Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category.

How to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic healthier wealthier and better overall

Make 2021 a productive year
Make 2021 a productive year

Here is the problem with the current pandemic we are living in, other than the obvious health and economic implications impacting billions around the world: it is the fact that it came almost unannounced and that we have no end date in sight. It would have been much easier if we were told, for example, that the pandemic will last for 6 months (e.g March 10 to October 10) and we all go back to our normal lives after that. But it has been more like a playoff hockey game, where we have 3 periods, followed by overtime that could go on and on until someone scores a goal. While we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from seeing this thing through. In fact, for Canada at least, we are being told the population as a whole will not get vaccinated in full until early to mid 2022. And considering that pandemic restrictions and curfews started in March 2020, that will be a full 2 years that we will have to put up with living our lives in seclusion and isolation from one another and our usual leisure activities etc. For pre-teens for example, that almost one quarter of their life spent in mandatory isolation from society!

That means, at least for most of us, we have only finished the first half of this boring and dangerous game called Covid19: the second half is yet to start and will last through much of this fresh year and early next year. Unless there is a big breakthrough that will massively scale vaccine production and delivery to Canada and other parts of the world, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. So, with so much more free time on our hands, why not do something useful with it, so that when it is all said and done, these 1-2 years of your life will not be defined by Covid19, pandemic and vaccines, but rather how you used it to advance your life in every area possible. I did it myself already and you can too. Let me go through some of what I was able to accomplish in 2020, and what I would like to continue doing for 2021, until we see us through this once in a lifetime pandemic.

Heath

When the pandemic started, in my first week of working from home and with my GYM being closed, I literally looked at my wife and said: “how will we do this?” it was a week in which I opened the door to our fridge more than I opened any other door in the bedroom or the entire house. That was March. Then came April and something changed. Despite the weather still being cold-even snowy at times-I started to walk, sometimes alone and sometimes with my wife who was off work due to the lock-down. Then in June, as some restrictions were eased, our local trails and hiking parks reopened and i started to frequent them on a semi-daily basis. I also bought dumbbell sets to work out at home, during my breaks from work. To put it into prospective, by the time the lock-downs started, I was around 180 lbs and by new year’s eve, I had gone down to 167 lbs, and body fat from 25% to 17%! That is 13 lbs loss and 8% body fat reduction, with no GYM! All because I took the decision to walk and work out, even with no formal GYM to go to. Last but not least, using my Apple Watch, I am currently on a 203 day move streak, going all the way back to July 12! That is how long I have been active on a daily basis.

Wealth

I am proud to say I spent the entire lock-down so far without once shopping off Amazon, unlike the majority of the population! With not much to do, I saved most of my money and I did two things that will benefit me tremendously for the long term: first, I bought stocks when the market bottomed out in late March, and again during the summer and fall. Every single one of these positions were in blue chip high-yielding stocks. Combined, I will be making over $1800 in annual dividend returns ($450 a quarter) . The other thing I did with all the money saved during the lock-down was to pay off my line of credit balance of $8,500. It would have been close to impossible to do this had there been no lock-down, where i would have otherwise spent my money in a multitude of ways. Between the two (LoC payment + dividends), I now have $600 of net monthly income that I am saving/getting.

Self Development

Depending on how you define this, to me it is the process or steps you take to develop your character, learn new things, or help you reach new goals in life. Going by this definition, 2020 was one of my best years ever. The things I was able to accomplish speak for themselves and prove that you can turn an otherwise terrible year into something productive and better yourself in the process. To start, and this is as synonymous as it gets with the concept of self development, this was a record year for book reading for me. I was able to read a total of 20 books, compared to my average of 3-5 books on average. Not only that, but some of these books were business and technology references, one of which helped me earn an industry-recognized certificate specific to my profession. 2020 was also a year in which I found a huge new interest in audio-books and podcasts. For the latter, I have even developed a new hobby: podcast driving. This is the act of driving for leisure while listening to my favorite podcasts shows. From March to December, I listened to around 500 podcast episodes, in a variety of topics.

Don’t let another year go to waste, start now!

I am not here to download the seriousness of Covid-19 and the terrible human loss for millions of people around the world. But the point is to not let it define us. If 2020 was defined by a pandemic and lock-down, and nothing else for you, you still have time to make 2021 better and more productive year. Start by setting some small but specific short term goals: how about finishing a book, losing 5 lbs, saving $1,000 and so on. As you start and gain some momentum, you will notice wanting to go for more and then the sky is the limit. Think of a snowball that starts small and as it goes down the hill, it gets bigger and bigger.

As you read at the start of this article, I started with a simple question and a simple walk, and those progressed into much bigger goals and accomplishments. And in fact, I am even more fired up for 2021. For January, and thanks to a milder weather so far, I have walked almost every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. My fear was that I would start gaining some weight back during the cold winter months. Thankfully, that never materialized and I have kept the weight off. As they say, if I can do it, so can you. In fact, you may be be able to do more than I do, depending on your personal circumstances (whether you have a family, kids, full time job etc) . I would love to hear some success stories of how people used these pandemic months and years to better themselves and start a new chapter in their life that will forever change them for the better. Ditch the countless hours of Netflix binge-viewing and Tiktok scrolling and pick a book, go for a daily walk, or start a new online course!

Addicted to online gambling? here is how I beat it and with ease!

How to beat online gambling addiction

How to beat online gambling addiction!

I am no gambler or a gambling addict. I go to the casino when I am on vacation and happen to be close to a casino (Vegas anyone?) . And where I live, I rarely go to the casion. So the whole thing is like a novelty to me.

However, ever since OLG (Ontario Lottery Gaming; the body that regulates gambling in the province of Ontario) introduced online gambling through PlayOlg.ca , I found myself gambling a bit too much for my standards. At least 1-2 times a month, for a total of about $30. I know, that may sound like nothing, and although I enjoy playing, I am careful to never exceed my losing tolerance.

This past August, I took a trip to Vegas, and this being a place where you can not easily avoid gambling, I fell in love with the Wheel of Forune slot machine. And to my fortune (pun intended), when I came back home, I realized PlayOlg.ca has this popular slot machine. Ever since,  when I play online, I spend every cent playing this game. The thrill of waiting to spin the wheel is a lesson in pavlovian stimuli. In fact, the addiction got to a point where I was even going on youtube to watch others video playing this game. Don’t get me wrong, I may be using the word ‘addicted’ a bit too loosely here, becasue I was still playing the same amount as I have always played. The only difference is, instead of using my semi-monthly minimum deposit of $15 on different slot machine games, I was putting all of it on Wheel of Fortune.

And then I found an escape out of this addiction and it didn’t come accidentally. Thankfully, PlayOlg.ca allows you to play any of their online slot games for free, in addition to playing with real money. So when I was out of money, I would switch to the free version, to satisfy my addiction to the WOF game. As I played the free version, and despite no money being involved, I found myself getting enough satisfaction from it. In fact, I tested this theory by depositing money and instead of playing for money first, to play for free first. And after doing this for about 15-20 min, I didn’t have the strong urge to spend my wagered money. My brain’s thirst to see the wheel spin was satisfied using the free games, so it didn’t care much for playing using real money, even if it meant winning no money.

This has now been my strategy to deal with online gambling ‘addiction’ and it has proved so successful, that I sometimes got a whole month without depositing money. I just use the free version and that satisfies my gambling ‘addiction’ and provides me that perfect pavlovian stimulus (the simple act of spinning the wheel, which may or may not mean big money in the real game)

How can you apply this to a real slot machine at a casino? Most likely, there will be no free version to play. Instead, look at finding free online slot machines to play at home before you head to the casino. After playing for an hour or more, you may found that you won’t be as eager and looking forward to your trip to the casino as you would have been if you didn’t play online for free. The free version will most likely satisfy your inner addicition. It worked for free and it doesn’t hurt to try and save yourself from the destruction of online or real gambling.

How much do you owe your ‘wealth accumulation’ to psychology?

Ever read such books as ‘The Science of Getting Rich‘ or ‘The Power of your Subconscious Mind‘?

If you did, then you know what I am about to talk about: how much of your wealth accumulation do you attribute to your positive thinking, believing in the ‘Law of Attraction’ etc.?

In other words, do you think that the road to wealth and riches starts from the brain and how we think about money? That is, thinking poorly ‘I can’t afford that’ will always keep you down while thinking positively about your finances ‘I pay all my bills on time’ will help you become better financially in the future.

Rich people didn’t just become rich by pure luck or hard work. For most, it started at their subconscious level or in their minds.

I would be interested to hear your stories and approach to riches and how much of it is due to psychology and having a positive affirmation approach? How much do you employ the concept of ‘Law of Attraction’ to gain what you need? For example, if you have a dream of buying a house by the beach, what steps do you take from a visualization point of view to attain your dream?

The importance of positive thinking when dealing with money and finances

I just finished reading ‘The Power of your Subconscious Mind‘ by Joseph Murphy and it was one hell of a book and an eye opener.

money-and-your-subconscious

There is an increasing emphasis being put on the role of psychology and positive thinking in organizing our money and having more of it,

Shortly after, I picked up another book with a similar theme: ‘Think and Grow Rich‘ by Napoleon Hill, which I am in the process of reading as we speak.

Two great books, both dealing with one very important subject and theme: the hugely important and vital role that our minds play-or should play-in organizing our finances and helping us have more money.  More specifically, the subconscious part of our brains.

The premise is similar for both: the more positive you are in your thinking and actions, the better your life will be. More specifically, when it comes to money, you have to have the right ideas and thoughts. Basically, you are what you think. If you are always thinking poverty and not being able to afford things, that is what you will get: more poverty.  But if you think ‘abundance’ and ‘wealth’ etc., that is what you will get.

Of course, it is not as easy as just ‘thinking of something and getting it’ . There is more to it. You also need time, practice and some other techniques to help you along the way. Let us go through them in detail. The following is a list of things you need to do in order to re-program your subconscious mind to think positively and consequently, help attract money and good things to you:

 

  • Visualization: you have to use visualization to live out the outcome you want. If you want to be able to afford that big house with the pool, you have to be able to imagine yourself already living in it, swimming in the pool and feeling the water, the warmth of the sun hitting your living room etc. The idea is to trick your mind into thinking it is already there, since our minds can’t specifically distinguish between reality and imagination.  When your brain perceives such a situation, it will do all it can to catch up to the reality (which is to be in that house for real)
  • Positive Affirmations (or Auto-suggestion) : this refers primarily to the act of using phrases and sentences that are positive in nature and enforce a certain belief..  It is the practice of repeating positive statements and thoughts to yourself, as if they are already happening. For an affirmation to be effective, it is preferred  to be in present tense, positive, personal and specific to you. Positive affirmations help to clear and clean your subconscious of the negative, ensuring your brain has a clear path to success.  Here are some examples of positive affirmations you can repeat to yourself daily.
    -I am rich
    -There is always an abundance in my life
    -Money is attracted to me and I am attracted to money
    -I am always paying my bills on time
    -I am getting money from so many different sources and places
    -I am always successful and finding the right opportunities
  • Meditation: the practice of meditation helps calm your brain and this makes it easier for you to connect with your subconscious mind. Once you are in touch with it, you will be able to directly influence it and hopefully change the things you want to change about it.  Visualization also works much better when you are in a meditative state than if you were to do it somewhere with a lot of noise and distraction.

 

This psychological approach to our finances and money in general has been gaining a lot of traction lately. Some swear by it. Even rich people claim to have used some of these principles to get to where they are now.  Jim Carey, for example, famously wrote a check to himself for some $10 million dollars, years before he had made any serious money. He dated for some year in the future, for rendered services. The idea was to trick your brain into thinking you are a millionaire and have this money. Well, we all know who Jim Carey is today and how much wealth he possesses from all the movies he has played.

Does it work? the short answer, yes. But it is not magic-though some refer to it as being just that-and you still need to put in the hard work. Like everything in life, you have to put the hard work and positive thinking and connecting with your subconscious mind will only make it easier for you to get there.