“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt-
Hard Times ‘is like a huge s*** sandwich, everybody has to take a bite’ (Source: movie Full Metal Jacket). This article will give you some ideas on how to thrive not merely survive these economically troubled times.
WHY WE’RE IN THIS MESS
Economic hard times and Sister Death are equal opportunity destroyers. Reader you don’t have to be an ‘Einstein’ to know why our country is imploding economically; a blind man/woman could see it. Americans are greedy. If we weren’t so credit card hungry in search of more cheap and expensive toys to satiate our never satisfying lust for stuff we would never had let ourselves get into this mess in the first place. Paying with plastic has become so fashionable that many gas stations insist customers pay cash.
‘Stinkin-thinkin’ (negative mindset) has led to banks being seized by Federal regulators, investment firms going ‘belly-up,’ white collar criminals on Wall Street bilking investors out of their life savings this and other greed related ills has put our nation on its economic a**.
Some ‘patriotic’ types predict communist China will attack if America defaults of on loan payments. Even if this government reneges on what it owes, the Peoples Republic will never invade America their greatest customer base besides they’re rich. FULL FOLKS DON’T FIGHT. Persons with full stomachs generally don’t start wars. Hungry people do.
THRIVING ECONOMIC HARD TIMES
Some months ago my wife and I attended a First Friday mini-seminar at St. Peter’s Church Downtown Chicago. The two hour talk on managing personal income was led by Filipino-American business professional Peter Wells. Here’s his thoughts mingled with some of my own:
- Too many bills, fighting foreclosure, filing bankruptcy, over your head in credit card debt here’s help. Like any commander facing imminent defeat you consolidate your forces before planning your next ‘attack.’ Find out what you’re up against before continuing the ‘battle.’ Financially speaking, make an INCOME-EXPENSE ANALYSIS. Itemize ALL YOUR EXPENSES: social security, pension (if you have one), wages, child support, alimony (poor you), trusts, vacations, gifts, medical/dental, clothes, list every item you spend money on, and when you finish add ’em up. Make this your ‘A’ List.
- Next write down WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING: rent/mortgage, condo assessment (This one can break you financially!), food, gas, phone, TV, credit cards, auto insurance, entertainment, personal grooming, and other vital necessities; your ‘B’ List. Once you know exactly where your hard-earned cash is going place yourself on a tight budget.
It bothers me when I hear people utter that tired old mantra, ‘I don’t want much-I just want to survive.’ Reader that’s a lot of CRAP! If that’s all you want from life you’re in big trouble. You have one life to live so you damn well better make it count. Popular business writer and motivational speaker Ron Broussard’s article titled: How to Thrive during the Recession (www.ronbrossard.com) lists his 6 points/aspects of what he considers to be vital areas you should consider adopting as part of your life program. I’ve paraphrased his and added some of mine:
LIFE IS A WAR. Point number One: times are tough WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT? ‘Back in the day (the past)’ when I was struggling through a lot of bad s*** I would listen to then popular TV preacher/motivational speaker Dr. Robert Schuller Sr. (www.hourofpower.org). The theme of his sermons was: “Tough times never last-tough people do.” Despite allegations of his New Ageism and financial misdealing, the older Schuller really knew how to motivate people. My question: what are YOU going to do about getting through these tough times? Broussard suggest that you have faith in yourself and in your abilities. Assess your (spiritual, physical, and mental) life, formulate a plan of action, focus on your desired goals, and finally be persistent in going after financial solvency. PERSISTENCE is a quality I can’t stress enough.
Point number Two: BE PROACTIVE NOT REACTIVE. Don’t let life ‘happen’ make life ‘happen.’ God is in charge + you’re God’s son/daughter = exercise control!! Don’t waste valuable life energy complaining “Why me, Lord!?” and do nothing. Proactive people SOLVE their problems. Broussard suggest that you:
- If you’re looking for a job, network with like minded people (www.meetup.com).
- Review your income-expense analysis and GET ON A BUDGET.
- Own a business focus on how to develop better customer relations; retention, loyalty, referrals, and customer surveys.
Number Three: CONDITION YOUR MIND AND BODY. Work through your fears or they will cripple you into inactivity. Remember the mind and body is one. Read positive literature and develop a daily physical exercise routine.
Our Forth Point is: NOURISH YOUR SPIRITUALITY. Become active in your faith community. Volunteer as a parish Reader, Server, Cantor, Usher, Choir member, etc. Don’t just occupy a pew on Sundays. Participate in hymn singing. Answer the responses. Serve in the sanctuary.
Reader wanna’ be set for LIFE $$$$wise-then TITHE!! Give to God what is God’s. To tithe means to volunteer 10% of your weekly TIME (Volunteer work), another 10% of your TREASURE (Give 10% of weekly income to faith community & charity, and whatever you’re good at TALENT wise find ways to give 10% of that back to the world.
Point number Five is: FIND a MENTOR/LIFE COACH. We all need people who’ll stand with us on dark days. Seek advice from your spouse, friends, former teachers, rabbis/priests/ministers, and from all people you trust.
Number Six: BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU GOT: Count your blessings as the old 1950’s hit song went. One of the ways this is best accomplished aforementioned is doing charity work. Working soup kitchens, hospitals, homeless shelters, prisons, suicide prevention hotlines, pro-life groups, sharing time and insight at battered women’s shelters, and doing prison ministry are all ways you can show your gratitude to God for your many blessings. Help others, ‘earn’ spiritual merit, and work through your problems/resentments by supplanting negative forces with positive ones. If you are still unclear as to how to chart your financial course, the Internet has many helpful sites. I hope I was helpful. Reader, enjoy the rest of your life!