Everyone loves a rising market. Financial news takes a back seat in the media. Investment statements look better each month. Life is good. Then reality sets in...
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The Optimistic View
“Jason thought his inheritance was going to be the gift of money and lots of it. Was he ever in for a big surprise. Based on the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift" by Jim Stovall, the story sends trust fund baby Jason Stevens on an improbable journey of discovery, having to answer the ultimate question: "What is the relationship between wealth and happiness?" Jason had a very simple relationship with his impossibly wealthy Grandfather, Howard "Red" Stevens. He hated him. No heart-to-heart talks, no warm fuzzies, just cold hard cash. So of course he figured that when Red died, the whole "reading of the will" thing would be another simple cash transaction, that his Grandfather's money would allow him to continue living in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed.
But what Red left him was anything but simple. Red instead devised a plan for Jason to experience a crash course on life. Twelve tasks, which Red calls "gifts," each challenging Jason in an improbable way, the accumulation of which would change him forever.”
During the holidays, this movie is a timely reminder of the importance of values, family and giving. And the key messages in the film are just as relevant for a teenager as for a grandparent.
Matthieu Ricard, a French molecular geneticist and confidant of the Dalai Lama, was recently declared by scientists to be the world’s happiest man. A series of brain scans that were done at the University of Wisconsin revealed that Ricard has the largest capacity for happiness ever recorded. Ricard passionately believes that regular meditation “completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are”. It can improve people's happiness much like lifting weights or exercising helps to put on muscle. Ricard also believes that anyone can be happy if they take the time to train their brain.
As we deal with the pace of modern family life and the stresses of world events, maybe the answer to finding balance and happiness is as simple as taking a little time each day to focus on what makes us happy and what we are grateful for.
Image by Konchog (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
It is easy to forget what living conditions were like for the vast majority of human beings 200 years ago. This is an amazing and encouraging video.
Yes, the economy has been struggling the last few years. Yes, there are other problems at the moment. But let’s not lose sight of how far we have come…and how much better things can get.
Hans Rosling's 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes