Get your mind back.

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When making decisions, we often rely on someone else to tell us what to do. We are inclined to go along with the group.

This can even mean changing our outlook based on what groups around us think. We run the risk of going along with someone else, rather than coming up with our own ideas or responses.

Before you do what you’re told, stop a minute and ask why you’re taking that stand. Are you really thinking for yourself? Or have you succumbed to groupthink?

Concepts

  • A definition of groupthink.
  • Where we see groupthink: business, politics, religion, social situations.
  • The dangers of gravitating only toward people who share your thoughts.
  • Are you using shortcuts instead of thinking for yourself?
  • Is it really a good idea to trust only one person to tell you how to live?
  • How efforts to please others can lead you to stop thinking for yourself.
  • In business, groupthink can stifle creativity and lead you to miss out on new ideas and creative solutions.
  • Tips for avoiding groupthink.
  • How to challenge your own worldview and maintain health skepticism.

This week, our DO NOWs revolve around challenging your own worldview. It’s about actively seeking ways to review your positions and why you take the stands you do. It includes finding something you disagree and giving it consideration, writing an argument on behalf of the “other” side, and listening to someone who disagrees with you.

Our listener this week is trying to reclaim parents from groupthink. Unfortunately, when you’ve stopped thinking for yourself, it’s hard to get those mental gears going again.

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Resources

Resources about groupthink.

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Should you delay having kids until you can afford it? How do you know when the time is right?

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Stay tuned to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

If you’re young, you are more likely to wait longer to take on typical adult responsibilities than previous generations. Having children is one aspect of life that is being put off. Is the delay due to more uncertain finances? Should you wait until you feel you can afford to raise children before having them?

Sandy Smith joins Adulting.tv LIVE! for this discussion. Sandy created her blog, “Yes, I Am Cheap,” to help her climb out of $120,000 of debt. She has also created a 30-day challenge, #HustleCrew, to help you start your side hustle.

Related: Why don’t you have kids already?

Watch the video above or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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You need to invest your money for the future. But don’t forget to invest in your actual life.

We make investments all the time, but they don’t always have to do with money.

The way you use your time and energy is important to developing the kind of life you want. For the most part, I have a kick-ass life. And most of that is due to the non-money investments I make.

If you’re looking to level up, here are a few non-money investments you should make. Some of them might even lead to a higher income down the road.

1. Learning.

One of the best things you can do is keep learning. This doesn’t mean being a perpetual college student. There are plenty of ways to learn that don’t involve going to college.

My favorite way to keep learning is to read a lot of books. Even fiction can provide you with insights and lessons.

There are plenty of places online to learn new things. Read something you don’t agree with to learn the other side. Take a course in something you don’t know a lot about. All of that can be done online.

I also find you can learn from mistakes and failure. Get out there and fail big time. Just make sure you pay attention to the lesson.

Take what you learn and apply it to your life. Whether it’s a new system that helps you be more productive, or whether it’s information about child development that helps you connect better with your nieces and nephews, learning is a great way to make non-money investments in your life.

2. Self-care.

A couple weeks ago, I was swamped. I had too much to do and felt stressed out. One of the items on my calendar was a mani/pedi. “I think I’m going to cancel,” I told a friend.

Instead of backing me up, he told me to go through with the appointment. “Self-care is an important part of staying well emotionally and physically,” he pointed out.

I try to take time for self-care regularly. This includes relaxing at home, reading for pleasure, and, yes, going to the spa a couple times a month to have my nails done.

My work is better when I take care of myself. I’m more productive when I make time to enjoy myself. And, most importantly of all, my relationship with my son is better when I’m in a healthy state of mind.

You don’t have to get a facial every month or a massage every week (although that sounds AMAZING) to engage in self-care. The important thing is to take time for yourself, doing something that you consider a pleasure.

3. Networking.

Networking is one of those non-money investments that can pay off financially down the road.

Getting to know people in your community and in your career field is an important part of moving forward and improving your life.

Networking can help you meet interesting people that you can learn from. It can also help you get an “in” with folks who can help you find a new job, start a business venture, or do any number of things.

I attended a charity benefit not too long ago and I saw a kid, just graduated from college, working it. His parents had brought him long for the express purpose of meeting a couple of attending luminaries and for networking with the cream of the business crop.

As an introvert, networking can be difficult. I know. I just spent an hour at a party, hiding, before getting back out there and smiling and visiting and making connections for the county political organization I head.

Invest the time it takes to learn how to network effectively. It will help you in ways you can’t even begin to fathom.

4. Personal relationships.

I’m not talking about collecting tons of friends. You don’t need a wide social circle to make meaningful personal connections. While I go to a lot of events and am involved in my community, I have a surprisingly small number of deep personal connections.

And I’m just fine with that.

However, the personal relationships I do have are very meaningful, and I like that. Most of us, as humans, have the desire for personal connections.

Good personal relationships enrich your life and provide you with needed emotional support.

Invest in your personal relationships. One of the most important relationships I invest in is the one I have with my son. I also value other relationships in my life. These relationships take time and effort to maintain. It’s worth it.

These relationships take time and effort to maintain. It’s worth it.

5. Health.

Your health is pretty much everything. You can’t enjoy life when your health sucks. I spent five weeks basically sick with everything that was going around at the time.

It was Not Fun.

An investment in your health today pays dividends in the future. You will be better able to meet your goals, and you will have fewer healthcare expenses.

You can benefit from healthy habits today as well. I have more energy when I eat right and exercise. I’m more productive. I make better decisions. My mood is better, and that helps my relationships.

Good health can fuel all sorts of ventures, including those that can make you money down the road.

Pay attention to your health and you will come out ahead in life.

This includes your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health. You might be surprised at how much good it can do to visit with a counselor or therapist on a regular basis to maintain good mental and emotional health.

Don’t forget about your spiritual health. I’m not religious, but there are many things I find edifying and refreshing in my experience as a human, akin to spiritual experiences. If you are religious, nurture your spiritual side and work on your relationship with the divine. It will be good for you in the long run.

What are some of the non-money investments you make in your own life? How do they benefit you?

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Without the right financial values, you’ll be lost with money and you’ll set a poor example. Fix that right now.

When you’re struggling financially, you might have two different ways of dealing with it. You might freak out because you can’t deal. Or you might just stick your head in the sand and ignore your problems because it hurts too much.

That’s what I did when I was dealing with the worst of my money problems. I had to hit rock bottom before turning my life around. That gave me a chance to figure out what my financial values are.

1. Money is not for the sake of money.

With money, you have to be that annoying kid. The one who asks, “Why?” after every sentence. “I want to be a millionaire.” “Why?” “Because I want to be rich.” “Why?” “So I don’t have to be concerned about having enough money.” “Why?” “So I can do the things I’d like to do.” “Why?” “Because I want to travel the world.”

Finally we get to an answer. There’s no point in having a high balance in the bank or a long-term investing strategy if there isn’t a goal other than gathering that money. If your only goal is to retire with a million dollars, you’re totally missing the point. The purpose of money is to do something with it. What do you want to do?

2. Balance financial independence with helping others.

What would you do if you ended up with one million dollars that you didn’t plan on having? How about one billion? What else is there besides “financial independence” (having enough money to do what you want without worrying about earning more from working)?

Don’t forget to look outside yourself and your family. Help others, especially those who don’t have the same types of opportunities as you. You don’t need to be financially independent to start making a better world. Some of the most charitable people are those who are not wealthy. Find the right balance for you between making yourself rich and contributing to a rich experience for the world.

3. Are your assets on display?

If you feel the world is a competition or that you have something to prove, you probably have less of a problem with showing off your success. Grow up in a community where success is hard to find, and you feel this even more. You celebrate your success publicly, because it not only helps validate you, but it gives hope to others.

But this perpetuates the idea that money and wealth somehow make people superior. And the competition isn’t only about wealth. Look around and you’ll see people trying to prove that they have the skills to save more money than anyone else. Money brings out your competitive nature. Whether it’s about earning money, having a wealthy partner, or saving money, you may feel the need to show off.

Showing off tells people you’re not confident with yourself. People don’t need to know about your success. Keep it quiet and do good with your money without fanfare.

4. Wealth isn’t something to idolize.

Wealth Isn't Something to Idolize: 6 Healthy Financial Values to Fix Your Money Attitude

We see popular people living well and we want to be like them, whether it’s the musical artist who’s an “overnight success,” a Kardashian, or just some couple on House Hunters International.

Have you seen all the books and blogs that supposedly teach people how to be rich by thinking like a rich person? As if changing your “mindset” will give you the same opportunities experienced by people who have lived their entire life surrounded by wealth? Yes, you do have to have a positive life philosophy if you want to be able to handle the wealth you build, but you won’t gain anything by just thinking like a rich person. Financially successful people are not better or smarter than the rest of us.

Strive to be a person of strong character, not a person of a huge bank balance.

5. Money isn’t related to human decency.

On that note, we often confuse wealth with living as a good human being, just as often or if not more than we characterize wealthy people as “evil.” These are both wrong! If you are a bad person before becoming wealthy, you will remain a bad person when you become wealthy.

Just like wealth doesn’t lead to decency or indecency, the lack of wealth doesn’t correlate either. Poor people aren’t necessarily lazy. They aren’t necessarily hard workers, either. Everyone has a life full of their own circumstances that often don’t correspond with any stereotype or generalization. Separate someone’s character from their wealth, and don’t make assumptions.

6. Financial success isn’t a reward for hard work.

You do your chores, you collect your allowance. This is supposed to be a life lesson for kids about how the real world works. Except it’s not!

Yes, you do get paid when you show up for your job, but how hard you work often is not related to how much you get paid. I worked for an arts organization after college, and I worked hard. There were times of the year I worked 80 hours a week and the job consumed my life. Didn’t make much money, though.

There are wealthy people who never worked a hard day in their life. Many have, though, so having a great work ethic is still the best approach to build wealth. The problem is that it’s far from a guarantee. Sometimes working hard just doesn’t pay off. A vast amount — the majority — of people throughout the world work hard their entire lives but will never be wealthy.

Financial success requires grit, but also much more.

What are your financial values?

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Have you thought about what it means to live a purposeful life?

“Follow your bliss.”

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

What does any of that mean?

Sure it would be nice to just hang out having fun and making money for doing whatever. The reality, though, is that most of us have to work for a living, and even if we love what we do, some days are just crappy.

As much as I enjoy writing, there are days I just don’t really “feel” it. But I do it anyway, because I like eating, and I think my son should wear clothing to school. Does the fact that some days aren’t bliss-filled and there are times I have to write shit I don’t care about mean I’m on the wrong path?

Of course not.

The real key is figuring out what my bliss happens to be and then incorporating that bliss in my life. That’s the journey I’m on right now. Rather than setting a bunch of quasi-meaningless goals for the new year, I’m making this a time of exploration for me. What do I want my purpose in life to be? How can I figure it out so I can follow my bliss?

Map it out: What does your bliss look like?

If you want to follow your bliss, the first step is to think about what it looks like. And be honest: would you really be happy lying on a beach somewhere doing nothing all the time? I know I wouldn’t be. Inspired by Harlan’s life map, I created my own.

Miranda Life Map

I named my map “Living with Passion and Purpose” because I decided that my bliss involves things that allow me to follow some of my passions while also living with a sense of purpose.

Many of us like to feel as though we can make a difference. Chances are, when you think about how to follow your bliss, part of that is working in a capacity that allows you to help people, whether that means volunteering or cultivating career opportunities that allow you to feel as though you are contributing to something worthwhile.

One of the reasons that phrases like “follow your bliss” get so much play is due to the fact that, for most of us, money isn’t the driver that makes life interesting.

Here is what Rosabeth Moss Kanter at Harvard discovered about what makes work worth doing:

In research for my book Evolve!, I identified three primary sources of motivation in high-innovation companies: mastery, membership, and meaning. Another M, money, turned out to be a distant fourth. Money acted as a scorecard, but it did not get people up-and-at ‘em for the daily work, nor did it help people go home every day with a feeling of fulfillment.

Follow Your Bliss -- Or At Least Figure Out What It Looks Like

Money is on my map, but mostly as a subject I write and podcast about — as well as the Thing that allows me to follow all my other interests. Chances are that money isn’t your main motivator, either, even if you don’t have same passions I do or hope to impact the world around you in the same way. (I prefer small-scale, local efforts.)

You can figure out what your own bliss looks like by going through the exercise of creating a life map as well. Sit down and think about the kinds of things you would be doing for work and in your leisure time if you were able to follow your bliss.

Add bits of bliss to your life.

Once you know what your bliss looks like, you can start adding it to your life. It doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything you’re doing right now to follow bliss. You can start looking for meaning in what you do, even if it is a crappy job.

Find other ways to add purpose to your life. Start a side gig. Volunteer. Take music lessons. Play with your kids. Netflix and chill. Join a book club. Spend the night in a hotel. Look for a way to make a small change that adds to your quality of life.

A few years ago, when I felt trapped in my life, I made time to take guitar lessons. For half an hour each week, I met with a teacher. I practiced for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Is that enough to become a good guitar player? Nope. But it’s enough to find some enjoyment and passion in the day, learn something new, and get to the point where I can accompany other people. It wasn’t much, but it added something to my life — a spark of joy.

Little by little, reduce the amount of time you spend on things that don’t bring you happiness and shift toward what adds purpose and passion to your life. This might take some time to accomplish since it might include some gradual career changes along the way. You don’t have to upend your life to follow your bliss. And you don’t have to stop what you’re doing just because you have a bad day.

Look for the little ways to enjoy life, and you’ll be surprised at how it all adds up until eventually you really do get to live the life you (mostly) want.

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Put your passions and interests down on paper. It will help you determine your life’s direction and how to spend your time.

Over the last year, I’ve been overwhelmed with possibilities for my life. New opportunities have been arising, and I’m interested in pursuing any number of these, and doing so might change the direction of my life.

The trouble started when I was much younger. Continue reading “Your Life Map Will Clear Your Path”

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