What Makes Social Media So Appealing

I love social mediaWhen Facebook launched in 2006, its popularity spread like wildfire. It was the next big thing after MySpace and it took a big share of fame in the world of social media. Why this success? The answer is that Facebook and its likes primarily offer a public service for free.

Fashions tend to pop up and fade, but social media has grown in popularity to such an extent that we wouldn’t live without. The only reason for the spread of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and others might be that they cater for the individual.

In the old days, we were mainly spoon-fed by print media and TV which diffused the kind of information they thought their audience might like. But today, the audience curates the information…

Connect, Share and Consume

Social media made connecting with other people considerably easier. Both geographical and social barriers are removed, and the quality of ideas prevails now over social background.

Self-expression is encouraged. We all have an ego which is more or less crying out for recognition. The ego is a part of our personality that matches our self-esteem with the pressure of the outer world: The lower is the self-esteem, the bigger the ego. Artificial and insecure, the ego is constantly looking for social validation.

Facebook and other social media are platforms where our egos can thrive, because we, the users create the content.Therefore, there are silent competitions to determine who posts the best photos, has the more friends and seems overall more successful socially. The need to compare oneself with others is encouraged. It is probably what makes social media so addictive, alongside being entertained with fresh content and sharing our feelings.

The benefit of social media in our lives reaches beyond the satisfaction of our egos. Online communities might help us cope with social isolation. Our busy work life, sometimes geographically far from family and friends makes us feel lonely. Online communities make reconnecting with family and friends instantaneous. We may work for instance in London and be able to keep in touch in real time with our family in America.

We are Products and Companies Are Customers of Social Media

Overlooked might be the fact that social media are also tools for personal growth for anyone who seeks the information. I like pages which display positive affirmations. They cheer me up on a dull day.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Technorati are now the places to haunt while looking for a job. We can post our profile on LinkedIn, and check for vacancies on Twitter. There is also a wealth of information on Twitter that offers advice on how to make a CV and prepare for a job interview. The Twitter profile for ‘The Undercover Recruiter’ for instance, offers links to useful articles. Many companies now advertise vacant positions in cost-free tweets. Users can now easily stay in touch with the top leaders in their industry and watch for job opportunities.

Facebook and other sites now endeavour to weed out fake profiles and spammers, so the information is genuine. Their elaborated analytical tools allow them to advertise companies’ products to targeted audiences. We, the users are these targeted audiences.

Marketing normally takes a large chunk of the companies’ budget. But it is now possible for them to advertise on Facebook at a fraction of the cost. Expensive surveys were often necessary to determine the target audience.

More importantly, social media platforms allow companies to build up fan bases, and to engage the conversation with their fans in providing relevant information. These days, the popularity of companies or professional individuals is subliminally based on the number of likes received on a page. As for the web in general, traffic is the life blood of a social media page. Some marketing companies now specialise in traffic optimization, and social media marketing is now overtaking traditional marketing.

Conclusion

Social media seem to have enhanced communication in many ways. Social and geographical barriers have been removed, and ideas may circulate freely. Keeping in touch with one’s tribe is now possible non-stop in real time, as internet connection straddles continents. Users log in for various reasons: chatting with friends, getting news, be inspired or look for a job.

Social media are filtering user activity to create targeted audiences and provide them to paying advertisers. Companies are now directing their efforts into social media marketing with the help of internet marketing experts. Social media are successful because they offer a win-win situation, successfully connecting millions with their likes. We can assume that social media have the power to change the face of the world before the end of the 21st century.

Sources
Hollom Ben ‘Why Are Social Sites So Appealing To Users?‘ – https://exploreb2b.com/articles/why-are-social-sites-so-appealing-to-users/
Rhodes L. ‘Three Keys to Understanding the Evolution of Social Media’-August 2012-
http://cultureramp.com/three-keys-to-understanding-the-evolution-of-social-media/

(Photo and Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

Why We Harm Ourselves When We Neglect Nature

Elephants  in dangerThe damage is visible and now a big issue; obesity, life-threatening diseases, climate change, loss of wildlife and its habitat. You may wonder how all of this is linked. In fact, we project our unhappiness to our environment. Even more serious, our disconnection with nature has reinforced our ignorance: how much do we know for instance about the food we eat?

I explore here why we still depend on nature, despite surrounding us with a safe man-made environment. The great thing about Mother Nature is that it is free for everyone, and if we open our hearts it will show us the golden rule to apply for more abundance and peace in life. When we make nature sacred, it returns us the favour. Sacred places preserved by indigenous people are now wildlife and plants diversity hotspots.

Cut From Nature

In order to explain what happens to us, our current unhappiness, we need to be aware of our egos. The ego is a part of our personality or id that detaches early in life to form an independent personality or ‘a face to the world’ (Peter Shepherd – Trans4mind). The insecure ego is masking our real self. The various cultural beliefs that we have absorbed from an early age, have shaped the ego. Its uprooted nature makes it impossible for the ego to check the validity of these beliefs with the true self. Therefore, we are basically cut from nature at an early age. It is up to us to stay connected with the natural world and hence our inner selves. Being in direct contact with nature allows us to bypass our egos, to find truth or the eternal laws that regulate everything on Earth and in the universe.

Furthermore, the artificial ego requires that everything be delivered quickly like a lottery win and it seeks visible things or a sense of security in the tangible. The ego craves material things like money and valuables, with a constant search for instant gratification through pleasures. The ego likes to be right, and it often tries to prove its value in order to fill more secure… in vain.

Our egos mask our vision of the world, with their constant wants that are never satisfied, jeopardizing future happiness and prosperity. Egos thrive in today cityscapes where everyone seems to run against time. As I said earlier, the ego is disconnected from nature; no wonder why there is so much litter on streets, pollution in the air, and a disregard for the amount of packaging that goes to the landfill because we buy ready-made meals to save us time.

Worst of all, isolation from nature strengthens our ignorance of the natural world. We don’t realise how much we pollute the environment through extensive farming for instance. We are not there to see the impact. Buddhist monks in Asia keep buying ivory because they believe it’s a symbol of purity in Buddhism and they were told that it comes from elephants that died naturally. First, Buddhism never endorsed the claim that ivory should be used. Secondly, elephants are poached at an alarming rate, and several rangers already lost their lives trying to protect them. But the monks are not aware, and World Wildlife Fund now educate them through their program Sacred Earth. What we don’t know may harm us.

Why We Need Nature

Nature and our true self, the one behind the ego are one. We don’t realise this but everything on this planet is made of the same stuff: carbon and water. ‘We are stardust’. The world is made of energy: the positive one or love which creates and the negative one which destroys. The universe is a constant cycle of birth and death. Balance or homeostasis in Greek which is essential to a healthy world, means that there is always a compensation, e.g. when a star dies another one is born. Another aspect of universal law is that like attracts like. It is a perennial law and it does apply to everything.

Therefore, unhappiness tends to create more unhappiness. If we allow our environment and wildlife to be destroyed because we don’t feel part of nature, more will go and little natural beauty will be left to enjoy by our children and future generations.

Nature is about love and creation. It is essential to our evolution for it stimulates our minds and inspires us. Every scientist has looked into nature for answers to solve a problem. To create a plane, the Wright brothers had to observe birds flying, to create a light bulb Thomas Edison had to understand the phenomenon of electricity. As Albert Einstein puts:

‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’

Nature is about being, not doing. Being is living in harmony with natural laws. We don’t have to learn how to do things, we just need to remember. The answer is inside us already, but our ego with its sense of insecurity and limitation says we can’t do it. Nature shows us that with persistence we can. Look at the plant growing through concrete. It does not try to grow, it just grows whatever time it takes.

Nature shows us the path to our true self, part of the universal mind and source of unlimited possibility. We are not taught this in our society. On the contrary, the ruling elites have stimulated ego insecurities over centuries through fear, to bind their followers to their will. Fear has been printed into our collective unconscious. Today, science is unveiling the workings of nature, proving us that we are all made of energy or matter that follows universal law.

Earlier humans understood our deep connection with nature. They had sacred places which connected them to their ancestors and they were used to worship nature, showing their gratefulness for all the good things that nature sent them. Interestingly, these sacred areas are now of prime interest to conservationists. One of these sacred sites is Kakamega forest in Kenya, an isolated remnant of the rainforest that once spread across Equatorial Africa.

Nature is protected when it is made sacred, that is when we realise its priceless value to us. We need to raise collective awareness to make the Natural World sacred. Please, pass on the message.

Conclusion

The unbalances which plague us and our environment today are largely due to our disconnection with the natural world. Our egos have shaped an artificial human world in which nature is subjected to our greed. We need now to raise collective awareness of our link to the natural world.

We need to abide again to the universal laws found in nature, which regulate life on earth. Not following natural laws only creates resistance and distress. Making our natural environment sacred will allow for the preservation of both animal and vegetal species, and ultimately ensure the subsistence of the human race on Earth.

Sources:
Peter Shepherd, Transforming The Mind http://www.trans4mind.com/transformation/
Bas Verschuuren, ‘An Overview of Cultural and Spiritual Values in Ecosystem Management and Conservation Strategieshttp://www.bioculturaldiversity.net/Downloads/Papers%20participants/Verschuuren.pdf
World Wildlife, ‘Sacred Earth: Faiths for Conservationhttp://worldwildlife.org/initiatives/sacred-earth-faiths-for-conservation

Photo above: The poaching of elephants is an example of the destruction that human greed is inflicting upon the natural world and ultimately upon humanity itself.

(Photo and Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

Gratitude and How to Bring Abundance in Your Life

Thank youWhat is gratitude? The word gratitude comes from the Latin gratia or grata, meaning grace and given gift. Being grateful is to acknowledge and to appreciate all the good things that come freely to us, even the smallest ones.

Gratitude means also to count our blessings and to open our hearts to other people who might not be so fortunate. Thankfulness is the external expression of gratitude. The practice of gratitude seems to have been confined to religion, instead of being part of our daily life. Yet half the meaning of gratitude was lost, and in our collective mind gratitude became mixed up with indebtedness. Indebtedness is ruled by fear and scarcity, the opposite of what gratitude brings.

Today, the full meaning of gratitude is being rediscovered and researchers are active proving that the practice of gratitude can bring abundance in our lives. Testimonies from people who apply gratitude in their lives reinforce scientific findings.

What does gratitude mean to us?

In our collective subconscious, gratitude means primarily thankfulness and the ability to appreciate or at least to show our appreciation for what other people do for us. As a child, we were encouraged to say thank you and scolded if we didn’t. We were taught that saying thank you is being polite and sociable.

It seems now that children aren’t so much acquainted with these two words ‘thank you’. The importance of these words has been lost. Over centuries, social rules which were made by the ruling elite and enforced through religion, have conditioned us to be courteous or kind to other people.

But more importantly, these rules have turned the natural instinct of gratitude into a duty with the intent of bringing the folks to civilisation. Of course, the underlying purpose was to provide the ruling class with docile and law-abiding followers. Remember, we are born in sin and must find our way to salvation. Through religious practices, guilt and fear have been planted in our subconscious minds, which is an obstacle to fully experiencing gratitude.

Obstacle to gratitude

The major hindrance to gratitude is the disempowerment of the individual. For centuries, things have happened in people’s lives ‘by God’s will’. People were tricked into believing that they had absolutely no control over their lives. As a result, folks lived in a constant fear of shortage of food and anything else. They depended on divine grace, and we still unconsciously tend to do so.

Indebtedness came therefore to be mistaken for gratitude. In fact, they are opposites. Gratitude focuses on the abundance of what is already there and our ability to get more good things, whilst indebtedness implies a feeling of dependency on others’ goodwill and the uncertainty of our ability to keep what we’ve got.

Our society of consumption has played on this subconscious programming; advertisements in various media constantly remind us of what we may lack and what we could get. Our dependence on external circumstances seems to have been strengthened through the advent and thriving of our materialist culture.

Gratitude attracts abundance

Gratitude is natural to human beings. It is the positive energy which represents love or creativity. The law of attraction or perennial law makes like attract like. Love attracts love and fear attracts more fear. A feeling of powerlessness, indebtedness casts doubt and fear in enslaving the mind to chance and fate. Gratitude builds lives instead, because it’s an empowering feeling.

As psychologist Carl Jung puts, “Who looks around dreams, who looks inside awakens.” Being grateful on a daily basis is taking stock of our blessings, of everything we possess: health, family, money, belongings… When we do this, we get in touch with both our inner self and the present moment. We become aware of our situation and get ready to make any change in our lives by taking action. Change can only be initiated in the present, not in the past or the future.

When we ignore our blessings, we look around us for external help with the hope of a better future. We are not in control. The practice of gratitude helps us take control of our lives, grounding us. The awareness of what we already possess is the basis to build our lives further because we acknowledge, respect and appreciate.

Around us, Mother Nature displays abundance. There are trees filled with countless apples, meadows carpeted with flowers and an infinite number of stars in the sky. Yet if we look closer, life is everywhere built through clustering. The human body is thus made of particles gathered in atoms that are assembled in molecules to form the body. Oceans are made of countless drops of water and anything else is also ordered through cluster. Life grows through clustering. Gratitude is the way of clustering the positive things in our lives to create better lives.

The science of gratitude

Negativity destroys life and positivity preserves and makes life grow. Centuries of relying on God’s will, of total disempowerment, have contributed to develop a victim-mentality and the by-feelings of entitlement and deservedness. Gratitude is personal power, for it makes us take responsibility for our lives and act upon it.

A researcher from the University of California, Professor Robert Emmons has studied the phenomenon of gratitude over eight years. Amongst the experiments carried on, participants to the study were asked to describe their living room. Those who showed positivity from the start ended the experiment feeling even more positive.

The scientific study of gratitude concluded that the practice of gratitude can increase our happiness level by around 25 %. Researchers also found that our happiness set-point is not fixed, and it can be raised to remain high whatever happens in our lives. Being grateful also boosts our immune system and our creativity.

Keeping a journal that lists the good things we receive in our lives is an efficient way to cultivate gratitude. Saying ‘thank you’ is important, and the benefits of gratitude should be explained in schools, I think. The  mystic Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) said that ‘thank you’ is the only prayer we need to say.

An American lawyer, John Kralik experienced a life-crisis when aged 53. His law firm was failing, and his was estranged from his family. At the deepest of the crisis, shortly before Christmas he was inspired by a note left by his ex-girlfriend to thank him for his Christmas gift. He then decided to write one thank you note a day to his family, former associates and even to his foes.

Soon, John was receiving help in various forms. His life was eventually backed on track. He tells his story in his book “365 thank you: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life”.

Conclusion

Gratitude is inherent to humanity. It is the positive energy of love which displays abundance, clustering things together to create more energy and more life. Through elite-controlled religion, the meaning of gratitude has been partially obliterated in our collective subconscious mind. Indebtedness has therefore often been mistaken for gratitude. Indebtedness is the feeling of receiving something under condition, which causes the uncertainty of deserving the gift, and the fear of losing it. Indebtedness is a state of dependency whereas gratitude is a free choice as well as being a given gift.

The practice of gratitude helps us take control of our lives, for we count our blessings and build upon them. Gratitude creates abundance. Scientific studies are proving this, and there are accounts from people who kept journals and wrote thank you notes to support the researchers’ findings.

Sources:
Angeles Arrien ‘What is Gratitude? From Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Lifehttp://www.gratefulness.org/readings/arrien_gratitude1.htm
Dr Robert Emmons ‘The New Science of Gratitudehttp://gratitudepower.net/science.htm
Marelisa Fabrega ‘How Gratitude Can Change Your Lifehttp://www.thechangeblog.com/gratitude/

(Photo credit: © 2013 MorgueFile/rosevita – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

How to Save Money and Make the Most of Our Savings

GoldbarIn time of recession, we are forced to watch our expenses more closely. Tough economic conditions also urge us to save money for worse days. In fact, we should put aside regularly at all times. But our society encourages consumption instead of saving to such an extent that we nearly lost the meaning of saving.

Articles are written about ways to save money, but a deeper analysis of our spending habits is necessary in order to effectively put aside in the long term. The ideal would be to save money, keep our savings and make our money grow in creating a regular second income. Here, I explore how our relationship with money affects our ability to save.

SAVE

The word ‘saving’ is heard everywhere. We save on our bills in reducing our consumption. We save at the supermarket with discounts and vouchers. We hunt for bargains on Ebay. But how efficient are we at saving? The problem is that there are offers everywhere! Bargains are tempting us, and a few entrepreneurs have made serious money offering them. Poundland, Pennysaver and their like might make us spend tiny amounts on several items, with repeated visits.

‘Buy-Two-Get-One-Free’ offers also inflate the cost of our shopping at supermarkets. Most of the time, we don’t notice the cumulative effect of tiny sums of money. When we believe we are saving on our purchases, we actually end up overspending.

The cumulative effect also applies to small sums of money that we may put aside. In ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’, George Clason reveals how Babylonians deal with their money over 4,000 years ago. One of the narrative stories recovered from the clay tablets, suggests that people should put at least one-tenth of their monthly income aside.

It is about developing the habit of saving, but are we still able to save today? Our psychological conditioning influences the way we deal with money. As Robert Kiyosaki suggests in ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, the ‘poor man’ spends first and then save what is left. The ‘rich man’ in contrast, saves first and then spends the remaining. Indeed, when we put money aside first we have less to spend on the remaining budget, and we are more cautious.

KEEP

We may manage to save money, only to lose it on the wrong investment. In his course ‘The Law of Success’, Napoleon Hill talks about accurate thinking, or the ability to make informed decisions in exploring the options available and choosing the most suitable. Sadly, our consumer society has bombed us with offers on an increasing scale, and stunned us like fish. Our judgement is often unpaired because we are misled and confused.

We are looking for an easy way to get out of confusion and find our way in the merchandising jungle. The comparison websites which emerged in recent years have understood this. There is a natural and logical tendency to go for the easy, and unfortunately fraudsters as well as commercial advertisers exploit it.

A lack of focus in life makes people vulnerable. Without a definite chief aim which keeps us grounded in the present, we tend to wander in a imaginary future. In this future, we build castles in the sky, thinking of a quick fortune that would wipe out the debts we may have today… in vain. At the worst, we may be affected by the gambler syndrome. In fact, we build the future in the present, each day, with compounded interest from savings and a definite plan to use these savings for a brighter future. Then, we effectively save.

MULTIPLY

Putting money aside provides us with a safety net in case of nasty surprise (unexpected expense, redundancy…) for which we may need a loan from the bank, or even worse, a pay-day loan from ‘shark’ lenders.

Money means security. Yet our society of abundance has honed our minds into believing in a (false) idea of security. We buy at credit when we should save to buy later. Our easier access to material property seems to have shrunk the value of earned money in our minds. But our ‘dosh’ is like blood, if we lose too much of it we die.

Savings need to grow too, but the interest rates offered by banks are now tiny compared with those applied to loans. Most people invest in property which grows in value. But finding a money-making idea to create a  source of income is now a great option. A regular secondary source of income is ideal to complement a shrinking pension later. Each person is different, and the only tip I can give here is to find what you really like to do. Do it as a hobby first, and then turn it into an enterprise.

Building wealth takes time, a lot of it. As Napoleon Hill puts it, ‘life is a big chess board, and your opposite partner is time’. Make the most of your free time to build your future. Even when people seem to have struck gold quickly, they have previously elaborated a precise plan and put daily a lot of work to achieve it.

Einstein has stressed the importance of compound interest. Each day, each pound we save and each effort we put into a definite purpose to improve our life, contribute to build our future wealth. Only lottery winners make a quick buck, and there are so few! Yet these people might have previously set their minds on attracting money for years. Luck is primarily a matter of preparation and opportunity.

Finally, our consumerist society has encouraged us to spend often beyond our means. The atmosphere of abundance which consumerism has created has given us the idea of easy money and a false feeling of safety in spending. Economic recession now reminds us that our cash is as precious as our blood, and that it should be carefully managed. We need to get into the habit again to save money to buy later.

Yet shrinking pensions and rising cost of living prompt us to look for a second income. Time is money, and our spare time should be devoted to develop a money-making plan. Both our well-spent time and money saved daily make our future wealth.

References;
George S. Clason – The Richest Man in Babylonwww.ccsales.com/the_richest_man_in_babylon.pdf‎
Napoleon Hill – The Law of Success - archive.org › Ebook and Texts Archive › Community Texts
Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad – Amazon

(Photo credit: © 2013 MorgueFile/ mzacha – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

What Is Creativity And How It Influences Our Life

CreativityWe think of creativity as mainly the capacity to write a book or produce an artwork. But creativity applies to every part of our daily life through problem-solving. We are born with the ability to create not only material stuff but also conditions in our lives.

In order to release our full creative potential, we must keep an open mind with the willingness to try new things, explore and learn from experiment. Moreover, we need to overcome our fear of failure which may act as a strong psychological barrier to creativity.

What is creativity?

As I wrote in a previous blog, we are made of energy. Everything in this world is energy in relentless movement. Even when things appear lifeless around us, they are not. Permanent movement means that new matter emerges continuously. This translates in our life as new people, new things, and new conditions. How much of this do we control? We tend to dislike change, because new circumstances force us into unfamiliar territory and potential danger. Creativity is first the ability to ride change and turn it to our advantage. Creativity is acknowledging present conditions, be dissatisfied, and find a way to improve them.

Creativity means also happiness, because taking ownership of our current circumstances and finding solutions to improve them brings satisfaction. Moreover, when we are in control of our life we are keener to give to other people. Could a helpless person help others get a better life? Likely not.

Creativity is essential to our spiritual growth and well-being. It also urges us to share our passion or interest with other people who are in turn encouraged to create. Life as a whole is about creation, and creation is a natural law. Whatever we do, this law works to our advantage or disadvantage if we ignore it. Creativity is the manifestation of the Law of Attraction, meaning like attracts like and we get in proportion to what we give.

Nature shows us the path to creativity through the growth and unfolding of a flower, for instance. A beautiful rose pleases the eye and brings joy in our heart. Creativity is the positive attitude which helps us overcome our doubts and gain confidence.

Obstacles to Creativity

It is said that ‘We like what is familiar, but we are rewarded for what is different.’ The business person who pitches an innovation to a company as well as the writer who tries to get her first novel published, or those people who implement a new way of doing things, are subjected to criticism. There is a certain feeling of safety in belonging to the crowd.

But the crowd needs a leader to direct them. The urge to stick to the group in adopting a way of thinking which is approved by our peers, comes down from ancestral beliefs stored in our collective unconscious. Indeed, ostracism used to be a capital punishment. Today, the practice of ostracism can be observed in some animal societies. For example, a banned meerkat has limited chances to survive on its own in the Kalahari desert.

Of course, we can perfectly live alone in our modern society. Yet we still crave for approval, because approval traditionally determines the social status. The creative person who stands out with his or her challenging ideas, open to criticism, needs only bear in mind that there will be always people who like or dislike their work. Tastes differ from one person to the other. Yet, we only remember the creative person who improves other people’s lives. This state of mind should be enough to put procrastination at bay.

Linked to the fear of criticism is the fear of failing. We learn by trial and error. This is life apprenticeship or experience. Knowing about things is not enough to empower ourselves. Doing through practice is also necessary.  Thomas Edison, the inventor of the electric light-bulb failed an awful many times before he was able to produce a working light-bulb. Failure shows us lessons to be learned in order to do better next time.

Factors of Creativity

Ambition or the lack of satisfaction with present conditions is required. Inventors have created tools to improve our lives. Innovators seek to improve things which have been created. Business people try to identify a need in the market, and if there is none they create one. Necessity is source for creativity. Happiness which results of a balanced lifestyle is also a fertile ground for fresh ideas. Happiness is positive energy or love which seeks to spread around through service to other people.

Creativity also springs from radical thinking, notably in the artistic circles where a degree of eccentricity is a mark of genius. Someone said: ‘When the crowd goes in one direction, take the opposite.’ Some graphic artists or writers might try to play it safe in following the trend. However, only original creators leave their print in the cultural world. In the literary field, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter for example didn’t follow the trend. Yet Harry Potter is now a classic in children’s library. The impact of independent thinking lasts longer because it is thought-provoking. Dare thinking to brighten up this world!

 

To sum up, creativity is about using our imagination to improve our lives. It is the positive energy which makes us grow. It opens our horizon in pushing the boundaries of what we believe possible, giving us more choices and therefore freedom.

We may not dare to express our ideas because we fear criticism, and stick instead to the battered path where we feel either uncomfortable or short of personal expression. But the fact is that better pastures are mostly found in unknown territory. Our ability to create determines the quality of our life, because creativity helps us turn problems into opportunities for a brighter future.

(Photo credit: © 2013 hsvrs/ IStockphoto – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

Why Our Thoughts Make Our Reality

Woman-in-meditationMost of the time, we may look for answers around us. We may blame people and events when anything goes wrong in our life. By the same token, we may expect people to assist us in our daily routine and hope for divine assistance, even for a miracle. In fact, the solution is hidden somewhere in our mind. Our subconscious mind is the gate to universal knowledge. From our birth until now, our subconscious records all the information that comes our way and to which we don’t necessarily pay attention. So the answer to the problems we encounter is likely to be buried somewhere in our mind.

We rely on our conscious mind, the one we use to store what we learned at school for instance. Its storage capacity for information is limited, and the conscious mind is highly critical of which type of information we should accept. This selection is greatly based on our beliefs, both inherited and gained through experience. Hence the limitation that often stops us from thinking further, eg. “I can’t do it! There is no way”.

The fact is that our thoughts make our reality. Therefore limited thoughts produce a limited range of possibilities in our life. Here we explore why our thoughts influence our destiny and how we can channel them for our own advantage and power. Successful people are the ones who can control their thoughts.

1 – We Are Energy

We only tend to believe in what we can see, but in fact the invisible governs our life.  The energy which animates our body may be invisible to the eye, but it is part of the intelligent universal substance from which our subconscious mind is a drop. Science has revealed that this universal substance or energy is formed of electrons which can be arranged in atoms and molecules to form life and our physical world. Electrons are negative electricity and our bodies are made of them.

2 – We Function Like A Battery

The cells of our body are made of universal energy and have therefore a mind of their own that is negative.  In fact, our mind extends beyond our brain to every part of the body. Negativity means that cells tend to decay and die. Only our thoughts can control the negative mind. When we think positively, we help the longevity and regeneration of our body cells.

Thoughts are energy, and positive ones bring energy to the body whereas negative ones burn the energy of the body. In any case, our thoughts use energy from the universal substance to our advantage or our inconvenience (eg. Worries).

When we think positively (eg. Creativity), we bring energy from the universal mind into our body. Positive thoughts open us to infinite power. Negative thoughts bring nothing to feed our body. On the contrary, negative thoughts feed on the body’s energy and make it die earlier.  Negative thoughts are similar to the parasite ivy on trees. Worries are negative thoughts which consume the energy we need to think creatively, and take us away from the solution to our problem.

Medical studies on placebo effect may illustrate this. When the patients believe the tablet they swallow will make them feel better, they will feel better indeed even without any active ingredient in the tablet. Positive thoughts can work miracles.

3 – Love, Fear And The Law Of Attraction

We have seen how our thoughts affect our bodies, preserve our life or terminate it faster. The human body like anything on earth and in the universe is made of universal intelligent substance or universal energy which we may associate with God or the Creator.

The universal substance is conscious. For instance, a flower will develop according to a pre-determined pattern. We may presume that the Creator thought about the design before creating the flower. But the pattern is limited to growth, reproducing through seeds and death. Only us humans have the ability to shape our environment the way we like, building dams, houses and tools for all our needs.

We are aware of our superior power, but most of us don’t know how to use it. We think we are powerless, when in fact we only need to control our thoughts in understanding how universal law operates. The law of attraction makes the thoughts created in our mind shape our life. Positive thoughts are related to love, creativity, growth and happiness whereas negative thoughts bring hate, regression, disease and unhappiness.

Suppress worries, and you have the energy to create better conditions in your life. Think in the present, and all the worries about what happened in the past or what might occur in the future disappear. We cannot change the past, we cannot live in a future that doesn’t exist, but we can plan and work every day towards our future.  With an awareness of the power of our thoughts as described above, we can accomplish marvels when we focus on the positive and live now.

Sources:

Charles F. Haanel – The Master Key System
http://www.libertyzone.com/MKS-SOBR-7-laws.html
Tania Kotsos – ‘The Seven Universal Laws Explained’
http://www.mind-your-reality.com/seven_universal_laws.html
Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now; A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Available at Amazon

(Photo credit: © 2013 IStockphoto/BAYRAM TUNÇ 2012 – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

 

Why Our Food Makes Us Fat?

Burger restaurant signReality shows are now a daily feature on TV. One of them is named ‘Secret Eaters’ and it is aired on Channel 4. The participants to the show are putting on weight, and they wonder why. Most of them claim that they eat healthy, and some even go running to burn fat. Therefore, undercover investigators are following the participants in order to discover what went wrong with their diet.

It happens that the people under scrutiny indulge in several snacks during the day and sometimes at night, alongside eating large portions at lunch and on occasions when food is plentiful. While viewing the show, I recognize myself a few years ago. What is striking is that people are unaware of eating that much.

Some participants think they eat healthy, yet they unknowingly pile up the pounds. So what’s wrong with the food we eat? The following facts shed light on our troubled relationship with food:

1 – Food Prices and Politics

In 1971, Richard Nixon wanted to be re-elected President of the United States. The big issue at that time was the rising food prices which especially affected low-income families or the majority of voters. Nixon commissioned Earl Butz, an academic who had close ties with the farming community of Indiana, to look at ways of bringing food prices down. Butz came out with the idea of producing corn on massive scale to make flour to feed cattle and to supply restaurants and households with oil for frying needs. Large scale production made food cheaper.

2 – Economic bonanza

Some U.S. farmers became millionaires, selling to supermarkets and even exporting abroad. A multi-million food-industry was born. Soon, farmers were overproducing and a solution had to be found to eliminate the surplus of corn.

Butz travelled to Japan where fructose corn syrup or glucose-fructose was developed. This new innovation was a cheap way to extend shelf-life as well as making food taste sweater. The overconsumption of fat and sweat would ultimately create another multi-million dollar industry, offering diet products. According to the show ‘Secret Eaters’, the diet industry is now worth two billion pounds in the U.K. alone.

3 – The effects of processed food on our bodies

Corn allows for the production of feed that makes cattle fatter, and fries dipped into corn oil are also fatter. So are Big Macs lunches in restaurants! Fat has been branded responsible for an increase in heart diseases and the food industry has turned to the production of “low-fat” food.

The problem is that if we take the fat off food, we also take the taste away. The solution is to inject fructose-glucose or sugar into food in order to preserve the taste. The bad news is that sugar is hedonistic and a major factor for the increase in heart diseases and diabetes. I remember buying boxes of pizzas at the supermarket and returning for more. I realised then that I was becoming addicted to their yummy flavour.

Processed food tastes nice, is plentiful and really cheap. No wonder what we tend to eat large portions and snack frequently. TV advertising even encourages snacking at the workplace and on the street.

4 – The link between obesity and industrial technology

Would we eat pizzas, French fries and cakes every week if we had to prepare them? With our busy working lives, we probably would not. The processing of food on industrial scale has drastically increased our consumption, in making food ready to eat and available around the clock. A study carried out by Harvard University has linked the possession of microwaves (80 % of the U.S. population and 66 % in the U.K.) to obesity.

In recent years, efforts have been made to display calories-count information on food packaging. The daily recommended intake is around 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men. But it is difficult to keep calories in check when food is cheap and plentiful, and we are constantly tempted.

5 – Welfare problem and how to avoid obesity

We can put on weight easily indeed, without noticing it until it becomes a health problem with high blood pressure for a start. Being overweight has also psychological consequences: our self-esteem gets lower. We find then comfort in yummy food, and the weight problem turns into a vicious circle, with attempts at sliming relapsing into more eating. People who undergo a gastric bypass surgery are likely to try diets such as WeightWatchers before.

Now obesity costs the NHS a lot, and health expenses might eventually outweigh the benefit of providing jobs in the food and diet industries. Then, we’ll see tight regulations in food production and the ban on certain processing. History repeats itself: we’ve seen cigarettes being advertised everywhere, and now sellers must keep them out of the consumer’s view.

For the time being, becoming aware of the problem is a first great step to prevent our bodies from being overweight. QUANTITY food must give way to QUALITY food.

Sources:
David M.Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser and Jesse M. Shapiro, Harvard University ‘Why Have Americans Become More Obese?’ – Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 17, Number 3, Summer 2003, p. 93-118 http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/jesse.shapiro/research/obesity.pdf
Cathy Newman ‘Why Are We So Fat?’- National Geographic magazine http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/fat-costs/
Jacques Peretti ‘Why our food is making us fat’, The Guardian, 11 June 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/11/why-our-food-is-making-us-fat

(Photo credit: © 2013 MorgueFile/darkwombat – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

How to Save Money and Help Our Natural Environment

TomatoesAs I strolled down the street, I saw a grey polystyrene tray of red tomatoes popping out the bin. The wrapping was intact! Was it one of those deals when we get two for the price of one? Or is there anything else that drives us to overspend?

‘Subliminal Influence at the Supermarket’

Most of the time, we visit the supermarket on autopilot. Our heads, or rather our conscious minds are filled with things to do when we get home, and kept busy analysing the events of our days. But the subconscious mind has recorded two things, convenience and bargain, and now we unconsciously seek them. Constant advertising both on TV and the street is largely responsible for that imprint in our subconscious. The subconscious runs automated skills like those we learnt repetitively in order to be able to drive a car. These automated skills free our limited conscious minds to deal with immediate matter.

Aside from automatic responses, we tend to be more influenced by our environment when our conscious mind focuses outside the present moment, whether in the past or the future. In the 1970s, Wilson Bryan Key who lectured and wrote about subliminal manipulation in advertising mentioned that he once ordered clams in a restaurant while dining with friends. He chose clams despite his dislike for those shellfish. When we focus on a conversation, then we tend to forget what’s happening around us. How many times do we let someone else decide for us? You get the idea: our absent minds let the supermarkets guide our shopping and those large retailers are pretty good at this.

Despite the economic slowdown, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are still taking healthy profit margins. These profits are largely due to subliminal influence which operates on our minds. Subliminal means beyond the threshold of consciousness.

First, goods are displayed around the supermarket in such a way that our eyes have nowhere to rest. Second, big bulks of items that are placed at shelf ends, appear like limited special deals to grab on the spot. Third, most expensive items are frequently placed on shelves at the consumer’s eye level. The shopper in a hurry will grab them first. Buy-one-get-two offers are also there. This may explain why we end up buying more stuff than we wrote on our shopping lists.

Wastage of Money and Energy

To get back to the tomatoes, we may buy vegs and fruits and let them rot in the fridge because we either over estimated their shelf-life, we were dining out these last days, or we feared we wouldn’t have time to shop the next day. Whatever our reason for overspending in foodstuff, our crazy working life schedules are often the culprits.

There are also problems tied to the global market. Fruits are dispatched green to avoid spoilage. They may take ages to ripe and when they eventually do, they are just as good as the bin. Each year, tons of fruits and vegs are wasted in the UK alone. These fruits and vegs required water and fertilizers. Yet tomatoes are now produced around the year under greenhouses which may be using gas heating.

Furthermore, food wrapping presents a dilemma. On one side, wrapping protects food and even extends its shelf-life. On the other side, wrapping goes to the landfill after only one use and once there, it does not rot away. The lack of air and moisture in modern landfills seem to prevent bacteria from degrading the materials. Only 5 % of plastic material is currently recycled in the UK.

So what’s the solution to save us money and reduce our environmental impact? The ideal would be a more local and seasonal market, but could we revert to eating tomatoes only five months a year?

Local grocers are essential to our streets in order for us to shop on a daily basis at any time. Frequent and quick shopping saves us from wasting our money and reduces our environmental impact. Big supermarkets realised this and they have been opening convenience stores at a fast pace, in areas where there used to be independent grocers who sold more seasonal fruits and vegs.

We can’t stop the food industry from growing vegs outside the natural seasons, and globalisation from letting exotic food come in, but we can make sure that we don’t waste the food we buy. Local convenience stores might help reduce the wastage.

Sources:
Ted Winder ‘Subliminal Influence at the Supermarket’, Jan 4, 2013 http://anewtake.com/2013/01/subliminal-influence-supermarkets-1/
Food Packaging Wastes and Environmental Impactshttp://www.greendustries.com/unido.pdf – retrieved Apr 20, 2013

(Photo credit: © 2013 MorgueFile/RoganJosh – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)

Our Thoughts Make Our Reality.

Depression. young attractive woman with an awful migraineThoughts are the energy which animates our lives. Everything in the material world around us started with a thought. Yet most of the time, our thoughts are unproductive and even disturbing. Mastering our thoughts is key to our well-being and success in life.

1 – Learn to control your thoughts.

Thousands of thoughts may fill your brain every day. Some are positive, other are utterly negative. These negative thoughts can severely affect your mood and ability to act in casting doubt and fear in your mind.

As a result, you may take poor decisions and miss opportunities because you doubt of your ability. Negative thoughts also destroy any good work previously achieved, sabotaging your chance of success.

Therefore, it is essential that you limit the incoming thoughts to the positive ones.

Meditation helps.

Sit upright on a chair in a quiet room where no one can disturb you.

Close your eyes, and try to think of nothing at all for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise several times, ideally for 15 minutes. It’s difficult, but if you practice this every day you will manage to extend your stillness to 15 minutes and drastically limit the number of thoughts.
After a few days practising the above, try to ban every negative thought from your mind in replacing it with a positive thought.

2 – Overcome your fear.

Negative thoughts foster fear. We always fear of not having enough money, love, of failing in our work … Then we stress and worry, with disastrous consequences for our health and relationships.

The truth is that most of our fears will never realize. They are figments of our imagination, a mere anticipation of what might happen in the future.

In order to suppress the fears that may freeze your progress in life, learn to live in the NOW.

I suggest you read this excellent book ’The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’ by Eckhart Tolle.

I applied myself the principle of living in the present, and effectively removed unnecessary stress and worries from my life.

The careful selection of our thoughts allows clarity and peace of mind. This is the basis to develop creativity, and creativity allows us to bring in our lives the changes we desire.

 

(Photo credit: © 2013 Denis Kartavenko/iStockPhoto – Text: © 2013 Beatrice Setze - SafariComic.com)