The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Brilliantly written article. By the time I read the first two habits I was crying with laughter, so much so that I couldn’t see to carry on reading. My sides were aching with it. This is so descriptive of so many of today’s miserable people. Absolutely brilliant.

Mind Chatter

How to succeed at self-sabotage.


Photo Credit:

Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living…

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When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.

So much for free time Continue reading “Simplify”

Dear Social Security

Pen y Fan 7

Dear Social Security,

I need money.
Kids are starving; they need food.
I need money.
And my wife is in a mood.

I need money.
For my children need more clothes.
I need money.
I’m not sure where it goes.

I need money.
See, I have to pay the bills.
I need money.
’Cause my kids are getting chills.

I need money.
To prioritise my life.
I need money.
I can’t work with all this strife.

I need money.
Can’t you see I need a fix.
I need money.
So that I can get my kicks.

I need money.
Life has left me with no hope.
I need money.
So that I can get some dope.

I need money.
For I have to pay the shrink.
I need money.
’Cause I need another drink.

I need money.
Or they’re cutting off my phone.
I need money.
I’ll be left here, all alone.

I need money.
Got to get some cigarettes.
I need money.
So that I can feed my pets.

I need money.
Or the bookie, he will call.
I need money.
Now my back’s against the wall.

I need money.
Or I’m losing my TV.
I need money.
Cable’s all I ever see.

I need money.
So’s to get on with my life.
I need money.
So’s to pay my other wife.

I need money.
Did I mention I have kids?
I need money.
’Cause I’m really on the skids.

I need money.
I don’t know where it all goes.
I need money.
Can’t you see I’ve suffered blows.

I need money.
Or my future’s looking bleak.
I need money.
I’ll be up before the beak.*

I need money.
I can’t cope without my drugs.
I need money.
Or my kids will get no hugs.

I need money.
Once I’ve paid for all my vice.
I need money.
For to buy my kids some rice.

I need money.
Life is really so perverse.
I need money.
Want to put the first things first.

I need money.
Now my phone is out of date.
I need money.
So that I can soon upgrade.

I need money.
Can’t you see I have a fight?
I need money.
So my life can be put right.

I need money.
Life is really looking grim.
I need money.
Time I think to sink or swim.

I need money.
And if there is any left.
I need money.
I won’t leave my kids bereft.

Yours faithfully,

Professional Benefit Claimant

* Beak – Old English slang for judge.

(WARNING: This is not a political statement. It is a statement of reality. Argue all you want for fiscal regeneration, quantitative easing, re-starting the economy, banning long-term benefit claims. But keep those arguments off my blog. I don’t approve of them and they will be deleted.)

My point, here, is that people don’t have their priorities right. Take a look at the mountain in the photo. That may not be the highest mountain in the world, but being safe on any mountain requires prioritising. In the same way, all of us have personal situations that may loom, mountain-like, in front of us. But some people simply look at the mountain and give up in favour of personal comfort.

How many people do you know who have the latest technology – 42 inch plasma TV’s, or bigger, a new cell phone, every six months, the most up to date digital equipment? Yet their children are neglected.

How many people do you know who cannot afford to buy food for their children because they spent all their money on alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes?

How many people do you know who pamper their pets while their children have holes in their shoes, if they have shoes?

How many people do you know who would rather give their money to the bookie, or the casino, or the barman, rather than buy clothes for their children, or put a roof over their heads?

And how many of them could work if they tried, but they have conditioned themselves to think that it is impossible? Believe me, these people could get a job filling out forms. They do it so well for themselves, why can’t they get paid to help other people to do it?

Don’t get me wrong, there are many genuine people out there who simply cannot get work, no matter how hard they look; or people who are too ill to work. You can pick them out very easily. They are the ones who are calm when discussing their circumstances with Social Security. They are the ones who keep looking for opportunities to do something, even if it is “only” voluntary work. They are the ones who put their children first.

I see so many people blogging about their long-term, often serious illnesses and, although they genuinely cannot work, they do a lot of good by sharing their experiences with others. Some of them have even tried selling their experiences, making a living out of a seemingly impossible situation.

They do not spend their Social Security cheque on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other vice. They spend their money on their children, often at great cost to themselves. These are people who will go without to make sure that their children have food, clothing, and a safe place to live.

A Lesson For Us All

Yet there is a lesson for all of us, in this. We all need to get our priorities right. It doesn’t matter whether we have no work, suffer chronic ill health, or have the highest paid job in the world. I only chose the above scenario for this poem as an illustration of the need to prioritize. I could, equally, have chosen the super-rich, some of whom also neglect their children.

How many people do you know who spend all their waking time at work, “to give the children what they want,” but who are never at home to give the children what they really need – their time and attention? How many people live in mansions, but are never there to enjoy them? How many people do you know who will farm their children out to boarding schools because they cannot be bothered to raise them at home?

Harsh? Possibly. And it is not the story for everyone. But for many this is the reality.

We all need to prioritize. Life is full of choices. And the addicts referred to in the poem, and the neglectful parents referred to in the prose, have made bad choices. Yes. Choices. They choose to be addicted to bad habits just as surely as non-addicts choose good habits. These bad habits make people prefer to neglect their children in favour of themselves. Then they beg for more resources to feed their habits while their children hide under the bed for fear of another beating.

Yes, we all need to prioritize. We all need to think about what is most important in our lives; and what should be most important. And before the do-gooders take exception to the word, “should,” let me say that its inclusion is deliberate. There are things that we should do. There are things that we need to do. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to others to get it right.

What Does It Take To Get It Right?

In simple words, mindfulness; or, if you prefer, cognitive behaviour, awareness, or any of the other buzz words used by professionals to describe prioritising. We need to be aware of the needs of the moment. That means being present in this moment. It means being aware of the consequences. It means thinking about how our actions, or non-actions, will affect, not only ourselves, but also those around us, both now and in the future.

Whilst remaining “in the moment,” we need to figure out how the succeeding moments will be affected. We need to be responsible for our actions. We need to consider the outcome before we act.

What does it take to get it right? It takes skill. It takes good judgement. It takes commitment. It takes good choices.

If we do all of this, then, maybe, we have a chance.

The Power of "No"

Yorkshire 1

We lead such busy lives, today. We are surrounded by clutter. We buy too much and spend too much and eat too much and leave too much lying around.

Yes. I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone else. I have to make a conscious effort to clear my desk every night. I have to make a conscious effort to put things away. And I don’t always succeed.

But the biggest clutter comes from other people. How often have you planned some activity, only to answer the telephone and hear the pleading voice confirming that you are the only person in the whole wide world who can help and it’s really, really, desperate, and if you don’t help the caller doesn’t know what he or she will do?

And how many times have you given up your day out to go and help, only to find that it was something that could have been put off till another day?

That’s why we need to schedule personal time every week. We need time for our immediate family – which does not include the children who have left home. And we need time for ourselves, too. We need to protect that time. Don’t let anything trivial get in the way. We have our own needs to take care of. And if we don’t look after ourselves, we will not have the resources to look after anyone else.

This is where we need to learn the power of ‘No’. We need to learn that our time is precious and must be protected. Yes, there will be emergencies. But as one fridge magnet puts it, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part.”

After all, there will always be other opportunities to look after the grandchildren; opportunities when you can plan fun activities, rather than being stressed about what you cannot do or should do or could be doing.

De-clutter your schedule – learn to say, “No.”


Children absorb so much from their environment, then we wonder why they behave as they do, and we blame them for the way they are. I have watched nasty bullies turn into lovely little people, mainly because their environment was changed. This story also proves that we don’t have to be what our parents made us. We can overcome our past.

I didn't have my glasses on....

i followed two 4-year olds at the back of the line, as my class made their way down the school hallway. one was crying. the other reached over, took his hand, and walked with him silently for a minute. the crying continued. the hand-holder decided to take a different approach and share his own tale of woe to make his friend feel better. “hey, when i was a baby, my mom never even played with me. she just wanted to stay in her room with the door closed and watch t.v.,” he told him. (how does he know this? how sad, and it really explains a lot, i thought to myself.) the other little guy stopped crying and they continued on in silence once again, hands swinging. 


If you think you have it tough, read history books.   – Bill Maher


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So many people think they are stressed, these days, it would be interesting to see if we can learn to stop worrying about everything and start enjoying life.

Why worry about what you cannot change? It’s far more important to deal with issues than to worry about them.

Time for Change Challenge

New Beginning

At the end of September, here and here, I wrote about the complications and struggles involved in keeping more than one blog going. I said I was considering sticking to one blog, only, from now on.

Since then, the activity on my blog has increased quite significantly and my followers have gone 20, on September 21st to 162, as of today. I have also gained some followers on my other blogs, even though there has been very little movement on them in the last month.

So I am wondering what you think. Do you think that a sort of general purpose blog is best, utilising categories and tags to separate different types of entries? Or do you think it is better to have one blog for each type of subject, such as poetry, prose, photography, job hunting, etc? How do you work? Do you have several blogs, or do you stick to just one?

Also, what is your experience of going from a WordPress hosted blog to self-hosted? Is it easy? Do you gain or lose followers by changing? Is there any value in it?

So here is my challenge: Write a post, in any format you choose, telling about your experience of blogging. Please include a link to this post so that I, and others, can find your advice easily, and tag your post with Challenge 51. I will read and respond to every one.

Categories–A Blogger’s Bridge

Bridge at Llyn Llech Owain

I keep publishing posts without categories. I don’t suppose it matters, really, but it’s so annoying when I realise and have to go and update. OK. It’s not that big a crisis, really. Still, if you’re as impetuous as I am, you’ll know the frustration of getting it wrong!

So why do we need categories, anyway? First, I think it’s a mark of respect for our readers. After all, who wants to trawl through dozens (hundreds?) of posts with the latest recipes until they find their article on car mechanics? Who wants to read all that poetry when there is more exciting information available about the local music scene?

So how do we go about remembering to file our articles in the correct categories? I guess it’s a matter of discipline; the discipline of proof-reading. The thing is, if I am already in the habit of proof-reading my article, surely I should include the title area, which should include the categories and tags. This takes practice, of course. After all, I would venture to suggest that the majority of bloggers are not professional journalists. Most of us have other things to do with our time. Blogging is our way of relaxing and sharing with the wider community. Therefore, spending time on proof-reading seems to be a pointless exercise.

Yet it makes sense to use categories. Think about it. How many of us keep the tea and spanners together? How many of us keep our paperwork in the freezer? Not deliberately, anyway. Surely, we want to make sure that we can find our articles, even if no one else reads them!

Categories bridge the gap between our keyboards and our memories. We work hard to bring our articles to publication. The least we can do is make it easy for people to find them.

So, from now on, I am going to try to get into the habit of assigning at least one category and one tag before I start typing. That way, I should at least have some idea where to look.

Time for Change 2

So I decided that I would concentrate on just one blog and simplify my life. I decided to do this by making good use of the WordPress Categories function. However, I needed a way to show the posts on my main page without cluttering it up too much. So I spent a pleasant, productive evening looking at the customization options on WordPress.

I need not have worried. The various functions are just what I need. All I had to do was to learn how to use them. Thank you, WordPress for making blogging life so simple.

What have I achieved?

Basically, I was faced with re-blogging all my posts from the various sites. There aren’t that many, by comparison, but I was concerned that some readers would be put off. For example, who wants to look at my photos when they have come to look at my Haiku? Who wants to look at either of those if they have come here to read my essays?

Then I discovered Menus and Links. (Look on your Dashboard under Appearance, Menus.) With these tools, I can put a menu of my blogs anywhere on my page.

Also, I have added a page describing my blogs. This is a static page with further details that would clutter up the main menu.

Planning for the Future

My next exercise will be to look at the idea of creating a static first page. I believe that I will be able to link all my blogs to this. The only problem that I see with it is that it will be static. And I know how much people like to see movement on blog pages.

There is, of course, a function in WordPress where you can link the latest posts. But I don’t think it works on static pages.

So watch this space. I am going to be developing it, as time goes on.

Why Am I Telling You All This

Why would you be interested in how I am changing my blog presence? Most people are probably not bothered. Yet there may be some readers who, like me, are fairly new to customizing blogs. They may be on the verge of giving up, just because they cannot get the results they desire.

Well, if I can make these changes, and if I can bring them to the attention of someone who might benefit from the process, then so much the better. Yet, even if I only create a record for my own memory purposes, it’s time well spent. After all, I suspect that most of us have been in the position of telling ourselves, “I’m sure I looked up this information, before!”


Words of Gratitude

Finally, my thanks to Elizabeth for the encouraging comment on my plans. It gave me the inspiration to try.