Personal Development in a Cheap Country: How to Keep Improving When Others Around You Aren’t 54

personal development in a cheap country

If you’ve read the blog before, you know that I’m all about self-improvement. That’s why I created it in the first place.

I’m aware of the importance of having your priorities straight, defining your ideal lifestyle and taking daily decisions based on the things you want to achieve.

And it all starts by making small changes and taking one action each day, which will become a big transformation over time.

But what’s going on around you matters a lot.

And even with the strongest mindset, you’ll have a hard time being at your best when your environment doesn’t breed success too.

And one of the most important aspects of environment is the place you live in.


I’m from Bulgaria.

I’m born and raised there, and am currently living there too.

It’s a small country, and it’s also developing and cheap. Which affects the way the average Bulgarian thinks. And when the masses have a particular approach towards life, it has an influence on those who want different things too.

Here’s my situation: I’m writing a lot. In English. And my readers are mainly Americans (well, there’s not a single Bulgarian, for sure).
And I love it that way.

I’m also working on making money online. And why shouldn’t I? We live in times where all you need is to be a hustler and have a laptop and a PayPal account. It’s the era of possibilities and it’s all thanks to the digital world.

But not everyone around me wants the same. In fact, it’s not a common thing here to believe that everyone can be self-employed.

No one actually gets what’s really going on in the blogosphere, digital nomads are considered more like crazy and weird, and entrepreneurship doesn’t sound like a choice to the individual.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in any way smarter, more talented or successful than any other person in my country.
Also, Bulgaria itself is a beautiful place, with a great history, and people are cool and friendly.

It’s just that we’re taught not to think that big, the fact that the monthly minimum wage is around €180 makes it impossible for people to save anything. The economic state depresses the nation and makes many think that more money can be earned only by disobeying the law.

Imagine what would happen if each of these people followed their passion, started working on side projects in their free time, were more motivated to get work done and perform better and do it faster, if creativity and unusual ideas were encouraged, if self-employment became many people’s goal, if a higher income was equal to offering more value and going the extra mile, instead of trying to work less and get paid more without the knowledge of the employer.

Then things would be great. We’d be more like America, yes.

But it’s not like that.

And it affects everyone trying to achieve it.

However, there are ways to handle this.

As no one has any idea what I’m doing on my laptop for so long every day – and why I decide to spend all my free time reading about extraordinary people who’ve achieved a lot, following their steps, writing, blogging, self-publishing, freelancing, learning about SEO, Internet marketing, creating and developing niche sites, html, etc. – they also think I’m just wasting my time.

So my best option is to ignore it. And that’s alright for me.

It’s great to have all the like-minded people I’ve met online through my blog, other blogs, social media and communities. And it’s great to have the people in my real life that have nothing to do with that. It works just fine.

But I want to point out that environment – as a factor affecting self-improvement – can be overcome.

Here’s how to keep doing what you do even if no one around you is doing it:

What to Do When You’re in a Cheap Country and Want to Follow Your Passion and Transform Your Life

1. Try harder not to become a part of the crowd.

That’s always something we should be doing. It’s easy to just be like everyone else, it’s what we’re taught is the right thing.

But deep inside we all know we’re unique in a certain way. Every person is a combination of dreams and goals, experience and knowledge, attitude and way of thinking, values and principles. And no two are alike.
So embracing that is the right path to changing your life.

But when in a cheap county with people that don’t really want to do it, you should ignore mediocrity even more.

You’ll have to remind yourself more often of your goal, of why you started doing all this in the first place, the possible positive outcome, how bad you want it, etc.

You’ll have to remember that what you’re doing matters. It’s what you chose to do and every day you get closer to becoming the person who’ll lead that new lifestyle.

2. Ignore the common standards.

Forget about the expectations people in this country have. As trying to answer them can make you just another average citizen.

Instead, set your own rules, become 1% better every day, compare yourself to others who’ve achieved a lot, get out of your comfort zone, have your own approach and accept that it’s always going to be different from the one everyone else around you is using.

3. Others don’t need to know about your goals.

Here I explain exactly why I think your big dreams don’t need to be shared before they’re achieved.

4. Don’t think you’re successful.

Here’s something digital nomads (the guys from MakingItAnywhere.com) have found out about living in a cheap country (the example includes other parts of the world, but you can safely add to it places like Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Ukraine, etc.):

“In business, a runway is the amount of time you’ve got to make your business generate a profit. The length of your runway is equal to the amount of cash you’ve got in the bank, divided by your “burn rate” – or the amount of money you burn through in a month.

If you’ve got a bit of cash in the bank and you’re doing odds and sods of freelance work (or you’ve got a book on Amazon that sells a few copies a month), that wouldn’t get you very far in a Western country. But in a Southeast Asian country, that’s possibly enough to get by on FOREVER.

… you can live in luxury without any form of business success. And because of this, many people lose their momentum as soon as they arrive and realise they can have a two-course dinner in a nice restaurant for less than the price of a lip balm.

… Basically, you NEED to make good money so that you have the option to move around freely. It’s wonderful to be somewhere like Chiang Mai, but I’m sure we’d think of it as more of a trap if we knew we couldn’t afford to live elsewhere.

You can get massages every day. You can order seafood in restaurants. You can charter a taxi to take you up to a resort in the mountains, wait all day for you, then bring you home again. You can eat fresh fruit all day every day. You can stay in an apartment with a maid service, pool and gym.

None of this means you’re rich OR successful. It means you’re living in a cheap country. “

So even though I’m making (some) money online, it doesn’t mean I’ve done anything big. It just means that almost no one else even tries it here.

Also, if you think you’re talented, it’s because others here don’t rely on talent too much.

If you think you’re smarter, it’s just that you’re reading a lot, learning stuff and educating yourself in order to achieve what you want.

And you’re none of that stuff. But you’re still on the way to success if you keep working that hard and ignore the rest.

5. Focus on self-education.

In my situation, doing the stuff I know should be doing (or if I don’t feel like it, just reading about it) is a must every single day.

It’s what will keep me purpose-oriented, what will remind me of why I love what I’m working on and these side projects have the chance to turn into something huge if I stay consistent.

Did you know that I just graduated from university? Yes, with a degree in Marketing.

But I can safely say I learned nothing there. Simply because I didn’t want to.

Instead, in the last 4 years I’ve spent a great deal of time (I’m pretty sure it’s hundreds of hours) reading about the stuff I’m interested in and which will actually help me acquire valuable skills and get good at exactly what I need to be good at.
So I was writing, editing and formatting, experimenting, researching and making mistakes. And the experience I gained because of that is priceless.

But what is more important is that I totally changed my approach to every other area of life, I accepted many things and defined others I wasn’t sure about. I changed most of my habits, became productive, learned how to get more done in less time, how to go through a lot of information and get only what I need from it, etc.

Basically, I’m working on living the lifestyle someone who makes money online is (doing what he loves and can work whenever and wherever he wants but prefers to hustle all the time), and I’m living it before I actually have it.

In conclusion, I’d make a few points:

  • Living in a cheap country but making your money outside of it is one of the best possible lifestyles.
  • Environment is not a factor if you’re focused and dedicated to your goal.
  • The skills you acquire on your own and that you practice daily become your biggest assets.
  • It’s all about the hustle. Working your ass of, but loving the process.

PS, All that probably wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my mother, who’s the most creative, hard-working and business-oriented person I know.
She’s created a few businesses from scratch in front of my eyes (before and after the economic crisis), and is sustaining a family making money online (and to this day people look at her in a strange way when she tries to explain what she does for a living in a nutshell. Which, by the way, is mainly focused on e-commerce on Etsy.com. Funny, right?)

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How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted 17

How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted

All people have been interested in studying at one moment in their lives. There are different goals set for diverse learners and each of them requires serious learning at one point in time.

Successful learners are those with full concentration during their studies as this helps them in remembering what was learned and apply it in the undertaken tests. However, irrespective of the reasons as to why people study, most of the times one would have his mind invaded by different thoughts distracting his concentration.

It is also possible to have one diverted by noises and stories made by one’s roommates, children, and neighbors among others.

With these intrusions, an individual would lose focus and this is what is required to be successful in what one was reading. It is therefore important to identify possible issues that can lead to distraction in order to come up with the most appropriate ways of remaining focused. Here are some tips:

1. Pick the right time and place when reading.

This helps in getting rid of the clear distractions.

For instance, a person would not easily focus if he chooses to study in the presence of friends who are engaged in other activities. Similarly, one would not read well if with music, television, phone, or computer on.

Once the phone vibrates or rings, an individual would be tempted to answer and this would divert his attention.

In understanding how to stay focused, it is recommended that a reader has conducive environment bearing in mind that different learners would stay alert at different circumstances.

This is an indication that no single environment fits all types of students. The right time would also involve studying at the moment when a learner feels comfortable with the schedule such as in the evening or very early in the morning.

The place chosen should not be the classroom or bedroom. But rather a quiet and nice place with a relaxed sitting position such as the library or the office.

2. Take frequent breaks.

How to Increase Your Productivity No Matter Where You Are

In addition, tips for students indicate that instead of succumbing to distraction, a pupil has to take short breaks.

When engaged in 45-minutes of learning, the student should take breaks of between ten and twenty minutes. Taking longer of breaks of over 20 minutes are dangerous for they might lead to forgetting what one was initially studying.

By planning breaks with an alarm, you not miss them or accidentally take longer ones.

Breaks are considered very crucial because they help the brain to recharge after processing the earlier acquired information. Breaks involving walking around should also be taken as an opportunity to improve recalling memory and test scores.

Breaking in between reading is, therefore, a good way of ensuring that a reader does not overburden his brain/mind with information that would not be processed. Taking pauses in between the reading session refreshes the brain and makes it possible to read for long and wide volumes.

3. Staying focused while reading is also linked with staying motivated.

As stated on EssayZoo, there are different forms of distractions for varied learners and this can be addressed by understanding the reason behind one’s studying.

This is done by taking a test or exam as something meant to challenge the reader’s learning. Since a person’s learning would eventually be rated, the process should start by setting a goal.

Even though the set goal should not be unrealistic, it should be challenging so that the learner can perform better than he has been found in the past tests or maybe better than people expect.

Once an individual is able to surprise others based on their expectations, he would feel motivated to continue studying.

Additionally, learning should be motivated with a reward, which acts as a form of self-control by ensuring that a student is compensated for hard work, studying well, being prepared, and performing well in an exam.

Encouragement should also be done by understanding what learning is important, which is different for diverse readers but all meant to enhance attentiveness to achieve personal goals.

4. Getting enough sleep during studying is a vital way of improving concentration.

What It Really Takes to Write a Book [+Free Documentary]

Even though many of the times pupils learn under pressure especially when exams are near, this does not mean an individual should read without sleep.

Just like taking breaks during a day of reading, sufficient sleep refreshes the brain and makes it ready to be fed with and process acquired information.

Learning is successful if one can remember and apply the learned information during a test. This is possible if a person is able to actively concentrate during the planned hours of studying.

According to tips for students, studying for long hours without break or sleep is on strenuous and does not bear the expected results.

Dedicating at least 6-8 hours of sleep ensures that a person wakes up fresh, alert, ready, and relaxed for the day’s scheduled learning activities.

Once ready to learn, a student would be organized and in an ordered place with only the reading materials a person requires, aware of the number of hours to spend on a topic, and the number of breaks he will take including their times.

5. Stay calm to concentrate.

Lastly, remaining focused when learning can be done by practicing concentration.

Once a student has everything he needs on the table, he should not postpone the learning exercise. It is advisable that a pupil is aware of the most crucial information to study first before proceeding to the rest. This is to ensure that one is guided by key concepts that would make the learning enjoyable and encouraging.

Also, practice concentration by not panicking, minimize computer and phone use, don’t listen to music unless it aids in studying, and remaining on topic.

It is notable that by panicking, one would make mistakes.

So make sure you remain calm, take deep breaths, and convince yourself that you read, understand, and pass the exams.

Further, a student should turn the computer, Internet, and the cell phone off to ensure maximum concentration. This is to avoid responding to text messages or searching via the Internet things that are not related to the topic of study.

It is arguable that listening to music when learning acts as a distraction because the learner is provided with additional information to process thus interfering with the real intention of the learning process.

In order to stay on-topic, you shouldn’t explore different subjects at the same time more so when studying boring, complex, and unexciting topics.

Studying would thus be effective if a person remains focused in order to achieve the set goals. Nobody enrolls for a course or learning institution without a goal. This would be achieved if concentration is always at its maximum.

While there are major ways of enhancing attentiveness, the discussed ones in this essay are picking the right time and place, instead of succumbing to distraction, taking short breaks, staying motivated, getting enough sleep, and practicing concentration.

The aim is to ensure that a learner understands the importance of learning and is committed to achieving his intentions.