People are always looking for security. They want a secure job. A secure relationship. Secure assets.
They want to know that everything will be okay in a world that is constantly changing.
Of course, we all know that trying to fight against the impermanent nature of the universe is a losing battle; but is there some way we can protect ourselves from the ups and downs of life nonetheless? Protect ourselves from changes that are out of our control?
The answer is 'yes' and 'no'.
Naturally, we can't control how other people act. We can't control the world economy. And we can't do much if everyone in our department at work - us included - gets laid off.
Not much to do, either, if a natural disaster - like fire - wipes out our family home (okay, maybe some good insurance, but the house is still lost).
In short, riches on the outside are always liable to perish.
What is more in our control, however, is who we are. That is, we can do so much to improve our inner qualities and skills that even if disaster does strike we will have the ability to rebuild from scratch.
And this, if you ask me, is where a truer brand of security lies.
Stephen R. Covey, in his wonderful book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People', talks about the need to get our P/PC balance, where P stands for production and PC production capability.
That is, on the one hand we want to get things done (P); on the other we need to take care of the machine (often us) that can get things done (PC).
There is no point, for example, working like a maniac, making millions when you are young, only to ruin your health so you can't enjoy any of your riches when you are older.
So a balance needs to be struck. You need to produce because you need food, shelter and other good things; but you also need to look after yourself because otherwise you won't be able to produce.
And that is where taking care of your health is so important.
Health is one of the cornerstones of production, because without it you can't have any.
So if you ultimately want to produce more, then consider three key things: diet, exercise and sleep.
Diet: eliminate refined sugars, caffeine and simple carbohydrates (white flour, white rice etc.). They will sap your energy reserves and make you sleepy and lethargic - as well as contributing to many serious health conditions.
If you eat complex carbohydrates (and foods with a low G.I.), you will be amazed how much more energy you have.
For a database of foods and their glycemic index, click here.
Exercise: Man was not made to sit around in front of a computer screen all day. For most of our evolution physical exercise was a major part of any day. So if you wish to be healthy, invest 30 minutes three to four times a week in physical activity. If you do, you will be surprised at how much more energy you have, and how much more productive you will become.
Sleep: A lot of people skimp on sleep because they feel it is a waste of time. Ironically, they end up wasting a lot more time because they trudge about the day feeling lethargic. They move slowly, think slowly and, as a result, produce slowly.
So if you think you can get more done by sleeping less, believe me, you're kidding yourself (unless, of course, we are talking about sleeping excessive amounts!).
I admit all of this is fairly simple and has been said many times before; but are you doing it?
Spirit is the second cornerstone of a healthy and productive life.
Here I recommend what I call a 'mini-Sabbath'. That is, be sure to take some time out of every day to turn inwards. Invest a minimum of 2% of your time (roughly 30 minutes) doing meditation, Reiki or the like and you will be surprised at how much more balanced you are.
Don't wait for Super Sunday where you have promised to do 2 hours meditation, because if you don't do any during the week you will probably end up so unbalanced you won't be able to slow down enough to do any when Sunday does come around.
The first two components (health and spirit) will keep your body and mind in good shape. The next step is to enhance them.
This step will enable you to increase your production capability and start over if things turn bad. Because unless you are physically injured, you will always be able to start over if you have the skills to do so.
A good rule of thumb advocated by several experts (Brian Tracy etc.) is to invest 3% of everything you make in educating yourself.
This could be taking a course in meditation, Reiki, business skills or whatever. It could be investing in online programs, books and magazines.
The point is to actually set a certain amount of your income aside for educative purposes.
Actually, as far as I'm concerned 3% should be the minimum amount set aside. I, personally, invest a good deal more. And the point is to see it as an investment too, because with better skills you will have better production so, ultimately, the money will be well spent.
Investing in yourself is a simple concept and it will give you great returns.
The trick is simply to take an idea you most likely already know but have not acted on - and act on it!
If can do this you will succeed where others fail.
Until next time -
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