Big Issues v Small Issues – which causes you the most upset?

The next time you have a major issue in your life, once you have dealt with the immediacy and handled what is essential and urgent, take a second to reflect on how you handled the situation. How did it work out for you, how well did you cope, function, and react to what was happening and what needed to be done.  The chances are – that you have handled something big and meaningful far better than a less significant issue – let’s have a look…

Dealing with a minor issue

Firstly, you are putting together a piece of flat packed furniture (not IKEA, as their stuff seems to go together really well), nothing seems to fit, a few screws get put in the wrong place, you have to rebuild it several times, you stand on (and burst) that little glue packet which is never any good, and gradually the situation builds to great annoyance and frustration. Tools fly across the room and everyone else in the household wisely stand well clear. Obviously a less than useful reaction to the challenge in hand.

Dealing with a major issue

Secondly, your child is ill, they call out to you in the middle of the night to find that they have vomited all over themselves, their bed, their floor, and are in quite a poorly state. Immediately you jump into autopilot, whatever is going on can be dealt with, and nothing phases you at all – wow, what a reaction.

Surely the big reaction should go with the big problem?

Take a step back, with a rational mind for a moment, what should be the toughest situation to deal with? A bit of flat packed furniture which will not quite go together, or a room covered in vomit and an ill child? Obviously, without any emotional attachment, as a snapshot, the DIY fiasco should be the easiest to cope with, but why is it not ?

Who is this problem really about?

Stand back and ask that question – I am making this all about me?

Take the ill child, the focus is on them, helping them, easing their woes, you dedicate yourself to others, serve them, and aim to make them feel comfortable.  Whilst the situation is not perhaps awfully savoury, that doesn’t seem to matter at all, you do what needs to be done.

Turning now to the DIY frustration, this is all about you, your failure, your frustration, your inability to complete the task. Anger towards the ‘useless instructions’ becomes a vent for your anger towards yourself, the annoyance also follows that path. You start to make up stories in your head, spiralling ever onwards into greater and greater anger.  It is all about you, and that is where the problem lies.

Is money the same as other emotional experiences?

Yes! In exactly the same way, decisions about money, investing and planning can also affect you in different ways.

Take an investment, if you can accept that the market is the market, and that no-one can predict the future, no clever fund manager can accurately time the markets, and that the person bragging about their ‘stellar performance’ will most likely be talking about a very short snapshot in time, then your investment journey will be far more peaceful (it is about someone or something else – the market not you).

On the flip side, trying to pick stocks, when to buy, when to sell and when to hold will lead you into the DIY avenue of frustration, anger and disappointment (now it is about you and your ego). Key to success is understanding that what happens just happens (that may not sound scientific, but it is true) in the markets, and that by sticking to a well thought out plan is wisest way not to lose money through emotional decisions.

Be it DIY, ill children, investment strategies or anything else which may cause you worry and anxiety, at Serenity we understand that it is about your whole life, not just the money. So remember, take a second to ask yourself ‘who is this about’. See if you are attaching stories to your own emotions and making them spiral out of control. It’s just about you, and most of it is made up anyway.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

Are you a role model for your child – or trying to mould them ?

Is it good to shape a child on your own dreams?

It’s all too tempting to channel your children into a mini-me.  Yes they look up to their parents as super heroes who can do marvellous things, and there is a likelihood, that what ever example you set as a parent, they will follow.

How do your habits rub off onto your children?

If you munch on pizza and burgers in front of the TV each night, that precedent is set for eating unhealthily (both in manner and content).  If however you exercise, that too may rub off, and they will most likely follow our example to some degree, which in turn brings you great joy.  The obvious exception to this, is when you work for months to refine a yoga pose, and your 4 year old daughter walks straight in, does it, and goes on her way as if nothing ever happened (the experience of a face-planted crow!).

Is there a better way than forcing our children to follow

Rather than forcing our children to follow in our footsteps, making them have ballet lessons, toughening up the son with a good dose of winter rugby in the wind and hail and so on,  there are 4 clear stages in which we can help them build up ‘grit’ – a form of determination which will help them through life.

Four ways to help children through life

An Interest (and this needs to be encouraged rather than focusing on their weaknesses);

Deliberate and regular practise (to refine the skills);

A purpose (the long term reasoning about what it brings to others) and

Hope (that resilience that they will keep trying and moving forwards despite what comes their way).

You can read more in this article from Success magazine

Funnily enough, it is not just children who this applies to, it is us as well – especially when your 4 year old contortionist leaves the room with you in a twisted crumpled heap!

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

Back to school – but do you know what your child actually does?

Do you know what your child does each day at school?

It is so easy to pack children off to school, taking it all for granted.  On the walk home, if you are lucky, you may find out what they had for lunch, maybe even the latest playground drama, but frequently very little (especially when the fancy dress reminder happens the next morning with 10 minutes notice).

How tough is school for children?

So, what do they actually get up to?  What is it they do?  Once we understand this, maybe we can then be a little more forgiving when the classroom angel turns into a frenzied tornado once they get home.  

Away from the confines and expectations of the classroom and need to conform, home is the safe haven, the place where they can feel at ease – even if that is somewhat different from how we perceive the ideal behaviour.

This article from the Huffington Post is a real eye opener as to what are children actually do each day – it’s impressive to say the very least !

So what do children do at school each day ? 

Choose any and all from this list – a creator, a thought leader, a mathematician, an author, a reader, an orator, a proof-reader, a scientist, a navigator, a sportsman, an artist, a negotiator – the list goes on! It’s even tougher if your child has challenges with their reading such as dyslexia – those children have to so much harder all day.

You can see what perhaps the angelic behaviour doesn’t exactly hold out until bed time.

What about you?

Turning to yourself, after a day of pressing the pause button between listening to co-workers apparent stupidity and responding in a far more professional manner, back at home, where it is unusual to be sacked, fired, or put on a warning, it is far easier to let fly with less than productive words.

Maybe both us and our children want the same thing after a day of controlling emotions – a snack, a snuggle, a story and an early bedtime.

 

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life.

 

Is getting there the only thing that matters?

How did your travel plans for this year work out?

Reflecting back on your recent travels, journeys and holidays, how was it for you?  Was it the tranquil, pleasurable experience you had hoped for, or did you experience challenges along the way?  Did you embrace the moment, or just endure aspects of it?

Were you a tourist or a traveller?

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller?

Travellers tend to enjoy everything, embrace the moment, experience, wonder, not over prepare or over complicate, and focus on enjoying the here and now.

Tourists however, tend to want to tick things off their lists, have to be over prepared, everything planned to perfection, collecting photos for Facebragging and deeply concerned with telling everyone else what a great time they are having – sometimes, to the detriment of their own real enjoyment.

Doing it on the cheap

Similarly, if you have planned a wonderful holiday, are you tempted to lose some of the joy by travelling there on the cheap – budget accommodation, the cheapest transit, overnight journeys or inconvenient flight times?

Why ruin the whole point of your journey or holiday by saving perhaps 5% on the whole experience?

Take a £3,000 holiday, yet you scrimp and save on getting there – maybe a slightly cheaper option to return home overnight when your travel plans suddenly change (would an over-night hotel stay left you feeling fully refreshed for your return). By saving perhaps  under £100 (3% on the overall cost) you put yourself to hours of discomfort and lack a sleep – yet the point of the holiday was to relax, enjoy experiences and feel good about yourself.   The whole point of the experience has been compromised.

Life is very similar to the tourist/traveller analogy.

Are you just wading through this life, collecting badges, medals, things, almost like living in Pokemon?  Or, do you embrace what comes your way, taking in the moment to enjoy everything around you, feeling grounded, experiencing something different?

Is it too much to stop, embrace, reflect and make the most of what is happening around you, taking your time, adapting plans, and enjoying the moment?

Memories are made of new experiences, and being a traveller in life.  It is only by exploring the why – why you want to go somewhere, that you then start to look for the real meanings and qualities of your journey, and that, is what Financial Life Planning is all about – finding the point and the purpose – not just being a tourist in life.

Life is far more than just attaining or doing – it’s about enjoying the whole experience along the way.

Together we can bring you some Serenity.