protect yourself from what is out there

It’s official – I’m sick.

And rather than push myself, I called it a night early yesterday.

It’s been a tough few days over in the Shepherd household.

First off, my wife gets sick but, being the warrior she is, she went to work.

Then my son caught what mommy had and he was out of commission for three days.

Thankfully, my symptoms aren’t the same as theirs, so I’m guessing it was just the 24-hour bug.

I’m not quite 100%, but I am feeling much better than yesterday.

But as the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about protecting ourselves from all the dangers that are out there.

First, it makes sense to talk about health.

After all, if we don’t have our health we don’t have much.

In fact, each and every day a war is waging on between good and bad but we never see it.

I’m talking about the war within us; the one between our body and disease which comes in the form of bacteria and viruses.

It is a never ending battle and every now and then we lose.

So how can we health protect ourselves?

I think we all know the answer to this one:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Floss
  • Get regular health check-ups

Unfortunately, as many of us take our health for granted nearly everyone I know, myself included, needs to constantly work on these.

But disease is not the only danger out there.

Financial ruin is yet another.

It takes many different forms – a stock market crash, unemployment, a recession or even a depression.

Many people tell me there’s not much we can do about these events as they are beyond our control but I take a different view.

Let’s start with stock markets. In many ways it’s like legalized gambling of sorts.

And just like the joints in Vegas – the house always wins.

90% of people LOSE money in the stock market.

Will we be one of those who succeed? Doubtful, as the odds are against us.

So how can we protect ourselves from the dangers of stock market crashes and position ourselves to profit?

  • Study (and not from newspapers, but experts)
  • Only invest what you are willing to lose
  • Invest in companies that will still be around in 50 years
  • Take calculated risks
  • Follow trends
  • Take a long-term view (too many people view the stock market as a get-rich scheme)

What about unemployment?

Becoming invaluable is one technique, another is picking up new skills.

If you have proven yourself to be a valuable member of your team, then you will be one of the last people cut, if at all.

You do this by going above and beyond.

Most people do just what they are expected to do at their workplace. But this is the wrong strategy for becoming invaluable.

Doing more than what is expected of you is a sure-fire way to be noticed and position yourself for a promotion, while avoiding the scrap heap.

Another way to protect ourselves is by picking up new skills.

Most people have one set of skills; they’re a teacher, a lawyer, or a financial adviser.

But there’s no reason that one couldn’t pick up another set of skills in your free time. Take myself.

Just a few years ago I had one skill – teaching English.

But now I feel comfortable doing any number of things from marketing to management to finance.

My company didn’t demand this of me…I demanded it of myself.

Still now I spend anywhere between 12 and 21 hours each week on my own education to help give me an edge and I have already started to reap the rewards.

2012 is shaping up to be a good year for me.

I have picked up some new clients, implemented new technologies and strategies which are already paying off and my investment portfolio is set to do nicely in the coming months.

All, from doing the one thing that so many of us refuse to do – study.

There are numerous other dangers out there, but despite what some people think, we can protect ourselves from them.

It might not be easy and it might not be quick but it can be done.

Change is coming no matter where you live. The question is, “Are you prepared for it?”

And with that…it’s back to bed for me.

Adrian Shepherd

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