decisions. In fact, it’s probably the activity we undertake the most, if you consider that we make decisions constantly throughout any given day. I’m going to share some decision-making skills that will help you become an effective decision-maker. 

There are many reasons this is important. 

If you work inside an organization and you make good decisions at work, your managers will take notice and start thinking about promoting you. 

If you own your own business, your business will grow faster, and those who work for you will enjoy it. 

If you learn how to make good decisions in life, you will have very few regrets. Why is it so important to reduce regrets? Because a regret is something that sticks with you the rest of your life; it is something you can’t change, but wish you could.  Read more

Dealing with difficult people: Beware the soul suckers

Dealing with difficult people: Beware the soul suckers

Dealing with difficult people: Beware the soul suckers

I’ve written about jerks before. I define a jerk as someone who makes life more difficult for others (nice people spend their lives trying to do just the opposite). But on the subject of dealing with difficult people, there is also a certain type of person who will suck the life out of you if you let them. They are not good for us, but for some reason we keep trying to work it out—to help them or “resolve” them. 

Usually it is from some sense of obligation (which they definitely encourage), or a vow or promise we made in the past about our relationship with this person. Or, they are related to us or someone close to us, and it is very difficult to avoid interaction.

Whatever the reason, we stick it out, and over time they literally suck the life out of us.  Read more