Archives for May 2012

Oz the Fantasy or Oz the Reality?

I have been reading a series of four books referred to as “the wicked years” (amazing storytelling!). They are about Oz, but with a twist.

Most readers are familiar with Oz from the movie version(s) of The Wizard of Oz. But there are actually 16 Oz books written by L.F. Baum, and several other approved books written by other authors, Yes, it is a much bigger series than Narnia or Lord of The Rings.

But the Oz you might be tempted to read – yes, even as an adult I enjoy rereading those books – is a fairy tale. It leaves out adult topics, such as romance and war, political manoeuvring and poverty, swearing and cruelty.

The good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad; but in real life, most people are pragmatists with good intentions (or at least they justify their actions with good intentions).

The Wicked Years is a series of four books (and now a smash hit Broadway musical, too!) that tells the “real” story of Oz.

  • The “Wicked Witch of the West” wasn’t actually evil.  In fact, she was a freedom fighter who turned paranoid and unsociable over time.
  • Glinda was a society lady, and had very little magic power of her own.
  • Glinda and the Witch were actually good friends.
  • The straw man was, well, a straw man.
  • The Wizard… pretty much what the movies and the books portrayed him to be.
  • And, yes, there were, strangely enough, flying monkeys.
  • Ozma, Tiktok, the Glass Cat, General Jinjur – they all are somewhat less in real life than the fantasy fed to the kids who read beyond the first Oz book.

There are trains and industry and bigotry and much less magic than in the fairy tale version that came down to us as kids and through Hollywood.

So which is better? The sanitized version for the kids? Or the “true” story for the adults?

Frankly, I like them both.

In real life, the truth is important. But so are our fantasies. You might be more disposed to one or the other, and that is fine. Don’t underestimate the other. Truth and fantasy make a powerful combination.

These are the four books – I highly recommend them.

READ ALSO: The Four Candles
READ ALSO: The fable of the Porcupine family

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Got Doubt? How to Stay Positive and Overcome Those Doubtful Thoughts

Doubt and business seem to be two words that are never far away. Doubting yourself is so easy to do when working because there is so much pressure. You want to make sure that you do everything correct because having a job is what allows you to pay for the important things in life—a place to live, a future for your child, a car to drive. You want to make sure that your boss likes you and that you are appreciated, so doubt is almost inevitable.

Unfortunately, doubt is something that can seem difficult to shake. Doubt is one reason that someone may feel unhappy, so it’s important that if you feel like you always doubt your decisions you determine three things: Where the doubt comes from in the first place, how to get rid of self-doubt, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Why Are You Feeling Doubtful?

There are many reasons that a person might let doubt bring him/her down. It is important to understand where your doubt started so that you can better make sure it doesn’t continually take away your happiness. Consider some of the reasons you may feel doubtful below:

  • You try to do too much at once, so you are unprepared.
  • You were/are constantly told that you were/are doing something wrong.
  • You were/are constantly being told that you can’t/couldn’t do something.
  • You are trying to take on a task that you are not qualified to complete.

As you can see, there are really two different types of doubt: One you feel because of someone or something telling you that you can’t do it and the other because you actually cannot complete the project. No matter what the reason or reasons for feeling doubtful, it needs to come to a stop so that you can be happy again!

How to Get Rid of Doubt and Start Being Happy Again

As with any problem, there are different ways to get to the answer. You must determine what is right for you in order to get back to your confident self, and in many cases this will be a few different things:

  1. 1. Make sure you really want to do whatever it is that is making you feel doubtful.

You have to be motivated to complete your task. If you think you feel doubtful because you simply are not qualified to complete a task, then the answer is to stop trying! Do not let someone, even a boss, persuade you to do something that you are not equipped to handle. A challenge is always great, but sometimes a person just flat out does not have the time to learn an entirely new skill. If someone asked me to balance the company checkbook while the accountant is on vacation, I’m going to feel doubtful because I am not qualified for that job. However, if you are really motivated to do something, this is the first step in making sure you kick those doubtful emotions.

  1. 2. Take your time and go at a speed you feel comfortable.

Many people feel doubtful because they are moving too fast. If you’re not sure what’s happening, of course you’re not going to be confident that everything is running smoothly. You want to make sure that you’re completing your task one step at a time. In the long run, this will probably save you time because you will not have to go back and fix mistakes. In the majority of cases, your boss will understand that doing something slowly and correct is better than being quick and sloppy.

  1. 3. Ask for help if you need help.

Confidence often disappears when someone tries to do something alone. If you need help, it’s important to ask for help. Nobody is going to see this as a problem, so it’s important to get over your fear of asking questions. Even if you don’t have a question, just have someone look over your work when you’re finished before you submit it to your boss. It is always easier for someone else to see your mistakes, so take confidence in this.

How to Make Sure You Stay Happy by Overcoming Doubt

The truth is—it can be difficult to always feel confident. Do not get discouraged if sometimes you feel doubtful, but rather do what you can to remain happy. After all, feeling doubtful about feeling doubtful is not going to solve your problem! You want to make sure that you ask questions, take your time, and make sure you have the right motivation for the task at hand. Try and surround yourself with people that make you feel confident, and lean on them if things get stressful and overwhelming.

Have you ever felt doubtful at work and let it affect your overall happiness? What did you do to solve the problem?

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to background checks. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including phone systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs for a lead generation company, Resource Nation.


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What Can You Achieve When You Really Believe?

What can you do when you really want to?


Yes, I said anything. Nothing is too big. But it helps to take it one step at a time.

Over three decades ago, 16-year old Jadav “Molai” Payeng came across a swarm of dead snakes washed onto a bare sandbar in a flood India’s Assam region. “The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms,” Jadav.

Whereas most people would stop at the weeping (if they ever got even that far), Jadav didn’t stop there. Instead, he planted a tree. Then he planted another. And another. And he kept planting trees. The barren sandbar is now a thriving forest of 1360 acres – including such wildlife as rhinos,tigers, apes, elephants and deer. The Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia, believes this is the biggest forest in the middle of a river in the world.

Just one man planted every single tree. Each one from seed. Year after year.

He lives now in the forest that bears his name, selling cow and buffalo milk for a living. He moved in as a teenager so that he could oversee the project directly.

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Keep Your Head Up

Financial woes can take its toll on anyone. Increasing stress levels and pressure on one’s personal and professional life can be just the beginning for some people. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though.

Baby Steps

You might be in some financial pressure. Or, on the other side of the scale, you might be on the cusp of bankruptcy. Financial stress is nothing to ignore.

For those of us who have experience trying financial times, it is not easy. After all, financial concerns can cloud one’s future and alter one’s confidence. There can be a sense of failure that takes its toll as well.

image courtesy of Andrew Kitzmiller

One of the best things that can be done in this situation is to take it one step at a time. You aren’t going to come up with a three-month plan to get out of your $25,000 debt situation on a $34,000 salary. It isn’t going to happen. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to accept your current situation, and the accompanying stress/pressure involved.

Take some small steps that can give you some confidence, moving forward:

• Here and Now: What can you do today to get on the right track? Take a long and hard look at your budget. Sell unneeded items and/or downsize across the board (home, car, and “stuff”). You can accept the frugal lifestyle today.

• Microcosm: Take your big goals and then shrink them – a lot. These smaller goals will help you stay motivated and remain on the right track. They can spell success and keep you headed there for good.

• Dedication: Can you stay on track with your plan? What will it take to meet your stringent eating out guidelines needed to get out of debt? Whether you need mini-budgets posted on the fridge for motivation, or something else, you need to stay dedicated.

A Word on Stress

You have to keep your head up. Allowing financial concerns and stress to enter your mind is natural. However, you shouldn’t allow it to overwhelm you.

Look to separate your financial situation from other things. While you might be saying that this is impossible, due to lack of available funds to “enjoy” the finer things, there is a point to that. However, when you take financial stressors seriously, you can learn to live frugally. You can enjoy free and cheap ways to go out and stay home – and still have a great time.

Execute the car insurance comparison to save some money. Look at term deposit rates once you get out of debt. However, whether you are struggling in debt or finally out of it (permanently!), learn to manage financial pressure and your regular life. Don’t let the numbers get to your head.

Keep your head up. There are plenty of ways to make your current situation more manageable. When you’re not engaged in these, try to separate yourself from that world. Even if you’re looking at a long hard road out of debt, you don’t have to let it consume your thoughts and life.


Brian Neese is a personal finance and insurance blogger who writes for Home Loans Australia.



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