On Credit Card Points

After the season of parties, when you might find yourself feeling financially depleted and despondent, there is a tantalizing prospect that awaits – the opportunity to earn free international travel and indulge in luxurious hotel stays. This alluring possibility is made possible through credit card points, which can be exchanged for a range of travel perks and enticing goodies. As January brings forth attractive deals, you might be enticed to apply for a credit card that offers such rewards.

However, let’s consider the reality. I like credit cards, but credit card rewards may not be worth it for most individuals, unless they possess certain qualities:

  • Firstly, financial stability is crucial. If you are wealthy and have a firm grasp on your finances, the potential payback from these rewards could be more significant.
  • Secondly, self-discipline plays a vital role. It’s essential to have the discipline to manage credit card spending wisely, ensuring that you don’t fall into the trap of accumulating debt.
  • Lastly, being attentive to your financial situation is imperative. Keeping a close eye on your expenses, payments, and rewards redemption options will enable you to maximize the benefits.
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Colors of Life

After publishing my friend’s message and commenting on her intentions to take a vacations trip, I somehow wished to take a little vacation too. As I have no ties to prevent it, I adhered to my wish. I took a few days trip, totally disconnected from the Internet and the current rush of technology. Over there, I met up with a longtime friend and her family… It had been ages since I saw them last, so it was good to finally catch up, and we all had a good time and a lot of stories to tell. Thank God, they’re OK, in general. All of her kids have grown up nicely, already graduated, and have married. Except for the eldest daughter, who has a health problem. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and that fact did lead to many drastic changes in her lifestyle. Of course, now she follows healthier food and exercise habits, which is totally recommendable (and mandatory!). However, there are some changes which are too excessive and harmful, in my opinion. Despite her disease is medically controlled, and shes does not feel any physical problem (on the contrary, she externally reveals a spectacular health condition), her courage and joy have fallen considerably. She used to be a playful and lively girl, but now she decided to give up parties, to go shopping with her friends, love… and everything joyful, simply because she is afraid of suffering a sudden, unexpected diabetic complication or coma, amidst the happiness of the reunion. She would become a disturbance… others would see her weak and in panic, prey to fear. And she does not want to go through that. She is concerned about what might happen, and what her friends could say. In a sense, she fears rejection.

Colors of Life
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Happy Holidays and a Joyous 2024!

As we bid farewell to another year and embrace the enchanting holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to extend my warmest wishes to all of you, my incredible readers. You have been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement, and for that, I am truly grateful.

You can't stop the journey Christmas 2024

During this festive time, let us cherish the moments of togetherness and reflect on the lessons we’ve learned throughout the year. Remember, every challenge we faced has only made us stronger, and every setback has presented an opportunity for growth. As we embark on a new year, let us carry forward the lessons of resilience and determination, knowing that we have the power to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

May this holiday season fill your hearts with love, joy, and gratitude. Surround yourselves with the warmth of family and friends, and let the spirit of generosity guide your actions. Remember to take a moment to rest, rejuvenate, read inspiring stories, and appreciate the beauty of the present moment. As we step into the new year, let us set our intentions high and believe in our ability to achieve greatness.

Embrace the opportunities that come your way, and never forget that you have the power to create the life you desire. Together, let us make 2024 a year filled with growth, success, and endless possibilities. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a holiday season filled with love, laughter, and happiness.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey, and I look forward to continuing to support and inspire each other in the coming year.

What I like about Credit Cards

Yummy… a pizza with onion, green pepper, mushrooms, olives, plenty of tofu and a bit of minced fresh garlic. Tasty! Oh, and I have to buy my new laptop. Well, for all these things and little pleasures there’s the credit card. I prefer to pay with my credit cards as I dislike the notion of acting like an ambulant cash dispenser 🙂 However, using credit cards requires control and knowing well the “policies behind the card” (the rates, the limits, how the credit reporting system works, etc.) Managing and using credit cards is just a matter of applying good sense

Credit cards

That said, I have some friends that abuse their credit cards usage. They charge a lot! They go nuts because they feel like they work pretty hard and should be able to do that sometimes. The problem is not that they cannot afford the payment or cannot pay it off. The problem is that most of their purchases are frivolous things they really don’t need. Surely, they work hard and they deserve to enjoy the fruits of their work. But they are not enjoying anything by acquiring a bunch of unneeded objects. On the contrary, they’re wasting their money. The only thing that such frantic credit card usage satisfies is the desire of material possession. Do we indeed work so hard only to crumble under such lame desire? When we are going to use our credit card we always should examine the actual reason behind the purchase. Review carefully your financial state… are you paying a house, a car, a small loan? Then try not to acquire more debt. Moreover, if we have a short or troubled credit histories we must try to do things right. Pressure of extreme debt is what leads to desperate and dangerous measures such as payday loans, for example. Really dangerous. Calm. Relax. Think. Good sense, remember? Life is beautiful.

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A Reader’s Happiness

Yesterday, a reader from Miami, USA, sent me a very positive and lovely feedback about my article Looking for True Happiness. She loved the succinct discussion involving economy’s views, a theme she feels is often neglected from essays on happiness. Thanks. I’d like to share with the other readers of You can’t stop the journey a very personal approach to happiness, courtesy of Mrs. Paula Marcenaro. In her email, she refers that life was really harsh for her after her parents’ death, when she was 14… that was some years ago, as she is now a shining and exquisite 60+ woman 😉 She had to work very hard in order to achieve her teaching degree and to bring up her six daughters. But now, she is very, very happy. All of her six girls are professionals, holders of high academic degrees. Nevertheless, she always kept her self-confidence. Self-confidence and an unbreakable faith in a better tomorrow allowed her to improve and achieve her goals. Self-confidence allowed her to endure others’ unkind critics, envy, and general problems.

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Three Gifts

A well respected landowner required the services of a woodcutter. Soon, a burly man volunteered for the job. The landowner explained that, in order to get approved to the job, any candidate should axe down, in a single day, a leafy and huge cedar that was in front of his house. Faced with the daunting task, the woodcutter replied: “For Gods, maybe. But I don’t believe this chore to be humanly possible, so I retreat.” A second woodcutter arrived asking for the job, but once he heard the condition, it seemed to him that the landowner had become crazy. Like this, many other woodcutters rejected the job. But one burning morning, other lumberer applied for the job. It seemed that the cedar was too large for his slight and somewhat dandified figure. The condition was the same, but this woodcutter’s response was: “Sure, Good Lord, I can chop down this tree, but I beg you the permission to start working not today, but tomorrow at dawn… that way, I’ll have enough time to open the trunks and put them to dry before the sun hides his face.” This response, firm and self-confident, convinced the landowner of this man’s suitability for working in his estate.

Cedar gifts

“The job is yours, but don’t dare touch a single leaf of this quaint tree with your axe… this is a lovely tree, whose shade gives shelter to my kids and peace to my family. You’ve passed the test.”

And so the years passed by, and the landowner never regretted of hiring the woodcutter. During all those years of strenuous work the woodcutter had not returned to his village, and had not seen his family. That’s why the landowner decided it was time for the woodcutter to rest and to return to his village. As a token of gratitude, a big farewell party was held for the woodcutter. It was a prize to the woodcutter’s fidelity and good performance. On that day, the woodcutter recalled many joyful things he had lived in the estate. His boss’ family presented him with a lot of objects and gold as gifts. He received plenty of gifts. Collected so many that he required one horse and two mules to carry his gifts. When he departed, he was accompanied to the outskirts of the estate by two pawns. They were talking about the best path that our woodcutter should take to reach his destination faster. The two pawns were of the view that the trail was the shortest path.

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Meditation Gems: Appearances

Let’s continue with our condensed Meditation Gems series. Today we’ll discuss appearances, an ancient concern. As far back as Aesop‘s fable, The Ant and the Chrysalis, the moral “Appearances are deceptive” is present. We have to acknowledge that self-confidence relies greatly on how we see ourselves. Whether this inner perception represents the stairway to a broader and successful vision of life, or is the path to ruin, depends solely upon ourselves. The things we think about and the things we do define our true identity. People afraid of failures skip from one idea to another almost endlessly, and thereby rarely get hold of success. Facing the hard circumstances of the real world, our fears would recommend to step back in order to avoid (possible) injuries. Self-confidence provides the fuel to fight these fears. The world belongs to brave people. Nevertheless, being brave does not mean to live recklessly, as self-confidence also allows us to realize our limits as imperfect human beings. The key word is balance. For self-confidence, bravery must join forces with humility. Being afraid of failure opens the door to appearances, but being unaware of failure leads to frustration. When the required balance is disrupted, desperate for filling up the void, we tend to recur to a harmful resource: appearances. With appearances we try to fill up the gap in our souls, related to our need for faking our limitations and guising them as “intentional” patterns in our life.

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On Regrets, Anger and Envy

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the past, dwelling on regrets and missed opportunities. However, it is crucial to realize that dwelling on regrets only serves to hinder our progress and prevent us from living a fulfilling life. Time is a precious resource, and we must use it wisely. By focusing on the present moment and looking towards the future, we can make the most of our time and create a life that brings us joy and fulfillment.

The image of regret: Maud Muller by John Greenleaf Whittier

Similarly, holding onto anger only drains our energy and prevents us from living a peaceful and contented life. Anger is a natural emotion, but when we allow it to consume us, it becomes toxic and detrimental to our overall well-being. Instead, redirecting our energy towards positive pursuits and finding healthy ways to cope with anger can lead to a more harmonious existence.

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Looking for True Happiness

It is very difficult, although not impossible, to win a race if we have to start down in a hole. However, this is the precise handicap which a lot of people face during their search for happiness. Because of such handicap, climbing out of the hole and arriving to at least the starting line represents an exhausting endeavor. Apparently, this is not logical… this is not how life should be. But truth be told, we can only start from the position we are right now, and we can only use the resources available to us right now. In order to achieve happiness we have to shut off perturbing messages, such as “I cannot”, “I’m going to lose”, “Maybe tomorrow is a better day”, and so further. We have to put all these miscreant ideas aside from our mind, to remove these slimy sentences which do not contribute to our goals. It’s easier for us to attribute the responsibility of our failures and defeats to others… those who taught us, for instance. Some people like to attribute to their parents and teachers an alleged fraud… everything bad has been their fault, not ours. They hold on to the past. They are losers. On the contrary, winners focus on overcoming each obstacle that rises until accomplishing their goals. Winners want to be happy and to bring happiness to all the people around them, sharing the love, their views on life, and perhaps, their goals.

True Happiness
True Happiness

 Some serious studies demonstrate that people from developed countries are not necessarily the happiest ones. A lot of nationals and residents of such countries manifest to feel unhappier than those of some developing or poorer countries. In this sense, let’s recall the Easterlin paradox, based on a study by professor and economist Richard Easterlin: Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? published in 1974, while he was with the University of Pennsylvania. Basically, the paradox states that economic growth does not necessarily lead to more satisfaction. It’s obvious that people in poor countries become happier once they can afford basic necessities. But the important idea behind Easterlin paradox is that absolute income does not matter as much as relative income does. In other words, how much you make compared with others around you is what really matters. To put it in today’s terms, owning an iPad doesn’t make you happier, because you then want an iPad Pro 🙂

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Meditation Gems: Managing your Time

We are used to recur to the time parameter to assess all of our activities. Worse yet, time assesses our own reality. We love to classify life in an orthodox fashion: past, present and future, unyielding frames we can’t live without. Indeed, as humans, we love to classify things, especially when classifying makes us feel special or protected. We classify things as living or not living. Above all, though, we love to classify things according to time. Thanks to this parameter, everything becomes an event. And we are continually struggling to link events, to establish logical relations of cause-effect between them. If we think this over, we’d note our predilection for going to the ends of classification. To classify, after all, is a proof of intelligence.

time meditation

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