Who’s watching you?

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Today we are constantly being tracked and analyzed. Every time you click on your browsers, Google is learning more and more about you. The first time I did a search on Google and then a couple a seconds later found an ad for what I was searching for on my Facebook feed it really freaked me out.  Someone out there is collecting our information to learn about our likes and dislikes so that they can craft the best advertising campaign and marketing medium to reach us. This is not something we have control over.

What we do have control over is how well we monitor ourselves. If we are good at self monitoring, then the data that they collect on us can’t be used against us. It is when we are not able to self monitor is when we become prey to all the marketeerings and corporations out there. To be immune to any and all marketing onslaughts there are a few things we have to be able to master. Here are some:

  • Know who you are and what you want

This means having clear goals that are specific to your lifestyle given your resources. It is critical that you realize and understand that your self-worth is not the same as your net worth. You need to know that material possessions don’t define you as a human. This is crucial to defend against any type of marketing assault.

  • Let common sense prevail. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a manipulator and a persuader. One thing is clear, both require that you be motivated. Marketers use various physiological tricks to make us think it was our idea and that we are the one making the decision. When in reality we are not. A common tactic is to “disturbed and motivate” it is a combination of scaring then manipulating/persuading. Fear is often used to motivate people to act and some ads can be very persuasive.  In such cases it is best to let common sense and logic guide you. If something doesn’t make sense to you or you can’t see clearly how it can benefit you, then perhaps it is not for you. No sliver tongue should be able to persuade you otherwise.

 

  • Finally, be aware. Know what to look for and recognize when marketing is trying to manipulate you. Beware of “expert” opinion, celebrities are not experts and consuming the products they endorse doesn’t mean it right for you. A common tactic for marketers to use is the association of their product with attractive people. They subtly try to associate the idea that if you use their product you too will be considered attractive.  Marketers often connect their product with a particular lifestyle to reach their specific target audience.  You can easily figure out if you’re the one they are targeting when the people in the ad seem eerily familiar to you!

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think or how it’s working out for you is.

Dr.M

https://radhamaharaj.com/

The difficult D word!

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We live in a fast pace world and we are constantly looking for quick, easy and convenient.  Enter all our apps and fast food, which meet all these requirements. The road to success, however, is usually never quick, easy or convenient.  If it were, we would have more healthy, fit and financially free people.

There are two words that bring a lot of discomfort to people, these words are delayed gratification. This means giving up something now so that you can enjoy more of it or something better later.  No one is saying you can never have sweets, or buy yourself luxury items, but you must first be in a position where you can truly enjoy it.  Giving up sugar today will help you be healthier tomorrow and an occasional treat will not jeopardize your health. Similarly curbing your spending now, will increase your bank account and you will be able to treat yourself later on without worrying about getting into debt or having to make high interest payments.

Success requires the cultivation of this skill.  Evidence has shown that people who have this skill are more successful in all areas of life. So how can you develop this skill? Here are some suggestions to build your delayed gratification muscles:

  • Start small. The first thing is to start small. For instance, skip your afternoon coffee and wait until the next morning to have coffee. Don’t buy that packet of gum or that magazine today, wait a few days.
  • Keep a picture or a note or some other reminder of your goal. Whether it is health or wealth related, keep it top of mind. You will be more likely to hold out when you have your goal top of mind.
  • Avoid temptations. Don’t drive by the bakery, don’t browse Amazon, and don’t watch the shopping channel.
  • Visualize yourself achieving your goal and try to embody the feeling you would have when you achieve it. Our minds can’t tell reality from fantasy, so if you really embody that sensation of the goal achieved, we start to take the actions that support the achievement of the goal.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think or how it’s working out for you is.

Dr.M

https://radhamaharaj.com/

Consistency is the name of the game!

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Last week I challenged you to make your choices keeping your goal in mind. How’s that going? When we act consciously it makes it easier to change a behavior or a habit. We can do it for one day, but the trick is to do it day after day. Consistency is essential for success in any endeavor. We won’t get fit and strong if we do just one perfect workout a week. We have to do it consistently at least three times a week, month after month. We have to do it, especially when we don’t want to. It is in those moments that the change occurs. Pushing beyond the discomfort, pushing beyond the monotony, pushing beyond the grind is what is required for success.

Here four tips for that can help with practicing being consistent:

  1. Set very specific and short term goals.
    For instance, you can set a goal to lose one pound this week. Or, you can set the goal to stop for coffee only twice this week instead everyday of the week. These are examples of very realistic and achievable goals and they can be accomplished in the time frame set. Specific and short term goals are a great way to see success quickly and this keeps you motivated to keep going.

  2. Do what you say and say what you do!
    When you set a goal, you have to make the commitment. Be sure to that your actions support your words. If you want to lose weight you have to commit to working out and watching your diet. If you want to reduce debt you need to commit to spending less on non essentials items.

  3. Keep moving forward even when you mess up.
    In all likelihood at the beginning of the process, you will slip. Changing a habit or behavior takes time. If you mess up one day, don’t let it ruin the rest of the week. Forgive yourself and keep going. If you do it often enough a new pattern will emerge and you will reach the stage where it becomes effortless.

  4. Be mindful.
    Be mindful when making choices, be mindful when working out, be mindful when eating, and be mindful when shopping. There is enough evidence that support the alchemy that occurs when we are present and mindful. Mindfulness exponentially increases the chance of success in reaching our goals.

  5. The final tip is even if you don’t want to, do it anyway.
    This point is so important I have to repeat it. We may not always want to exercise, eat healthy or show restraint when shopping. But if it is what is necessary to reach our goal, we have to, even when we don’t want to. This may be painful, but it is the price of success and we have to be willing pay our dues.
    Leave a comment below and let me know what you think or how it’s working out for you is.

June 15th is designated Conscious Consumer day.
Wear Purple to remember to practice Financial Mindfulness
#ThePurpleCampaign #WearPurpleJune15th

Dr.M
radhamaharaj.com

 

The resilience of a lie

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There are everyday lies we as a society live with. We are lied to by our friends, family and society at least once a day! A lie is defined as a statement that is false, misleading or inaccurate. Each of us wears many hats. We are parents, friends, business owners, accountants, chefs’ etc. In each of our roles we lie and are lied to. There are some lies that we have collectively agreed that are permissible. There are others that we know it is a lie, but we pretend it is not or choose to ignore it.

As parents, we lie to our children constantly. The obvious lies are the classic Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny. These are not just whimsical characters in stories. No, they come out and interact with us. The Tooth Fairy leaves money for us in exchange for our baby teeth. Santa gives us presents at Christmas and the Easter bunny hides chocolates for us to find. We lovingly lie to our kids because we think we are feeding their imagination. What we are really doing is feeding them a belief. We are telling them what to believe and they believe us, until they get older and figure things out. At this point we justify it by saying that everyone does it, it’s just a tradition. This type of lying is not condemned by the majority of society because most of us participate in and have collectively agreed that it just a white lie. Let’s not kid ourselves. Black or white, a lie is a lie.

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As a business owner or business executive we lie on a continuous basis. When we sell our product or service we omit all the downside and focus on only the positive aspects of what we are selling. The consumer gets a distorted view of the product or service. When you put out an advertisement that highlights only the positive aspects of your product and downplay any negative features it is simply misleading.  The classic example in this case is Coke. All sodas are advertised with a bias to their particular appeal, but Coke has taken it to another level. They have now managed to link their product to happiness! Yes, happiness can be had with excess amounts of sugar, which just as addictive as cocaine, and of course if you prefer no sugar, you can have aspartame instead. Never mind the troublesome detail that research has shown that it is carcinogenic and can cause cancer. We as consumers know that it is bad for us, but it seems we choose to be lied to.

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It is bad enough that we lie to others. It is even worst when we lie to ourselves and we try to rationalize why we do things we know we shouldn’t be doing. We all can relate to either having that one extra drink, that dessert or that purchase we made that we couldn’t afford but bought it anyway. Then we find reasons to justify our behavior. For instance, I was celebrating, I don’t do it all the time, and it was on sale. This self-justification arises because our behavior is not consistent with our beliefs (cognitive dissonance). So to make ourselves feel better about our choices we downplay the negative and fabricate reasons that support what we did.

On the surface, we may think this is harmless. So what if we try to make ourselves feel better sometimes. Unfortunately, things get dangerous when sometimes turns into most of the time. It is not easy and most of us are not willing to step up and stop lying to ourselves. Nothing can change if we continue on this path even for little things. This behavior can be very damaging over time. Research has shown that this type of self-justification can lead to “degradation of self-image”. If we practice self-justification for too long, that is if on a regular basis, we go against what we know is right for us and we regularly  have to justify our behavior to ourselves, it can have undesirable repercussions. We become frustrated and develop self-doubt and self-esteem issues. We feel out of control and debilitated. It may have started out innocently, but like little drops of water that can erode a mountain over time, so too lying to ourselves will destroy us overtime. It shows up in our health, in our relationships and in our financial statements.

There are many untruths out there, before we can expose the untruth that is in the world we first have to start with ourselves. We have to expose the untruth we tell ourselves and eradicate it. If you know that your behavior or actions are not helping you achieve the life you want, stop justifying those behaviors and actions. Get real with yourself. The first step is always the hardest and most painful  but in the end, its worth it.

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Dr. M

http://www.thekidonomicsseries.com/

http://www.radhamaharaj.com/

Bringing the Giant to It’s Knees, You Have the Power

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Little drops of water can erode an entire mountain without the mountain ever noticing.  Like dripping water, we too have the power to bring large corporations to their knees. We are not as helpless as we think.  In fact, businesses thrive because of us.  Just as we made them, we can break them.

There are two factors that we deal with on a daily basis. There is a causal relationship between the two. They are our health and wealth (money). From our daily aches and pains and sleepless nights, our health is always top most on our minds. If are not feeling well all aspects of our lives are impacted. It is why TV shows like Dr. Oz is so popular. People want tips and information on how to get on with making their lives healthier and better. The other issue on our mind is our money. We use it every day, whether we actually spend or not, everything has monetary value. Even if we bring our lunch to work, there is a cost attached to that, there is also the cost of actually getting to work in the form  a gas bill or a bus/train fare etc. Health and money are deeply intertwined and more often than not we trade one for the other.

Today I want to focus how our profit driven society is having a significant negative impact on our health.

Here is the situation, food is being genetically modified for various reasons, the two main ones are for crop protection and to allow for greater durability of the product itself. For these reasons genetically modified organism (GMO) products are cost effective. This means that the producers can offer them to the market at a lower price.  As prices fall, demand for these products increases. When demand increases these companies make a bucket full of cash.  This makes them produce more, sell more and make more money. Consumers benefit from spending less and getting more. Everybody seems to be better off, so it seems. Things get a little murky when we find that there is a strong a correlation between the use of GMO and disease rates especially in the US.

So let’s look at the facts. GMO was first introduced in 1990. The top five GMO producers are the United States (US), Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. Note that the US is the supreme leader when it comes to GMO producers.

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Interestingly, the US and Canada are the only two countries that do not require the labelling of GMO products. So consumers in these countries don’t have all the information to make an informed buying decision.

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In addition to being the largest GMO producer in the world, the US also has the highest rate of obesity in the world.  As well as, researchers have also found a positive correlation between GMO and the rate of thyroid cancer in the US. In other words, since the introduction of GMO products, the incidence of thyroid cancer has dramatically increased. Coincidence? I think not.

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Here is the kicker, however. The US also has a higher level of income inequality when compared to other developed countries. If the majority of your population falls in the lower income bracket and GMO foods are less expensive, then it stands to reason that those who are struggling to work and raise a family will consume these products because they cost less. The middle and upper class have the means to be able to make changes because they can afford to. However the impact of this group is not enough to effect real change because the masses are still supporting these companies.

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The formula for change is simple, but not easy. We simply have to stop buying GMO products. Companies will respond faster to lagging demand than they will to lobbying and appealing to their humanity. You literally have to hit them when it hurts the most and that is their bottom line. Businesses will quickly innovate and change when their profits are at stake. Otherwise, the status quo will be maintained.

We literally have to put our money where our mouth is and speak to them in language they can understand- profits.  Just as slavery didn’t end for humanitarian reasons; it ended because it became uneconomic and unprofitable. So too, we will not see a change in the type of products being sold if they don’t become unprofitable. We as consumers have the power to do dictate what is to be produced and consumed.  If we continue to purchase these products we are adding to the bottom line and so there is no incentive for the company to change its ways. It’s basic economics, if there is no demand the company will have to change to meet the market conditions or go out of business.

You may have realized by now that spending and your health are all connected and it will require conscious effort to change established patterns of behaviour.  Even though we know that something is not good for us and we see that is causing us harm we sometimes continue along the same path. In a lot of cases we have been brandwashed into consumption. We have become addicted to the chemicals in these products  and on our bodies demand them.  It has created a viscous cycle that can only be broken if we are willing to make a conscious effort to change. Your life is not compartmentalized. Money affects every facet of your existence. Money is the reason why the GMO was implemented, it is the reason why it sells (cheaper and lasts longer) and it is money that will be the reason why GMOs are removed from our food. Recognized this and then where ever you can take action to change.

It is hard to lecture to families who simply can’t afford to buy organic and continue to spend on those products that do more harm than good.  We have to recognise, however, it might be costing you more in both terms of your health and finances. It is expensive to be sick!  It is not a matter of maybe we can do it. We HAVE to do this for our own sake. Here are some ideas of how we can start on our journey to topple the giants.

The power of intention is powerful, if you keep making conscious choices and keep heading in the right direction you will eventually pick up momentum. If each of us commits to this action we will effect change. It may not be tomorrow, but change will occur.  As I said before the process is simple, but it is not necessarily easy. It will take patience and discipline, but the reward would be a positive change to both your health and wealth.

What are you giving up today to have a better tomorrow?

Dr. M

thekidonomicsseries.wordpress.com