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Archive → May 15th, 2016

Signs You’re Successful—Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It

GettySigns You’re Successful—Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It

Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart

Signs You’re Successful—Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It

If you’re ambitious, you’re bound to feel like a failure from time to time. Lofty goals lead to inevitable moments when you aren’t yet living up to your expectations.

We live in a world that reinforces this feeling. Though most people won’t admit it—other than the guy with the ‘He who dies with the most toys wins’ bumper sticker—in the back of our minds, we equate material possessions with success.

It’s a shame we fall prey to materialistic thinking because we certainly know better. A study by Strayer University found that 90% of Americans believehappiness is a bigger indicator of success than power, possessions, or prestige. Digging a little deeper, 67% defined success as “good relationships with friends and family,” and 60% said it is loving what you do for a living. Only 20% stated that monetary wealth determines success.

But saying and doing are two very different things.

When it comes to success, our eyes often lead us astray. It’s hard not to feel like the most successful people are those with the biggest houses, the most expensive cars, and the most influential friends. Regardless of what you achieve, there’s always someone with more, and this can make you feel like you’re losing. The problem isn’t your lack of toys; it’s believing that toys indicate true success.

Real success is about who you are and how far you’ve come. If you ever worry that you’re not as successful as you should be, you may be evaluating yourself against the wrong criteria. Sometimes you just need a reminder as to what you’ve really accomplished in life. The success indicators that follow will help you do just that.

You’re no longer the center of the universe. We all know “successful” people who act like they’re the center of the universe. It’s their world and the rest of us just live in it…right? That’s not success. True success requires the ability to feel empathy—to realize that other people’s feelings and dreams are just as important as ours, and we cannot succeed without them.

You stay positive. Hope and optimism are essential components of a happy life. If you dwell on the things that go wrong, you become bitter and resentful. When that happens, you fail—no matter what you may have achieved. Real success means always seeing the bright side and believing you have the power to make even the worst situations better.

You know that failure isn’t forever. You’ve learned that the only people who never fail are those who don’t try. When you fail, you don’t automatically assume that you’re a failure. Instead, you embrace each failure as an opportunity to learn something—and then you move on. If you still struggle with this at times, know that you’ll never experience true success until you learn to embrace failure. Your mistakes pave the way for your success by revealing when you’re on the wrong path. The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box and see the solution you’ve been missing.

You keep things in perspective. Sometimes bad things happen. It’s part of life. For most of us, however, our very worst day would seem like a vacation to somebody who has real problems—like not having enough to eat, or trying to survive a civil war. Locking your keys in the car—or even getting passed over for a promotion—aren’t that bad once you learn to develop perspective. If you’ve mastered the ability to keep your problems in perspective, mark it down as a huge success.

You ask for help when you need it. Refusing to ask for help, no matter how much you’re struggling, is a sign of emotional immaturity. Asking for help means that you no longer feel like you have something to prove by being perfect. It shows you aren’t afraid of people discovering your weaknesses and you understand no one succeeds alone.

You realize that life isn’t a zero-sum game. It’s not a see-saw, either. Just because somebody else achieves a big success, that doesn’t mean you suffer a loss in equal proportion. You just didn’t win that particular time. One sure sign of success is the ability to celebrate others’ achievements with sincere enthusiasm.

You can tell the difference between drama and excitement.
Remember the days when stable relationships were boring, and you quickly got tired of anyone who treated you as they should? If that kind of “drama” is a thing of the past, congratulations. If you prefer stability and depth to drama, you’re succeeding.

You no longer care what other people think. You only worry about what other people think when you still feel like you have something to prove. Conversely, you know you’ve “made it” when you don’t worry about that anymore—when you’re true to yourself and your principles, and satisfied with your life. You know you’ve made it when you understand that other people’s opinions are just that—opinions. They have no effect on reality. They don’t change who or what you are.

You accept what you can’t change and change what you can.
There’s a difference between pessimism and practicality. If there’s a hurricane headed your way, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But once you accept that the hurricane is coming, you can start working to mitigate its effects. If your company downsizes and you get laid off, every moment you spend in denial just delays whatever is waiting over the horizon. You’re able to move on only when you start exploring your options and making plans to change what you can. Taking responsibility for changing the things you don’t like about your life is one of the biggest indicators of success.

Bringing It All Together

There’s no sense in feeling like a failure just because you think you should have a better job, a bigger house, or a nicer car. Real success comes from the inside, and it’s completely independent of circumstance.

What are some other indicators of true success? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

Source: Will County News

ILLINOIS BUDGET PROPOSAL

ILLINOIS BUDGET PROPOSAL WITH MULTI-BILLION TAX HIKES, CUTS SENT TO TOP OFFICIALS

rauner, illinois state budget, Illinois budget

With just more than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, a group of rank-and-file legislators Thursday sent a budget proposal to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders that highlights ways the state can produce a balanced budget through a multi-billion-dollar mix of tax increases and spending cuts.

The plan — the first to surface in what is a historic 11-month budget stalemate — calls for a combination of $5.4 billion in tax hikes along with $2.5 billion in spending cuts.  

Under the proposal, the Chicago Tribune reported, the state would bring in $5.4 billion in new revenue mostly through tax hikes, including raising the individual income tax rate to as high as 4.85 percent from the current 3.75 percent, expanding the sales tax base, likely to services and items not yet taxed, and eliminating some corporate tax breaks.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported the income tax rate proposed was between 4.5 and 4.75 percent.

The $2.5 billion in spending cuts would be achieved by ending pension-spiking costs, requiring schools and colleges to pick up pension costs for employees with annual salaries of more than $180,000, reducing health care spending for the poor and changing how the state purchases goods and services, the Tribune said. Another $450 million the state borrowed from special funds last year no longer would have to be repaid as part of the plan.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown, said he hasn’t seen what was submitted to the governor and the legislative leaders, but said calling it a proposal was “getting ahead of yourself.” Brown said there most likely was a list delivered of new revenue and spending cut items that came out of private budget negotiations between a bipartisan group of rank-and-file lawmakers over the past month.

Madigan was asked by a reporter Thursday about his goals for the remaining two weeks of the spring legislative session and he said, “My goal for the remainder of the session is to continue to do budget-making without references to changes in collective bargaining, workers’ compensation and prevailing wage. And my further goal is not to agree with the governor to use the government to bring down the wages and the standard of living of middle class families, to send injured workers to the emergency room or to welfare, or to continue to hurt the vulnerable in our society. Those are my goals.”

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, some of whom serve on the state’s appropriations committees have been meeting privately for several weeks. State Journal-Register Statehouse Bureau Chief Doug Finke reports:

A member of the negotiating team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the plan would also borrow $5 billion to immediately pay down the state’s backlog of bills. The borrowing would be repaid over five years.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, told Finke he wouldn’t use the term “framework” to describe the proposal because it does not include any of the pro-business or labor union reforms on Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda,” some of which the governor says must be passed by the General Assembly before he will agree to any tax hikes.

Also from the Chicago Tribune:

But inside a Capitol stuck in the rut of a record-breaking 11-month impasse, many in the state’s political class eagerly welcome any emerging wrinkle, especially given that the budget framework talks were led by Rauner budget director Tim Nuding.

“There was no agreement in the sense that everybody said, ‘Yeah, I can sign onto things as is,’” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat and top deputy to Madigan. “So there’s lots of internal discussions still to be had, but the idea is here’s a framework, and it was enough of a framework for Nuding to feel comfortable taking it to the governor.”

More from the Tribune:

But Rauner remained focused on distancing himself from the talks, and indicated that the two sides were still far from a final deal.

“I don’t want to get in front of any specific idea yet, or comment, because it’s a little dangerous to take one proposal out of context. This is going to be a grand, fairly fulsome compromise,” Rauner said. “And virtually, we’ll know we’re at a good place where everybody involved is not particularly happy with the outcome but they are happy with certain elements of the outcome. Because that’s the political process, that’s the definition of a grand bargain.”

Earlier Thursday, the House in a 111-0-3 vote approved a $700 million stopgap appropriations bill to fund social service agencies that have been without state funding since the budget standoff began July 1. The legislation authorizes the state to take about $450 million from a human services fund and $250 million from special funds to be spent on things like foreclosure prevention and affordable housing. Durkin, who was one of three lawmakers to vote present, said the bill lacked funding for other critical state services including prisons. The Illinois Republican Party also sent a release out highlighting the lack of prison funding, indicating that is sure to be a campaign focus for the November election.

Of the spending bill to help social services,  Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, in a statement released Thursday afternoon, said it was a step in the right direction, but that more needs to be done.

“This gets needed funding to programs that care for our elderly, disabled and others victimized by Governor Rauner’s budget vetoes. Senate Democrats have time and again tried to give the governor the ability to fund these vital services. Hopefully, he will sign this bipartisan plan.

Make no mistake, more needs to be done. This is, at best, a step in the right direction. It is by no means a victory lap for anyone.

I hope the governor will do the right thing and sign this legislation as soon as it hits his desk.”

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

On the House floor, Durkin said he would have supported the measure if it had included funding for the Illinois Department of Corrections, among other agencies. Durkin said without funding for prisons, prisoners could run out of food as soon as this summer.

The measure also cleared the Illinois Senate on Thursday and now heads to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk. The funds would be distributed immediately, if approved by Rauner, who has vetoed some other spending bills with no revenue sources.

Rauner’s budget office sent out a memo before the vote on Thursday, warning that the bill would prohibit some agencies from funding certain programs. It cited the Dept. of Aging won’t be  able to pay phone line charges and communication equipment to pay for a Senior Help Line; and an HIV program still won’t have funding for medical supplies, lab testing or to pay insurance premiums for clients.

Here’s a breakdown of where the $700 million sent for Rauner’s consideration would be allocated:

  • Department of Human Services: $248 million 
  • Healthcare and Family Services: $5.4 million 
  • Department of Public Health: $18 million 
  • Department on Aging: $243.5 million
  • Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: $9.1 million 
  • Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: $458,000
  • Department of Military Affairs: $1.3 million 
  • Department of Transportation: $343,500
  • Department of Revenue: $170.5 million 

Source: Will County News

Japan Economic experiment an example of what not to do.

 

Japan’s Carry Trade
Geoffrey Pike Photo By Geoffrey Pike
Written Friday, May 13, 2016
As Japan and other countries experiment with negative interest rates, the central bankers of the world may get more than they bargained for. Japan is the perfect experiment right now for Americans to watch. It should provide an example of what not to do.

Japan should be the dream of people like Paul Krugman, who think the answer to every problem is to create more money and run bigger deficits. Japan has plenty of that going on.

Japan’s debt-to-GDP far exceeds 200%, which makes Greece look like a fiscally responsible paradise in comparison. Japan has had its digital money-printing machine working overtime, while the central planners continue to push interest rates down.

The Bank of Japan has defied anything called a zero lower bound. Not only is the central bank imposing negative rates on banks, but it has managed to push the 10-year Japanese yield down to about -0.1%. You can turn your money over to the government in order to get less of it back in 10 years.

Negative interest rates only make sense up to the point of it acting as a storage fee. If you wanted to get a safety deposit box to store cash, the bank would charge you a fee for the safety deposit box. And speaking of safety deposit boxes, it is no surprise that sales are up in Japan for personal safes, as people would rather store their own money than pay a fee.

Only in a world of fiat currency and central banking would a negative interest rate exist. Most people would rather have a dollar today than a dollar next year.

Still, the Japanese people are not blameless in this. While the central bank has been buying a majority of the debt lately, Japanese investors have still been buyers of government debt over the years. With all of the monetary inflation and the ultra-low interest rates, it is amazing that anyone would keep buying.

I don’t know if some Japanese investors think it is their patriotic duty to buy their government’s debt, but how long will they keep this up? If the Bank of Japan doubles the money supply again, and if the debt-to-GDP goes to 300%, will that finally be enough for investors to sell? It seems the camel already has too many straws on its back, yet more keep being added.

Japanese Miracle Turns into Disaster

While the Japanese economy is a complete disaster right now, it is still a relatively wealthy country. Japan was considered a miracle in the 1950s and 1960s. After being devastated from World War II, the country recovered — and rather quickly — in becoming an economic powerhouse. If you recall, many people in the 1980s thought the Japanese were going to take over the world, at least economically speaking.

The miracle that happened after the war is called the free market. Japan and Germany both turned to relatively free market policies, which enabled savings and capital investment to quickly grow and create wealth.

Unfortunately, for the last couple of decades, Japan has largely turned against the policies that originally helped it become so rich. Of course, you could say the same thing about the U.S. and Germany as well.

Up until just a few years ago, the Bank of Japan actually maintained a relatively stable monetary policy without a lot of monetary inflation. Many people think Japan has been stuck in deflation for decades, but prices have been rather steady, with only short periods of mild price deflation. It is only deflationary by our standards.

Unfortunately, despite the somewhat sane monetary policy, the government has spent money like crazy. As I mentioned, Japanese investors were willing to buy debt at low rates. This enabled the government to run huge deficits, despite little buying from the central bank in the past.

Under Prime Minister Abe, things have gotten much worse. After taking office in late 2012, he declared that escaping deflation was the greatest and most urgent issue. He has been incredibly aggressive in implementing so-called government stimulus. This has meant even more government spending, along with massive monetary inflation.

For the central planners who think these are the answers to economic ills, we should ask them why the Japanese economy is not booming yet. Do they need to start doubling the money supply every six months? Do they need to implement interest rates further into negative territory?

What Goes Up

One of the consequences (we can’t say “unintended” anymore) of negative interest rates is the carry trade. This may turn out to be an exaggerated version of the carry trade.

A carry trade is when investors borrow money at low rates in order to invest in other assets for higher returns. This strategy is most common when dealing with currencies in the foreign exchange market.

The Japanese could borrow money and put it in stocks or other assets within Japan, and some certainly have. But if you think it is tough to find a good yield in the U.S., imagine what the Japanese people are facing. It would not exactly be a sound strategy to borrow money to buy stocks.

Interestingly, it was recently reported that Japanese investors are suspected of fueling a boom in Australian real estate investment trusts.

And why wouldn’t they? When the government and central bank have created an environment of virtually zero yield, people will get creative in order to find positive yield. Does anyone want to save money for 10 years only to have it earn nothing, or less, over that time?

While Australian REITs are one trend for Japanese investors, we can be sure they are pushing money in all different directions. It is almost surprising that we don’t hear more stories of Japanese putting money into American markets, whether in stocks or real estate.

This is what happens when you get massive monetary inflation, along with low (in this case negative) interest rates. Some people are naturally going to engage in the carry trade strategy.

There has been some volatility in the currency markets. The yen had not been doing well, but it recently had a period of gains with temporary weakness in the dollar.

It is not hard to imagine that the carry trade will build up more over time as rates stay in negative territory. This can be a major problem, as carry trades eventually unwind.

What goes up must come down. What gets wound must get unwound.

What happens when those Japanese investors have to pay back the loans they took out in yen? They will have to convert their assets back into yen. It makes for a more volatile currency market. If the Australian currency were to fall against the yen, this could mean major losses and defaults for some investors.

A Race to the Bottom

Of course, Japan is not the only country with negative interest rates, as this has become a widespread phenomenon across Western Europe as well. And most of the major central banks are engaging in monetary inflation. The one major exception right now is the Federal Reserve.

Still, while we compare currency exchange rates, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we are comparing all fiat currencies that can easily be created by typing digits into a computer. The U.S. dollar is strong right now, but compared to what?

We have been in an environment of low interest rates and low price inflation. Consumer prices have stayed down due to economic fear, as well as a lack of bank lending.

It is easy to get complacent and think things will always be this way. It becomes the new normal. But debt-to-GDP ratios over 200% (and increasing) are not sustainable. Just a small increase in interest rates can change things quickly and dramatically.

Luckily for Americans, despite the major problems in the U.S., Japan is worse in almost every way. The Japanese will face the same crisis with retirees and massive unfunded liabilities. The government debt there is far worse, which more than offsets any good saving habits by some individuals. And the distortions from the monetary policy have to be massive.

When Japan blows up, we can only hope that the economic central planners will be discredited to such a large degree that Americans refuse to go down the same path and put a halt to these insane policies.

Still, we can’t be certain of any of this, so I am not betting on higher interest rates yet. That will be a play for another time. It is a time to sit tight and preserve wealth. As always, this should include owning some gold and silver in case the Fed decides to follow the lead of the Bank of Japan with endless digital money printing.

Until next time,

Geoffrey Pike for Wealth Daily

 

Source: Will County News