November | 2014 | Victor Benoun

Victor Benoun

Archives: November 2014

I had a great reminder this week just how powerful laughter can be. The last several weeks have seemed overwhelming, stress at work, horrible traffic on the roads, and transactions not working out the way I had hoped. Has that ever happened to you?

Sleep has not been coming easily, and I just felt buried in a mountain of obligations and I have been in a deep fog and I wasn’t sensing any relief in sight. Well, yesterday, by accident, I started to feel better.

Let me explain: I have satellite radio in my car like millions of other people, but usually I listen to music when I’m in the car. I love many types of music, but it’s always music. Yesterday when I was changing music categories I accidentaly clicked onto comedy.

Oh my God, I started laughing. I was listening to Jeff Foxworthy and Jeanne Robertson to name a few. Traffic was bad as usual, but I didn’t care because that meant I could sit in my car and laugh, and continued to laugh. Slowly, I started to feel the fog lift and my spirit rise. The tiredness I had been experiencing was dissipating and I was feeling better; all because I was laughing.

I just want to share this with you, if you are experiencing overwhelm or fear, or things just aren’t going your way, stop for a moment, break your pattern and find something funny and laugh. It can change your perspective, the way you feel and the way you move through life.

The latest monthly jobs creation numbers just came out, and once again over 200,000 new jobs were created and unemployment dropped. Normally numbers like these would be celebrated on Wall Street, but instead the reception was somewhat tepid.

I think the primary reason for this was the participation rate remains at about 62%, where it has been for quite some time. This is the lowest it has been in decades.

In essence the participation rate is the percentage of working age people who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work. Well, what about the other 38% of the population?

The other 38% are people who have either lost unemployment benefits, who have given up looking for work, receive public assistance or are on disability.

I think the single biggest factor hampering this economy and a strong recovery is the participation rate. If you ask someone who is employed if the economy is good, the answer will be far better than asking someone who is not; the 38%.

So, here’s where I am going with this. If you are unemployed or for that matter underemployed your perception of the economy is probably much worse than someone who has a job and is compensated appropriately. If you fall into the 38% or even if you are working but earning far less than you need, can you put your skills to work to make money? Are you proficient in a field of study where you can tutor or mentor, can you assist someone, run errands, or even create a small business out of the house? This might be a time to take matters into your own hands and discovering if you can create a future for yourself.

While the economy looks like it is improving there is still a lot that needs to be done. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that might benefit you and at the same time, help someone else. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I’ll keep this short and sweet. When things go right in life, it is the greatest feeling on earth. When you plan and put yourself out there and you reap the rewards and discover what you are capable of, well, there is nothing like it. I believe that is what life is about, discovering what you are passionate about, what really matter to you, creating a plan and going for it.

And then, there are the times, when things don’t go quite as planned. Even though there is a course of action, something went wrong, or my thinking was off, and disappointment creeps in. I question myself and my actions. It’s tough to put yourself back out there, even though I know it is the right thing to do.

There are times when I need and seek courage. I know I have to do what I think is right, but it’s not always easy. When I need courage I watch this video by Terri Clark called No Fear. The video features some of the bravest people I ever saw; kids as well as adults competing in the Special Olympics. Some triumph in victory and others fall. But when they fall, they get right back up again. Take a look. I hope it inspires you to do what you are passionate about and what you think is right.