Stand Tall - Lessons from Giraffes
With their long lanky necks, giraffes sometimes look so fantastical as to seem unreal! But real they are! Not only are giraffes a delight to look at, they also boast some unique characteristics. The giraffe could teach us a thing or two about how to live. Here are a few lessons you can learn from some of the most unique looking mammals in the animal kingdom.
Use Your Best Assets With long legs and necks, giraffes are easily the tallest mammals on earth, some growing as tall as 18 feet! But giraffes definitely take advantage of their stature. They get all their food from the tops of trees, grabbing at leaves with their long slimy tongues. In short, traits that look at little strange may actually be your best assets. Use them to your advantage!
The giraffe is constantly eating! As herbivores, all their food consists of plants. Some giraffes eat up to 75 pounds a day! Like the giraffe, feel free to splurge on lots of healthy plants and greens.
Don’t Be Afraid to Look Silly
Giraffes necks are so long, they can’t easily reach drinking pools on the ground. They have to spread their front legs so as to lower themselves down. The position is…well…a bit awkward. But the giraffe knows it needs to hydrate every now and then. Don’t be afraid of how you look when it comes to getting what you want or need!
The big beautiful spots on giraffes are like a tiger’s stripes. Each one is a little different. While scientists have noticed that giraffes from similar areas tend to have similar-looking patterns, no two giraffes’ markings are exactly alike. Be like the giraffe, be unique!
Giraffes are social animals, travelling in herds that range anywhere between 3 to 15 members. But giraffes don’t just hang with their own kind. They’ve also been spotted with little birds on their backs. These birds, known as tick birds, eat pesky parasitic bugs that live in the giraffe’s fur. An added perk is that the birds chirp when they spot enemies, acting as a warning for the giraffe. So go ahead, make friends! You’ll help each other out in more ways than one.
Stretch Your LegsThe giraffe spends much of its time browsing and roaming for food. Though they mostly walk, giraffes can run up to 35 mph and 10 mph at a more leisurely place. Get out every now and then. Roam or run. It doesn’t matter! So long as you stretch your legs.
Who Needs a Job? Hobbies Make Money Too
MOVE THIS POST TO MONEY MATTERS
Are you unemployed? Even if you don’t have a job, you at least have a hobby. With the internet so ubiquitous in modern society, everyone has a shot at gaining the attention of the masses. Once you have someone’s attention, your intention should be to convince them they need your service or product. Whatever you’re into, there’s an audience for it–all it takes is a little resourcefulness.
Hobbies make money. Here’s how to become a professional at:
Plants have always been green…it’s considered bad chloroform otherwise…
If you have a flair for writing, building a blog is easy. You can get a free blog domain at blog services, such as WordPress or Blogger. Choose a template design to start out, and begin composing entries. Don’t worry about not having an audience yet; you’ll build one with your content. Focus on writing things you enjoy, and learn the basics of formatting. This way, you’ll build a portfolio you can use to apply for paid blogging gigs.
Amazon Affiliates and Google Ad-Sense accounts are easy ways to earn advertising money from your blog.
Gardening is more than a hobby for some; it’s a way of life. Selling your harvest is an easy way to make money, although you’ll need a rather large garden to produce enough to make a meaningful profit. Consider incorporating the fresh ingredients you harvest into other products to sell, instead. Food isn’t the only fruit of gardening labour, however, as the legality of growing marijuana is quickly spreading across the US, maybe it'll hit the UK shore too.
You can also teach DIY-enthusiasts how to garden through blogging about it. You can tend other peoples’ gardens by searching Craigslist, or other classified ad sites. If you have the experience, contact local nurseries and see if anyone’s hiring. You’ll be rolling in the green in no time.
3. Playing an Instrument
The music business isn’t tough to break into. All you need is a way to make music and an audience. If you play an instrument, you can make money by giving private lessons. Touring musicians are constantly looking looking for stand-in musicians while on the road (search gigging for backup bands). Also, it never hurts to leave your card at local recording studios and record stores, in case anyone’s looking for a musician with your skills.
Alternatively, iTunes, Amazon, and Google all have stores to list your music. List yourself on SoundCloud, Pandora, Spotify, and anywhere else you can. Remember that every artist you’ve heard of has a large team and distribution channel behind them. In order to compete with that, you’ll need to work extra hard.
You can make decent money by hemming clothes, if you’re quick at it. Many people lack this basic skill, and they’re happy to pay $5-$10 to repair clothing that would otherwise cost much more to replace.
Another way to make money is to sell your handcrafted sewing creations online, with sites like Etsy. You can also sell your homemade sewing patterns online, through your website. In order to get promotion for your patterns, submit them to sewing and craft magazines, for publication. This will introduce your patterns to a large audience and boost sales.
If you know how to bake, there’s no limit to the ways you can earn money. Getting a job in a kitchen is so easy. Food blogs are always popular, and there’s never a shortage of people on the lookout for a good recipe. Consider filming yourself or taking pictures while cooking, to expand your audience.
Make money at video games by making wages with friends, like the kids in The Wizard. If you’re particularly elite, it’s even possible to join a professional league. You don’t have to be the most skilled gamer, though.
Playing video games means you can review or otherwise describe them for any number of publications, if you prefer long-form writing, or retail sites, if short-form is your thing. Plenty of gamer's have successful YouTube channels, and Livestream and uCast got a boost from their inclusion in next generation consoles.
If you’re especially passionate about video games, working in a retail location, such as Gamestop or EB Games, may be the field of your dreams.
If you like to move it, you could always get money as a dancer. You don’t need to strip; plenty of dancers make a living off the pole. Casting agents and producers are constantly looking for extras and dancers for projects. Dance teachers make a great living too, as people both young and old love taking classes.
Not all artists are starving; many of them make a decent living. Aside from traditional museum art, you can see art in literally every aspect of business–graphic designers creating logos and other branded merchandise for marketing campaigns worldwide. With such a large variety of digital and analogy drawing mediums available these days, the only artist who’s truly starving is the one not looking for work.
If you love keeping up on all the latest gossip, journalism is the job for you. Depending on the subjects you’re into, getting into journalism is really easy–all you need to do is keep watching and reading the news that relates to you. By doing this, you’ll keep up with the juiciest bits of gossip related to your field. Passing this gossip to other people is what journalism is all about, but I’m one to gossip, so didn’t hear that from me.
Everyone wants a social media presence, and some are willing to pay for it. If you’re savvy enough to learn quick ways to gain followers on all the major social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+), you can turn your love of socialising into a fruitful career. Start with your own social media account, and contact people to showcase how your skills can help their bottom line.
Everyone takes photos these days, and everyone still has an insatiable hunger for more photos. If you have an eye for photography, websites such as Shutterstock allow you to sell your work in image format. Other sites, like Cafepress, sell a variety of goods that bear your photo. Also, consider freelancing, and check job search for any gigs or job openings. Whatever you do, keep your camera with you at all times; you never know when you’ll catch a glimpse of a celebrity or noteworthy event.
12. Telling Jokes
Everybody thinks they’re a comedian, and with the internet, you have an avenue to prove it. Go out to amateur and open mic nights to perform and perfect your craft in front of a live audience. The comedy site Cracked.com has an open forum setup to vet aspiring comedic writers. A properly hilarious video will get tons of exposure on YouTube. Emulate your favourite comedian by making movies, skits, stand-up, cartoons, or whatever else you can come up with.
You can make money collecting practically anything; whether it’s coins, stamps, comic books, or gadgets. Retro is always in, and people always collect things. Whatever you collect, search the term online to connect with communities who collect the same things. Pawn shops can be a great place to sell certain collectables,. Many used record and book stores have merged into used-merchandise swap meets, and they’re both great places to buy/sell your collectables. Otherwise, just post them on eBay or Craigslist.
Not only is mystery shopping legitimate, it’s a great way to make money. Basically, you complete a real transaction, rate the quality, and are reimbursed. If you love shopping, scratch that itch while still getting paid. Otherwise, you can get paid to write product and store reviews anywhere online. Start off with building followers on your Yelp and Foursquare accounts and rating the places you already visit. By the time a paying gig pops up, you’ll already have an established following.
15. Correcting People
If you love correcting people, you’ll love being an editor. Sites like Freelancer.com, oDesk, and eLance, provide several job opportunities in the editing field. If editing isn’t your style, try something a bit more active, such as management or teaching. No matter what field you choose, be sure to correct everyone to the best of your ability, because everyone loves a know-it-all.
Regardless of your hobby, it’s possible to make money. Business principles remain the same no matter what product or service you’re offering, and sales is the key to your company’s future. If you’re tired of slaving away for someone else and want to instead make money pursuing your hobby, open yourself up to the career of your dreams and take a leap of faith. You never know where you’ll end up, until you try.
18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick
Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything run on autopilot? Chores, exercise, eating healthy and getting your work done just happening automatically. Unless they manage to invent robot servants, all your work isn’t going to disappear overnight. But if you program behaviors as new habits you can take out the struggle.
With a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain.
Here are some tips for creating new habits and making them stick:
1. Commit to Thirty Days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain. A month is a good block of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar.
2. Make it Daily – Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to start exercising, go to the gym every day for your first thirty days. Going a couple times a week will make it harder to form the habit. Activities you do once every few days are trickier to lock in as habits.
3. Start Simple – Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. It is easy to get over-motivated and take on too much. If you wanted to study two hours a day, first make the habit to go for thirty minutes and build on that.
4. Remind Yourself – Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget. Place reminders to execute your habit each day or you might miss a few days. If you miss time it defeats the purpose of setting a habit to begin with.
5. Stay Consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick. If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for your thirty days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick.
6. Get a Buddy – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.
7. Form a Trigger – A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you wanted to wake up earlier, this could mean waking up in exactly the same way each morning. If you wanted to quit smoking you could practice snapping your fingers each time you felt the urge to pick up a cigarette.
8. Replace Lost Needs – If you are giving up something in your habit, make sure you are adequately replacing any needs you’ve lost. If watching television gave you a way to relax, you could take up meditation or reading as a way to replace that same need.
9. Be Imperfect – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. It took me four independent tries before I started exercising regularly. Now I love it. Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way.
10. Use “But” – A prominent habit changing therapist once told me this great technique for changing bad thought patterns. When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “but” to interrupt it. “I’m no good at this, but, if I work at it I might get better later.”
11. Remove Temptation – Restructure your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. Remove junk food from your house, cancel your cable subscription, throw out the cigarettes so you won’t need to struggle with willpower later.
12. Associate With Role Models – Spend more time with people who model the habits you want to mirror. A recent study found that having an obese friend indicated you were more likely to become fat. You become what you spend time around.
13. Run it as an Experiment – Withhold judgment until after a month has past and use it as an experiment in behavior. Experiments can’t fail, they just have different results so it will give you a different perspective on changing your habit.
14. Swish – A technique from NLP. Visualise yourself performing the bad habit. Next visualize yourself pushing aside the bad habit and performing an alternative. Finally, end that sequence with an image of yourself in a highly positive state. See yourself picking up the cigarette, see yourself putting it down and snapping your fingers, finally visualize yourself running and breathing free. Do it a few times until you automatically go through the pattern before executing the old habit.
15. Write it Down – A piece of paper with a resolution on it isn’t that important. Writing that resolution is. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.
16. Know the Benefits – Familiarize yourself with the benefits of making a change. Get books that show the benefits of regular exercise. Notice any changes in energy levels after you take on a new diet. Imagine getting better grades after improving your study habits.
17. Know the Pain – You should also be aware of the consequences. Exposing yourself to realistic information about the downsides of not making a change will give you added motivation.
18. Do it For Yourself – Don’t worry about all the things you “should” have as habits. Instead tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. Weak guilt and empty resolutions aren’t enough.
A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips
If you’ve always dreamed of being the next Hemingway or Vonnegut (or even Grisham), or perhaps if you just want to write better essays for school or posts for your blog … you need to sharpen those writing skills.
Becoming the best writer you can be isn’t easy, I won’t lie to you.
It takes hard work. But it’s worth the effort. And if it seems like an insurmountable task, there are some concrete things you can do today that will get you on the road to improvement.
Personally, I’ve been a fiction, newspaper, magazine and blog writer for 17 years now, writing for a variety of publications … and I’m still trying to improve. Every writer can get better, and no writer is perfect. I think I’ve grown tremendously as a writer over the last couple of decades, but it has been a painful journey. Let me share some of what I’ve learned.
No matter what level of writer you are, there should be a suggestion or twelve here that will help.
1. Read great writers.
This may sound obvious, but it has to be said. This is the place to start. If you don’t read great writing, you won’t know how to do it. Everyone starts by learning from the masters, by emulating them, and then through them, you find your own voice. Read a lot. As much as possible. Pay close attention to style and mechanics in addition to content.
2. Write a lot.
Try to write every day, or multiple times a day if possible. The more you write, the better you’ll get. Writing is a skill, and like any other skill, you have to practice it to get better. Write stuff for yourself, write for a blog, write for other publications. Write just to write, and have a blast doing it. It gets easier after awhile if you practice a lot.
3. Write down ideas, all the time.
Keep a little notebook handy (Nabokov carried around index cards) and write down ideas for stories or articles or novels or characters. Write down snippets of conversation that you hear. Write down plot twists and visual details and fragments of song lyrics or poems that move you. Having these ideas written down helps, because they can inspire you or actually go directly into your writing. I like to keep a list of post ideas for my blog, and I continually add to it.
4. Create a writing ritual.
Find a certain time of day when you can write without interruptions, and make it a routine. For me, mornings work best, but others might find lunch or evenings or midnight hours the best. Whatever works for you, make it a must-do thing every single day. Write for at least 30 minutes, but an hour is even better. If you’re a full-time writer, you’ll need to write for several hours a day, as I do. But don’t worry! It helps you get better.
5. Just write.
If you’ve got blank paper or a blank screen staring at you, it can be intimidating. You might be tempted to go check your email or get a snack. Well, don’t even think about it, mister. Just start writing. Start typing away — it doesn’t matter what you write — and get the fingers moving. Once you get going, you get in the flow of things, and it gets easier. I like to start out by typing things like my name or a headline or something easy like that, and then the juices start flowing and stuff just pours out of me. But the key is to just get going.
6. Eliminate distractions.
Writing does not work well with multi-tasking or background noise. It’s best done in quiet, or with some mellow music playing.
Do your writing with a minimal writer like WriteRoom or DarkRoom or Writer, and do it in full-screen. Turn off email or IM notifications, turn off the phone and your cell phone, turn off the TV, and clear off your desk … you can stuff everything in a drawer for now until you have time to sort everything out later … but don’t get into sorting mode now, because it’s writing time! Clear away distractions so you can work without interruption.
7. Plan, then write.
This may sound contradictory to the above “just write” tip, but it’s not really. I find it useful to do my planning or pre-writing thinking before I sit down to write. I’ll think about it during my daily run, or walk around for a bit to brainstorm, then write things down and do an outline if necessary. Then, when I’m ready, I can sit down and just crank out the text. The thinking’s already been done.
Just because you want to emulate the great writers doesn’t mean you have to be exactly like them. Try out new things. Steal bits from other people. Experiment with your style, your voice, your mechanics, your themes. Try out new words. Invent new words. Experimentalize everything. And see what works, and toss out what doesn’t.
If you really crank out the text, and experiment, and just let things flow, you’ll need to go back over it. Yes, that means you. Many writers hate revising, because it seems like so much work when they’ve already done the writing. But if you want to be a good writer, you need to learn to revise. Because revision is where good writing really is. It separates the mediocre from the great. Go back over everything, looking not only for grammar and spelling mistakes, but for unnecessary words and awkward structures and confusing sentences. Aim for clarity, for strength, for freshness.
10. Be concise.
This is best done during the revision process, but you need to edit every sentence and paragraph and remove everything but the essential. A short sentence is preferred over a longer one, and a clear word is preferred over two in jargonese. Compact is powerful.
11. Use powerful sentences.
Aim for shorter sentences with strong verbs. Of course, not every sentence should be the same — you need variation — but try to create sentences with oomph. You might find this easier to do in the revision stage, as it might not be something you’re thinking about when you’re pumping out that first draft.
12. Get feedback.
You can’t get better in a vacuum. Get someone to read over your stuff — preferably a good writer or editor. Someone who reads a lot, and can give you honest and intelligent feedback. And then listen. Really try to understand the criticism and accept it and use it to improve. Instead of being hurt, thank your editor for helping you get better.
13. Put yourself out there.
At some point, you’ll need to let others read your writing. Not just the person who you’re allowing to read it, but the general public. You’ll need to publish your book or short story or poem, or write for a publication. If you’re already doing a blog, that’s good, but if no one reads it, then you need to find a bigger blog and try to submit a guest post. Putting your writing out in the public can be nerve-wracking, but it is a crucial (if painful) part of every writer’s growth. Just do it.
14. Learn to be conversational.
Many people write too stiffly. I find that it’s so much better to write like you talk (without all the umms and uhhs). People relate to it better. It’s not an easy task at first, but it’s something to strive for. And that brings up another point — it’s better to break the rules of grammar in order to sound conversational (as I did in the last sentence) than to sound stilted just so you can follow the proper rules. But don’t break the rules of grammar without good reason — know that you’re doing it, and why.
15. Start and end strong.
The most important parts of your writing are the beginning and end. Especially the beginning. If you don’t hook your reader in the beginning, they won’t read the rest of your writing. So when you’ve written your first draft, spend some extra time crafting a good beginning. Get them interested and wanting to know more. And when you’re done with that, write a good ending … that will leave them wanting more of your writing.
10 Ways to Annihilate Fear
We all have things we fear. Some fears are more concrete, like the terror of spiders and snakes, while some fears go much deeper, sabotaging us so that we are unable to follow our dreams. Too often, we avoid our fears, unwilling to acknowledge that we have them. We hope that if we don’t give breath to their existence, they will become less real… It rarely works this way.
Instead, let’s put on a brave face and tackle our fears. In the darkness of ignorance, the monsters still reign over us, but in the light of knowledge and acceptance, they are seen for what they are: simply self-made straw men—unworthy of the terror they command.
1. Give up fear of failure
“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. – C. S. Lewis
Fear of failure is a huge problem for many people. Some people are so afraid to fail, they never try to do great things. However, most great successes are paved with failures. If you are afraid to fail, you will be too paralyzed to really excel. Many times, it is the failure that guides people to their greatest success. Learn to embrace it. A great question to ask yourself is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Write down your answer, and then go do it.
2. Know thine enemy
“The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it; he cannot act till then.” Thomas Carlyle
Often, when we examine fear, we see that it’s just the unknown portion that scares us. We often fear what we don’t understand. When you take the time to understand why you’re afraid, you can properly address it. Instead of looking at the future expecting the worst to happen, turn your belief system around and expect the best. Often, dwelling on our fears gives them a voice of prediction in our lives. Don’t give fear that foothold. Envision your future as one full of hope and excitement!
3. Focus on past success
“Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson
Our own visualization of fear often brings it to fruition. Think about when you are about to speak in public: a huge fear for some. Instead of seeing yourself doing well, you may think about how you might stutter over your sentences. What happens? You lose your train of thought and blow the presentation. You then reaffirm the belief that messing up speeches is all that you are capable of doing. Instead, focus on your past success. Remember how you did well speaking in rehearsals and visualize yourself giving the best speech of your life. What happens? You do amazingly! Visualization techniques are utilized by athletes and businessmen alike. Instead of giving fear any credence, conceptualize yourself successfully conquering fear—what you envision often will become reality.
4. Realise that fear is often an illusionist
“Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.” – Samuel Butler
Most of the things that we worry about never actually happen. Even when our worst fears do happen, we realize that it isn’t actually as bad as we believed. It’s like when you first start riding a bike: before you fall for the first time, the distance from the ground and the speed that the rocks whizz by seem so intimidating. However, once you fall and realize the actual impact isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination, you can ride confidently. Sure, it hurts to fall, but the joy of the ride is worth the risk. Give yourself permission to examine the worst-case scenario. Even if the catastrophe happened, in the grand scheme of life, is it really worth the anxiety? Probably not. You are tougher than you realize and will get through any humbling experience with more wisdom on better ways to go about your goals.
5. There are no monsters under your bed
“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” – Andre Gide
Some people have unrealistic belief systems, but they don’t acknowledge how nonsensical they sound until they are forced to think it through. For example, ascribing to a belief that demands that every person you interact with will like you is doomed to failure. It’s just not logical that you can meet every expectation of every person. Accepting this fact and understanding that disappointing others will happen in life often helps people address these unrealistic beliefs that cause them anxiety.
6. Kill the moles before they make mountains
“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” – Christian Nestell Bovee
Some people make things much worse in their own head than they are in reality, causing themselves more pain and greater fear. For example, imagine a person who fears societal judgements. They often do things they don’t want to do because they are worried that saying “no” will cause people to reject them. When asked if they would think poorly of a different individual who said they didn’t want to do something, the person will usually say that they would understand. When you ask them to turn this around and ascribe this same amiable attitude within themselves to others, they realize most people think as they do and would sympathize if they didn’t go along with their every whim. The fears in their heads make other people more easy to offend than reality.
7. Plan to strike at first dawn
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks
If certain fears are crippling your life, put together a plan to stand up to them. There is no shame in seeking help from a qualified counselor. You can also share your fears with mentors and accountability partners to help you work through them. Write down goals that help you face your fears in a healthy way so you can break free to a no-limits life.
8. Fear the un-lived life
“Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” – Fernando Flores
One great visualiszation technique is to look at what holding onto your fear is doing to your future. Think about what would happen if you were never brave enough to change your thinking. If you are afraid to talk to others now, how will this impact your dating and social life years later? If you are afraid to take risks, what opportunities are you missing that could change your lifestyle for the better? If you are afraid to look silly at the gym, what illness can sneak into your life in a few more years due to excess weight or unhealthy habits? Let your un-altered future scare you enough to change it.
9. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
“To fight fear, act. To increase fear – wait, put off, postpone.” – David Joseph Schwartz
Sometimes, you just have to jump. There are so many experiences (some did involve jumping) that I would have missed out on if I gave in to my fears. Your life will be much more full with memories of how you felt afraid, pushed past it, and learned you are stronger than you ever thought possible. Pushing past the fear creates self confidence, and you become emboldened to take on more challenges in life, even if they scare you. Once you accept that growth begins outside of your comfort zone, you are ready to challenge yourself to face your worst demons.
10. Create dreams that make you brave
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby
Sometimes, people are often not motivated to face their fears because they haven’t entertained what life can be like on the other side of them. When you allow yourself to dream, suddenly your fears pale in comparison to all the excitement of the brave new world just beyond them. Create dreams that inspire change. You will find that when you let go of the fear, you really are free to become the person you always knew you could be.
Once you understand how you can dissipate fear, it shrinks and is no longer a threat.
10 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity And Boost Your Intuitive Awareness
Nurturing your creativity and boosting your intuitive awareness are essential to living a creative life. When you give yourself the right internal tools and external environment in which to flourish creatively, you will see the difference in your creative practice and the full on effect in every area of your life. Read on for 10 simple ways to nurture creativity and boost your intuitive awareness starting today.
1. Pursue interests that energise you.
Do things that light you up inside and give you natural energy. Some tasks naturally drain us while others fill us with amazing energy. Find what things work for you and make a point to do them every single day to boost your energy and nurture creativity.
2. Take time out for regular meditation and reflection.
When you meditate, you calm your mind, allow the endless chatter to subside and give yourself a chance to refresh. Meditation heightens your intuitive awareness making you more open taking in everything around you, which in turn nurtures your creativity.
3. Experiment with creative materials.
Take some time out to experiment with your creative materials. You don’t need a master plan or end goal, just play and see what happens. You’ll be surprised at what comes out. Every time you experiment creatively, you are nurturing and growing your creative capacity.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
Getting a good nights rest is essential to nurturing your creativity and boosting your intuitive awareness. Good rest helps the mind function at full capacity and makes you sharper and more open to creative opportunities throughout the day.
5. Do something special for yourself once a week.
Do something just for you once a week. When you’re rushing from one thing to the next, you often don’t give yourself the opportunity to indulge, but it’s important that you do. It could be a trip to a local art gallery, morning tea at your favorite café or just an afternoon spent reading a good book at the park. Indulging yourself once a week will provide some much needed creative inspiration and the calmness of mind to take it all in.
6. Spend some time in nature.
Give yourself the gift of time in nature. It could be anything from a leisurely walk along the beach to a hike through the mountains. Get out there and experience everything our wonderful world has to offer. The benefits to your creativity and intuitive awareness are limitless.
7. Take up a hobby just for fun.
Not everything you do needs to be tied to a goal or special outcome. Take up a hobby just for fun and enjoy the moment for what it is. By living in the moment you’ll boost your awareness and facilitate the flow of creative ideas.
8. Exercise your imagination.
Exercise your imagination by giving yourself a fun creative challenge every day. A great way to start is with this simple game. Simply pick a random word like “cat” and a random creative medium like “painting,” and give yourself the challenge of creating something with those two parameters in mind. Exercising your imagination like this every day will nurture creativity and boost your creative abilities long term.
9. Start a daily yoga practice.
A daily yoga practice will center you while fulfilling the needs of your mind, body and spirit. Yoga is a great way to nurture creativity by clearing the clutter from your mind. It will also gradually improve your intuitive awareness.
10. Read every day.
When you read, you are exposed to the amazing ideas of others and bring them into your consciousness where they brew alongside your own thoughts to create something magical. Read every day to fill yourself with knowledge and inspiration that will nurture creativity
How Not To Suck At Socialising – Do’s & Don’ts
Being socialable is a very easy thing to do, and it shouldn’t be something you’re either good at or not. You can learn to become a more social person – if you want to.
Generally extroverts will have less trouble getting out and talking to new people, but that’s to be expected. Don’t think, however, that outgoing people don’t make mistakes either. There are ways to make life easier while you’re out and about.
Initiate conversation – A lot of people, while out, wait for other people to talk to them. Becoming the person that initiates conversation and breaks the ice is, as they say, half the battle. When you feel more comfortable doing this, you’ll find yourself meeting more and more interesting people and gaining fruitful friendships.
It can be somewhat daunting at first because of fear of rejection or being shut down. This will almost never happen. At worst you’ll receive a closed yet polite response. Just remember, people are out to be social. You have small groups of people who are sticking to themselves, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet new people.
Smile – If you look like you’re unhappy you’ll be less approachable. This is an easy step to appearing open and social. When you initiate conversation, your smile should be mirrored and rapport will build from there.
Enjoy your company – When you look like you’re having fun you are instantly more likable. People want to know fun people, someone who enjoys company. While out with friends, have a good time. It may seem obvious, but many groups of people head out and do nothing but scan the room.
If you’re enjoying yourself, people will notice and want in on the action.
Acknowledge randoms – This can be as simple as a smile and a nod. When you make eye contact with a stranger, acknowledge it. If your smile is reciprocated, this will be an easy introduction. Later, initiate the conversation.
One of my favorite things to do while out is make friends with random people. How else do you make new friends? You’ll find the most fun and personally suitable people come from these random encounters.
Dress the part – I don’t find this the most important step, but it does make life a lot easier when you look like you belong somewhere. Now, I don’t mean losing any individuality. I mean don’t go out of your way to look unapproachable.
If you just came from work, for instance, loosen up. Unless it’s an after-work crowd you’ll find yourself out of place and more likely not to be approached. Personally, I don’t adhere to this rule very much, but it will make yourself that much approachable.
Then again, individuality goes a long way. Be yourself.
Listen – People enjoy talking about themselves. The worst, however, is when someone only waits for you to stop talking so they can begin again. Take a genuine interest in people. People are very interesting, so actively engage in a conversation. There is a lot to talk about in this world, small talk isn’t all that necessary – particularly because it can be painfully boring.
Converse, don’t rant – The best way to get good responses out of people is to ask good questions. Avoid ‘what do you do’ and ‘nice weather’ etc. Talk about something that interests you. People love explaining things they know, so when you don’t know what someone is talking about, ask them. Don’t pretend like you know, they will be more than happy to teach you.
Keep eye contact – Don’t scan the room while talking to someone. It is a clear indication you’re not interested in the conversation. If you really have no interest in what someone is saying, change the topic. Or excuse yourself. There’s a million reasons to end the encounter; not every conversation has to be meaningful.
Being able to look someone in the eyes is directly related to some recognizing honesty
Keep open body language – Whether alone or not, avoid closing yourself off by crossing your arms etc. Remain open, remain active. People will generally not approach wallflowers. And in any case, what fun is there to be had just standing around?
Do stuff – It’s hard to talk about your day when you haven’t done anything. Don’t think that you don’t need to do any work in a conversation. Try to engage the other person and be interesting. Call on another time you were at this particular venue. Did you read something interesting today? Mention it and ask opinions. Everyone’s got them.
Sit on your phone – If in conversation, or in good company, I generally ignore my phone. Unless it is to arrange meetings etc, I’ll let it go and return the call when appropriate. There is something very rude about being in the middle of a discussion and being shut off by a phone call. You’re left in the lurch, sipping your drink with no one around.
If I can see that the call will be longer than 30 seconds, I’ll usually get up and go for a wander. It’s not to be rude. I’ll excuse myself and join someone else, maybe make a call myself.
Ignore randoms – As previously stated, meeting random people is excellent fun. You don’t need to launch into a discussion right away, or even really care about the person at all. But being polite and open to interaction will go a long way.
First of all, you might make a new friend. You might score a few free drinks or have a hilarious interaction. Secondly, if you are open to anyone approaching you, low and behold, you will look more approachable and find more people initiating conversation with you. You’re making life easier!
Dwell on smalltalk – I’m quite adverse to smalltalk. You really don’t need to ask the standard ‘interview’ questions. “What do you do?” etc. A lot of people have fairly uninteresting jobs and know that. People are out to forget their work lives, so why bring it up?
Granted, it’s an easy way to get a general picture of someone, but do you need it? Wouldn’t it be better to ask more pertinent questions like, “How is your night going?” or “Have you seen this DJ before?” Ask what someone is drinking or where they bought their shoes.
Smalltalk indicates almost no general interest until you come up with something out of the ordinary – like “I write blogs for a living”. Likewise, if you’re a student, don’t talk about school.
Get blind – If you’re out to be social, becoming a drunken zombie will do you no good. I’m not going to say it never happens to me, but if you want a fruitful evening, stay at least somewhat conscious. It’s easier to talk that way.
Criticise – It’s OK to give your critique of the music or selection of beers, but don’t let it get you down. No one has any fun with someone that’s continually upset about little things. You might be at a dive, but still enjoy yourself. You generally have the best times in the worst places possible.
Judge people – You’re making it very hard for yourself when you are continually judging people before talking to them. Almost no-one’s personality matches their look. Just because someone isn’t enjoying their company – as mentioned above – doesn’t mean they want to be shut out.
Go out of your way to approach wallflowers and people who aren’t smiling. You may not get a great, or even polite, response but don’t let that deter you. Some people don’t realize they are putting out particular signals [with body language etc] and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they suddenly brighten up by your witty comments.
Don’t feel like you have to do anything. You’re out for your own reasons and want to do your own thing. Different things work for different people. For instance, you might never feel comfortable approaching strangers. Find your own groove and be yourself.
Anything you don’t agree with?
You Should Be Aware Of These 10 Effects Of Social Media On You
Technology is a useful tool, but many people don’t know how to use it properly which can easily become damaging. As much as you may love your Twitter page is it really worth the toll it takes on your health?
That’s for you to decide after you read the following 10 ways social media negatively effects your life:
1. Reduces person to person interaction.
Not only do you spend less quality time with is people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed by you when you’re paying more attention to an electronic device than them. Eventually the people around you will even stop wanting to hang out with you.
2. Increases your cravings for attention drastically.
Posting vague statuses on Facebook to grab others attention could easily become a nasty habit for people who use social media frequently. The never ending competition for likes and notifications can consume you.
3. Distracts from life goals.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in social media that people will neglect their real life goals. Instead of aiming for the dream job by obtaining useful skills people, especially younger people, tend to strive for internet stardom.
4. It can lead to a higher risk of depression.
According to recent studies the more people used social media the more negative feelings they experience, including depression. This could partiulalrly harmful to people who have been previously diagnosed with depression. If you beginning to notice you’re feeling down on a regular basis it’s probably time to take a break from your many social media.
5. Relationships are more likely to fail.
No good comes out of online displays of jealousy and snooping. It may seem like an easy option when it comes to dealing with relationships, but in reality it does more damage than good. In fact, studies show that the more a person uses Facebook the more likely they will be to monitor their partner, which leads to arguments and crumbling relationships.
6. Excessive use of social media stunts creativity.
I can speak from personal experience that social media is the easiest way to stunt, or kill, the creative process. Surfing social media sites, especially Tumblr. in this scenario, has a numbing effect on the mind that’s similar to mindlessly watching television. If you plan on being productive today shut off those apps!
7. Cyber bullying is alive and well.
People feel too comfortable on the web and say things they wouldn’t normally say in real life. If you’re not the one say horrible things, you’re still inevitably going to be exposed to it. And if you are one of the people talking trash? Cut it out! You’re not as anonymous as you think. With the rampant cyber bullying on the web, people are also becoming more rude off the web as well.
8. Constantly comparing yourself to others online will make you miserable.
The digital persona people display on Facebook is often much different that what actually goes on in their lives. After awhile you may feel like you know your online aquainences better than you do, creating a social gap. Try to remember that everyone is just as human as you are.
9. Loss of sleep.
The light emitted from your various electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time for you to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is already difficult enough without extra complications. Perhaps it’s best if your phone doesn’t stay with you though the night.
10. Lack of privacy.
Between social media websites saving (and selling) your personal data and the whole NSA mess involving unsolicited government access of personal data including email, Skype calls, and so much more it’s very clear that privacy and the internet don’t mix at this point in time. If you post every last thought that pops into your head it could just as easily come back to haunt you in the future.
3 Good Reasons Why You Should Stop Complaining
When living out our daily lives, it’s often easy to look around and blame the world for our problems. Common complaints include:
While it’s true that there are things in the outside world we can’t control, the biggest difference between two people is simply their reaction towards it. Having understood this for a while, I’ve often asked the question, “How?”
How is it possible to change your reaction to a particular event or situation?
While I always searched for tips to figure out how to make my life easier, what I observed in my own character was that things became far easier once I understood why we should stop complaining and change our reaction towards things. Because once I truly understood the benefits of this, my motivation to change increased.
So why should you stop complaining? Here are three reasons that I believe—if you truly understand them—will help you move forward and live a less stressful life:
1. The world owes you nothingIt really is true! The world really does have nothing to do with you or anyone else on this planet. There are no rules beyond societal expectations, and it’s up to you to make something of the chaos that is the natural order. The planet will continue to exist without you on it, which—as depressing as it sounds—should also provide you with excitement and a first glimpse of the reality of what your life should truly be about.
Through this, questions start to emerge such as: “If the world is irrelevant, who’s in charge of my life?” And, “What happens to my life from this point forward?”
You suddenly start to realise that while we were nurtured and looked after as kids, this really isn’t the case once we’re an adult. The world doesn’t provide us with the same blanket of comfort as our carers once did, which only means one thing: It’s up to us to provide that blanket for ourselves and no one else. Which brings me on to the second reason…
2. You are in charge of your own lifeIf you look back at your own life, you’ll begin to realize that everything you have ever done up to the present moment was all a result of the decisions you’ve made. Sure there may have been people around you who have convinced you to do some of the things you may have done. But it all ultimately depends on your decisions and no one elses: So who’s really to blame?
You really do have the control. Suddenly, there is no one else to blame but yourself.
You begin to see that amongst everything that’s happening around you, what you have is a blank canvas. Suddenly, your hopes and dreams aren’t dreams at all but are within the realm of possibility.
What are your dreams? What are your hopes and goals for the future? Do you have a plan? Start to think about what it might be and remind yourself daily that it’s all up to you to make things happen.
3. You can’t be a leader if you behave like a victimWould you rather live a life with rules, or lead a life that is governed by you? I’m certain the answer is simple.
It’s really easy to put blame on things that are external to you, as it avoids personal responsibility and allows you to refuse the possibility that you may have things that can be changed. So what can you change?
Being a leader in your life takes courage and requires the willingness to face your fears, experience failure, and take complete personal responsibility of everything that happens to you. It will break away your ego yet build a new one: one of strength of character, humility, and humbleness.
I challenge you to turn the mirror on yourself and to ask yourself the following question:
“How and what can I now do to turn my life around?”
You have no one else but you to make it happen.
What do you want to achieve from the complaint?
9 Things You Can Do To Free Yourself From Negative Emotions
It may be hard to believe, but emotions can become habits that have been formed through repetition. As such, negative emotions can become something that infiltrates your everyday life. Do you find that you’re constantly down on the world and yourself? Do you get annoyed easily and become bitter with people? Is anger your natural response to something? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a slave to negative emotions. You need to learn to stop before you actually transform into Walter Matthau.
1. Stop Justifying
First and foremostly, you need to stop justifying getting angry and upset over everything. Stop thinking that you’re entitled to be so negative, because you’re not. The only person responsible for this is you. Do you really want to become that cranky old man or woman that tells everyone they ever meet why everything is awful and why everyone sucks? You know who I’m talking about, you’ve seen them in the grocery line. If you stop justifying your negativity to yourself you won’t have a reason to be angry, and much more people will actually enjoy being around you. Get over the spilt milk.
2. Stop Making Excuses
You need to stop making excuses for both yourself and others. Perhaps you rationalize your own actions and why it’s okay for you to verbalize your anger. Or maybe you create explanations as to why other people deserve your anger. Either way, you’re trying to invent a socially acceptable explanation for your behavior. The only problem is that it probably isn’t acceptable and all it’s doing is keeping your negative emotions alive and making you miserable in the meantime. Eventually there will be no one left to care but yourself. Stop making yourself a victim. Really think about whether or not these other people have actually done anything wrong.
3. Start Taking Responsibility
Now that you’ve stopped making excuses, it’s time to take some responsibility for yourself and your actions. As soon as you do this, you will start depriving your negative emotions of the power they hold over you. What right do they have to your life anyway? Own your problems and your actions and stop blaming other people. It’s called being a happy, functional adult.
4. Rise Above Other People’s Opinions
So I’ve done a lot of ranting about how you need to control your emotions and take responsibility. The truth is that this can be difficult when other people can actually be jerks, or if you care too much about what others think of you. You need to stop giving them so much power. Don’t let anyone but yourself define your self image and self worth. This is important, but if you define yourself through others, you are far more likely to be miserable. This is because as soon as you hear anything negative, you’re likely to react with anger and embarrassment. You’ll feel ashamed and inferior and may even begin indulging in self-pity that could lead to depression. The joke will be on you though, because in most cases, the people who made you feel this way won’t even realize it. They’re busy with their own lives. All of the negativity and hurt actually comes from you. You need to stop giving a crap about what other people think immediately. You’ll be much happier for it.
5. Quit Your Negative Habits and Avoid Bad Influences
Some habits and people purely and simply bring you down. It may difficult to do, but you need to remove these things from your life. Don’t hang around people who are negative all of the time. Instead, surround yourself with happy and positive people who take joy in life. You’d be surprised how easily their attitudes can rub off on you. Furthermore, don’t engage in behavior that may make you angry and depressed. If that beer or joint is going to have a negative effect, put it the hell down.
6. Think Before You Respond - Calm yourself down, Hulk.
Let’s say you’re in a situation where your natural reaction is to yell or send a passive aggressive Facebook message. Stop. Just, stop. Now think. Is this something you really want to do? Is it actually that bad? Is it even worth being angry or upset over? Did the person you’re about to react to actually do anything wrong, or is it in your head? What are some of the possible consequences of these actions? Will it destroy a friendship? Will you be stewing over it for weeks?
These are just some of the questions that you need to start asking yourself before you react negatively to something. You may just find that you’re grateful that you thought about it before acting. Or maybe, because I have trouble being concise, by the time you get to the end of my questions, you’ll forget what even happened in the first place.
7. Be Grateful
lnstead of constantly obsessing over how crap your life is, start being grateful. What are the things or people you have in your life that you can be thankful for? Start defining your life by the good, as opposed to the bad. Get into this habit by thinking of at least one thing everyday that you’re grateful for.
8. Remove “I Can’t” From Your Vocabulary
This is a simple one. Saying “I can’t” to things, including letting go of negative emotions, will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can’t because you say you can’t. Stop placing limitations on yourself and give yourself some credit. You can if you say you can. Unless it’s something like diving out of a plane without a parachute and thinking you’ll survive. You probably can’t do that.
9. Just Let Go
Most importantly, you need to try and let go of your negative emotions. Holding onto them and subsequently applying them to every little thing that goes wrong isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s dangerous. A great deal of negative people don’t know how to feel much else and aren’t satisfied unless they have something to whine about. Ironically, they’re not happy unless they’re unhappy and actually go looking for conflict. Do you really want to be that person? If nothing else, it sounds exhausting. Let it go, people. Just let it go.
Becoming Emotionally Self-Reliant
I’m the first to admit that for many years, I was a bit emotionally needy.
Not in a crazy, desperate way, but in the way that many of us are. I wanted someone else to make me happy, blamed others for my unhappiness, sought to fulfil my emotional needs through others.
This caused all kinds of problems I didn’t even realise were there: I’d have relationship problems because if the other person wasn’t meeting my needs, I’d resent it. I’d be unhappy lots of the time, because I thought happiness was outside of me, and therefore it was unreliable and elusive. I was helpless, because if other people are supposed to make me happy and fulfil my needs, then what could I do if they didn’t? What could I do if they hurt me instead?
Only in the last few years have I been becoming more emotionally self-reliant. It’s made my relationships better, and has greatly increased my happiness.
I can’t claim to be an expert on this topic, but I can share some things I’ve been learning. It’s a very, very useful process, as those who are already emotionally independent can attest to.
Are you emotionally dependent? Ask yourself these questions:
This list isn’t comprehensive, of course, but some of you can probably see yourselves in a couple of those questions (or more), if you’re completely honest.
And that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I still have some of these issues myself, though I’m getting better at them. Most people have a few of these issues, though many wouldn’t admit it, because they worry it would make them look bad. No one likes to look bad, or to think of themselves as bad. But having any of these issues doesn’t make you bad — it’s just who you are right now.
However, while this isn’t an issue of being a “bad person”, I think the skills of emotional self-reliance are useful ones to learn. They can transform your relationships and happiness.
How We Got This Way
Usually this way of thinking starts in childhood. We rely on our parents for our emotional needs — love, comfort, support, validation, etc. And we don’t often develop emotional self-reliance skills as kids, because parents (out of love for us) do their best to provide for all these needs.
And then we become adults, without having learned emotional self-reliance. And so we look for someone else to fill our emotional needs. We look for the perfect partner, and will probably go through a few breakups, because 1) we’re not emotionally independent, and so we do needy things that hurt a relationship, and 2) our partner is probably the same way.
If we’re ever hurt, we blame the other person for hurting us. If they aren’t there for us, we blame them. If something bad happens to us, we become victims, because you can’t move on with your life if someone has done something bad to you, right?
However, there is a solution.
We have to learn this: Happiness is not outside ourselves.
Becoming Emotionally Self-Reliant
We look for happiness from others, but this is an unreliable source of happiness. Other people will come and go, or they’ll be emotionally unavailable for their own personal reasons.
And here’s the thing: it’s not their job to fill our emotional needs. They are struggling trying to meet their own needs.
So instead of looking for happiness from someone else, we have to realize it’s not out there. It’s within us.
Happiness isn’t in the future, it’s not somewhere else. It’s available right inside us, right now, all the time.
How can we find this happiness? It takes some inner searching, but consider these suggestions:
Create your own source of built-in happiness.
Walk around as a whole, happy person, needing nothing.
Then come from this place of wholeness, of self-reliance and independence, and love others. Not because you want them to love you back, not because you want to be needed, but because loving them is an amazing thing to do.
9 Habits of Very Punctual People
Maybe it’s just me, but my generation (we’ll say current 13–30-year-olds) seems to be suffering from an epidemic of tardiness. I have given up on expecting people to be on time—I simply assume they’ll show up late to everything. Despite that, I’m a very punctual person and typically end up waiting for others. Sometimes my friends ask how I can so reliably be on time, and since my usual snarky response of “I show up on time” isn’t very helpful, these are 9 habits of very punctual people.
1. They Give Buffer Time for Themselves
This means that if they need to be somewhere 15 minutes away, they don’t leave 15 minutes in advance. They leave 20 or 25 minutes in advance. Why? Because you never know what might come up. You could have to find parking, could realise you forgot something, could run into a friend on the way—the possibilities are endless. By giving themselves buffer time, punctual people ensure that even if something last minute comes up, they’ll still be on time or very close to it.
2. They Stay Organised
Punctuality isn’t just about showing up places on time; it’s a lifestyle. Punctual people will typically be reliably punctual because of their other habits, including being highly organised. They tend to keep up-to-date calendars of what’s going on, and know how long it’s going to take to get to those places. They also don’t schedule things too close together to avoid possible overlap, and design their schedules to minimise risky travel time.
3. They’re Realistic About How Long Things Take
This relates to buffer time, but it’s important that if you’re going to be punctual you know how long things will take. We tend to overestimate how quickly we can get somewhere, so a good rule of thumb is to add a few minutes or a certain percentage to how long you think it will take. We always imagine travelling in a perfect situation with no traffic or distractions, and that simply doesn’t exist.
4. They’re Comfortable with Extra Time While Waiting
Like I said, I pretty much always expect other people to be late at this point—and I’m rarely wrong. Luckily I carry my Kindle almost everywhere so I have something to read while I wait. Other punctual people will likely do something similar, either by working on their iPad, reading a book, checking the news on their phone, or responding to emails. Whatever it is, punctual people have to be okay with waiting for others since they’ll usually end up doing so.
5. They Wake Up Early
Being punctual means being on time for others’ expectations of you, but it also means being on time for your own deadlines. That means that when a punctual person says they’ll wake up at 7am they usually do. And conversely, people who are able to reliably wake up very early in the morning tend to be punctual. It all goes back to procrastinating—people who are punctual don’t procrastinate leaving for things, and they don’t procrastinate waking up.
6. They Sleep Well
Not only do they wake up early, but they sleep better in general. Like I said there’s an element of procrastination to showing up late, and there’s also an element of procrastination in staying up late. People who procrastinate leaving for things tend to be late, and people who procrastinate sleeping tend not to sleep well. People who are punctual, conversely, go to bed on time and wake up feeling well rested and ready to seize the day.
7. They Don’t Procrastinate
On that note, they don’t procrastinate in general. People who show up on time and are comfortable with waiting will also be the ones to turn their work in early and not have to worry about it as opposed to scrambling at the last second. They know they’ll be stressed if they’re running behind, so they avoid getting stressed out at work just as in showing up.
8. They’re Not Rushed
Ultimately what this means is that punctual people aren’t rushed. It seems odd that you could leave earlier for something and not be rushed, but it’s true. When you have no risk of not making it on time you don’t need to worry while you’re in transit, so you don’t feel rushed. It takes a lot of the stress out of getting around because you know you’ll make it there on time even if something comes up, so you don’t need to speed or freak out on the way.
9. They Can’t Stand It When You’re Late
This is less a habit, and more a reason to adopt the other eight. When you’re on time for everyone else, you hope for a similar courtesy. If someone is agreeing to meet up with you, the least you can do is not waste their time by being late, so naturally anyone who has to wait for you is going to get annoyed. And punctual people end up doing a lot of waiting. As a policy I’ll tend to leave after 5–10 minutes of waiting without being warned—it’s simply not worth anyone’s time to stand around waiting for someone who doesn’t have the courtesy to be on time.
So hopefully you can apply some of these 8 habits, and keep the 9th one in mind. Woody Allen said that “80% of life is showing up” but I disagree. It should be “80% of life is showing up on time.”
How to Reinvent Yourself for the Long Term
“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” ~Unknown
There will always be times in our lives when we need to reinvent ourselves. They could come when we experience big changes, such as leaving our jobs, moving on from relationships, transferring to a new home or losing a loved one. If you yourself are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.
Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same-only if take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.
To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are a few easy steps and practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.
Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:
How to reinvent yourself
Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools enumerated in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of self-reinvention.
How to Organise Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organised People
Really organized people are not born organized people. They have to cultivate healthy habits, which then help them to stay organized. Here are the essential ten habits they use to keep their lives in order:
1. Write Things Down
We all know someone that remembers every birthday and sends cards for every holiday. It’s not magic and they don’t use memorization. Trying to remember things will not help you to stay organized. You should try writing things down.
A pen and some paper is our way of remembering things externally, and it’s much more permanent. You can also use a computer or a smart phone. You will only further complicate your life by trying to contain important dates and reminders in your head. Write down everything: shopping lists for groceries, holiday gifts, home decor, and important dates like meetings and birthdays.
As an experiment, try writing down people’s names shortly after you meet them (when they’re not looking). I’ll bet you remember a lot more names that way.
2. Make Schedules and Deadlines
Organised people don’t waste time. They recognise that keeping things organised goes hand-in-hand with staying productive. They make and keep schedules for the day and week. They make deadlines and set goals. And most importantly, they and stick to them! Similarly, by living a cluttered lifestyle, you will not have the time or space to make your deadlines or achieve your goals.
As an experiment, look at your bucket list or make one. Write down the things you want to achieve this year or in your life. Then write down what you need to do to achieve them.
3. Don’t Procrastinate
The longer you wait to do something, the more difficult it will be to get it done. If you want your life to be less stressful and less demanding, then organise as soon as you can. Putting in the effort to get things done as soon as possible will lift the weight off of you from doing it later.
As an experiment, think of one thing that you should organise in your life. Write it down. Then write down when you can do it and what you need to get it done. If you can get it done right now, then go do it!
4. Give Everything a Home
It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a home. Keeping your life organised means keeping your things in their proper places. Organised people keep order by storing things properly and by labelling storage spaces.
Make easy-to-access storage spaces for things you use all the time, and don’t let your storage spaces get cluttered. Be creative about finding places for things. In addition, as a BIG NO: never label a storage space as “miscellaneous!”
As an experiment, choose one place in your home that you can re-organise. If there are scattered items, then group them together. Once you’ve sorted everything, find or make a “home” for similar items, label the “homes,” and put them in the proper places. For example, a cup holder for your pens and pencils should go in an easily accessible place, but the rarely used craft materials can be stored out of sight.
5. Declutter Regularly
Find time each week to organise. Highly organised people make sure they find time every week, or more, to organise there things. Stuff does not stay organised on its own; it needs to be reorganised continuously and consistently.
As an experiment, look at your schedule and find a time to organise, then do it.
6. Keep Only What You Need
More stuff means more clutter. People who live organised lives only keep what they need and what they really really want. Having fewer things also means that you enjoy those things more and feel better about using everything you own, rather than letting half of what you own collect dust.
Have you ever felt like you don’t have the space to keep all the stuff you own? Instead of renting a storage unit or buying a larger home, get rid of some things.
As an experiment, write down the number of things you think you actually need. Then, write a list of all the things that you own. If the number of things you actually own exceeds your ideal need list, then it’s time to organise.
7. Know Where to Discard Items
Do whatever you can to get rid of stuff. Less stuff means less clutter. Donate to thrift stores. Sell on Craigslist or eBay. Take a trip to the recycling centre. Set up a garage sale. Find a place to get rid of your things.
As an experiment, choose one space in your house to purge. Go through shelves, drawers, and boxes. Everything you find that you don’t need, set aside. Make a pile of things to maybe keep, which you can go through later, and a pile of things to discard now. Then find a way to kick those things out the door immediately.
8. Stay Away from Bargains
You have removed the things you don’t need. Will you replace them when you see something on sale? Instead of bargain shopping without planning ahead, write down down exactly what you need and buy only those items. Organised people do not give in to false advertising. Items on sale will only produce more clutter.
As an experiment, go to a shopping mall with no money. Just look at all the things on sale that you wish you could buy if you had brought your wallet or purse. If you find nothing, then good for you. If you made a list, then keep that list somewhere and look at it a month from now. If you still want it, then it’s safe to buy.
9. Delegate Responsibilities
A really organised life is not overfilled with responsibilities, meetings, and deadlines. In fact, it has less because things that create stress have been slowly organised out.
As an experiment, look at your to-do list or make one. Go through the list and find one task that you can remove from your list or give to someone else. Now feel the stress of having to do it fall away.
10. Work Hard
Put in a little effort. Actually, put in a lot of effort when necessary. Once you have delegated responsibilities and made a schedule, then you can organise what you have to do and when you can do it. Staying organised is not all a breeze. It requires that you work hard with recognition that when you work harder, you can enjoy your clutter-free home life later.
As an experiment, worker harder when you feel like giving up today.
How To Practice Forgiveness And Be Happier
Forgiveness plays a very important role in your life, especially within your most intimate relationships. Forgiveness offers both freedom and peace of mind, yet many choose to hold on to pain, bitterness and resentment. A lack of forgiveness lies at the heart of many problems; learning to let it go, thereby releasing you from its prison, can only result in one thing—happiness.
Your health and well-being are closely connected to your happiness. Practising forgiveness will contribute significantly to them. With this in mind I wanted to share some points to help you to become more forgiving.
See forgiveness as a gift to you, not a gift to someone else.One of the reasons why you may hang on to a grievance is that you may believe that you are letting the other person off the hook by offering them forgiveness. In fact, it’s not actually about the other person. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself so that you no longer have to suffer, so that you can find peace and provide closure to the situation. The longer you hold on to a grievance, the more likely you are to have sleepless nights, stress and other unhealthy conditions. Practice forgiveness by treating it as a gift to you, so that you are free to live a happier life.
Stop ruminating on negative feelings.Going over and over the same negative feelings will only continue to be a waste of time and be unproductive. Give yourself an opportunity to express how you feel to the relevant person, or if that is impossible (for example, if they are no longer alive), write it down in your journal. Expressing yourself and articulating exactly how it made you feel will help to release the grievance or grudge, thereby releasing any negative feelings associated with it.
Identify your experience of the grudge.When you’ve had something happen to you as a result of someone else’s behaviour, it is hard to entertain the notion of offering forgiveness. One of the best ways to start the process is to identify your experience of the grudge. What are your actual feelings, thoughts and sensations around the situation? Most likely it will be a dark, sad and heavy feeling, which you have quite possibly played over and over in your mind. It can help to write this down, which will enable you to try to discover a new experience of the grudge so that you can release it once and for all.
Consider the impact holding on to the grudge has on you.Ask yourself what areas of your life it has affected. Has it stopped you from living the life you once had? How would your life change if you practised forgiveness? Remember that what happened was in the past and the very fact you are continuing to hold on to it will only keep it in the future for as long as you let it. Perhaps it is not only affecting you but those around you. Consider how your relationships will change if you choose differently.
Ask yourself what you really need to do this.If you need to express your hurt and pain to someone, perhaps it’s worth looking into that, or ask a friend to sit with you so you can let it all out. Use this as your chance to express what you really need so you can forgive, be honest and open with yourself, and look inwards to help heal. You need to stop carrying this heavy weight around with you, so really ask yourself what it is you need to do in order to continue with your life peacefully.
Acknowledge that it happened.Sometimes when you choose not to forgive, there may be instances where you feel partly responsible for the situation, so you choose to blame someone else rather than be honest with yourself. Guilt is no better than holding on to your grudge; both of these feelings will eat away at you and only cause you harm in the long run. You owe it to yourself and your health to make a fresh start: get everything out, have the courage to own up and let it go.
Forgiveness is a process.Forgiveness will take time, as with anything else that is important to you. When the time is right, you must have an attitude of tough love towards yourself. Yes, be compassionate and caring, but don’t let yourself off the hook. Like doing something that really matters to you, you know you need to do it for your own good, so keep at it and stay committed—it will be worth it in the end.
Is there something or someone you need to forgive?
Brush Up On These 10 Important Skills Many Young Adults Are Losing
In today’s world, we constantly rely on tools, electronics, and connected devices. Growing up in a world of ever-increasing connectivity is bound to require different skills than were needed before. Being a millennial myself, I feel many criticisms from older generations relating to this are misplaced. On the other hand, young people do stand to lose some important skills if we let new technologies completely obscure our approach to life. We might not need to know how to repair things like fences or old-time appliances, but the DIY mentality could be powerful if applied to our new devices. By taking the best of older generations and combining it with today’s unique demands and skill sets, young adults stand to be more empowered than any generation before. Though you don’t need to give up your love of technology, the Internet, or gaming, these 10 skills are still ones we could all benefit from brushing up on.
1. You need to know how to fix things
While it’s unlikely that our generation will need to know the same mechanical skills that past generations knew, our world is constantly growing more technologically connected. Because of this, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of fixing something ourselves. By growing more familiar with the inner workings of our technological tools and toys, our generation stands to be more efficient and self-reliant, and save some money. Things like simple button repairs or frayed cords are straightforward repairs; we shouldn’t be intimidated by learning how to fix our own electronics. Some easier repairs on mobile devices for example, run between $60 and $150. The same repairs can be done in less than an hour if you are familiar with some of the basic parts that go into the devices. Though the objects we are fixing may be different, younger generations should still value knowing how to do something yourself. Just remember that tinkering with your electronics often nullifies your warranty: only do repairs on items when the warranty has expired.
2. You need to value and connect with nature
Another skill our generation is in danger of forgetting is valuing nature. While many people today are concerned with environmental causes, many of us neglect to explore the nature that surrounds us. Though our connected devices do show us the entire world, it’s important to remember that basic knowledge of local plants and animals can come in handy. Not only that, making a habit of going outside helps with vitamin D production, and may even help with anxiety.
3. You have to be able to rely on your memory
While there’s nothing wrong with embracing new innovations, one skill our generation may be losing is committing things to memory. By always having search engines at our fingertips, we are relying on our memory less. It’s important to remember that basic skills and knowledge may be required when you don’t have an Internet connection, so committing things to memory is a valuable habit to get into.
4. You need to know how to cook
Many people in younger generations are more than happy to rely on fast food and microwave meals to get through the week. However, as our society faces increasing concerns with the lack of nutrition in ready-made meals, it’s important that your body is getting everything it needs. One way to ensure this is by cooking at least some of your meals, something most of us could do more of. Though it seems intimidating, a few basic cooking skills are really all you need to supplement your diet.
5. You need to value thriftiness
In today’s world, planned obsolescence and brand obsession attempt to keep consumers spending more than ever. However, it is important to remember the financial crash of 2007/2008 and the challenges we faced. It is crucial that younger generations remember to value thriftiness. Ultimately, the less you spend on possessions, the more you can spend on people and experiences. While we probably don’t need to go as far as the older generation’s world war rationing, keep in mind that possessions are just possessions, and that a new phone doesn’t offer much more than your current one. By wearing things out before you replace them, you stand to save a lot of money, and will be less at the beck and call of corporate marketing.
6. You need to appreciate simplicity
Another quality younger generations should try to hold on to is simplicity. Thankfully, younger generations seem to still be on board with this one, as many millennials are turning away from typical big ticket purchases like cars and homes. While we don’t need to forfeit a comfortable life, if we consume less, we have more resources at our disposal to help others. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, we are aware of the world around us than ever before. If young people can use this power to live more simply and give more to those who need it, we will truly be living up to our potential.
7. You need to expand your vocabulary
Another skill young people should try to retain is a good vocabulary. Language has always fluctuated and changed over time, and many of our “proper” expressions today would have been considered unintelligent, offensive slang 100 years ago. In this way, it’s not necessarily wrong to use abbreviations or Internet slang; however, remember that different ways of expressing yourself make what you’re saying stand out better. Having a rich vocabulary does not require you to ignore messaging language trends, but learning more words to express yourself will make your message more powerful.
8. You need to know basic DIY skills
Another skill young people should try to keep is basic DIY repair skills. Almost everyone will go through a time when something in their house or apartment breaks but they don’t have enough money to fix it. By learning basic repairs and how to use basic tools, you stand be more empowered in your life. If you don’t need to rely on others to fix absolutely everything, you will save money, save time, and probably impress your significant other.
9. You should have some basic survival skills
Along with basic do-it-yourself repairs, young people shouldn’t shy away from learning basic survival skills. While younger people today are probably less likely to be outdoorsman, you never know what situation you might find yourself in. A wrong turn on a back road, or getting lost during an easy hike, can quickly lead to needing to survive a night outdoors. If you know basic skills like how to make a fire, or not to leave your vehicle or supplies, it might just save your life.
10. You have to be able to apply yourself to long tasks
Finally, one skill young people should value is the ability to internalise long books and films. Today’s world moves fast, and our media generally reflects this. Gone are the days where films would normally last over two hours, and the longest book many of us of have ever read is probably one of the Harry Potter books.
However, in life we are often required to tackle challenges that take months or even years of perseverance and work. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying today’s fast-paced media and reading material, it is always helpful to try to finish classic works of literature or older, longer films. By forcing your brain to focus on longer tasks, you will be better equipped to deal with real life situations that require determination and persistence.
5 Ways to Spend Time with Your Kids When You Have No Time
It was Dr. Anthony P. Witham who once said “children spell love…T-I-M-E.” He was definitely onto something. Unfortunately, if you are like most parents, time is a precious commodity that often eludes us. Whether we have a new job, a new baby, or we just need to make the coffee or strip the beds, we always seem to be wishing for more time. We need more. We want more. But we feel we just don’t have it. Does that mean we don’t love them? Of course not.
Spending quality time with our children is extremely important for their development and happiness. I have interviewed thousands of children around the world and they told me that time spent with them doesn’t need to be elaborate or long, but it must be “quality”. We must find ways then to slow down and slip in some memorable time that will let our children know that we love and care for them.
Many children will let you know in their own “subtle” ways if they feel that you are not giving them the attention that they need. Some will withdraw while others will “act out.” You might see it when a child gives “lip” to a teacher, fights with another classmate or resorts back to behaviors that once got your attention like increased crying, throwing tantrums or even bed-wetting. This is a way to capture your attention, albeit often negative, so that they can enjoy “focused” time with you. Essentially the thought process is, “if I can’t get her attention by doing something good, I’ll get her attention by doing something bad.” Nobody wants that!
So how can you find time when you feel you don’t have any to spend?
1. One-on-one time:
Alone time with your child is best when you are doing something you both enjoy. With one family it may be the time when Dad takes the baby so Mom can spend time with the older child. This could mean going to a movie, going to the local theater to see Cinderella, or just sitting at the park on a bench and talking. The frequency of one-on-one time is up to you, but the children I interviewed said at least once a month is the minimum. If you are a single mother with more than one child you could arrange it so that each Saturday you spend quality time with one of your children and the last Saturday of the month you spend quality time as a family.
Marking your dates down on a calendar is a great idea and shows your children you make this time a priority.
2. Integrate Together Time into Your Daily Schedule:
Children love to help. Do you have a mailing to do? Have them put the stamps on the envelopes. Need to go shopping? Make grocery shopping “fun time” with you. Need to make dinner? Let them help you by contributing to the preparation process. While it might be messier and it may time more time in the beginning, you will see that the children will become your greatest helpers and they will look back and remember that “before dinner” was always special time with you.
3. Phantom Time:
Don’t have a moment to spare until about 3 a.m.? You can still let your children know that you care. Write notes and drop them into their lunch boxes. This was one of the top ten things children told me made them feel loved and cared for by their parent. Other ideas would be to record a short video for them using a camera and leaving it for them at the breakfast table. Be creative here!
4. Break time:
Everyone is busy. Some parents are busier than others. Slide in a “break time” so that you and your children can spend 15 minutes or a half hour together. Set a timer if you need to so that everyone knows when “break time” starts and finishes. Give warnings to your children when 2 minutes are left so that it doesn’t come as a surprise. Don’t even have break time available? Wake your child up 15 minutes early so that you can spend a little extra time doing something fun in the morning. You might not think that 15 minutes is any significant time at all, but to a child, it is 15 extra minutes with you.
Spending time with your children provides them with opportunities to learn and to be heard. Most of all, it provides you and your children with time to connect. It’s these connections that make your children feel loved. So leave the beds unstripped for another few minutes and put the coffee on an automatic timer. Take those extra moments to spend with your children. When you look back, you will be thankful for the memories.
5 Books That Can Turn You Into A Different Person
Ever since I was a young boy, I have always been a fan of books. Granted, I was not as an avid reader as I am today.
It astonished me how an author can make you feel; sadness, happiness, excitement, anxiousness. They can write about a story that reminisces on your youth or perhaps a lost love. Others can write about a world that you have dreamed of while you let your mind wander. Possibly a fantasy world. When you are stuck in a rut, trying to find your path out from the dark clouds, words from authors who have experienced a similar situation, can lead you to the brighter road.
Personally, my favourite thing about the author and book was how it could open my eyes to new views. Along with experiences that can make me grow as a person. No matter what age you are, there does come a time in your life, where you need guidance or advice. Reading stories that again, relate to a tough event in your life, does go a long way.
Over the past few years, I have read amazing books and I have read not so amazing books. Then there are ones that I cherished because they made me view the world differently. Whether it was from politics to romance or space. With that, I wanted to share four books that made a different person and will make you one as well.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The story follows a Shepard boy, Santiago, who is having dreams about this “treasure’. During his journey, Santiago meets strangers (perhaps a leading lady) who teach him a thing or two about “treasure”. This book is great those who are looking to find their destiny in life, their purpose.
The Little Prince by Antonie de Saint-Exupery
A pilot whose plane crashed in the Sahara desert meets a young Prince. Throughout the story, the Little Prince shares with the pilot an adventure he went on. He travelled to six different planets, each meeting a character that would affect him personally. Although it is children’s book, it will make you want to cherish your youth and believing in yourself.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Amir, a young boy who was born and raised in Afghanistan, had many ups and downs in life. Which I am sure a lot of us can relate. It follows his life story, youth to adult. This book will make you cry. This book will make you anger. It will also make you happy. You will experience family secrets, first love and how much friendship means to everyone.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
This young girl here is my role model. At just eighteen, Malala has written a book, started a fundraiser and won a Nobel Peace Prize. While reading this book, you will realise as humans, we take a lot of things for granted. Also, how kindness can go a long way.
Zen by Daniel Levin
This book is not a fiction or non fiction book. The title does speak for itself. It is filled with random short stories and quotes that will help with your mind and body. Hopefully finding hope and joy with life itself.
6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life
A couple of months ago I wrote an article on 10 Reasons To Stop Watching TV. I was half expecting resistant replies, but was surprised to read many readers expressing the same sentiments. Some of them have removed TV from their lives since years ago, while some are on the way towards cutting TV out. Many of them expressed improved quality of life after they stopped / reduced TV viewing.
You might be wondering: Why remove TV from our life? Truth is, I used to watch TV a fair bit when I was young. When I was a student, I made it a point to watch all prime time shows (The trailers had a way of making you feel you were missing out if you didn’t watch). If there was ever a blockbuster movie on air, I would catch it too. TV made life seem exciting.
Then slowly, I reduced my TV viewing. It was a natural progression, really, as I became busier and found priorities outside of TV. Today, I’ve not watched TV for about 4 years. I found my life satisfaction increased when I watched less TV. It has given more time for me to pursue my life goals. Compare 2 hours of TV watching to say, writing personal development articles for my blog or writing my 1st book, the latter activities are definitely a whole lot more meaningful. In retrospect, I felt the time I spent in front of the black box in the past was a waste of time.
If you are ready to remove TV from your life and spend time on things that matter more, here are 6 steps on how to do so:
1. Have replacement activities.
For any successful habit change to take place, you have to replace the old habit with something new. Here are some suggestions:
Start a business you like. Since you have more free time now, why not start up a new business? Do it part-time, with no strings attached, and see where it spins off. It’s a great way to cultivate your skills and earn money doing something you like at the same time.
2. Remove your cable subscription.
Being subscribed to the cable TV makes you feel compelled to keep watching, so as to maximise the value of your subscription. If you’re serious about removing TV from your life, unsubscribe immediately. Forget about the line-up of shows on cable – not only do you get a big chunk of your life back, you also save money in the process.
3. Limit your TV viewing every day.If cutting TV out immediately is a big stretch, start off by limiting your TV viewing. If you’re a heavy TV viewer, limit to 2-hours a day first. Then go down to 1.5 hours, then slowly 1-hour, then 30 minutes. Soon it’ll be easy to just stop watching altogether. In fact by then, you’d have experienced the positive effects of not watching TV that you are ready to stop watching it altogether.
4. Work on your goals.
Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, you’ll be surprised at how much progress you’ll make in a short span. Back in 2007, I first started working on my personal goals at least 30 min/day, including my aspirations for my future. After a year, I was ready to quit my day job and pursue my passion. Today, I’m running my personal development business and doing what I love full-time. Start on your goals today, and very soon you’ll see results.
5. Don’t catch new shows.
After I decided to stop watching TV, I stopped catching new shows. I continued to watch past shows that were still running, such as Prison Break (via DVD), but otherwise I stopped catching new shows, be it Ugly Betty or Gossip Girl. With the ending of the “old” shows, it also ended my TV viewing.
6. Put away your TV.
One of my readers got rid of her TV 5 years ago. Since then, her family (comprising of her, her husband and her son) spend a lot more quality time together, playing board games and writing their journals together every week. If throwing away your TV is too drastic, store it away. That’s what happened for another reader. When she was young, her parents didn’t want her to grow up around the negative influence of TV. However, they couldn’t bear to throw the TV away. In the end, they kept the TV in a closet. Subsequently, she grew up TV-free, and had the time to pursue other hobbies and activities.
11 Sleep Habits of Successful People
Sleep is the best meditation. ~ Dalai Lama
There are some people who just seem to have it all figured out. They manage their families, careers and responsibilities with graceful ease, and clean shirts. Have you ever wondered how these ‘types’ manage to juggle so effortlessly, while your balls are seemingly crashing down around you?
These types of people always get the promotion, win the race, don’t ever seem stressed, and eyes just follow them.
What’s their secret? How are they keeping it all together?
I know, and I’m going to tell you.
It’s about getting the proper sleep.
People who get enough sleep are successful, focused and happy.
We need sleep to recharge our brains and bodies. When we are tired, we can aimlessly jump from task to task without any real clarity. We end up treading a tiring circle of never-ending tasks. We all want to be the best version of ourselves, whether it be a good mother, top executive or an amazing athlete.
In our busy society, sleep has become somewhat of a luxury. If you own your own business or have kids, you might relate to the phrase: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Guess what? You couldn’t be further from the truth. You are forgoing the one thing that can help you achieve your success.
Bad sleep habits cause our bodies to become worn. Like an engine without an oil change, we start to break down.
So ask yourself this: are you starting to resemble a zombie from World War Z? That’s not going to bring you success or happiness. Let’s get you back to being human, okay?
1. Don’t eat right before bed
Have your final meal about 3 hours before bedtime. Eating too close to bed will leave your digestive system working very hard and might cause an upset stomach throughout the night.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant and it keeps the body alert and energised. Alcohol may initially calm you or make you feel drowsy, but it actually increases the amount of times you will wake up during the night.
3. Reserve your bed for sleeping, that’s it.If you read, watch TV or do work in bed, it will be hard to wind down. You want to associate your bed with sleep, and sleep only (well, maybe intimacy too, but we won’t get into that now).
4. Shut out the lights
Bright lights actually repress melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our sleep cycles. It is also recommended to avoid reading from back-lit devices late at night. The darker the room, the better. Try using heavy curtains or a sleep mask.
5. Don’t sleep too much
When it comes to sleep, there is too much of a good thing. Oversleeping can lead to heart disease, diabetes and depression. The average adult will need 8 hours sleep. This can vary from person to person, but use this as a guideline.
What You Should do:
1. Meditate.The number one cause of being unable to sleep is stress. We stress about work, relationships or health. Meditation will open a whole new world. You need to turn off your mind, especially if you are struggling with sleep.
Our mind does a lot of thinking, and we usually aren’t even aware that it’s happening. But these thoughts are powerful, and sometimes thoughts can spiral into stressful, negative thoughts and control us. Meditation will give you powerful tools to be the watcher of your mind. By watching your mind, you can prevent urges and negative thoughts, and you can lead a stress-less life.
In addition to meditation, practice relaxation techniques such as:
2. The power of organisation and positive thinking.
Before bed, make a list of all the amazing things about your day. Expressing gratitude is known to improve sleep. Also, make a list about what you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Staying focused will guarantee success.
You need to expend energy. Exercise will make you feel better throughout your day and is wonderful for aiding in sleep. I recommend yoga in particular. Exercise early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid stimulating the body before bed.
4. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is important all the time: during waking hours and sleep time.
5. Drink relaxation tea.
I love having a calming decaffeinated Sleepy-time tea before bed. The aroma itself puts me into a relaxed state.
6. Get up early.
This is the secret ingredient of success. If you want to accomplish big things and stay organised, get up early. I try to get up every day at 5:30; I write for an hour, meditate for half an hour, walk my dogs, make breakfast and then get ready for work. I can’t stress enough the benefits of this habit.
7. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Yes, that’s right, even on the weekends. Do you ever have trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights? Chances are you’ve fallen out of your sleep routine. Do your best to maintain your sleep schedule.
8. Keep a cool room.
Research suggests that we sleep the best if our room is kept at 65°F.
9. Remember that life goes on.Why not postpone your worrying until tomorrow?
And then tomorrow, postpone it to the next day. If you can solve the problem, then solve it; if you can’t solve it, then what is the point of worrying about it?
10. Laugh a lot.Laughter and humour will push stress out and make you more likeable. Stop taking life so seriously.
11. Tape your goals to your night side table.That way the first thing you will see is your list. If you want to get a promotion, write it down in big letters and read it every morning. It’s the old Secret mentality: what you put out into the universe will come back to you. I’ve tried it, and it’s worked for me.
The benefits of sleep go way beyond banishing your dark circles. Sleep habits are an essential part of your lifestyle as a whole. Your best self is there–it might just be hidden underneath a sleep-deprived fog.
Why not start refining your habits tonight?
10 Things To Stop Caring About If You Want To Be Happier
It’s time to care less. Yep, that’s right. Sometimes we take the world on our shoulders, and instead of making the world a better place, all we end up doing is creating more stress for ourselves. Here are simple tips to ease that heavy mental load and feel more carefree.
1. What others think
Dance to your own beat. Act dumb. Do whatever you have to but don’t take on board what others think. It’s your life, your decisions and choices. Others love to judge, and why should you care if they do? Only you define yourself, so let them be amused if it makes them happy. When you care too much about that others will say, you live your life for them and not yourself.
2. Past mistakes
We all make mistakes and mess up in life. That’s just how life goes. Don’t be hard on yourself, though. Accept that everyone gets it wrong sometimes; it’s part of the human condition. You really are allowed to cut yourself some slack. Learn to forgive yourself more often.
The big “F” word that everyone fears. It doesn’t have to be a scary concept, though. Ultimately, it depends on your attitude to failure. If you see failure as not being perfect, you’re going to be permanently miserable. A more realistic idea of failure is giving up. If you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed. See failure as a learning curve, a trial and error process. See failure as your friend – it’s no big deal unless you allow it to be.
4. What you don’t have
The human default position tends to err on the side of lack rather than abundance, which is not conducive to feeling carefree. We focus on what we don’t have and end up feeling thoroughly deprived. What’s the point of that? I often tell my clients to focus on the positives of what they have and the negatives of what they don’t have. Why would you want to torture yourself with all the things you don’t have? That type of thinking will not serve you in any productive way at all. Make a list of all the things in your life that you appreciate. There will always be others with more and others with less. What you have is enough.
5. “What Ifs
”We can drive ourselves crazy worrying about what might happen in the future. No one can predict the future (psychics might dispute this), and there is no point in torturing yourself unnecessarily about things that may never come to pass. Remind yourself that this type of worry is wasted energy and distract yourself. Face worry head on – if you can do something in the present moment, go for it. If not, distract yourself and ‘shelve’ the worries.
6. “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts
When we believe that we will be happy once something has happened, we effectively put our life on hold until the event happens. Wishing your current life is away is a precious waste of happy moments in life. Be in the moment more and care less about being happy in the future. Decide to be happy now. Happiness is not a destination, it is a manner of travelling.
Regret is a part of life. The past cannot be undone, so it pays to look at what you have done in life philosophically. Did you learn something from it? If you learned never to do it again or to try a different approach, then you’ve ended up with a positive result. Accept what has gone before, make allowances for human error and move on.
Many of us are so afraid of rejection that we stay in our comfort zones and never risk true intimacy. Wear your heart on your sleeve and risk being vulnerable. The more you hide out of fear, the greater the fear will grow. Show yourself that you can express your feelings and live with the consequences. You will conquer fear of rejection in this way and feel more carefree. Even if the outcome is not as expected, you will soon realise that it wasn’t as bad as you anticipated and that you can deal with it. Be a little more thick skinned, be brave and see life as an adventure.
9. Society’s expectations
Be thin, be beautiful. Show off your wealth and status and then you’ll be adored. What nonsense. When you like and accept yourself as you are, you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Don’t buy into the constant media images of perfection. Most of the images are airbrushed and lead us to believe that we should all look as perfect. Try not to take it to heart. We all like to see perfect images, but don’t lose sight of the fact that most of it is digitally enhanced and not natural. Love yourself, imperfections and all. Self acceptance is true freedom.
10. Being good enough
It’s easy to feel that we don’t measure up somehow. We live in a competitive world. It’s okay and even healthy to want to improve and grow as a person. It becomes unhealthy, though, when we internalise negative ideas about how we aren’t good enough. Always challenge this type of thinking. What is “good enough”? Where is the international rule book that clarifies what “good enough” is? As long as you feel happy with who you are, where you are and how far you have come, that is all that matters.
We all worry unnecessarily and create inner misery for ourselves. Remember the above ten points, as they are definitely items you can immediately remove from your worry list. Hopefully you’ll feel a little lighter and a little more carefree too!
10 Smart Ways to Deal with Rude People
10 Smart Ways to Deal with Rude People
If only there were a way to make all the rude people go and live on an island together so we didn’t have to deal with them!
But wait a sec. There are smarter ways to deal with rude people! Here are my top 10.
1. Remember, sometimes the rude person is you.
Maybe not today, but there’ve been times when you were rude. And you’re not a bad person. So next time somebody’s rude to you, remember that they’re human just like you, and rudeness alone doesn’t mean they’re a bad person either.
2. Don’t take it personally (even if it’s personal).
When someone’s rude—especially if they’re making personal comments about you—it’s easy to get upset. But you have a choice about how you react. Take the power out of their rudeness by choosing to treat it as their problem, not your problem.
3. Find out why.
People have their own reasons for being rude. Perhaps they’ve had a bad day, or they’re in a hurry and think there isn’t time for manners. Perhaps they don’t even realize how rude they’ve been. You won’t know until you ask! Stay calm and simply say, “I think that’s pretty rude. Why are you treating me like this?” The answer may surprise you.
4. Be objective and analyse the rudeness.
So somebody was rude to you. What did they do or say? Was there any sense in it? If you view the situation objectively, you’ll realize that most rudeness is senseless, so you can cheerfully ignore it. On the rare occasions when there’s logic behind the rude behavior, staying objective lets you address the root of the problem instead of the rudeness concealing it.
5. Don’t join the drama club.
Do you feel like yelling at the rude people around you? Don’t. Joining in the drama will only escalate the situation. Whether you’re dealing with a drama queen who’s doing it on purpose, or an inconsiderate oaf whose rudeness is unintentional, keep your dignity intact by not letting rude behavior provoke you into a tantrum of your own.
6. Let it drop and walk away.
Rudeness is hurtful, but removing yourself from the situation is the fastest and surest way to avoid more rude behavior from the same person. Walk away, even if they’re still talking to you! If they’re a stranger, you’ll never have to deal with them again. If they’re a friend or colleague, they’ll soon learn that being rude to you gets them exactly nowhere (and maybe that will prompt them to be nicer next time).
7. Consider offering help.
Some rudeness is a simple case of bad manners. But often, a person who’s rude to you does so because they feel frustrated about something—and if it’s within your power to resolve their frustration, you may see them switch from rudeness to gratitude in seconds. A word of warning, though: only offer help if you can provide it immediately, as an offer of help “later on” can add to their feelings of frustration.
8. Understand rudeness as a habit.
Some people are rude simply because they’re always rude. Once rudeness becomes a habit, it can be difficult to shake off even if they truly want to behave better. Habitual rudeness should never be taken personally; it’s just a pattern that’s hard to break. Which brings us to the next point--
9. Don’t try to force a change.
You can’t make someone be polite if they want to be rude. In fact, trying to force a change in their behavior will often make them behave worse instead of better. Sometimes your best option is to accept that their rudeness is not your fault and let them find their own solutions.
10. Fight rudeness with kindness.
Don’t let rudeness make you respond with more of the same. The best way to defuse rude behavior is to stay friendly and helpful, giving the other person a chance to calm down and adjust their behavior to match yours.
How Meditation Can Help to Improve Your Productivity
As business competition is rising tremendously, being innovative and productive is the best choice for employees who want to retain their jobs. Employees who work hard and devote more and more time to being productive end up becoming very stressed. Stressful minds will never be productive and in most case, the employee will start hating their job. You can improve your productivity when your mind is at peace and that will only occur with tools like meditation and yoga. Meditation is a state of mind where you think about nothing. It has historical value and is considered to be a gateway of cosmic energy. It provides clarity in thoughts that result in a tension-free and blissful life.
Meditation is a simple, effective method that can help you to improve your productivity. If you are completely relaxed and stress-free, then your mind will also work more effectively. The right side of our brain, which is responsible for creating new ideas, will work actively when you do meditation regularly. As a result, you will be able to produce new designs and ideas for your business. It might sound bizarre that you can improve your productivity just by sitting quietly and alone, but it’s true. The most surprising fact is that this short time will improve your entire day. So, regularly invest some time into meditation so that you can gain some fruitful results in return. Meditation has great soothing as well as relaxing effects. Lets us discuss some of the important benefits of Meditation.
Benefits of Meditations:
It’s really needless to say; it has been scientifically proven that meditation provides immense benefits to our minds. Regular practice of meditation will increase your concentration power which leads to an increase in productivity. If you are meditating regularly, you will be able to do more work with in the same amount of time.
How to do Meditation?
The basic idea of meditation is very simple; you just need to concentrate on your breath. First sit straight on plane surface and focus on breathing in and breathing out. If it’s your first time, and you are unable to focus on your breath, don’t worry. Just try it again. It’s not so easy that you just close your eyes and meditate right away. Regular practice is necessary; if you lose your concentration, you must bring your attention back to your inhale and exhale until the meditation is over. In short, meditation is all about focus, concentration and attention.
If you are a newbie and are having trouble concentrating during meditation, I recommend going for guided meditation. You can find various guided meditation audio available online. Just follow the instruction and focus on your breathing. With regular practice, you will be able to start concentrating on and enjoying your meditation. Small sessions that combine pranayama and meditation can give the best results in terms of health and peace of mind.
What to do while meditating?Keep your mind cool and breathe calmly. Your total attention should be given to your breathing. While meditating, observe your conscious strength, and you will experience outstanding peace. But remember, your breathing process must be effortless. The speed of your breathing doesn’t matter; the important thing is that it should be natural. Inflow and outflow of breathing is a natural process, so don’t ever try to pressure yourself.
Last but not least, meditation has numerous benefits to your health. With meditation, your productivity will be enhanced to the ultimate level and you will be refreshed all the day. It will also enable you to work with full energy and concentration. Invest some time into mediation to be active and productive; it will be well worth it.
How to Stop Procrastinating and Stick to Good Habits by Using the “2-Minute Rule”
How to Stop Procrastinating and Stick to Good Habits by Using the “2-Minute Rule”Recently, I’ve been following a simple rule that is helping me crush procrastination and making it easier for me to stick to good habits at the same time. I want to share it with you today so that you can try it out and see how it works in your life.
The best part? It’s a simple strategy that couldn’t be easier to use.
Here’s what you need to know:
How to Stop Procrastinating With the “2–Minute Rule”I call this little strategy the “2–Minute Rule” and the goal is to make it easier for you to get started on the things you should be doing.
Here’s the deal: Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do; you have the talent and skills to accomplish them, but you just avoid starting them for one reason or another. The 2–Minute Rule overcomes procrastination and laziness by making it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no.
There are two parts to the 2–Minute Rule:
Part 1 — If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.
This part originally comes from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done.
It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after your meal, tossing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning up clutter, sending that email, and so on.
If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, then follow the rule and do it right now.
Part 2 — When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.
Can all of your goals be accomplished in less than two minutes? Obviously not, but every goal can be started in 2 minutes or less, and that’s the purpose behind this little rule.
It might sound like this strategy is too basic for your grand life goals, but I beg to differ. It works for any goal because of one simple reason: the physics of real life.
The Physics of Real LifeAs Sir Isaac Newton taught us a long time ago, objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. This is just as true for humans as it is for falling apples.
The 2–Minute Rule works for big goals as well as small goals because of the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. I love the 2–Minute Rule because it embraces the idea that all sorts of good things happen once you get started.
Want to become a better writer?
Just write one sentence (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself writing for an hour.
Want to eat healthier?
Just eat one piece of fruit (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself inspired to make a healthy salad as well.
Want to make reading a habit?
Just read the first page of a new book (2–Minute Rule), and before you know it, the first three chapters have flown by.
Want to run three times a week?
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, just get your running shoes on and get out the door (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll end up putting mileage on your legs instead of popcorn in your stomach.
The 2–Minute Rule isn’t about the results you achieve, but rather about the process of actually doing the work. The focus is on taking action and letting things flow from there.
The most important part of any new habit is getting started—not just the first time, but each time. It’s not about performance, it’s about consistently taking action. This is especially true in the beginning because there will be plenty of time to improve your performance later on.
Try it Now
I can’t guarantee whether or not the 2–Minute Rule will work for you, but I can guarantee that it will never work if you never try it. The problem with most articles you read, podcasts you listen to, or videos you watch is that you consume the information but never put it into practice. I want this article to be different. I want you to actually use this information right now.
What’s something you can do that will take you less than two minutes? Do it right now.
Anyone can spare the next 120 seconds. Use this time to get one thing done.
The 7 Secrets of Unwavering Self-Confidence
We’ve all had confidence-eroding events in our lives. Not getting the job we wanted, overhearing a snide remark, or getting negative feedback can all create a momentary dip in the way we feel about ourselves. If we're not careful, these transient negative states can linger on and sap us of the energy we need to take actions that lead to competence and confidence.
Our minds work in wonderful feedback loops that can build us up or bring us down. Renowned psychologist Albert Bandura said that our beliefs about ourselves shape us and lead to how we think, behave and feel. Our self-concept becomes the secret driver of our lives. The more stable and positive this self-concept, the less likely we are to yo-yo with every setback—and the more confident we'll feel to engage in behaviors that lead to upward spirals of growth, resilience, and confidence.
Our emotions in the moment thus have a profound impact on who we become. Luckily, the science of happiness shows that positive emotions are under our control far more than previously thought. A naturally cheery outlook on life may be inherited, but a positive one can be built through voluntary activities. If you need to boost levels of happiness to overcome a yo-yoing confidence, come join the ride! Here's how to fight the voice that questions your abilities, overlooks your achievements, and beats you down for your apparent failings.
Be Your Compassionate Voice
Setbacks and failures are a part of life. And yet, there's a voice in our heads that reserves its most negative commentary for ourselves. Professor Paul Gilbert says that being our own staunch supporter and kindly voice provides us with the space to analyze our actions without judgment, hold ourselves in acceptance and thus develop the courage to go out and do the right thing. If you find it hard to be there for yourself, imagine what you would say to a friend who messed up. Now, can you offer yourself the same understanding?
Learn to Turn off Your Thoughts
Although it's important to listen to our thoughts, it's equally important to know how to let them go. The human mind can be a personal tormentor. Replaying negative thoughts over and over in our minds pulls us down into a pit of pessimism that distorts reality. And given human nature and the social worlds we live in, most of these thoughts judge ourselves against someone else. Allowing the achievements and appearances of others to determine our confidence is the most self-sabotaging of behaviors. If you find yourself constantly measuring yourself against "perfect" others, bring an end to the torture through thought distraction techniques such as going out for a jog or listening to your favorite music.
Practice Gratitude: Notice 3 Good Things
We have an insatiable limbic system that constantly yearns for more. In a world of unlimited choices and an unrealistic desire for perfection, it can always find reasons to be unhappy. Shining the torch of awareness on our negative is a sure way of feeding unhappiness. Practice gratitude instead, by building a list of all that is worthy in you, and you'll not only calm the limbic system, but also remember your qualities when you feel you don't have any. Here's one to try, based on the famous "3 Good Things" exercise studied by happiness researchers: Simply notice and appreciate 3 good things about yourself every day.
Remind Yourself of the Power of "Yet"
Obstacles and setbacks feel bad enough when they happen. But when we believe there's nothing we can do to change the situation, we feel hopeless. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck encourages a "growth mindset" that reminds us of the neuroplasticity of the brain and its amazing capacity to learn and grow by forming new connections. Whenever you feel dejected by a roadblock, remind yourself of the power of "yet"—you may not have mastered the skill "yet" but it is in your power to do so!
Lean on your Circle of Support
Although confidence has to come from within—from internal beliefs that we are able and worthy—our neural architecture places us within a narrative that contains the other people in our lives. Being around supportive friends and family who genuinely wish the best for us and cheer us along the way gives rise to real confidence and a beaming attitude. Have you identified your circle of support?
Identify Your Pet Peeve—and Change It!
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research shows that around 10% of our happiness is dependent on the conditions in our lives. Sure, it's a small percentage, but if there's something about your appearance that gives rise to feelings of shame AND it is in your power to change it, by all means go for it.
For example, studies have shown that plastic surgery can lead to lasting increases in our happiness with our appearance. Even if a nose job is not on your to-do list, remember to pamper yourself regularly. It's amazing how small changes such as a flattering hair color or cut, a well-fitting jacket, or daring lipstick can work wonders for our confidence.
Find a Meaningful Purpose
Man’s search for meaning evolved as a response to the realization of the uncertainty of life. Dr. Roy Baumeister says that having a meaningful purpose that's aligned to our strengths and values builds our confidence and protects us from the chaos of emotions.
Setbacks, other people’s comments, and difficult situations all take a backseat when your goal lights up your life with a spark that burns with passion.
Positive emotions pick us up where low confidence abandons us and encourage us to take purposeful action instead of wallowing in our misery. And savoring these moments of growth allows them to seep down into our long-term memory to form a positive lens through which we view ourselves.
There's no better way to build stable and lasting confidence.