Archive for April 11th, 2009

Defining your objectives…

… and asking the right questions.

The first right question to ask whenever contemplating doing anything is. why am I doing this? (Defining your objective). When you can answer this satisfactorily, you can decide whether to go ahead or not. However, in many cases you may realise that the answer shows that this is not a suitable path to continue on. In other cases (such as writing a CV) it may help you with the content. Is your objective to get the job (you behave badly in interviews) or just to hint on your worth to get the interview (you are excellent at selling yourself in person). Asking the right question and analysing, correctly, your answer is what will make all the difference.

Take “vegetarianism”. If you are wondering if this is a good idea or not, and you ask the question, ‘should I become a vegetarian’, you may find you do not get a satisfactory answer. Most meat eaters don’t really care that the animals they eat are reared and slaughtered just for them. However, a good question may be: “How might I benefit by exploring vegetarianism?” Asking this question may then cause you to start researching the price of red meat and how it has shot through the roof over the last few years. It might cause you to look up vegetarian menus in Google and find that, indeed, some of them sound very tasty. It may persuade you, and your family, to make one day a week a completely vegetarian day. Then over the coming months you may find your reliance on meat may slip a little.

I am not saying become vegetarian. That, for me, is daft. I love red meat but we now only buy it when we entertain. At home we now have fowl and fish. Coming from the Western Cape in South Africa I have always loved fish. We also looked at breakfasts and started having a fresh fruit salad for breakfast and have had only this with nothing else, even toast, for fourteen years. We bought a slow cooker recently which also steamed, made rice, and made porridge so now, in the winter months we have a bowl of porridge (very little water) and laced with chopped fruit or fruit juice (from menus we found on the Internet). We always have a salad for lunch, but often also include sliced ham or other of what I call ‘potted meats’ and also dip into tub of humus with pieces of pitta bread.

To sum up, we have red meat once a month as an average, no meat for breakfast, very little at lunch, white meat two or three evenings a week, and fish a couple, and no meat for a couple. Do we feel healthier? Debatable, but we certainly feel wealthier. The healthier feeling we got was cutting down all alcohol consumption to half a bottle of wine a week. But our food bill has gone down, as has our alcohol bill. We are retired and live off our savings. The bank rate has come down over the last six months from 5% to 0.5% but we haven’t noticed any real drop in our standard of living. We are coping very well. Mind you, we do get a higher percentage with bonds, but these don’t often pay interest until the end of the term.

All this came about from an initial question I asked of myself. “How can I cut down our costs to compensate for the loss of interest without lowering our standard of living too much”. This was immensely more sensible than running around like a headless chicken and led to the vegetarian question – and many others which I may write about in due course.

The best lesson to get from this blog is that it is worth sitting down and taking care in wording the question you are about to ask of yourself. Remember, “the quality of your life depends on the quality of the questions you ask of yourself, and others; and the quality and correct analysing of the answers you receive.”



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