Two Jars to Change Your Life

Some consider it normal to worry about things. Some people do a lot more of it than others, and some people get paralysed by the many things they worry about. The secret to having a good life is by worrying enough, but not overly doing so. It’s about coping with the strains and stresses that come from worrying that makes the difference.

So, get yourself two large jars. Note: they can be boxes or any other kind of container, but my view is that The ideal would be jars like the old candy or cookie jars, big glass jars, with a wide opening, are preferable, because you can see what’s in them. But they could be any kind of container that you can store somewhere handy and can look at any time you feel like it.

The first jar

This is called the Worry Jar. Label it ‘The Worry Jar”.

Now, think about anything that is worrying you. Get a sheet of paper (I use squares of about 3 inches (7.5 cm), but strips from any sized paper will do just as well), and write down the name of the worry you have.

The thing about worries is that there are two main types.

The first is a worry that you can do something about, right now. If the worry you have written down is that type, then do what you need to do, NOW! Sometimes, this means that you need to look things up, or have to get help to complete whatever it is. But there is something that you can do immediately with the worry. Start on the worry as soon as you can — don’t let it fester. If you let it fester, it grows so big that you can’t get rid of it.

If you can do something NOW, then you are stopping its growth while it is small enough to handle. It’s the “A stitch in time saves nine” kind of worry. In another musing, you’ll see how to makes sure that your problem/worry can be handled, but for the moment, just do what you normally do about any problem or worry (except letting it fester).

If you can’t do anything about the worry, add a line to the piece of paper with the worry name: a date or time when you might be able to handle the worry.

Then put the paper into the worry jar.

The second jar

Call it your blessings jar, and label it as such: “The Blessings Jar”.

It’s very important that you have a Blessings Jar. And that you maintain it constantly. As with the Worry Jar items, write each blessing on your scraps of paper.

Blessings are the good things that are happening to you. Write them down immediately, with a Name for the blessing. Add the date and time, and insert into your blessings jar.

What kind of stuff do you consider blessings?

  • Your accomplishments, no matter how small, for a start.
  • The nice things you did for other people
  • The nice things people did for you
  • Things you enjoyed doing
  • Gifts you received

And anything that you want to remember in the future.

Keep track of them all, no matter how unimportant they may seem at the time.

Using your jars

Every day, just before going to bed, make it a habit to open your blessings jar, and read all your notes on them. Think about each of them, and what they did for you. As you think about them, say ‘Thank you’, whether it is to the universe (or God, or whatever) or to some individual you just met once.

If you have the time, it’s also a good thing to do in the morning after you get up, but don’t miss the last thing at night exercise of reading your blessings.

For your worry jar, find a set time during the day, or at least set a time once a week or once a month. It must be a specific time or time and day, and be sure that you have this time/date set in your list of things to do.

When the time/date comes around, open your worry jar, and bring out all the worries that you have collected over that time.

For each one, check what you can do to “fix” that worry. If you can do something about the worry, then do so. If you can’t…

Well, there are two possibilities. The first is that you can change the date under the worry name to when you might be able to resolve your worry. That’s delaying the worry for another day or week or month.

The other possibility (which is more likely) is that the worry will have disappeared. If so, then you can destroy the piece of paper.

And, when you have put the worries back into the jar (or resolved them or made them disappear), look at your Blessings Jar — it will have far more blessings than you have worries after a few weeks or months.

Which tells you…

That worries are far less important than blessings, and you can have a very happy life, if you worry only about those things you can do something about, and not burden yourself with things that you can’t affect.

That way, you really can live a happy and fruitful life!

Share This:

On Being Different…

The other day, someone told me that I was an idiot, a fool that no one likes or listens to.

I just laughed. I just happened to disagree with what he was saying. Yes, he felt very strongly about the topic, one that I don’t really give a damn about. He was looking for agreement with what he believed, partly because, from what I could gather, someone else had attacked him of his belief. So, I was classed as being part of the great masses that were totally against his side of the argument.

It makes no difference who was right and who was wrong. It’s a matter of opinion, and neither side can be absolutely certain on what the interpretation of the facts. There is always room for disagreement. But, more importantly, neither side can really make that much of a difference, at least in the short term.

A song passed through my mind. The Beatle’s “The Fool On The Hill” and its chorus:

“The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around…”

Or… I could have quoted Wittgenstein: “I act with complete certainty. But this certainty is my own.” With the addendum “And your certainty is your own”.

We make a big thing out of differences, like two distinct opinions. But the differences are what make us interesting.

Would he have been happier if I had agreed with him? Probably.

It would have meant that he had someone on his side of the argument (if one can call it that). He would not be alone with his view of things. But it’s through differences that we can see ourselves as individuals. It’s what distinguishes each of us from all those other people out there. Differences don’t lessen us, but make us better than we could have been.

It’s okay to agree with others, if you really agree. And it’s okay not to cause confrontations that lead to making out that one group (race, religion, language, whatever) is superior to another.

But celebrate your differences from, and celebrate your similarities to, others. Cheer on the differences and make use of the similarities.

Be the fool on the hill — see things for what they are!

And never let anyone ruin your own uniqueness!

Share This:

Be smart with your money!

I could say that when I was a kid, we were so poor that…

But, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty, I never felt poor. Neither did my siblings, at least not until we went out to earn or own incomes, whether part time or in real employment. It was only when we actually had cash in our grubby little hands that we began to realise that we had had so little to work with.

It’s so easy to feel that one is broke, that one has so little in the way of wealth. Even millionaires that I’ve met over the years have complained about how they feel poor at various times. They have to think about all that they’ve got, or the huge incomes they are getting, and compare it to someone who has a lot less, whether it’s in wealth or income. In some ways, it hits those rich people far harder than people like my parents and my siblings.

The first thing about being smart with your money is simple: live within the income you’ve got!

It suggests that the question you should ask before buying anything is “Can I afford to (buy this)?”.

If you have enough of an income (or enough wealth that can convert to cash), then great! You won’t go too far wrong. But what happens when you DON’T have enough cash or enough cash available to you?

Funnily enough, even millionaires find there are times when they can’t afford things; for practical purposes, they are as broke as my family used to be. In case you are wondering, yes, I’ve met millionaires in exactly that kind of state. But it’s more common among the middle income people, those who have very good salaries, and seem to be able to get just about everything they want, at least within a short time frame of when they want to buy whatever it is.

Take a look around you, and you’ll find that this is a very common problem.

It leads to what could be called “mental or emotional poverty, a poverty consciousness that affects the rest of their lives. If you live by “Can I afford to..?” you are always in danger of falling into the poverty consciousness.

Poverty, by the way, is a matter of definition: you are in poverty if your income falls below roughly ⅔ of the median societal income. In some countries, it’s ⅔ of the AVERAGE income. In other words, the way people see poverty is by some statistical definition, rather than the availability of cash, income or wealth.

So, how did we get by, with our more or less real poverty?

My parents lived with a very simple rule. Rather than asking whether we could afford to buy something we kids asked for, or that they wanted to buy, they asked: “Can we afford NOT to buy…?”

If the answer was “Yes, we can afford NOT to buy!”, the item or whatever was ignored. No excuses, no arguments, no debates.

When the answer was “No, we can’t afford not to buy…!” we would take a very close look at how much we could afford to spend. Not just looking at the money, but looking at why we could not afford not to buy it.

Then we would consider the alternatives, the substitutes that could give us the advantages of having whatever it was. Sometimes, it meant that Dad would work overtime, if it was available. Or maybe Mum would take on an extra job — she was an excellent seamstress, and often finished off clothes for a manufacturer or a store that did alterations on clothing (male or female). Or we’d head off to the Barrows, and find something second-hand that did the same job — Mum or Dad could fix it so it looked perfectly new. Or we kids (if it was to meet our needs) would go out and do chores — babysitting, delivery groceries, selling lemonade or whatever, or a hundred other small things that people were willing to pay for. We’d find either the price being asked for the bargains or find a substitute.

Sure, it meant that we didn’t have the brand name goods. But what we did have worked every bit as well as the “real” stuff.

The thing is, we never felt deprived of the things that were essential. We had everything we ever needed, even if we had to make it ourselves….

Try it…

It will work as well for you!

Share This: