Despite numerous stories extolling the profound rewards of taking time away, it’s an idea that is not being as heartily embraced as it might be. In fact, many people find the whole notion downright terrifying.

Because the concept of regular sabbaticals throughout our lifetime has been so ignored in recent times, there’s some confusion over what constitutes a true sabbatical.

My definition of sabbatical is time away with a purpose. The purpose of such a time is not to abandon your life, but to enrich it.

In the original concept, first defined in the Old Testament book of Hebrews, a sabbatical was to be taken by everyone, every seven years. During this year off, fields were to lie fallow, debts were to be forgiven, relationships were to be repaired and introspection was encouraged.

Over time, of course, the notion disappeared and today many people don’t even observe a weekly Sabbath, much less consider an entire year of restoration.

Whether you’re in a year divisible by seven or not, here are several signs that it is the perfect time to consider a sabbatical of your own:

° You can’t remember the last time you had a new idea you were excited about.

° You’ve reached all of your goals.

° You’ve reached none of your goals.

° Your kids think you’re a nerd and you suspect they’re right.

° You have a nagging suspicion that you’d be really good at something if you only  had time to learn how to do it.

° You get wistful every time a plane flies overhead.

° Nobody ever asks you what’s new.

° A long-term relationship or career has come to an end.

° You’re ready to find a new hometown.

° You’re tired of being an armchair traveler and want to see distant lands for  yourself.

° You feel drawn to donate your time and talents to a humanitarian cause.

° You need time to do research or start a long-term project.

° Your soul is weary.

If any of these describe you, it’s time to let go of the excuses and get going.

“What I discovered is that when you make the time and the space for what you long to do,” says Sarah Susanka, “everything else shifts to accommodate it. It never works the other way around. If you wait until there’s time to do what you want, you’ll be waiting until your eighty-fifth birthday.”

Janice von Rabe is a woman on a mission to share her passion for football with other women who are perplexed by the game. When she attended the Obstacle-Busting Mastermind in January, she got enthusiastic from the group for her idea to teach seminars demystifying the sport.

Like most new entrepreneurs, Janice is facing some challenges. For starters, she’s a bit of a technophobe. Mention Web sites, Facebook or blogging and her body language changes.

She sometimes shudders when urged to participate in cyberspace. A passerby might think she was being forced to drink castor oil or eat worms.

Every couple of months, Janice drives from her home in Long Beach to have lunch with me. When she arrived last Saturday, she was carrying a colorful striped case which she had adorned with a bright pink fabric flower.

The moment we sat down, she opened the case and whipped out her brand new MacBook Air. Janice was giddy over her new tool, exclaiming, “It thinks like I do!”

She went on to rave over the helpful folks at the Apple store and told me about all the fun she was having with her computer. Obviously, I was listening to a convert.

Two days later, Janice was on the monthly conference call with other participants from the Mastermind. Like the others on the call, she was excited to share her progress.

Mary Anne, one of our Canadian participants, talked about the changes she was making on the road to launching her new enterprise. She began by telling us about the things she was eliminating from her jam-packed schedule.

Both Janice and Mary Anne reminded me that often we have to let go of something before we can move forward. Sometimes it’s an intangible, a limiting belief that keeps us stuck.

Other times it may be a time-consuming obligation that no longer satisfies. Or a computer that doesn’t think the way we do.

Sometimes we just forget that we have to eliminate what we don’t want in order to make room for something more satisfying, more appropriate.

Not making progress the way you’d like? Maybe it’s time to eliminate something.

Take a look at this eye-opening list of The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) and see if there’s a clue to what needs changing.


Like many Americans, I was taught that we lived in the land of opportunity. Our history teachers reminded us that people had flocked to our country because of the better life that awaited them here. It was a source of great pride.

At the same time we were learning those history lessons, we were also being groomed to get a job. No teacher or guidance counselor ever suggested that living in the land of opportunity also offered me the possibility of creating my own enterprise.

When my travels began to take me outside of the US, I quickly discovered that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and living everywhere, too.

It was an early Making a Living Without a Job seminar in London, however, that really made me aware that the entrepreneurial spirit knows no geographic boundaries. Participants arrived at that event from France, Denmark, and India as well as from the far corners of the UK.

So it comes as no surprise that on my recent trip to the UK I spent most of my time hanging out with some inspiring and creative entrepreneurial folks.

After my evening talk in London, I headed to Birmingham where I was met at the train station by the delightful Maggy Whitehouse, who also was my hostess for the night.

I met Maggy a decade ago when she attended a workshop I did in London on self-publishing. Although that was our only in-person contact, we’d stayed in touch over the years and I watched her writing and speaking career blossom.

My packed talk in Birmingham that night was another sign that there are plenty of people considering the Joyfully Jobless life. One man brought his 10-year-old daughter who has already shown interest in starting her own business.

Back in London the next night, I spent the evening with the Scanners Night group led by author and speaker John Williams. Once again, the audience was a mix of folks who were already self-employed and those wanting to be.

Because these self-proclaimed scanners have diverse interests, my talk that night was called Multiple Passions, Multiple Profits. I talked about creating a personal portfolio that incorporated their varied activities.

The following day, I spent the morning hanging out with Eve Menezes Cunningham, a freelance writer (among other things) who had interviewed me several years ago for the first article she had published. Since that time, she’s also included me in some other wonderful pieces she written.

Eve and I were joined by the vivacious Marianne Cantwell, the founder of Free Range Humans and about-to-be author. Originally from Australia, Marianne has been traveling the world since leaving her cubicle several years ago. When we discovered that we’d both be in London at the same time, we promptly planned to get together.

Unfortunately, I was in a fair amount of distress because of a most unpleasant experience I was having with my accomodations. Marianne swung into action and began looking for a new place for me to lay my head.

She enlisted John Williams’ aid in the search and thanks to AirBnB, I was headed to a lovely home in Fulham where I spent the rest of my time in the UK.

To my delight, my new hostess, Debbie Cave, is a woman who understands mutllple profit centers herself. In addition to having paying guests in her home, Debbie also runs her own public relations and marketing company.

After a good night’s sleep in my tranquil new room, I woke up excited about how I was planning to spend my last free day In London. Consultant Mary Phillips, whom I first met when she attended a seminar in the Lake District, was coming in from Bradford and we had plans to meet for lunch.

Since we both knew how to find the Whole Foods store, we had decided to connect there and have lunch. I passed by the store, but had never been inside.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped into the three-story market which was unlike any Whole Foods store I’d ever visited before. You can buy groceries there, of course, but since the entire second floor is devoted to a restaurant and food stations serving exotic smoothies, gelato, salads and more.

Since Mary and I hadn’t seen one another since my last London visit, we settled in for lunch and a catch-up chat. Five hours later, we tore ourselves away from the Whole Foods experience.

As I headed back to Fulham on the Tube, I realized that my week had not allowed for any touristy activities, but connecting with all these creative friends, old and new, had made this one of the richest visits ever.

Obviously, the land of opportunity isn’t a land after all. It’s a state of mind.


When I woke up on my first day in London, I was happy to have spent the night in a lovely hotel room, not on a park bench. The eleven-hour flight had not included much sleep so my day didn’t begin until mid-morning when the hotel maid knocked on my door.

My plan for the day included two of my Top Ten Favorite Activities. Fortunately, both of these pleasures were happening nearly next door to one another in Piccadilly.

I jumped on the Tube and headed to Waterstones Piccadilly,  a former department store that now is home to over six floors of books. This booklover’s emporium stocks more than 150,000 titles and claims to have eight and a half miles of bookshelves.

After browsing through several favorite sections, I decided to check out the business area. I was delighted, but not surprised, to see that interest in self-employment is alive and well and living in the UK.

Then I noticed a single copy of a book I didn’t know existed called a book about innocent. Since I adore companies that are run with large infusions of whimsy, I have been a fan of the innocent folks since I first encountered them.

For the next hour, I sat in a comfy chair and acquainted myself with the innocent story and things they have learned in building their business which includes all natural smoothies, juices and veg pots.

Their story is one worth studying since the business has grown by repeatedly starting small and trying lots of things. It’s also obvious that fun is a high priority along with bringing healthy products to the marketplace.

I decided to pay for all that pleasure and reluctantly left Waterstones when it was time for my next adventure.

As soon as I got to the street, I noticed the presence of butterflies…not the insects, the kind that accompany stage fright. I was scheduled to speak at 7 PM at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly at the weekly Monday evening event hosted by Alternatives, a lively program entering its thirtieth year of bringing mind, body, spirit speakers to the community.

In the past, I had been in the audience for several of these events listening to speakers that included Mike Dooley, Doreen Virtue and Philip Pullman. Mathew Fox had been there the week before me and Marianne Williams was coming the week after.

I did my best to appear calm as I arrived at the lovely church designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1684.  I was greeted by Tom Cook, an American expat I had met several years ago, who filled me in on how the evening would proceed.

My talk, Self-employment as Your Next Career, would take place in front of the altar which was festooned with enormous bouquets of flowers left over from Easter festivities.

The logistics were fairly simple, but I wondered if anyone would come. Although the marvelous Alternatives program had sponsored several of my seminars in the past, this was my first excursion giving a Monday night talk.

Shortly after 6, people began to saunter in. I sat “off stage” chatting with Richard Dunkerley and Steve Nobel who keep Alternatives running. When I turned around I saw that nearly 200 people had arrived.

Richard introduced me and I was off and running. When my talk ended, Richard brought out a chair, instructed me to sit down, and a long line of people wanting to talk to me formed.

Richard Branson, who knows a thing or two about starting a business, once said, “The world is a massively more hospitable place for entrepreneurs than it was twenty years ago.”

On this lovely London Monday, I had seen evidence of that everywhere.

Forty-five minutes later I was headed back to the Tube, thinking I had just auditioned for my Saturday Making a Living Without a Job seminar. My week was off to a wonderful start.



When I first began visiting London on a regular basis, I decided my trips would be more rewarding if I stopped trying to see everything and focused on different things each time.

And so the theme trip was born. One time it was Gardens. Another visit featured Museums. Then I explored Bookshops. You get the idea.

When I was heading back to the UK in April, I had three evening talks and one all-day seminar scheduled in a six-day period with two days set aside to catch up with friends.

Talking seemed to be the theme of this voyage.

An hour before I was scheduled to leave for the airport, I received an e-mail canceling my accommodations for the first two nights. Suddenly, I was faced with the possibility that I’d have nowhere to go on my arrival.

After fretting for a few minutes, I remembered my old travel mantra: I have never had to sleep on a park bench. I relaxed a bit.

On my way to LAX,  I decided that the theme of this trip would be Helpful People. As it turned out, helpful people appeared all week long.

After my whirlwind week, I spent time on my return flight reviewing all the wonderful things that had happened during my time away. I wanted to share these stories with you and intended to do so beginning last Monday.

When I woke up that morning, I discovered that I was having the worst case of jet lag I’d ever experienced. I spent most of last week staring into space, unable to lift a finger or compose a sentence.

Since Taking Care of the Boss is a high priority of my business, I could devote the necessary time to recovering. (Another fine perk of self-employment.)

Happily, the jet lag disappeared on Friday and I have been catching up with neglected projects ever since.

This week I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of that trip and telling you about the wonderful people who shared it with me.

These helpful—and inspiring—people kept reminding me that Danny Gregory was spot on when he said, “When you are in the deep end of the creative pool surrounded by others full of energy, ideas and examples, you learn to swim a lot better.”

I’ll introduce you to a few of them in my next post.



The Internet and media are filled with the annual chatter about New Year’s Resolutions, strategic planning, and goal setting. There are Best and Worst Lists for anything and everything.

As much as I’m looking forward to a fresh new year, I’d like to suggest a different approach for launching it.

We know from studies that resolutions don’t work very well. Who needs to start the year feeling guilty because they abandoned those lofty intentions?

Instead of tricking yourself with short-lived resolutions and dreary goals, take the long view. Embark on the new year with gusto by taking a creative, active approach.

Go wild and design 2012 and beyond on paper (not on your computer). Go really wild and get a new journal that will hold your ideas, dreams, and ambitions.

Lay the foundation for a brighter future by devoting a page or two to the topics I’m suggesting, along with others that are reflections of your personal values.

Challenge yourself to create Top Ten Lists (or whatever number you fancy) for the following categories:

Lessons Learned ~ I once heard Cher say that her greatest fear was not living as well as she knew how to live. It’s easy to forget our own wisdom sometimes, but a year end review can help.

That’s a wonderful ritual to implement. Consider what worked, what didn’t, what brought you joy, mistakes you won’t repeat.

People That Matter ~  I  once wrote an article for Winning Ways newsletter about a fantasy train trip that included people I love and people I’d love to meet.

Just thinking about who I’d want along for the ride was a terrific exercise. Give thought to the people who enrich your life and find ways to connect often.

Books to Devour ~ Psychologist Eda LaShan said middle age begins the moment you realize you won’t live long enough to read all the books you want to read. I’m pretty sure I was born middle-aged.

Having a designated spot to write down titles of books that sound intriguing means you’ll have a running list of suggestions when you need them.

Being Goals ~ Although the focus of goal-setting is often on things we want to acquire, there are three different areas to consider.

Besides the obvious Having Goals, there are also Being Goals and Doing Goals. Of these, the most important (and challenging) are the Being Goals.

I’d suggest that if you focus on the person you want to be, the having and doing takes care of itself.

Do More, Do Less ~ Too often when we decide to add a new activity or behavior, we fail to make room for it.

Several years ago on New Year’s Eve, a local tv reporter was interviewing folks on the street asking them about their resolutions. After hearing the usual, “Lose 10 pounds, save more money,” stuff, he interviewed a woman who confidently said, “I plan to walk more and smoke less.”

As soon as I heard that, I thought, “She’s the one who will make it.” I could imagine that every time she was tempted to smoke, she’d put on her walking shoes instead.

This is another wonderfully powerful exercise for sorting things out and focusing on what matters most.

Things to Discard, Abandon ~ Related to the previous tip, getting rid of clutter of every sort is also essential for living a rich, fascinating life.

If your life is filled with things, activities and people that don’t fit the 2012 version of you, it’s time to let go and move on.

Explorations & Adventures ~ The key to having an adventurous life is to have an adventurous imagination backed up by action.

In Making a Living Without a Job, I told the story about my years of failure in finding a way to travel. At the beginning, I had a specific destination in mind and started getting ready to go long before I knew how it would happen.

What places and experiences do you long to visit? Write ’em down.

90 Day Projects ~ Barbara Sher talks about making a temporary permanent commitment. This is a way to do just that and test drive your ideas.

Divide the year into quarters and have a special focus for each. Give yourself 90 days to focus on a couple of high priorities. Immerse, don’t dabble.

At the end of that time period, evaluate. This is the time to decide if you want to continue or move on to other things.

$100 Hour Ideas to Implement ~ If you’re familiar with this concept, you know that I encourage you to start a running list of ideas that you can turn into income. (Disclosure: the popular term for this is monetize. That word makes me shiver.)

This one is a genuine momentum builder and belongs in your portfolio.


It’s a noisy world out there. Distractions abound. Then there’s Resistance tempting us to neglect our most valuable dreams.

While visualization and affirmations are popular manifesting tools, adding visual reminders can keep you from forgetting your focus. Happily, there are many ways to add visuals to your journey.

I was reminded of this the other day when I was searching for the perfect wall calendar for 2012. At this time last year, I was settling into my new home with its treetop views and added to the pleasure with a calendar of treehouses from around the world.

Since 2011 was about putting down roots, the new year is going to be focused on growing wings. My new calendar of gorgeous scenes from Tuscany will be a constant reminder of the big wide world I want to explore.

Here are some other tried and true favorites for adding positive energy to our goals and dreams.

° Write it down. I don’t know a single goal-setting system that doesn’t begin by urging us to pick up a pen. As Patricia T. O’Conner points out, “An idea in your head is merely an idle notion. But an idea written down, that’s the beginning of something.”

° Put yourself in the picture. Several years ago, my daughter asked me to visualize her driving a red Honda CRV. When we happened to pass that very car parked at the Pasadena Flea Market, I asked her to stand beside it so I could take a picture.

She and I both posted that picture where we could see it frequently. Within a few months, Jennie was standing beside her very own red Honda.

Whether you want to see yourself speaking to enthusiastic audiences or trekking through Nepal, find a picture of your ideal situation and paste yourself in it. Or, if you’re handy, photoshop yourself in.

° Carry a talisman.When I was visiting my sister in Athens, Greece, she took me to a shop which sold small metal plates embossed with a variety of pictures. Nancy told me that people used these to enhance their prayers.

If they were praying for a healing, for instance, they’d buy one of these plates with a picture of the body part that needed aid.

Ralph Charell is an enthusiastic advocate. He wrote, “Putting aside any consideration of the supernatural attributes or powers of talismans, they provide a convenient, portable, three-dimensional, concrete focus for galvanizing goal-directed thought into productive action.”

I once met a young man who was wearing a stunning crystal necklace. He told me about an exciting opportunity that had come to him.

”Do you think your necklace is responsible?” I asked.

“No,” he smiled. “I think it’s my talent. The crystal helps me remember to use it.”

° Join the vision board fan club. As your vision grows and changes, create a poster to reflect those new directions. (If you need help getting started there are several good books including Joyce Schwarz’s The Vision Board.)

Almost everyone I know who regularly creates a vision board reports coming across one from the past that they’ve tucked away and discovering how many things they’d posted that are now a regular part of their lives.

It’s a fun exercise that has the built-in bonus of helping you edit out things that you’re less than passionate about in order to make room for what matters most.

Barbara Sher once said, “When you think your dreams are impossible, that makes them invisible.”

Quite simply, adding visibility before dreams manifest, increases the odds that they will arrive—perhaps when you least expect them. So gather words and pictures of what you’re working for and keep them in sight.

You might just amaze yourself.


Ready to up your commitment to the Joyfully Jobless Journey?  Here’s a great power tool. Join Terri Belford and me in Las Vegas on January 28 & 29 and get 2012 off to a successful start. Early Bird enrollment ends on 12/31/11.



Commitment is about being there when it’s not convenient or easy. It’s about steadfastness in the face of change and crisis. ~ Mary Pipher

Commitment comes in all sizes and shapes and levels of intensity. Sadly, when it comes to dreambuilding, many people make only feeble attempts.

A woman I’ll call Leslie comes to mind. Although she professes a desire to live a creative, self-employed life, her attempts to make that happen are repeatedly thwarted. In fact, if you have the stamina to listen to her story, you’ll hear about years of being a victim of the most pathetic circumstances which have conspired to keep her stuck.

Whenever I see Leslie, I can’t help but picture YES, BUT tattooed on her forehead, because that favorite expression will be countering any suggestions I might make in response to her questions about improving her life.

From her perspective, she’s a modern version of Sisyphus, the ancient Greek eternally condemned to rolling a boulder uphill only to have it roll back to the bottom again. Sadly, Leslie seems committed to her belief that life is treacherous—and she’s got proof.

”Behind 99 out of 100 assertions that a thing cannot be done is nothing but the unwillingness to do it,” said William Feather.

When we’re barely committed, we’re rarely going to win. It might sound backwards to commit ourselves to winning before we even begin, but that’s the way it works.

Entrepreneurs commit themselves to market products and services before they know how the market will respond. They decide first to sell and then create their own markets afterwards.

The same is true for education: we commit ourselves to continuing education and seminars and college degrees before any learning takes place.

We commit ourselves to being parents before we hold a child in our arms.

My friend Chris once told me about spending time on the phone with a woman named Carol who was struggling with her business. As Chris—who was brilliant at seeing possibilities—pointed out several positive outcomes, Carol weakly replied, “I hope so.”

Chris hung up the phone and had a revelation. As she told me later, “I suddenly realized that when people say, ‘I hope so,’ they’re actually saying, ‘I don’t believe it.’”

Commitment’s not about hoping:  it’s believing beyond any shadow of doubt that what you envision can and will happen even when you have no idea how that will take place.

At first glance it would seem that making a commitment is a verbal act. That could be part of it, but verbal commitments mean very little if our behavior isn’t in alignment.

For example, studies reveal that millions of people who have taken a public vow to be faithful to their spouse chronically break that commitment. And who hasn’t waited for a service repairman who failed to show up at the time they agreed to? Or a friend who is never on time?

Keeping our commitments is an act of integrity—even when we don’t feel like it. That’s something the barely committed don’t understand, but parents quickly learn that they must take care of their children when they’re being lovable and when they’re not.

Same goes for taking care of our dreams. Whether the commitment is a big one or a little one, integrity assumes that we’ll do what we said we were going to do.

At the end of a talk in London, a young woman handed me a piece of paper with the best quote I’ve seen on the subject.

It simply read, “Definition of commitment: doing the things you’d said you’d do, long after the mood in which you said them in has left you.”

That’s a definition worth remembering.


Ready to up your commitment to the Joyfully Jobless Journey? Join Terri Belford and me in Las Vegas on January 28 & 29 and get 2012 off to a successful start.


Trying to build a business without entrepreneurial thinking is like trying to build a house with a toothbrush. An employee mindset is not a useful tool.

Fortunately, learning to think like a successful self-bosser is something we can teach ourselves. Here are some proven ways for expanding entrepreneurial consciousness.

° Make persistence your personal trademark. We’ve all heard the stories of the multiple experiments conducted by Thomas Edison before he figured out how to make a light bulb. Edison’s not the only one, of course, to succeed by not giving up.

During the remarkable renaissance of Tina Turner a few years back, the entertainer remarked, “I’m just now reaping the rewards for 25 years of hard work.” That persistence landed her on many  Most Admired Lists, too.

By the way, psychologists and others who have studied the lives of successful people rate persistence as more important than intelligence.

° Embrace repetition. Most people operate on a limited budget of ideas. When one or two things don’t work out, they quit. Like persistence, constant practice is also a trademark of the successful.

If you need to be reminded that excellence requires repeated effort, consider this: when GQ magazine celebrated a milestone, they put Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford, two of the most photogenic creatures on Earth, on the cover. The photographer who took the cover shot used 63 rolls of film to get the perfect picture.

° Reframe the way you think about a current job, if you have one. Stop thinking that your job is a permanent condition but merely your first profit center, the one that allows you to generate cash flow while you create your next one.

Thinking of yourself as a service provider, not an employee, will change your relationship. If you start thinking of your job as a profit center, chances are greater that you’ll be saying good-bye to it sooner.

° Have a phantom mentor. If you could pick anyone, living or dead, to advise you, who would it be? Pick someone you admire greatly and have imaginary conversations with them. It’s not as weird as it sounds.

Or start asking yourself, “What would an entrepreneur do?” and see what answers spring to mind.

° Find the hidden gift in goalsetting. A few years ago, I was considering buying both a desktop and a laptop computer, but unsure of which to get first.

On a flight to Amsterdam, my seatmate was a pleasant man who told me he worked for a company that made hinges for laptops. I had no idea that this was a thriving specialty industry and I bombarded him with questions.

When I told him I was planning to get an iBook, he said, “They’re coming out with something spectacular. If you can wait until August, do. I can’t tell you any more about it since what I know is confidential.”

Later, I realized that there’s a gift given to goalsetters and it’s this: when you are clear about your goals, life suddenly is filled with recognizable coincidences.

° Let love lead. A  friend and I went to a sold out concert of Clannad, the Irish band, at  London’s Royal Albert Hall. As we were leaving, I said, “Imagine saying, ‘Let’s start singing Celtic folk songs. I’m sure that will be a hit.’”

Of course, Clannad did nothing of the sort. They  simply determined that they would spend their lives sharing the music that they loved, knowing that they wouldn’t be alone.

How many others shared that love was something they couldn’t know ahead of time. There’s not always a way to do market research when love is your motive.

Trusting your instincts, however, can lead you to your perfect place.


This piece appeared in early 2009, but I find myself rereading it from time to time lest I forget these valuable lessons. It seemed a good time to share it again.


There’s a woman who goes walking in my neighborhood every day. What’s so noticeable about her is that she always looks furious. I have been tempted to holler at her and ask, “Doesn’t your body produce endorphins?”

I know that wouldn’t be well received, however. She’s taken a strong position as one of the perpetually miserable among us and she’s not about to give it up.

I got thinking about such people one day after encountering a miserable looking woman as I was going out of the grocery store. I realized that she wasn’t just having a bad day; this was a permanent state of being for her.

I also concluded that the miserable are really expert at maintaining their stance. Here’s what they do to keep themselves from wavering:

* Ignore or block out anything that might disturb misery. This is turning selective awareness into an art form. Good news is not given a second glance. When good fortune does sneak in, turn lemonade into lemons.

* Remain planted in an environment that fosters misery. Bad relationships and dreadful jobs are great tools for keeping misery alive and well. The more insufferable the people around, the better.

* Recount tales of misery for anyone who will listen. No matter how long ago it happened, keep the pain alive. If there’s no one to talk to, mentally go back to the horrors of years gone by. Repetition makes anything stronger.

* Avoid new ideas. What the miserable already know is enough. Besides, new thoughts might cause confusion or, even, contradict cherished beliefs.

* Stifle any impulse to laugh. This is especially important when in a group where others give in to laughter. Let them know that you are not amused.

* Never empathize. If someone else wants to share their misery, just add it to your own bank of evidence, but don’t get sucked into feeling sorry for them. And under no circumstances show any empathy for the optimists that might slip into your world.

* Hoard. Do not offer compliments or any form of praise. And by all means protect money and possessions from others. Sharing is for idiots.

* Have a Misery Insurance Policy. The most effective is to decide that whatever you have is not enough. This guarantees you’ll remain miserable forever.