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How to Find Inner Peace: 5 Beliefs You Must Drop Now

Each one of us is fighting a battle no one is aware of. This is why finding inner peace is extremely important.

But, is it as simple as it sounds?

No.

Not because it’s hell difficult but because of the beliefs, stories, perceptions, and philosophies we have adopted over the course of our lives. Dalai Lama could not have said it better, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

People think of peace as some kind of epiphany or an enlightenment from the skies.

In reality, inner peace has nothing to do with it. It’s more about accepting the things in life you have no control over and dropping beliefs you are holding onto for the longest time.

When you start to let go of those beliefs, you will find it within you to liberate yourself. This being said, here are five beliefs you should drop if you want to learn how to find inner peace.

I am perfect

No one was and will ever be. So, what’s the point of troubling yourself by comparing your life to others?

Drop the belief or even the expectation that you are perfect or sufficient. The moment you accept this reality, you’ll liberate yourself from one of the heaviest feelings in the world.

There’s no such thing as a perfect body, perfect career, perfect house, or even the perfect time. Perfect doesn’t exist.

Make peace with your life, struggles, and circumstances as they are. They are just the way they are supposed to be.

I have not achieved anything significant as of now

self progress

You don’t have to build a Taj Mahal or get a prefix in front of your name to feel important or special.

If you haven’t achieved something extraordinary, you don’t have to beat yourself to death for it. Destiny has a reason for everything.

All that matters is that you give your heart and soul to whatever it is that you do – from making planes to earthen lamps.

We all have our journey. Some reach their destinations early while it takes time for others. Don’t confuse movement with progress, my friend!

What if they don’t like me if I show my true self to them

Most of us aren’t content because we carry the baggage of being someone else. We are scared that if we act the way we are, people might not like that.

Just imagine:

How can you be happy being appreciated for being someone you are not? Does that validation even matter?

The reality is you are much more than the pretense you do, the jokes you crack, and the smiles people show when they look at you.

What matters is that you’re appreciated for what you are and what you do- even if it means not many people liking you.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

How can I love myself when no one else does

love yourself

The world we live in paints a wrong picture when it comes to the idea of lovers and friends. Humans are social beings. We tend to surround ourselves with the company of others to feel better.

Those who aren’t social by nature get the whole idea wrong and end up thinking that something is not right with them.

We need to promote self-love, the concept of loving yourself unabashedly.

Go out on a date with yourself, travel solo, buy yourself gifts, and date yourself until you find someone worth it.

See Also: 5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

I have to make them proud to feel good about myself

Success is the word which is making people feel inadequate about themselves.

What if I say that you don’t have to be successful, you just have to be you. Period.

People who love you when you don’t own the biggest bungalow or the fanciest car are the ones that really matter.

They love you for what you are- successful or not. They aren’t waiting for you to climb the Everest to say that they are proud of you.

The day we learn to get out of the shackles of these self-created opinions and beliefs will be the day we would find inner peace. The day we stop berating our existence and accept that we deserve nothing but the best will be the day we would enjoy inner peace.

Ask yourself this:

Why do we only rest in peace when we can live in peace?

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How to Find Your Dream Job: 5 Tips You Can Use Right Now

Everyone has a dream job in mind. However, finding and actually getting that job isn’t that easy.

You may need to send out countless resumes and cover letters. You may need to go to interviews that don’t really guarantee any good results. There will be times that you won’t get any response, no matter how persistent you are. You’ll face a lot of competition and rejection that will really affect your confidence.

Listen:

Randomly sending out resumes may get you a few interviews, but you will be wasting a lot of real and good opportunities. For an effective job search, you need a careful and well-planned strategy.

If you aren’t sure how to do that, here’s a quick guide on how to find your dream job.

Define your job search criteria

The first thing that you need to define is the criteria for the job you are looking for. You need to be clear about your job priorities because it will help in focusing your research.

When you know your motivations, it will be easier for you to find opportunities that are perfect for your ambitions and skills. It can be the salary, job position, or company culture.

Although defining the criteria for your job search is essential, you still need to make sure that there is enough room for flexibility. If you are too rigid with your criteria, you can end up sacrificing your dream job for some mundane things.

Create a list

writing a list

 

Once you have defined the criteria that you are looking for, you need to use them to search for available jobs and make a list. Prioritize them according to their desirability and when you have a list, you’ll find it easier to organize and keep track of the jobs.

Read job descriptions

When you are searching for a job, make sure that you read every job description. It may feel like a time-consuming activity, but it will actually save you more time in the future.

When you read job descriptions, you’ll be able to know which jobs fit your skills, education, and experience. By knowing which jobs you qualify for, you’ll have more time to focus on them and you’ll spend less time on irrelevant jobs.

Create an attractive resume and engaging cover letter

short resume

Your resume and cover letter play an important role in getting the attention of potential employers. They are your way of introducing yourself and convincing them that you are the best candidate for the position.

Instead of sending out the same resume and cover letter, create multiple versions. Make sure that you only send out resumes that speak about the requirements for the jobs you are applying for.

See Also: 5 Tips To Making Your Resume Cover Letter Stand Out

Activate referral network

It is important to create a network because it will expose you to a lot of job opportunities.

There are a lot of opportunities that are not advertised and if you do not have a referral network, you won’t even hear about them. You should take some time to attend conferences, events, lectures, and industry-related seminars so that you can build a good network that will keep you informed about the best positions and opportunities.

When you are looking for a job, you should let people know that you are looking for employment. This way, you’ll be one of the first people they’ll think of when the hiring process begins.

Finding a good job that will keep you happy and satisfied requires patience and the right strategies. Sometimes, it can take years before you can find your dream job, so be patient and consistent. With a little work and discipline, you’ll be able to get the job that will make you really happy.

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7 Secrets To Help You Make 2018 Super Successful

There are many ways to be successful. As we move into the new year, you are starting to think about how you can make this your most successful year ever.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

You’re going to learn seven practical tips for reaching your goals and improving your life in 2018. Each of these tips will focus on the following aspects of your life:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Soul
  • Relationships
  • Business and career
  • Personal finances
  • Personal limits

One of the most important keys to goal setting and goal achievement is to take a holistic approach. You are not simply composed of a body and a brain. You are a complete person, with a mind, body, and soul.

When you focus on only one aspect of your life, it becomes too easy for it to become unbalanced. Achieving success in one area of life at the expense of the other areas will cause frustration and will eventually make you miserable and unhealthy.

So, learn from these seven tips and discipline yourself to build a balanced life. Choose goals that are in harmony with one another. When your goals are in alignment, your progress will advance at a rapid rate and your life will improve faster than you can imagine.

Feed Your Mind

Everything begins with your thoughts and your mental health. Successful people think positively. They bring a good attitude to everything that they do. They are optimistic and practical and they have hope for the future.

What does your future look like? When you project yourself five or ten years forward, do you like what you see? What do you want your life to look like a few years from now and how will you make that happen?

Your future life will be determined by the actions you take right now. If your present course will not get you where you want to be, then you must change course.

You must learn new things. You must develop new skills. You must expand your education in order to create new opportunities for yourself. The internet has created a revolution in self-education and you must take advantage of this.

Did you know that you can get a free Harvard education?

We’re not just talking about scholarships here. But any average person can audit online college courses for free.

Just think of the possibilities and check out the free courses available today. See which of them align with your goals.

If you don’t see any classes you want to take, you can still expand your knowledge in other ways.

When was the last time you visited your local public library?

Every topic you could possibly want to learn about can be studied in-depth at the library.

It is said that top business executives read one new book every week, on average. If you want to gain new knowledge in your field, you shouldn’t stop yourself from feeding your mind.

Feed Your Body

healthy meals

To achieve higher levels of success in 2018, you will also want to feed and care for your body. Did you know that your physical condition can affect your mental health, your job performance, and your relationships?

See Also: 10 Brain Damaging Activities You Need To Stop Doing Now

Think about it.

Your brain requires a variety of nutrients and proper blood flow to perform at its best. Mental sluggishness goes hand-in-hand with physical sluggishness. So, let your physical condition support your mental, financial, and spiritual goals.

Begin by only putting quality foods into your body. Man-made, processed foods cannot supply all the nutrients you need for optimum health and peak performance. Instead, spend more time shopping in the grocery aisle.

Purge your kitchen and pantry of junk foods and stock up on fresh vegetables and fruits. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds should make the most of your grocery list.

If you live a busy lifestyle and are pressed for time, cook your meals in large batches. You can just divide them into individual storage containers so that you can simply grab one from the fridge as you head out the door to work.

Slip in a little physical exercise every day as well. If you don’t have the money for a gym membership or if you have difficulty carving out time to go there every day, then just park a little bit further from the entrance when you go to work or to the store. The added walking distance can accumulate throughout the week.

You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator or try spending half of your lunch break walking around the office building instead of lounging in the break room and watching TV.

Feed Your Soul

yoga love yourself

There are so many ways to nourish your soul. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Religious practice
  • Prayer
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Nature walks
  • Music
  • Art

All of these activities are good for the soul and they can reap great benefits in your life with only a few minutes per day. The secret is to make them a part of your daily routine. Forming new habits may seem difficult at first but with daily practice, you’ll find your soul craving for them.

Nurture Your Relationships

You are not an island. Your life is greatly hindered or enriched by the relationships you build. But despite being surrounded by hundreds and even thousands of people every day, you’ll find that limiting your interactions to a few key people can be greatly rewarding.

You can’t nurture 100 relationships at once. So, take some time to identify those people who matter most to you. Commit to engaging with them a little more each week.

In order to spend more time with these key people, you may have to spend less time with others. Think about the other people in your life and identify any toxic relationships.

Do some people seem to drain your energy and happiness? Do you feel more stressed out after hanging out with certain friends, coworkers or family members?

If so, recognize that your happiness matters. Start weaning yourself off of those people to free up more time for those who actually enrich your life.

See Also: 8 Types of Toxic Friends That Are Holding Your Happiness Hostage

Build Your Business

Your business or your career takes up a huge part of your life, so it only makes sense that you set goals for achieving higher levels of success there. Your career can affect other areas of your life, too. Before you spend another decade climbing the corporate ladder, you need to make sure that this ladder is leaning up against the right building first.

If you are unhappy with your job, change it. If you can’t stand your boss, fire him. This is not the 2018 BCE. You have freedom and you have choices. Use your freedom to choose the life you want and that starts with your job.

And if you seem to hate every job you’ve ever had, then maybe it’s time to create your own job by starting a business. With the internet, it’s now easier and cheaper to start a business from scratch.

Protect Your Finances

You work hard for your money but does your money bring you more freedom?

It can and it should.

The problem many people face is that they are stuck in the work-spend-work cycle. They work harder to make more money. Then, they spend all the money they make and more, thanks to credit cards. Once they spent all their money, they work even harder to keep up with the credit card bills.

It’s an unending cycle.

This year, you don’t have to live that way.

Begin setting aside a little money every week into a savings account and don’t touch it. If you need to cut back on your spending, then do that. Remember, nobody is stopping you.

If you cannot discipline yourself to save money from every paycheck, then you will never reach your financial goals.

Push Your Limits

This is the year that everything will change for you, but the changes cannot take place if you are continuing to live your life the same way you’ve been living it for the past few years. To get different results, you have to do things differently.

If you want to achieve more, you must become a new person. The old you is stuck in a comfort zone, and that is what is holding you back. To achieve the life you want, you will need to push out of your comfort zone.

This will not be easy, but it will be totally worth it.

As you attempt to make changes in your work life, your body, your relationships and your spiritual life, you will encounter discomfort. Pay attention when this happens! This is good! This is your opportunity!

To achieve the breakthroughs in the life that you desire, you must learn to love the discomfort. You must embrace the uncertainty that comes with trying new things. Everything you want is on the other side of that discomfort, so do not give up and do not give in.

Push through your limitations to create the new life that you envision. Those are the best ways to be successful.

The post 7 Secrets To Help You Make 2018 Super Successful appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Your New Year’s Resolution: Better Recycling Practices

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s an old classic saying, but is it true?

How about garbage? Is garbage beautiful?

Maybe, if you know how to make it “un-garbage”.

Take this year as an opportunity to do the planet a great favor by avoiding the landfill in favor of recycling.

Science Weighs In

earth closed system

In a closed system, like the Earth, where very, very little mass ever exits orbit to enter outer space, the total amount of energy can change from one form to another, but cannot ever be destroyed.

The things we make out of any material, whether simple or complex, natural or synthetic, organic or inorganic, are going to stay right here in our neighborhood garbage dump or even in the ocean when we are done using them.

So, challenge yourself and assess your recycling practices.

Glance around your room for about 30 to 60 seconds. Try to imagine the length of time the items you see will remain in a useful condition. This length of time is called ‘the useful life of an asset’ by the United States Internal Revenue Service.

If you see a lot of things that can be used for a long time, then that’s great! However, if you see more things with lower useful life, then that’s going to be a problem.

For example, gadgets and other products of technology are great when they are new. They are useful and enjoyable to use. Once newer and more innovative devices are introduced, your gadgets become less and less useful.

Removing the old technology, sometimes called e-waste, is a huge problem in both personal and business settings.

Getting Practical

Practice makes perfect. Now, that’s not quite correct as only perfect practice makes perfect. Imperfect practice makes imperfection and that is the recycling system of today. We are, as a whole, still uneducated on the correct recycling procedures.

For example, what is the negative result that comes from single-stream (unsorted) recycling?

The answer is often unsorted trash put in the recycle bin that doesn’t end up getting properly recycled at all.

How and Why to Recycle the Weird Stuff

If you’re not sure where to start with recycling, here are a few tips you can use:

Aerosol Cans– Valuable for their steel, they may go in a bin or taken to a recycling center.
Car Batteries– Valuable for their lead, you can turn them in for money at a scrap yard.
Pet Fur– Valuable for its ability to absorb oil, you can donate them to proper institutions. Pantyhose– Valuable for its nylon, they can be repurposed as well as recycled because they are stretchy and strong.
Vegetable Peels– Valuable for making dirt, you can turn them into fertilizers.

See Also: How To Recycle Copper Scrap

Disasters Spell Disaster for Recycling

recycling

When destructive natural causes wreak havoc in a certain area, caring for survivors, preventing diseases, and restoring health and safety services as soon as possible are top priorities. The most vulnerable segments of society suffer deeply in times of natural disaster and unfortunately, there’s a disparity in the fair distribution of resources and aid. Removing damaged and dangerous remnants, even when help arrives swiftly, can still take all too long to accomplish.

Because there are so many things we have to deal with during a natural disaster, recycling isn’t given much priority. There’s not enough room to add a recycling mandate on the clean-up crews’ list of responsibilities and this can spell bad news. There’s the risk of exposure to black mold, sewage contamination or storm residues.

When times are okay and we’re not dealing with any disaster, we hardly think about access to clean water and air. We enjoy uninterrupted services and access to the goods we want to buy and use. The only time we think about and appreciate those things is during a natural disaster.

This year, don’t wait for a disaster to strike. Start doing better recycling practices to avoid regrets later on.

See Also: 10 Ways to Enjoy a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

The Future is Now

We said progress and progress we shall have.

Waste can become a resource and a path for revenue. Since the concept of recycling has improved over the years, it’s now making more of a difference than ever before.

That’s the good news.

Ecologists, environmentalists, and ordinary people who participate in increasing society’s awareness on recycling continually work hard to improve the quality of the recycling process. They put an effort to let in more types of products, process more substances, and form new goods out of old materials.

Students in college programs majoring in ecology and environmental studies in the U.S. and abroad are working hard before and after graduation to contribute to our sustainable future.

Garbage is beautiful when it is the topic of a positive problem-solving conversation. The infographic below has a number of salient talking points to get us speaking (and listening!) together about caring for our big blue and green planet.

Let’s recycle and be smart!
Garbage is beautiful
Source: It’s Not Trash

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The Magic of Appreciation: How to Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is the key to happiness in life, at work, and in relationships.

Studies show that depressed people who engaged in gratitude practice were 25% less depressed after a 12-week period. Interesting, right?

When we are down, we tend to ruminate and go over the same things over and over. Most of the time, it’s about our past and ourselves. We can’t stop being self-critical.

According to a study performed by Dr. James Pennebaker, depressed people used the “I” word at a 6.5% rate, that’s 4% higher than the average person. And those who suffer from a mental illness use “I” 11 times more than other people.

When we focus on the present and we’re grateful for what we have and who we are, we generate positive memories. These are the memories we can reflect on in the future that can help us feel better. Also, focusing on others and what we can do for other people can help us, too. We won’t be using so many “I” words.

So, do yourself a favor and focus on the present, what you have and what you’re doing. Once you are able to do that, you’ll be a happier person.

thank you

Make sure to appreciate the people around you as well. They’ll know it and they’ll reward you in kind.

In one study, twice as many people helped a second time after receiving a thank you email than when no thank you email was sent. The study showed people did it because they felt more socially valued when they’d been thanked.

Dr. Sara Algoe, a US psychologist, emphasized that “Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end.”

On the other hand, a Glassdoor study showed that more than 80 percent of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

gratitude

A feedback loop develops when you appreciate others. They begin to think about how they appreciate you.

It is easy to focus on what people are not and how they are different, but when you focus on people’s good qualities, you will be happier around them. They will be happier around you, too.

And what happens when you do the opposite?

Many will get defensive, angry, and lash out, causing you to do the same thing. Best to start off and focus on the right things. This is especially true in marriage.

So, appreciate people for what they are, what they bring to the table and for who they are and not who they are not. This way, you’ll be better off individually and together.

What can you tell about people who don’t say thank you?

Well, the inability to say thank you could be a sign of narcissism. When people feel entitled or full of themselves, they fail to appreciate the complement or the contribution of others. They think they deserve the special treatment or special praise because they are special.

No one wants to be with someone like that. So, make sure to show how thankful you are to those around you.

See Also: A Little Bit of Gratitude, Everyday!

How to get started?

Make it easy.

Try thinking or writing down three simple things you’re grateful for each day. Tony Robbins makes this a daily practice and he starts with something easy, like the wind on the face or the peacefulness of no wind.

You can show gratitude for anything or anyone in your life. It can be as simple as being alive and the opportunity to do things better the next time.

Make it a habit and do it every single day. Over time, your view of the world and life will dramatically change.

Thank you for reading this!

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3 Must-Reads For Ambitious Humans

I am ambitious.

To reach my goals I need to learn to get better. And to get better, I read all the time.

I do it partly because successful people throughout the ages have been voracious readers.
Legends, like Elon Musk and Abraham Lincoln, attribute their success to reading.

So, without further ado, here are the best books to read for success.

Methods of Persuasion

methods of persuasion nick kolends

Every page and every section of this book is chock-full of methods you can use on a daily basis.

The best part of Methods of Persuasion is the thoroughness of the research.
Every method is backed by scientific studies.

On top of that, Kolenda provides case-studies and real-life applications of each method.

I’ve implemented every aspect of this book in my daily life and it has paid off handsomely. I have secured a new, better-paying job, my relationship with my fiance has vastly improved and my overall communication skills have increased ten-fold.

If you don’t read this book, you’ll be left in the dust by the people who did.

Ego Is the Enemy

ego is the enemy ryan holiday

Most of us struggle with ego.

In fact, ego is a major obstacle in our lives. It is in mine and I work towards diminishing it every day.

This book illustrates just how much of our lives are controlled by ego and how destructive it is. Ego keeps us from paying the price of success. It keeps us from doing work that we think is “beneath us”.

Ego is an enemy and a slippery one at that.

Reading this book has made a difference in my life. It has made me more humble.

Humility has helped me delve into various tasks with a more open mind.
Open-mindedness has allowed me to learn more and in turn add more value. This has benefited my career tremendously.

Trust me.

If you want to do more, create more and achieve more, you need to diminish your ego.
Ego Is the Enemy shows you how.

Reading and re-reading this book will add tremendous value to your life.

The Score Takes Care of Itself

the score takes care of itself bill walsh

Bill Walsh is famous for his work as head coach of the 49’ers. He built one of the most majestic dynasties in Football history from the ruins of a franchise.

How did he do it?

By focusing on the process and on the fundamentals.

This allowed him to hone the skills of Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve
Young into the best players of their generation. Some of the best players of all time.

His consistent focus on the fundamentals as a key driver of performance is essential. Whatever your field, Walsh’s advice is valuable.

My three key takeaways from the books:

  1. Focus on creating a system that supports your progress.
    If you do the right things the right way, the results will follow.
  2. Keep your eye on the fundamentals instead of the score.
    It doesn’t matter if people praise you at work. What matters is that you add value and get better every day.
  3. Everything you do matters.
    Some of Walsh’s tenets included no sitting on the practice field, no smoking on the facilities and always dressing in a tie and jacket.

Your representation of yourself and others matters more than you think. You represent yourself in all of your actions so everything you do matters.

The lessons in these three books will add tremendous value to your life if you implement them.

So, read the books and learn their lessons. Apply them in your life and repeat.

Do this and you will get far.

See Also: 7 Reasons To Start Reading Books? Here’s why!

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Piano Skills

I have been a pianist all of my life. I took lessons when I was about 13 and have never regretted it. By learning the basics of music and the piano at such an early age, I was able to build a foundation for music that lasts a lifetime. I play mostly by ear but by having the essential basics behind me, I am able to play a lot of things.

Not everyone takes lessons, though. Some people wait until they are middle-aged to learn an instrument and that’s okay, too! You’re never too old to learn, as long as you have the passion and desire to do so.

Do you find yourself wanting to become a more accomplished pianist or musician but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve become so frustrated at times that you just want to give up on your dream of playing altogether. Don’t do that!

If you want to do something, just try another way.

The piano has evolved over the years and there are several forms of this instrument. There’s the electronic keyboard, synthesizers, computerized musical composition software and much more. If you learn the basics of the piano, you’ll gain a wealth of skills and knowledge that you can use in a lot of ways.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to improve your piano skills and become a better musician.

Three Ways to Improve Your Piano Skills Now

These tips are not magical solutions for you to become the next Carnegie Hall performer. Instead, these practical tips can help you polish your act when it comes to achieving your music goals.

Make Use of Online Training Tools

There are tons of online tools you can use nowadays. One good example is the Online Pianist. It has created a piano online tutorial self-study that makes it easy for anyone to learn how to play the piano from home or on-the-go. This online tool allows you to learn the basics of piano and music theory in a fun and engaging way.

In addition to this, you can take a wide range of courses on Udemy, the famous online training and educational site that allows you to learn at your own pace. Simply visit their site and search for “piano”. From there, you’ll see the courses they have.

Feel free to browse and search on Google for more online training solutions and tools that can improve your piano skills as well as your music ability. By using these online tools, you can learn to play any instrument whenever and wherever you want.

You can also find a lot of helpful videos on Youtube. Instant Piano Genius is a great program that is showcased on that site. Pick up a few free tips or take the whole course. It features a non-traditional approach to learning the piano that you’ll surely enjoy.

Record Yourself Playing and Analyze It

One of the best tools you can use to improve your piano or musical ability is to record your performance and evaluate it. There are many cheap recording software solutions online, like Multitrack Studio. This software allows you to record both midi and standard audio inputs, mix it with other tracks and save your recordings. The cost of this nifty software is only $69.

If you would rather use a mobile app solution, try J4T. It’s a 4-track digital recorder that allows you to record up to four tracks and mix them together for your final output. You can record yourself playing piano using an external mic and this software. Once you are done, you can just mix in other tracks later, such as vocals or other instruments.

If you’re after an external solution, try the Xoom™ H4N handheld multitrack recorder. Amazon has this nifty recorder at some competitive prices. You can use this device to record up to four tracks. It allows inputs from professional XLR mic and other similar devices.

If you want to improve your music ability and skill, you will need to get used to the idea of recording as it’s a part of being a musician. Doing so will allow you to evaluate your performance and take notes of the things that need improving.

It can also help you be familiar with the recording techniques you can use professionally. Who knows? You might be able to sell your finished music on iTunes, CD Baby or Amazon in the future.

Practice and Review Your Weak Points

practice piano

Once you have a recording of your musical performance, you can listen to it carefully to see where you need to improve. Accomplished musicians and pianists will tell you that there’s no substitute for practice when it comes to developing your performance. Training does, indeed, make perfect.

You can also watch other performers that you admire and get ideas from them. Don’t copy their style but notice what makes their music high and see how you can apply some of their techniques.

Conclusion

Finally, have fun with your music!

One of the most successful groups in music history was “The Beatles”. When asked how they planned to become so famous, they said that they didn’t plan to be celebrated. They just wanted to have fun with it!

Perhaps, it is this kind of passion and dedication to music and not the actual ability or equipment that makes a great musician. So, play in your house, in the streets or in front of 10,000 people.

Whatever you do, just enjoy it.

Try our tips and see if they can help improve your piano or music skills. If they do, tell them where you heard it, okay?

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7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life

Knowing how to live a balanced life is a great thing for your mental health. It’s not a matter of having complete control over your life, but about finding what works best for you. It means not feeling like you’re being pulled in several directions all at once.

A balanced life can make you feel more content and calm. You’ll have more motivation and ability to move forward with your plans. You don’t feel so down about everything all the time.

So, read on below and find out how to start balancing your life today. Hopefully, these tips can help you be more grounded and better-rounded individual.

Inner And Outer Focus

There are two kinds of elements you need to balance if you want to start your new life. These are inner and outer elements. When one focuses more on one kind of element, an imbalance happens. And of course, you wouldn’t want that to happen.

External elements are your social circle, including family and other relationships. The list also includes your work, hobbies, and your activities. On the other hand, internal elements refer to your inner self. The thoughts in your mind and the workings of your heart are what comprise your internal elements.

Obviously, focusing on just work, relationships, and external activities would leave you with a massive spiritual gap. On the same note, it is also simply not practical to have your mind and heart reflecting on themselves all the time. After all, you have to experience life.

With that, you should strive to focus on both your internal and external elements. This can involve challenging your mind with intellectual pursuits or satisfying your tummy with delicious and healthy foods. As for your heart, it is best if you open yourself up to love, hope and joy. Exposing yourself to bitterness and hatred would soon starve your heart and it can affect you physically, too.

If you are lagging behind in your work, seek to motivate yourself. Don’t settle for less. Know when and how to give yourself the respect that you deserve. Give time to your family as well and remember these connections are for life. In the same way, you also need to pull back from those relationships and seek to foster bonds with those who are worth it.

See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Balance Your Emotional State

Look Around You

It’s essential that you look at your present life in order to work out its kinks. This can help you discern the amount of imbalance you’re currently experiencing. What are you neglecting and what could you make better?

Notice Your Leanings

Taking proper stock of your life would help you see which way you’re leaning. Are you listening too much to your heart and not enough to the practical aspects of things? This could make you a very shabby decision-maker.

Are you following every rule to the letter? It’s probably the reason why you’re not giving yourself a break every now and then.

Plan It Out

list-goals

Once you know where you need to improve, write out your goals. What tasks do you need to accomplish every week, month or year? What worked for you before? Do you think that would work again?

Planning all of these things out will help you create a proper and an effective plan of action.

Think About The Past

Think about your achievements up until now. Focus on your mood and your motivation, which led to your success. Once you’ve gotten hold of that feeling, don’t let it go.

You must have dealt with some fear and doubts back then, too. If you were able to handle them then, you can handle them now. Get some real motivation and some valuable lessons from your past self.

See Also: Time to Break the Cocoon! 5 Great Tips For Finding Motivation

Anticipate The Negativity And Prepare For It

When you look at achieving balance, anticipate the obstacles. Expect some negative feelings, doubts, and second-guessing. Once you know all your inner tricks that throw you off balance, prepare for a counter-attack. This way, you would be more kind to yourself in your balancing process.

Find A Support System

support system

When searching for balance, have a supportive person nearby. This could be your closest friend, a relative or your spouse. See which person provides the healthiest support and stick with him/her.

When you have a companion, the journey becomes easier. It will help you become more aware of your process and make more sense of it.

Wrap Up

Once you finish instilling the above tips in your life, you’re on your way to becoming more balanced and grounded. You would hopefully soon notice your productivity going up and your frustration coming down. This is an excellent exercise if you are consistently finding life slipping away from you.

The post 7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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3 Things That Can Help You Start Being Your Best Self

I did a video yesterday for a challenge that I’m doing and I was talking about something that I’m working on in the challenge. A comment from the leader came back and said that what stood out for her was how I’m constantly in “should”:

“I should have done…”, “I should have been able to…” and “I should…”.

Always “I should…”.

The day before, another friend commented on one of my posts that no matter how much I did, it was never enough: I SHOULD be doing more, I OUGHT to be doing more.

I don’t go into “Woulda” very much but I definitely do “OUGHTA”…

Actually, I do go into “would” but “would” is victim and I tend to go into blaming: the “ought to’s” and “should have’s”

At least, when I’m talking about myself, I go into blaming myself. I’m a bit more lenient on everyone else- sometimes.

The thing is, I can logically reason a solid basis for going into the “shoulds” and “oughts”. I’m aware that I’m not producing at 100% capacity.

I know I’m not being as efficient with my time as I could be and I know I’m hiding out and not doing what needs doing.

I know that if I just get my act together, I’d be producing way more and be way more effective than I am now.

And I know that I ought to be one of the top coaches and mindset experts in the world right now, but I don’t have my stuff together yet.

I ought to have my stuff together because I’ve been working with a mentor for a year now. Besides, I’ve been a coach for 15 years! I ought to be much further ahead than I am now.

And there’s no excuse! None! Not one! Well, except that I haven’t got my act together and I’m not giving it 100%.

By the way, I hate it when people talk about giving more than 100%: HOW?

How can you possibly give more than 100%? How can you start being your best self?

Be serious.

Not that I’m blaming anyone, you understand?

See how easy it is? See how easy it is for me to slide effortlessly into blaming about not being good enough? I start off well, being all objective and constructive. Then, ever so subtly, I always end up making myself wrong.

It even sounds like a logical step, doesn’t it? There’s no jarring change in tempo or direction. It just flows.

How interesting is that?

Our minds automatically go from detached, open-minded objectivity to pointing the finger, blame and make wrong.

I didn’t even notice it in what I was saying in either the video or the post! I didn’t see it or hear it. Honestly, it didn’t exist for me.

It’s just the truth and it’s just the way things are.

It’s a simple statement of fact.

[sigh]

So, what do you do about it? Because I can guarantee that if you want to create the things that you really want in your life, you’ll have to deal with this.

Notice yourself doing self-blame

First of all, you have to NOTICE it. You must notice yourself doing it so you can catch yourself and do something different. The easiest way to do this is to either journal or video yourself talking about yourself and your life, where it’s at, what you want, what you’ve done and haven’t done so far.

Then, get someone to read or watch it.

Scary, I know, but it’s the best way to do it.

If you can’t bring yourself to do that, you read or watch it. The problem with doing it this way is that we tend to believe that what we write or say about ourselves is the truth. It sounds true and it lands for us as just a statement of fact.

This is why we need someone else to point things out for us.

Notice what you say about yourself:

Are you not good enough?

Do you never do enough?

Should you be doing more?

Are you comparing yourself to others?

Does no one appreciate you?

Are you a victim?

Write it down

writing a list

Pay attention to the wording that you use.

Do the same thing again but this time, write about yourself and your life and listen out for the coulda, shoulda, woulda, oughta.

Now, here’s the challenge: Write about yourself and your life as though you’re a complete superstar who plays all out and always does everything to the best of your ability.

If you keep on catching yourself while you’re speaking, thinking, and writing about yourself and making a consistent, committed effort to support and admire yourself, pretty soon your whole life will be completely different.

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine how differently you’d feel about yourself if you just believe that everything you do is what’s necessary?

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Believe you’re being your best self

be amazing

I don’t know whether you’ve ever experienced it, but when you’re in the company of someone who thinks you’re amazing, the whole world is different. You’ll be different. You act differently, think differently, and do different things.

Imagine if you lived in that space all the time, where you’re in the company of someone who thinks you’re totally awesome…

Someone who always speaks and acts in alignment with what’s important to him,

Someone who never lets himself down,

Or someone who knows that whatever happens, he’s done the best he can?

Can you imagine that?

Now imagine if that person were you.

The post 3 Things That Can Help You Start Being Your Best Self appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps

You’ve developed some goals- serious, life-changing goals. You’re feeling pretty bad-ass about the future. When you think about making these things happen, you feel exhilarated and energized.

But, perhaps, you are a little intimidated, too.

If that is the case, you could read another self-help book and listen to yet another podcast to get motivated. Or you could try something a bit different by time-traveling to the past to gain wisdom and plan your next move.

Dwelling in the past? Isn’t that super backward and negative?

The good news is that you can use the “how” of past success to move towards future success. Past success provides important clues about how you operate when you’re moving in a positive direction.

How do you usually overcome obstacles? How do you cope when things get rough?

Even if your previous achievements are very different from what you want to do next, they can still provide important clues as to how you can best tackle the next phase. Plus, it can be inspiring to remind yourself that you have and you can accomplish great things.

Here’s how you can do this amazing success strategy.

Write Down Past Successes

writing goals

Take a moment to revel in previous triumphs. Relive the glorious days and be shameless.

Write down all your earlier accomplishments, even the tiny ones you think don’t matter. Think about milestones completed, bad habits broken and times when you truly shone.

My personal example is quitting smoking. I used to smoke a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes a day, wasting brain power and dollars trying to get my next fix. I am proud to say that in 2005, I stopped smoking for good. I didn’t think I ever could do it, but it’s been twelve years!

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Analyze How You Made Past Goals Successful

Get analytical and deconstruct these past achievements. What did you actually do to make those things happen? What did you have to not do to make things happen?

Be as specific as possible.

What did you tell yourself in order to meet the goal? How did you manage setbacks? What environment(s) helped you to become successful? Who inspired and supported you?

Also, if you are feeling brave, write down all the things that didn’t work.

For example, when I quit smoking, I found the following strategies helpful: reading books about the science of addiction, staying away from “triggering” scenarios and tracking daily progress. What didn’t work: feeling guilty and ashamed, nicotine gum, acupuncture and reading about ill-effects of smoking cigarettes. And watching those anti-smoking ads only made me want to smoke more (go figure!).

See Also: How to Set Personal SMART Goals To Succeed

Develop Strategies Based on Previous Successes To Accomplish Future Goals

thinking strategies

You now have a picture of what has worked for you in the past, so similar tactics are likely to work in the future. This is the premise of “Solutions-Focused Counseling”, a technique whereby you identify “the differences that make a difference”. You recognize what you have been doing right, rather than dwelling on seemingly insurmountable problems and obstacles.

With that in mind, write a list of strategies that will provide the best chance of future success. Here are some ideas:

  • Proximity: What environment(s) will help you thrive? What needs to change in your daily life?
  • Self-Talk: What phrases and stories do you need to tell yourself on a regular basis?
  • Tools and props: What types of gadgets, if any, will help you meet your goal? What apps/newsletters will keep you on track?
  • Support: Who will you ask to check on your progress? What will you require of your groups/social circles? How can family and friends best demonstrate their support?
  • Heroes: Who do you find inspiring? What lessons can you learn from their success?
  • Inspiration and motivation: What resources will keep you motivated during setbacks? What types of books, podcasts or CD’s seem to get you going on bad days?

By now, you will have a list of future goals, past achievements, past goal strategies that did and didn’t work and potential goal strategies for future success. You will also have a greater sense of what makes you tick and what things will make you more likely to be successful.

So, go start doing these things today!

The post The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Warmth or Competence: What Job Interviews Are Looking For

“Coolly competent, the interviewee enters. Her handshake is firm, her gaze unwavering. Her answers are curt and unvarnished. She’s confident. She can get the job done, no doubt about that. But is she a nice person?”

“Warmly incompetent, the interviewee enters. She smiles nervously, but warms to the interview quickly. She speaks in fits and starts, but always with a big smile. She’s a nice person. But can she get the job done?”

Coolly competent, or warmly incompetent?

job interview

According to research done by Amy Cuddy, first impressions are binary. “We look first at two characteristics: how lovable they are (their warmth, communion, or trustworthiness) and how fearsome they are (their strength, agency, or competence)”.

We do this to answer a rather important question: whether or not your new acquaintance is a threat. Threats aren’t so prevalent nowadays. You’re rather less likely to be slain by a marauding tribesman. But our hunter-gatherer brains haven’t caught up. So, when we assess a stranger, we’re looking for danger signs.

Consider the first interviewee. Reading the description, many of you may admire her. She’s certainly got ability. But her lack of warmth triggers the ‘danger’ alarm. The interviewer goes into ‘avoidance’ mode, trying to get away from the threat in front of them. Despite seeing their obvious competence, they begin to find reasons to dislike the interviewee. So, even though the interviewee can do the job well, they don’t get it.

Cuddy advocates the approach of the second interviewee. Being warm and lovable activates the listener’s ‘approach’ mode. They begin to feel kindly towards you and will ignore some of the mistakes you make. You’re more likely to get the job. And if you go on to demonstrate great competence, they will say ‘I knew it all along’.

We think of job interviews as all about demonstrating competence. But they’re not: it’s about demonstrating warmth. That’s why they’re a part of the process: to weed out candidates who might pose a threat to the office environment. But what if you feel that you don’t come across warmly enough?

See Also: 8 Interview Tips For Introverts

The importance of emotion

Here begins the deluge of standard-issue advice. Smile. Make eye contact. Shake their hand with both of yours. Sit with your hands a certain way. Keep your body language open.

The trouble with these pearls of wisdom is they don’t go deep enough. The real way to change from office ‘threat’ to office ‘asset’ is in the way you speak about your experiences.

A quick test. Imagine you’re speaking to someone about your day. If you’re alone, speak out loud. If you’re not, run the conversation through in your head. Talk through what you’ve been up to, what your plans are tonight, and what you’ve got on the docket for tomorrow.

Now consider two possibilities. In the first, you logically went through everything you needed to do. “I’m writing a blog in the morning, then taking the dog out, then going out to dinner in the evening.” It all made sense, and hung together like a list.

In the second, you emphasised the emotive parts of your day. “So I’m struggling at the moment to get a blog finished: you know how it is. Then I’m doing a little walk with Jasper. Oh, and we’re going out to this Persian place. They do really good meze.”

Notice the difference in the two stories. One is rich with detail, full of images that spring to your mind. It’s obvious that the speaker enjoys what they do, and remembers important details from their day. But the other is bland. It has the bare facts, but no details: nothing is important enough to remember.

Let’s test this with an interview question: “Tell us about yourself”.

Here, it’s tempting to start demonstrating competency. You might speak logically about where you went to school, what you did afterwards, and what you did after that. But remember, it’s all about warmth.

You can use the same logical structure, but fill it with detail. What did you enjoy most about school? What did you learn about yourself from where you worked afterwards? What was important, enjoyable, inspiring, or difficult about the experience you had? What did you learn?

It comes down to empathy. The ‘perfect’ job interview isn’t one where you read off your resume. It’s a communion. It’s an easy friendliness and emotional openness that proves two things: that you’re not a threat, and that you might just be something special.

How Do You Show Warmth?

job interview emotions

Competency is rather easy to demonstrate. You can reel off years of experience and academic qualifications. Warmth is harder. But there are some steps you can take to put you on the right path.

Reframe Your Experience

Anecdotes can be easily abused in interviews. Remember that time you made a discovery that saved the company? Consider how you might share that story in an interview. You might emphasize how important it was to the company and how much money it saved. Imagine the ideal reaction from your interviewer: ‘How conscientious you are! What an asset you are to that company. They must be terrified to lose you: what will happen now that they can’t leverage your competence?’

Try and find the warmth in your experiences. Tell the story of how you found the discovery. How did you feel when you found it? What dilemma did you face? Who did you tell? How did you feel afterwards? What did you learn? These questions invite the listener to consider your motives, instead of just seeing how great you are. They begin to understand you at a deeper level, and you start to build warmth.

See Also: Interview Tips: What Not To Say During Your Next Job Interview

Study Your Habits

It may be your brain that considers what to say, but it’s your body that says it. Sometimes, your body says things you don’t expect. You may feel deeply interested in the subject, but your body may be communicating disinterest. Get someone you trust to assess your speaking habits. Do you speak too quietly? Do you seem bored? Do you seem nervous?

Try to get the simple things right. Make eye contact. Keep your posture upright and your chest relaxed and open. Use energy when you speak to keep your listener interested. And while you’re there, focus on breathing to relax your body and calm your nerves. Tips on diaphragmatic breathing will be invaluable on that front.

Be Present

The trickiest thing about demonstrating competence is that it pulls you out of the moment. It sends you out of the interview room via memory lane. You begin to lose focus on the people opposite you. And as you lose focus, you begin speaking at them, not to them.

Every time you speak, your listeners are giving you crucial information. From their reactions, they might be indicating that they’ve heard what you’re saying before. They might be showing confusion or interest in something that you only explained minimally. They are guiding you.

Demonstrating competence can feel like reading off a list of things by rote, without regard for what people actually want to hear. Keep your focus on the person you’re speaking to. You’re speaking to them, so explain things that mean more to them. You’ll learn more about them, and they’ll learn more about you. And that’s how you make a connection.

 

The post Warmth or Competence: What Job Interviews Are Looking For appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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You Need To Stop Telling Women Where To Breastfeed

Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see stories of women who get shamed in public for breastfeeding their babies. These stories often involve outrageous circumstances. For example, there are women who shop at lingerie stores who ask to feed their babies in the fitting rooms. Instead of being allowed, they are often redirected to an alley.

There’s also a hashtag trending on social media: #IPumpedHere. This hashtag highlights the degrading conditions in which women are forced to prepare meals for their babies upon returning to work.

In reality, however, women are allowed to feed their babies or pump almost everywhere in the United States. How is that possible? Read on.

The United States Is The Lowest Rated Developed Nation For Breastfeeding Policy

breastfeeding policy

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed for at least 12 months. The World Health Organization, on the other hand, recommends two years. For those who can’t and won’t breastfeed, formula milk makes a great and safe substitute but it’s not the best for growing babies.

There are many reasons why women in the United States make the decision not to breastfeed. One of those reasons is the negative reactions women who decide to breastfeed in public gets.

There are laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public in 49 states. There are also laws at the federal level protecting a woman’s right to pump when she returns to work.

Unfortunately, these laws only cover women who work at businesses with more than 50 people and limited to one year after the birth of a child. Because of these and many other issues, only about half of babies in the United States are breastfed until six months of age.

Laws For Breastfeeding In The Workplace

When mothers return to work, they will often need to pump at least twice a day. This helps keep their milk supply up. Without pumping, their babies will not be able to get the amount of breast milk they need to be healthy and to grow. Preventing women from pumping can also lead to pain and discomfort.

Federal law requires that companies with 50 or more employees follow these guidelines for working mothers:

  • Provide adequate break time for pumping for up to one year after baby’s birth
  • Provide a space, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump with a locking door
  • Employers are not required to compensate employees for this time
  • Provide electricity and refrigeration for pumping and storage

Why Support Mothers In The Workplace?

mothers in the workplace

The biggest reason to support mothers in the workplace is that it is the right thing to do.

When women have options, they are going to be able to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. This, in turn, will lead to stronger families. In addition to that, keeping women engaged in the workforce longer allows them to grow faster in their careers instead of having to start over from the bottom every time they take a break to have a child or care for an aging parent.

Women do the majority of the unpaid caretaking and it can take a significant toll on their earning power in the long run. And if you still need more reasons to support women in the workforce, the United States won’t be able to compete in the global economy with other industrialized nations if we keep marginalizing the talent of women and forcing them off to the sidelines when they don’t always want to be there.

See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

Breastfeeding Mothers, Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights and being vocal about exercising them is going to be important. Don’t be afraid to talk to your company about your needs because you might find that they are more willing than you think to accommodate you with a pumping room and break time.

If you are going to be breastfeeding in public, and you will be breastfeeding in public more than likely, be ready to confront and diffuse any uncomfortable situations. Remember that you have the right to breastfeed your baby and no one has the right to tell you not to.

The post You Need To Stop Telling Women Where To Breastfeed appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen

A recent survey showed that almost a third of the US population cannot cook. Decades of TV dinners and ready meals have left many of us unable to find our way around a kitchen. However, with some basic skills, you can find that cooking can be an enjoyable and healthy pastime.

Follow these cooking tips for beginners and easily become a master of the stove- even if you have never cooked before.

How to boil an egg

Let’s start with something simple- a perfectly boiled egg.

It’s great for a quick snack or as an add-on to your salad. It is one of the simplest things to cook — put on a tight lid if you know how.

Cooking an egg to the perfect level of hardness can seem like a mystery. The trick, however, is in the timing.

Put a pan on the stove with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat slightly to a simmer where the water bubbles gently. Add the eggs carefully and then start a timer. You need to leave them for 6 minutes if you want a runny egg yolk. Leave them for 8 minutes if you want the yolk to be set softly or 9 minutes if you want a hard boiled egg.

Cook a perfect steak

real men can cook

Similar to a perfect egg, cooking a perfect steak is a matter of timing. You need to heat a pan until it is smoking hot. Don’t put any oil in the pan. Instead, rub your steak with some oil then some salt and pepper.

Place your steak in the pan and leave it alone! Resist the temptation to move it about. Wait for a minute or so until it is ready to be turned. Depending on the thickness of the steak, you need to cook it for about 1½ minutes per side for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare and about 2½ for medium.

However, rather than just relying on time, here is an additional test. Pinch your thumb and first finger. If you feel the flesh between your thumb and finger, this is what a rare steak should feel like. When you touch your middle finger to your thumb, you will get the feel of medium rare and your ring finger will give you the feel of a medium cooked steak. You can use this as a way of telling if your steak is cooked perfectly every time.

Remember, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow it to reabsorb the juices and be totally delicious!

Handle a knife safely

Your kitchen can be a dangerous place. It’s filled with hot pans, sharp knives and more. Because of that, knowing how to handle a knife is vital. You also need to know how to select the correct knife for the job.

Your knife must be sharp! A blunt knife is more likely to slip and cut you. Treat your knives well and keep them razor sharp. Wash them by hand as your dishwasher will blunt the blades.

Remember that you always need to keep your fingers clear of the blade when cutting. Do this by curling your fingers so that the knife is guided by your knuckles and your fingertips are clear.

Speed is not essential. Practice will allow you to work faster and more accurately with your knife.

How to cook rice perfectly every time

Rice is a staple for many meals. However, wet or burnt rice will easily ruin a dish.

For perfect rice, you need to wash your rice until the water runs clear. Take a medium sized pan and put in about ½ a cup (90g) per person. Cover with water so that it’s about an inch above the rice and bring to a boil.

When it’s boiling, keep an eye on the rice as you are watching out for bubbling holes on the surface of the rice. As soon as you see this, put in a tight lid and switch off the heat. Leave the rice for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

Make a pasta sauce

man can cook

A tomato ragu is a simple pasta sauce which you can use to create a delicious and quick pasta dish, meatballs or some grilled chicken. It is a very versatile addition to many dishes.

Finely chop onion, carrot and celery and place them in a pan with a little olive oil. You want to gently heat this so that they soften without browning. Patience is everything here!

Add a tin of plum tomatoes, a sprinkle of basil, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and water. Mix well and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer if you can. Make sure you stir it every so often and then serve with your favorite pasta or meat.

Become a BBQ master

Mastering a barbecue is a great skill and there is more to it than firing up the grill and hoping for the best.

Step one, preheat your grill. Placing meat on a cold grill will leave you with undercooked food. Heat the grill for ten minutes or so before you place your first items, ensuring it is searing hot.

Check if your meat is at room temperature. You should take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you start cooking. You can use a meat thermometer. It may cost a few dollars, but it will save you from having burgers that are burnt on the outside, raw in the middle.

For ground beef, you need to ensure that you have an internal temperature of at least 160℉ to ensure that any bacteria is killed. There is nothing worse than being remembered for poisoning your guests!

Oil the grill using a brush so that nothing sticks. Use wood chips to add a smoky BBQ taste. You can wrap some corn on the cob in foil with butter to add to your steak and burgers.

Bluff your way with wine

There has never been a better time to enjoy a good wine. There is such a great selection available at affordable prices.

If you know nothing about wine, you should start by trying out a number of different wines. Many specialist shops will have taster sessions to help you understand wine better. While you are there, remember to jot down the names of the bottles you enjoyed.

Start with some classic wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Rioja. From there, build your selection as you try more new tastes.

Make life simple with batch cooking

We have all been there. We get home from work and want something to eat but we can’t be bothered to cook. So, we reach for a take-out menu.

If you keep on experiencing this issue, then the answer is batch cooking. It’s the art of creating additional portions when you cook meals. It is perfect for dishes like chili con carne, casseroles and soups. You can portion them off into plastic boxes and freeze them until you need them for quick dinners.

Remember to package the meals carefully. There should be no excess air in the packaging as this can cause freezer burn.

Make your own bread

Making bread is something that’s deeply satisfying, particularly if your home starts getting filled with the delicious scent of warm bread. It may not be something you want to do every day, but it’s a great thing to do on the weekends.

The recipes are pretty simple. Basically, you’ll need yeast, warm water and flour kneaded together.

Enjoy cooking

Probably the best tip for anyone who wants to get into cooking is to enjoy it. Look at your time in the kitchen not as a chore, but an opportunity to chill out after work or as a weekend activity. Put on some great music, grab a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy creating some great dishes!

The post 10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

We are conditioned to feel crap about ourselves.

You never hear people say “Yes, I think I’m great!” or “I love that about myself, I think it’s really cool,” or “I just really make myself laugh.”.

It just sounds a bit weird that it’s more socially acceptable to mock yourself, put yourself down and bemoan your shortcomings. It’s almost cool to appear to be broken, dysfunctional and miserable.

The trouble is that we’re forced to conform to other people’s ideas of what we should be rather than be accepted for who we really are.

We’re spat out of school after being shoehorned into categories and graded like goods on a factory production line. And then, as adults, our insecurities drive advertisers to constantly prey on our self-loathing. We’re continually led to believe that we’re too fat, too stupid, too short, too insecure, too lazy and too unproductive. We constantly compare ourselves to others and consistently find ourselves inadequate.

As adults, we continue to feel like children being told off for being too slow or too messy or not trying our best. Rather than it being our parents or teachers putting us down, we let others do it — the media, our bosses, friends and even more destructively, ourselves. We never stop bemoaning ourselves to the point that we allow those negative voices to cause us misery and permeate our whole lives.

Part of true mature thinking is to own and deal with these thoughts. You need to take control of the ones that are valid and to own the constructive criticism.

It was Mark Twain who said: “The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”.

And, he was right. You will spend your whole life with yourself. The quality of your relationship with yourself will have a direct bearing on the quality of your life as a whole.

It’s probably a strange thought that you are in a relationship with yourself. For many people, they are themselves and, in a haze of introspective emotion, they can’t see beyond a two-dimensional representation of their existence. It’s a childish state that many of us remain locked into.

But, to really develop, you need to separate from yourself, develop some sense of objectivity and become your own best friend. You have to distance the childish voices and impulses and to cultivate a mature view of yourself. You need to be able to look down at yourself with compassion and ultimately love and care for yourself.

Having the inner strength to talk yourself through things, the capacity to self-soothe, to be entertained by yourself and to find yourself interesting is incredibly powerful. To be able to look after yourself, respect your own point of view and be confident in your own thinking is liberating and empowering.

I’ve learned that if I can love myself, forgive my own shortcomings and try to live a happy and fulfilled life, then I can have more resources to be the person I want to be to others. It may sound selfish but if I’m unhappy, tired and drained, I’m no use to anyone. I’m less good as a parent, as a partner, as a worker and a friend. Any positive influence I can give has to start from within and if I’m not right within myself, then I’m wasting my time.

So, what are the steps to loving yourself?

Learn to love yourself from the outside – become your own best friend

love yourself

Try to remove yourself from your immediate emotion and look at yourself objectively. Of course, we all need to feel emotions and be in the moment. But, being able to separate from them and simultaneously retain a sense of balanced objectivity is a valuable skill.

Sometimes we get so involved with our inner feelings that we can’t make progress. Strong emotions can cloud your judgment and having a two-dimensional sense of yourself where you are with your emotions is often detrimental to your well-being.

Become your own best friend. Recognize your emotions and try to nurture a loving and supporting view of yourself so that you can give pieces of advice and comments that are parallel with your inner self.

This sounds more complicated than it actually is. But, think of it this way:

We all have a feeling side and a thinking side and it’s just a case of recognizing and synchronizing the two to work harmoniously.

There are a number of ways to develop this way of supportive thinking. Daily journaling or keeping a diary is a good start as it helps you to reflect on the day’s events. Spending five minutes a day on reflective writing can kickstart your inner voice and allow you access to an inner dialogue that will comfort and support you.

Once you have a sense of your inner voice, nurture and develop it. Converse with it and talk to it. Having an inner dialogue can bring you closer to yourself.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

Spend time alone and learn to enjoy your own company

How often do you actively do things alone? There’s always a pressure to be seen with other people or to feel as if we are “Billy no mates”. However, spending quality time with yourself is extremely valuable and underrated.

So many people seem terrified of themselves and clearly don’t like being alone and can’t stand their own company. They constantly fill every waking moment with entertainment and chatter to avoid confronting themselves. To them, a moment alone in contemplation would be a horror.

But, you can’t avoid yourself. It’s impossible and the sooner you learn to love your own company, the better. As with any relationship, it takes time and effort to make it work. There may well be times when you drive yourself nuts but also times when you start to find an inner peace and acceptance that’s priceless.

Have a go at simply scheduling time to do stuff on your own. You can try going for a walk, shopping, going to the cinema or a concert. Even allowing yourself to daydream, sitting with your eyes closed and listening to music is a great way to spend quality time with yourself.

Maybe meditation would work well for you. Any activity that allows you to concentrate on your inner thoughts and feelings is valuable in nurturing your inner relationship.

Develop self-acceptance and compassion

self acceptance

We all instinctively spend a lot of our time comparing ourselves to other people. We are actively encouraged to do this at school and work and our performance is constantly scrutinized. On social media and in advertising, we are incessantly bombarded with images and ideas about how we should be. There’s little wonder that so many of us are full of self-loathing and feel inadequate.

In the past, we were only able to compare ourselves to people within a much smaller demographic. We didn’t have access to media, the internet and travel, so we were able to see ourselves a little more objectively.

Today, the context is essentially the whole world. Inevitably, we are exposed to the best of everything — the fastest, tallest, slimmest, most beautiful, best designed, most efficient or most stylish. It’s hopeless and demoralizing trying to compete with all of those.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. That’s not to say that we can’t have aspirations and dreams for development. However, learning to love our individuality is one of the most important steps to loving yourself. There’s little point in looking at what other people have or haven’t got. There will always be someone who is better and worse than you.

We need to learn to measure and celebrate our progress in terms of our own personal achievement. What really matters is that we are slightly better today than we were yesterday and not that we are better than someone else. Comparing ourselves to others ultimately erodes our self-confidence and kills our self-esteem. By all means, be ruthlessly competitive with yourself.

If we can learn to cut ourselves a bit of slack and accept that life is going to be a bit rubbish sometimes, then we will find that we’ll be much happier and much more accepting of your own limitations.

See Also: Self-Acceptance: The Key To True Happiness

Find your flow activity

All people have a gift or a skill that they are better at than others. It can be something that they love or something that gives them enormous satisfaction and pleasure. Sometimes, it feels so good that it’s almost like a guilty pleasure. When our brains are in what’s called “in flow”, we are in one of the most satisfying and fulfilling states that the human mind can be in.

Sadly, many people go through life without finding their flow activities. They never get to spend that quality time developing their skill, feeling positive about their achievement and being one with their purpose in life. If you don’t know what your flow activities are, then think about the last time you lost track of the time of day. It’s when you got so absorbed in doing something that nothing else mattered. You were just happy and at peace with yourself.

These activities are fundamentally precious to your personal well-being so you should schedule more time doing them.

Care for your mind and body

Ultimately, learning to live with and love yourself is about respect and taking the time to listen to your inner voice. It’s incredibly hard to attune yourself to the depths of your inner workings if your outer layers aren’t being looked after properly. This makes it important to look after your physical well-being, too.

Starting to make positive choices about food and exercise can have far-reaching effects on your mood and happiness. Just by being proactive about healthy eating, making informed choices, and respecting your body is a mindset that can spill over into other aspects of your life. Keep in mind that there is an incredibly strong link between physical and mental health.

If everything above just seems far too difficult and complicated, start by simply taking control of your body. Learn to care for your physical health more fully. Start to exercise and be deliberate in your eating habits. Small changes can have a big impact. The very act of deciding to take care and to regain physical control can have positive repercussions way beyond those small first steps.

In Summary

The bottom line is that you are the only person responsible for your life. You can’t escape yourself. It’s the one relationship that you can’t break off. You can’t divorce yourself, sack yourself or dump yourself. However, you can reinvent yourself so you can become better and stronger. You are stuck with yourself for life and the sooner you come to accept, love and respect yourself, the happier and more fulfilling your life will be.

 

The post 5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Powerful Ways To Stay Motivated And Reach Your Goals Through Tough Times

Have you ever gotten excited about your New Year’s resolutions only to have them fizzle out mere weeks after? This is a common enough story and we’ve all been there. When the “fresh start effect” fades away, your determination falters and the first bump on the road often signals the end of the journey.

So, what can we do to keep our motivation high for the longer run? Here are 4 great ways to stay motivated.

Listen to your heart

goal vision

If you want to feel motivated in the long term, choose a goal with your heart. When an objective comes from your heart, it will be easier to stick with it through tough times. You will make sacrifices more readily when it is clear what you are making them for.

Dig inside yourself and get in touch with the vision that you have behind your goal. If your objective is to eat healthy or exercise, what is your underlying vision? Maybe a vision of yourself in good health, fit, slim and happy.

Whatever that vision is, take a moment to visualize the person you aspire to build. It will help you see meaning in everything you do.

For example, why would you put your sneakers on and go for a run instead of watching a TV series? The sofa might be more tempting than the effort. However, if you go back to your vision, the choice will come effortlessly.

Go after goals which are genuinely yours and you will find plenty of motivation to make them happen.

See Also: How to Set Personal SMART Goals To Succeed

Align your habits with your long-term goals

One day, I checked my own goals and tried to determine what the difference was between those that I achieved easily and those I seemed to struggled with. And I found a clear pattern.

I have a few long-term goals, like maintaining a certain weight or getting a new degree before I reach 40. I realized that I do well with the first one, less so with the second one.

Why do I seem to have a two-speed motivation?

I’m not less motivated in getting a new degree. The problem is that I have nowhere to start from. My weight goal, on the other hand, is linked to short-term goals or habits, such as eating 5 servings of fruits or vegetables per day, eating fish twice a week and exercising at least four times a week. These daily and weekly habits help me reach my long-term objective.

I haven’t set any corresponding habit for my degree goal. And I’m not going to achieve it just by looking at it…

The secret of success lies in the things we do regularly, like our daily and weekly habits. These habits must be aligned with the vision we have.

Having a vision is not enough. It must be translated into small daily steps. If we only have a vision or a long-term goal, we will feel overwhelmed by the mission and we won’t know where to start from.

Sometimes, it’s the other way round and we struggle to ingrain new habits. In that case, the long-term goal may be missing. For example, it’s much easier to find the motivation to go for a run when you have registered for a race or when you aim at getting your beach body back in time for the summer season!

The alignment between habits and a long-term vision works both ways. Having habits that are aligned to a long-term objective gives us the motivation to reach the end goal and sustain good habits.

When you struggle with one of your goals, check whether it’s a habit or a long-term goal. If it’s a habit, make sure that you have a corresponding vision. Why do you want to ingrain this habit?

If it’s a long-term goal that you struggle with, try and set up a daily or weekly habit that will help you get there.

See Also: 7 Habits I Started Last Year That Dramatically Changed My Life

Reward yourself

reward system

We all know that we are more motivated to do something when there is a reward at stake. The pleasure induced by a reward reinforces the activity which helped get the reward. This is called extrinsic motivation. It can be helpful to kick-start the process when intrinsic motivation is a bit low.

A simple way to introduce rewards is to plan/get/offer the rewards yourself. You need to set the bar properly. You need to do a decent effort to get it.

It can’t be too difficult or you may end up feeling discouraged. It can’t be too easy or you’ll get the reward without the need for motivation.

You also need to define a goal or reward system that makes sense. Eating junk food for a week if you manage to lose three kilos is probably not the best choice! Ideally, the reward and the effort should be somehow aligned. This will help create a virtuous circle.

Buying a smaller dress when you lose a few kilos and getting a massage after a few weeks of physical training are good examples. These rewards will help you build milestones on your path to a better you. They’ll become the symbols of your positive behavior change.

Reassess your goals over time

We can also keep motivated to reach our goals by changing goals!

Goals must be alive and reassessed regularly. It’s important to realize that because monotony is a big motivation killer.

When we set a new goal, we generally improve quite rapidly at the beginning. If you start exercising two or three times a week, you’ll be able to notice progress session after session. Then, it’ll get harder to improve and the progression curve gets less steep. This can be a little demotivating.

We can introduce excitement by having a few stable goals combined with some temporary ones. I want to lose weight, wake up early, exercise and read regularly. These are my core goals which I’m keeping for the long run. In addition to these core goals, I’ll try other things, such as journaling for a month, then learning chess, or cooking, etc.

You may sometimes adjust your goals down. If one of my goals is to play the guitar for 2 hours a week while I barely manage to play more than 30 minutes for a few weeks in a row, I may lose my motivation to eventually hit the target. In such a case, I may be well inspired to target 1 hour instead.

When the target is a little higher than what we are already doing, it pushes us to take a small step and fill the gap. When the target is too high, it becomes counter-productive. Why would I do an extra step if I stay so far anyway?

You can also give up on a goal when you don’t feel like pursuing it anymore or when you have already ingrained the habit and don’t need to monitor it any longer. Our aspirations evolve over time.

When a goal doesn’t make you dream anymore, it’s often better to let it go than drag it along painfully. You shouldn’t feel guilty about giving up goals as it’s natural. But, that doesn’t mean we should stop as soon as the first difficulty arises. It’s a matter of balance.

Take a break

It is also a good idea to take breaks at times, hit the pause button and do something else. It can be very beneficial. Even professional athletes take a break between two seasons in order to recover physically and mentally. They get back to training all pumped up for the new season.

Do the same when you feel tired. It will help you get refreshed and hungry.

Don’t forget to set a date for your come back though!

Once a month or every other month, try and take an “appointment with yourself” and review your goals. Assess what works well, update your goals and refine your strategies. These are some of the best ways to stay motivated and reignite your desire to go ahead.

 

The post 4 Powerful Ways To Stay Motivated And Reach Your Goals Through Tough Times appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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You Can’t Miss Your Boat

I know quite a few people who spend a fair bit of time thinking about all the might have beens, what-ifs and opportunities they’ve missed. They spend their lives constantly feeling like they’ve missed out on something big.

Their boat has sailed.

They’ve missed their one and only opportunity to be rich, famous and do something really amazing.

I know someone who used to enter the same numbers in the lottery every week. One week, she was too busy to get the ticket before the agency closed.

And her numbers came up.

There were no winners that week and the jackpot money rolled over to the following week: 10 million pounds.

She’s never forgiven herself. The lady that used to go halves on the tickets with her never forgave her either.

Since then (this happened more than 20 years ago), she’s lived her life feeling like she’s missed her boat, the only opportunity she’ll ever have to be happy. It’s gone and that’s it. She lived like she must be miserable, bitter and twisted because she failed to do something. She felt like she didn’t deserve to be anything else.

I suspect most of us would be pretty upset if that happened to us.

Now, the question is, would we allow it to rule the rest of our lives? Or should we consider the possibility that it happened for a reason?

What if, instead of spending more than 20 years beating herself up, that lady had said to herself:

“Isn’t it interesting that THAT happened? I wonder why it happened THAT way? Since I KNOW that everything always happens FOR me and not TO me, this happening can only be for my good. So, although it looks like a major setback, it’s neither a mistake nor a missed opportunity. Ooh, I wonder what life does have planned for me.”

Now, I’ll admit that I’d have a VERY hard time saying anything along those lines for quite a while if something like that happened to me.

But, if I knew that I was putting every effort into being wealthy or happy, then I would also know that just because something didn’t happen the way it OUGHT to happen, everything will still be alright. I will be able to relax and let it go.

Nothing ever happens TO me, but everything always happens FOR me.

Just because I can’t see how something can possibly be moving me towards my goals doesn’t mean it isn’t. So long as I’m keeping my eye on my goals, everything that happens is the Universe moving me towards my goals.

It’s definitely easier said than done, particularly at first.

But it is doable.

It’s simply a choice. You haven’t missed your boat. It just wasn’t the boat you thought it was. Your boat is still there.

Your boat is still waiting.

But, if you’re standing on the dock, staring at someone else’s boat, feeling miserable because you think you’ve missed out or you think someone else’s boat looks better or because you think your boat should look like that…

Then, you’re never going to get on your own boat.

waiting goals

 

You’re never going to live your own life.

Stop looking at someone else’s life and wishing yours was like that. Be present to what it is YOU want.

See Also: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Yourself to Reach Your Goals

Tips On Achieving Goals

writing goals

  • Write about how you want your life to look in great detail.
  • Keep writing it weekly at first, then monthly.
  • Write a bucket list.
  • Write about how your day is going to go EVERY DAY.
  • Tell yourself how your life is going to go.
  • Look for evidence that it’s going that way and ignore all evidence that contradict it.
  • Focus and put energy into what IS working.
  • Notice what ISN’T working and write about how you DO want it to look.
  • Don’t waste time beating yourself up because things aren’t going as you think they ought to.
  • Keep your eyes on the goal and move towards it.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Remember: Everything happens FOR you, not TO you.

Your boat is waiting for you. Don’t waste your life crying over someone else’s boat. Step onto your own.

The post You Can’t Miss Your Boat appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways To Stop Your Shopping Splurges

Fact: Retail therapy is not a medically-verified form of therapy.

Just over thirty years since the phrase was first coined to flag up American consumers’ habit of trying to shop their troubles away, many no longer see the irony in the phrase and adopt retail therapy as a form of catharsis.

As Mary T. Schmich told us, introducing the phrase to the general public in the Chicago Tribune back in 1986: “We’ve become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy.”

Others don’t care much for rationalizing the process and just shop on instinct. They, too, fall into the category of impulse shoppers.

Does this sound like you?

The diagnosis

If you’re not sure if you are already an impulse shopper or not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you think about shopping all the time?
  • Do you shop or buy things to cheer yourself up?
  • Have you been late for work or an appointment because you were shopping?
  • Do you need to shop more than you used to, to get the same hit?
  • Have you tried to shop less– and failed?
  • Does it make you feel bad if something stands between you and shopping?
  • Do you feel guilty after shopping?

If you answer Yes to more than one of these questions, you probably have a problem. Even if you just ticked Yes for one of them, the fact that you’ve read this far suggests you would probably appreciate some tips on how to deal with your compulsion.

Let’s have a look at what you can do to curb your impulse shopping.

Therapy for retail therapy

Quitting any addiction is a matter of self-control. If you have that level of self-control at your fingertips, it wouldn’t be an addiction, would it?

A more effective way to improve your level of self-control is to practice certain rules, processes and restrictions. You should have concrete ideas that can help you be more disciplined. After a few weeks, these rules should feel like automatic principles and your self-control muscles should be nice and toned.

Cut up the cards

cut credit cards

Maybe you need your cards on hand for emergencies and for paying the occasional bill. But, when you’re going to work or to shop, leave the cards at home.

It’s a psychological thing.

Handing over a credit card to pay for those shoes feels abstract. You don’t see your money changing hands so your brain just enjoys the pleasure of getting new things.

If you pay with cash, on the other hand, your brain gets a jolt of pain at the thought of losing your hard-earned money. You think twice before going through with the transaction and are likely to be twice as cautious when shopping.

Make a plan

So, how do you make that budget?

Well, it all starts with a shopping list. Write down what you need to buy and if it’s unpredictably priced, like shoes or electronics, write down a limit as to how much you can spend.

Get online in advance and use a price comparison site to find the most affordable option and put that on your list. We spend more when we’re faced with unpredictable choices and that leads to panic buying.

People who shop with a list spend around one-third less than those without.

The 10-minute rule

You might not have that self-control to convince yourself not to buy that fancy item yet. If that’s the case, try to summon the willpower to walk away from it for ten minutes before paying for it. This will give your brain a chance to recover from that original rush.

Hopefully, before you return with your wallet, the appeal will have faded.

Look, don’t touch

shopping online

If shopping online is your weakness, leave the devices alone.

Touch screens make you spend more. When you touch a picture of an object, it gives you the unconscious feeling that you already own it. Then, it becomes much more difficult to turn back from clicking “Add to Basket”.

Delete all shopping apps from your phone and just use your laptop or PC if you really need to shop online.

Dine well

You’ve tried a list, a time limit and a change of device. Now, it’s time to change your diet.

Before you go shopping, try eating a meal packed with carbs and protein to give your body the kind of chemicals that can make you less likely to impulse buy.

If you’re already out of the house when the whim to shop strikes, pick up a protein shake before you go any further. This kind of treat can dull your urge to splurge.

Picture a world without stuff

Impulse buyers tend not to picture the future when they’re shopping. They’re caught up in the thrill of the moment.

When you find that must-buy item, which probably isn’t a must-buy at all, stop for a moment and think about what your life will be like if you don’t buy it. Not so bad, huh? So, don’t buy it.

Be grateful for what you’ve got

‘Hashtag’ gratitude is a pointless, smug and self-congratulatory trend that helps nobody in particular. Instead, it encourages the populace to put up with the miserable conditions of late capitalism.

On the other hand, deep, heartfelt gratitude can help reduce your need for instant gratification. Spend time with the stuff that you already own, sort it, care for it and value it. According to the Association of Psychological Science, this can help you quit your addiction.

The power to curb your shopping enthusiasm is within you. But, without the right techniques, you’ll remain at the mercy of the quacks who’d sell you retail therapy as a cure for all your worries.

For more tips in an easy-to-follow guide, check out this new infographic.

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5 Tips For Smashing Your Weight Loss Goals

Let’s be honest. We all wish we are a few pounds lighter on the scales.

Well, I did.

I’m getting married in July of this year. And last December 5th, 2016, I got the biggest kick up my sagging, wobbly behind has ever had.

That day, I stepped on my bathroom scale and found out that I gained over 20 lbs. I looked and felt awful. I realized that I simply could not get married in July looking or feeling like that!

I guess, sometimes, everyone needs a kick!

I am a 30-year-old male, career-driven and comfortable in my relationship. I was so comfortable that I didn’t notice that my waist expanded 6 inches. I neglected my health.

What I am trying to say is that it is very easy to form bad habits and repeat them day in day out. But, once realization hits you, you’ll be able to kick those bad habits away- with focus and dedication.

I’m now 23 lbs lighter, leaner and happy. My future wife is pretty happy, too.

And as a way to help you go through the same thing, here are some of the ways to lose weight I found effective:

Food prep

food prep

This is the easiest thing to get right and the easiest thing to neglect, too.

Proper food prep is one of the best ways to lose weight. As they say, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.”

Spend an hour on a Sunday night batch cooking your food for the next 3 to 4 days. Make sure you are getting all of your key food groups, including your greens, in your meal plan.

I am not saying that getting an occasional treat isn’t allowed. Prepping your food is just a way to make sure you don’t always resort to ordering fast food.

See Also: Foods That Will Help You Keep Your Family Healthy

Understand your Macro splits

Macros, short for macronutrients, are simply the following food groups: proteins, fats, carbohydrates.

We all need them and each is vital for our metabolism to work correctly and efficiently. You can quickly search for a Macro calculator online and you can easily get a handful of options, like this one: https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

Once you have your splits, write them down and make sure to follow them when preparing your meal plan.

Download Myfitnesspal

This app allows you to track all of your daily food intakes. It also enables you to input your macro splits in the format of either percentage or grams. You can use it to track your actual weight loss, too.

I found that by downloading this app, I was able to easily keep an eye on what I was eating, how many calories I had consumed and how much I have left. It’s a very cool, motivational tool that keeps your eyes on the prize.

It was a huge help in making sure I don’t overeat or take on too many calories. The app has a very cool barcode scanner. You can use it to scan all of your food and keep an eye on your calories!

Exercise

exercise regularly

Exercise has so many benefits. Not only can it help you lose and maintain a healthy weight, it can also make you feel great.

I’m not talking about spending 14 hours a day in a gym. Just engage in cardio and weight training if you can.

I try to do 20 to 40 minutes of cardio a day, 5 times a week. If you don’t like running, then head to Youtube and look up HIIT workouts. A gent called Joe Wicks creates great workout videos you can check out.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), a personal favorite of mine, is sharp, explosive and great at blasting belly fat. It is short but highly effective. If you regularly follow a healthy eating regime and you combine it with HIIT, you’ll be able to see results very quickly.

Weight training is also key to building muscle and burning fat. The internet is a good source for workouts. If you have the budget, however, you can always invest in a good personal trainer.

When choosing a good coach, always ask to see the portfolio of clients they have previously worked with. This is one good way to ensure that you’ll be dealing with someone who knows how to get results.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Set short term goals that add long-term results

It’s easy to realize you are overweight and tell yourself you are going to lose 50 lbs in 3 months. Doing it, however, is a different ball game.

I had weeks where I would bust my ass and lose 3 to 4 lbs. In other weeks, I’d only lose 1 lb. It is easy to get frustrated with these numbers and that’s alright. Results take time and effort.

I found that setting short term goals (4-6 weeks) were more motivating. Once you hit that short term goal, you can set a new one and repeat. We all have an end goal and whether that is 20, 30, 40 or 50 lbs of weight loss, it won’t happen overnight.

Be realistic, dedicated and honest. If you cheat on your diet, no problem. Move on from your mistake, start fresh the next day and work on smashing your goals.

Finally, don’t be afraid to allow yourself a treat once in a while. Work hard, eat well but don’t feel guilty for eating a guilty pleasure every now and again. I personally have one cheat meal a week- not a cheat day.

Hopefully, all or some of these tips have been helpful. They were a great help in my weight loss journey and they should be able to provide the same results to you.

Good luck and smash your goals!

The post 5 Tips For Smashing Your Weight Loss Goals appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Power of Volunteering

In the dictionary, volunteering is an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”.

Volunteering, in the form which we would understand, dates back to 1851. It’s the same creation date of the first YMCA in the United States. During the American civil war, educator Clara Barton and a team of volunteers started to provide clothing, food, and supplies for the sick and wounded servicemen. Barton then formed the American Red Cross in 1851 and began to mobilize volunteers for disaster relief, including supporting the victims of the Johnstown flood in 1889.

Today, volunteering is the backbone of many non-profit organizations across the US. Studies by Volunteering in America have shown that young Americans spent over 3.6 million hours for organizations or causes which they felt passionate about.

If you have never volunteered, you may not know what type of volunteering would be good for you or where you can start on your journey to becoming a volunteer.

There are thousands of potential opportunities that can allow you to share your skills and knowledge or learn something totally new. Volunteering posts vary from fundraising and administration, right through to building new schools or sinking wells overseas.

Now, you might wonder what good volunteering can bring you. It may surprise you that, apart from the feeling of being able to do something good for the wider community, there are a large number of benefits to carrying out volunteer work.

It makes you feel better

Research has shown that taking part in volunteering activities can make you feel better, both in body and mind!

A survey of over 3,000 adults by the UnitedHealth Group found that of those people who had volunteered, 76% said that volunteering made them feel better and 94% stated that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem. It was found that people who volunteered were able to manage their stress more easily and feel a stronger connection to their community.

So, doing something good can do you some good!

“I love the voluntary work I do now and equally loved the voluntary work I did for the Stroke Association a few years ago. It gives me a purpose, and is good for my mental health.”, said Karla, a volunteer for a number of organizations.

You can learn new skills

When you volunteer, you get the chance to undertake training, learn, and practice a number of new skills. Many of these are soft skills which are skills that you are unlikely to learn from any university. These include communication skills, teamwork and the ability to adapt to any situation.

Working with strangers on a project will help you build a set of skills and earn experiences that will be vital for every part of your life. You will have to create links and communicate, understand objectives and even resolve disputes.

Soft skills are difficult to represent on your resume. You can say you have excellent team building or communication skills, but you won’t be able to prove them on paper. By volunteering, you’ll be able to demonstrate how you gained and used these skills.

See Also: Importance Of Soft Skills: Why Grades Aren’t Enough

You can make new friends

volunteer work

This is one of the importance of volunteering.

In a world of online friendships or as you transition from high school to college, you can lose some real connections. Although it might help to read your friends’ status updates, it doesn’t compare to ‘face to face’ friendships!

Volunteering can help you build new friendships with people from all walks of life. You will be meeting in an environment you both support and care about and will be on a shared journey. The people you meet could become very close friends or even more.

You are more likely to socialize with your volunteering colleagues than people who don’t volunteer. The issue is that despite being more connected than ever, we lack real friendships.

Many people find that they have very few friends who they regularly see face-to-face. A report published by the American Sociological Review found that the average American only has two close friends. A quarter, on the other hand, states that they have no close friends at all. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to step out of your usual circle of friends and colleagues and meet new people.

It makes you more employable

A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteering, found that people who had spent time volunteering had a 27% better chance of finding a job than others who had never volunteered.

An individual who has taken the time and effort to become involved in a volunteer capacity demonstrates a natural work ethic, has a more developed set of soft skills and has gained or updated skills needed in the workplace. This is often referred to as ‘human capital’ which is defined as ‘the acquisition of “of all useful skills and knowledge…that is part of deliberate investment.” Schultz (1961). It is seen as an investment in skills and training which have a measurable economic payoff or return on investment.

Stewart Lucas is the CEO of a major mental health charity in the United Kingdom. He spent a year working for a community project in Manchester in the 1990’s. He said: “I do what I do because of volunteering. If I hadn’t done my year of volunteering in 1991-92, then I wouldn’t be in Manchester and I wouldn’t be the CEO of a leading charity. Most of my staff started as volunteers, and volunteers are the lifeblood of all our work. In fact, most, if not all, charity CEOs started as volunteers.”

Claire looked to find a role in education and found that volunteering offered the experience and contacts which enabled her to find a permanent job. “I volunteered in a school playgroup. This gave me great references, enabling me to get me a permanent job in a school.”

How can I go about volunteering?

There is a multitude of organizations and types of volunteering available both in the US and overseas. As a starting point, you may want to check the Reward Volunteers quiz. It can help you understand the sort of volunteering role that can suit your personality.

Volunteer roles are massively varied and reflect the wide range of not-for-profit organizations. The basic types include:

Formal – It’s generally a long-term volunteering which involves delivering services. This can include supporting care and activities in a care home, leading education session or acting as a volunteer driver.

Informal – This is a less defined form of volunteering. There may not be specific roles but there will be tasks that need to be undertaken when people have the time. These could include community volunteering, such as beach cleaning or volunteering for sporting activities.

Social action – These bring together people with common interests, such as environmental protection or political lobbying. They have a defined outcome for their activities.

The roles you can carry out are vast, from organizing charity events through supporting the charity administration and governance. You can either find a role where you have skills already or work with your organization to develop new skills.

It may be that you are very outgoing and will suit a role that involves public speaking, like fundraising or campaigning activities. If you are hands-on and practical, you could find roles in conservation, building and maintaining paths or clearing bushland.

In case you are a good listener, you may find the role of a counselor as the best fit for you. If you are sporty, you may want to look at coaching or supporting local sports teams or activities. This could include marshaling races or helping the safe running of sporting events.

Volunteering overseas

volunteering overseas

In case you want more volunteering opportunities, there are a large number of possible roles outside of the US. You should be aware that some projects will expose you to extreme poverty and you need to be ready to face such realities.

Remember, you will not be able to change everything by yourself. However, by volunteering, you can make a change by supporting people who truly need your help. As emotional and difficult as some placements can be, they can be equally rewarding.

You should be aware that there can be costs involved with volunteering overseas and this may come as a surprise. The organizations need to ensure that they have the funds available to support their cause. They need to make sure that they can provide food, accommodation and a support network for their volunteers.

The importance of volunteering

Volunteering is a two-way street. You will not just gain skills, experience, and friendships, but you will also be able to give something very precious- your time and energy.

Virtually, every single non-profit organization relies totally on volunteers to carry out their activities and they really make a difference. For example, The Samaritan volunteers give over 5.5 million hours of their time freely. This enables them to pick up the phone to callers and answer texts and emails from individuals who are desperate for advice. Callers contact the organization every 6 seconds day and night.

Volunteering doesn’t always have to involve life and death situations, but you’ll surely influence others’ lives.

In the words of Linda who has volunteered all her life, “It is truly a rewarding experience. Feeling you are making a difference. Giving without taking. Giving back if you have been given kindness. It is so important.”

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

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7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships

Despite all the disastrous relationships we’ve experienced and witnessed in our lives, there’s always a couple that restores your faith in love and lasting relationships.

As a young person, you may not value stability. However, as you grow older and when you’re in the later stages of life, your spouse can be the core of your support system. Numerous studies have revealed that having a happy relationship with a spouse leads to improved health and can prevent loneliness among seniors.

Nail these tips on how to make lasting relationships and you’ll be headed in the right direction!

Share core values and interests

Opposites do attract, but it is better if your relationship has core values and interests you both share. It is important that you have a similar outlook on life.

Sharing core values means you can agree on the major aspects of life. A good example is the number of children you want and how you wish to raise them.

It can also help if you have similar personalities and that you come from the same background. Not having any common ground with your significant other makes it difficult to get enthusiastic about what interests him. Whether you admit it or not, it’s always nice if you have a partner that can get excited about the stuff you’re interested in.

Place importance on physical attraction

Yes, what’s on the inside matters more. But, physicality and attraction play a huge role in keeping couples together, too.

A relationship is highly unlikely to develop if there was no physical attraction in the first place. Of course, it shouldn’t be the basis of the relationship, but it is vital in keeping your partner hooked and invested in the relationship.

This doesn’t mean you have to look like Hollywood celebs, but keep your weight and appearance in check. Remember, physical attraction is a key component of maintaining intimacy with your partner. Make sure you’re doing what it takes to keep them interested in you.

Communicate

Communication is essential for the health of all relationships. It is, however, that much more integral in your relationship with your spouse.

Ideally, you should be spending the majority of your day with your spouse. Your partner should be the one you turn to in times of peril. If you aren’t able to relay your concerns with them, then expect problems to arise in the relationship.

The inability to trust your spouse with your problems and concerns is sure to place a wedge between the both of you. If your communication line is ineffective, you’ll come to resent each other as the distance between you grows.

Compromise

You can’t have it your way all the time. There are going to be countless occasions where one of you will have to bend in order to accommodate the other.

It’s not right for one partner to be the one making all the sacrifices. Actually, you shouldn’t think of compromises as sacrifices at all, as much as you can think of compromise as a negotiation.

You shouldn’t feel like you’re giving something up. Instead, think of it as adjusting a little for the sake of your relationship. Negotiate with your partner until you reach an agreement that seems fair to both individuals.

Have the conversation only when you’re ready to talk without getting overly emotional and impulsive. Try and come up with solutions that the both of you are somewhat content with. Forcing a compromise at a time where you’re feeling resistant to one another will only worsen the situation.

Make an effort to enjoy your partner’s interests

fun spousal activities

There are activities, movies and music that your partner is passionate about which don’t interest you at all. Despite that, you should still consider giving it a genuine chance. Your partner will surely appreciate your effort in trying it for his sake. The more you can enjoy together, the better it is for your relationship.

See Also: 7 Ways To Inject Romance Into Your Relationship 

Constantly challenge yourself

Making new memories together will always strengthen your relationship. Doing the same activities over and over again can make things mundane.

Keep things fresh, make it a point to go to new places, meet different types people and try new activities together. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is important for personal growth and to keep your relationship exciting, too.

Don’t go to bed angry

spouse argument

The is probably the best relationship advice ever.

The idea of resolving issues as soon as possible is the easiest way of preventing the buildup of anger and feelings of resentment. Do yourselves a favor and resolve your conflicts before you go to sleep. You’ll save yourself a night of restlessness and, most importantly, you’ll wake up without the burden of a fight.

See Also: 7 Ways to Make Your Angry Wife Happy

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Turning Trials Into Triumph

Every success story is riddled with trials and tragedy. Our ability to overcome these obstacles is what makes them so appealing. From small startups disrupting industry giants to a small platoon battling a massive army, there are moments that test our character and build our resolve.

When it seems like there’s nowhere to go is when the fiercest battles take place in our mind, body, and spirit. The ones who triumph are forever remembered and depicted as heroes while those who fail are often forgotten.

So, what’s the difference between these people?

Well, it’s not their position, stature or even wealth. The determining factor that separates the great and the not-so-great is their grit and determination. In one word, it’s perseverance.

This is the quality that keeps us moving forward in a sea of adversity. It’s what pushes us to keep fighting against the current and overcome tidal waves of doubt. We batten down the hatches and weather the storm knowing that it will soon pass and we’ll be better after it.

It’s sticking to the plan when most have walked away — working alone, without pay, and without recognition. It’s this quality that makes us bend, but not break. We face our fears in defiance of the odds, shattering the barriers of reality, pushing the limits of what’s possible and reaching new horizons.

Either placed in these situations by choice or by circumstance, this is when we shine the brightest. This ability to hold ourselves to a different standard and not settling for mediocrity is what makes us stronger. Forever striving for success, we know that failure is not a permanent condition, but just a temporary inconvenience.

Our ability to recognize that nothing worth having comes easy is what encourages us to take a risk. It is what forces us to show up and perform every single day without any loss of enthusiasm.

A Tale Of Turning Trials Into Triumphs

The crew of the Essex knows this quality all too well. When placed between a rock and a hard place, they chose to rise to the occasion. This incredible true story of perseverance and fighting spirit is the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

essex whaling disaster
Via Mother Nature Network

The Essex was a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts piloted by Captain Pollard and his 20 men in the 1800’s. During their whaling expedition, the ship was rammed by a whale which caused it to sink.

This left Captain Pollard and the crew fending for their lives on three small rescue boats, hundreds of miles away from civilization with no land in sight. With little provisions, much of the Essex crew did what they could to fight off starvation and dehydration. Sadly, much of the crew perished due to these abysmal conditions. Despite this, the survivors did not lose hope.

In such a dire situation, most would succumb to the circumstances. Captain Pollard, however, kept his resolve and encouraged his men. After weeks at sea, the remaining survivors eventually resorted to cannibalism and doing everything necessary to fight off death.

Surviving long enough for a passing ship to rescue them, the survivors were found delirious, starved and a shadow of their former selves. Eventually, the surviving crew members were able to return to Nantucket, where they tried to forget the horrors of the ocean.

Fighting seemingly insurmountable odds is why the Essex survivors will forever be remembered. Their courage and ability to endure the agony of hopelessness are qualities that are admirable and something we should all strive for.

Conclusion

Luckily, we rarely face life and death circumstances. But, many times we are too easily discouraged at the first sign of resistance- unable to say no, stand up, and do what is necessary for the face of adversity. We must learn to channel our inner survivor and fight off these obstacles with the tenacity of a prize fighter.

stand up to obstacles

To do otherwise would be selling ourselves short and conforming to the reality that society has placed on us. Rather than living on our knees, let’s die on our feet knowing that, at the end of the day, we gave life everything we had. Leaving no stone unturned, forever pushing past our comfort zones.

We must realize that life is a bold adventure and to take advantage of it, we must keep moving forward. Let’s make the commitment to strengthen our resolve because if we never quit, there’s no way we’ll fail. And that is exactly how you start turning trials into triumph.

See Also: How To Conquer The Fear Of Success (Or Failure)

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5 Factors That Can Help You Achieve Success

Success is a word that can easily grab one’s attention because it’s important to each and every one of us. No matter what background we come from, we all want to achieve success. We reach for it in our quest to achieve greatness.

Different people have different interpretations of success, but we all expect the same result: to win. If we had to settle on a particular definition, we might say that success is the realization or attainment of a desire or want.

Earl Nightingale, one of the forefathers of self-improvement, defined success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Whatever you’re working towards — a college degree, a higher-paying job or improved social status — if you consider the destination to be worthy, then arriving there constitutes success.

There are five important factors to keep in mind when it comes to achieving success. This list is not definitive as there’s always more to add and each individual’s list may vary. Keep these in mind and you won’t go wrong.

Self Image

In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz said that an individual’s self-image may be the most important factor in how he or she lives life. Dr. Maltz delves into how our self-image — the image we have of ourselves and how we think others see us — affects our lives.

A reconstructive plastic surgeon, Dr. Matz realized that while plastic surgery only benefited approximately 0.5% of the population and only on a surface level, the other 99.5% had scars that go deeper. These individuals had unresolved and untreated emotional scars stemming from the past.

The way to heal those metaphorical scars is not to go under the knife, but to have those people examine their self-images. Once they are able to treat their inner scars, they will be able to achieve peace of mind.

It’s important to note that self-image goes well beyond what we think of ourselves. What we believe others think of us or the light they see us in play an important role, too.

Self-Esteem

Often confused with self-image, self-esteem is the value that we place on ourselves. Unlike self-image, self-esteem is based on worthiness and not on the actual image that we have in our minds.

The common reason why many people confuse the two is that they’re closely related. In fact, our self-esteem is often derived from our self-image. As Psychology Today states, “Perhaps no other self-help topic has spawned so much advice and so many (often conflicting) theories.”

Whatever value we believe we have or how much we think we are worth constitutes our self-esteem. Stanley J. Gross, Ed.D, a licensed psychologist in private practice, says, “Self-esteem is not set in stone. Raising it is possible, but not easy…self-esteem grows as we face our fears and learn from our experiences.”

Self-Confidence

self confidence

Self-confidence is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the confidence we have in ourselves and our abilities. It’s the belief that we have in ourselves and what we are capable of.

In 1890, philosopher William James wrote in Principles of Psychology, “Believe what is in the line of your needs, for only by such belief is the need filled…have faith that you can successfully make it, and your feet are nerved to its accomplishment.”

This was James’ way of revealing the virtue of self-confidence. This attribute hinges greatly on the two preceding elements: self-image and self-esteem. How we see ourselves and what we believe our self-worth is will have an incredible impact on how confident we are in ourselves.

Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is an attribute that almost everyone knows is important for success. Unfortunately, it isn’t the easiest to implement.

Self-discipline involves taking action to achieve your desired outcome, even in the face of adversity, temptation or any other obstacle. As Mark Tyrrell says in Uncommon Help, “Exercising self-discipline can make the difference between an averagely talented person doing something amazing with their lives and a naturally talented person realizing very little of their potential.”

Discipline is absolutely vital to your success. Ignoring discipline or trying to find a way around it will only push success further and further away.

See Also: How To Improve Your Self-Discipline

Self-Love

love yourself

Self-love may sound like something that appeals primarily to narcissists, but it actually refers to how well you treat yourself. How we treat ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and in any other areas of our lives indicates how much love we have for ourselves.

Writing in Psychology Today, Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. states that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us.” Self-love is also important in helping us grow as individuals.

Carl R. Rogers, one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology, wrote, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Keeping a healthy diet and associating with successful, productive people are both good examples of self-love.

See Also: Yoga Helps You Love Yourself

The important thing to take away from these five factors for success is that each and everyone revolves around one important element: yourself. It all begins from within. None of these attributes relies solely on external factors. They are all within your control. Gain proper control and understanding of these factors so you can take action and achieve success.

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How To Get Out Of A Rut: 5 Ways To Move On

You may have no idea what your reason for being is. You’re annoyed, dissatisfied and unexcited by everything. It’s monotonous, tedious and frustrating.

And if you think you’re alone, think again.

In fact, you’re part of the largest group of people on Earth. You don’t know what to do with your life and, worse, you don’t know how to find out.

People are not born knowing their role in the world. In fact, we’re all born with endless possibilities and therein lies the problem. How do you even begin and, if you begin, how do you choose?

Can you move past the idea that there must be so much more? What are the ways to move on?

The Future is Yours—You Just Can’t See It

helping others

Life has many things in store for you. Family, friends, health, work, society—all of them change considerably during your lifetime. It’s unlikely that you will enjoy all these changes as not all of them will be positive.

Know this: your life’s journey is your masterpiece.

As you work in life, your purpose unfolds in front of you and your role in the world becomes clearer. Stop trying to meticulously plan your life. Planning is the antithesis to the adventure and improvisation that life requires. You’re in charge and that’s a great thing. A little scary maybe, but still a great thing. Remember that the best way to plan your future is to go out and create it!

Your default mode should be action. Doing [things] is honest philosophy. Stay positive and avoid criticizing others. Above all else, avoid negativity. Work to be helpful and try to look for ways to help other people.

At your job, help your boss. In your community, help your neighbors. For the rest of the world, help those less fortunate. Don’t enter the ugly fray that’s become so prevalent in our society. Always be on the side of positivity.

When you approach life this way, people seek you out and opportunities find you. It’s the law of attraction.

See Also: 12 Mind-blowing Tips for Increasing Your Overall Positivity!

Don’t Do What Makes You Happy

“Do what makes you happy” is a terrible advice from well-intentioned parents and teachers.

In fact, you should embrace discomforts and frustrations and move beyond your comfort zone. This is the only way to learn. To focus only on that which makes you happy means you avoid a great deal of life and the learning that comes with it.

Every time you move outside of your comfort zone, you learn more. Your role in life and your true happiness become clearer and you have more focus. You find out who you are and everything that you can endure. Each period of great discomfort teaches you about your preferences and that your limits are probably lesser than you imagined. Push your mind and body and then adjust. Do that again and again for that is the journey.

See Also: The Call for Change: Time to Step Out of the Comfort Zone

Investment In Your Mentality

ROI or Return on Investment is when you get back what you put in.

You already know about moving beyond your comfort zone – that’s the fun, adventurous part. However, sacrifice is tougher. It is the boring and frustrating part where most people choose to stop.

Note to self: “Don’t stop here.”

You need to understand that there is a long road to travel and that life is a marathon. Chances are you’re just beginning.

Humans are hardwired to want things now. It’s called immediate gratification and it’s a very powerful force. You should be smarter than everyone else, so think! invest in your future and reap your returns as you move forward.

Creating your future most often means sacrificing time with family and friends, working for long stretches in jobs you don’t enjoy, studying and saving your money. We all have limited time, energy and funds, but you must invest those limited treasures so that you can create a future of greater abundance.

Teach Yourself

teach yourself

Stop waiting to be trained! The truth is that you can’t gain knowledge without seeking it. Nobody can teach you anything anyway. They can only help you learn so understand that going through the process alone is one of the effective ways to move on.

When you don’t know something, read about it, work at it or ask questions. Read about new places, research careers that interest you and speak to people with more experience.

The more you explore, the closer you come to understanding who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty because that’s the only way to know if you’re enjoying something. Keep in mind that you are your best mentor.

Big questions that can be helpful:

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • How can you give back to the world?
  • What would you prioritize if money and time were no objects?
  • Can you speak another language?
  • Is travel important to you?
  • What professional experience do you want to gain?

Today, hundreds of companies all over the world will allow you to travel, learn and give back while you continue to explore your passions, develop new skills and discover new interests. Start by helping in disaster relief abroad through All Hands Volunteers, offering your time to provide a better future to the kids in Latin America with Maximo Nivel or help orphaned and abandoned children in Africa and Asia through Orphfund. Your role in the world and your preferences continue to evolve over time, so continue teaching yourself and keep learning!

There Is No Right Time

Time waits for no one, so utilize the time you’ve been gifted. As much as possible, avoid falling trap to time wasters, like TV, social media, people who don’t like you and being negative. Instead, try reading, traveling and being with the people who like you.

Your path in life and your role in the world are only discovered as you work at it. So, work hard! A lot of people miss the idea of fulfillment and happiness because opportunity always looks like hard work.

Instead of thinking that way, engage your mind and body in creating your life’s journey. It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect. That’s completely fine as it’s not supposed to be.

Thinking about it, waiting, being nervous or scared—these are all personal choices. If you want to move out of a rut, move beyond those choices. You will never regret your adventures if you’re learning new things.

 

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Conquering Fear: Here’s How To Change Your Perspective In Life

We had this great idea: “Let’s step it up. Let’s expand and grow. Let’s play a BIG game.”

I’m talking about me & my husband, John, here.

Now, anyone who knows us will easily realize that when we say “Let’s play a BIG game.”, it’s going to be the kind of game that would send 99% of people running for the hills.

When we say that line, it means we’re going to be so far out of our comfort zone that it won’t even be visible anymore. It’ll be long gone over the horizon.

There will be no going back and everything will change. We will not be the same people after we’ve played this level of game.

And that’s scary. When you decide to play another game or when you decide to expand your life, fear sometimes paralyzes you.

The thing is, in order to be someone different and to have something different, you need to give up who you are, the things you do AND what you have now. You can’t have something else AND be the same person you were before.

If you do something new, you will never be the same person after. You now have new experiences and the whole world will be different for you.

The same goes for what’s possible or not possible for you.

Say, you decide to learn rock climbing (and I’m using this analogy because John IS a rock climber). When you first start to climb, you grab for the big holds because you’re trying to feel safe and secure. You go up a few meters and then you realize that you can’t go any further because you’ve run out of big holds.

By that time, you’re stuck.

If you want to move on and start conquering fears, you have to use smaller holds. You have to learn to trust. As your time, experience and confidence move on, you learn how to plan ahead, look for the paths and see things differently.

conquer fear

When you’re first learning, all you can see are the big holds. You don’t pay too much attention to the smaller, sometimes tinier, ‘holds’. You don’t consider them as something that could hold you up so you skip them.

I use the term ‘hold’ very loosely and it’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

I’ve watched John climb and some of those ‘holds’ are nothing more than minor waves in the rock! IMHO, there’s nothing ‘holding’ about them, but they almost always hold him up!

When John looks at a rock face now, he sees something totally different to what he saw when he first started rock climbing. Everything is different now. As far as rock climbing is concerned, John is not the same person that he was when he first began climbing.

John’s experienced some hairy moments along the way (I’ve seen some of them), but he’s learned to push himself to try new things and to expand what he can do. Each time he’s done that, he comes down knowing different things:

  • He knows himself as someone who can do
  • He knows that… doesn’t work
  • if he sees a particular set of moves coming up, he knows that he needs to prepare for it by doing…

But, before he actually does new moves or takes a fresh route, there’s fear: What if he can’t? What if he falls off? What if he hurts himself?

John climbs with a buddy for the most part. They set up belaying ropes so if they come off, they might hurt themselves a bit, but they won’t die. So, after a while, he began to realize that if he comes off, he’ll still be able to try again and again until he can finally do it.

In other words, he knows he’s safe.

Now, rock climbing is not for everyone, myself included, but the analogy is one we can relate to:

  • When we expand our lives and grow, we will not be the same person when we’ve finished
  • Once we’ve done something — even just once — we realize that things look totally different from having had that experience
  • Doing something new is always going to be scary. The bigger the jump in the level of difficulty, the scarier it will be.
  • We are always safe. We might get a bit of an ouch, but we can learn from it and carry on.

So, we decided to play a big game. We decided to step it up massively to create a huge impact.

It’s scary. It’s an unknown territory and we don’t know how to do it.

But, from the moment we make the decision to go down that path, we’re sure that it’s the right thing to do.

The thing is, you’re not going to be able to achieve what you want to by being the person you are now. You must be someone different.

You need to give up who you know yourself to be and the things you know to be true if you want to do this new thing (like with the holds in rock climbing).

success in conquering fear

Your perspective in life must change if you’re going to see the things you need to see and achieve your goal.

And finally, this is possibly the scariest bit. You must trust that you wouldn’t feel so strongly about something if it’s impossible for you to achieve.

Remember, you put out those vibes into the universe, so everything you need in order to achieve your goal is already there. You just can’t see it by being the person you are right now. The truth is, you can only see it by being the person who has already achieved it.

Give up the fear and step into the future you know is yours.

See Also: How to Find your Buoy of Safety When You are Drowning in Fear

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12 Simple Rules Of Staying Safe On A First Date

Dating is one the most fun experiences in life, but in today’s climate, it can also be one of the most worrying for you and for those who care about you. If you’re dating somebody from your circle of friends, it’s easier to have people’s mind at ease. But what if you’re on a first date with somebody relatively new or somebody you don’t know so much about?

Here are the twelve simple rules of staying safe on a first date.

Tell A Friend Your Plans

Make sure that a friend or family member knows exactly what your plans are for the evening. If they don’t hear from you when they expect to, then they can start to raise the alarm that something might be wrong.

Go Somewhere Public

dating tips

On a first date, it’s particularly important to arrange to meet somewhere very public, like a park or a coffee shop. If your date wants you to go straight to their home for your first meeting, then you should be apprehensive about their intentions.

Take Your Mobile

This seems like an obvious tip, but absolutely make sure that you take your phone with you wherever you go. You can use it to text that the date is going well, but you can also use it for more serious reasons if something feels wrong.

Don’t Be Afraid To Leave

If something about the date doesn’t seem right to you, then do not hesitate to get up and leave. You don’t owe your date anything, especially if they are making you feel uncomfortable. Just excuse yourself and head for the door!

Pre-Plan Your Route

Make sure that you know exactly how to get to and from your date location. You should not rely on somebody else to pick you up or take you home, especially if you want to be out of their company quickly!

Eyes On Your Drink

Keep one hand and one eye on your drink at all times during the date, and never leave it unaccompanied to go to the bathroom etc. It might seem like a cynical thing to do, but you can never be too sure with a relative stranger.

Don’t Meet At Home Or Work

Don’t arrange the date to start from your home or your workplace, as by the end of the night you might realize that you have gone out with somebody who you don’t want knowing such personal information.

Don’t Drink Too Much

dating advice

Of course, it’s a woman’s prerogative to drink however much she wants. However, on a first date, in particular, it is always good to have all of your wits about you, just in case any advances are made that you don’t want.

Don’t Be Driven Home

Don’t let your date drive you home. You might not want to reveal your home address this early on, and you also don’t want thr possibility of them driving you to a place that you are unfamiliar with.

Don’t Go Home With Them

It seems a bit old fashioned to tell someone not go home with their date after the first meeting in 2017, but if there is a strong physical attraction, it will still be there on the second or third date when you know them better.

Get A Friend To Call

It’s always a good idea to get a friend to call you halfway through the date just to check up on you. If it is going well, they will be reassured and your date will know that somebody is waiting up for you. And if your date isn’t going well, then their call can be your reason to leave.

Kiss Outside The Car

If you feel like you want to smooch on the first date, then do so outside of the car so that you aren’t at risk of doors being locked or things being taken too far in the semi-privacy of a vehicle.

So there you have it, 12 of my best tips for making sure that you are as safe as you can be when out on a first date. We hope you have lots of fun, but remember to be safe at all times and trust your gut when it comes to how you feel about the person you are getting to know. Looks and first impressions can sometimes deceive!

We’ve prepared the infographic below for you. Please share it with your friends or relatives.

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11 Secrets To Building High Self-Esteem To Find Happiness

A high self-esteem means you know what you’re worth and can hold your head high when others are losing theirs. This definition is relatively basic but, in life, so many people still don’t understand what they are worth.

Building self-esteem is like forming a new habit. It takes small incremental efforts before it can become second nature. To help you out, here are some of the tips you can use.

Learn To Improve Yourself

Cherish opportunities to improve yourself. Start by acquiring knowledge and living through life experiences. This way, you’ll be able to appreciate your abilities and make good judgments that can inspire other people. Building self-esteem requires you to constantly experience self-improvement.

Know What You Want

Most people who have low self-esteem do not know what they want. They look to other people and wonder how others can be so successful.

If you want to boost your confidence, you should know what you want. Set clear goals and be passionate about meeting them. Even just one cleared goal should improve your self-esteem dramatically.

Believe In Something Worth It

What do you stand for? What do you believe in that is worth protecting and, if need be, dying for?

To build high self-esteem, you need to answer these questions. Unless you believe in something worth it, you will be swayed by anything. As soon as you believe in something worth it, you will be able to understand your limitations and know what to avoid when your belief is challenged.

Exercise Regularly

exercise regularly

Those who engage in regular physical exercise will experience a remarkable improvement in self-esteem. Regular exercises will help you stay in shape and boost your confidence.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Learn To Be Yourself

I have seen so many people try to live their lives as others do, without considering exactly what they want. This is a prelude to unhappiness.

To start building self-esteem, you need to learn to be yourself and not someone else. Those who have high self-esteem are unique people. They do, see, think and act differently. Their uniqueness comes from within.

They are not moved by ephemeral things. They do what they think is right and they do not listen too much to what others might say.

Learn Perseverance

learn perseverance

You need to learn to persevere. This will help you go through those periods when the flood of discouragements, failures and opposition mounts.

Failures and setbacks will surely come, but your ability to persevere is what will see you through. Perseverance will help you appreciate hard work and gain confidence.

See Also: Don’t Be A Quitter: Perseverance Is One Of The Most Underestimated Skills of Successful People

Understand Life

To build high self-esteem, you should fully understand life, its purpose and what it truly means. Many people consider acquiring many cars, houses, jewelry and other material things as being successful. Your inability to understand life will make you hold onto things that do not matter. It’s like chasing shadows and going after the wind.

Avoid Discussing People

Avoid discussing people if you seek to boost your self-esteem. People who put others down or work to discredit others are insecure beings. As humans, it’s normal for people to commit mistakes. This, however, doesn’t mean that they’re bad.

Look at yourself before criticizing others. Will you be happy when people discuss you behind your back or discuss your mistakes in a way to ridicule you? If you will not be happy, then don’t do it. Focus on issues and use your time wisely. Instead of wasting time discussing people, work on achieving your goals.

Help Others Succeed

There is so much competition in the world today and people are competing with one another in almost every aspect of life. As much as possible, do not take part in this trend.

Instead, think of ways to help others. Most people with high self-esteem are adding value to people’s lives and inspiring them to succeed. They are always thinking of how to make the world a better place. When you help others succeed, you will also succeed.

Learn Something New

One way to build your self-esteem is to constantly update and build your knowledge. Reading is a good example. When you read, you learn something new and you improve yourself in the process.

Another way to learn something new is to accept feedback from mentors and colleagues. You can use what they have to say to improve, grow and gain more self-confidence.

Be Generous

What are you giving to others?

Being generous to others can help boost self-esteem. Remember, givers never lack.

These are the ways I have gained high self-esteem over the years. Practice them consistently and you’ll find building self-esteem a lot easier.

The post 11 Secrets To Building High Self-Esteem To Find Happiness appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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17 Easy Positive Changes You Can Make In Your Life Right Now

There are many positive actions and habits we know we should do, like working out, eating healthily and not spending beyond our means. We know the big things that will make our lives better, but the fact that they’re big tasks means they can feel daunting or overwhelming.

And so we easily give up on them.

Life isn’t always about big, bold milestones. It’s also about the little things that can bring you a more positive and fulfilling lifestyle.

If you feel the same way, then you should know that there are small positive changes you can still do to make your life better. Pick one thing from the list below and test it out. If you like it and it’s becoming a regular habit, add another one in.

And the best thing about these small changes? They require no extra money or prep time.

So, what are you waiting for? Scroll down the list, pick a number and start making positive changes.

17 Things That Will Bring You Positive Changes

1. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day as much as you can. However, a spontaneous wild night out every now and then won’t hurt anyone.

2. Watch some comedy every day to keep those laughter muscles warmed up.

3. Have a healthy breakfast to set yourself up well for the day. Oatmeal with fruits, a smoothie or even a homemade granola will do.

healthy breakfast

4. Consider playing the songs you love as you’re getting ready in the morning. It will give your day a great start even before you leave the house.

5. Unfollow people on Facebook. A major factor in feeling bad is comparing ourselves to other people. Seeing your high school buddy’s “perfect” holiday, kids or home isn’t going to boost your self-esteem. It’s best to remove them from your view.

6. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time for. Make it simple and achievable, like dining at a particular restaurant or trying out a new recipe.

7. While you’re lying in bed at night, think of five things that went well that day. They don’t have to be big or dramatic. It can be a nice lunch, a free gift at the store or a cute baby that smiled at you. As a result, you’ll be able to train your brain to focus on the good rather than the bad.

8. Talk back to your negative thoughts. If your friend told you she’d had an unproductive day, would you respond negatively or positively? Consider it the same for yourself. Being harsh on yourself won’t help you achieve more. In fact, it can only make you feel crappy.

9. Keep a notebook and jot down all the things that make you feel alive. You’d be amazed at how this simple act can switch your brain into feeling good.

10. At least once a week, wear an outfit that makes you feel great. Wear your most fabulous clothes, underwear included. Do your hair in a style you love, put on some makeup, and head out looking good. You’ll be amazed at how differently people will treat you.

11. Send a text once a week to someone you know and tell them why you think they’re awesome. This will boost your positivity.

12. If you want to work out but can’t find the motivation, just go for a walk. It’s better than nothing and will get your blood pumping. The best way to get fit is to see yourself as someone who works out and keeps fit.

walking exercise

13. Drop the word “should”. Keep an eye out for how often you say it and ask yourself if it’s making you feel better or worse. Is it something genuinely important to you? Who said you should do it? Do they know you better than you know yourself? Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know why the word won’t help you.

14. If you’re a procrastinator, introduce the “yucky task, nice task” process. It works just as it sounds. Get your yucky task done first and give yourself a reward or do a nicer task after.

15. Another positive change you can do is clear your inbox of all the newsletters you’re signed up to. Put them in a separate folder, delete them, or pare them down to just the ones you love to receive. The feeling of freedom that comes from an uncluttered inbox is worth more than the sporadic, fleeting bonus you might get from one of your newsletters.

16. Add one more piece of fruit into your day and mix it up with the usual ones you have every day. Make it a daily challenge to see the different kinds of fruit you can eat. In addition to helping you start with some positive changes, it can also help you be healthier.

17. Finally, if you’re a news junkie, set a timer and allow yourself to read the news for an allotted period of time only. Our news has changed over the past few years and they’re designed to hook you in. Generally, we feel worse after watching story upon story of terror and bad news, so limit your exposure. If you’re not a news junkie, why not take a break from watching?

So, there you have it. These are the 17 small changes that can add up to big results. Where will you start?

The post 17 Easy Positive Changes You Can Make In Your Life Right Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Easy Tips On How To Find Happiness

Knowing how to find happiness is easy, but actually attaining it is a different story. If you have been chasing happiness without positive results, read through the tips below to open yourself up and to let happiness come to you.

Understand That Happiness Can’t Be Defined

Happiness is something that we must define for ourselves. What one person may find happiness in, others may see sadness or contempt.

For example, many people consider high-paying jobs and large houses to be the definition of happiness. For other people, happiness is being with their family and spending time with them even in a small house.

Happiness can be found in all things, but it is up to you to discover which things should hold a special place in your heart.

Realize That Happiness Is in Your Life Already

happiness in life

Happiness is already in your life. Just think about the way you feel when you hug your friend or when you feel that hint of fresh air when you step outside. Think about that moment when your head hits the pillow after a long day of work.

We often overlook the small bits of happiness in our lives because we are so focused on obtaining objects and titles that we believe will make us happy. In reality, the key to being happy is in realizing that happiness is already around you and within you. You just have to be receptive to it.

Open Yourself Up to the Universe

You will not be able to fill a cup of water if you’re holding your hand over the opening of the glass. Similarly, you will not be able to allow happiness to fill your life if you are closing yourself to the universe.

Pain and hardships will come into your life from time to time, and they will make you want to shut yourself down. Fight this instinct. Only fighting through the pain and darkness will you be able to find the joy and the light.

Express Gratitude to the World

Have you ever wondered why we teach children to ask politely and say thank you after receiving something?

It’s because we all know that we should show gratitude to those who have been good to us. Much like those people, we should also express our gratitude to the world around us. Thank it for anything and everything. The world will be much more willing to provide you with what you need if you express gratitude for what you have.

See Also: A Little Bit of Gratitude, Everyday!

Meditate Daily

meditate daily

More often than not, we allow our emotions and our thoughts to dictate our behaviors and mindset. Meditation helps you become more grounded, mindful, and peaceful.

Through becoming more grounded and aware of yourself, you will be able to find happiness around you much easier. A simple 10 minutes a day is all you will need to begin experiencing the benefits of meditation.

See Also: Questions and Answers: A Beginners Guide to Meditation

Seek to Better Yourself

People who are happy with themselves and their lives are constantly seeking to become better people. Search for resources and people who can help you achieve these goals.

Bettering yourself will help increase your self-awareness giving you the ability to know what areas of your life are lacking happiness so you may improve upon them.

Know That You Can’t Always Be Happy

Those who chase happiness are under the impression that once they find it, every moment of their lives will be filled with overpowering happiness. This is absolutely not true. Not every day will be happy, and it shouldn’t be.

Happiness is special because it is something that you can’t experience all the time. That being said, you can find pieces of happiness every day even in unexpected places, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to give in during times when it seems as though things won’t ever get better.

Happiness is like the air around us. You can’t always see it, and it’s not always obvious that it’s there, but if you sit still and stop seeking it, you will be able to find it. If you use the tips in this article properly, chasing happiness will become a thing of the past.

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Responding To Pain With Positivity: Unleash The Stronger You

We all have had our share of pains, bruises, and bumps. These things are what make life more meaningful and memorable.

For me, things were pretty bad and so out of hand that I wanted to kill myself. However, with time, everything fell back into place and life looked way better than before.

Trust me, attracting pain is usually beyond human control. If we are destined to face the harsher realities of life, no protective measure would come in handy. At the end, it will all depend on the will of an individual and how he or she will use that pain to grow stronger.

There are individuals who give in to the pain and trauma while there are superheroes who use these roadblocks as motivation. They start learning, moving towards a positive direction and growing beyond their limitations.

Today, we will be talking about the approach used by these winners to unleash their stronger side.

Understanding The Will And The Lack Of It

There are two types of individuals: one who breaks down upon experiencing a barrage of hardships and the other who moves on towards a better life despite the pain.

It took me twenty years to get over nephrotic syndrome, an ailment that nearly damaged my kidneys. I witnessed my father’s death. There was my girlfriend who stood by me during the tough days but later on cheated on me with a few other men. All those things happened within a span of two years, leaving me twisted, broken and beyond repair.

However, facing all these wasn’t the difficult part. My father’s absence made me feel lonely and her betrayal made me an insomniac. I was confused as which pain should I lament to and there were no answers.

Just a blank slate with my teardrops on it.

I am not ashamed to admit that I cried and I cried a lot. This actually helped me vent out the anger for her and the gut-wrenching pain and sadness associated with my father’s absence. As a result, my work suffered. I found it hard to concentrate on anything constructive.

I got three huge scars even before I could turn 25. The heart can take only that much but mine kept on asking for newer challenges.

Getting fired from the workplace due to frequent mistakes, getting my right leg fractured, and losing a pet were some of the other roadblocks that sabotaged my growth. There was even a time when I took medicines for depression.

See Also: 15 Symptoms You Are Depressed (Even When You Think You Aren’t)

Fast-forward to 5 years later and at 30, I feel that my life has never been better. I have a beautiful wife, a growing business empire and a lovely daughter. Things do look bright but I wouldn’t be complacent. Then again, this isn’t my story to share. It’s ours.

You can never learn the right way to deal with pain. You must experience it. Therefore, enumerating points wouldn’t make a lot of difference. However, I believe that reading on can help a lot of readers in dealing with emotional pain.

Pain Is Not Everlasting; Glory Is

 

Trust me, the pain isn’t going to last forever, but your inner toughness will. Yes, I admit that certain experiences can haunt us for years but every pain-filled moment has an expiry date.

A Hint of Narcissism

Be self-obsessed. Be in love with yourself. Be a narcissist.

Yes, you won’t find motivational speakers recommend these traits, but they can do you good. The love for your own body and attributes will overshadow the pain which you might be finding hard to deal with.

Keep Changing Things

keep changing things

When in pain, monotony can be the biggest tormentor. This is why you need to hustle down the alley and play a sport, go to the gym or do both. Never allow yourself to be stagnant in situations that haunt you. Become the free-flowing stream which never stagnates or sits at one place.

Cultivate Acceptance

The day you can accept everything that has happened to you, nothing in this world can torment or torture you anymore.

I could only accept the sudden demise of my father 3 years after the incident. I know he had to go someday, but, sadly, it happened when I least expected it.

My girlfriend cheated on me and this was actually harder to accept because of my ego. However, I love myself way too much to spoil my health and sleep over her betrayal.

Pain often brings disappointment and fear with it and we should stand and face these things head on. Running from them can actually make the pain a lot worse but eventually, we’ll be able to go ahead of them.

The Wrap

Believe me, there is no quick fix to killing the pain and the reasons associated with it. You need to live through each and every moment of anguish— all by yourself.

There can be friends and family members to support you, but this fight is all yours and nobody else can join the combat for you. Pain, inflicted upon us by people or circumstances, is a medium to make us stronger.

Have you ever seen how a piece of iron is forged into something unbreakable?

It needs to undergo massive amounts of heat and pressure before it becomes strong. Similar to that, you can imagine yourself as that piece of raw iron that needs to be strengthened with pain.

See Also: Why Pain Is Necessary To Help You Progress

The post Responding To Pain With Positivity: Unleash The Stronger You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Start Reading More Books In Just 30 Days

Reading is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get when it comes to life improvement. Just think about Mark Zuckerberg. We often hear about how he devours dozens of books per month and how successful he has become for that.

To tell you the truth, there were many times I felt motivated to improve my reading habits. Unfortunately, that kind of resolution never seemed to stick.

Then, I moved into a new apartment and my roommate happened to be a real-life bookworm. I mean, I have never seen a person own SO MANY books just because she liked all of them.

It was astonishing to see how her drawers were full of books, and even more when she said they didn’t fit that she had to place them in two or even three rows. Amazed, I asked her to share some of her secrets.

Everything turned out to be simpler than I thought. So, here’s what I found out in my odyssey trying to read more books, based on both our experiences.

Forget the “Top 100 Best Books” lists

Though finding a good reading list advertised by popular magazines sounds like the best way to start your reading adventures, it is actually not. Most of the books on those lists will contradict your taste and (take it from me, I’ve tried) you’ll end up feeling unmotivated. You may even feel disappointed in yourself because you’re not able to get through the books deemed as the world’s best reads.

To start with, such lists are subjective, especially the modern books. Only time will tell how great a book is. Secondly, if you want to try a reading list, figure your taste in literature first.

It could be about fantasy, science fiction, realism, non-fiction or memoirs. After finding out your genre, do a quick search for the top ten books in that genre. This will heighten your chances of finding books you will genuinely enjoy.

See Also: 9 Ways Reading Fiction Can Jump Start Your Career

Drop a book if you are reading it forcefully

This is vital at the start of your journey. If you did the most reading in your school and college years because you were too diligent, then you’ve developed a certain aversion to reading because you did it forcefully.

If you feel like you are not enjoying a book, just close it and forget about it. Knowing that you don’t have to reread every chapter of a deadly boring novel twice because your professor will give an intricately difficult quiz is truly liberating.

Forget the idea that books should educate

reading for fun

The idea of books being educational is one of the reasons why a lot of people quit reading books after graduation.

When we come to college and start reading difficult books, we had the idea that they were meant to educate us. Some teachers and researchers believe that at the time those books were published, they didn’t have any educational purpose and were purely written for entertainment.

So, brush off the idea that books are all meant to be technical and educational. Curl up in a blanket and enjoy your favorite book about elves, battles, love and magic.

As a kid, I enjoyed reading fairy tales. I could read the whole evening without even noticing the time because I picked stories I really liked. I read for fun.

Find someone with shared taste in books

Once you meet someone who has the same taste as yours when it comes to books, you’ll find yourself too eager to start reading the book he’s just finished. You’ll feel eager to share your views and hear his opinion.

This approach works better than any motivational quote on how to read more books.

A Few Obstacles You Might Encounter

As I struggled on my journey to start reading as much as my incredible roommate does, I made the following realizations.

You won’t love books overnight

Although I would love to get as excited about new releases and upcoming books as my roommate gets, the truth is I don’t always feel that way. This, however, doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to enjoy a good read and finish more books.

Remember, aversion can have deep roots and overcoming it can take some time.

Recently, I’ve read a book in three days, two of those days were work days. The book wasn’t big, but I still stayed up to 2 AM because I wanted to know its ending.

If you can’t bring yourself to finish a book you’ve started, then that is the wrong book for you. This doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, lazy or unmotivated. You just don’t have the right book in your hands.

Find a challenge if you are an A-type person

reading is fun

I actually started reading books when my roommate told me about a book challenge she was in. It’s a challenge where you need to read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet. That’s a total of 26 mandatory books per year.

Although I failed drastically, I won at one important thing: I actually started reading. Though this was little compared to my enormous plans, I was still able to conquer it.

Aim for the process, not for the aim

If you often think about how your friends are going to react to the books you’re reading, then you’re thinking about the aim. If you feel good just because you are curled up with a new amazing book, it means you genuinely love the process. The habit is more likely to stick.

Experiment with timing

If you are genuinely bad at sticking to new habits, try to trick your brain by setting tiny goals. You can make it as tiny as you want.

When you set and accomplish small goals, it becomes easier for you to feel motivated. After a month, you’ll be surprised that you just can’t stop adding more books to your list.

See Also: 7 Reasons To Start Reading Books? Here’s why!

If you are horrified by the idea of having to read tons of books, don’t worry. All you need to do is find the genre of books you truly love and you won’t even find yourself complaining about how much reading you have to do.

The post How To Start Reading More Books In Just 30 Days appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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11 Best Tips To Help You Lose Weight Naturally

Losing weight can be easy as long as you know the right things to do. However, since there are a lot of confusing tips on how to lose weight naturally and quickly, the process becomes challenging and frustrating.

For long-term health, it is essential that you avoid the weight loss quick fixes that promise astounding results and stick with these tips.

Keep a food diary

food diary

The most important step towards achieving the right body weight is keeping a food diary of everything you eat each day. This needs a lot of commitment and this is something that you should be ready to undertake if losing weight is your top priority.

If you have excessive body fat and on your way to obesity, you must put your health first. Having a food diary is important since it will give you a clear idea of what you eat and drink and how they are contributing to your weight issues.

Reduce your sugar intake

Eliminating or limiting the amount of sugar you take can be a tough job. One easy way to start is to pay close attention to food labels so you’d know how much sugar is in the food you purchase.

Eat your breakfast

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. It will help boost your metabolic rate which means you’ll burn more calories during the day.

If eating a proper breakfast isn’t feasible, a diet smoothie is a good alternative. You should eat about half of your daily calories in the morning.

Sleep

Have you ever asked yourself why you consume a lot of food after a sleepless night? The reason is very simple.

Most of your hormones are affected by sleep. This includes leptin which reduces your cravings and ghrelin which boosts your appetite.

When you don’t sleep enough, your body produces more ghrelin while the amount of leptin decreases. Because of this, you’ll find yourself frequently breaking your diet.

As a solution, try to get a maximum of seven to eight hours of sleep. Switch your thermostat off while you sleep and make sure your room is completely dark. This type of environment can boost the production of melatonin, a hormone that can promote better sleep.

Avoid stress

When you are under stress, your body produces two types of hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol can increase your food cravings and push you to eat more than you should. This is commonly referred to as “Stress Eating disorder”.

This condition can make it very challenging for you to achieve the proper body weight. In addition to this, stress can also increase your risk of heart diseases.

Avoid unhealthy eating habits

Having too much fat in your diet won’t help you lose weight. Eating too many sweets and foods with high glycemic index won’t do you any good, too. Such foods can increase your blood sugar level at a very high rate and this can affect the way your body utilizes fats. Instead of eating these foods, go for foods that are low in carbohydrates.

See Also: 8 Bad Food Habits That are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits

If you are really committed to losing weight, then it is important that you make fruits and vegetables as parts of your diet. Fruits contain essential nutrients that are needed by your body. In addition to this, certain fruits have fiber that can help suppress your appetite. Take, for example, oranges.

Remain focused

Some people might see the process of losing weight as a very difficult task, but that isn’t always the case. With the right motivation and goals, it should be much easier.

When setting your goals, it is important to be realistic about what you can achieve. You can write down your goals and place them in areas where you’ll see them often. The more you get reminded, the more you’re going to feel motivated.

Increase you water intake

drinking-water-everyday

Ensure you drink between six to ten glasses of water each day and be sure not to include carbonated drinks and juices when counting. Water helps increase your body’s metabolic rate as well as the process of eliminating toxic and harmful substances from your system. Water keeps your body hydrated, too.

Take your time when eating your food

For weight loss, it is essential that you develop the habit of eating slowly. It will give your body enough time to send the right signals to your brain that you’re already full.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise is a very good way to achieve your weight loss goals. It won’t only help you burn excess calories, but it can help improve your energy level, too.

Exercise is one of the most crucial elements in weight loss. As such, it is critical for you to incorporate a comprehensive workout plan in your overall weight loss strategy. If you are unsure where to start, you could find a personal trainer to help you with your daily workout routine.

See Also: 6 Ways to Lose Weight (and Still Have Fun)

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Mental Toughness: The Secret To Success

Have you ever wished you had a super power? Something that can make you special or better than everyone else?

Of course, almost everyone wishes, in one way or another, to have some secret potential to unlock. Well, what if I told you that all your superhero dreams of unlimited power, potential, and unmatched skills are completely attainable?

Now, you might probably be thinking that this is another cheesy scam. Well, it’s not. I’m not trying to sell anything either.

I am trying to tell you the simple yet spectacular secret to success: mental toughness.

You may have probably heard of this before many times, but let me give you a new perspective. There are two kinds of talent in this world: talent you are born with and talent you develop.

einstein

Think of Mozart, Einstein, and Stephen Hawking. These are examples of people born with an amazing talent or just pure genius.

How could anyone ever be like them? Especially you and me, right?

This is where mental toughness comes in.

You see, we all know that if we want something, all we need to do is work hard to obtain it. Easier said than done, but it makes sense. The problem with doing this is the universal law: nothing is free. Ever.

We might be willing to give up some time and hard work to achieve a goal, but to truly achieve that goal, we need to understand what it is going to cost. This is mental toughness. It’s not just mentally pushing yourself to endure through the hard times, but it is knowing what you are willing to give up, the challenges, and rewards.

Let me give you an example. I love to run. I run quite often and have even done races and triathlons. A friend of mine coaxed me into training for a 50-mile race…50 MILES!!!

running mental toughness

For some reason, I agreed (probably because I’m an idiot) and have been training for this demon of a race for several months. But, I ran into a problem.

You see, training so hard for so long tends to take its toll on the body, especially the tendons, ligaments, and joints. I have developed a pretty bad case of runner’s knee (if you are a runner you will understand), and have put a lot of thought toward what I am going to do about this 50 miler.

Should I keep training and risk further injury? Or should I quit?  Well, if I am truly mentally tough, I will push through and suck it up, right? Wrong.

Being mentally tough does not mean being an idiot. Being mentally tough means you see all your options and do the math. For example, with that situation, I can look at the problem as if there are only two perspectives: injure myself or quit.

I can consider what needs to be done to continue and if it is worth it. Could I run this race with my injury and still complete it? Yes. It would hurt like hell and maybe give me a permanent injury, but, yes, I could do it. But, do I want to take that risk? No, I don’t.

So how can I achieve my goal without so much risk and pain? I can treat the injury, let myself heal and then resume training. Is this a perfect plan? No, I may still be injured and unable to race when the scheduled date arrives but that doesn’t matter. Why? Because I have an entire lifetime to achieve this goal.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

The point of this story and article is to give you a new perspective of what you can and cannot do. Can you climb Mt. Everest? Some of you reading this will say no. BUT YOU CAN, you just don’t want to.

Can you do 1,000 pushups in under an hour? Right now, maybe not. But, eventually, could you? YES! You just have to want to.

You must understand what you are giving up (time, sweat, pain) and the worth of that to you. This is mental toughness. This is the power of the mind. Your body can do just about anything, you just need your mind to guide it.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you want to be successful, then you must endure through the hard things. But more than that, you have to understand things in a simpler way.

One plus one is two. Pain plus sweat can give you a healthy body. Hard work plus schooling can give you a successful business. Walking one step millions of times can get you across the country. Swimming one stroke over and over can take you across the ocean.

Think about these things. If you want to be successful, remove yourself from your body and win with your mind. This is mental toughness. This is mind power.

See Also: 5 Ways To Use The Mind Muscle Connection For Better Workouts

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Changing Perceptions: Understanding What We Can Control In Life

Differentiating what one can change and what one cannot control in life can be invaluable for some people. As obvious as it sounds, there is no point in trying to change what is outside of one’s control.

However, that shouldn’t always be the case.

Although we can’t control everything, we still have the power to change how things can affect us. And it starts with changing perceptions.

Why We Should Do This

A full understanding of the things that are out of our control gives us a greater sense of power and authority over our own lives. Accepting our inability to influence many external events allows us to focus our time on the things we can change.

For example, we cannot change our past but we can certainly change our future by influencing the present. We always have the choice to focus on the parts of our lives that can make us happier. A lot of people fail to realize this and they get pushed to a series of disappointments trying to chase things outside their control.

control in life

Although there are things in our lives that we don’t have control over, we can always work on how we think of them. How we react to a situation is ultimately our choice. One can choose his own perception of a certain event.

Take, for example, traffic.

We can’t always control the traffic in front of us but we can choose how we’ll react to it. We can shout and argue or stay calm and collected.

“Reality doesn’t bite, rather our perception of reality bites” – Anthony J.D’Angelo

In essence, there are still some controllable aspects to the things we consider uncontrollable. Once you know what they are, you’ll have more power, freedom, and clarity.

We have our own mind and its power is endless. Our choices can never be taken away from us.

How You Can Start

You can start off by identifying which areas of your life are outside and inside of your control. By differentiating them, it will give you more clarity.

Once you know the things that you don’t have too much control over, examine your feelings about them. If you realize that you are unhappy, try to start changing perceptions. You’ll be surprised at how much it can improve your life.

A common example is the rain. We cannot change the weather; it is external to us. If it rains, we should let go of any negative emotion and simply accept that we cannot do anything about it. We can, however, change our perception of it. We can either complain and be miserable, or we can choose to be strong about it and see it in a positive manner. Rain today will allow us to appreciate sunny weather tomorrow. Also, rain in itself can be a pleasurable thing. There is no point building up negative energy within you for things which are not in your control.

The Benefits

1. We will live a happier life. Once we realize that most of the things that don’t make us happy are outside of our control, we can easily start changing perceptions.

For example, when we know that we can’t force certain people to agree with us all the time, we can accept that they won’t agree and therefore be at peace with it.

happier in life

See Also: 10 Life-Changing Tips That Will Boost Your Happiness

2. We will live a life feeling more powerful. Although we can’t win all battles, there are still things in our lives that can be controlled. We just have to realize that we have an advantage over them.

3. We will live a life with greater clarity and focus. The more we understand that it is our choices that shape us, we’ll be able to have a better understanding of the people around us.

See Also: How To Find A Dose Of Clarity In Your Life

4. It will motivate us. Because we now have a greater sense of control, we can start working harder towards the goals that truly matter to us.

We shouldn’t let outside events get in the way of pursuing our dreams. Instead, we should focus more on the things we have more control over, like changing perceptions and choices.

These tips will take time and effort before they can completely change your thought process. The positives, however, far outweigh the negatives of inaction so just keep trying.

Don’t try to change what you can’t control. Instead, start changing your perceptions and you can change your reality.

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How To Stand Up And Defend Your Path To Success

You’ve made the decision to start a new venture. You’re excited, motivated and strongly fueled by your passion. You’re feeling positive about your future and this path you’ve laid out for your success.

You shared your new found journey with a loved one, who immediately started pointing out all the reasons why this is risky and why you shouldn’t do it. Suddenly, you started questioning yourself. Before you knew it, you’ve come to a complete stop.

How can you stop this from happening?

Your loved one’s concerns are, of course, coming from a good place. This person only wants what’s best for you. This, however, is your journey and decision. You feel excited and motivated about it for a reason.

To ignore your passion and life path is one of the worst things you can do to your happiness and success in life. Although your loved ones mean well, do not allow them to derail you.

Everyone has his own mental model. When we push ourselves towards a new path, we are essentially building a new self-image. Unconsciously, however, when we interact with those people who know us well, we tend to ignore the new self-image we’re building and conform to how others perceive us.

This is detrimental to your future and path to success.

interact with others

You’ve got to find your own truth. If you want to do something different, then you’ve already allowed the space to create your new goals, attitudes, and associations. They are real to you.

In sharing your new goals, it’s important to have a conversation with your loved ones. Explain to them why you need to undergo the process and why it’s inevitable. Ask them to please not invalidate your decision and let it play out.

Some may struggle not to give out their opinions but just let them wash over you and don’t take it on board. Take a stand for your own journey, and if they’re meant to witness it, they’ll be there.

There are two ways to view life: the big and little picture.

Pointing out all the possible ways a particular venture could go wrong is the little picture. The big picture is not fully understanding how you’re going to get to the end goal, but knowing you have to do it anyway because the thought of it excites you more than anything.

There’s a lesson in every step of your road. Your first step may not be the right step but you can always learn something from it. Ask your loved ones to allow you to absorb it all and correct yourself in case of failure. No one else can do this for you.

If you always take on everyone’s doubts and opinions, soon there will be no space in your mind for changes and new goals.

stand up on your dreams

Following your dreams and learning the lessons of the process are parts of the game. I absolutely believe that if you choose a path that invigorates and excites you, it’s going to lead you to your greatness.

However, if you’re looking at some specific thing in front of you, and are relying on that thing to make you happy and successful, then that’s looking through a little picture lens.

See Also: 5 Things You Need To Get Rid Of To Become Successful In Life

I highly encourage you to think about the big picture and treat life like it’s an opportunity to produce better outcomes and goals. Your biggest win is the person you become after the process.

If you have some little picture people around you, have those hard conversations and stand up for your own journey. Explain that, for you, this is something big and they should be there for you to see where it all leads. Some experiences will be positive while others will be negative. All of these are parts of the process. Stand up for your success and enjoy the ride.

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

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Get Rich In 5 Easy Steps

Spending 12 years in school and another 2 to 4 years getting a higher degree isn’t a complete guarantee that you’ll get rich easily. There are things and specific steps you need to do first before you can be successful in life. Unfortunately, despite spending several years in school, a lot of people are still not aware of this.

In this article, I’ll share with you the best tips and tricks on how to get rich that majority are still clueless about.

Step 0: Get a job

get a job

This isn’t a big secret. You got to start somewhere and it’s obviously important to have a cash flow.

Step 1: Pay off all high-interest debt

This means credit cards. Settling a debt with a high interest, say 17%, is like making an investment with 17% return!

One of the most common mistakes people make is to pay only the minimum required amount for their credit cards. This is actually banks’ trick to keep people paying forever.

Just have a look at your credit card bill and see how much you’ve been paying in interest. It’s a little shocking when you calculate how much it adds up in, say, 1 year.

See Also: 5 Ways to Help Get Out of Debt

Step 2: Save at least 10% of your income

save money

After you’re done with your credit card debt, start saving. Most people don’t save because they think that since they don’t earn much, they won’t have anything to put aside. That isn’t always the case.

In reality, the more we earn, the more we spend. So, as a remedy, make it a habit to pay yourself first. Put aside at least 10% of your income before you pay anything else.

Step 3: Create a nest egg

Your savings should be geared towards creating a safety net for yourself. Calculate your monthly expenses and then make it your goal to save 3 to 6 times that amount. This way, if (God forbid) you lose your job or, for some reason, you are unable to work for awhile, you will have 3 to 6 months to get your act together without going into debt.

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

Step 4: Invest

Once you are able to build your nest egg, continue saving at least 10% of your income. Put this money in a diversified Index Funds portfolio instead of a savings account.

Index Funds are investment products that include a huge amount of stocks and bonds that spread your money all over the market. This way, if one company goes down, you’ll have other bonds to rely on. You won’t have to worry about losing all your money with one wrong decision.

Index Funds are much preferred to a savings account because the return of your investment is much higher. A savings account might give you a return as low as 1% while the Index Funds can give you a minimum of 5% or even closer to 20%.

Simply choose one of the well-known companies to take care of everything and use its proposed Index Funds to put your money in. Take note that you might need to keep your money there for 10 to 15 years if you want to make the most out of it.

EXTRA TIP: Take advantage of the automated micro-investing services (like Acorns) that are available. With them, every time you spend money, the service will take the spare change and invest it for you!

Step 5: Choose your final destination

Now, you have to make a big decision. Will you keep investing for your retirement or are you going to cash it all out as soon as you have enough capital to finance your own business?

The first choice is foolproof, but it’ll take a long time. The second choice is riskier, but it can support your immediate plans.

Either way is great but make sure you consider your personality, skills, and goals while making the decision.

If you do want to turn your life around sooner, your steps should include the following:

1. Be an employee
2. Be self-employed
3. Be a business man
4. Be an investor

Start working somewhere and save enough capital to start your own business. Once your business has grown enough, have other people work for you while you concentrate on the further growth of your business. When you’ve increased your monthly income and you have more capital, you can become an investor.

These steps are specific and uncomplicated. All they need is for you to have enough time and dedication.

 

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6 Things That Can Help You In Understanding Millennials Better

Millennials are known for a lot of things. Some consider this generation as hard-headed, self-centered and irresponsible. There are people who think that millennials are born to be lazy and dependent on technology.

These misconceptions create conflicts and they make understanding millennials more difficult. As a way to help you connect better with today’s youth, here are six things about millennials you should know about.

Millennials have the heart for the environment

millennial generation values

Millennials care for the environment and they are knowledgeable about what is happening to the planet. This generation values the Clean As You Go campaign (CLAYGo) and is active in learning and practicing valuable recycling methods.

They are more mindful of the environment than the past generations.

Millennials are ambitious and eager

Millennials are often labeled as greedy and self-centered employees by their bosses and their eagerness is usually misunderstood as impatience.

They are, however, none of these things.

Millennials are not entirely at fault if their minds work in a different direction the next day and when they want to be in two places at once. These traits allow them to boost their creativity and harness their other skills that make them an asset in their workplace.

In reality, millennials are just open to success and change. They are the generation that is eager to learn and wants to attain something big when it comes to their career, family, and relationships.

Most millennials are highly educated and grew up in an environment that has a lot of pressure from peers, family and the society. That is the reason why they easily get bored and change their mind quickly.

Millennials think and dream bigger than other generations. They fuel their dream jobs with ambition.

Millennials are open to change

Millennials know how to adapt. They are independent and open for changes. They can connect with other people and adapt to their culture quickly.

With social media as their main mode of communication, they are able to understand different people across the globe. They are also able to respect their cultures and beliefs.

Millennials are diverse and welcoming

millennials characteristics

Change is inevitable and so are differences. Millennials understand this and have no problems making adjustments. In fact, almost 75% of them are now in favor of gay marriage. They no longer mind gender differences and would gladly accept the LGBT community in their place of work.

Millennials are committed and loyal

This generation gives less priority over marriage and family compared to the past generations. For millennials, they need to have a solid source of income before they can engage in serious commitments.

It doesn’t mean that they are irresponsible. It only shows that they want to experience life first before settling down. Some of them even choose not to marry and have kids.

The priorities millennials have are just different compared to the other generations.

Millennials love taking risks

With the money they earn from the hard work that they do, millennials often live with sayings like YOLO (You Only Live Once) and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

These two things aren’t as bad as they sound. They are actually great motivators for them to strive harder. Unfortunately, they can also involve unhealthy ways of spending.

This lifestyle is often misinterpreted by the other generations.  They think that having a YOLO and FOMO lifestyle is a careless way to live life. What they don’t know is that these things help millennials live life to the fullest.

See Also: Adulting Isn’t Just Instagramming Your Dinner – Soft Skills For Millennials

Takeaway

Millennials have different ways of coping with issues and they are unique in approaching and experiencing things. There are a lot of things that we don’t know about them but that doesn’t make understanding millennials difficult.

We just need to avoid concluding things about them.

Let us all be open and try to understand the differences between generations. They might have the wildest dreams and biggest ambitions but they also are the ones that will run the world in the future.

See Also: Guide For The Millennial (And Everyone) Who Plans To Be Big

 

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5+1 Things I learned From The Best Personal Finance Books

Although we live in a time where we can literally find everything and anything online, there are still a lot of people who are clueless when it comes to money. Just imagine how many of us are still living in debt instead of wealth.

If you are one of these people, here are some of the most important personal finance tips I can share with you.

Write down your goals

list-goals

It is impossible to reach a destination when you don’t know exactly what and where it is. Everybody knows that, but a lot of people still fail to write down their goals in terms of work, money, achievements, or even personal life.

Know what you want and know it in detail.

What is your desired monthly income? How will you reach it? How long will it take you? How will your life change when you reach it? How will you and your life look like? How will you feel?

Learn these things about yourself and revise your goals as needed.

Take action

If a decision is not accompanied by action, then it’s just a wish and not an action.

Ideally, you don’t really need to take big steps right away. In fact, doing a quick research on how you can achieve your goals is one simple way to get started.

Keep yourself acting daily towards your goal even if it is with the smallest thing. You won’t reach your destination in one huge step but with a 1,000 small ones.

Everyone can save money

The more money we make, the more we spend.

That is exactly why most people are never satisfied with the amount of money they make. They want more because they spend too much money that they end up in debt.

In reality, you can save at least 10% of what you make if you…

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

…Pay yourself first!

From whatever you earn, put aside at least 10% BEFORE you spend anything. This way you’ll learn how to budget the remaining money you have for your expenses.

Open a savings account and use it. Don’t be one of those people who close their accounts after a couple of months.

Pay off your credit card

credit card

Settling a debt with high interest, like 17%, is like making an investment with 17% return! That is some great return, mind you.

Don’t just pay the minimum on your card. That is the banks’ trick to keep you paying forever. Put as much as you can spare above the minimum and keep on doing it until you are free from debt.

In case you have to pay more than one credit card (and who doesn’t?), there is a strategy you can use. It’s not magic, but it gives you a blueprint to follow.

Pay off the minimum amount on all cards except for the one with the smallest debt. In that one, pay off as much as you can every time.

When the smallest debt is paid off, do the same with the next one in order. Continue the process until you’ve cleared all your debts.

See Also: The Aussie Guide to Bad Credit & What to Do About It

+1. Poor people buy stuff; rich people buy assets

Average Joes think their cars or houses are assets when, in reality, they are actually liabilities. Rich people know this, so they try to put their money only on things that can make them earn more.

This is one of the best personal finance tips that is often overlooked by a lot of people.

Next time you want to spend money on something, take a minute and think: “Is this going to help me increase my monthly income or not?”

If the answer is no, maybe it’ll be wiser to just let the idea go.

 

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Guide For The Millennial (And Everyone) Who Plans To Be Big

Most millennials are probably on the verge of looking for their purpose in life. Despite the wide range of goals they have, one thing is sure. A lot of them don’t want to follow the ‘work to live’ kind of mentality.

If you are one of these people, knowing how to start your business properly is essential. Without the right tips, you can end up failing hard and losing your interest and passion.

Here are some tips for millennials who are planning to take the risk and leap to build their own business:

Always begin with a plan

begin with a plan

This is essential for every beginner. A good offense will always come from the best defense, so try developing a detailed game plan with future actions.

Your plan must identify all the opportunities, goals, targets, missions, and vision of your business. All of these must be in concrete detail along with your plans and your target deadlines for every objective.

Your plan can be your best defense to whatever bumps you’ll encounter ahead. Always make it as dynamic as it could be so that it can accept changes and alterations.

Build connections

build connections

Education is a continuous cycle. Always make sure you are learning something new every day.

Reach out to elders who know more than you. Never be afraid to ask questions if you are having difficulties or to seek help from someone who knows better than you do.

Successful company owners take one step forward and are active in the search for mentoring. It’s like going to community groups or attending seminars. In addition to learning, these things build connections, too.

Building relationships are critical. Until your brand is stable, you’ll have to exert extreme efforts in making your business known. One good way to expand social connections and networks is by reaching out to people online.

Talk to people you met from college or high school.

You can target them as your future clients or maybe employees. They can also be a big help when it comes to promoting your brand/business through word of mouth.

If funds are too short to implement these methods, try considering getting a loan. You can use a loan comparison site, such as Moneybanker, to get a clear idea of which companies can help you get exactly what you need. It comes with a directory and a search engine you can use to find the type of loan most suited for your business. It can save you time and effort searching through sites and search engines.

See Also: Finding Out the Best Time for Posting on Social Media Sites

Always be meticulous in checking your company’s growth

sales and marketing

As part of your game plan, you must be firm about having a strong marketing and sales plan. This includes writing down in bullets or outlining your targeted audience, sales and expenses before even starting out the business.

As an entrepreneur, you have to make sure that there is an inflow of cash. In that way, you’ll know how you’re creating sales and you can be confident about your business growth.

As part of your plan, always find ways to increase profits continually. Good marketing and promotion strategies are great ideas.

Going back to the first step, you need to make sure the strategies you have are moving in action. With this, you can be confident about the success of your business.

Picture out how you will reach out to your target audience. With the help of social media, always promote, share and market your business. This medium will help you know and reach your specific targeted customers.

Join communities and sponsor events as part of your promotions strategies. You need to make a buzz to invite new customers to try out your brand.

Learn how to balance your work and life

Being a busy CEO, it’s easy to totally forget about the other priorities you have outside of your company. You need to exert extra time and energy to make sure everything in your business runs smoothly. However, being busy and having time are two different things.

As the CEO, you need to balance out your work and life in general. Don’t let work eat you up.

Don’t be a workaholic. There are other priorities in life that need your attention, like your family and friends. They might require your presence as well.

It is important to take care of your health, too. Keep in mind that your business would not function well without you. Never think that working yourself to the ground will skyrocket you to success.

Maintaining balance will give you a sweet and fulfilling feeling. It is fine to push yourself to the limit, but make sure you know when to pause and stop. Your life does not revolve around work alone.

Find time to go out and leave some time to relax and freshen up your mind. In this way, you can also have fresh and better ideas. Never let pressure dominate your way of thinking and decision making.

Always have time for exercise or other recreational activities. With this, it is not only your business that is growing but you as a person as well.

Do some catching up with your friends and family. After all, they are one of the most important components of your life.

See Also: 5 Ways to Balance Work and Family Time Even if You’re a Workaholic

Always have patience and respect towards things

Your attitude towards people, customers, and things will be your value. Humble beginnings usually lead to modest success as well.

No matter how physically and emotionally stressed you are, always think of the 9/10 rule. Consider the other person’s feelings and learn how to control your own. Never be angry at people, especially if it is not their fault. Always remember that sharp words can dull respect.

If you want to be respected by the people around you, always remember that success starts within. Let your customers and employees feel you respect them, their works, and words. Be the boss who is open to suggestions and the manager who listens.

Always practice what you preach. Be consistent with whatever policy you are imposing and always follow the ground rules that you made.

It does not mean that if you are the owner, then it’s okay for you to break some rules. Always keep in mind that many people are watching you, so be the best example they can follow.

Respect is hard to earn. Show everyone that you respect them and that you deserve to be respected. There should always be a two-way role in every decision and action you make. After all, you need people as much as they need you.

Takeaway

As startup entrepreneurs, you’ll have a lot of challenges and success along the way. Always think about correcting your mistakes and continue learning from them. Learn from other people’s experiences and never be afraid to take a risk.

As millennials, it will always be difficult to succeed in the world of startups. However, with hard work and perseverance, soon you’ll see yourself getting used to whatever you are doing. Starting with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to keep going through whatever challenge you face.

The post Guide For The Millennial (And Everyone) Who Plans To Be Big appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Top Jobs to Pursue Under Trump-onomics

If you’re in the arts or the Environmental Protection Agency, you might be feeling apprehensive about your future. Donald Trump’s recent Federal Budget had some bad news for you.

But if one door closes, you should expect another one to open.

To help you out, here are five top jobs that are likely to boom in the next few years and some advice on how to get started in them.

Oil and Natural Gas Engineers

oil engineer

It’s no secret that Republicans love their hydrocarbons. Trump is a fan of the Dakota Access Pipeline and during the election made it clear that he’d like to give more life back to the energy sector. This promises more job opportunities for careers related to oil, natural gas and coal.

Trump’s not keen on solar or wind and his administration is going to make it much easier for companies to drill.

His confrontational foreign policy style might be a catalyst for rising oil prices, and when oil goes up, so does the demand for Petroleum Engineers. With starting salaries in 6-figures, that’s good news for those lucky enough to have the right degree.

Any bright students interested in this tough, lucrative career should check out the leading websites on the subject.

See Also: A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect

Military

army

One of the pledges Trump made during the election was to rebuild the military. There are two obstacles to that: money and manpower.

The first issue was ‘solved’ when more than 50 billion dollars has been added to the Defense Department’s coffers. The second aspect – manpower – is where YOU come in.

Trump wants an army with 60,000 active soldiers and 12,000 additional Marines. There will also be more recruits needed to man the extra ships the Navy will get.

Suffice to say, any young people looking around their crumbling towns and fearing the worst will be able to escape and see the world in the military.

Another option would be anything involved with working with Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs had their budget increased by 6%. Call your local recruiting center for a patriotic pitch.

Correctional Officers

correctional officer

One of the central policies of the administration is to enforce stricter immigration laws and deport illegal aliens. With 11 million people to usher out of the country, this is a gold rush for prisons, detention centers, and those who work in them.

The average salary for a correctional officer is $41,000. With 4% more jobs set to be created in a sector with high staff turnover, there should be abundant opportunities for hard workers.

Oh, and I seem to remember Trump saying something about a wall. The specifics escape me, but there will be no escape from the 1,500 new Border Patrol agents who will be hired next year. To get started, you’ll need to be a US citizen with a clean record and pass the CBP Border Patrol test.

Construction Workers

construction worker

Prior to taking his office, you might have heard Trump lay out his plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure. While the idea seems ambitious, Senate Democrats have proposed a bill for a similar amount.

And who can forget the wall?

A 2000-mile wall to stand along the border of United States and Mexico can only mean more construction jobs. Just imagine how much manpower, steel, and concrete that project will need. The estimated cost ranges from $15 to $25 billion and Trump’s Federal Budget contains $2.6B to get the wall started.

As a result of all this infrastructure spending, construction firms are now showing willingness to expand their payrolls to keep up with the expected demand. Check want ads in your local newspaper or relevant websites.

Lawyers

lawyer

Despite the cutbacks in the 2018 budget for the Justice Department, lawyers, (particularly civil liberties lawyers) can expect their chargeable hours to go through the roof. Trump’s treatment of the media and his unique interpretation of the constitution will make sure of that.

One good example is his recent travel ban. There was a flurry of work for immigration lawyers, plus lawsuits and counter-suits, plus actions from judges leading to ‘refined’ new versions of the ban. Who’s filling in all that paperwork?

Well, it could be you! If you’ve ever felt your spine tingle at the dramatic courtroom scenes on the silver screen, just think. With a little bit of study, you’ll have a high-paying job with great prospects and job security, too.

See Also: Top 5 Uncommon Jobs In The US And How To Get Them

The post 5 Top Jobs to Pursue Under Trump-onomics appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Simple Hacks To Increase Your Retirement Savings

Are you saving for your retirement?

If you haven’t been able to start saving for retirement, you are not alone. The number of Americans who have no cash in their bank accounts is staggering.

According to a Federal Reserve report, almost 30% of Americans have literally no money in their accounts while 62% have at least $1,000. Half of today’s Americans couldn’t afford $400 to cover an emergency expense without borrowing money or selling something.

In another survey conducted by GOBankingRates.com, nearly 21% of its respondents claim to not have any savings account. 36% of them, on the other hand, are just starting out with their savings.

 

The importance of saving for your retirement cannot be overemphasized. The amount of money you will save today will see you through your golden age. Saving for retirement is not optional; it is something that everybody ought to take seriously.

If you’re interested to know the best way to save for retirement, below are simple hacks you can try.

Put Your Savings on Autopilot and Pay Yourself First

Simplify your retirement savings by placing it on auto pilot. It isn’t easy to make rational decisions with money, so simplify the process by setting up an automatic money transfer from your paycheck to your savings account.

A study by Prudential Financial Inc., a New Jersey financial services firm, discovered that 66% of workers between the ages of 21 to 30 would like to be automatically registered in a defined-contribution plan at work, such as a 401(k) or 403(b).

An automatic retirement saving plan will ensure that a part of your paycheck will go to your savings account without you having to think about it. More importantly, it will give you the benefits of paying yourself first.

Work Longer

work longer

Increasing your working hour as well as prolonging your retirement is a simple hack to earn and save more.

27% of Americans want to keep working as long as possible. Another 12% said they don’t plan to retire at all, according to a 2015 Federal Reserve study.

You will get more money for every overtime hours you spend on the job. This extra money can be channeled to your retirement savings, which can become quite substantial in the long run.

However, never work longer at the expense of your health. Use only a few hours in a week for overtime job.

Pile Up Your Extra Funds

When you get a raise, a tax refund or any other unexpected money, the wise thing to do is to contribute a large part of it to your retirement savings. A report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch found out that millennia’s, aged 21-34, were more involved in increasing their retirement contribution rates during the first half of 2016 than any other age group.

According to Stephen Chen, founder of New Retirement Inc, “Even just putting away $10 or $20 a paycheck will make a difference, and will get you into the habit of saving”.

Don’t Get Distracted by Debt

Substantial debt can be a huge obstacle to savings and investment. If you are already in debt, you will need a good debt repayment system to help you get out and keep you focused.

Even so, you shouldn’t allow debts to distract you from saving for your retirement. You should always pay yourself first before paying any bills. You can make it easier by automating your retirement savings.

See Also: 5 Ways to Help Get Out of Debt

Cut Down On Living Expenses

cut monthly expenses

Make use of effective budgeting to cut down on your monthly expenses. Cutting down on expenses doesn’t mean going to live in the woods; it only means adopting some cut saving behaviors. You can try buying in bulk, using coupons, switching to a more cost-effective brand or making more use of your DIY skills. No matter what your option is, the most important thing is that it can help you stick to your budget better.

See Also: 7 Ways to Live Within Your Means

There are many other ways to increase your retirement savings, especially for late starters. The challenge to retirement saving isn’t in knowledge, but in turning that knowledge into significant results.

Saving for retirement requires you to translate these hacks into actionable rules that will help you achieve your goal. Once you are able to follow them, you’ll have a comfortable retirement savings to fall back on when you no longer have the capacity to work.

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5 Ways To Bounce Back From A Big Mistake

Everyone makes mistakes. The recent mistakes in the media with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong movie for the Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars and Steve Harvey’s slip-up when he said the wrong name for Miss Universe 2015 are reminders that no one is perfect.

Some mistakes are easier to move past while others will go on to live forever. Whether your mistake is huge or just a tiny error, here are five ways that can help you with overcoming mistakes.

Be honest about what happened

Telling big or even little white lies to cover up a mistake can just put you into a downhill spiral. If a mistake has been made, take the hit and be responsible for what happened.

While it may be difficult to admit your error and feel foolish, these reactions are just short-lived. Lying to cover up the mistake will just create more problems in the long run.

Don’t beat yourself up over it

talk to a coworker

It’s normal to feel ashamed or embarrassed for a short period of time after making a mistake. You shouldn’t live on it or continue to build it up in your mind. You eventually have to accept it and move on. Keep in mind that the quicker you can accept it, the quicker you can recover.

Find an outlet that works for you to relieve stress. Talk to a friend or coworker, go for a quick walk around the building or journal your thoughts to give you some perspective and release.

See Also: 9 Ways We Can Reduce Our Stress Level

Apologize

say sorry

Some people think that saying “I’m sorry” is a form of weakness, but it’s actually just the opposite. It shows that you can take responsibility for your actions and are willing to admit your mistakes. Whether you offended a friend or missed a deadline at work, apologizing takes courage and shows the other party that you understand what went wrong and you want to move on from it.

See Also: 5 Ways to Say Sorry

Put the mistake in perspective

Whether the mistake was a minor slip-up or a large-scale error, put it in perspective. There may be consequences to your actions, but think about how this mistake will affect you in 1, 5 or even 10 years.

Chances are, it won’t. If it is a life-altering mistake, then consider seeking counseling to help you cope with the consequences.

Learn from it

Take the blunders you make as a learning opportunity. Think about how the mistake happened.

Were you trying to get things done too fast? Were you sleep deprived? Had you had too much to drink?

Identify the factors that caused the mistake and think about what you can do differently next time to avoid doing it again.

Give yourself some grace and know that one mistake probably won’t derail your life or career. You are human and we all make mistakes. Some mistakes can even be turned into opportunities or used as motivation to do better going forward.

The most important thing when it comes to overcoming mistakes is to be smart about how you respond to them.

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Retirement Made Easy: Tips To Make The Transition Simple

At some point in your life, you may have to retire. This phase can be challenging, intimidating, and even overwhelming, especially if you’re not really sure how to make the necessary adjustments.

To make your transition more simple, here are some of the best retirement planning tips you can try.

Ease Into Things

retirement hobby

Suddenly stopping working after so many years can be incredibly tough so avoid rushing the process.

If working part-time for your employer is an option, consider it. If not, you might want to do some freelance work in your field for a while.

You can also use your hobbies to get more involved in work and find ways to stay busy. It might be teaching piano, sharing your love of painting, or crafting and selling your items online.

At your retirement party, network with other coworkers who’ve already retired to see what jobs they’ve taken up. There are a lot of options, so find something that can keep you busy and your mind occupied.

See Also: 10 Amazing Business Ideas For Stay-At-Home Retirees

Make Sure You Are Financially Prepared

Just because you feel like you have saved enough money does not mean you are already financially prepared for retirement. You need to have a plan for how you will tap your retirement savings for living expenses, including taxes.

There are strategies you can use to minimize taxes. Talk to your bank and check your employer’s retirement policy to find out where you are at before retiring. Know how you can make the transition and keep all your money.

Think About Where You Will Live

Many retirees want to stay in their homes but others may want to move to places that are warm or have lower taxes.

Before you actually retire, make sure to map out a plan for your living situation. Talk to your family and see if they have an opinion on where it might be best for you to live. If you have health issues, it might be a good option to also look for institutions that can help you with mobility or medications.

Take Steps to Stay Healthy

retirement health benefits

Numerous studies suggest that healthcare spending takes a large bite out of people’s retirement funds. These expenses can easily hit the six-figure level for many retirees.

To stay in good health, you’ll need regular checkups, especially if you have existing health issues. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider to keep a plan in place for your future.

Find Things to Do

Boredom and loneliness can be real issues for retirees. Apart from making the transition harder, they can be bad both for physical and mental health, too. That’s why it’s important to find things to do.

Many retirees like to travel. However, since that can be expensive, it may not be an option for all people. If this sounds like your case, you can try volunteering, going to shows and concerts at your local event center, or playing sports. You can try bowling and golf.

See Also: Retirement Activities that are Financially Viable

Retirement is an exciting but scary experience. However, by following these retirement planning tips, you’ll be able to experience a smoother and easier transition. Just be sure to keep your options open and be prepared beforehand so you can have a great start in your retirement years.

The post Retirement Made Easy: Tips To Make The Transition Simple appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Jumping Rope Taught Me About Life And Fitness

We often judge activities based on how much they can change us physically. However, when it comes to their mental effects, we rarely care.

I used to be a runner. Treadmill or no treadmill, rain or snow, I ran every day from 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning and I hated every minute of it. From the moment I tied my laces until my last mile, running scared me.

So, why did I do it?

I used to be a chubby kid. I was ‘that kid’ who deliberately tried to get sick for sports day. During college, every time I ran, I had billions of voices shunning me down. At times, I heard the voice of my soccer coach calling me a ’tractor’. Other times, it was my classmates commenting on my man boobs from the sideline as I struggled to finish the race.

So, to me, running during college was a way to prove something. It was unhealthy, but I had to do it to cope.

However, I realized that I had to let go. I had to grow. That is when I came across jumping rope.

It has been a year and a half and jumping rope didn’t only alter my physique, it has helped me develop my character as well, by teaching me lessons about life and fitness.

Here are some of them.

Patience

jumping rope goal

There are a handful of jumping rope benefits once you get the hang of the activity. If you’re just starting out, you may need some trial and error before you get the right form. That process requires patience and perseverance. There’s no place for ego.

I used to run despite hating it because I felt I had to prove something to someone. It was as if I was still competing with my friends in high school.

Because I failed multiple times before finally getting the right form, jumping rope made me realized that I was just competing with myself. I did not have to get better than anyone else- just myself.

And that change in mindset helped me optimize everything.

Failure helped me touch base with reality and develop patience. It killed all that toxic thoughts that were bottled up inside. This made consistency easier.

Focus

As my form started getting better, my ego got bigger, too. In the middle of my workout, I would often find myself thinking about how cool I looked.

And those were the times when the rope would get stuck between my legs. Reality would hit me, forcing me to focus on what I was actually doing.

Thus, jumping rope trained me to stay focused. My coordination got better and I experienced improved balance.

These things significantly changed the quality of my work.

Reflecting on Failures

jumping rope focus

When we hit bottom, the obvious advice people give us is to try again. And, although that’s good, there’s something essential that we miss.

Reflecting on our failures.

What went wrong? Was it something out of control or something that can easily be changed?

Jumping rope is all about having the right form- knees bent, elbows drawn in and jumping no more than an inch.

Every time I fail at my routine, I’d reflect on whether it was due to a wrong form or lack of focus. After knowing what went wrong, I make the necessary adjustments and do it again until I get a more favorable result.

I’ve started applying this to the other areas of my life and it has optimized everything I do.

Doing Less

In a world that is so driven by accomplishments, we often lose sight of what is really important. A lot of us want more degrees, achievements and recognitions. Because we aspire to do so many things, we usually end up finishing nothing.

Think about how that applies to fitness. We have so many ways to get fit and, yet, most of us still fail to achieve our body goals.

As I got more acquainted with jumping rope, I started doing High Intensity Interval Training for thirty minutes every day. That’s it. No running or any other form of cardio.

This helped me gain clarity on what I really needed to do to accomplish my keystone tasks. It included practicing Intermittent Fasting, eating the right foods, hitting my macro numbers, and giving my hundred and twenty percent during HIIT.

It turned out that the combination of HIIT workouts and intermittent fasting is exactly what I needed to get lean.

See Also: How To Start Interval Training The Right Way

Movement is Essential

Working out can mean effort and extra time. When you are not used to it, it’s easy to consider it as a burden, which leads to inconsistency.

As proof, just think about the people who refuse to work out just because they don’t have the time.

But, what if moving your body was essential? What if it was a requirement to living a healthy life?

After every HIIT session, I felt great from the inside. It’s as if my body was thanking me.

My exercise routines last for thirty minutes a day only. Since it was short, I felt motivated to start doing it consistently until I was able to see positive results.

This feeling and the results I got helped me learn an important lesson about our bodies: they are made to move.

Jumping rope helped me fall in love with fitness. Working out wasn’t something I had to do anymore- it’s something I want to do.

See Also: Finding your Fitness Passion

Over To You

Jumping rope benefits are endless. More than your body, you can also use it to train your mind.

This, however, is not a plea for you to go start jumping rope. Instead, it’s a plea for you to go explore the different ways you can help your body and mind. See what works for you and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.

The post What Jumping Rope Taught Me About Life And Fitness appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Best Fitness Tools To Help You Actually Achieve Your Goals

Keeping a resolution can be difficult. What’s even harder is attempting to achieve something when you don’t have the right tools.

If your goal is to improve your health and overall strength and flexibility, here are 7 great fitness tools that will make your goals a little easier to keep.

Gymnastic Rings

gymnastic rings

Gymnastic rings have been nearly forgotten, only remembered as a strange spectacle once every four years as we see them in the Olympic games. However, gymnastics rings are making a big comeback. You’ll find them in nearly every crossfit gym – and for good reasons.

You can do a hundred different bodyweight exercises on these things and work nearly every muscle in your body. They take up very little space, making them the perfect addition to your home gym.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Indo Boards

indo boards

Indo Boards were once popular among surfers and skate boarders as a way to practice balance. Now they’re showing up all over corporate gyms. Primarily, they are used to build balance and auxiliary stabilizing muscles; however, people are coming up with all kinds of great ways to turn them into exercise machines.

Much like using free weights, they provide more stabilizing opportunities in weight lifting than a machine. The balance board allows the use of more muscle groups while targeting specific areas.

Incline Treadmills

Incline treadmills are the latest and greatest in the treadmill market. A 10% max incline is good and quite available. A 15% is even better. But why not consider going all out with a 40 percent max incline? More incline means more calories burned.

An average 200-pound user walking at 2 mph for 20 minutes burns 87 calories. If you increase your incline to 40 percent, that same user burns a whopping 381 calories in just 20 minutes. Not only are you burning more calories in less time, you’re getting a ton more tone in your tush and increased options for use on one machine. If you were to pick just one machine to keep in your home, it should be the treadmill.

Foam rollers

foam rollers

You’ve seen them at the gym and, maybe, even in your friends home. Not only are they great for rehabilitating injured muscles, but foam rollers are a big part of a healthy runner’s warmup and cooldown routine.

They can be used to improve circulation and break up motion-limiting knots in muscles. They can also spare you the pain of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Using a foam roller to roll out your overworked muscles and break up the lactic acid created by exercising will allow you to keep working the day (and second day) after a solid workout.

Jump Rope

jump rope

Jump ropes aren’t just for the childhood playground. They are a serious, effective fitness tool, too. Jump roping puts you in the express lane of fitness.

They can be used to increase the fast-twitch muscle fibers in legs to level up your sprint game. They can increase your cardiovascular strength, too. It’s a very cheap and available means of exercise which is also good for the lymphatic system.

Fitness Apps for Android and iOS

There are countless programs online that can create and guide you through a tailored fitness plan. The C25K app is reaching new heights in popularity.

Use the official C25K app to go from sitting on the couch to your very first 5K. The app and website lay everything out in easy to understand, actionable goals. The way this program works helps even the laziest of runners feel like they’re capable of more.

Another highly rated program is iFit, created by ICON fitness. If you have a machine (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) made by ICON fitness, it’s likely you can pair your device to your machine for great data tracking. iFit provides customized exercise routines, training routes powered by Google Maps, a social network, goals and competitions, and coaching.

See Also: 8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better

Goals are hard to keep when you don’t have the right tools to accomplish them. Before setting out to start on a new goal, gather up the right tools, write down your reasons for the goal you’ve set, and make a schedule for how you plan to achieve it.

 

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5 Simple Ways To Cope With Life

There have been times where I found life to be really difficult to cope with. During those times, I have succumbed to stress, had low self-esteem and felt that I just could not carry on. Fortunately, I have come through and this encouraged me to share with you 5 simple but effective ways to cope with life.

Recognize your situation

Sometimes, one of the most difficult things to do is to recognize your own situation. When life is tough, it becomes difficult to see what is actually happening.

Negative thoughts can make it hard for you to think clearly. They can make you feel as if there is no way you can continue.

To break this kind of thinking, ask yourself: Have I changed?

Take note of the things you have been experiencing lately, like struggling with sleeping, not eating well, drinking excessive alcohol and no longer doing the things you enjoy. These are all signs that you are not effectively coping.

Recognizing these signs is the first and most important thing you should do. Once you are able to recognize your struggles, you can start finding ways to improve things and make your life better.

Try to identify what is triggering your anxiety. It can be the sad passing of a friend or family member, money problems or relationship difficulties. Or it could be a combination of things which are mounting up.

See Also: 3 Healthy and Inexpensive Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Make time for yourself

practice meditation

You are important and you need to recognize this. Failure to see your importance can easily make you neglect yourself.

Ensuring that you are eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do. When your body is healthy, so is your mind.

Try to engage in some form of exercise. This doesn’t have to involve a trip to the gym. In fact, you can start with a gentle stroll around a local park.

Although exercise can’t instantly cure your stress, it can help reduce your anxiety as well as help divert your attention. In addition to healthy eating and exercise, you can also do meditation.

There are a number of resources online that can give you advice on how to meditate. If that isn’t up your alley, you can try breathing exercises. For this one, you need to:

  • Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed for five minutes. Get comfortable and switch off your phone.
  • Close your eyes and slowly breathe out through your mouth over a count of ten.
  • Hold your breath for a moment
  • Breathe in through your nose slowly, over a count of ten
  • Hold your breath again for a moment before repeating the process.
  • Repeat the steps ten times

With each breath, concentrate only on your breathing. Feel how the air enters and leaves your lungs and pay attention to how your chest expands and tightens.

As you perform the breathing exercise, visualize the times you were happy and imagine that you are there, at that exact time and place. As you visualize your happy place, try and think of every detail- what you see, smell and feel. You need to involve all your senses and really immerse yourself in the image you are creating in your mind. Now, as you do this, touch your thumb and index finger together.

At first, this may seem unusual, but, in the long run, this technique can make you easily recall your happy moments easily.

Plan a way to move forward

Once you know what is causing your stress, you can start looking for ways to solve it. If you know you won’t be able to solve it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

In case you are being stressed by money problems, for example, there are organizations that can help you with advice and support. For bereavement, there are counselors who can give you practical help to move on.

There are a lot of organizations online that can give you support. If you find this uncomfortable, you can go see your doctor.

Keep a ‘Positive Diary’

positive diary

A “positive diary” works similarly to a journal. However, instead of paying close attention to negative thoughts, you write down positive things about your day.

For each day, you need to record three positive things. They can be things you felt or thought of during your work at the office, while working out in the gym or during your walk home.

As much as possible, disregard the negative things that may have happened. Focus only on the positive things to attract more of the good energy into your life.

See Also: How To Overcome Negative Emotions Using 5 Writing Techniques

Know that you can carry on

As I said above, there will be some days where you will encounter setbacks and there will be times when your best-intentioned plans will fail. You need to know that this is something that happens to everyone and is not a reason to give up.

Some time ago I went through some pretty tough times. At that time, I thought they were insurmountable. However, I kept going, looked for positives and got through it.

I was reminded by reading some of my Facebook memories which showed some pretty bleak posts from previous years that showed me how I found a way to get through. In time, things did get better.

Don’t give up

You may feel that there is no solution and that the only way forward is to leave this world. Although tempting, this isn’t one of the best ways to cope with life. If you ever feel this way, please get professional help.

I recently had to attend the funeral of a very good friend who took his own life. It was devastating to look around a room and see his work colleagues, friends and family all wondering if they could have done anything to help him.  Actually, we could have done something- had he only asked.

Moving on and finding ways to cope with life can take some effort and time. This, however, doesn’t mean that they aren’t doable.

 

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How To Get The Best Deal From Your Local Used Cars Dealership

Do you need tips on how to buy used cars? Do you want to buy used cars from Pueblo Co or some other state or area?

If you think buying used cars is easy- think again. Even the most experienced car shopper can feel intimidated about making a deal once in a while. Apart from hidden mechanical problems, there’s title-washing and price-gouging that can take the deal off of the favor of the consumer.

Should you buy online or local?

The only time you should consider buying online is if there is NO reputable used car dealership near you. This is after you’ve asked your relatives, friends, and colleagues at work for their recommendations.

You can also turn to Google for help. I live in Colorado so when I was doing my research, I googled for “used cars pueblo co“. Just change the area to the place where you live and you’re sure to get hits. You can try these search terms:

  • used cars + your area/state
  • used cars for sale in + your area/state

If you come across a local dealership with good online or friend reviews, choose buying from your local dealership. Just like buying any personal item — like clothes or shoes — it’s difficult to make purchases without seeing your choices in person and taking them for a test drive. And with a sizable amount of money at stake, it’s important not to suffer later on from buyer’s regret.

Tips and tricks for buying a used car

Be one step ahead

When negotiating, dealers often take the reign. You’ll immediately be asked what kind of car you are looking for, how much your budget is, and when you are likely to seal the deal. Answering these questions right away won’t put things in your favor.

Instead of divulging all this information, keep things to yourself and look around first. Know as much information as you can about the cars available like weak points, price, and typical cost of repair. The more research and groundwork you do, the less likely you’ll buy on impulse.

Request for the car’s service records

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to ask for service records. The availability of a car’s service records is an indication of how well the vehicle is maintained. These records can give you an idea of its past problems and repairs done. They can also let you see the history of the car.

This is an essential step since not all dealers are transparent enough to let buyers see the faults in their vehicles. Keep in mind, however, that missing service records don’t readily mean problems.

Check for the car’s safety tests and VIN

Apart from repairs and mechanical issues, it’s also a good idea to check for the car’s records regarding state safety and emission tests. These tests are mandated by the state law so make sure to double check.

Checking the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), on the other hand, can give you reports regarding title problems, accidents as well as ownership. Such details can help you make your final decision. You can find a car’s VIN stamped on its plate.

Do your research before going to the dealership

car research

The first step in negotiating for a used car is to know how much others are willing to pay for it. There are tools or forums you can find online that can give you an idea of how much a car is worth in different conditions. Once you have an idea, you can start setting your floor and ceiling rates.

Your floor rate should be 5 to 10% lower than the average selling value of the car. The ceiling rate, on the other hand, is the highest price you are willing to pay to get the car.

See Also: 15 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Bring a professional like a mechanic you trust

bring a mechanic

Before setting your heart on any particular car, make sure to bring a trusted mechanic with you, or a friend who is crazy knowledgable about cars. In this situation, it pays to have an expert opinion. You won’t only be inspecting your potential purchase, you’ll also find out if your dealers are trustworty and reliable.

See Also: How to Find a Good Mechanic in the Age of Social Media

Be alert when the sales dude starts talking monthly payments

There are a handful of things dealers can do to make sure you let go of the limits you’ve set. They can ask you how much you are willing to pay per month as well as your maximum spending limit. These things are actually in their favor, since these information can help them conceal the bottom line price of the car. Answering these questions can make you end up paying more.

Be firm with your budget

Present the dealer with your floor rate. Explain politely that you know the actual cost of the car since you did your research and met with several dealers already. Say that you won’t be signing any papers until your figures are met.

To get the best deal, you have to wear them down and be firm with your budget. At times, one of the best ways to win a negotiation is not to negotiate at all.

Get a breakdown

On top of asking for the car’s bottom price, you also need to ask for its breakdown to see what you’ll actually be paying. When buying used cars, you should expect to pay for certain fees, like registration and tax. If there is something you can’t understand in their list, don’t be afraid to ask and clarify.

Do an actual test drive

To know if a car is really for you, take it out for a test drive. It’s also a good way to check if the dealer is really telling the truth regarding the car’s condition. Apart from that, test-driving the car gives you enough time to actually focus on it.

When test driving, pay attention to as many details as you can. Dealers aren’t likely to repair any damage or issues in the car if they can’t easily be seen, especially problems underneath the car and under the hood.

To start, check if the car is easy to get in and out from without hitting your head. Make sure there’s enough headroom and legroom so you can be as comfortable as possible when driving. Take note of the seats, too. See if they can provide enough support for your back and if they can easily be adjusted.

Use your nose when test driving. You shouldn’t be able to smell gas or burning oil. There also shouldn’t be any problematic noises. Test the headlights, brake lights and turn indicators to see if they work. The brakes should be fully functional and not squeaking every time you use them. Double check the heater and air conditioning, too.

In case you still aren’t convinced, you can always consider having the car checked by a good used car inspection service, especially if you weren’t able to bring in a mechanic with you in the beginning. It can cost you an extra fee but it can alert you of problems most untrained eyes can’t see. You can consider it as part of your investment.

For first time buyers of used cars, Pueblo Co has several accredited auto maintenance and repair shops that offer thorough assessment services. You won’t have a hard time finding one that can help you check and double check the car you’re aiming for. See if your local dealership offers the same service.

Good luck and we hope you find a gem!

 

The post How To Get The Best Deal From Your Local Used Cars Dealership appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect

Career development is the bedrock to attaining career growth. Many working professionals who maintain a gradual but constant career development experience enviable boosts in their career potential. They realise that the current job they hold is a stepping stone to the bigger goals they aspire to reach.

It is also true that there are many professionals who have over time ignored or forgotten to invest in their career development with dire consequences. Whilst some of these professionals may still be employed, the chances of rising to an enviable position becomes much slimmer.

While some companies provide training to help their employees improve on their job, the kinds of training they offer might not be a great fit for your career path. The decision to advance your career prospects in the direction of your goal lies solely with you.

Whether you are still searching for a job or currently employed, this decision will ultimately decide how far you can go in your career. Research shows that employers are more likely to hire professionals with proven skills for coveted positions.

What is Your Role as a Professional

As a professional, you need to realise that to reach the summit of your career pursuit, you will need to do more than just have a routine job that pays the bills as this will not set you apart from other colleagues. You will need to understand that the job you currently hold might cease to be or that a more lucrative job might turn up that requires a higher level of competence and qualifications than your first job.

Being ready for these possibilities means you are on your way to bigger challenges down the road. To be sure you are on safe ground, start by objectively evaluating yourself and testing your qualification by applying for advertised jobs. An honest reflection will reveal just where you stand and whether you have been putting your career development in jeopardy.

Start challenging yourself to attain those goals you dreamed of. You can achieve that by following the below actionable tips aimed at giving your career prospect a jolt.

Tips to Start Boosting Your Career Capital

These tips do not follow a particular order. You just want to make sure you make them part of your professional life going forward.

Acquire Advanced Studies and Certification

advanced course online

Acquiring additional skills and knowledge increases your overall value. This might include getting a certification to specialise, taking an advanced course online, or exploring other fields.

Regardless of what you choose, the important thing is that you will be increasing your knowledge and your career capital for the future ahead.

See Also: How To Change Careers Without Losing Your Mind

Set a Goal and Pursue It

Professionals don’t always set goals after they land a job but this is something that should be taken seriously. Setting a target pushes you to go beyond your comfort level.  

Be assured that reaching that milestone is worth the effort as the attainment of such a goal will increase your value and relevance. For instance, you might have started out as a content editor, but you can also set a goal to pass the Google Analytics Exam.

See Also: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Yourself to Reach Your Goals

Be Active on Social Media

The advantages you can reap from professional networking are real and far-reaching. By staying active on social media and widening your support network, you have ensured access to pipelines of information, some of this communicated to you in real-time. They could include information on emerging trends, job openings, career fair, direct access to employers, and much more.

Use Seasoned Professionals and Mentors

Mentors are valuable guides who can help you make important decisions during your career. This could include what skills you need to develop, when to ask for a raise, and if you are ready for fresh challenges.

You will need a mentor when starting out and even when you are established. To have a mentor means you get experienced grooming, insight into exclusive opportunities, and much more. You can avoid pitfalls and common mistakes along the way.

Participate in Career Conferences

career conference

Participation in career fairs is important to better understand recruiters and companies looking to hire the best talents. You can strengthen and grow your professional network during these career fairs and also get guidance from industry experts.

You can…

  • Get access to onsite interviews from companies
  • Get the opportunity to meet experts and influencers
  • Get an insight into companies look for in candidates
  • Networking and meeting other professionals is guaranteed
  • You can literally put a face on your application by being participant

Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

The reward of good work is rising through the ranks. However, with performance comes more responsibility. You will be required to perform other functions in management and administration.

In such cases, you will have to explore and acquire skills in other verticals. When you start to rise to an executive or management position, you might assume responsibilities that require making decisions crucial to the performance of the company. In such a case, you should start thinking in management and business terms.

The below infographic by Market Inspector aims to capture these tips that will help professionals increase their career capital.

Source

Boost Your Career Potential

 

The post A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect

Career development is the bedrock to attaining career growth. Many working professionals who maintain a gradual but constant career development experience enviable boosts in their career potential. They realise that the current job they hold is a stepping stone to the bigger goals they aspire to reach.

It is also true that there are many professionals who have over time ignored or forgotten to invest in their career development with dire consequences. Whilst some of these professionals may still be employed, the chances of rising to an enviable position becomes much slimmer.

While some companies provide training to help their employees improve on their job, the kinds of training they offer might not be a great fit for your career path. The decision to advance your career prospects in the direction of your goal lies solely with you.

Whether you are still searching for a job or currently employed, this decision will ultimately decide how far you can go in your career. Research shows that employers are more likely to hire professionals with proven skills for coveted positions.

What is Your Role as a Professional

As a professional, you need to realise that to reach the summit of your career pursuit, you will need to do more than just have a routine job that pays the bills as this will not set you apart from other colleagues. You will need to understand that the job you currently hold might cease to be or that a more lucrative job might turn up that requires a higher level of competence and qualifications than your first job.

Being ready for these possibilities means you are on your way to bigger challenges down the road. To be sure you are on safe ground, start by objectively evaluating yourself and testing your qualification by applying for advertised jobs. An honest reflection will reveal just where you stand and whether you have been putting your career development in jeopardy.

Start challenging yourself to attain those goals you dreamed of. You can achieve that by following the below actionable tips aimed at giving your career prospect a jolt.

Tips to Start Boosting Your Career Capital

These tips do not follow a particular order. You just want to make sure you make them part of your professional life going forward.

Acquire Advanced Studies and Certification

advanced course online

Acquiring additional skills and knowledge increases your overall value. This might include getting a certification to specialise, taking an advanced course online, or exploring other fields.

Regardless of what you choose, the important thing is that you will be increasing your knowledge and your career capital for the future ahead.

See Also: How To Change Careers Without Losing Your Mind

Set a Goal and Pursue It

Professionals don’t always set goals after they land a job but this is something that should be taken seriously. Setting a target pushes you to go beyond your comfort level.  

Be assured that reaching that milestone is worth the effort as the attainment of such a goal will increase your value and relevance. For instance, you might have started out as a content editor, but you can also set a goal to pass the Google Analytics Exam.

See Also: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Yourself to Reach Your Goals

Be Active on Social Media

The advantages you can reap from professional networking are real and far-reaching. By staying active on social media and widening your support network, you have ensured access to pipelines of information, some of this communicated to you in real-time. They could include information on emerging trends, job openings, career fair, direct access to employers, and much more.

Use Seasoned Professionals and Mentors

Mentors are valuable guides who can help you make important decisions during your career. This could include what skills you need to develop, when to ask for a raise, and if you are ready for fresh challenges.

You will need a mentor when starting out and even when you are established. To have a mentor means you get experienced grooming, insight into exclusive opportunities, and much more. You can avoid pitfalls and common mistakes along the way.

Participate in Career Conferences

career conference

Participation in career fairs is important to better understand recruiters and companies looking to hire the best talents. You can strengthen and grow your professional network during these career fairs and also get guidance from industry experts.

You can…

  • Get access to onsite interviews from companies
  • Get the opportunity to meet experts and influencers
  • Get an insight into companies look for in candidates
  • Networking and meeting other professionals is guaranteed
  • You can literally put a face on your application by being participant

Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

The reward of good work is rising through the ranks. However, with performance comes more responsibility. You will be required to perform other functions in management and administration.

In such cases, you will have to explore and acquire skills in other verticals. When you start to rise to an executive or management position, you might assume responsibilities that require making decisions crucial to the performance of the company. In such a case, you should start thinking in management and business terms.

The below infographic by Market Inspector aims to capture these tips that will help professionals increase their career capital.

Source

Boost Your Career Potential

 

The post A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Interview Hacks That Are Sure To Land You The Job

Interviewing for jobs is a stressful but unavoidable part of most people’s lives. Whether you are looking for your first job or looking to move up the corporate ladder, it is important that you nail the interview so that you can land that coveted job.

When you ask someone for tips on how to make an impression during an interview, everyone will give you a different answer. They are all helpful, but we wanted to make a short and sweet list of the best hacks to focus on.

If you can get these right, you are sure to land the job!

Research The Company Before You Arrive

company research

Companies are more and more interested in making sure that you know the company you are joining. You don’t need to know everything about them, but you should know how long they have been in business, any key clients, and maybe even some of the directors. This will show them that you are geniunely interested and invested and are willing to do the extra few minutes of work to make a great impression.

It is also a great idea to do a little research on the company’s current projects and events. If you can walk in the door and tell them that you would be a great help with their current project because you have certain experience, they will eat it up.

Know Your Resume Like The Back Of Your Hand

Your resume is all that your interviewers know about you when you walk through the door. It is a safe bet that they are going to probe and question a good portion of what you have written in your resume. Make sure that you really know what you are talking about if you claim that you are an expert.

The company interviewing you is looking to make sure that you can speak intelligently on the topics you claim to know. Don’t take offense to that. They are just ensuring that you can come in and do the job that you applied for.

See Also: 16 Worst Resume Mistakes

Know What The Position Requires

Study the job description before you arrive so that you fully understand what they are looking for. Being armed with this knowledge is a huge benefit because you can tailor your answers to show that you are exactly what they are looking for. If they are looking for someone who can lead a team, make sure that you talk about leadership skills and examples of times when you led others to accomplish a goal in the past.

Aim To Show Up 30 Minutes Early

Remember that you are going somewhere you probably haven’t been before, so leave yourself time to get lost. You never know when you are going to make a wrong turn or find a closed road. You aren’t going to show up for a flight to the Bahamas right on time, so don’t do it during an interview. If you feel that you are way too early, you can always wait in the car!

Make A Great First Impression

good impression

I’m sure that everyone knows this by now, but first impressions are everything in an interview. Make sure that you start off with a firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile. A first impression starts the interview off on a good foundation that you can build on.

Be Yourself

Make sure that you be yourself throughout the interview. Don’t try and be someone else just to get the job because it will just bite you in the behind later. If you are not right for the position and team, you want to know that from the start. You don’t want to discover that four months into the position!

See Also: Interview Tips: What Not To Say During Your Next Job Interview

 

The post 6 Interview Hacks That Are Sure To Land You The Job appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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3 Steps To Effective Change Management

Have you ever watched the movie Moneyball?

The lead character Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, pressed forward in his plans to re-create the Oakland A’s baseball team. He pursued this goal with a single-minded determination, stating continuously, “It’s a process, It’s a process.”

Billy understood that in deconstructing the old way of doing things, you create the potential to build a new way. The story of Billy Beane is an example of how a systematic process can change the way you play the game. Following through from beginning to end is the key.

Research from Prosci indicates that “projects with excellent change management effectiveness are six times more likely to meet or exceed project objectives.” Completing the process improves not only the bottom line. It also builds trust and maintains continuity within the organization, thus reducing chaos within the organization.

Three Steps to Create an Effective Plan for Change

Use these steps as a template to create any new plan or goal. Change introduces the opportunity for an intentional plan that keeps the process moving forward.

These three steps may seem simple, but one misstep in any part of the process fractures the flow of the work. How many times have you seen a plan fall apart because there was no follow through on the goals?

Awareness

The first step in any process for change begins with an awareness of the situation. Awareness can come in many forms: the awareness that something needs to change, an awareness that there is a problem, or even an awareness that something just does not feel right.

As Claire Hartman, President of First Community Title in Temple, TX stated, “There was something I needed to work on from a professional standpoint, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. It was also personal. I could tell something was a little broken, but I couldn’t figure out how or what it was or even conceive how to look for what it was. It was a gut feeling. I didn’t know where to go.”

Awareness generates an opening for change.

Once you have created an awareness for change, then you start to look at the broader view and the available options. I sometimes call this the fantasyland view because, now, all things are possible.

Fantasyland view equals brainstorming. You explore all the possibilities, even the ones outside of your comfort zone. If you don’t expand your awareness of opportunities and issues, then you may miss options that change the way you accomplish business for the better.

Categorize both facts, which are verifiable and expectations, which are personal/organizational beliefs of what one wishes were true. The activity of awareness moves you into the second part, which is words.

Words

Words allows you to start putting form to fantasy. Words offer a place in the process where judgments of good or bad, or right or wrong do not exist. Talk about or write out all the possibilities that began to emerge with the first step of awareness. Confirm verifiable facts versus beliefs, which may differ from person to person within the group. With words, you create a plan for what you want to do and how you want to proceed.

management words

The second phase offers individuals the opportunity to discuss ideas and encourages creativity or innovation. If the words, “We have always done it that way” are uttered in this step, then you may need to take yourself or others in the group back to the awareness stage.

Fantasyland narrows into feasible options for what you want to accomplish and how you are going to achieve these changes. You may set goals and timelines so that there is a systematic approach to the changes. You also set rules for engagement to help keep the focus on the plan, not the problems.

Actions

The third and final step offers actions. When you ask the question, “Which tells the true nature of a person or an organization, their words or actions?” almost universally, the answer is actions.

By this step, you or individuals within the organization should see renewed awareness. The goals and objectives are written out with timelines. Until awareness and words become actions, effective change cannot occur, either personally or organizationally.

Remember, it’s a process, it’s a process. The process of change management takes time and forward momentum to be effective.

management action

A misstep of any of these three steps fractures the process. Without awareness, plans reduce to a narrower view, possibly missing key options that could benefit you or the organization. When you do not discuss possible options, then you may lose valuable information that identifies what regulations or limitations impede goals, and miss new emerging ideas. Without actions, the genuine nature of individuals and organizations diminishes due to inactivity and dissonance with the words.

As you forge through these steps toward your goals, it is important to remind yourself and others, “It’s a process. It’s a process.” The change you create by maintaining these three steps helps you and your team to become even more effective for a game-changing season.

 

The post 3 Steps To Effective Change Management appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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