Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful...

Being Thankful…
By: Melissa Stilley, Salem Solutions

These days it’s easy to look around and find negatives to dwell on in the world… we see the current day world, the fast pace, the lack of money and jobs, the political issues and unrest, and the day-to-day negativity as posted in the papers and on the TV and internet news. What we often forget is to open our eyes and see the things that there are to be thankful for…the advances that we have made, the opportunities that are presented to us, and those little things that (if we just look) make our lives more positive than we realize. They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…and even though it seems cliché, it’s often true…life is all about how you look at it. So take a moment to be thankful for the positive things that you don’t often think about. Here are just a few…

More Free Time:
Believe it or not, we actually have more free time than our ancestors had. Yes, we rush and rush around, but often that rush is of our own making. In Victorian England, life expectancy was only about 50 years and most workers worked at least 60-hour weeks from the time they were around 10 years old until they died. These days life expectancy is around 77 years, most of us work 40 hours a week, and most youth don’t begin working until they are at least 16…and then with limited hours per week. This leaves more free time to spend shopping, going out to eat, watching our children at their sporting or other events, and with family and friends.

Today, around 80% of the world’s population is literate…in 1970 that was true of only about ½ the world’s population. You may hate having to read such things as bills, junk mail, and fine print, but be grateful that you are able! Imagine having to rely on others to tell you everything, from what’s on the menu at a restaurant to street names as you’re driving, to what you need to bake a cake…

Yes, times are tight and most people cannot afford to dine on steak every evening, but at least the options are there. In the time of Versailles, France was one of the richest countries on earth, but even the King of France didn’t have the choices that we have today. Oranges in Winter? Seafood in towns far from the coast? Specialties from other countries? Unheard of – back then! Now we have the option to walk into most grocery stores and purchase whatever we can think of, from wherever it can be found, at most times of the year. Not to mention that food storage has improved to the point that we are able to buy things a week or so at a time that previously had to be gotten fresh every day, such as milk, meat and eggs.

Most of us hate being stuck in traffic, smelling exhaust and paying the high prices at the pump over and over again, but think of what people throughout history have had to endure to get where they wanted to go. Riding in a horse-and-buggy may seem romantic and quaint, but it was usually way more than that! Imagine a cold winter’s night with no heater, no defroster, and often at least one open point in the buggy to let cold air in! Brrr! Imagine having to go out, harness the horses, then drive them for hours to get somewhere that now only takes 30 minutes to get to…then having to unharness them, but the buggy away, feed the horses, and clean up after them. Automobiles have made travel much easier, and much much more comfortable!

As mentioned earlier, the life expectancy rates have greatly improved, mostly due to better healthcare and more knowledge of important factors like hygiene. In 1918 and 1919 the Influenza Pandemic was responsible for the deaths of more people than World War I. It has been estimated that 675,000 people in America alone died from the flu…ten times the amount that died in the war. Today we know that washing our hands with antibacterial soap, not eating or drinking after others, and getting enough Vitamin C can help prevent many viruses, and we are able to get flu shots as an added preventative. If we do get sick, we have the ability to go to the doctor for medicines and IV fluids, if necessary, to help us get well again. We have vaccinations against many of the illnesses that were once considered to be very deadly. Sitting in a waiting room may be an inconvenience, but just think how much better that is than being sick!

Homes have changed drastically over the centuries. While throughout history there have been those with bigger homes and those with smaller homes, one fact remains…housing has come a long way! In ancient times, Celtic families had one-room homes where all family members shared the same space without electricity or heat sources other than an open fire. They often shared this space with their livestock as a way to keep them safe from predators, thieves and the weather. Victorian families had much larger homes with rooms for each family member and quarters for their servants..but no indoor plumbing! Today, most of us have electric heating, central air conditioning, bathrooms inside the house, and electricity. We also have more options…instead of only being able to have what you can build yourself, you may choose to live in a house, an apartment, a condo or townhome. You can build it to suite your needs and decorate it the way you like, or you may rent a space that is ready to move into. Whatever your choice, there are now many options that didn’t exist in previous times…

Life may have it’s ups and downs, it’s trials and tribulations, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture to realize that, overall, life is good! Today we have so many things to be thankful for in life…our homes, our health, our families and friends. When things start to get you down and all you see are the difficulties, take a moment to reflect on what those who have gone before us had to deal with. We may not have as much as we would like to have, but overall we are living longer and better lives surrounded by those who care and love us…and with heat and indoor plumbing!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Being Thankful In Your Job Search?!?

Being Thankful In Your Job Search?!?
As posted on

What??? Many of you read this and think that's nuts… right?

Being Thankful in the process of having to look for a new source of income for your family? Being Thankful while hoping that your career progression hasn't been set back years? Being Thankful while one potential job opportunity after another seems to be going up in smoke? Being Thankful while savings that were hard to build are slipping away day by day?

Yes… Thankful!

Here's what I mean…

Attitude First! Chuck Swindoll writes… "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." As I've often said… One of the toughest, yet most important things to do in a job search is to maintain a positive attitude. Many people have bad things happen to them. Some people seem to be crushed by relatively minor bad events in their lives while others seem to go through severe difficulties with cheer and a bright outlook on life. Attitude is not the result of someone's circumstances, but rather the result of how they choose to look at life regardless of their circumstances. Choosing to be thankful even in your job loss will make all the difference in the world in your networking calls, meetings, and interviews. Decide that you will be thankful and you just might find your job search effort start to produce better results.

You're learning skills! You are learning what it takes to conduct a job search in todays market. You may think… "Thanks, but no thanks." However, learning how to find a job in this tough job market may be one of the most valuable long-term skills you may ever learn. In the world today, you will likely have to look for a job again in a few years… and possibly every few years for the rest of your career. Lifetime jobs are extremely rare anymore. Building a network now, and learning how to be more proactive in your search (as is necessary today), you will be much better prepared and more quickly successful the next time around. If you had not been forced into learning it now, you may have had to learn it down the road when it might be even tougher. Be thankful for the lifetime skills you are gaining!

You're evaluating yourself! When things are going along relatively smoothly, few of us ever take the time to take a look at ourselves much. We don't think about what makes us tick. We don't evaluate our strengths or weaknesses. We don't evaluate our successes and failures, and what factors contributed to each. We don't spend much time thinking about what job we would like to do most… or least. We don't think about what's most important to us in terms of income, career progression, family, faith, or other interests. Generally, in a job search, we are compelled to consider all these things. The result of this evaluation is usually a better sense of self, that can create a greater sense of confidence and conviction in whatever we decide to pursue. It also can enrich our lives greatly if we determine to balance our lives more appropriately than we may have before. Much to be thankful for.

It's a whole new world! Most job seekers tend not to look at the opportunity their circumstances present. A job search is a chance to break out of old ruts and patterns. It's an opportunity to gain new experience in a new environment, with new people, and with new leadership. It's a chance to re-invent yourself, or prove to yourself that you can add value to others in a different situation as well. It's a chance to explore the possibilities, to find opportunities you didn't know existed, or to finally jump into an opportunity you've been eying over the fence for a while. Focus on the opportunity that lies before you rather than the lost past and you will find there's a lot to be thankful for.

Being thankful in your circumstances is key to maintaining a positive attitude as well as a happier life. Take stock of the opportunity you've really been given and decide you will look at things in a more productive light!