Your life purpose in 15 questions

Questions to ask yourself to find your life purpose.

doorway arch stone

Take your time in answering these questions and go with what feels right. We make changes due to feelings more than thoughts. Listen to your intuition. Sit quietly with a journal or pad of paper, close your eyes and ask yourself these questions one by one. When you get an answer right it down in your journal.

  1. When I was between 5-10 Years old I loved…
  2. I lose track of time when I am…
  3. I feel really good when I’m…
  4. If I knew I would succeed I would…
  5. If money wasn’t an issue I would love to spend my time…
  6. Three things people love about me are…
  7. Three things I love about myself are…
  8. If I was not afraid of what other people thought I would…
  9. My favorite things to do in my free time are…
  10. If I knew I was going to die 1 week from today I would…
  11. If I knew I was going to die 1 month from today I would…
  12. If I knew I was going to die 1 year from today I would…
  13. Five people who inspire me the most are…
  14. If I had a magic wand with one wish to help people in any way possible

what would I wish for them?

  1. Now without the wand what can you do to help?

Review the above and write down what has come naturally for you all these years. Your life purpose involves traits that you already effortlessly have and are doing right now. The key is to sign light on it.

  1. My Life’s purpose is…

Write down as many answers as you can. Do not filter them through negativity but rather from a life of possibility.

Let me know how it goes! My best, Stuart

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“Why” you are going to succeed.

Brandon Burchard a 35 year old entrepreneur at the age of 19 realized his passion after pulling himself out of a bloody car wreck. He stood on the hood of the car covered in blood in the middle of the night in a foreign country looked up at the stars and said thank you for the second chance thank you for the golden ticket. He New he was not ready to die and new at the end of his life he would have to answer to 3 questions.
Did I live
Did I love
and did I matter.
I am going to help you find your own golden ticket like Brandon by:
Finding your purpose
Living your passion
Meeting your potential
I am going to explain how to do that.
As Donald Neale Walsh the author of conversations with god has said. When we are born we are not given a black board that says Stuart Cline a successful bald man’s purpose is… No, our purpose is what we make of it and how we meet our potential is directly related to how passionate we are.
Passion is the fire inside of us that lights our way into the future. It is what gets us up in the morning and puts the spring in our step. It is what makes us want to live fully, love openly, and matter in the world. Lets me tell you how to find passion using the following example. If I had a 30′ steel beam 10 ” wide sitting on the ground and said I would give you $20 dollars to walk across it who would do it?… Yes! it’s a no brainier
However, If I put this beam on the top of two buildings 100 hundred stories high with wind blowing and birds flying by, and offered you the same $20 to walk across it would do it? No. Right? because it is crazy.
Now, lets say your son or daughter are on the other roof 100 stories high up and the building is on fire with the flames licking at their feet would you cross the beam whether I gave you $20 dollars or not? Of course.
So what changed? It was the WHY you were going to walk on the beam. Passion has to do with Why we do what we do. Imagine passion has a numbers scale from 0-100. The person living life with a 100% passion loves the world and is excited to be alive. This person will be able to say everyday that he or she loved, lived and matters fully. The person who experiences 0 passion is depressed, maybe addicted to something, has no drive, no goals and is a coach potato.
It is the compelling reasons behind the passion the Why we do what we do that makes us feel alive. If you want money or fame that is not a compelling reason enough to be a 100% passionate. But if your working to save for children to go to college and have a better life then what you had, or saving up to buy your parents a house so they do not have to worry about were they will be in there last day’s then yes this will be more of a passion and motivation.
Here is another story of how important the whys are for motivating people. There is a story of two wealthy men in a restroom at a fancy restaurant. Tim is washing his hands, and Joe accidentally dropped $5 into the toilet. Tim saw this and wondered what Joe would do. Joe took out his wallet and pulled out a $50 dollar bill and threw it into the toilet. Tim laughed and asked why did you do that. “Well you don’t think I am going in there for only $5.
Create your why. Make your why so compelling that you will overcome the dirty jobs and still have your eye on the goal.
I use to give speeches at toastmasters. It is a club to help you improve your speaking ability in front of others each week. I believe everyone there at toastmasters had passion. That is the only reason people stand up face there fears and pay to do it. Each speakers “why” gave them the courage to stand behind the podium and confront their fears and do it anyway.
I believe your “Why” fuels your passion helping you live your purpose and meet your potential.
It is your why behind your motivation that makes you a success.
What is your Why? 
let me know.
Keep up the good work!
My best,
Stuart
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How to live the life you want by asking the right question.

How to live the life you want by asking the right questions.

“Why am I so successful”. after saying that question how do you feel?

“Why am I a loser?” after saying that question how do you feel?

“I am successful” after saying that affirmation statement how do you feel?

Notice a difference. Your brain will solve both questions and respond to the question. The first question focusing on a positive answer will make you feel confident and energized. The second question will make you focus on proving why you are a loser and you will feel discouraged and depressed. The final affirmation may not feel congruent with how you truly feel and your subconscious may resist it and possibly reject it completely.  The key is to ask energizing questions

Our subconscious is designed to solve problems and answer questions.

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Our subconscious is just like the search engine google. In google you type in a question and solutions come up. If it is not the right answer then what do you do? You create and write a new question in googles search engine to get the solution you are looking for. Asking your self questions is no different.

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If we ask the question in the positive then our brain will work over time on focusing on what we are doing right to give us the results we want. Once it does then we become conscious of it and take action. This is not a magic pill it does take effort.

Have you ever asked yourself.

Why does it feel like I am always stuck?

We already ask ourselves question but usually in a negative form. Our primal brains  are designed for our survival and to move us away from pain and perceived threats.

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When starting something new our brain looks at all new change as perceived threats. Believing change will end in pain or death. Our brain is trying to help use but it in reality it is working off of old rules and is keeping us in a mode of suffering. (the brains response to this “but I keep you alive”.

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When the brain acknowledges change is about to happen it begins analyzing and focusing on what can go wrong. During this it will use the “What if” statements such as: “What if I get rejected?,  What if I am laughed at?”, “What if I am humiliated?”.”What if I will die” Our survival brain will decide it is not worth it and then we do not do it. It keeps us from fully living unless we make some changes.

If you have every read self help books you may have come across the recommendation to say affirmations to get what you want. however, my guess is if you are reading this then that did not work.

So what now?…

The idea is to use your primal brain. Your subconscious brain to work for you in a very deliberate way. 

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The key is to ask ourselves questions to focus on solutions rather then focus on the problems.

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For example, instead of having your subconscious answer the questions “why am I a loser?”, ask the question “Why am I so successful”. The loser question will focus on all the reasons why you are a loser and you will feel more depressed and discouraged. Asking yourself “Why am I so successful” will help you feel more confident and energized while having your subconscious work on letting your know why your are successful.

Here is my recommendation. write down 5-10 question that support a behavior or feeling you want in your life. Then read them and feel them at least 2 times a day. I recommend right after you wake up and when you are in bed to go to sleep.

Also, Give yourself some quiet time after you read them so you can listen for any responses. Write your list now and I challenge you to read them for 66 days straight. Change is in the air. Do it now! Enjoy!

For more information google: Noah St John, Afformations. 

Here are some ideas to get you started. 

-Why am I so successful?

-Why is it so easy to lose weight?

-Why am I so healthy?

-Why is sobriety so fun?

-Why is is so easy to find a job that I love?

– Why are sober people so fun and interesting?

-Why is it so easy to feel meaning in what I do.?

-Why are people so kind to me?

– Why am I so rich?

-Why is it so easy to attract loving supportive people into my life?

-Why is it so easy to be with people who respect me?

-Why am I enough?

– Why is it so easy to save money?

– Why is it so easy to sleep at night?

– Why do I feel so loved?

– Why am I so Lucky?

– Why am I so kind

– Why do good things always come my way?

 

Let me know how it goes.

My best, Stuart

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What to do when bored? Here are 200 Options.

200 activities to fill your day.

  1. Go on you tube and find something to laugh about
  2. Take an online class
  3. Take a Hike
  4. Fly a kite
  5. Go rock climbing
  6. Learn to scuba dive.
  7. Go bird watching
  8. Watch a sport on TV
  9. Play a musical instrument, Guitar, bongo’s, piano, flute, trumpet, violin, harmonica etc.
  10. Knit – sweater, socks, blankets, hats for baby’s in the hospital and donate. Etc.
  11. Clean your closets
  12. Learn how to crochet
  13. Research your genealogy
  14. Cook a gourmet dinner
  15. Write an article for your local newspaper or favorite blogger who is taking requests.
  16. Photography- take some pictures, use your phone
  17. Start writing that book you’ve been planning
  18. Sing
  19. Plant a garden
  20. Play with a pet
  21. Start a collection of sports cards like baseball, basketball, hockey, football
  22. Write a kind post on someone’s web page.
  23. Pay it forward. Buy a smoothie or coffee and buy the next persons drink
  24. Looking into a fun class to do at a community college.
  25. Do a new DIY science project
  26. Buy an Estes rocket and shot it off
  27. Read to a child
  28. Visit someone in an old folks’ home
  29. Watch a biography
  30. Set up a family budget
  31. Make a web site or Blog
  32. Take up archery
  33. Exercise – Run, walk, bike, lift weights etc.
  34. Go to an online recovery meeting
  35. Go to a peer support group meeting
  36. Surf the internet
  37. Go swimming
  38. Take a relaxing bath
  39. Call your mom/father
  40. Learn a foreign language
  41. Write a poem
  42. Play golf
  43. Go to the batting cage and hit baseballs.
  44. Take a bubble bath
  45. Draw
  46. Do pottery
  47. Learn different ways to tie a tie.
  48. Take a nap
  49. Listen to music
  50. Paint a room or furniture
  51. Clean your desk
  52. Start a stamp collection
  53. Go window shopping
  54. Eat at a new restaurant.
  55. Browse in a book store
  56. Go to an art gallery
  57. Go for a drive
  58. Watch the clouds go by
  59. Play darts
  60. Do target shooting
  61. Do home repairs
  62. Clean your garage
  63. Sort your photographs
  64. Make a scrapbook
  65. Climb a tree
  66. Plant a tree
  67. Make Jelly, strawberry, apple, blueberry etc…
  68. Write a list of things you are grateful for.
  69. Write a letter to the editor
  70. Volunteer somewhere
  71. Take a hike
  72. Take a college class
  73. Try yoga
  74. Meditate
  75. Get and or give a massage
  76. Make fruit smoothies
  77. Bake a new pastry
  78. Go to a museum
  79. Do a crossword puzzle
  80. Go to the gym
  81. Plan and then go sky diving
  82. Sharpen your pruning tools, or kitchen knives
  83. Change your engine oil
  84. Sew
  85. Groom your dog
  86. Take a dog for a walk
  87. Help neighbor
  88. Go see a play
  89. Start a coin collection
  90. Sort your recipes
  91. Play solitaire Go bird watching
  92. Write a letter to a friend
  93. Learn to solve the Rubix’s cube
  94. Re pot your houseplants
  95. Go to a movie
  96. Mow your lawn
  97. Decorate your house
  98. Do landscaping if you have a house
  99. Go jogging
  100. Watch sitcoms
  101. Plan menus for a diet
  102. Do a jigsaw puzzle
  103. Play chess
  104. Play a favorite childhood board game.
  105. Write a song
  106. Watch a video
  107. Go for a bike ride
  108. Plant an herb garden
  109. Start an online journal
  110. Dye your hair
  111. Go to your favorite restaurant
  112. Go to a Café
  113. Go online and learn a card magic trick
  114. Bake some bread
  115. Learn a martial art
  116. Rearrange your furniture
  117. Find a fun new app on your phone
  118. Make a flower arrangement
  119. Read the newspaper
  120. Plant some flowers
  121. Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  122. Do some laundry.
  123. Take a nature walk
  124. Play with your kids
  125. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  126. Volunteer at a school
  127. Pick up garbage in a park
  128. Read with your kids
  129. Write a fun bed time story for children
  130. Play basketball
  131. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  132. Call a friend and go somewhere you have never gone before.
  133. Sign up for obedience training with your dog
  134. Take a walk and pick up litter you see on the way
  135. Spend time at the library
  136. Sort all your digital photos and make an album to print for gifts to family.
  137. Help your kid organize his closet.
  138. Figure out the melody and chords to your current favorite tune on the piano.
  139. Practice your holiday cookie recipes
  140. Play Backgammon
  141. Make Bread
  142. Color in a coloring book
  143. Listen to an audio book
  144. Go on you tube and listen to a peaceful visualization
  145. Dance
  146. Take dance lessons
  147. Go bowling
  148. Put more time toward your religion or spirituality
  149. Reread one of your college textbooks.
  150. Take a nature walk and find a new flower or butterfly.
  151. Do your nails.
  152. Do word puzzles.
  153. Play a board game.
  154. Download new music
  155. Plant a bonsai.
  156. Buy and fill out Mad Libs or make your own.
  157. Call family
  158. Paint a landscape or seascape with water colors.
  159. Ride a stationary bicycle.
  160. Set up a domino topple.
  161. Buy a sketch pad and carry it with you during the week to sketch in.
  162. Rock hound – Search for rocks, minerals or crystals outside.
  163. Build a house of cards
  164. Make an entry in Wikipedia.
  165. Publish a family newsletter.
  166. Throw cards at a hat.
  167. Learn something new about history – go online
  168. Learn about investing money
  169. Learn about nutrition
  170. Write kind words to family members and post them in the house for everyone to see.
  171. Blow up balloons for fun
  172. Clean: room, house, car, etc…
  173. Make a model
  174. Learn how to make cloths on you tube.
  175. Go out and say high to 5 new people today
  176. Write out your goals for the next month, year, 5 years
  177. Make a list of your values
  178. Set a schedule for the week/month
  179. Write a letter of appreciation to a friend and snail mail or email it.
  180. Learn calligraphy
  181. Call and take horse back riding lessons.
  182. Join a club like hiking, biking, sewing etc
  183. Fix something that is broken like an appliance, bike, garage door opener, facet, etc…
  184. Work on listening skills and just listen to someone without giving opinion unless asked
  185. Do push ups
  186. Do sit ups
  187. Shoot nerf guns
  188. Have a picnic
  189. Go to the park.
  190. Swing on a swing
  191. Play with play dough for fun
  192. Go outside and star watch
  193. Fill a photo album
  194. Make a holiday ornament
  195. Write down favorite quotes you find online or in a book
  196. Journal
  197. Organize a drawer or closet
  198. If have tile in hose clean tile grout
  199. Go to a store and smell all the perfumes
  200. Paper yourself and get a facial, manicure, or pedicure.
  201. Go to a pool
  202. Sit in the sun
  203. Make cookies for your neighbor
  204. Make a meal for a family in need and take it over to them.
  205. Go to a park and play
  206. Give someone in need a ride to the store
  207. Be kind to yourself and know that hard times will pass.
  208. Make or buy a hummingbird feeder and put it outside
  209. Plant flowers or shrubbery that attracts butterfly’s or other wanted animals or insects.

If you have any activities you like doing that I have not added. Please let me know. I can always add to the list.

Enjoy!

Stuart

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A Fun Way To Find Your Bliss

Art Therapy: Creating a  magical island drawing.
Here is an art therapy project people really love.
It is the Island drawing.
This project allows you to find out what is most important to you today.
Often we over think things. In this art project I encourage you to focus on what feels right. It is all about the feeling. Don’t over think this art project. In fact, people make changes in their life because of feelings not because of thoughts. So if you are in a rut and want to find a way out. Draw the island and it will show you the way.
Materials:
– 11″x 18″ paper if you do not have this then printer paper can work as well.
– Colored pencils, or markers are ideal but, in a pinch you can use a pencil or pen.
Directions:
With a piece of paper you are to draw an island. You can put anyone and anything on it. The only limitation is the limitation you put on it. Remember that. When you have finished this drawing you will be magically transported to this island for the rest of your life so put your full attention to it. I do not want you to have any regrets once you have been transported. Now begin.
When you have completed the island drawing read below. But not before.
After you have completed the island I want you to look at your island and study it. This island drawing will show you what is most important to you in your life right now. So look at it and see what you want more of in your current life.
For example. If you drew lots of nature you may want to spend more time in nature. If you are alone on the island maybe you need your space because the people in your life are overwhelming you. If so find some alone time to recharge. If you have a a lot of fishing rods and love to fish. Maybe make a plan in the near future to go fishing or something with water and outdoors. May be you created a city on your island. Maybe you need more excitement in your life. How can you bring more of that into your life this week or even today? Maybe you created a library and love to read. Make some time today or this week to read.
Think about how you can put more of what is on the island in your current every day life. Whether it is your subconscious or conscious mind it is telling you to take time out and have some me time. The island will show you the way. Listen to what it is telling you.
Have fun, and enjoy,
My best,
Stuart
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How to have a manageable life.

Here’s what to do to make you life more manageable.

Here’s how to manage your life better.

We know what an unmanageable life is.  It is the feeling of juggling lots of responsibilities and feeling like you are dropping the ball or bouncing checks, missing appointments, and being stressed or anxious all the time.

What does a managed life look life?

A managed life is a life where you feel in control of, and meeting the needs of, all your responsibilities in life.

Yup, that’s it. It sounds so easy. So why isn’t it. because often are lives are not balanced and they are not supposed to be. Our brains are designed to focus only on one thing at a time, but what about people who multitask. It just means they can switch their attention faster from one thing to another. Not everyone is good at this. When we focus on family, work or health we may need to spend more time on one category in our life then others. So how can we manage all of this.?

Look below to see few things to do to manage you life better.

First: Become aware of what is not working for you without judgement. Is it finances?, relationships?, health? sounds easy but another part of our brain is designed to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. Often we do not want to look at what is not working. So, be courageous and look.

Next: Find out the root of the problem? Lack of finances ex. bouncing checks, communication issues ex.  wife/husband mad at you?, Health issues? ex. gained 10 pounds expectantly?

Next: Write out a plan. Use the S.M.A.R.T. template. make goals Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

example of a smart goal:

Specific- will not bounce checks

Measurable – no bounced checks this month

Achievable- Yes, will write a budget and check it before making purchases daily. I will put budget on my phone so it is with me all the time.

Relevant: yes, I will save money by not bouncing checks.

Time bound: I will check budget nightly.

Next: Accountability, have spouse or family member involved to help you stay on task.

Finally, to manage your time better:

– Schedule your time.

Make time for your changes and make it a priority. I have a client who works out everyday. He has been doing this for years. When asked how he sticks with it. He replied I put it on my calendar and think of it as an appointment I cannot miss. Like having an appointment with a boss at work. I would not think maybe I can just skip today.  I do not think about it. I just show up and make it a priority. It makes every area of my life better.

Try the above to make you life better. The world is a better place when we are all less stressed. Managing our lives better helps with this.

you can do this. What area of your life do you want to manage better?

My best,

Stuart

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A new website helping to answer the question Sobriety Now What?

Hi Everyone,

I have started another website that you may find helpful as well called

Sobrietynowwhat.com

I have been facilitating recovery groups for 20 years and am adding some info that has helped a lot of people in their Sobriety.

I have just started it so please be patient. Hope you find this helpful and feel free to pass it along.

My best,

Stuart

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Updated 100 Art Therapy Exercises

Image result for art images download

100 Art Therapy Exercises :

Here is a popular internet list of art therapy activities originally posted up many years ago by the Nursing School Blog, and as time has gone by over half of the links have become defunct or out of date. Shelly Klammer at Expressive Art Inspirations has researched current links that reflect the inspiring art therapy directives on the internet today, while aiming to keep them as close as possible to the original list. Check out her website at http://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/

 

Keep up the great work everyone, and thank you Shelly and the Nursing School Blog!

Stuart


Emotions

Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.

  1. Draw or paint your emotions. In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.
  2. Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.
  3. Make a meditative painting. Looking for a creative way to relax?  Have trouble sitting still to meditate?  Meditative painting might be just the thing you’re looking for.  No painting skill or experience necessary – only a desire to relax and become more creative.
  4. Put together a journal. Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.
  5. Explore puppet therapy. Puppets aren’t just for kids. Make your own and have them act out scenes that make you upset.
  6. Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you’re feeling.
  7. Design a postcard you will never send. Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.
  8. Create a family sculpture. For this activity, you makes a clay representation of each family member– mother, father, siblings, and any other close or influential family members to explore emotional dynamics and roles within your family.
  9. Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.
  10. Attach a drawing or message to a balloon. Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.
  11. Collage a heart. Collage your childhood memories in a heart formation.

Relaxation

Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you’re looking to feel a little more laid back.

  1. Paint to music. Letting your creativity flow in response to music is a great way to let out feelings and just relax.
  2. Make a scribble drawing. With this activity, you’ll turn a simple scribble into something beautiful, using line, color and your creativity.
  3. Finger paint. Finger painting isn’t just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well. Get your hands messy and really have fun spreading paint around.
  4. Make a mandala. Whether you use the traditional sand or draw one on your own, this meditative symbol can easily help you to loosen up.
  5. Draw with your eyes closed. Not being able to see what you are drawing intensifies fluidity, intuition, touch and sensitivity.
  6. Draw something HUGE. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release emotion as you’re drawing.
  7. Use color blocks. Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you’ve created a colorful masterpiece.
  8. Let yourself be free. Don’t allow yourself to judge your work. If you think your paintings are too tight and controlled, this collection of tips and techniques to try should help you work in a looser style.
  9. Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.
  10. Draw in sand. Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.
  11. Make a zentangle. These fun little drawings are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress.
  12. Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.
  13. Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.

Happiness

Art can not only help you deal with the bad stuff, but also help you appreciate and focus on the good. Check out these activities all about reflecting on your personal happiness.

  1. Collage your vision of a perfect day.Think about what constitutes a perfect day to you and collage it. What about this collage can you make happen today?
  2. Take photographs of things you think are beautiful. No one else has to like them but you. Print and frame them to have constant reminders of the beautiful things in life.
  3. Make a collage related to a quote you like. Take the words of wisdom from someone else and turn them into something visually inspiring.
  4. Create a drawing that represents freedom. The Surrealists embraced automatic drawing as way to incorporate randomness and the subconscious into their drawings, and to free themselves from artistic conventions and everyday thinking.
  5. Document a spiritual experience. Have you ever had a spiritual experience in your life? Paint what it felt like intuitively.
  6. Make a stuffed animal. Soft, cuddly objects can be very comforting. Use this project to create an animal from your intuitive drawings.
  7. Work on a softness project. Using only soft or comforting objects, create a work of art.
  8. Build a “home.” What does home mean to you? This activity will have you create a safe, warm place that feels like home to you.
  9. Document an experience where you did something you didn’t think you could do. We all have to do things that we’re scared or unsure of sometimes. Use this activity as a chance to commemorate one instance in your life.
  10. Think up a wild invention. This invention should do something that can help make you happier– no matter what that is.
  11. Make a prayer flag. Send your prayers for yourself or those around you out into the universe with this project.

Portraits

Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.

  1. Create a past, present and future self-portrait. This drawing or painting should reflect where you have been, who you are today, and how see yourself in the future.
  2. Draw a bag self-portrait. On the outside of a paper bag, you’ll create a self-portrait. On the inside, you’ll fill it with things that represent who you are.
  3. Choose the people who matter most to you in life and create unique art for each. This is a great way to acknowledge what really matters to you and express your gratitude.
  4. Collage someone you admire. If someone has ever helped inspire your path, collage this person.
  5. Create an expressive self-portrait. Paint in expressive colors. Select colors for emotional impact.
  6. Draw yourself as a warrior. Start thinking about yourself as a strong, capable person by drawing yourself as a warrior in this activity.
  7. Create a transformational portrait series. Transform your perceptions about yourself with this list of self-portrait ideas.
  8. Imitate Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Using objects that have meaning to you, create a portrait of yourself.
  9. Create a body image sketch. Practice life drawing to fall in love with all of the varieties of the human body, including your own.
  10. Draw a mirror. This activity is based around a Piet Mondrian quote: “The purer the artist’s mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it.” It involves letting die what is not your true reflection, is getting back a truer reflection of yourself in your mirror.
  11. Draw yourself as a superhero. Many people like superhero stories. We resonate with the themes in the stories, with the dilemmas and problems that superheroes face, and we aspire to their noble impulses and heroic acts.

Trauma and Loss

These activities will ask you to face some unpleasant aspects of life, but with the goal of overcoming them.

  1. Draw a place where you feel safe. An art therapy directive for finding your safe place for healing from trauma.
  2. Create a mini-diorama. This diorama can showcase an important moment in your life or some trauma that you’ve experienced.
  3. Create a collage of your worries. What worries you in your life? Cut out pictures from magazines to represent these worries.
  4. Draw something that scares you. Everyone is frightened of something and in this project you’ll get a chance to bring that fear to light and hopefully work towards facing it.
  5. Turn your illness into art. Struggling with a potentially terminal illness? Process your feelings about your illness.
  6. Paint a loss in your life. If you’ve lost someone you love or something, paint it. This will help you to remember but also to recover.
  7. Make art that is ephemeral. Sandpainting is practiced in many cultures, usually for religious and healing purposes. This sacred art incorporates many different colors of sand and practitioners create beautiful and complex patterns.

Collaging

If you prefer to cut and paste rather than draw or paint, these projects are for you.

  1. Create a motivational collage. You can hang this collage somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Filled with images you find motivating, it’ll help you keep pushing on.
  2. Create a face collage on a mask. We all wear masks of some sort. This project lets you showcase what’s in your mask and the face you put on for the world.
  3. Create a clutter collage. Are there things cluttering up your life? In this project, use words and pictures to show the clutter in your way.
  4. Create a calming collage. Choose images that you find soothing, calming or even meditative and combine them to create an attractive collage that can help you to relax.
  5. Collage a painting. To complete this exercise, you’ll first need to create a simple, abstract painting on paper. Then, tear this painting up and create another. Think about how you felt when you had to tear up the first painting and which you like more.

Self

Examine aspects if who you are and how you see the world through these amazing art projects.

  1. Draw images of your good traits. Creating drawings of your good traits will help you to become more positive and build a better self-image.
  2. Draw yourself as an animal. Is there an animal that you have a special interest in or feel like is a kindred spirit? Draw yourself as that animal.
  3. Create a timeline and journal the most significant moments in your life.This timeline will be the story of your life, with the most important moments highlighted visually.
  4. Put together a jungle animal collage. Choose jungle animals that you find the most interesting, draw them, and then reflect on why you’ve chosen these specific animals.
  5. Sculpt your ideal self. If you could make yourself into the perfect person, what would you look like?
  6. Draw the different sides of yourself. In this project, you’ll explore the different aspects of your personality, giving each a visual representation. You might only have one or two, or maybe even twelve.
  7. Make art with your fingerprints. Your fingerprints are as unique as you are. Use ink and paint to make art that uses your fingerprints.
  8. Draw yourself as a tree.Your roots will be loaded with descriptions of things that give you strength and your good qualities, while your leaves can be the things that you’re trying to change.
  9. Design a fragments box. In this project, you’ll put fragments of yourself into a box, helping construct a whole and happier you.
  10. Paint an important childhood memory. What was a pivotal memory in your childhood? This activity asks you to document it and try to understand why it was so important to you.
  11. Write and illustrate a fairy tale about yourself. If you could put yourself into a happily ever after situation, what role would you play and how would the story go? Create a book that tells the tale.
  12. Design a visual autobiography. This creative journaling project asks you to look back at your life and make a visual representation of it.
  13. Create your own coat of arms. Choose symbols that represent your strengths to build your own special coat of arms.
  14. Draw a comic strip about a funny moment in your life. Enjoy a moment of levity with this exercise that will focus in on a comical even that happened to you.
  15. Build your own website. Websites are very versatile ways to express yourself. Build your own to express what’s most important about you.
  16. Create a box of values. First, collage or paint a box the represents you. Then, place items inside the box that represent the things you value the most.

Gratitude

Here you’ll find a collection of projects that will help you be happy about what you have and express your gratitude for it.

  1. Document your gratitude visually.What things are you grateful for in your life? Paint or collage a work that represents these things.
  2. Create a family tree of strength. This exercise honors those around you who support you. Paint those close to you who offer you the strength you need.
  3. Make something for someone else. Making something for someone else can be a great way to feel good and help someone else do so as well.
  4. Make anchor art. Who are the anchors in your life? In this project, you’ll make an anchor and decorate it with the people and things that provide you stability and strength.
  5. Draw all the positive things in your life. Everyone has at least one good thing in life, so sit down and figure out what makes you happy– then draw it.
  6. Sculpt your hand in plaster. Once it’s dry, write all the good things you can do with it right onto the hand.
  7. Paint a rock. This project is meant to offer you strength. You can approach it in two ways. One option is to paint the rock with things that empower you. The other is to paint it with struggles you overcome.
  8. Write on leaves to create a gratitude tree. What are you grateful for? This project asks you to write those things on leaves to construct a tree or banner of gratitude.
  9. Map of consciousness collage. More often than not, in a single day, we can feel conflicted in our consciousness in several different ways. This directive helps to explore personality dynamics by mapping them out visually with spontaneous collage and drawing.
  10. Create a snowflake out of paper. Write ideas about how you are unique on the snowflake.
  11. Build a personal altar. This is a highly personal project that will help connect you with your spiritual side and honor your resilience.

Inside the Mind

Take a look inside your mind to see what’s going on with these projects.

  1. Create a blot art. Like a classic Rorschach test, fold paper in half with paint or ink in the middle and describe what you see.
  2. Mind Mapping. Make a visual representation of your thoughts to figure out how your mind works.
  3. Make a dreamcatcher. Having bad dreams? Create this age-old tool for catching your dreams with a few simple tools.
  4. Draw your dreams. You can learn a lot from what goes on in your dreams, so keep a dream journal and use it for inspiration to draw or paint.

Miscellaneous

If you’re still looking for something to empower, help or soothe you, these projects may fit the bill.

  1. Use natural materials. Leaves, sticks, dirt, clay and other natural materials can help you get in touch with the natural world and the more primal side of yourself.
  2. Build an archetype. Check out this series of projects to build a set of archetypes, or ideal examples, that can help you explore how you see the world.
  3. Use your body as a canvas. You don’t need paper when you have you body. Paint on your hands and feet or anywhere else to feel more in touch with yourself.
  4. Sculpt spirit figures. Connect with those that have passed on or your own spiritual essence using these sculpted figures.
  5. Make art out of recycled items. You can reuse old items that have meaning to you or just re-purpose something you have laying around. Either way, you’ll get insights into how you can reshape and reevaluate your own life.
  6. Collage with old photographs. If you’re uncomfortable using old photos you can make copies, but with this project you’ll draw out one characteristic you see in the person in the photos.
  7. Create your own interpretation of a famous work of art. How would you have painted the Mona Lisa? Using a famous work as your inspiration, create your own work. It could help reveal more about your lens on the world.
  8. Work collaboratively. Art can be better when two work at it together, so find a partner and collaborate on just about anything.
  9. Use a found or made object as a paintbrush. Whether it’s something sharp or something soft, make your own artistic tool and use it to express what you’re feeling.
  10. Make crayon stained glass. Reflect upon your spiritual side with this project that lets you create your own stained glass window.
  11. Paint a window. Windows let you see in and see out. Paint yours with things you want to hide or show to the world.
Posted in Art Therapy, Inspiration | Leave a comment

How To Have More of The Life You Want.

How to have more of the life you want

I am writing a book title “Sobriety Now What?” to help people sustain sobriety and recovery. In doing so I am researching the importance of finding our direction. One way is listing your top ten values and living within them. However, today I want to share another way that may be a clearer way to live ones life. To create our own personal code or list of virtues like Ben Franklin and so many other successful and creative people have before us.

Some call it a code of honor, a list of virtues, a moral code. Below are Benjamin Franklin 13 Virtues as well as a list of Ben’s 13 Virtues. I did not write the below they came from two separate websites. 1.   http://www.thirteenvirtues.com 2. CNN the wisdom project at https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/01/health/13-virtues-wisdom-project/index.html. I encourage everyone to check them out. Another recommended website is warriormindcoach that has a great article on creating an honor code. 

For art therapist: Creating a code can be used in an art therapy technique allowing poeple to explore what living a life with their personal code would look like in a collage. Materials: magazines, glue, scissors, 12×18″ paper. Enjoy!

   In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character.

In his autobiography , Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

“I propos’d to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex’d to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr’d to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express’d the extent I gave to its meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

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Below is from – CNN The Wisdom Project: 

Ben Franklin’s ’13 Virtues’ path to personal perfection

By David G. Allan, CNN

Updated 5:03 AM ET, Thu March 1, 2018
“Ben Franklin considered various virtues that, if mastered, would lead him to perfectionStory highlights

  • After 10 years of following Franklin’s example, I am more industrious, patient, mindful and healthy

This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Health and Wellness. The series is on applying to one’s life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. You can follow David at @davidgallan. Don’t miss another Wisdom Project column; subscribe here.

(CNN)Of the many inventions (bifocals, odometer), accomplishments (US postal system, Constitution) and experiments (that kite in a lightning storm) credited to Benjamin Franklin, none of his contributions to humanity, in my opinion, outshines his brilliantly simple method for self-improvement.

“A bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection” is how America’s least controversial and most industrious statesman described his method of personal betterment in his autobiography. I’ll call his big life hack “13 Virtues,” and for about 10 years, I performed Franklin’s experiment on myself.

He devised it so anyone could become their best possible self. And although I have fallen short of that lofty goal many times, the enjoyable years I have spent working on 13 Virtues has led to demonstrative progress toward a more virtuous life.

How it works

Franklin started by taking a critical look at his behavior, and he found that too often he traveled down unvirtuous roads that “natural inclination, custom or company might lead me into,” as he put it.

He fell short of his ideal in more than a dozen areas of his life, he concluded. He ate and drank too much. He talked too much, especially about himself. He spent more money than he should. He didn’t finish all his goals. And so on. In other words, he wrestled with the very same human urges, flaws and proclivities that now fuel our New Year’s resolutions and the ever-booming market of self-help books.

 

Drawing upon your own life experiments

Then he considered various virtues that, if mastered, would counteract his unwanted behavior. His list of 13: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and Humility.

Thirteen wasn’t a nod to the original colonies, nor was it random. He chose 13 because that number fits neatly into a calendar. Multiply it by four, and you get 52, the number of weeks in a year.

Franklin would take a single virtue at a time, work on it for a week and then move on to the next. Trying to fix everything that’s wrong with you all at once is overwhelming, he decided. The virtuous path needs to be broken down to give each area some concentrated time of intention and effort. Every 13 weeks, the cycle repeats itself.

He accounted for his progress on a chart and shared his scheme with others. Modern social science has since proved that tracking and accountability are two key components of successful habit formation. He was also hundreds of years ahead of the curve for the fun and addictive trend of gamification.

I came across 13 Virtues in college. It was mentioned in a couple of paragraphs in the middle of a magazine article about Franklin, but reading it was like that key tied to the end of Franklin’s kite in the storm: It charged a sudden desire to try the method myself.

Adopting and adapting

In his autobiography, Franklin recommends that all his readers take the 13 Virtues challenge if they seek moral perfection. He defines each virtue, explains how they build upon one another and outlines how to chart one’s progress.

As excited as I was to try it out, I hacked the experiment slightly in a way that I hope Franklin would have approved.

First, I didn’t adopt his list of virtues wholesale, although it was a good starting place. I took my own long, honest look in the mirror and chose virtues that better countered my personal shortcomings. I even asked my friends about my faults, because we’re easily blind to them. Franklin explained how Humility was added to his list after a friend told him he needed to work on it. “To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama has since pointed out.

Start a new (good) habit, kill an old (bad) one

Secondly, I didn’t simply track how well I thought I exemplified a given virtue, as Franklin did. Instead, I gave myself specific tasks to complete each week. For me, these were more measurable and helped me take a step closer to that virtue. I volunteered for a charity, stopped procrastinating over a project, meditated, wrote poetry, wrote letters to friends, read interesting books, tried new ways to save money and started new workout routines.

And I tracked my progress in a notebook. I first wrote down the definitions for my own 13 virtues, kept a list of ideas for weekly goals for each virtue and then made entries stating my goal and my self-assessment at the end. I kept this up over five marble notebooks for a decade.

I also reassessed my list every year or two, swapping out virtues over time. My final list, 10 years in, was Morality, Industry, Friendliness, Erudition, Frugality, Flexibility, Civic Duty, Introspection, Patience, Spirituality, Creativity, Mindfulness and Healthfulness. Two were lifted from Franklin’s list.

The weekly tasks were often fun. One week, for Friendliness, I’d call a friend every day. Another week, I’d attempt going vegan for Morality. Erudition sent me looking up every word I came across and didn’t know. Sometimes, I just learned something — or something about myself — and other times, 13 Virtues became a reason to do something enjoyable or interesting, especially in categories such as Creativity or Erudition. Other weeks weren’t as enjoyable, but they all felt like self-improvement. Because 13 weeks is a predictable schedule, I could plan ahead and incorporate vacations and holidays.

Self-improvement experiments can be gratifying even while they’re self-improving. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has famously given himself interesting annual goals such as meeting a new person every day, learning Mandarin, writing thank-you notes and reading a book every fortnight.

The ‘know thyself’ weight loss resolution

The road to perfection can take many routes and is worth the journey, even if you never arrive at the destination.

Although I’ve taken a break from 13 Virtues, there are some experiments and projects I still do today that were forged in its fire. I started writing letters to myself in the future during a week of Introspection and kept it up ever since. I’ve drawn the spines of every book I’ve read for more than 20 years, which started as a single sketch during a week of Creativity.

Other long-lasting effects are less tangible but no less real. After all that time thinking about these virtues and trying to embody then, the net effect is that I am, for example, more industrious, patient, mindful and healthy than before I started.

Virtues and vices

The experiment also sparked a new interest in the subject of virtues. What they are, and how did human progress reach the notion of personal ideals? Philosophically, I found it interesting to consider how fine a line there could be between a virtue and a vice. For example, frugality is a virtue, yet being stingy is a vice. Self-confidence is a virtue but egotism a vice. There are some virtues, it seems, where too much of a good thing falls back into the category of shortcoming, such as being “too nice” or “too busy.”

How to stop being annoyed by life

My 13 Virtue notebooks contain lists of them as defined elsewhere, including the Puritan Cardinal Virtues, Socratic virtues, Gandhian ones, Islamic, Buddhist, journalistic, Girl Scouts and bushido (the seven virtues of the samurai warrior), to name a few.

The notion that there are guideposts pointing us in the direction of our better selves is as old as religion, and yet it doesn’t need religion to perpetuate them. 13 Virtues is secular dogma anyone can easily adopt.

Mission accomplished

After 10 years, I stopped tracking 13 Virtues. I’m perfect now — except for Humility, I suppose.

No, the real reason is that I decided to move on to other self-improvement experiments, and I did this one long enough to prove to myself its effectiveness. I can always pick it back up again, as I did before writing this column to see whether it held up. I concluded that it’s as solid now as when I first took the plunge back in college.

Franklin didn’t reach the peak of the virtue mountain, either.

Subscribe to this column

Don’t miss another Wisdom Project column by subscribing here.

“On the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the Perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell short of it,” he wrote. “Yet as I was, by the Endeavor, a better and a happier Man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”

I couldn’t agree more. I am a better and happier person for my years of enjoyable labor in the virtue labor camp. And like Franklin, I can’t recommend the experiment enough, no matter how long you endeavor at it.”

I encourage you all to write a code to live by or a list of virtues for yourselves starting today.

Enjoy!

My best,

Stuart

Posted in Art Therapy, Inspiration, Relationships, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8 Lessons on Financial Prosperity

dont give up

I copied this wonderful blog from Marc at Enlight8. Check out his sight it is a good one. I am almost finished with reading The Richest Man in Babylon. A book that this blog is based on. If you google the name of the book you can download a free PDF copy.  I found it very helpful explaining the book in an easy way to understand the foundations of financial prosperity. If you have ever struggled with finances. This book and blog may help you end this. I also have a free wealth building visualization on my website you are always welcome to download to help you in this new mindset. Enjoy! and remember happy people live happy lives. What do you chose today? May happiness be with you. My best, Stuart

8 LESSONS FROM THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON (ON WEALTH BUILDING)

January 7, 2013 Marc

In 1926, George Samuel Clason published a series of pamphlets written in parables that was set in the ancient city of Babylon.  The book became known as The Richest Man in Babylon and has become a classic in financial literature.  I first encountered this little book when I graduated college and was blown away by the simplicity of the story and by the tried-and-true lessons it presented for accumulating wealth.

The story sprang from the characters Bansir who was a chariot builder and Kobbi who was a musician. The two had become the best at their craft but yet had no money and were poor.  They went out to seek the advice of their childhood friend Arkad who in contrast had grown very rich and amassed fortunes.

The lessons that Arkad provided for his friends was the premise of the book and they are lessons of wealth building habits that I believe every rich person had followed to accumulate their wealth. Below are lessons in this book that has helped me and many others become financially stable and wealthy and I believe these lessons will help all of us build a firm financial foundation on our way to becoming the richest person we can become.

cropped-4-people-jumping.jpg

  1. Pay Ourselves First ( “Start thy purse to fattening.”)

One of the greatest lesson the book has taught is this first lesson. When Bansir and Kobbi seeked the advice of their very wealthy friend Arkad he tells them a story. Arkad was once a poor scribe who made a deal with a rich man to find out the secret to wealth in exchange for his work on a clay inscription.  The rich man gave him a very valuable advice  “I found the road to wealth,” he said, “When I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.”   Although this is a very subtle message it is very powerful in accumulating wealth.   We cannot accumulate wealth if we do not save what we earned.  We can do that by paying ourselves first and foremost before we spend any of the money we have earned.

Did you ever wonder why the U.S. government takes taxes on our wages before we can get to it?  The U.S. government (IRS) knows this law well.  They pay themselves first with our money.   This is why we must be vigilant to pay ourselves first with every money we earn.  The book recommends that we pay ourselves 10% of all that we earn.   For every dollar that we earn, 10 cents should go to pay the person you see in the mirror every morning. You may call it the “Me Tax” if you like. The difference between rich financially stable people versus poor broke people is knowing this first rule. Wealthy people pay themselves first and poor people do not. Before we start paying others or start spending the money we earn we need to pay ourselves first.

“If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them.”

“A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not less than a tenth no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. “

“Pay yourself first”

  1.   Live below our means. (“Control thy expenditures”)

If we have paid ourselves first at least 10% of what we earn that leaves us with 90% or less of our income to live on. Controlling our expenditures enable us to make good use of the money we have left over after we have paid ourselves.   There have been many advice on frugality over the years but I think it will not solve the problem for the majority of us until we truly define what money is to us and also define the difference of need vs. want.  I wrote about this on the guide to becoming smart about money.

“Budget your expenses so that you may have money to pay for your necessities, to pay for your enjoyments and to gratify your worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.”

The best advice to becoming wealthy is to keep expenditures down even when our earning power increases.  Many of us have the habit of spending more as we earn more and it’s not unusual to see someone splurging and suddenly their expenses go up as they start earning more.  For example, if we suddenly have a $2,000 – $3,000 raise it is best to maintain our current expense level as if the raise never happened. Instead we can tuck that extra money away into our savings or investment. Controlling expenditures will mean living below our means. When we live below our means we accumulate wealth faster.  We can think of it in this way, our earning power is our ‘offense’ and controlling our expenditures is our greatest ‘defense’.

  1. Make our money work for us.(“Make thy gold multiply”)

I believe this lesson is about investing our money and letting it work for us.   I personally believe that each and every one of us should think about investing only after we have built our savings and an Emergency Fund.  After we have accumulated 6-8 months worth of expenses in our Emergency Fund it is only then that we should consider about investing our money on other investment vehicles. Our Emergency Fund is a security blanket especially during this time of economic downturns.

 ” …put each coin to work so that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to you more income, a stream of wealth that will flow constantly into your purse.”

If everything else is good and gravy, making our money work for us is a great way to accumulate wealth.  There are many investment vehicles we can tackle but the best thing we should all be aware of is that we should never invest in anything we do not completely understand.  Investing our money will mean becoming knowledgeable about what we are investing in as well as the repercussions if the investment does not pan out as well as our potential exit strategies when we are ready to take our money out.  There are many ways we can invest our money such as stock markets, real estate, businesses, and so on.  We must do our diligent effort to find great investments so we ensure our money will multiply and work for us.

We should also invest our money to ensure we have a steady and safe income while taking advantage of compounding interest we receive from our investments.  Time is our biggest ally and as our investment accumulate interest and the money we get from the interest earns interest and so on this is how we can make our gold multiply.

  1. Insurance protects our wealth. (“Guard they treasures from loss.”)

Have you ever had a car accident?  I have.  I was in an intersection when a car on the left passed a red light and hit my car head on.  Thankfully we both did not get hurt. And thankfully we both had insurance.  Insurance helps safeguard our wealth by absorbing potential loss and mitigating our financial situation.   There are many insurance we can buy and we should  do our research on which one and how much we need.  A renter’s insurance or a homeowner’s insurance helps protect our homes. Another one is longterm insurance which become suitable to help us as we grow older and help protect us from medical expenses and long-term care.

We should all consider buying insurance now in case we need it if something happens.  This is a proactive approach and one we should take and not forget.   The idea is that we will never have to use the insurance but in case something does happen we are protected financially from the loss it would have caused.

  1. Our home is our biggest expense.(“Make of they dwelling a profitable investment”)

Our homes are potentially the biggest expense we have to tackle.  Many of us do not own a home and  instead rent one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I believe the lesson we can learn from this one is that we should manage our biggest expense smartly.  Many of us have decided to take on a huge mortgage to buy our home and after the real estate bust many were left with homes that lost their value and in many cases were underwater.   I believe the lesson we can learn from that was that we needed to ‘live below our means’ and  buy or rent a home we can comfortably afford.

Since our home is our biggest expense we must play great defense in this arena to lessen that expense as much as possible.  I learned this lesson when I bought my first home. I can afford a home twice as much as the price of my current home but I was  happy with the home I bought. It was affordable, in a location that I liked, and had enough space for myself.  I do not sweat the mortgage since it is comfortably affordable for me and I am trying to pay it off faster with the extra money I earn.

I know that many think their homes are an investment but the truth is it really is not.  It is an expense and a very high expense at that and one we must manage carefully.

  1. Have a retirement plan.(“Insure a future income.”)

A 25 year old earning an annual salary of $40,000 with an annual raise of say 3% will have earned an estimated $3 million if they retire by age 65. That’s about 40 years of working and earning.  We should have a retirement plan if we want to retire comfortably.   We can do that by setting  aside money to be invested for our retirement. There are many retirement investment plans out there such as 401K, Traditional IRA, Roth, etc.  The younger we can start putting money away for our retirement the better.  When we start putting money away for retirement early we take advantage of a magical thing called ‘compounding interest‘.

Our net-worth does not equal our self-worth. We need to keep them separated.

Compounding interest is known as the eight wonder of the world.  Benjamin Franklin knew of this knowledge.  Did you know that Benjamin Franklin left 1,000 pounds (about $5,000 in today’s money) when he died to a trust. He bequeathed that trust and left it to his favorite cities Philadelphia and Boston with the provision that the money was to remain untouched for as long as 200 years.  What was left in the trust after it grew was the amount of $2 million given to Philadelphia and a whooping $5 million for Boston. The lesson we can learn from this is to make time work for us when we plan for retirement by starting early. Time can be our retirement’s greatest friend.

“Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more.” – Benjamin Franklin

  1. Invest in ourselves. (“Increase thy ability to earn.”)

The best way we can increase our earning is by investing in ourselves.   We can do that by continually learning and striving to develop ourselves.  We are now in a very exciting time: the Information Age where knowledge is literally within our fingertips thanks to the Internet.  I really love the OpenCourseware idea where many schools including Ivy Leagues post their whole class courses for free. It’s a great way to learn on our own.  Another one is Coursera which has many online courses for free from Finance to Philosophy, check it out.

“Those eager to grasp opportunities for their betterment, do attract the interest of  the goddess of fortune. She is ever anxious to help those who please her. And who is she pleased with? She is pleased with those who do  – rather than those who merely talk and engage in wishful thinking. Action will lead you forth to the successes you desire.”

There are many things we can learn on our own and should strive to make ourselves well-rounded.  Whether we learn to eat more healthy, enhance our current work skills, or learn to make more money, we must take the initiative to invest in ourselves.   When we become smarter and wiser our ability to earn more also increases.

The 5 Rules of Gold from the “Richest Man in Babylon”

  1. Gold comes gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family
  2. Gold labours diligently and contentedly for the wiser owner who finds fir it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field
  3. Gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling
  4. Gold slips away from the man who invests it in business or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

8) Track Our Wealth.(Know where you are and where you are going.) 

In order for us to know where we stand financially we need to face the whole truth of our current situation.   We can do that by tracking our current wealth or lack thereof.   This is a tough exercise but we must face the truth of how we earn and spend our money in order for us to know where we are going.  There is a big difference between wealthy people and those who are not,  wealthy people know their net worth while the poor do not pay particular attention nor care at all about tracking their assets and liabilities.

“You cannot manage what you do not measure.”  – Bill Hewitt (co-founder of Hewlett Packard)

We can track our wealth by creating a spreadsheet of all our months earnings and expenses and tallying the difference between the money we earn and how much we spend.   When we do this work we are able to gauge how we are doing financially.   We can also track our net worth by calculating our assets versus our liabilities (our debt).   If you have not done this work yourself it is an eye-opening experience.  In order for us to fully develop a plan to be wealthy we need to learn how to track our wealth so that we may know where we want to go and create a plan to get there.

I hope you learn and enjoy this article on 8 lessons of wealth building from “The Richest Man in Babylon”.    Please feel free to share your advice and leave a comment for us.

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