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Living Within Reality


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According to Thomas Friedman (2011), "since 1993, more than half of the nation’s income growth has been captured by the top 1 percent of earners, families who in 2008 made $368,000 or more." More important, the super rich 0.1 percent are outpacing even the others (Freeland, 2012). These plutocrats are increasingly pressuring politicians to balance budgets using austerity measures; that is, everyone else lives without while the super-rich live better off.

Within this context, how do you improve your own life? Wealth is most likely not in the cards for you. Living without some materials is just not acceptable. What is the balance?

First, remove debt. Stop spending. This is more than Benjamin Franklin's idea of a penny saved is a penny earned. No. This is reality. Debt incurs a huge cost - financially and personally. Therefore, your first move is to remove debt.

Second, realize that upward mobility is more likely to happen in Canada or Europe. Stop dreaming of a better job and start figuring out how to live within the means of your current job. Learn to accept your job as a means to paying bills - nothing more. There is no future in coveting the corner office because that is wasted energy.

Third, stay close to your family. Family can support you, give you a warmth that no one else can provide. But don't just take from your family. Learn to give to them - freely - and without expectations. Stop interacting with your family as a barter system - as if transactions would prompt happiness. Instead, embrace each family member's quirks and ideas. Enjoy them.

Fourth, plan on setbacks. Nothing is perfect and all plans can be rearranged by circumstances outside of your control. Therefore, include the possible setbacks in your plans and don't dwell when they happen. As the proverb suggests, this too shall pass.

Fifth, learn to smile. Smiles are contagious. They bring a sense of joy and release pressure. Don't grimace or fake a smile. Let the smile originate in your heart. Soon, anger and disappointment will be replaced with a sense of joy and contentment.


Freeland, C. (2012). Plutocrats: The rise of the new global super-rich and the fall of everyone else. Penguin Press HC.

Friedman, T. (2011, August 13.) A Theory of Everything (sort Of). New York Times.
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