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Achieving Balance in 2005

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By John Waiveris - January 2005

Working for yourself is tough. You've got freedom and responsibility but also all of your fears and bad habits. Developing a plan to keep yourself balanced and happy is not only good for you, it's good for business.

Although I usually write about business and online marketing, this time, let me share some things that helped me in 2004.

"Don't take life too seriously - you'll never get out alive" - Bugs Bunny


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Smiles in a Cheap Convertible
One year I walked into my boss's office and asked to go part time. It felt crazy. I had a good job, enjoyed my work, and could just barely cover my expenses. However, it turned into the best summer of my life.

Losing half of my income was nothing compared to doubling my free time. Amazingly, I ended up saving money in the long run. It was the little things that made a difference - going to the library, cooking dinner, driving a cheap car, and enjoying "real fun" not just buying things.

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." - Carl Sandburg (Try reading his "Rootabaga Stories" or "Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll" to your kids at night.)


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Beware of Advertising
"The goal of all advertising is discontent or, to put it another way, an internal scarcity of contentment."- Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (page 128) - Jerry Mander

As a country we spend more money on advertising than on education. Even scarier, is that many kids spend more time watching television than in school! Is there any wonder we have self esteem issues? Try taking a holiday from this bad influence. You may be surprised.

"A drug ad denies your ability to cope with internal processes: feelings, moods, anxieties. It encourages the belief that personal or traditional ways of dealing with these - friends, family, community, or patiently awaiting the next turn in life's cycle - will not succeed in your case." - ibid - Jerry Mander


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Bill Murray's "Gopher Bombs" Scene
"There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball." - Chevy Chase (in Caddyshack)

The cult classic, Caddyshack, was just a low budget comedy, but then the cast filled up with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield (all early in their careers). The director literally just let the cameras roll and many of the scenes were adlibbed and shot in one or a couple of takes. It's frequently considered one of the top ten movies of all time.

"So we finish eighteen and he's gonna stiff me. So I say, "Hey Llama, hey! How about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know?" And he says, "Oh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that going for me..." - Bill Murray (in Caddyshack)


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Sunrise in the Tea House
Rituals and habits literally become us. Try to find the things in life that give you strength and serenity and make them habitual. Do you like reading the paper, drinking a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, writing in a journal, etc? These things can give you strength and meaning outside of work.

"The daily action is fifteen minutes of a focused activity performed every day at the same time of day. Choose an activity that creates an empty space where your creativity can reassert itself. Let the action be solitary and process oriented. You are giving yourself fifteen minutes of emptiness within the blur of living." - Creating a Life Worth Living (page 4) - Carol Lloyd


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Climbing Connecticut's "Classic Route"
Bad days and the blues are part of everyone's life. However, many clinical trials have shown aerobic exercise like running to be as effective as drugs or psychotherapy for treating depression (maybe more).

Many sports also include an aspect where you need to clear your mind and be in "the moment". Quieting your mind or facing fears can be wonderful for putting everything into perspective. Forget the health benefits. Doesn't it make sense to make exercise part of your life?

"...the biggest breakthrough occurred when I realized that almost all the mental skills and strategies I learned through climbing could be applied to other areas in my life" - Mental Training: Six Fixes to Increase Performance - Eric J. Horst


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Use It While You've Got It
The last tip is to face the fact that none of us will live forever. If you had just 6 months, would you spend it the same way? Would you quit your job? Would you tell people how much you love them? What holds us back?

"When I'm in the support group and somebody new comes in and says, "I know this is going to sound crazy," I know what they're going to say, and that is: "I'm glad I have cancer." I've heard this at least thirty-five times over the years. The reason we say this is because it has turned our lives around, it has made us see what is worth while in life and what is crock, what is not worth worrying about or being angry about. The first time somebody said this, I felt as though she had poured holy water on me." - What Dying People Want (page 18) - David Kuhl, M. D.

"If I had my life to live over I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage." - IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - Erma Bombeck (in a funny poem written after she learned she was dying from cancer)
John Waiveris writes about Business and Online Marketing for Invisible Gold, LLC.
For more information call 860-285-0172 or visit www.invisiblegold.com
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