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socratesI hate it when people start an article or essay with a quote. It’s so trite. Yet here I go with one. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Yep, good old Socrates.  But for every axiom like this there is a corollary one, and I believe it is from the other great philosopher, Anonymus, who said, “Ignorance is bliss.” Unfortunately humans are too curious for their own good and start examining their lives and often find that, well, life isn’t perfect.

I have a bad habit of examining my life, however as I grow older I also realize that perfect is as we make it. I now have the perfect mate and the perfect career for me. Seriously. But there are other parts of my wheel of life that are a little, umm, flat. Or should I say fat?

So, I need help. Here are some sites I’ve come across in the last few weeks that I believe could help a person to achieve worthy goals in their life. I’ll let you know which one I prefer at the end. So, in no particular order, here are my favourite three sites to change your life. (Oh, and they’re free of course.)

LivingOrSurviving.com

living_or_survivingThe tag line for this site asks if you are living or just surviving. Although that’s a bit presumptuous, you get the point. I say it’s presumptuous because people who are truly just surviving aren’t on the Internet looking for websites like this. Living Or Surviving offers a series of articles on the topics that seem to haunt us all; money, romance, health, stress and so on. The articles are more of an insightful nature than of an instructional one, asking you to ask yourself some tough questions. The articles are well written and give one the first step towards happiness, but really not much else.

Living or Surviving also has a free newsletter subscription which can really help to motivate you and look at your life perhaps a little more objectively. I’d recommend this site for someone who recognizes dischord in their life but isn’t sure what the problem is.

TheCircle.org

circle_logoGoing a step further than Living or Surviving, The Circle is a social support network site, designed to empower people with a circle of peers and mentors pursuing the same goal. Each circle is focussed on a specific aspect of life, so you can be a member of more than one circle. In fact, you probably should be a member of more than one circle, since life is a balance of aspects.

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Another aspect of The Circle that sets it apart from Living or Surviving is that there are bona fide professionals on this site as mentors. Mentors can make money from the site in the form of ad revenue sharing. So far, I haven’t seen any mentor selling anything, or the site selling anything but advertising. There’s a circle there for Finding Your Inner Artist-Become a Better Writer. I might sign up for that.

The site does offer good advice and the support of others, but for me there is something lacking – simplicity. Unfortunately, group support situations can become just a place to vent and not get anything done. Some people will go there just for the attention and sympathy and that can become toxic. I like to look for everday ways to accomplish extraordinary things, which is a nice segue into….

Everyday Systems

nosdietEveryday Systems is one man’s foray into the world of self-improvement through the rigorous application of logic. Or as he explains it, “An everyday system, TM, is a simple, common sense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor.” The point of that approach is to do something that is doable under almost any circumstance and can easily be applied or taught by just a few words.

Here’s a few of Reinhard Engles brainstorms which I think you’ll really like.

The No S Diet – It doesn’t get any simpler than this and it will work for most people. Here it is reprinted in it’s entirety:

There are just three rules and one exception:

* No Snacks
* No Sweets
* No Seconds

Except (sometimes) on days that start with “S”

That’s it! Imagine if you just stuck to that. No scales, no pre-cooked food, no real dietary changes. It allows you to have something treat-like on weekends and special days like birthdays and such. See? ‘S’ for special!

Weekend Luddite – You’ve heard of the weekend warrior right? The person that sits in a cubicle all week and then goes kayaking or paintballing all weekend. They seem to have a natural ability to detach from technology and get a life. For those that can’t do that, try the Weekend Luddite method. Just remind yourself that on weekends, you will shun modern conveniences such as computers, televisions, cellphones and all those other busy-makers. If you can commit to that, you’ll be surprised what truly productive things you will fill your life with. Maybe spending time with family or getting that whole walking thing going. It’s a simple thing to remember, once you know what a Luddite is.

You can probably guess which site is my favourite. But do you know why? Everyday Systems’ philosophy of simplicity making a plan easier to stick to, is one to which I can subscribe. Figure out what the problem is, look for a simple solution that you are likely to follow, because it is simple and easy to remember, then do it. Isn’t that perhaps the best way to solve any of life’s challenges?

I hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do and that they help you to make the change you need or want in your life. As I am fond of saying, “There is a reason there are billions of people in the world. It’s because one person can’t do it all.”

While you’re at it, why don’t you check out some of the other sites and applications other MakeUseOf writers like and recommend?

  1. Adam
    October 10, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Hi Guy,

    Interesting post....I think I liked The Circle the best because of it's unique slant of groups/mentors. Another site I like is ZenTactics.

  2. Katherin
    June 16, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I liked the circle. I can't understand every day systems.

  3. Saikat
    June 16, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Hi Guy,

    Great post...Everyday Systems is very unique. I liked Livingorsurviving, but such sites are spread throughout the net. It could be different if it really "includes the best of the best self-help information."

  4. nana
    June 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    good collection and service..keep posting such useful stuffs..i m a regular visitor..like this site very much..i feel worthy to spend some time in ur site always

    • Guy McDowell
      June 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm

      Thank you. I hope you continue to enjoy our site.

  5. Tomas
    June 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    'Wow!' came out of itself while reading your post. Thank you. Your verses were worthy pondering deeper. Let be the friends.
    Welcome to my blog artbytomas.blogspot.com/
    I hope you will have a good time with my pictures too, and thus my joy to paint will become our joy.

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