The Gratitude Experiment – Conclusions

After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.

Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.

Gratitude Is Acknowledgement

It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.

We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.

But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.

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February Mariner Promo Code

Last year I was able to get an unbelievable sale promotion for my blog readers. It was a very special deal with Mariner Software for all their software,  including extremely powerful software like MacJournal and Mac Gourmet DeLuxe. It’s very important to note that that was an exclusive discount for all DragosRoua.com readers. Yeah, that’s … Read more

Travel As A Personal Development Tool – The How To

This is the second part of my short series about how to use travel as a personal development tool. I covered the “why’s” and the benefits of this in the first post, so if you came here directly you may want to read that too.

While started to work on this, I realized that travel as a personal development tool can be split into 2 main categories:

  • short rides around the city or at maximum 3-400 km away from home, which usually last less than a day
  • long trips, more than 3-4000 km, which last at least one week.

There are some differences between the those trips, at least from a personal development approach, so I will split my post accordingly.

Short Joy Rides

Those trips are fantastic perspective changers. I used to do unexpected rides all the time when I was feeling stressed or under pressure. After several months of doing this on purpose, my general approach toward my business completely changed. I switched from a very tense attitude to a more relaxed one and I was able to spot opportunities much easier.

From my experience, you should use this whenever you have feelings of lack of time or pressure. Sounds very counter-productive and somehow like escapism, but is not. Just start a short ride around the city, drive around or walk if you want. You can even take public transportation like urban trains or trams. Just go there, be with the flow and give your mind a break. Do this for at least 3 or 4 hours. Don’t even dare to think that this time could be better used if you “worked”. You’re still working during those rides, you’re only doing it differently.

The trick here is to do this on purpose and for several weeks / months in a row. Yes, you got it right, you must make a habit out of it. Sounds strange to make a habit out of short trips, but believe me, it works. You don’t have to come to the end of the rope and try it as a last resort, just do it while you’re still able to think it clear. Because you still have the capacity to shift your focus from your problems (what is pressuring you) to your solutions (what could free you).

The other key point is to not plan your itinerary, just go in the car and ride the road you see in front of you. Let yourself caught in the road, stop your mind and enjoy what you see. Extract yourself from your current flow of habits, break your unconscious walls and immerse yourself into the unknown. After 3-4 hours, return home. That’s it. As I said, it’s very important to this for at least several weeks in a row.

Short trips without an established goal worked fantastically well for me. Helped me to achieve a better clarity and sensitivity. My work actually improved, both in terms of performance and volume during that period, so I never feel I lost time during those trips.

The best image I can use is something that comes out of the fog. This is how I felt after several weeks in which I follow the habit of short 3-4 hours trips.

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Travel As A Personal Development Tool

Looking at my 2009 goal list I found a few things there related to travel. Precisely, I want to have at least 3 long term vacations this year, and that my friends, is a specific goal, not relaxation. Here comes a post about how you can use traveling as a personal development tool. Apart from having lots of fun, of course.

Personal Traveling History

I did my first travel outside my country after I hit my thirties. Yes, you can laugh now. I know, it’s fun. Ok, you can laugh even more. But that’s the truth and I will not hide it. At that time I was still involved 16 hours a day in my own business and considered travel is just a waste of precious time. Maybe, and only maybe if I could mix travel with business, then I can embark on some small trips outside my country.

And this is how I actually had my first trip to Switzerland: it was a big automotive event in Geneva and since I had the biggest car portal in Romania, I said I could give it a try. I drove 25 hours from Bucharest to Geneva, with only 3 hours of sleep in Hungary. Next year I was in Frankfurt and next year in Paris. Automotive events are quite popular, you know…

And I started to like it. In fact, I started to like it a lot. So much that last year I made one trip longer than any other I had before. In fact much longer than the sum of all my travels to the moment: to New Zealand. One may say that I somehow balanced the score with that one, but in fact, I felt that this was only the beginning. I somehow developed a travel addiction, the same way I developed my GTD addiction over time.

And then I realized that not only entrepreneurship can be a personal development tool. You can also use traveling to enhance yourself consciously. I will outline just a few of the “why’s” in this post, and in the next one I’ll try to share some specific advice about the “how’s”. For now, let’s just start with the reasons.

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Working Out Your Money Muscles

Playing the money game is something really fun, when you do it with an easy heart. And by that I mean that whenever you focus only on the money part and lose the game part you derail yourself from a path of joy and learning. Making money is just something you do in the process of creating value. The focus must always be at creating value, not at money.

In today’s post I’ll share some of my money game experiences, I will show how money can be compared with a fitness workout and I’ll take a closer look at one very scary notion related to money, and that would be debt.

The Money Game

For me money is just a source of energy. I wrote about that before so if you want to know how you can make money with a purpose, just go and read that post and return here a little later. If you already read it, than you know what I mean: each time you interact directly with money, you break an energy flow. And direct interaction with an energy flow can be really dangerous. You should consider using switches for manipulating money, the same way you manipulate switches for electricity, in order to light your room or make it warmer.

Money is just a part of a game, is something you use in the process, is not the process itself, nor the goal of your actions. People tend to forget this and they do it especially when one part of the game become a little naughty: when they are caught in debt.

Debt and win are just two faces of the same coin (ironically, I use a money object in order to describe a money concept). If you win money in the process of creating value that simply means you have more resources than you had in the beginning. If you used more money than you had at a certain point, well, you just created a debt. The problem with debt is that is very often perceived like a threat or a burden. And it surely is, as long as you don’t know the value you created with that debt. If you used that money in order to build something, you created a certain value. (If you didn’t and just spend it on a shallow lifestyle, well, that’s another problem and your debt should really be a problem for you.) But if you created value, your only question is:

Is my created value bigger than my debt?

If the answer is “yes”, you’re on the safe side, and the money game is working for you. If the answer is “no”, well, you should do your best to create more value.

That’s what makes the difference between successful people and losers. Successful people know all the time if their created value exceeds or not their financial debt. And most of the time, that value is well over the debt. Losers (sorry for the term, but it’s the most appropriate term I found for this category) never know where their created value is compared with their debt. At the first sign of a debt they consider something is wrong and stop doing everything, start complaining, become irrational or simply run away.

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Aggressiveness Recycled

You’ve been there, admit it. You had your share of aggressive thoughts, intentions or even actions. You did at least something in your life with violence and aggressiveness. And now you regret it. Let’s stop a little and look at this closer. Because I think in its core, aggressiveness is something that you can use. … Read more

Managing Abundance

So, you want more. Good for you. You want more time, more money, more stuff, more satisfaction, more life. Great! You strive for abundance which, by the way, happens to be our natural state as human beings. But are you prepared for that? Are you really ready to enjoy what you wish?

I’m not talking from a philosophical, law-of-attraction-ish standpoint. I’m talking from a very practical, day to day approach for managing your future abundance. If you consciously chose abundance and if you achieve it honestly, then you have to be able to actually manage it.

During my life I had several abundance thresholds. When I left home and came in my country’s main town to study, I had virtually nothing. I worked during my studies and I successfully managed to financially sustain myself during that time, and I did it more than decent. During next years I passed over several abundance milestones: from going out of the student’s hostel to rent my own apartment, later to buy my own apartment, and even later to move into my own house. Which, by the way, I discovered I had to clean a lot.

Each time I reached those milestones I faced several challenges. Each time I had to cope with a bigger flow of stuff coming into my life. But it wasn’t only stuff, it was more than that. I realized that abundance can walk into your life by taking one of the following three shapes. There is another one, the 4th shape, but I reserved a special chapter to it, at the end of this post.

1. You can have more stuff: 2 cars instead of one, a house instead of an apartment, more gadgets, more clothes, more things – you know the drill…
2. You can have more action: going to the gym, socializing in a different way, making appearance to new events, doing something completely new – everything that your new status requires from you to do in order to keep it up and running
3. You can be involved in new relationships: new friends, new social positions for you, a pool guy, a maid, a chauffeur, or just new persons that needs your constant attention

Don’t laugh. Or if you laugh just keep reading because this is about you and the abundance you are eager to achieve. It will include all this stuff. It will change your life. It will challenge you at a very deep level. It’s ok to laugh, as long as you’ll be prepared.

Failing to realistically manage your abundance can have unpleasant consequences. You can find yourself overwhelmed and lose track of your possessions, or you can fail in managing your new level of relationships and let your wealth slip through your fingers. Or you can be fooled into a “don’t deserve this because I don’t don’t know how to handle it” pattern, which is even worse than the first situation.

So here comes the practical advice:

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