Personal Finance take on Life Satisfaction and High Achievement

In a topic that’s a little bit away from the usual personal finance blogosphere, but highly relevant is having life satisfaction and a high degree of achievement.

Having recently read the New York Times article on this topic, “What if the Secret to Success is failure?”, it made me wonder and reflect on my own life. The article summarizes educators’ mission to improve the graduation rates and predictors of success in life of their students. It was observed that those students that succeeded in college, were not necessarily those with the highest placement test, but in fact they had other characteristics that allowed them to persevere in college. This is rated in what they call a Character Grade. Among the top characteristics were: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity. These characteristics, taught and impressed on young children would then help them build the necessary tool set to deal with stresses later on in life.

It’s a radical way of thinking, and I like it. I think these characteristics apply to life in general, and certainly to personal finance. This is my take on how each of these characteristics would apply:

  • Zest – meaning great enthusiasm and energy
    • keeping up the energy to deal with the bills and to keep on track for debt freedom. nothing helps more than a good attitude.
  • Grit – courage and resolve
    • having the strength to deal with your issues head on and not giving up. the start is a little daunting, but gets easier as you move on.
  • Self-control – The ability to control oneself
    • pretty explanatory, developing the skill to control our desires and wants can help us achieve our true goals.
  • Social Intelligence - the ability to use one’s brain to navigate and negotiate complex social relationships
    • it helps with careers tremendously. being able to relate to others, or understand when it is appropriate to bring up issues is crucial.
  • Gratitude - the quality of being thankful
    • i can’t tell you the number of times saying thank you has helped me somewhere down the road. it’s the polite thing to do, but it also helps lift someone’s spirits, thereby improving your social intelligence. Being thankful for what we have currently is a great way to take stock of your life and analyzing what your goals truly mean to you.
  • Optimism - hopefulness and confidence about the future
    • When you’re in debt, you have to have this optimism to get you through the days. It’s a tough road, as great debt doesn’t easily disappear, but you have to be confident that better days will come.
  • Curiosity - a strong desire to know or learn something
    • Start with knowing your debts, but continue by learning about the topics you’re most afraid of. I was afraid of personal finance and retirement at the beginning, but the more I learned and read, the more comfortable I got. That’s how I got started with this blog, with just a strong curiosity to learn and improve myself.

Do you apply these charteristics to your life?

Networth Update – 7/22/11

-Updated Networth-

Total Assets: $85,378
Total Liabilities: $108,898
Networth: -$23,520

Anothe month has gone by and improvement, mainly due to the fact that I forgot to add the home downpayment fund that I already started funding a while back. In reality, the progress should’ve been minimal as I spent some time abroad after my work trip. One of the unfortunate things is that I get easily relaxed when I am travelling and money in different currencies somehow normalizes in my head that it is cheaper than it actually is. This pitfal caused me to spend in excess of $1,300 on extra dining and trips to london and paris, although I have to say that I quite enjoyed the experience and it is something that I will never forget :) I could’ve easily spent the same amount of money on a couple of nights out in new york and not had the same experience.

More recruiting contacts, but they seem to be slowing down as our nation is reaching its debt ceiling. Isn’t it funny that as a nation we are failing and not putting any right foot forward to rectifying the situation, while as individuals we may be failing, but often trying to at least try and improve our own situations. Certainly the budget is something that is far more complicated than my situation, but I just don’t see how one of the richest countries in the world can’t start looking at this from a different perspective and realize that hey.. maybe we can solve this in another manner that’s not debilitating to business and individuals alike.

‘Till next time:)

What is it all for?

Sometimes I wonder what it is all for?
We strive to gather and gather.. and in the end we just have a bunch of stuff. Does it make us happy? Maybe, sometimes, temporarily.
I haven’t quite found out what it is that makes me always happy, but I do know of some things, which aren’t centered around spending:
- Watching a well made movie
- Creating a website/project just for the fun of it :)
- Being around friends and family and having a few laughs
- Seeing a little child laugh uncontrollably just by the mention of the word springy

I guess there aren’t that many things out there which involve the money or status in life.. but certainly a lot which make it not so happy. Financial worries etc..
So let’s all vote not to get in that boat. Make enough to live and to be happy; strive to get to that point of freedom. That day where you can just sit back in your chair and breathe out a sigh of fulfillment. That’s the day I’m looking forward to :)