Psychology of your home: what does your room say about you?

Lately I haven’t been feeling happy about my home. I thought to search a little deeper and see what it may say about what’s going on in my life in general.  Turns out that Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas actually made this a research topic and published some results.

If you look around your home, you’ll see that everything there says something about you. What’s in order and what isn’t, for example, may say something about your priorities. It is shaped by your choices.

People use their home to display their identity, for example, by setting out books they want to read or photos of their travels and family.

Each room may reflect how we want to feel there. Let’s say, romance in the bedroom and relaxation in the living room, or motivation and creativity at the office desk.

A room may show some traces of one’s behavior and elements of their personality. For example, orderly DVDs, messy cupboard, etc.  Let’s say a desk cluttered with empty coffee cups and energy drinks reveals a life lacking in balance.



What happened to the stock generation game by Mavrodi?

I was listening to the interview with Sergey Mavrodi, a Russian entrepreneur, or criminal, depends on who you ask.

He created one of his money schemes in 1998, it was a virtual stock market game called “Stock Generation”. It was registered offshore, somewhere in the Caribbean, with a proper gaming licence.

There were tens of millions of users, but only 3 users disliked something and complained. That triggered a court case in Boston, which Mavrodi won, but then lost at the appeal stage of the case.  He was accused of fraud.



How to explain to a teenager why it is important to study?

I’ve got a teenage relative visiting. She doesn’t want to study. If I ask her about it, she says “I don’t need it”. OK, so according to her she doesn’t need foreign languages, doesn’t need to know geography of her own country, doesn’t need to read books assigned by her school curriculum, doesn’t need to know about nutrition and health… Can someone help me to explain to a 15 year old girl why it is important to study? The best thing I can come up with is “no study means no money”, but I don’t know what else to really say here. I always enjoyed studying, so I really can’t relate.

Time Management for Stay at Home Entrepreneur Moms

Being a mom means a lot to me, but it also takes up a lot of my time. I can’t work day and night like I once did before. Yes, I have less time.

However, I still want to keep up my business and I cringe when I see my competitors aggressively marketing while I am barely capable of handling client’s requests.

Lately I’ve been catching myself thinking something along the lines of “if I’d have more time, I’d be making more sales and thus more money”… but then I realize that without money I am not going to have that time. It’s a vicious cycle.

It took me a long time just to gather up some courage and hire a baby sitter. I had so many fears around the subject of trusting someone else with my child and also thoughts of how much it will cost me in the long run. Once I hired her, I realized that it is not as scary as I imagined and it costs me more if my work doesn’t get done.

I think I eliminated a bunch of time wasters like television and personal use of social media, but I still find that let’s say for past few recent trips I only managed to pack my suitcase 20 minutes before my departure to the airport.

We work best when we can give a task our full and undivided attention. Brian Tracy says that people should schedule chunks of uninterrupted time. How is it possible when a small child demands supervision and constant care?

Multitasking is a thief of time because it scatters your attention.  Choosing not to scatter it means that you may have to decline a phone call, not to answer someone’s e-mail right away, and so on. It’s not easy and people may take it as an offense, just saying from experience here.

One of my German friends has her username everywhere as “I Am 4 Time”. She is a very organized woman, always on time, generating passive income and finding lots of time to spend with family. One thing I notice about her is that she has a firm schedule. You can hear something from her like “I can help you with your errand, but keep in mind that I need to leave by 12.” She’s got a balance of being friendly and helpful, but also firm.

In an article I read it says that people who struggle with time management and productivity often have great bubbly personalities and lots of friends. It’s a paradox in a sense. I want to manage my time well so I can spend more of it with friends… but then this means that if I spend a lot of time with friends, I’ll have issues with time and productivity. Does it?

I see how easy it is to get sucked into first going for a short visit, then staying longer, then running into another friend… and the whole evening is gone with no time to complete your scheduled tasks. Social media is the worst in that case. I go to see what other people are posting and 10 minutes later I realize that I am reading about what horrible shoes people wore at a red carpet event – totally not what I would imagine doing.

My key to so far to dealing with motherhood and managing my business is to schedule my work and request my spouse or a baby sitter to take over caring for the child. While I work, I have a NOT TO DO list. I will not chat with friends, peel potatoes, wash the sink, etc.


How much is your time worth?

We never have enough time. But think about it, Donald Trump has the same amount of time as a janitor, yet he uses it differently. Also, there is a difference. Trump is an entrepreneur, a janitor is an hourly paid employee. People have different working styles, different outlooks, and this is what lands them in completely opposite places

The value of my time

I asked myself one morning, “what is my time worth?”, and I found that question extremely hard to answer.

Time is a finite resource, we should treat it as a precious commodity, the same way we treat money. But determining the precise value it holds in our lives is not easy.

Just where would I start to put a number on it? Shall I think about how much I pay the baby sitter and double it? Or should I remember my last hourly paid job and go for whatever amount I made per hour after taxes? Is the value of my time based on my income?

Values are the core source of making decisions in your life. 

Starbucks at Safeway takes a nose dive – dirty, unsanitary, and indifferent.

Starbucks in Calgary… wouldn’t it be just like any other Starbucks in the world? That would make sense to me, since it’s a regulated chain with a high end image. No wonder they can afford to charge $5 for a drink.

Perhaps either today I am a bitter bitch, or perhaps for real my expectations for Starbucks have fallen lower than the side curb. I figured to spend some time working in a Starbucks at a Calgary Safeway grocery store, but to my surprise the staff totally disregarded my request to clean up a little. Overflowing garbage can, litter on the floor, so on. Well, she did wipe the counter before I filmed this video, but that’s about it.

I always looked up to Starbucks as a great example of a business model. In my university they even taught it as a case study for our entrepreneurship course. But now I am looking at this beat up, run down place and wondering if the brand grew too big to care.

Maybe Starbucks will say that this facility is maintained by Safeway, and not by them. But in this case I feel that if Safeway cannot live up to their level of cleanliness, then they should not be at that particular store.

I am packing up my stuff and going home to my Nespresso machine! Starbucks, goodbye. Nespresso, what else?


Karatbars International – Is it a Scam? (IMS & Associates, Offshore Credit Cards, Gold)

Today some girl I barely know called me all bubbly, saying something like “I just found out about a wonderful business, I don’t even understand it myself, but it is so profitable that there are not enough chairs to seat all the attendees.”

Whenever someone says that it is wonderful, but they are reluctant to explain anything because someone else can explain it better, a red flag goes off for me. In my opinion a beautiful business idea should be simple enough to get across without a big presentation.

I doubt I’ll even attend that presentation, but I can tell you right away that there is something strange going on. Any reputable credit card provider has a polished website, but these guys seem to have it quite mediocre, with little formatting mishaps here and there and Wikipedia is indicated as a source for some information. Even the video looks somehow familiar since all of those images are taken from stock photo sites.

I found the following online from the AMF Bureau:

Montréal – On April 17, 2014, at the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (“AMF”), the Bureau de décision et de révision (“Bureau”) issued prohibition orders relating to certain activities of Karatbars International Gmbh (“Karatbars”), Robert La Rivière, Michel Desroches and Anthoni Snopek involving Karatbars’ affiliate and referral program.

More specifically, the Bureau has prohibited them from directly or indirectly trading in securities under any form of investment covered by the Securities Act issued by Karatbars, whether via the Internet or otherwise. It has also prohibited them from acting as a securities adviser. The Bureau is concerned that, without these orders, the respondents will continue to solicit investors.”

As you see, the company is already in trouble in Quebec and I imagine that other provinces will catch on to this soon too. This is just another pyramid scheme according to the critics and some information provided is actually false (ex. Prosegur does not store gold on their behalf).

Bereavement experienced by older persons after loss of their spouse

The loss of a spouse is one of life’s dramatic events that occur in older persons frequently, at the same time being one of the most stressful and difficult events in life. Research has shown that bereavement affects the health and well-being of old age adults, also affecting the social networks of each individual.

We will follow the steps of a scientific research study made on widowed person with a minimum age of 65. A majority of reviewed studies suggested that daily activities and routines were disrupted during bereavement and different coping strategies were suggested for the individuals to help them get past with everyday life. It is difficult for older persons to get back to their daily routines because of the new identity as widow in a social context.
According to previous studies, there is a big percentage of widows who maintained a connection with their deceased spouse.    An important feature of bereavement is the battle for independence in everyday life activities and routines disrupted by the death of a spouse.   Previous scientific studies have clear results that widows are characterized by a consistent age in the modern western population, women being affected by spouse loss at a younger age and for a longer period of time than men. There has also been proven a certain dependency of others in older widowed population and also a decrease in physical health and well-being of these certain individuals.    Newer studies for understanding bereavement have found that grief is an individualized and universal experience that has to be integrated in the meaning of the person’s life.    Newer studies like the one we are going to excavate show that many old persons who had suffered a spousal loss experience disruptions in their daily routines and activities and try different tactics to live with their loss. They experience feelings of loneliness, health concerns and fluctuations in grief intensity.    Older persons have to reconstruct their identity and regain their independence in a social context via relationships with family, friends and other persons and continue their relationship with their deceased spouse in a number of ways. According to reviewed studies, grief is an existential experience that disrupts normal flow of life and involves an ongoing relationship with the deceased persons although they are not physically present at the time.    Many individuals experience widowhood at around the age or 65-70 years, women being affected more often at a younger age due to genetic patterns. Spousal loss happens frequently at an advanced age and bereavement is challenging for older persons because of multiple loses that pose many emotional challenges and living with an increased need for support is a key factor in maintaining social connections.   The aim of the study we will excavate is to synthesize ulterior studies made on the characteristics of bereavement in widowed old individuals aged 65 or more and to contribute in clinical practice. The study follows the experience after spousal death, the meaning of the loss, everyday activities following the loss, and strategies used to continue life with the loss.   Managing the data and aid the analysis, studies were grouped into four thematic areas developed in response to the included studies: experimental aspects, everyday activities, coping strategies, and grief reactions.   Nineteen studies presented findings in the sector of everyday life of older widowed persons and showed that these persons started using diverse activities and different strategies to cope with the loss of their spouse and consisted mainly in filling their time with activities or involvement in diverse routines like for example bingo games, going to church, visiting of their spouse’s grave, gardening, reading etc.   Studies revealed that involvement in church activities or practice of one’s belief or religion have helped grieving old persons, who lost their spouses, to cope with their loss. Many individuals who took part in these studies have stated that they have to deal with unexpected emotions, seeking peace and being thankful is a solution that helps coping with the loss but also they stated that they had to learn to live with the pain that disappears over time but never goes away.   During these studies, it was found that old people who lost their spouse have increased their social contacts, in particular visiting friends or relatives, there were also remembrance activities used by them and the most frequent remembrance activities were talking to others about the deceased, displaying photographs, spending time with people who were close to the deceased, and revisiting places with special memories.   Although they used different strategies and activities that were helpful the fact is that older widowed people experience times in a day, month or year that are very difficult for them, like for example mealtimes, bedtime, anniversaries, or different events which were accompanied by their spouses. These times are challenges that are difficult to deal with but a solution is planning life day by day, having a plan for the next day, or planning different events that eventually are accomplished are very helpful in passing the time.   Emotions reported by researchers in old widowed people have a universal feeling of loneliness in their daily life after the loss of their spouse. There has been proof that widowed older adults experienced a continued engagement with their lost partner as a source of comfort although physically their life companion wasn’t present. This engagement included conversations, sensing the presence of the other, reliving the past through memories and dreams, being together through previously shared activities or by taking up an activity of the deceased or having tokens of remembrance in the home, like a particular chair or fresh flowers.   Health problems during bereavement were also reported by widowed old persons. The most frequent health problem was sleep deprivation which lasted until two years of the death. Physical health problems like fatigue and lack of energy were also reported. A smaller number of people also reported nausea and loss of appetite leading to weight changes.   Psychological changes during bereavement were also reported and the most common were depression and distress. These symptoms are the most common and are due to grieving over time.   These symptoms were found to decrease over a time period of 30 months while mental health increased over a period of approximately 18 months. There was found that personal strength like for example feeling a stronger person, increased self-confidence, has increased over the years.   Coping with the situation depends on various factors like grief resolution, health dysfunction or social support. These studies show that coping type and effectiveness, and not the amount used, is positively associated with grief resolution and good health function.   The reviewed studies provided evidence about widowed person’s participation in various activities and use of certain strategies in their life to live with the loss, these findings can be conceptualized as practices. These practices arise as persons engage in their everyday life through activities, relations, routines and concerns.   There is a certain breakdown of a familiar world during bereavement and this leads to challenges in filling the time, and the need to develop strategies to handle unexpected confusion and live with a sense of loneliness and the emotional overthrow of loss. There were also changes in relationships with others during bereavement and new relational practices are developed to continue the relationship with the deceased.   There is no evidence that grief decreases over time for widowed old persons because of the usual routine with their spouses.   Clinical practices for old people, who lost their spouse, consist of sustaining everyday relational practices. This involves maintaining old or developing new practices, to learn to live with difficult emotions and times and also negotiating relationships. It is necessary for close family or health care professionals to identify needs and concerns, to conduct evaluations and discuss strategies to manage symptoms and health problems such as sleep deprivation, fatigue and exhaustion, lack of appetite etc.   Grief effects can decrease over a long period of time but there has not been evidence of totally fading away because of the constant reminders of the spouse via everyday activities.   In conclusion this review suggests that everyday life is disrupted and relationships within the family are changed. These studies have proven that changes in the social network of the person, is a key aspect in the bereavement of old persons. Health concerns, threats to independence, change of social identity and a universal sense of loneliness identified in older widowed persons are challenges following the loss of their spouse and shape the ability to manage everyday life.



Attig, T., 1991. The importance of conceiving of grief as an active process. Death studies 15 (4), 385-393.   Attig, T., 1996. How we Grieve: Relearning the World. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.   Balaswamy, S., Richardson, V., Price, C.A., 2004. Investigating patterns of social support use by widowers during bereavement. The Journal of Men’s Studies 13, 67-84.   Benner, P., Wurbel, J., 1989. The Primacy of Caring: Stress and Coping in Health and Illness. Addison-Wesley, Menlo Park.   Bennett, K.M., 1997. A longitudinal study of wellbeing in widowed women. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 12 (1), 61-66.   Bennet, K.M., 1998. Longitudial changes in mental and physical heath among elderly, recently widowed men. Mortality 3 (3), 265-273.   Byrne, G.J.A., Raphael, B., 1997. The psychological symptoms of conjugal bereavement in  elderly men over the first 13 months. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 12, 241-251.   Elwert, F., Christakis, N.A., 2008. The effect of widowhood on mortality by the causes of death of both spouses. American Journal of Public Health 98 (11), 2092-2098.   Sable, P., 1991. Attachment, loss of spouse, and grief in elderly adults. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying 23, 129-142.   Stelle, C.D., Uchida, M., 2004. The stability and change in the social support netorks of widowers following spousal bereavement. The Journal of Men’s Studies 13, 85-105.

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