Breaking Down and Explaining the Concept of Self-Efficacy

The first thing we need to do when breaking down and explaining the concept of self-efficacy is to define self-efficacy.

What is Self-Efficacy?

Self-efficacy refers to how strong someone’s belief is in relationship to completing tasks and reaching goals. This concept was first proposed by Albert Bandura in 1977.

Self-Perspective and Self-Efficacy

Strong self-efficacy starts with a healthy self-perspective. Self-perspective includes a healthy self-esteem.  This is a foundational place to start from in order to later develop the confidence involved in self-efficacy.

Creating Self-Efficacy

Here are a few steps that can be taken in order to develop self-efficacy:

Breaking Down and Explaining the Concept of Self-Efficacy

1. Process and reframe your past experiences and emotions associated with them in a healthy way. The saying that goes something like, “unprocessed emotions buried alive stay alive” is applicable here.  These remaining feeling-concepts can have a profound effect on our present attitudes, perspectives,responses, and decisions. The good news is if we realize we decided to process these things in an unhealthy way, then we can also decide to reprocess these experiences in a healthier way and reframe our memories of them as well.

2. Positive self-affirmations and visualizations can help. A lot could be said about these things. The bottom line is that most successful people use these tools regularly. Having the attitude that we can deal with challenges, reach goals, and visualizing and confessing the same creates positive energy and direction and boosts momentary confidence.

3. Remember to factor in the time element to reaching any goal and be realistic about your human limitations. This is an area that I’ve seen many self-help teachers and students get hung up on. For example, I’ve witnessed some “positive talking” success seekers go without proper sleep or ignore important relationships in their lives and then wonder why they have health issues or are “suddenly alone.” The time to reach a certain goal or goals also varies per individual depending on their life situations as well as other variables.

Breaking Down and Explaining the Concept of Self-Efficacy

4. Take baby steps to create new positive outcomes. You may have heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, of course, “one bite at a time.” When trying to achieve a larger goal or vision, it helps to break it down into manageable and small steps that gradually build confidence with each baby step.

5. As you experience incremental success, monitor your internal responses. I’ve heard many success teachers and counselors mention how people unconsciously sabotage their own success. As you gradually “climb the mountain” to your success, you may realize you haven’t completely “peeled away the onion of your past painful experiences.” Certain events trigger past pain.  Despite the momentary difficulty, this can be seen as a positive opportunity to grow and move forward in your life.

6. Creating a new history of overcoming obstacles and reaching goals is like a tidal wave of healthy and realistic confidence. It will simply become easier as you go and build on each new positive experience. 

Breaking Down and Explaining the Concept of Self-Efficacy

7. Affirmations and observations of other people who will cheer us on can help expedite and hasten our journey. Encouragers are true friends who can see our strengths and weaknesses and also remind us of the progress we have made.


Self-efficacy is the strength of someone’s belief in their ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Steps to creating self-efficacy include processing and reframing our past, using positive affirmations and visualizations, recognizing human limitations including time elements involved in success, taking baby steps, monitoring internal responses to gradual success, building a new and positive history to refer to, and seeking encouraging friends on the way.

Your Application

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your self-efficacy? Where are you at on the steps to creating self-efficacy and what do you need to do next? When breaking down and explaining the concept of self-efficacy, which step or steps do you need to start with?

This article was written by an SFM affiliate. If you would like to practice developing self-efficacy as you create the life you dream of living through building an online business, check out this link:

How 4 Situational Filters Affect People’s Perception

So what are situational filters and how do these 4 situational filters affect people’s perception of the world around them?

Cameras and filters

How 4 Situational Filters Affect People's Perception

We all are familiar with cameras, but not necessarily with lens filters. Camera lens filters are translucent or transparent glass or gelatin pieces that attach to the lens in the front. So if a picture is like a memory, then a filter affects the initial perception that creates that picture or memory.

Cause and Effect

So values govern perception, perception is affected by our chosen filter, perception affects perspective, and perspective, in turn, affects our decisions.

Four Situational Filters

  1. Dark Filter- This filter prevents perception. It is a complete separation from the world around you.
  2. Gray Filter- This filter equals uncertainty in perception. Nothing is as it seems and what we think is true may not be.
  3. Black and white filter- All situations are perceived as completely right or wrong
  4. Color Filter- Situations are not always clear cut, but there are many different shades, mixes, combinations, and variations.
How 4 Situational Filters Affect People's Perceptions

What Filters Do I Need to Use When?

  • I’ve found when facing a seemingly impossible moral-based decision that requires unraveling of a complex situation, black and white filters work the best. The key question here is, “What is the right thing to do?”
  • When dealing with a large amount of diversity, especially in larger groups, color filters enables someone to perceive and understand all important variations. What are the variations of this situation and why do they exist or what purpose do they serve?
  • For those who are starting a new path to humility, gray is a good reminder that we are not always right about all our perceptions.
  • When feeling overwhelmed and in need of pause, black filter allows for some quiet time to oneself.  We all need some solitude and time to ourselves.


Just as a camera uses filters to change perception in regard to images, so we as people have our own “filters” in regard to situations. The basic four as black, gray, black and white, and color. Each filter has a time when it’s use provides the most benefit to us as individuals.

Your Takeaway

When do you use the four previously mentioned filters? How do these situational filters affect your and other people’s perception and when can you use each filter more effectively?

Ladders as an Illustration and Explanation of Different Kinds of Friendship

Ladders are great to use as an illustration and explanation of different kinds of friendship. Before we get into this illustration, a brief explanation of the difference between a friend and an acquaintance may be helpful. 

Acquaintance vs. Friend

Although there are different opinions on the difference between these two terms, most people agree that the depth of the conversations is a determining factor in this difference. When you put this term in the context of the basic three kind of friendships that Aristotle came up with, an acquaintance is someone who has talked to you in a larger context on a superficial level with no exchange of personal interests or personal values in common.

Aristotle’s Three Kinds of Friendship

Ladders as an Illustration and Explanation of Different Kinds of Friendship

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He said there were three types of friendship:

  • Self-Interested Friendship- This kind of friendship is a friendship where one or both parties have something(s) to gain. It is a friendship of convenience and/or exchange. 
  • Pleasure-Based Friendship- This kind of friendship is where one or both parties receive some gratification from the friendship. These kind of friends can energize us, give us a sense of kinship, share similar values, etc. They can help you have a good time, feel affirmed, but may not help you grow.
  • Loyal Friends or Friends for a Lifetime- These are friends who know you well and  admire virtue in you. These type of friendships aspire another to reach their “ideal goodness.”  These friendships are Aristotle’s ideal and last for a lifetime. 

The “Ladder of Friendship”

As I looked at Aristotle’s breakdown of the different kinds of friends, I noticed a pattern. With each kind of friendship, you seemed to “go up a level” in value and contribution. I also realized it was up to each individual in the friendship to decide what level of friend they would chose to be and and what level they were capable of being. I pictured in my mind two separate ladders with about three rungs each set up next to each other. The lowest rung would be a self-interested friend and the highest would be a loyal friend seeking goodness.

Ladders as an Illustration and Explanation of Different Kinds of Friendship

Conclusions from the Ladder of Friendship

  • The state of the friendship could have 6 outcomes. Since 3×2=6, there are six possible outcomes depending on where each person is on their own friendship ladder. 
  • The larger the gap between the rungs, the more “one-sided” the friendship will be. We have all known individuals who are consumers of the energy and time of others because they look for and use other altruistic people to get their needs and wants met.
  • The larger the gap between the rungs, the easier it is for someone on either ladder to lose their balance. We all need to balance our own needs and responsibilities with helping those around us. Whether it’s taking too much responsibility for others or not not being responsible for ourselves or both, our lives can become “off kilter.”
  • The larger the gap between the rungs, the more effort each individual needs to make to close the gap. It’s not impossible to adjust our positions, it just takes some soul work and time to climb the ladder of friendship.
  • The person on the higher rung doesn’t need to look down except to help the person on lower rung to step up. We all know that conceit can ruin a good friendship and that pride comes before a fall. We have also probably had the experience of looking down from where we came from and the fear that can come from climbing any higher vs. looking above us at where we need to go next.
Ladders as an Illustration and Explanation of Different Kinds of Friendship
  • It’s much easier to step up one rung at a time. We can fall down if we skip a rung and waste time and energy trying to do too much at once.
  • Let’s not assume everyone can climb up to the next rung. Some people may have legitimate mental and/or emotional challenges. This could come from things like developmental disabilities, brain injuries, chemical imbalances in the brain that can ultimately affect behavior and what they can do and not do as a friend.
  • We need to keep our balance in order to help someone else to the next rung. When we lose our balance, we could get pulled down with the other person.


There are three basic kinds of friends or friendships: “utility friends,” pleasure friends, and goodness friends. If you imagine each level of friendship as falling on rungs of a ladder and each person having their own friendship ladder, you can draw a number of conclusions from this illustration.

Your Application

So what kind of friend are you and what kinds of friends do you have in your life now? How can you go up the ladder of friendship and can you bring others up the ladder of friendship as well while keeping your own life in balance? What part of ladders as an illustration and explanation of different kinds of friendship struck you as the most valuable insight and how come?

This article was written by an SFM affiliate.  If you would like to find more time for those special friends in your life and are willing to learn how to build an online business, check out this link:

Growing Wealth Through Financial Planning

When discussing growing wealth through financial planning, we need to start with why this is important.

Why Financial Planning?

Growing Wealth Through Financial Planning

Financial planning is like any other area of our life that involves planning. Without a plan, we do not know where we are going or how to get there. This would be the same as planning a vacation trip without a destination, route or routes of travel, or means to get there.

The Desired Final Outcome

Wealth building put simply is eliminating liabilities and increasing in value the kinds of assets you acquire.  Basically stated, liabilities are things that cost us money like debts, for example, and assets are things that have financial value and increase our net worth.

Checking the Plan

It’s also worth noting that we need to consistently check whether we are on the right track with our plans or if we need to adjust our course to reach our desired outcome. Here are some tools we can use to plan, check our plan, and adjust our course.

Tools that Can Help

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly planners- Planners may not seem to relate to building wealth at first, but in the long run without some degree of organization, building wealth is not possible.
  • Budget or Personal Profit Margin (PPM)– A budget or personal profit margin (PPM) helps keep us be mindful of what we take in financially, what we spend, and the balance we have left to invest in a vehicle that can create more wealth.
  • Sources of information and education- It’s always helpful to gain knowledge and wisdom in regard to what to do and not do financially.
  • Sources of inspiration- If you’re planning on building wealth for the long haul, it’s going to take some work.  We all need some inspiration on the way in order to “stay the course.”
  • A financial advisor where needed. Sometimes we need some assistance from someone who is close to what is going on.  Financial advisors that work on a fee basis can help us where we lack insight or keep running into the same or similar problems.

Bringing It Together

Growing Wealth Through Financial Planning

When creating wealth we need to come up with a plan that will help us eliminate liabilities and increase the value and kinds of assets that we have. We need to consistently check our plan using a number of tools and resources to make sure we are on track toward our ultimate goals and adjust where necessary.

Your Takeaway

Do you have a overall financial plan to eliminate liabilities and increase your assets? Do you check your plan consistently in order to see if you need to adjust direction? What do you do well in regard to growing wealth through financial planning and what do you need to improve on and what is your plan for improvement?

This article was written by an SFM affiliate.  If you would like more information on how to plan and create a business that can help you live the life you would love to live, check out this link:

The Cycle that Leads to Happy Friendships

The cycle that leads to happy friendships is giving-receiving-growing, and so on. Here’s more of an explanation.

The Cycle Explained

The Cycle that Leads to Happy Friendships
  • Giving comes from growing- Giving from our own experiences and our own learning is both meaningful and resourceful. Growing ourselves personally can lead to growing interpersonally and helping others too.
  • Receiving with sincerity and gratefulness helps us grow.  So if we are on the receiving end, it is important to be open to new points of view that we may not have considered and that are also helpful in some way.  After this, we may be grateful that we learned a new point of view or had a new learning experience.
  • Growing comes from receiving what other people and experiences have to offer us.  We need to be like iron in some ways. Iron reacts quickly to the environment around it and we can react in a teachable way to new positive ideas that could shape our character. Iron transfers oxygen in the blood and helps in the nourishment of plants just as others can bring life and vitality to us and vice versa. 
  • The happiest individuals are those who are growing and the same applies to friendships. Stagnant friendships in theory could endure with acceptance coming from both individuals in regard to their position of growth. However, the friends who experience the giving-receiving-growing cycle together look forward to each new experience together as friends. 

The Practical Breakdown

The Cycle that Leads to Happy Friendships

Here are a couple of practical suggestions to help build these kind of friendships:

  • Listening is caring. Years ago I read a psychology survey taken about the most liked youth among their peers and one of the key characteristics was ability to listen. Not only do you learn more when you listen, but other people feel like they are being heard and are important. 
  • Openness and communication are the lifeblood of great friendships. Being willing and even eager to learn something new and beneficial to our own personal growth and having quality communication creates lifelong memories.
  • Remembering and discovering those special moments. Whether It’s a milestone achievement, time of celebration, moment of tragedy or loss; these are the building blocks of living life together as true friends.

Summing It Up

The cycle that leads to happy friendships is giving-receiving-growing.  Some keys to making this happen are listening, being open, communicating, and remembering and discovering those special moments in your friendship.

The Cycle that Leads to Happy Friendships


Do you practice listening, being open, communicating, and remembering and discovering special moments? Which of these do you do well in and which of these do you need to improve in? Overall, have you experienced giving-receiving-growing cycle that leads to happy friendships?

This article was written by an SFM affiliate.  If you are interested in creating more free time down the road for those special moments for friends and family and are willing to invest some time and work into learning an online business, check out this link:

Some Practical Ideas for Lifestyle Businesses

This article seeks to give some practical ideas for Lifestyle Businesses. But first, we need to explain what we mean by a “lifestyle business.”

What is a Lifestyle Business?

Some Practical Ideas for Lifestyle Businesses

A lifestyle business is a business that is founded with the goal of maintaining a specific level of income and/or to provide a foundation with which you can live a particular lifestyle. To me, this could encompass a large array of business types from what I would call “conventional” to “nonconventional.” 

Shifting Mentalities

In order to really understand this concept, you need to shift your mentality from thinking you need to just “do what’s needed the rest of your life” to contemplating key questions involving your passions, purpose, and lifestyle.

Key Questions to Consider

We all need to do what is necessary at some time in our lives. But when we seek to start a business, we want it to provide us with a lifestyle we love to live as well as serving others with an excellent product, service, or idea. Here are a few questions to start with:

Some Practical Ideas for Lifestyle Businesses
  • What are things you are passionate about and how could you make a business or businesses out of them? 
  • What is your life purpose and could it be fulfilled through a business or not?
  • Take some time to describe in detail the lifestyle you want to live by writing it down, the income it would take to provide this lifestyle, and practical and specific actions you would need to take to accomplish this.

Timing is Important

You have probably heard the saying, “There’s a time for everything.” This would apply to a business venture as well. The better planned and prepared you are, the more likely you will be successful by overcoming obstacles. Be warned though that procrastination always finds a reason to stall taking necessary action. 

A Couple Ideas I Came Across

I discovered that my purpose lies outside of a business, although business is still one of my passions. This may be the same or different for you. A couple of business models that have interested me in my situation are the following:

  • Affiliate Marketing- This model of business allows you to build residual income by making a profit through marketing for a particular company or companies who will give you a cut for bringing customers into their business. Much of the marketing takes place online and once you make money, it can be run from anywhere in the world.
  • Network Marketing-This model of business allows you to make connections with people you know and present them with an opportunity to have their own business if they are interested. You can build residual income through this type of business and it is usually low-cost to start because the company is not paying for expensive advertising fees. Instead, it allows people to use word of mouth to bring others products, services, or ideas as well as bring others into the business.
  • “Conventional businesses” that don’t seem like work because they are the intersection of your passions, potential, and profits. The intersection of these three factors in this case would indicate your purpose. These kind of businesses could be anything that coincides with the lifestyle you would like to live.

Determining What Will Be Your Starting Point

When choosing a lifestyle business a couple of questions need to be asked first:

  • Can you create residual income vs. linear income or minimize the time put into it from the time of inception to the maturity of the business?  Linear income means you need to work to get paid.  Residual income means you do the work once and continue to be paid later.
  • Understand your local demographics. If you wish to start a network marketing company which sells health-related products, for example, are the products affordable for the average person in that geographic region or the people you are networked with?  I ran into this issue with a company I was representing, and could never make many sales because people would not buy “overpriced products” despite the health benefits the company claimed they provided.
  • Understand your resources- The three main resources are time, money, and energy. If you have more time, but not much money, you may be better looking at network marketing companies. If you have more money, but not much time, you may be better investing in an affiliate marketing company and pay for advertising or look into profitable investments like real estate, stock, etc. 
  • What are your gifts, talents, strengths? Or, in other words, what can you do well?
  • What training is available to learn this business? All businesses require training if you are serious. So do you have quality training that coincides with your learning style? Some of us learn experientially, some visually, a combination, etc.
  • Given all the facts, apply the principle of finding the most efficient route or “moving with your victories.” Summing up the above factors like your demogaphics, gifts and talents, training available, pesonal resources, kind of income, etc., chose a path that seems the most efficient fo you.
  • Allow space to experiment within the confines of low risk. Sometimes you make the best guess and you end up not where you expected to be for various reasons. The best approach is to always have the mentality that you are going to find some way to make this business work without “betting your whole life savings on it and losing.” Only when you tried all options and put some time into it is it time to move on to another business option.


A lifestyle business is a money-making venture that provides excellent products, services, or idea and also allows its owners to live a particular lifestyle. In order to find the one that suites you best, you need to change your mentality and assess what your best starting point would be.

Your Application

Some Practical Ideas for Lifestyle Businesses

Have you shifted your mentality to trying to create a business with a Lifestyle you want to live and answered all of the key questions? When looking over some of the practical ideas for lifestyle businesses, what is your best starting point and what are your written down and clearly measurable steps to building this business?

If you would like more information on building an online lifestyle business, check out this link:

Business Culture of Proactivity vs. Reactivity

Before we get into differentiating between a business culture of proactivity vs. reactivity, we need to first give a brief explanation of what is business culture.

What is “Business Culture?”

Business Culture of Proactivity vs. Reactivity

Business culture is the style, approach, or methods of daily operations within a particular company. This involves key components like customer relations, overall planning and goal-setting, internal relationships like frequency, proximity, and clarity of direct communication, for example.

What is Reactivity?

Reactivity in this article is referring to the specific and habitual approach management uses to deal with problems and challenges. This approach is basically summed up as, “Let’s deal with problems when they arise and try to prevent them in the future.”

What is Proactivity?

Business Culture of Proactivity vs. Reactivity

Proactivity in this article is also referring to a specific and habitual approach management uses to handle challenges and problems. This difference between this approach and the reactive approach is that proactivity is a forward-looking approach. It anticipates future problems and challenges before they arise and sets up an initial plan that will work around these issues or contingency plans that will take effect if specific problems should come up.  Proactivity also seeks to ask key questions to identify larger issues, outline their current and future applications, and create present plans to deal with these upcoming challenges effectively.

Personal Examples

  • In my local region a new grocery store opened up that has a emphasis on healthy foods and excellent customer service.  Previous to the appearance of this new store, the majority of the grocery stores in our region continued to operate with a mundane and mediocre approach year after year. After decades of the same approach, a new company moved in from up north who did not hesitate to invest in their customers and took away a significant amount of their business. Because the new grocery store had a proactive approach, they grew from a small business to a large one as they invested back in the business in thoughtful ways.
Business Culture of Proactivity vs. Reactivity
  • A local glass company that has never had any problems hiring employees is now challenged in finding long-term help. Not only are their present employees handing in resignations, but they have had a difficult time keeping new employees lately.  There could be many reasons for this present challenge. Since the economy is doing so well, employers everywhere are challenged with hiring. This challenge also points to another problem which is, “What makes the difference between those who are keeping employees and those who are not keeping employees?” I would suggest that a significant part of this difference is a proactive company culture that gradually invests in their employees so that they can do their jobs with ease and effectiveness. 


A significant part of business culture is reactivity vs. proactivity. A reactive business culture takes a “deal as we go” approach; a proactive business approach is forward looking and anticipates challenges by planning for them ahead of time as well as searching out key issues to the problem. A proactive business approach is always preferred if possible because investing gradually in stakeholders pays off in the long run. 

Your Takeaway

If you are a business owner, is your company culture more reactive or proactive? What are some specific challenges and/or problems that exist or could come up, what are the key issues, and what are some contingency plans or immediate solutions to employ?  In what specific areas can the business culture improve in proactivity vs. reactivity? 

Thoughts on Individual Financial Responsibility and the Present-Day Workplace

It seems like there are a fair amount of people who are uninformed or misinformed in regard to their thoughts on individual financial responsibility and the present-day workplace.  So I decided to write a short article just to deal with the basics.

A Common Misconception

A common misconception is that our employer will take care of us for retirement as long as we just “stay loyal by continuing our work.” Although there is nothing wrong with loyalty in and of itself, this does not negate the fact that retirement planning and financial planning is the individual’s responsibility and not an employer’s.  There was a time when corporations could afford to take care of their employees for retirement. For the most part, this no longer applies today.

A Common Educational Emphasis

Thoughts on Individual Financial Responsibility and the Present-Day Workplace

In many industrialized countries today their is an emphasis on preparing oneself to be a good employee. It appears that less is taught on entrepreneurship and investing. Learning how to be an asset as an employee can be profitable, but only learning this leaves us unprepared for completing our own financial plan. At some point we may need to engage in our own businesses and/or investments.

Seeking Counsel

Seeking out a wise financial advisor is always prudent. It’s always best to seek advisors who are fee-based only. You can also seek the advice of someone who can help you build a profitable business that will support your financial plan.

Awakening in Retirement

I’ve seen many older people “just awaken” in retirement to the reality that their job(s) was not enough to take care of their retirement expenses which could include expensive medical bills they were not planning on having. One way to learn wisdom is from the voice of experience; another way is to “learn from the school of hardknox.” 

Proactivity and Self-Education as an Alternative

Instead of waiting until there is a crisis in finances, we can learn ourselves from others who have profitable experience in the arena of financial planning.

Businesses and Investments

Thoughts on Individual Financial Responsibility and the Present-Day Workplace

Businesses that provide residual income and profitable investments can provide an alternative to totally relying on our employer for extra expenses and retirement. There are some businesses you can do part-time in addition to your employment. You can also invest as you have more resources like money, time, and energy. The main key concept to keep in mind is to reduce your liabilities like debt and increase your assets like profitable investments for example.

In Summation

Many people are under the assumption that their employer’s income is enough to support them for life. An alternative approach is to create your own financial plan that includes businesses, investments, and a fee-based financial advisor.

Your Application

Do you understand the need to create your own financial plan and have you sought out the advice of a fee-based financial advisor as well as profitable businesses that provide residual income and profitable investments? So what are some new thoughts and specific actions you have after reading this article in regard to individual financial responsibility and the present-day workplace?

Consumers, Business Specialization, Education, and Choice

As consumers we deal with business specialization in many cases and personal education helps us in our choices. When I mention business specialization, I am referring to hiring someone else for a service or to create a product that we have little or no skill or knowledge in.  Examples are plumbers, mechanics, HVAC technicians, etc.

Consumers, Business Specialization, Education, and Choice

So what do I mean when referring to education and choice? Let’s start from the top and discuss competition and choice first.

Competition and Choice

As we use various products and services in our daily lives, we begin to realize the value of competition and choice. Without competition and choice, various businesses would lose external incentives to provide excellence in their field of business. Even with competition and choice, I’m sure we have all experienced subpar or just dishonest business.

The Win-Win Mentality

In the long-run, the “win-win” mentality of business always is the best option. Businesses who are dishonest or who have a subpar busines model only hurt themselves in the long run as well as their customers.

Specialized Services and Products

Costumers, Business Specialization, Education, and Choice

In my experience, one of the most frequent areas where dishonest and/or subpar business occurs is in the fields of specialized services or products. These are businesses that we pay providers for a product or service that we lack knowledge or skill in.  Technicians are great examples.  These technicians could be plumbers, HVAC, electrical, etc.

Consumer Responsibility and Education 

The first thing to remember is that some countries have “full disclosure” laws. This means businesses need to provide all the necessary information for a customer to make an informed decision in regard to purchasing their product or service. 

The second thought to consider is why people don’t educate and/or prepare themselves with someone who is informed as well as speak up when something is not correct.  Here are a couple of factors to consider:

  • Lack of time- Many of us live busy lives and another time-consuming task seems like a burden. This is precisely why some businesses take advantage of the average consumer.
  • Lack of motivation and/or desire- Some of us just lack interest in learning about how an engine works and what causes it to break down, for example.
  • Ignorance- Some of us never considered the possibility that we could be taken advantage of by “The Experts.”
  • We don’t want to be perceived as a pest- Some of us are afraid that if we speak up we will ruin someone’s day or be seen in a negative light.
Consumers, Business Specialization, Education, and Choice
  • We can be short-sightened as consumers and forget that if we “turn a blind eye” to poor or dishonest business, more people will be taken advantage of and one bad precedent can set into motion more and worse actions in that particular field of business.

Solutions to Factors that Hinder Us as Consumers

  • First of all, we need to be living our lives with a plan and habit of prioritizing, planning, systematic neglect, and rotating tasks. 
  • Second, we need to see having people who are informed and/ or educating ourselves is an investment of time vs. a burden.
  • We also need to remind ourselves by ignoring the issue, we are only encouraging further bad business and delaying a second round of problems for ourselves.
  • We also can equip ourselves with practical knowledge in regard to how to have a productive confrontation step by step. There are a number of books available by counselors or knowledgable business people that can led us through these steps.
  • Finally, we need to be okay with ourselves so that we don’t take any negative responses personally.  Some people tend to project or deflect truth instead of reflect on how criticism can help them improve.

Some Personal Examples

  • There’s a local plumbing company in my area that has been in business for a number of years who have very dishonest practices.  At one point when attempting to fix a faucet in my house, they attempted to replace the whole faucet instead of just the one part that needed fixing. They were promply told that we were no longer interested in their services. In talking with other locals, they had similar experiences involving extremely high fees for unneeded services. They continue to do business in our local area because customers support their dishonesty by continuing to use their services.
  • An national hardware manufacturer continued to send incorrect parts to me for lawn care equipment and my dryer.  I repeadly sought and am seeking refunds. Many of their stores nationwide have closed.
  • A local optical provider consumed my whole evening as I applied for a rebate with an unnecessarily complicated processes. This is the second time this occured, but in a different step of the process. “The cat hasn’t lost it’s spots, ” it just changed it’s predatorial route of travel. Usually, in my opinion, when a rebate comes with a overly complicated process, someone is trying to keep customers’ money.  I’m planning on applying pressure on my eye care provider so that, in turn, they can pressure the supplier to change their methods or I’ll simply find another eye care doctor.

In Summation

Being a smart consumer involves taking responsibility to inform oneself or find others who are informed of the necessary facts involved in paying for a product or service. By speaking up calmly, firmly, and armed with information, we can deter the downward slide of dishonesty and/or subpar business especially in fields of specialiations.

Ask Yourself…

Do you take time to gather information on a particular purchase before your transaction is complete? If no, do you know individuals who are knowledgeable in this area? Do you understand how to speak up in a calm and firm fashion armed with information? Overall, what areas do you need to improve in regard to being wise consumers, business specialization, education, and choice?