Dumb Little Man

How To Conquer The Fear Of Success (Or Failure)

The fear of success is a counter intuitive mindset. It’s one of those things in life that keeps us stuck in a rut or in a downward spiral. Part of us wants to do something and another part says we shouldn’t. So, how can we break the cycle?

In this article, I’m going to share with you some theories in overcoming fear of success.

Change your level of conscious awareness

In the 1970s, the most successful ad was a single frame image of Coca Cola placed within a movie which lasted 1/24th of a second. It appeared so fast that not everyone might have seen it properly.

Despite its speed, half the audience headed out to the candy bar to purchase their Coke after the movie and likely didn’t question why.

The exposure is so short that it is below the level of conscious awareness of the people. Because they didn’t realize they have been triggered, they didn’t have any defense.

So, the trick to overcoming the fear of success is to begin changing your level of conscious awareness around these subjects. As much as possible, try to build up your resistance.

It is common for people to fear forging ahead and standing out, especially if those things meant affecting their family, relationships, or life’s status quo. Others may fear failing or change, so they remain stuck, stagnant, and often miserable.

Become more aware of your behavior and their reasons. Give yourself the space to forge on. Back yourself, and take the leap towards success.

Humans are extraordinary problem-solving machines but once we experience fear, the mind that makes us so powerful begins to derail us.

Let go of what you fear you may lose

interpersonal skills

When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I knew I’d have to evolve, take on more pro-active personality traits, and learn new skills. One of my identified fears was speaking to strangers. At the same time, I figured that if I were to become successful in my new venture, I need to have positive communication and interpersonal skills.

Those are two different things and just the idea of making the switch made me feel very uncomfortable.

I realized, however, that I had to rise above that and create my success. I needed to move forward and accept what might happen.

I had to release my attachment to the things I was afraid of losing for me to start overcoming the fear of success.

See Also: 5 Things You Need To Get Rid Of To Become Successful In Life

Play out the worst-case scenario

The more you hide from potential pain, the more you fear it and the more power it has to stop you in your life. So for me, I painted a worst-case scenario and played it through.

What’s life going to look like 1 or 20 years from now? What type of person am I going to become? Where will I end up if I don’t follow my own true worth and passion?

Take on the responsibility

Fear of success is a reflection of your fear of other people’s reactions to your achievements. This is often coupled with the fear of responsibility.

Since these things can easily slow you down, don’t let other people’s opinions place doubt in your mind. Stand your ground in a proactive way and be steadfast on your path to success.

In life, you can be pro-active or reactive. When you’re reactive, things will pan out the way you’re afraid they will. When you become pro-active, you take control, become empowered and start attracting the people and opportunities that will support your success.

Embrace change

embrace change

Ultimately, the fear of success is the fear of change. You can’t predict or control it but you can choose to be optimistic, work on your conscious awareness, and believe this path is going to be better.

I have found this to be absolutely true. You can’t do it if you’re not willing to surrender to what’s going to happen.

Find out for yourself.  Let go and see what life delivers.

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

The post How To Conquer The Fear Of Success (Or Failure) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Happiness Hacks That You Need To Try Today

When was the last time you felt happy? Not just a shadow of the pleasant feeling, but truly happy?

You could say that most of our actions are fueled by our motivation to feel good. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all the time that we feel happy. There are days when we just can’t resist feeling low.

If that is your case today, these simple happiness hacks can give you that extra shot of joy.

Let Your Inner Child Take the Lead

Children’s faces usually light up at the seemingly smallest things.

Take, for example, the silly faces their older sibling makes at them across the dinner table. The big hug they get when their dad arrives home from work and the feeling of flying in the air while they are on the playground’s swing set make them giggle with laughter, too.

If you want to put yourself in a happy place, try doing an activity that you enjoyed as a child. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this can spike your happy chemicals.

Enjoy Strange Interactions

stranger interaction

The “stranger danger” warnings handed down to us during childhood can permanently hinder our interactions with people we don’t know.

However, if you make an effort to push through the discomfort and regularly interact with strangers, you’ll find yourself feeling happier during the day. A study conducted by behavioral scientists in Chicago found that individuals who made small talk with strangers during a ride on public transportation rated their experience as more positive than those who did not.

When we take the time to connect with other people, even when we don’t know them, it tends to increase our happiness.

Take A Risk On Something New

When was the last time you tried something that you’ve never done before?

If it’s been a while, then you may want to give this happiness hack a shot. Taking the time to try something you’ve always wanted to do, like getting a new hobby, is not only stimulating but can lead to increased happiness.

Feelings of accomplishment and boosted confidence can also contribute to the smile on your face. Whether you’ve always wanted to try alligator wrestling, knife throwing, or sewing Halloween costumes for your dog, now’s the time to do it.

See Also: How to Start a New Hobby Without Wasting Money

Hold Onto Those Pennies

Spending money when you feel bad can be an easy way to give yourself a quick high. However, once the initial high wears off, people tend to crash pretty hard, especially if they had a hard time earning it.

Rather than splurging on that new toy, try making a habit of regularly saving a part of your earnings. According to a recent survey, the more often people save money, the happier they tend to be. Saving money is also a good way to enhance feelings of self-control, security, and overall well being.

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

Celebrate Small Goals

celebrate small goals

By setting and achieving small goals on a regular basis, you will not only be more productive but feel happier as well.

Setting our sight on massive goals often results in feelings of failure and depression. So, rather than focusing on your end goals, try chopping them up into several small goals that you can easily achieve and celebrate. Keep in mind that the more specific you are with your goals, the better.

As you get started with these happiness hacks, try to keep your focus on the positive things in your life and use gratitude to your advantage. As you increase your own happiness, you will notice that the people around you will begin to smile and laugh more often as well.

The post 5 Happiness Hacks That You Need To Try Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Of The Most Haunted Places In The World

Yes, spirits and ghosts do exist. While some may be friendly, others may give you spooky and spine-chilling experiences. If these experiences don’t frighten you, then here are 7 of the most haunted places in the world to feed your wanderlust.

Take a trip or stay the night to experience the eerie presence of the ghosts and spirits in these places.

Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage), Sweden

haunted vicarage

Witness the ghost of the lady in gray wandering through the rooms, or the apparition of the three women staring without a flicker of the eye. You can also experience cold touches at midnight here.

If the mere ideas of these events brought a chill down the spine, imagine how scary the real encounter would be. These ghost encounters are so creepy that the keepers are even offering certificates to those who would dare stay the night.

Surprise Guests

Built in 1876, this vicarage has had a fair share of ghost encounters since 1927. You would be visited by the spirit of the old vicar and crying women at night.

Castle Of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

castle of good hope

Having a rich history attracts tons of visitors. Unfortunately, the first guests in this place are spirits.

The gruesome history of torturous punishments inflicted on the soldiers has made this place a dwelling ground for their souls. The Castle of Good Hope or the Goede Hoop houses a number of haunted places within its precincts. This includes the battlements, bastion grounds, bell tower, and even the parapets.

You can find the spirits’ presence everywhere.

Surprise Guests

Built in 1666, this castle has a number of eerie spirits wandering through the grounds.

You will be visited by the ghosts of a tall man, a sad woman, and the ghost of Lady Anne Barnard. You can also encounter the Lady in Grey and even the strange apparition of the black hound.

Stanley Hotel-Estes Park, USA

stanley hotel estes park

Room no. 217, which is infamous for its eerie happenings and supernatural events, would definitely send chills down the spine. Like every other haunted place, this hotel also has tons of mysterious stories as to how the chambermaid’s spirit started wandering there.

We dare you to stay the night in the same room if you are an unmarried couple.

Surprise Guests

Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, the head chambermaid, who was injured in the gas blast that took place in the infamous room no. 217 would visit you at night and do her routine work. Sometimes, she’d do way more than that!

Ancient Ram Inn-Gloucestershire, England

ancient ram inn

Built over an ancient burial ground, Ancient Ram Inn is one of the most haunted houses in the world. The countless tales of devil worshiping and a gruesome history of murders and deaths impart a spooky presence.

Take a tour of this place to witness ancient graves, stuffed animal heads, and other unnatural things that would haunt your dreams for nights to come.

Surprise Guests

Being a thousand-year-old house, the Ancient Ram has a number of evil spirits and spooky entities that would make their presence felt from time to time. You can experience the presence of a witch, a bishop, and several other child ghosts there.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium-Kentucky, United States

waverly hills sanatorium

This place is an old tuberculosis sanatorium where thousands of patients were exposed to brutal experiments. With more than 6,000 people killed there, it is believed to be filled with spirits.

While this story creeps us, the story of room no. 502, where a nurse committed suicide, is way more spooky. Footsteps thumping, screaming voices, and flickering lights are common there. Some people even experienced hearing balls rolling, muffled conversations, and other paranormal activities in the place.

Surprise Guests

With the death of over 6,000 people, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of their souls decides to visit you while you’re there. Add to that number is the nurse’s spirit in 502.

Banff Springs Hotel-Alberta, Canada

banff springs hotel

Seeing an apparition of a bride dancing with her gown in flames can give goosebumps to any visitor. Located amidst a picturesque surrounding, hotel Banff Springs is one of the most haunted places in Canada. These uncanny and hair-raising presences can scare even the bravest of hearts.

Surprise Guests

Be prepared to be accompanied by several ghosts. While the spirit of the bellman would serve you in a friendly manner, the family of room no. 873 would haunt with their presence. And do not to forget the dancing bride!

Bhangarh Fort-Rajasthan, India

bhangarh fort

A warning signboard denying the permission to stay after sunset and before sunrise would welcome you to this fort. Legends say that the eerie state of the fort is because of a black magician’s spell (or curse). This curse lives on and no spirit has ever lived here in peace.

Surprise Guest

While some can feel a strange presence watching them throughout the trip, others have seen the apparition of a small boy locked inside a dark room.

Are you ready to take a trip to these haunted places and see for yourself?

The post 7 Of The Most Haunted Places In The World appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Get One Step Closer To Success: How To Make A Difference in e-Commerce SEO

Creating a new e-commerce website with the WYSIWYG website builders is a cakewalk these days. However, maintaining it and optimizing its user experience is a different story. Without a planned strategy, your dream of running an optimized e-commerce website can very soon turn into a nightmare.

The key to running an e-commerce website with a regular inflow of traffic and healthy conversion rates is the prioritization of SEO (search engine optimization). This is very different from UEO (user experience optimization).

Confused already? Let’s elaborate it for you.

Get a bit creative with product descriptions

You don’t need to be overly expressive in describing your products. In fact, just a few, but quality, lines can do the trick.

Make your product descriptions informative, fun to read and engaging. Cover all features within 150-300 words and write in a way that focuses on your target audience’s perspective.

For example, if you are selling shoes, think of what your target buyers would look for in your shoes. Find out what search keywords they could use and make sure to include them in your product description.

Do not forget to include your products or niche when writing subheadings. This will make it much easier for crawlers to index the products on your site.

See Also: The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business

Do not shy away from including product reviews

ecommerce site

Including good reviews with every product may seem like blowing your own trumpet, but this is an absolute necessity in the world of digital marketing. Each and every positive review can add credibility to your products and can also provide quite an effective way to improve your content.

When looking for reviews, you should consider Amazon. Some of their top products have thousands of reviews, making them the favorite of search engine spiders.

Moreover, online shoppers give a lot of importance to fellow shopper’s reviews before making a purchase. It is similar to the personal “touch” shoppers experience at a physical store.

If the products you are promoting don’t have any reviews yet, you can send follow up emails to your customers urging them to review your products and their shopping experience.

Do not stuff keywords into your content

Although the newest updates of Google may not penalize you, stuffing ill-fitting keywords into your content may not give you benefits, too. Instead of putting senseless keywords in your posts, it’s a good idea if you can take time to write about keywords that are truly relevant to your site and products. They should be contextual and have a healthy density.

Since we are recommending a 300-word description for each product, we will not advise a keyword density of more than 1%. So, instead of focusing on keywords, pay more attention on giving your customers a complete description of your product. This will improve user experience and boost your organic authority over time.

Include alternate text for images

Do not leave the original text for the product images. Access your back-end editor and change the name of each image to a relevant text. We suggest using names or terms you are aspiring to rank for but steer clear of stuffing keywords.

Image alt texts are hardly 3 to 4 words and we would rather advise you to include a descriptive name that is relevant. For example, “leather tan boots with 2 inch heels – XYZ (brand name)”.

Put on your thinking hat for titles and URLs

Titles are more important for SEO than you can ever imagine. They help in indexing and SERP ranking by enabling search engines to understand the purpose of every landing page in your website.

So, steer clear of duplication by skipping vendor titles and manufacturer titles since your competitors may use the same. We would suggest you go a little creative when it comes to creating titles for each of your landing page.

While making URLs, keep your customers in mind. Use simple names and special descriptions for your URLs that will help your visitors easily find their way to your products.

Create XML maps and share with search engines

Your website builder might have this as a built-in option. If not, use a simple plug-in that can generate an XML map of your website indexing all the pages, subpages etc. Update any existing map to give the search engines an easy route through your website and new products.

Most of the CMS platforms that are dedicated to catering to e-commerce websites have automated sitemap generation options. This is to levy the stress most site crawlers are subjected to when you continuously update your inventory and make changes to the content of your site. Keep your XML sitemaps updated to keep your site in the good books of all search engines.

Internal linking to quality content

ecommerce products

The days of “blackhat” SEO are over. Now, if you stuff keywords repeatedly from other sources, you may not be penalized actively but your SRL ranking can decrease tremendously.

Today, it’s better if you can focus on meaningful content with wise use of contextual keywords. Since the introduction of Hummingbird, the keyword game has changed and the current algorithms focus more on the meaning of an entire sentence rather than isolated phrases or words.

Do not forget to use active and good quality backlinks while constructing your articles or product content. This builds reputation and credibility. Including backlinks from reputable websites builds consumer trust and helps in boosting customer conversion rate magnificently.

See Also: The Future of SEO – Predictions and Premonitions That Will Dominate 2017

Be ready to make new friends

Many website owners may not believe it just yet, but Schema is going to be your new best friend. Schema.org is designed to fabricate, maintain and advertise structured data online. These are most commonly used by the likes of Google and other search engines to make sure the consumers get more than they can chew on. You can consider including Schema into the following places:

• Brand
• Offers
• Rating and reviews
• Product

Content website definitely needs more focus in the coming year if you want to make your e-commerce website a raging success. You must remember that there are thousands of successful online shopping portals people search for every day and you must always one-up them in every aspect to make yourself visible. Serve your target audience exactly what they are looking for and use e-commerce SEO to boost incoming traffic and conversion rates.

The post Get One Step Closer To Success: How To Make A Difference in e-Commerce SEO appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Are The Advantages Of Business Consolidation Loans?

There are quite a few myths that revolve around debt consolidation loans. However, if your small business is struggling, debt consolidation loan is your only option to keep yourself afloat. It is also the only option that will not dampen your credit score. Debt consolidation is the hero without a cape that has saved countless number of companies from going down under.

According to the American Small Business Administration, almost 30% of the new small companies do not survive their first year in the market and almost 50% of them go under in their fifth year. The lack of funding and consolidation resources are majorly responsible for their untimely departure from the marketing world. In this cutthroat world of business, it is miraculous to get another chance with debt consolidation.

There are quite a few benefits you can enjoy when working with companies that offer actual debt consolidation meaning. This means you can’t only get your company on solid ground but you can also enjoy added benefits.

The list includes:

Reduced APR

With timely filed consolidation loans, you can reduce your annual payment rates and interest rates. If you happen to have a great credit history, you can file for lower interest rates with a longer payment term. You can enjoy APRs as low as 12% for repayment terms of 5 years or longer.

Lower monthly payments

This is something almost all businesses look forward to. You can coalesce all your monthly payments into one payment that has a lower interest rate. This automatically reduces the net amount you’ll be paying each month.

Additional borrowing

This is one benefit most new entrepreneurs would kill to enjoy.

When you are applying for your consolidation loan, you can apply for additional money to fund your future projects. Because of your lower interest rates, you are likely to get an increased DSCR for your business. This means, you do not have to take out short term debts again when starting a new project soon.

Simplify cash flow

There are three ways you can enjoy better cash flow.

1. You will have to pay just one creditor, instead of 3 or 4. It gives you the chance to use the loan amount to pay your credit card bills. You can just manage one account and the rest of the payments will take care of themselves.

credit card

2. You do not have to deal with defaulter’s notices anymore or penalties for missed payments. The consolidation loan company will take care of timely payments. In addition to that, you get to enjoy making one pre-scheduled payment to your loan company every month.

3. Longer debt and longer payment terms call for lower monthly payments. You can easily save more cash and cover regular expenses without cutting corners.

Say goodbye to creditors

You can resolve all your lines of credits at one go with one large sum. You’ll be able to give your business freedom to grow and expand into new dimensions. You will not have to attend to creditor calls and you can even pay off all your credit card bills with the sanctioned amount. Consolidation loan has the power to free up your revolving credit lines.

Payments are more anticipated

getting out of debt

You can coalesce many short-term loans into one loan with smaller payment amounts. You can also consolidate loans with variable interest rates under one loan amount that you can pay for a longer time period with a much lower, fixed interest rate. As a result, you can chalk out a definite plan and budget for the coming year in your business.

See Also: 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

When dealing with consolidation loans, you will have to know how to negotiate for the best deals and better benefits. You need to find the right companies that offer the right kind of loans that your business needs to thrive.

There are currently two types of business consolidation loans that are available:

1. Secured debt consolidation loans

These are loans that come with usually low interest rates and low monthly payments as well. Secured loans mean that you will be pledging some form of tangible property against the loan. In that case, the lending party has more security about repayment.

It is not uncommon for a lending party to take possession of deposit accounts, business assets, and business equipment in case of missed payments. However, secured loans are better in terms of comparatively longer payment terms and low rates.

2. Unsecured debt consolidation loans

Since these do not require you to pledge any tangible property, they usually demand a high personal credit score. You will experience higher interest rates and monthly payments when you opt for unsecured consolidation loans.

You can usually get these unsecured loans from private lenders and alternative sources. Even P2P lending can help you out with unsecured loans. However, it is a little harder to get as compared to secured loans since it demands a squeaky clean business credit and personal credit.

Small business debt consolidation loan is quite a wonderful way to keep your business thriving in days of dire distress. This will not eat away into your credit score and you will still be qualified for more loans. Many businesses go bankrupt simply because they cannot figure out the right time to apply for a business consolidation loan.

Business consolidation loan is not bad for business, provided that you choose the right consolidating companies for the loans. The right company should be able give you added services, including debt counselling and debt management. Getting out of debt will not be a monumental challenge if you have the right company to help you out.

See Also: 4 Ways to Start Building Great Credit

The post What Are The Advantages Of Business Consolidation Loans? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Get Your Boss To Agree To Anything You Want

If you could change anything about your job, what would it be?

Do you want a savvier office or a bigger holiday allowance? Perhaps you’d like more mentorship or opportunities to develop new skills. Are you thinking about getting a fatter paycheque at the end of each month?

Whatever it is that you want, there’s a good chance you won’t get it easily- unless you know the best tricks in persuading your boss. If that is the case, here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Understand Their Point of View

Before you ask for anything, work out why you haven’t already been given it. Mapping out your boss’ mindset on this issue is important since it can help you find a way to counter his arguments.

Generally, you know your boss well enough to get a feel of how he thinks, especially when it comes to making big decisions. Despite this, make sure you still ask him. As long as you frame your request in a neutral, non-accusatory manner, he should be happy to answer your questions.

Collect Compelling Counter-Evidence

To get what you want, you need to be able to show your boss both that it’s a good idea and that any concerns your boss may have won’t be a problem. This involves collecting evidence.

If you’re looking for a career or salary boost, you need to prove you deserve it. Hunt down performance reports, output statistics, glowing reviews from clients and so forth. Similarly, if you want support for a new way of working, then find reputable studies and surveys that can back up your idea.

See Also: 5 Tips On How To Negotiate Your Salary

Present It As A Benefit To Them

office presentation

As wonderful and deserving as you undoubtedly are, if the work change you crave only benefits you, it won’t be on top of your boss’ list of priorities.

If you can find a way to present it as a gain for the business, he’s going to be keen to hear you out. Bosses are almost generally keen about enhancing the productivity of their workforce and the monetary gains of their business. If you can argue that your suggestion will create improvements in those areas, you’re likely to be a winner.

Make It Easy To Implement

By this point, you should have built such a persuasive case that your boss is, at least, open to considering the idea. However, managers are busy people and if you let your boss go away without giving it much thought, it’s possible that he’ll find the idea too ambitious.

See Also: 6 Ways to Recognise a Really Bad Manager

To stop this from happening, lay out a quick and easy way to put your idea into practice and volunteer yourself for any of the required legwork. Talk about how the transition from your current position would work and how any predictable problems that are likely to crop up would be surmounted.

Make It Time-Limited And Reversible

One of the reasons why all of us, including managers, are so scared of change is that it can be difficult to correct if anything goes wrong. To encourage your boss to be bold, suggest that you run your idea for a trial period first.

This will give you and your boss enough time to see if the project will work for the business. Trial periods are much easier to agree to. They’re easy to extend, too.

Allowing your boss to backtrack might seem like a risk, but it makes the initial agreement much more likely. As long as you can prove that your idea will work, it’s unlikely that your boss will force you to revert back to your previous position or working condition.

Play Devil’s Advocate

work proposal

No matter how persuasive your argument is, your boss is still likely to throw some criticism at your idea to check its value. Avoid getting caught off-guard by assessing your own idea first. Finding the holes in your proposal can give you the opportunity to prepare either a solution to a potential problem or a convincing reason why the benefits still outweigh the cons.

It can actually be an effective technique to bring up some of these negatives while talking to your boss. It’ll show that you’ve seriously considered all angles and analysed the proposal thoroughly

The post How To Get Your Boss To Agree To Anything You Want 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.

The post 5 Simple Hacks To Increase Your Retirement Savings appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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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.

The post 5 Ways To Bounce Back From A Big Mistake appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Reasons Why Life Is Overwhelming You (And How To Fix Them)

You may be feeling overwhelmed with life, burnt out, and losing energy.

You have work commitments. Your friends want you to come out for drinks after your busy schedule. Your personal space, that you intended to tidy when you got back from work, is still cluttered.

Simply put, your plate is full.

Although you don’t want to feel this stressed out all the time, there just isn’t enough time in the day to do the things you really want to do. And it’s destroying you and your self-esteem.

The good news is that it doesn’t always have to be this way. Here are seven reasons why you’re feeling overwhelmed with life and how you can easily solve them.

Reason #1 – You are going to bed too late

sleeping late

I know what you’re thinking. You go to bed late because the evenings are the only time you get to yourself. I get it.

But consider this:

Going to bed late leaves you feeling sluggish and lethargic the next day. This has an impact on the rest of your day because you’ve woken up and jumped straight into your busy routine without a moment’s thought about yourself.

The Solution

Go to bed one hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. I know it’s tempting to go to bed as late as possible and lay in as much as you can, but by waking up an hour earlier every morning, you’ll have time to care for yourself.

You can journal, meditate, read a book, or workout. Starting your day like this sets you up right for the rest of the day. No matter what happens from there on, you know you’ve already had one hour to do something meaningful and worthwhile.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

Reason #2 – You are financially stretched

We live in a society where we are advertised to all day long. We are bombarded by adverts and offers constantly. You’ll feel like you just need to keep up with the latest trend or you’ll feel like you’re ‘falling behind’.

This can easily make you feel overwhelmed, especially when you don’t have the money to buy all of the latest things. It can make you feel frustrated to the point that your self-esteem gets damaged.

The Solution

Create a budget and live within your means. If you really want to buy the latest gadget or devices, save a portion of your income until you can afford to buy it without going into debt. Set aside money to pay your bills and living expenses.

If you need to spend any more money, ask yourself if it’s really a necessity. Say “no” more often to everyday situations that require spending money unless it’s something that’s really important. The reason why you’re financially overwhelmed is because you’re not yet disciplined enough to say no. You’ve been conditioned to spend your money.

Reason #3 – You are socially bombarded

socially bombarded

So you’ve had a busy day at work. You can’t wait to get home, grab something to eat, and put your feet up. Then out of nowhere, your phone rings. It’s your best friend. She wants to go out for a couple of drinks to celebrate her promotion. You accept and tell yourself that it’s alright and you’ll have time for yourself at the end of the evening when you return home.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to resist your Whatsapp and Facebook messages that you end up laying in bed for hours and replying to your friends’ messages. No wonder you wake up feeling so lethargic and unmotivated.

The Solution

There’s nothing wrong with socializing with friends. But when you really don’t want to, just say no. Saying yes when you really mean no can only make you feel more overwhelmed.

Set an arrangement with yourself to put your phone on the other side of your bedroom at a certain time of night. For me, that’s 10:00 pm. That provides me some time to brush my teeth, get into bed and read a book before turning in for the night.

Reason #4 – Your personal environment is ‘visually noisy’

If your personal space is untidy and cluttered, it can create all sorts of disordered thoughts and feelings even if you don’t realize it. A pile of books on the nightstand, a countertop full of dishes and random items cluttered together on the dining room table can make you feel more stressed out.

Just looking at and being around all those things can release the stress hormone Cortisol. It can make you feel tired and unmotivated.

The Solution

Select one area of your physical space that you want to tidy up and start there. It might be your nightstand, dining room table, or your desk. It doesn’t matter where you start – just start somewhere.

Once you’ve tidied away the clutter and got rid of any trash, you need to maintain a habit of tidying your space so that things won’t build up again. It can be as simple as putting a book back on the shelf or putting a cup in the sink rather than leaving it empty on the table. Make a point of being mindful about this every day and notice how different you feel as a result.

Reason #5 – You don’t have a calendar

Or maybe you do, but it’s poorly organized. One of the biggest causes of stress and overwhelm is the feeling of not being in control of your time. It’s really easy to give away chunks of your time to those who request it even when you don’t want to. As a result, you’ll end up feeling like you’re doing everything for everyone else and neglecting your own needs. It can lead to burnout and feelings of resentment.

The Solution

Take back control of your time! Get yourself a calendar and block in your most important and non-negotiable activities, such as work or medical appointments. Next, set appointments with yourself. Use this time to do what’s meaningful to you.

It just comes down to saying no and guarding your time wisely. It doesn’t always mean that you won’t help anybody. You just need to have self-respect to dedicate some time to your own development and to do things that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Reason #6 – You lack self-perspective

Self-perspective is the ability to look at your life objectively without attaching emotions to it. When daily life is stifling you and you feel overwhelmed by everything, it’s really hard to zoom out and see the big picture.

The Solution

This is where a couple of dots are connected. By either 1) getting up and hour earlier or 2) putting your phone on the other side of your bedroom before you get into bed, you are giving yourself that time to reflect. If you like to journal, then this provides a great opportunity to zoom out objectively and be honest about what you see.

Reason #7 – You lack self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to go inward to feel what’s going on inside you, rather than what’s going on outside of you. When you lack self-awareness, you aren’t connecting with your feelings. Essentially, you are ignoring the warning signs that your body is giving to you. This leads to you not being able to act on what your gut is telling you and that may leave you feeling trapped in certain situations or circumstances.

The Solution

This is the perfect time to start a daily meditation practice. You’ll only need ten minutes per day but this little window of time is enough to provide you with amazing benefits. You’ll be able to check in with your feelings so that you can be calmer, sharper, and much less stressed.

Imagine waking up in the morning feeling energized and eager. Imagine what it’d feel like to sail through the day with confidence. You know exactly where your life is going.

Feeling overwhelmed sucks. However, once you know the things that make you feel overwhelmed with life, you can easily resolve the issues and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your life will change.

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

You can step off at any time. You are in control.

The post 7 Reasons Why Life Is Overwhelming You (And How To Fix Them) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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A Map Of Mythical Creatures And Where To Find Them

Have you always dreamed of seeing a yeti? Maybe you’d love to have a beer with ol’ Bigfoot? Or sight a Sasquatch? Have a natter with Nessie?

If mythical beasts from folklore are totally your thing, why not ditch that planned all-inclusive holiday to Greece and head off to a fantastic creature-spotting adventure instead?

We’ve sourced five of the best mythical creatures and assembled a handy guide to these wonderful beasts. With our monster map, you’ll finally know where they live, what they do, and where they are from.

The Kelpie

the kelpie

Go to: Rural Scotland

This mythical creature is one of the most well-known in Scottish folklore. The first recorded usage of ‘kelpie’ goes back to 1759. Thought to haunt the waterways of Scotland, the kelpie is a shape-shifter that usually appears as a horse.

Nearly all rivers, streams and lochs in Scotland have some kind of kelpie story behind them. It’s thought that the kelpies’ ability to shape-shift (they can also appear as beautiful young women, children, and other forms) comes from its bridle.

So, if you’re strong enough to get hold of it, you could well find yourself in the rare position of having the upper hand over one of the most monstrous creatures from all folklore.

Black Shuck

black shuck

Go to: Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, UK

Black Shuck was the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, but the black spectral dog which hides in bushes goes further back than that. It terrorized parts of East Anglia in the 16th century as it stalked coastlines, graveyards, hidey-holes, and hedgerows.

Despite looking like it could cause serious harm, Black Shuck was not necessarily a violent creature. Rather, it was a harbinger, usually of bad luck.

The Loch Ness Monster

loch ness monster
Via 100photos.time.com

Go to: Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland

Nessie is perhaps the most infamous of all mythical creatures, so it should be right at the top of your must-see list. Travel firm Expedia, who have put together a fantastic online map showing you places around the world where mythical creatures are said to live, explains that early sightings of the Loch Ness Monster compared the aquatic creature to a dragon.

The Nessie phenomenon started back in 1933 when the local paper Inverness Courier reported a sighting of the beast. The rest is history as Nessie cemented itself as a sensation. Expedia’s resource recommends going on a cruise to the ruins of Urquhart Castle, with live sonar on board, to maximize your chances of finding the creature.

Yacumama

yacumama
Via booksie.com

Go to: Manaus, Brazil

The Yacumama is a giant anaconda-like snake that has been frightening Brazilians for many years. This immensely strong serpent, capable of sucking up everything around it, has the power to cause mudslides and general chaos.

The mythical creature resource shows that explorers were reporting seeing the snake as far back as 1906. A report from Percy H. Fawcett reads: “We stepped ashore and approached the reptile with caution. It was out of action, but shivers ran up and down the body like puffs of wind on a mountain tarn. As far as it was possible to measure, a length of 45 feet lay out of the water, and 17 feet in it, making a total length of 62 feet.”

Bigfoot

bigfoot
Via geek.com

Go to: The forests of North America

Another big beast of popular folklore, Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as it’s also known, is thought to stand at least 9 feet tall and with dark fur and skin. The gorilla-like creature is thought to be a vegetarian, so it’s unlikely he’d see you as his dinner.

Where to start with a colossus like Bigfoot?

He’s practically the king of all the mythological beasts out there. The Bigfoot legend relates back to stories of ‘wild men’ that were prevalent in indigenous communities of the Pacific Northwest. The number of apparent sightings and close encounters concerning Sasquatch are legion, but he’s never been proven to exist. Most think Bigfoot is a hoax, albeit an elaborately crafted one.

So, if you’re planning an intrepid holiday to catch sight of your favorite mythical beast, we hope this monster map comes in handy. If you need to make a quick getaway, it’s great if you can take a car with you.

The post A Map Of Mythical Creatures And Where To Find Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways To Sharpen Up Your Would You Rather Game Questions

Would you rather is a classical social game that has stood the test of time and is among the most popular gather-around games in the world. Whoever says you can’t learn a lot about your friends over this game has probably never played it right.

In reality, the game is hilarious, engaging and informative. However, for you to reveal your friend’s deepest secrets with this game, you’ll need sharper questions that promise better answers.

Just as articles are required for a blog to rank high on Google, you need to have good Would You Rather questions to have a fun time. While some people are born with the natural ability of asking good questions without any preparations, others have to develop it through practice.

If you belong to the last group, here are 5 easy, simple and effective ways to help sharpen up your Would You Rather questions.

Find the Right Attitude

One way to improve your Would You Rather questions is to find the right attitude. Without the right mindset and attitude, a lot of people will avoid playing with you.

To start, you must first determine what makes a bad player. For one, they don’t take responsibility for their rude or inappropriate behaviors. They offend other players with big no-no questions and they curse and blame others for their own mistakes.

If you think you don’t have these traits, then you’re on the right path to improving your game.

Be Versatile

We, humans, have a tendency to keep hitting someone’s weak spot as soon as we find it. However, for the sake of fun, you should refrain from asking Would You Rathers from one category only.

The key to making the most out of the game is to be diverse and ask both serious and funny questions from as many categories as possible. As long as your intentions are friendly, you can ask any sort of question you want.

Think Twice Before You Pose a Question

think twice

Although you can ask any question you like, that doesn’t give you the right to be impolite, rude, and make others feel uncomfortable. To avoid an awkward situation, make sure you know enough things about the players, like their age, education level and personal preferences.

If you take the risk of asking a Would You Rather question without considering your friend, you may not only offend them and kill the mood, but you may lose them from your life for good. Before you start, make sure you know which questions are good to ask and to which players.

Practice Makes Perfect

As with any other games, practice is a crucial part of becoming a good player in a game of Would You Rather. There are a plenty of questions online that are conveniently sorted into different categories. You can just look them up if you want to get inspired or improve your skills.

It may be obvious that reading questions online can help you sharpen up your questions. However, it won’t be able to help you get better at creating your own. Crafting your own questions require more effort, but it is a much more effective way of getting better questions.

Prepare Yourself by Making a List Beforehand

 

Last, but certainly not the least, is to prepare a list of Would You Rather questions before you even set a game date. This is a better strategy than throwing random questions when you’re already in the middle of the game. Apart from letting you know more about your opponents, it will also give you more time to analyze them carefully.

See Also: 5 Sports From Fiction You Can Try And How You Can Play Them

The post 5 Ways To Sharpen Up Your Would You Rather Game Questions appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Tips For Happy Marriage: 7 Simple Ways To Maintain A Loving Relationship

A happy marriage or relationship can be very healthy for your physical and mental wellbeing. Science has proven that men live longer and healthier lives when they are in a healthy marriage or long-term relationship.

These things, however, aren’t the only benefits you can gain from such relationships. Fox News report that the prevalence of cancer is lower among married women and men and heart disease is less common among happily married couples. A healthy, loving relationship can also lead to lower stress levels, fewer symptoms of anxiety and a happier mood.

Unfortunately, not all relationships and marriages have happy endings. Up to 41% of first marriages end in divorce while the average person gets divorced at the age of 30.

Second and third marriages, however, have an even lower success rate. As much as 60% of second marriages end in divorce while up to 73% of third marriages fall apart. It is also reported that there are up to 100 couples filing for a divorce every hour every day.

If you think that your marriage or relationship is going downhill, then this post is for you. Here are the simplest, yet effective, tips for happy marriage.

Open Communication Is Important

The way you and your partner communicates is of utmost importance. The Better Health Channel of Australia reports that a happy relationship relies on being both a good listener and good communicator.

You should be able to openly share your feelings with your partner and listen when your partner is talking to you. Only then will you be able to truly understand each other’s feelings and find ways to improve together.

They recommend setting aside time each day to listen to each other without any distractions, to think about what you want to say, and to be open to discussing certain objects with your partner without jumping to conclusions and without being judgmental.

Don’t Forget To Hug

loving relationship

While this may seem somewhat insignificant, you should not disavow this idea without considering the science behind a hug. Mind Body Green reports that hugging helps to build trust. It can boost both your mood and happiness, too.

These are all thanks to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps to reduce feelings of anger, isolation and loneliness. Consider the benefits of a hug and you’ll clearly see how hugging on a regular basis can help you and your partner maintain a sense of trust and a healthy bond.

See Also: How to Hack Relationships: 3 Ways Physical Touch Helps

Have Sex… As Frequently As Possible

Having sexual intercourse with a partner on a regular basis has many health benefits for the both of you. Sex can improve your immune system, contribute to better heart health, and cause your blood pressure levels to decline. It makes an excellent form of physical exercise.

Sex can also be an excellent way to reduce pain as well as the risk of developing prostate cancer. It can improve your sleep quality and many people find that sex helps lower their stress levels.

Sex can also help a couple bond. It can make both individuals feel appreciated and sexier. If you suffer from a condition such as premature ejaculation, a lack of libido or erectile problems, then seek help from a doctor to prevent these health concerns from causing problems with your sex life.

Have Dinner Together

We all live busy lives and with schedules that are packed with tasks and activities. This can often lead to two partners living past one another and spending less time with each other.

To stay connected, two partners have to make time for one another. Start by having dinner together every single night. While this may seem like a very small step, it would allow both you and your partner to spend more time with each other thus creating an excellent opportunity to maintain your connection.

Better Sleep Cycles

When our lives are busy, our sleep cycles often become disrupted. Sleep is important and has many functions in the body. Ensuring you gain an adequate amount of sleep every night is really important.

When you do not have healthy sleep cycles and become sleep deprived, both your body and mind may suffer. Sleep deprivation can cause cognitive dysfunction, impaired mental activity, memory problems, moodiness and can even lead to depression. This can take a toll on your health and your relationship.

Smile… And Laugh

happy couple

Something as simple as a smile can make a difference, especially if you and your loved one are going through a tough time. Laughter can be thought of as powerful medicine.

Science has proven that laughter can strengthen your immune function, provide relief in pain, reduce stress levels, and even boost your mood. Laughter has been scientifically proven to strengthen the relationship between two people so try to smile and laugh more with your partner.

Spend Time On Yourself Too

Lastly, you should never forget that even though you are in a relationship, you are still an individual with feelings, emotions and body. Some people tend to forget that they should spend time on themselves as well if they plan on maintaining a healthy, loving relationship.

Small things like making sure you are always well-groomed and decent can show your partner that you still care how they feel about you.

Conclusion

Being happy is a wonderful experience, but being in love can be an even more powerful experience. Unfortunately, love does not last for everyone – as we already discussed, more than 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. Luckily, there are ways to maintain the love and happiness in a relationship.

One of the best tips for happy marriage is to act together. Both partners need to act together to make their relationship last.

See Also: 6 Stepping Stones Of A Successful Married Life

The post Tips For Happy Marriage: 7 Simple Ways To Maintain A Loving Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Ways That Will Make You Love Your White Tee Even More

A white T-shirt is a necessity in every woman’s closet. A single white t-shirt could already create a gazillion ideas for you.

If you are still not convinced, here are 12 ways you can slay with white shirt fashion.

Work-wear over nice tailored suit


Photo from 15th District

Your V-neck white t-shirt can be work-appropriate when partnered with a nice tailored suit, a good pair of jeans, and loafers. I’m sure your boss would complement your smart and stylish casual look.

The eccentric chic

With a pair of neon-colored stilettos, a straight cut mom jeans, and a combat jacket accessorized with a statement necklace, you can easily create the eccentric-chic look. You can take it out for coffee or a few cocktail drinks.

Denim over denim

Throw on your distressed classic pair of skinny denim jeans, your favorite denim jacket, and hi-cut red Converse to add some colors and retro vibe to your white tee. Go classic and take the risk. Who says denim can’t go with denim?

Simple but classy

This style is for when you are in a hurry but still want to look chic. Wear your white tee underneath a bright patterned blazer, with a pair of shorts and beige-colored flat shoes and your friends won’t think you’ve overly prepared for your coffee date.

It’s simple- without downgrading your class.

Weekend getaway

Too tired to dress up for a weekend getaway? Then, maybe your leopard printed scarf can help you with your problem.

Liven up your white t-shirt with some leopard scarf on your neck, a pair of booties and some accessories.

Color up

white tshirt with colored shorts
Via glamradar

To add some fun and spice to your outfit of the day, grab the brightest colored pants or shorts you have and then put on your white tee.

You can choose to dress down or dress up on this one with a pair of neutral-colored heels or classic white shoes. A statement bracelet or necklace can also bring some spice.

No such thing as too much white

This combination is a classic. White tees over white pants and a white pair of flats and black blazer thrown over your shoulder can bring out your inner CEO vibes.

It is an outfit perfect for business meetings and lunch dates. There is no such thing as too much white in fashion.

Date Night

If you don’t want your date to look away from you while you guys are having a romantic dinner, try wearing a black high waisted slitted skirt. Match it with your black stiletto, white tee and red clutch and you’ll have your date’s eyes glued on you the whole night.

Casual grungy college vibe

white tshirt with flannel
Via pinterest

For a casual and grungy look, your flannel shirt will come in handy. Grab that flannel shirt and wear it unbuttoned over your white t-shirt and navy colored beanie. To complete this outfit, rock that laced up combat boots and you’re ready to dance up your day.

Sugar is sweet

To unleash the girly side within you, a little help from your light-colored cardigan would be helpful. Layer your white t-shirt with a light colored cardigan and match that with a pair of cute bow flat shoes. Lastly, to add a girly vibe, put on some pearl earrings.

Rockstar is your middle name

Match your white t-shirt and jeans with a black leather bomber jacket. Then, complete the look with some peep-toe black heels. Wear that hair up and put on some eyeliner to achieve this rockstar look. It’s perfect for both work and night out.

The basics

basic white tshirt
Via pinterest

This one is the absolute favorite in this list. Your classic white tee and a good pair of jeans are a perfect combination. Like peanut butter and jelly, these two clothing pieces work well with each other.

Any shoes paired with this outfit will change the overall look. A pair of sneakers will unleash the sporty side in you. Flat shoes will keep everything clean and simple while some stylish stilettos can make you look edgy.

Takeaway

White tees can match everything and anything found in a woman’s wardrobe. You can dress up or down with it. Just don’t be afraid to mix and match to show your style.

The post Ways That Will Make You Love Your White Tee Even More appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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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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Cultural Divide Due To Languages: Is It Possible?

Countries around the world experience division in so many ways. They can be divided by religion, caste systems, and even educational background. In some places, socio-economic standings count, too.

This particular article, however, will focus on language.

A cultural divide due to languages restricts people from socializing with each other. Take, for example, a person from a British-English speaking background. When he socializes with an American-English person, he may feel alienated due to their differences in accent and lifestyle.

For a person who is a non-native in an English-speaking country, embracing the region’s culture can be difficult. Since the person can’t easily mingle with the natives, he’ll feel left out and insecure. Because of these feelings, he’ll likely withdraw more.

mandarin chinese
Via pinterest

A cultural division due to languages doesn’t only happen in English-speaking countries.

Mandarin Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Despite this, not everyone in the world knows how to speak it.

For a first time traveler, surviving a trip to China alone is near to impossible. He needs to bring along someone who knows a thing or two about Chinese culture. If not, he’ll feel very much unwelcome.

One good reason is misconception. For people who know how to speak Mandarin Chinese, it’s easy to downplay others who can’t even understand its basic words and phrases.

Because it’s a widely spoken language, they expect other people to know it, too. And when foreign people can’t engage in small talks with the natives, they’ll consider them unfriendly and a snob.

However, what those natives don’t know is that the foreign people are just experiencing difficulty understanding their language and communicating.

People aren’t always expressive with these misconceptions. In fact, they are implied most of the time and it is what makes things a lot more complicated.

In many South Asian nations, being fluent in English means being successful. They think that English speakers are smart, witty and intelligent.

The ability to speak in a foreign language gives one an edge in the corporate world. Because of this, a lot of people try to learn the most influential languages in the world to get better career opportunities and experience professional growth. Some of these people even travel abroad just to master the languages.

When they get home, however, natives consider them as too good for their community. This, as a result, leads to isolation and the gap becomes even wider.

french language

The Solution

To bridge this gap, we must learn to appreciate diversity. People are different and so are the languages they speak.

Despite these differences, we should still learn more about other people’s languages. Being a native of one country doesn’t mean that you don’t have any right to learn another country’s language.

Think of it as a way to connect with other people.

Natives think that foreign people aren’t friendly because they are not talking to them. Foreign people, on the other hand, feel isolated and unwelcomed because natives aren’t reaching out to them.

By taking the time to learn a foreign language, we will be able to avoid these misconceptions. And the lesser these misconceptions are, the more we can prevent cultural divide due to languages.

See Also: 5 Tips to Learn Languages by Reading Foreign Books

The post Cultural Divide Due To Languages: Is It Possible? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Best DUI Tips to Keep You Out Of Trouble

You get stopped by a police officer on one of those nights that you have been out with your friends having a good time. None of you expected to be charged with any offense- until the police handed the breathalyzer.

Driving while intoxicated is not condoned in any state. For this exact reason, knowing how you can defend yourself in case you get caught is extremely essential. One of the best DUI tips is to get a lawyer.

Here are 5 good reasons why:

• The law is too complicated

sobreirty test

Different states have different laws that govern them. A DUI lawyer knows those laws inside and out and can, therefore, find a good way to get you out of trouble.

• Lawyers are good negotiators

Until the questions start to get asked, it’s easy for you to feel relaxed and at ease. However, once the questioning begins, you’ll feel tense and in a turmoil. You might even find it hard to think of any clear answer.

If you have a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will know exactly how to negotiate with the authorities. A good lawyer will keep things from getting out of hand. He/she will negotiate on your behalf and can increase your chances of the judge ruling in your favor.

See Also: How Long Does It Take A DUI To Fall Off Your Driving Record?

• Not hiring a lawyer is expensive

If you have ever been to a court proceeding, then you must know that there are court fees and charges that you need to pay as the case proceeds. In some instances, especially if you do not have a lawyer, you may end up spending a lot more than what you are supposed to-  and still be found liable.

Before going to court without a lawyer, make sure you’ve considered and reconsidered your options as going without a lawyer might prove even more expensive in the long run.

• The other party will have a lawyer

dui charges

Not having a lawyer to inform you about court procedures can leave you vulnerable during trials. When you are being charged against the state, that’s the last thing you would want to happen.

Keep the upper hand during trials by planning and preparing with your lawyer. He knows exactly what to do.

• You are more likely to win the case with a lawyer

Every person charged with DUI needs a great defense for his case. It isn’t easy to figure one out on your own and this is exactly why you need a DUI lawyer.

Those who are convicted of DUI must spend time behind bars. The amount of time varies depending on the number of times you’ve been charged with DUI. When there is a lawyer working on your case, he might be able to help keep you out of jail or, at least, lessen the time you’ll be required to stay there.

DUI has many laws surrounding it. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of those laws and it is what puts them at risk of getting convicted. If you don’t want to add to these people, hire a lawyer to handle your case. It’s one of the best DUI tips to follow.

See Also: 5 Seriously Easy Ways to Get Home Safe from Your Holiday Party

The post Best DUI Tips to Keep You Out Of Trouble appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Signs Of Overworking (And What To Do About Them)

A lot of people work more than they should and don’t get enough rest. Paired with being underpaid, these things can easily make anyone unhappy. They can also cause a handful of health issues.

If you are wondering if you’re at risk of these negative effects, here are some of the telltale signs of overworking.

You Have Trouble Sleeping

trouble sleeping

Studies have found that overworking can negatively impact your sleep. The stress you get from working too much in a day can disrupt your sleep cycle. The result is what sleep experts call “sleep debt” and it can raise your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What to do: Make sure that you get enough sleep every night, preferably 7 to 8 hours. Don’t listen to “sleep experts” that say you’ll be fine with just five hours of sleep.

Your Work Quality Suffers

Researchers have found that stress and exhaustion brought by overworking can reduce efficiency in workers. Inefficient workers are more likely to make mistakes and poor judgment. They find it harder to communicate and they take a longer time to finish their tasks

What to do: Take lots of breaks while working. Don’t work if you can’t think straight. Outsource admin or writing tasks so you can use your time to rest.

You are Gaining or Losing Too Much Weight

When you’re stressed, you’re less likely to pay attention to your eating habits. Because you’re too worried about work, you may not notice that you’re eating less or more than what you are supposed to.

What to doLog your food intake and count your calories to make sure you’re having enough for the day. Try to move away from your desk and do little exercises even for a few minutes while working.

You Find it Hard to Be Creative

Wonder why some days you can easily finish a 2000-word article while there are days you can barely write 500 words?

Lack of creativity is one of the signs of overworking.

If you continue working even when your mind is troubled, you’re less likely to finish anything. You can even end up staring at the same blank page for hours.

What to Do: Relax after an hour or two of working. Do something that inspires you, like watching a movie or reading a good book.

See Also: Here’s How to Get Creativity Bursting Out of Your Eyeballs

You Get Pissed Off Easily

pissed off

Overworking makes you more irritable than usual. If you find yourself getting mad more easily or being rude to almost everyone, it’s time to take a break from work.

What to Do: Don’t make decisions when you’re mad, tired or depressed. Try to calm yourself by taking a bath, having a nap or taking a walk.

See Also: How To Make Better Decisions: 4 Smart Strategies You Can Use

You Look Older than Your Age

There’s nothing bad about growing old- we’ll all get there eventually. The problem, however, is when you start looking older than your actual age.

If you are still in your 20’s but you already look like you’re in your 40’s, there’s something wrong with your lifestyle. And it could be that you’re working too much.

What to Do: Stop stressing too much at work. Negative facial expressions won’t only drain your happiness but they can also make you look older. Smiling and staying positive, even under pressure, keeps the wrinkles away.

Your Heart Rate Increases

When you’re calm, your heart rate will stay at a normal range (60 to 100 beats per minute). However, if you’re overworked and stressed, your body compensates by increasing the blood flow to your heart and brain. This results in your heart rate increasing.

What to Do: If you find your heart rate increasing, try to get some rest. Take a short nap or sleep longer at night to conserve your body’s energy.

The post 7 Signs Of Overworking (And What To Do About Them) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media

Making money with social media is no longer a myth. In fact, you can even do it without breaking a sweat. There a lot of opportunities for those who are actively online, but to give you specific ideas on how you can actually earn, here are five good ways you can try.

Social Media Manager

social media manager

This wouldn’t make you eye-boggling sums but it will make you some cool side cash if you find the right gig. If you have had real success in getting people to notice, like, comment on or share your posts across social media platforms, then you already have the basic requirements.

Companies that know how social media is no longer an option in the 21st century can hire you to manage their social media marketing campaigns, design social media strategy and manage their platforms. What you just have to do is to know what these companies are. Most of the time, these are private contractor’s jobs that can be done remotely.

Make Money Off Of Your Videos

Not everyone can swing this admittedly, so I guess it may not be an “easy tip” for everyone. But, if you have an engaging personality, sense of humor, a unique perspective and considerable knowledge of a particular subject, then you can do a lot of things with social media.

You can monetize your YouTube Channel, for instance, by being a vlogger and posting videos. Once they go viral, you can get a reasonable side income. Apart from virality, you can also earn revenue by joining the Youtube Partner Program which basically allows Google to install ads at the start of your videos.

Take, for example, Grace Helbig. She creates fun Youtube videos and shares them on her other social media accounts.

You could also coach someone remotely. With the engagement that social media has brought about, you can do almost anything that can be done personally through a video tutorial, Skype or even over e-mail.

If you have an area of expertise and reasonable knowledge to help someone with, you can offer your services via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Charge a fee for your services and make that cash.

You can even use a YouTube channel to upload your tutorials on a general basis and then promote them via other social media platforms.

Make Money Off Of Your Photos

make money of your photos

If you are an avid Instagram user and post various original photos across social media, you can turn that into a paying gig. However, before this gig can fly, you would probably have to have built a following and made people reasonably aware of your work and the quality of your work.

You can promote your work with platforms like Flickr or you can offer your work so people can use them for free on their websites. Once you are able to increase the number of people who are aware of your work, you can join paying sites like Shutterstock or iStockphoto. If someone takes interest in your work, he’ll be required to pay for your pictures before using them on his blogs.

Utilize Your Instagram Account

I can safely say that Instagram has a proven track record of conversion for businesses than most platforms. Its visual and captivating nature make it a great ground to start from.

You probably didn’t know that you could monetize your Instagram account, did you? Well, you can!

While you can’t make purchases from Instagram yet, its unique features make it a great place for showcasing your work. With platforms like Like2b.uy, which is designed to allow your followers to buy what they’ve seen in your feed with just a few clicks, you’ll be earning good cash in no time.

For you to experience this, you may need to add a third-party app. “Shop Instagram” or ” As Seen on Instagram” are great choices since they only need to be added to a part of your homepage. You can also link them in your Instagram bio or your website so you can drive traffic there

JennieKwonDesigns is one of those people who has had great success with this trick.

 

See Also: How to Increase Your Instagram Followers in 2017

Sell Your Art And Songs

Instagram and Tumblr are great means to test the waters with your artwork. When you get great responses, you can then utilize them to sell prints and other merchandise through online stores, like Etsy or Big Cartel.

If you can make great beats, jingles and good music, places like Soundcloud are one of the best and easiest to use platform that can help you get your work noticed. You can share the SoundCloud link to all your social media platforms and get instant downloads. Who knows who will hear your work?

See Also: 3 Things You Should Know Before Pursuing A Songwriting Career

There are a lot more options like Freelance writing, selling an e-book, and you can even come up with one! The opportunity to make money from social media is relatively endless. You just have to figure out what will work best for you.

Go make some money!

The post Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Tracking Your Workout Activity: Several Ways You Can Do It

A lot of people struggle with starting a workout regimen. A lot of them lay out several excuses in order to postpone their training sessions.

This is where motivation kicks in.

Depending on the type of your personality, you have to find one specific motivation to get you up and running for your workout program. One of the best and most interesting motivators you can find is technology.

No matter if you are an amateur or a professional, you can take advantage of the latest technologies in order to track your progress. If you love the old ways of tracking workouts, you can always choose to do so as well. The most important thing is that you organize and track your progress.

Why should you track your workout?

When you start a workout regimen, the exercise selection is fairly small and you can easily remember the number of reps per workout you can make.

However, as you get in better shape, the more routines and variations you can make. It now becomes impossible to keep all the information in your head.

This is one good reason why tracking your activity is a necessary step.

Additionally, writing down everything that you do during every workout is going to show how fast you are progressing. It’s a good way to get a clearer idea of what changes and adjustments you need to make. By doing this, you can create a more efficient regimen that is going to bring you better results.

What are the best ways to track your progress?

It’s quite simple to accurately track your progress. First of all, it all depends on your personality. You can focus on a few important details or keep track of all workout-related information.

Here are a few examples:

Calendar

This is the most common way of tracking your workout activity. This type of tracking allows you to plan out the days on which you are going to perform your workouts. Thanks to modern smartphones, you can have a calendar with you at all times.

Electronic calendars can store more information about your workouts. Plus, there are reminders that you could set to notify you about your upcoming workout schedules.

If you prefer an old-school approach, you can hang a calendar on a wall and track your activities with a pen. This is the easiest way of tracking your workout progress. However, it does not a lot of space for details, except your schedule and the number of repetitions you are able to perform.

See Also: 5 Ways to Make a Workout Schedule that WORKS

Online websites

There are lots of great online tools that can help you track your workout progress. One good example is bodybuilding.com. Apart from tracking, the website offers a big community of people who share the same interests as yours. This is a perfect way to acquire new information about different exercises and workout routines.

Another website that offers a lot of tracking details is thesquattingrack.com. In this site, you have to input a whole set of information about your current workout progress. From there,  you can track your personal records, like weight lifting and squatting. You can even track your body measurements and nutrition plan.

Based on all this information, a graph is projected to give you an overview of your progress curve. Since all the data is straightforward, you can easily see what kinds of adjustments would make your workouts more efficient.

Workout gadgets

workout gadgets

As consumer technology quickly developed in the past couple of years, an increasing number of people begun relying on various types of gadgets, too. These devices are groundbreaking, as they offer numerous detailed data about a person’s physical activity throughout the whole day.

There are a variety of trackers out there and it all comes down to your personal preference. These are some of the most popular fitness gadgets in the world that are used by millions of people:

Fitbit Blaze is a great choice for people who want to wear a tracker that is also fashionable. This Fitbit product serves its purpose perfectly, just like the majority of their other gadgets.

Garmin Vivosmart HR offers a variety of different notifications for you throughout the day. The optical technology behind this useful gadget is fit for precise measurements of your heart rate. It is a perfect device for those who want to stay in the target HR values to maximize calorie expenditure during the workout.

Jawbone UP2 is a device with a greatly simplified design. It tracks all of your activity throughout the day and the software that it comes with is fairly easy to use. If you prefer having a screen on your tracker, however, this is probably not the best choice for you.

Keep in mind that this device is much cheaper than the competition, despite offering accurate information.

Misfit Shine 2 is a beautifully designed tracker with an incredibly accurate data tracking feature. If you want a device that offers top notch data, this is probably the one you should go for.

These are only some of the trackers that are available on the market today. The thing with wearable technology is that it constantly monitors your body’s state even when you are asleep.

The goal of these devices is to improve your whole lifestyle by providing you with accurate details about your calorie expenditure and activities.

Smartphones

smartphone workout

If you are someone who doesn’t like carrying a lot of different gadgets, you can turn your smartphone into a great activity tracker. These devices are equipped with various sensors that can be used to track your daily activity levels.

The more important part when it comes to using your smartphone as a fitness tracker is picking the right software for your device. If you do your research well, you’ll be able to find the best solutions on websites like CrowdReviews.com.

With the right application on your phone, you can get almost all of the details as the abovementioned trackers have to offer. You can track your heart rate during the workouts as well as the calories burned and distance covered. The majority of tracking apps can also show you graphs of your progress.

Most of the apps are free, but if you want advanced options unlocked, you may need to invest a little bit of money – roughly around $2-5.

If you are satisfied with basic information about your day, Google Fit is a great way to track your progress. Other big companies such as LG and Samsung offer their own fitness trackers that can be integrated with Google Fit.

With so many options, it really comes down to personal preference. No matter what method you choose, the most important thing is that you keep your tracker with you at all times.

Tracking workouts and progress can be quite motivating. It will just depend on how much time you are willing to dedicate to it. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily make plans for your next routine.

See Also: Finding your Fitness Passion

The post Tracking Your Workout Activity: Several Ways You Can Do It appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What to Eat During Pregnancy

Are you stressed about maintaining a proper diet now that your baby is on the way?

With so much conflicting information floating around, it can be very difficult to make up your mind. You are likely to receive tons of advice from a wide range of sources, like your friends and family, on what is considered healthy during pregnancy.

To lessen your stress, attached below is a list of what to eat during pregnancy. These foods are simple, yet they can help you get the well-balanced diet you and your baby needs.

Why is it important?

Eating the right foods during your pregnancy is extremely important for the simple reason that you are now eating for two. An improper diet can adversely affect the development of the fetus, physically and mentally.

While weight loss during pregnancy is generally not advised, it’s also not a good idea to gain so much weight. It can lead to gestational diabetes and other complications.

What To Eat During Pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, you need to ensure that your diet plan contains sufficient minerals, vitamins and other nutrients to supplement the growth of your baby as well as the changes your body has to go through.

Here are some examples:

Eggs

Eggs are just great. For something that is not very high in calories, they sure pack a punch. They contain vitamins A and D, calcium, iron, potassium and even proteins.

A single egg has around 6 grams of protein, which play a critical role inside the human body. Since every cell is made up of protein, its sufficient intake is crucial for the growth of the baby and your own body.

Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s brain development. They can also reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

However, there are two things you need to be careful of when consuming eggs during pregnancy.

Eggs yolks are high in cholesterol, so you need to monitor your total cholesterol intake and adjust eggs in your diet accordingly. Also, always remember to cook your eggs thoroughly to avoid salmonella infection.

Salmon

We all know that salmon is a great source of high-quality protein which plays an important role in the baby’s development. Salmon is also an oily fish that is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Most diets, including those of pregnant women, lack omega-3 fatty acids and have an abundance of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This imbalance can predispose them to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.

This makes the intake of omega-3 acids essential during pregnancy. Apart from that, the acids help promote the development of the brain and eyes of the fetus, too.

Due to the presence of mercury in fish, it is recommended to limit their intake to 340 grams per week during pregnancy. Salmon has the minimum concentration of mercury and is generally considered to be a safe option.

Yogurt

Yogurt is made up of dairy and has all of the nutritional benefits of milk. It is also rich in calcium, which is essential in growing strong bones and teeth. Calcium is critical for a healthy heart, muscles, and the blood clotting process, too.

Women need around 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily during pregnancy and after the baby is born. It reduces the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are good bacteria that benefit the digestive system.

During pregnancy, your digestive tract slows down to increase the amount of nutrition absorbed from foods. This can lead to constipation and increased risk of hemorrhoids. So, make sure to add yogurt into your pregnancy diet.

However, be wary of packaged yogurt products that contain high amounts of sugar as they can cause excess weight gain during pregnancy.

Lean meat

Lean meats, such as chicken, are excellent sources of protein, iron, choline and vitamins.

During pregnancy, your body requires twice as much iron to facilitate the increase in blood volume. Iron is used to make hemoglobin and helps move oxygen around the body and to the baby.

Iron is an essential mineral and is necessary for fetal and placental growth during pregnancy. When there’s not enough iron, a woman becomes at risk of premature delivery as well as giving birth to a child with autism.

A diet that includes lean meats will help increase the amount of iron in a pregnant woman’s body. However, it can be difficult to get the recommended daily dose (27 milligrams) from lean meats alone, especially for those women who develop an aversion to meat during pregnancy.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, C, dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin B-6. Pregnant women require 700 milligrams of vitamin A daily and sweet potatoes have 1922 milligrams of vitamin A per cup. One serving is more than enough to satisfy the daily requirement.

Apart from vitamin A, it also contains vitamin C, which is essential for the absorption of iron and the growth of the baby.

As mentioned before, the digestive system slows down during pregnancy which can cause certain problems. The fiber present in sweet potatoes can help improve digestion and reduce the risk of constipation. Also, vitamin B-6 can limit morning sickness.

Sweet potatoes, however, should be consumed in moderation as excessive levels of vitamin A are associated with birth defects.

On making substitutes

Pregnancy can make food choices extremely difficult, especially with all those cravings and aversions. To make sure that you receive proper nutrition while satisfying your cravings for certain foods, you need to pick healthier substitutes.

If you feel like having a hot beverage on a cold winter night, go for a raspberry leaf tea instead of coffee. Feeling down and need some ice cream? Have a cup of frozen yogurt with berries on top. Want something sweet? Have a piece of dark chocolate rather than regular chocolate.

If you have an aversion for meat, try lentils or spinach to load up on your iron reserves. Also remember to take your pre-natal vitamins to ensure maximum nutritional support during pregnancy.

The post What to Eat During Pregnancy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship

Anybody who has dated and experienced being in a relationship will know how complex the process can get. The longer you continue to see each other, the more dynamic the feelings become.

If you are still in the dark, here are 7 of the most obvious ways to tell if you’ve gone from dating to entering a relationship.

Nightlife Goes From Club To Couch

real relationship

Before, you used to spend most Saturday nights dating people at a bar, cinema, or restaurant. Now that you’re in an actual relationship, it will no longer matter where you are dating. As long as you’re with your loved one, you’ll be happy.

They Don’t Consume Your Every Thought

Once you’ve already gotten over the infatuation stage and realized that you and your partner are in it for the long haul, you’re less likely to think about him all the time. This, however, doesn’t mean that you’re bad. It’s just your brain showing how settled you are.

Arguments Aren’t Disastrous

relationship argument

In the delicate dating stage, one or two arguments can often spell the end of the romance. When you have settled into a real relationship, the bond between you and your partner is already strong enough that you no longer take silly misunderstandings seriously. Instead, you argue a bit, cool off, and the make up again.

They See The Real You

During the dating stage, people tend to create the ideal versions of themselves. It’s a way to entice a partner. However, once you have found someone special, you begin to let your guards down and show your real self. You wear less makeup and you pay less attention to how you look.

The Future Is Talked About

Bringing up what you want in the future is probably one of the worst things you can do when you’re casually dating someone. It’s a sure-fire way to scare somebody off. This changes when you are in a relationship. You find freedom and excitement in discussing what might happen in the next few years.

You’re Fully Connected

The idea of meeting each other’s friends and family is always a bit awkward when you’re still in the early part of dating. By the time you are in a formal relationship, you probably already know each other’s friends’ first names. You might even be sending them Christmas and birthday cards regularly.

Jealousy Is A Distant Memory

In a relationship, you no longer have to worry about other men or women paying close attention to your partner. Being in a formal relationship gives you more security since there’s less competition. Apart from that, there’s complete trust in one another, too.

The process of dating and entering a relationship isn’t at all bad. In fact, it’s interesting and exciting. Enjoy while you’re at it.

See Also: 5 Ways To Create the Foundation of a Long Term Relationship

 

The post 7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship

Anybody who has dated and experienced being in a relationship will know how complex the process can get. The longer you continue to see each other, the more dynamic the feelings become.

If you are still in the dark, here are 7 of the most obvious ways to tell if you’ve gone from dating to entering a relationship.

Nightlife Goes From Club To Couch

real relationship

Before, you used to spend most Saturday nights dating people at a bar, cinema, or restaurant. Now that you’re in an actual relationship, it will no longer matter where you are dating. As long as you’re with your loved one, you’ll be happy.

They Don’t Consume Your Every Thought

Once you’ve already gotten over the infatuation stage and realized that you and your partner are in it for the long haul, you’re less likely to think about him all the time. This, however, doesn’t mean that you’re bad. It’s just your brain showing how settled you are.

Arguments Aren’t Disastrous

relationship argument

In the delicate dating stage, one or two arguments can often spell the end of the romance. When you have settled into a real relationship, the bond between you and your partner is already strong enough that you no longer take silly misunderstandings seriously. Instead, you argue a bit, cool off, and the make up again.

They See The Real You

During the dating stage, people tend to create the ideal versions of themselves. It’s a way to entice a partner. However, once you have found someone special, you begin to let your guards down and show your real self. You wear less makeup and you pay less attention to how you look.

The Future Is Talked About

Bringing up what you want in the future is probably one of the worst things you can do when you’re casually dating someone. It’s a sure-fire way to scare somebody off. This changes when you are in a relationship. You find freedom and excitement in discussing what might happen in the next few years.

You’re Fully Connected

The idea of meeting each other’s friends and family is always a bit awkward when you’re still in the early part of dating. By the time you are in a formal relationship, you probably already know each other’s friends’ first names. You might even be sending them Christmas and birthday cards regularly.

Jealousy Is A Distant Memory

In a relationship, you no longer have to worry about other men or women paying close attention to your partner. Being in a formal relationship gives you more security since there’s less competition. Apart from that, there’s complete trust in one another, too.

The process of dating and entering a relationship isn’t at all bad. In fact, it’s interesting and exciting. Enjoy while you’re at it.

See Also: 5 Ways To Create the Foundation of a Long Term Relationship

 

The post 7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Powered by WPeMatico

7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship

Anybody who has dated and experienced being in a relationship will know how complex the process can get. The longer you continue to see each other, the more dynamic the feelings become.

If you are still in the dark, here are 7 of the most obvious ways to tell if you’ve gone from dating to entering a relationship.

Nightlife Goes From Club To Couch

real relationship

Before, you used to spend most Saturday nights dating people at a bar, cinema, or restaurant. Now that you’re in an actual relationship, it will no longer matter where you are dating. As long as you’re with your loved one, you’ll be happy.

They Don’t Consume Your Every Thought

Once you’ve already gotten over the infatuation stage and realized that you and your partner are in it for the long haul, you’re less likely to think about him all the time. This, however, doesn’t mean that you’re bad. It’s just your brain showing how settled you are.

Arguments Aren’t Disastrous

relationship argument

In the delicate dating stage, one or two arguments can often spell the end of the romance. When you have settled into a real relationship, the bond between you and your partner is already strong enough that you no longer take silly misunderstandings seriously. Instead, you argue a bit, cool off, and the make up again.

They See The Real You

During the dating stage, people tend to create the ideal versions of themselves. It’s a way to entice a partner. However, once you have found someone special, you begin to let your guards down and show your real self. You wear less makeup and you pay less attention to how you look.

The Future Is Talked About

Bringing up what you want in the future is probably one of the worst things you can do when you’re casually dating someone. It’s a sure-fire way to scare somebody off. This changes when you are in a relationship. You find freedom and excitement in discussing what might happen in the next few years.

You’re Fully Connected

The idea of meeting each other’s friends and family is always a bit awkward when you’re still in the early part of dating. By the time you are in a formal relationship, you probably already know each other’s friends’ first names. You might even be sending them Christmas and birthday cards regularly.

Jealousy Is A Distant Memory

In a relationship, you no longer have to worry about other men or women paying close attention to your partner. Being in a formal relationship gives you more security since there’s less competition. Apart from that, there’s complete trust in one another, too.

The process of dating and entering a relationship isn’t at all bad. In fact, it’s interesting and exciting. Enjoy while you’re at it.

See Also: 5 Ways To Create the Foundation of a Long Term Relationship

 

The post 7 Ways To Tell That You’ve Gone From Dating To A Relationship 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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Effective Ways To Attract Web Traffic Even When On a Small SEO Budget

Search engine optimization is one of the most practical ways of generating new leads for sales conversions. Unfortunately, it can be pretty expensive for online businesses. This is one reason why some people choose to cut corners and engage in generating spam comments.

Such tactics have no chance of succeeding these days as search engines have become increasingly sophisticated and favor quality over quantity. This can leave most small online businesses in a tight spot since hiring experienced and skilled SEO practitioners can be quite costly and usually unaffordable.

If you are looking for ways to increase your web traffic while on a tight budget, here are some practical tips worth trying.

Publish Detailed and High-Quality Content

high quality content

A study that involved 20,000 keywords revealed that the average word count of the top 10 results was 2,000. The number one spot was taken by an article of 2416 words. This is a far cry from the short articles you can normally encounter on the web.

This reflects the idea that although users turn to search engines for quick answers, more than 10% of them are still interested in reading in-depth articles. This is why Google is also offering related search results to help users find more detailed information on their chosen subject.

The best way of achieving consistently high ranks in the SERPs is to create detailed and informative content that is relevant to what users need. However, you should never sacrifice quality to just to achieve a certain word count. Users can easily spot such tactics very easily.

Enhance On-Page SEO

Discussions on SEO are often dominated by topics such as link building, social signals, etc.

While they are indeed important, the function and importance of on-page SEO cannot be ignored. On-page SEO consists of optimizing the individual pages of the website so that they rank higher in search results. They are also needed to attract more user traffic.

For the meta description, pay attention to the readability, include the target keyword, and keep the word count to 70 characters or less. Even though the page description isn’t as important as before, creating proper description can still boost the click-through.

Keeping the URL short and easy-to-understand also counts. It gives users an idea of what the page contains even before the click. While keyword density is no longer a ranking factor, you can still include it twice or thrice in the body. Make sure it happens organically and naturally, as opposed to being forced.

Use Internal Linking

Internal linking is a process of referring links in one page to another page in the same domain. It is very useful for SEO because it can attract Google to a particular page of a site.

Internal linking also gives you visitors more options for reading. It also assists Google to index web pages more efficiently and boost your ranking for specified keywords. The fundamental benefit of internal linking is that it enables you to pass the authority of a particular page to another one.

Adopt Responsive Design

web design

Since more people do online searches using smaller devices, it’s a good idea to use a responsive design. Good examples include CSS style sheets, proportion-based grids, as well as adjustable images. These things enable the site’s layout and content to adjust to the devices’ requirements.

See Also: The Essential Elements of Modern Web Design

Conclusion

Although professional and sophisticated SEO is never cheap, it doesn’t mean that you always have to break the bank just to boost your traffic. The techniques outlined hardly cost anything, yet they are easy to implement. They can provide the basic building blocks for achieving superior SEO.

See Also: The Future of SEO – Predictions and Premonitions That Will Dominate 2017

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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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Guide To Life Insurance: How to Make Sure Your Policy Takes Care of You

Life Insurance. It’s one of those things no one really wants to talk about, but everyone has to.

You need insurance for protection against accidents, coverage in times of need, and security when your financial situation becomes vulnerable. While regular insurance can cover car repairs, medical bills and home repairs, life insurance can make sure your family will still be provided for and left money to live on in case something happens.

In this article, you’ll learn the best tricks to make sure your life insurance policy is prepared to take care of you and your family. You can consider this your quick guide to life insurance.

Term Insurance Only

You should never buy any sort of life insurance that is not term insurance. Permanent or “whole life”, as some insurance agents are now calling it, is nothing more than a scam-like, highly complex product put together by insurance companies so they can charge large commission fees off you.

The premise of the claim is that the payments you make into the policy build cash value (almost like an investment) which you can later use as collateral for loans or payment for your monthly insurance premiums. You can also withdraw them out as cash, too.

However, the amount of money you pay to have this “inner-policy” cash value is actually more expensive compared with the fee that you have to pay to own it.

In reality, the monthly premiums are almost always so much higher than for a similar term policy. This can end up with you losing money with a whole life policy, even if it seems like you are “investing”. This can be a good option for some individuals, but might not work for everyone.

Buy Term With A Renewability Feature

Term insurance is dirt cheap so there’s no reason not to buy it. When you do, make sure it has a “renewability” feature attached to the policy. This feature will allow you to renew your policy without the need to provide evidence of insurability again.

health problems

This can be incredibly useful, especially if you experience health problems later in life. If these health problems showed up on an EoI doctor’s report, your rates for a future term insurance policy would be higher.

Be sure to ask about the policies’ coverages as you go through your options.

See Also: What To Look For In A Good Health Insurance Plan 

Cover 10X Your Current Income

No one likes to buy insurance. However, since it’s meant to secure your family in the event you die, it still makes an essential investment.

death in the family

Because of this, you should purchase a policy with a face value that is, at least, ten times your current income level. Thoroughly review your financial capability and make sure you can afford and are prepared to invest in this kind of insurance.

It shouldn’t take up too much of your paycheck, but it should still cut off a chunk of it. Make sure that you still have enough funds in case your family experiences an emergency. A financial planner can help you with this.

If used wisely, your family could invest the insurance money and make it last as they search for jobs. In case you invest in less than ten times your current income, it will be difficult to stretch the money over a number of years.

Be sure to research all types of policies and keep your options open. Just by knowing what you have available and what you qualify for can make the initial process easier. You can use the information as a guide to life insurance.

See Also: Win The Life Insurance Game: Do These 4 Things Before Getting Your Physical

 

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Can You Heal the Chakras By Being Grateful?

Can gratitude heal your chakras?

The short answer is yes.

Whenever you experience an energetic imbalance due to strong and persistent thoughts and emotions, your body experiences the imbalance, too. The body keeps all the information, such as your persistent negative thoughts and emotions, until you take care of their underlying causes.

Unfortunately, many people focus on addressing their symptoms, rather than treating the root cause of their problems. They medicate themselves until they feel better, like western medicine.

Although it does offer relief, it isn’t long lasting. Unless you take care of the underlying emotional issues, the symptoms will flare up again as the corresponding chakras remain blocked and unbalanced.

Let’s look at the destructive potential of persistent negative thoughts.

If you’ve ever been through a difficult emotional time, such as a relationship ending, loss of a loved one, or bankruptcy, you know exactly how these instances affect your body. You’ll experience a number of physical symptoms, like upset stomach, headache, hot flashes, and muscle tension. You can also suffer from insomnia, indigestion, fatigue, pressure around the heart, difficulty breathing and so much more.

If this is an isolated incident and you are able to bounce back quickly, that’s great. The problem, however, is that life rarely offers isolated incidents. Even your tendency to negatively talk to yourself counts.

The problem starts when the emotional trigger isn’t resolved quickly. As you drown yourself in that situation, stress hormones begin to flood your system and cause actual changes in your DNA. These physical changes correspond to energy blockages within the chakras which, in turn, causes a lot of symptoms.

So, how can you avoid all those things? Start with gratitude.

being grateful

Gratitude helps you see your problems in a better light. Instead of seeing them as situations you are powerless against, it enables you to see them as learning experiences and growth opportunities.

I realize this can seem far-fetched when you’re in the thick of a struggle, but there is no harm in practicing gratitude. So, what have you got to lose?

Practice gratitude very first thing in the morning, upon waking. Give thanks for the new day, hope and all the things you’ll get to experience. Things like health, friends, family and even your pet are some of the things you should be thankful for.

See Also: A Little Bit of Gratitude, Everyday!

As an added challenge, in addition to writing down all the things you’re grateful for, you should also express the reason why. This will help you truly feel the power of gratitude.

In addition to the positive things, you should also express thanks for the struggles you are experiencing, like the difficult people who have made life hard for you. Again, express why these difficulties and hurtful people are actually blessings in your life.

It may take some digging and introspection, but there is always a benefit, even if you can’t see it immediately. Other than helping you heal, you can also learn forgiveness and compassion. It will make you tougher and more capable than you ever believed, too.

Just keep digging until you see the benefit. That doesn’t mean you have to like the person or be happy with the situation. You just have to know what’s really causing you troubles so that you can easily get rid of their root cause.

chakras

See Also: How to Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Take it as a challenge to learn to be grateful, forgiving, and compassionate. You will soon feel be able to feel the difference of healing chakras.

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Top 10 Best Mobile Accessories To Carry With You 2017

Whether you are frequently outdoors for business or you simply like traveling, bringing some essential gadgets with you can help ensure not only your comfort but safety, too. However, with so many items to choose from, picking out the most important ones can be tricky. You can end up spending a lot of hours just packing your things.

As a guide, here’s a quick list of the gadgets and best mobile phone accessories you can carry around for your trips.

Phone Power Bank

anker power bank

Despite carrying a lot of advanced features, mobile phones still don’t have an infinite battery life. You’ll have to recharge them from time to time. Since charging points aren’t always accessible, carrying a phone power bank now becomes a necessity.

Devices, such as the Anker Astro E1, are great since they have high capacity despite being the size of a candy bar. They can recharge an iPhone 7 and 6s twice and can add around 80% of battery life to an iPad Mini.

If you are looking for a super fast charging feature, you might want to consider the KMASHI Portable Power Bank. It has two USB ports so you can simultaneously recharge your gadgets.

Flash Drive

flashdisk

Your battery isn’t the only thing that’s limited. Even your phone’s storage may need an upgrade, especially if you like taking pictures and keeping videos.

The Samsung 32GB Bar Flash Drive promises durability, thanks to its high-quality metal casing. It even has a key ring, so you’re less likely to lose it inside your bag. Apart from the high-speed data transfer, the flash drive is also water proof, magnet proof and shock proof.

When you’re on the go, taking gadgets that can keep up with you is a must. Featuring a 115MB/ sec, reading speed, the PNY Turbo Elite Flashdrive is something you shouldn’t miss. It has a capless design with an integrated loop so you can easily attach it to your bag.

Mini USB Cable

mini usb

Leave the long USB cables at home as they can easily get tangled in your bag. Instead, invest in mini USB cables, such as the Startech Micro USB Cable. Although it’s only 6 inches in length, it can support high-speed USB data transfer. Another good option is the one from Griffin.

Mobile Hotspot

mobile hotspot

Most phones now support hotspot mode. Unfortunately, however, they may not be able to support a handful of devices. They also have less security options.

Instead of using your phone, you can invest in devices like the Verizon Mifi. It only weighs 3.3 ounce, which is just right for your backpack. It has an 8-hour battery life and can support up to 10 devices.

Power Splitter/ Surge Protector

belkin surge protector

A power splitter and surge protector may not sound like a must-have item in your bag- until you have to charge multiple devices at the same time. The Belkin Surge Protector has a number of USB and AC ports to accommodate your different devices. It comes with a 360-degree rotating plug for your convenience. The Anker 10-port Hub also makes a good choice. It utilizes a high-power 60-watt adapter for protection and stability.

Headphones

bose headphones

Whether you’re in a flight or just walking around the city, blasting your favorite music can make the activity more worthwhile. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones is a great option for music enthusiasts. Apart from the good audio performance, it also has the ability to collect noise data and cancel them.

For something you can easily tuck inside your gym back, try Lohi Bluetooth Headphones. It’s made from a sweat proof material and is extremely comfortable to wear, thanks to its soft silicone gel surface.

Bluetooth Speaker

wireless bluetooth speaker blkbox

If wearing headphones isn’t up your alley, your next option is to bring a Bluetooth speaker so you can still enjoy your music from anywhere. Modern Bluetooth speakers are more compact and convenient to carry around. They are now wireless and comes with really innovative features and eye-catching designs.

Beats Pill, for example, only has a height of 2.5 inches and weighs 1.6lb. It has a battery life of 12 hours and can connect to devices that are as far as 30 feet. Blkbox Pop360 is another great device. Apart from the excellent sound performance, it has a built-in LED and rechargeable batteries that can run for 5 to 8 hours.

Organizer

grid it organizer

If you tend to carry a lot of things in your bag, two things can happen. You’ll either get big and weird bulges in your bag or you’ll end up with lots of tangled and jumbled cables. With so many things going on inside, you might even find it hard to find some things inside.

The Grid-It Organizer is one of the best investment you can make if you are a tech enthusiast. It can firmly hold a number of devices. It’s made from elastic bands so you can tuck in any size and shape of gadget. It even has a sleeve which you can use to keep your laptop.

The organizer has a handful of color choices and sizes to fit your preference.

Smart Watch

apple smartwatch

You can easily go without a smart watch. However, considering how much time and effort it can save you from having to open your bag and fish out your devices, it may actually be worth it. You can answer calls, send text messages and check on your email even if your phone isn’t around. Samsung Gear S Smartwatch makes a good option for those using Android devices. For iOS, it’s the Apple Smart Watch.

GPS Tracker

tile mate phone finder

With so many devices in your bag, it’s only right to ensure its protection. One of the best ways to do that is to get a portable GPS tracker, like the Spy Tec Mini Portable GPS Tracker.

Tile Mate is a good option, too. It’s smaller than most GPS trackers and easily hooks to anything you’d like to keep track of. It comes with an accompanying app to make tracking a lot easier. The app automatically keeps a record of where it has last seen your valuables.

If you like daily deals, check out this online store for the best mobile phone accessories.

 

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4 Things Highly Successful People Do Differently

If you are genuinely happy with your life and your career, it’s easy to consider yourself successful. Most of us can agree that Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey are also successful people, even though we don’t know them personally.

All we know is that their businesses are great and that they have made quite a lot of money running them. Apart from these factors, there are other things these people share.

In case you are wondering what they are, below is a list of the things highly successful people do differently.

Keep A Routine

Keeping a routine is crucial to success. Time spent wondering what to do next is time wasted.

Elon Musk, for example, schedules his day in five-minute increments.  Knowing what he should be focusing on keeps him from wasting time. He splits his days between Tesla and SpaceX- always.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has a slightly different way of avoiding wasted time: he wears basically the same outfit every day. By spending less time thinking about insignificant things, Zuckerberg is able to spend more time on important ideas.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, used to break up his self-improvement plans into 13-week chunks, cycling through 4 different points of improvement every year. Throughout those cycles, he kept the same daily schedule. He asked himself every morning: “What good shall I do today?”

Continuously learning

reading habit

Reading is crucial to learning, yet most people would often complain that they have no time. In reality, books can give you access to the knowledge of other high achievers.

Oprah Winfrey began reading when she was 3 years old and, since then, has never stopped. She claimed that books were her pass to personal freedom and she encourages other people to think the same way. Her book club has already made over 70 book recommendations since 1996.

Warren Buffett began his investment career by reading 800-1000 pages a day. Today, he reads an average of 80% of his waking hours. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year and advocates strongly for others to do the same, noting, “Almost one book a week is very doable- try it!”

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

Staying fit

daily exercise

Physical fitness helps you learn to push through barriers while enhancing your cognitive abilities. Richard Branson is a good example.

He wakes up at 5 a.m. to do various forms of physical activity. He claims that he gets 4 additional hours of productivity out of each day because of it.

Tyra Banks, meanwhile, recommends keeping workouts fun and inspiring while Mark Cuban suggests doing 6-7 hours of cardio per week.

Being persistent

Steve Jobs is known not only for his great success but also for getting fired from the company he helped built in 1985. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance,” said Jobs.

He was well known for his drive and for his way of looking at things differently- if he heard the word “no” too often, he knew that meant something has got to change.

See Also: The Top 3 Habits That Made Steve Jobs Successful

Part of perseverance and persistence is being flexible. If you are too rigid in your thinking, it will prevent you from being innovative. Peter Thiel believes in keeping things unplanned so you can have room to experiment.

Thomas Edison is well known for learning from his mistakes and turning those mistakes into teachable moments. “I have not failed 10,000 times, I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work,” said Edison.

Applying These Lessons In The Workplace

Looking for job candidates who have a good sense of work-life balance is the best way to nurture things like perseverance, physical fitness, and lifelong learning. Candidates who want to punch a time clock and go home after just to play video games should not be expected to work on their personal development in their spare time.

If you want to find innovative people, find out what their traits are. Looking at the habits of highly successful people can give you an idea of what a successful job candidate might look like.

Learn more about these traits from this infographic.

Source: Habits of Highly Successful Entrpreneurs

The Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs [Infographic]

 

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The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business

E-commerce can be a minefield to the average Joe. Many big decisions need to be made, from deciding what to sell to how you can start setting up an online business. But, don’t let the online world scare you. With the following tips, you will be well on your way to creating your own successful business.

Refining, Designing And Sourcing Your Product

There are lots of options when embarking on a career in e-commerce these days. You can design your product, employ a third-party company to do this for you or source stock and mark up the price to make a profit.

It doesn’t matter how you go about obtaining your product. What’s more important is that you take your time to make the right decisions.

The D.I.Y. Approach

Product design can be a long and arduous process. But, if you want to offer a unique and valuable product or service to your customers and succeed with your online business, then you need to be ready to do your homework.

Pro tip: To launch an online business with a self-designed and prototyped product, your product needs to be refined to meet the needs of your audience. This should involve rigorous product testing.

GoldieBlox is one good example. It has taken the children’s toy industry by storm with products designed to encourage young girls to pursue an interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

These construction toys were designed to overcome the societal obstacles that can afflict girls in early childhood development and make them believe that STEM subjects are off limits to them.

GoldieBlox craftstruction

Shopify entrepreneur and founder Debbie Sterling divulged that, to get her product right, she embarked on a long process of prototype testing and tweaking with focus groups to test on small children. Sterling created crude prototypes of her early designs and she employed children of differing age groups to play with them, observing them as they did.

Each focus group revealed new things to change about her products. One of her discoveries was that female children get frustrated with asymmetrical construction toys. As a result, she tweaked her designs to feature only symmetrical slots.

Debbie’s experiences teach us that all products need multiple levels of refinement and testing to ensure that they successfully fill a niche in the market and meet a customer’s needs.

Third Party Design

Third party design can be a great way to get your product ready to prototype or manufacture quickly. This method of design can speed up the process of getting your product ready to market in your online store and allow you to focus solely on marketing it and making sales.

Services, such as Viral Style, enable you to design your unique, personalized garments online, set your price and use their services to market the product through email placements and social media.

Here’s how it works:

  • You need to create your garment with the online design suite
  • Set a price at which you wish to sell your product online
  • Utilize Viral Style’s marketing services to gain exposure for your product
  • Collect a percentage of each design’s sales as a profit

However, this kind of design model is not without its drawbacks. For example, Viral Style takes a percentage of each sale for their service.

Despite this, by speeding up the product design process, third party designing services is still a good tool, especially since it can make your business more accessible to people.

Buying In Your Product

Is creating or designing a product not so appealing? If this is your concern, you should consider becoming an online merchant.

Being a merchant requires spending time doing a lot of research to ensure that you find the best quality products at the lowest price and then mark them up to make a profit.

Here are some ways you could source products and set up an online business:

Find a simple accessory niche – Merchants make most of their profits on the accompanying accessories to their products. These accessories, such as HDMI cables and phone cases, are less price-sensitive. Despite this, merchants can still make the same profit on an HDMI cable as they would do on a TV.

Consumable/ disposable and subscription products – These products often lead to repeat business, which is great for any merchant. If your product is regularly ordered, you could be on your way to generating a sustainable profit. Consider running a subscription service for guaranteed periodic sales.

Gaps in the online shelves – Perusing the online stock levels of products on Amazon or Ebay is often a good idea. Products which are consistently out of stock are a great business opportunity for you.

Be relentless: test your product, or do your research until you get it right. See our previous article on why your business ideas most likely need a little work.

Setting Up Shop

setting up shop

So, now that you’ve made or found your niche product, how do you get the ball rolling?

Here are some important points to consider when you are selecting which method to adopt in selling your product online:

The ability to showcase your products and brand through attractive imagery: Promote your products and brand with unique imagery, including crisp, high definition photos or infographics.

A clearly designed buyer’s journey: An easy to use online interface is required to convert your page visits into sales and avoid shopping cart abandonment

Communications with customers are key: Make the most of the online world by using calls-to-action to capture email addresses and click-through buttons to gain social media follows. You can then use social media and newsletters to advertise your products and get your brand heard.

Content value exchange is important: Linking your online store to your brand’s social media and offering other content, such as a blog, can be very useful. Your customers will be more likely to give you their contact details or business if you inform or entertain them.

Strategize your platform: Ebay, Amazon or Etsy are all fantastic ways to sell products online. However, if you want more control over the buyer’s journey, you should consider an all-in e-commerce platform.

See Also: How Online Blogging Is Influencing Business Trends

Marketing Your brand: Authenticity Is Key

A brand story is the foundation of any growth strategy.

Making your brand story clear and engaging with your customers is a great way to make your online business stand out from the crowd. You can also try giving your products and services a human face.

Invest In Your Brand Story

Your brand story should include:

  • The reason your company came to be
  • What motivates you and your team to come to work each day
  • An inside look at your company

High Brew Coffee, for example, engage their customers with an excellent brand story of their online store. The coffee retailer’s website boasts the story of how the founders first came to conceptualize the brand.

Their website even hosts a short animated video which transforms their story into stylized visual content. This is in keeping with their brand image and creates an emotional connection with the consumer.

The experience of buying from them is not like buying from a stranger as their brand story has put a face to the name High Brew Coffee.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

Take Aways

Setting up an online business has never been easier but there are a few things you need to do before you set up your shop:

Refine your product: Whether it has been handcrafted or purchased online, make sure that your product fills a niche in the online market that guarantees sales.

Sell your products the right way for you: With so many options out there, it is worth doing your research to find the right way to sell your products online. Consider an e-commerce platform for greater control.

Be authentic: Let your customers know what’s special about your company by expressing your brand story and offering a face to your brand’s name.

Are you considering setting up your own online business? What lessons will you take away from it? Let us know in the comments.

The post The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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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.

 

The post 5 Simple Ways To Cope With Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision

Eye safety in the workplace is a commonly overlooked issue. Unless a worker is assigned in a hazardous environment, he’s not likely to wear any protective eye gear.

Unfortunately, the industrial setting isn’t the only place you can compromise your vision. Even working at home can negatively affect your eyes.

As a guide, here are some of the ways you can promote eye safety at work.

Maintaining Eye Safety in Factories/Industrial Settings

Job-related eye injuries are common, especially for carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and other craft workers. Serious injuries could leave your vision impaired for life so make it a point to protect your eyes while at work.

Here’s how:

1. Understand the Risks

Most eye injuries are caused by small particles or larger objects hitting the eye. It’s a fairly common incident among people who work in factories and construction sites.

In addition to that, exposure to chemicals, radiation and bodily fluids could also raise the risk of injury, contamination and blood-borne diseases.

If you work in an industry where you’re exposed to these dangers, pay special attention to your environment and gauge how at risk you are.

2. Protect Your Eyes

safety goggles

The best way to prevent eye injury while at work is to wear protective eye gears, which are considered 90% effective. Because of this, most industries require workers to wear impact-resistant safety goggles, protective glasses, face shields or helmets.

You can also get prescription safety glasses or special eyewear that can protect against radiation and chemicals.

3. Replace Eyewear Regularly

Replace glasses and protective gears if they show signs of damage. In addition to their negative effects on your eyesight, they can also potentially cause injuries.

If you wear contact lenses, make sure to have them replaced before they scratch your eyes. Scratched eyes can disrupt your vision and make you more prone to infections.

They can also increase your sensitivity to light, too.

If you wear prescription glasses, it’s a good idea to consider LASIK eye surgery to get rid of them. It’s safe, painless and the best choice for vision correction.

Maintaining Eye Safety in an Office

Industrial settings are not the only ones that can put your vision in danger. Working at an office or from home can also affect your eye health, especially if you spend long hours in front of a computer.

Digital eye strain has become a common complaint. In fact, over 70% of Americans suffer from it today.

To make sure you don’t end up adding to that number, here are some of the best tips you can try:

Modify Your Workspace

eye safety in the office

The area where you work should be set up in an eye-friendly manner to prevent strain and improve comfort.

Ideally, the center of your computer screen’s display should be 10-15 degrees below your eye level and 20-24 inches away to keep your eyes and neck comfortable.

Keep the brightness of your computer screen at a level that matches the area around it. Make sure to reduce the color temperature and enlarge the text so you can read easily.

See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office

Install Proper Lighting

The wrong lighting can affect your eye comfort, especially if there’s glare on your computer screen or work surface.

To ensure proper lighting in your office, avoid placing lights directly over your head or behind you. If you use a desk lamp, ensure that it doesn’t shine straight on, over or behind your computer screen.

Use blinds or drapes to reduce glare from windows. You can also install adjustable lighting so you can choose a comfortable level of illumination for your work.

Take Frequent Breaks

If you stare at a computer screen for too long, your eyes are going to get strained. Give them a break by following the 20-20-20 rule.

This technique involves looking away from the screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Blinking 20 times every few minutes can help as well.

Stepping away from the computer for 5-10 minutes to stretch and walk around also improves eye comfort. In addition to that, moving around reduces muscle strain and boosts productivity, too.

See Also: 7 Foods that can Improve your Eyesight

No matter what your job is, your eye safety in the workplace should be a top priority. It won’t only ensure your health, but it can also boost your productivity and efficiency.

If ever you face an eye injury, blurriness or loss of vision, seek medical attention right away. The earlier you receive medical help, the more you’ll be able to prevent severe eye damage.

The post Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Six Surprising Facts about Attraction

When you find people you feel you are attracted to, do you know what makes them attractive to you in the first place? Sure, they may have a certain personality or career qualities that pique your interest, but what about them is just so attractive?

Why is it that many people have a “type” of person they like to date? It’s highly likely that our feelings and thought processes in selecting a partner are inherent and may even be in our human biology which has evolved and adapted through thousands of years.

So, let’s take a look at these six facts regarding attraction—many of them of which may actually surprise you:

People tend to be attracted to those who look like them

Well now. This is a bit awkward. While this initially seems like a strange or uncomfortable idea, it actually has some form of scientific backing. A study conducted at St. Andrews University has found a direct correlation between facial similarity and attractiveness.

In this specific study, heterosexual men and women were provided photos of people and were asked to identify which people they were attracted to. One of the photos was actually a photo of themselves, photoshopped to look like the opposite sex. Overall, those who participated in this study selected the photoshopped photo of themselves as the most attractive. Strange, right?

This also supports the concept of people being attracted to individuals we see most often compared to others. So, perhaps it’s time you stopped looking at yourself in the mirror quite so much for fear of this slight chance of developing narcissistic tendencies. Thus, people find themselves more attracted to those they spend more time with and those they see frequently in their day-to-day lives.

The “pill” can affect levels of attraction

birth control pills

Yes, that’s right. One of the most common forms of birth control can actually affect attraction. There have been studies that have shown how women may be attracted to different “types” of men depending on where she is in her monthly cycle.

When birth control pills are added to the mix, you are adding different levels of hormones which can definitely have an effect on mood, health, and therefore attraction.

We are unconsciously attracted to people who are capable of reproducing

Men have been found to be more attracted to women when they are most fertile, and women are commonly more attracted to men who they feel would be a great father figure.

Biologically, humans are programmed to mate—when someone is able to identify, feel, or sense when someone is most fertile or even just knowing they can or want to reproduce, that person will find them more attractive.

This is not a conscious effort, but more of an internal, natural instinct that serves to ensure the ongoing survival of our species in the future.

See Also: 6 Ways On How To Attract Love In Your Life

Men are often more attracted to women wearing red

women wearing red

According to a 2008 study, red amplifies the attractiveness of a woman to a man. Some researches show a connection between women wearing red and the moments when women become naturally pink or flushed before or during sexual arousal.

Because of these correlations, it also would appear that women who are wearing red may have a better chance of getting asked out on a date. (Heck, even a second date!)

Men are truly more attracted to women with the hourglass shape

Because men are generally looking for women who are capable of reproducing (again, an internal drive to find a mate who you will reproduce with), they are looking for women with great reproductive capabilities.

They are not generally as fixated on a woman’s size. Rather, they are generally more attracted to someone with a 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio.

While men aren’t able to instantly measure that specific ratio with their naked eye in a split second, it stands that their eye will, by intuition, be most attracted to that figure. Men will subconsciously check for women capable of carrying his children.

We are generally attracted to people who remind us of our parents

It’s fairly common for people to say that a woman is looking for a man who reminds her of her father. This not a sexual thing; it’s more of finding someone who will have a positive role in their lives. The same goes for men looking for a woman who reminds them of their mother.

We are looking for a mate who is a positive role model, will take care of us, and has physical attributes we are familiar with.

At the end of the day, we are attracted to who those we are attracted to. We may know our “types” or what our “ideal” person should be, but there is actually a lot more happening under the surface dictating those feelings and decisions. Biologically, we are made to find someone to mate with and someone who will provide us with not only passion but security as well. We can give our brains a huge thanks for figuring out all of those details for us, and sadly, the rest of our person gets the not-so-easy job of going on a good date.

While the right personality, temperament, and partner-fit are probably the most important factors when it comes to successful long-term relationships, when it comes to attracting a partner in the first place, how we look plays a much bigger part.

See Also: 5 Ways To Create the Foundation of a Long Term Relationship

 

The post Six Surprising Facts about Attraction appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Pick Best Villa Holidays for Families

When it comes to choosing accommodations, you want to make sure that you locate the best property for your family and budget. With some careful planning, you will be able to find the perfect place to make those memories that will last a lifetime.

Here’s how you can ensure the best villa holidays for families no matter where you choose to vacation.

Read about local safety

No matter if you prefer to find a place inside a city or one that’s a bit more remote, you will want to keep your family safe and happy while on holiday. Most cities or regions will publish past crime reports on the internet so you can research the quantity and types of crimes that occurred in the area in which you’re hoping to stay. That information might be scary to consider, but your knowledge will help you find a place where you can focus on fun instead of danger during your visit.

See Also: Strange International Laws Every Tourist Should Know 

Investigate the location

If you’re hoping for a beachfront villa, it will be a major disappointment to arrive at your holiday house to find your villa’s views obstructed by hotels. Avoid any surprises by pulling the address up on Google Maps and doing a quick walkthrough on Street View, noting what types of restaurants, traffic, and shops are in the immediate vicinity.

Map out nearby kid-friendly attractions

nearby playground

While on a family vacation, you’ll want to have plenty of options for your kids’ entertainment. Take note of which villas are close to the beach or the neighborhood pool and which will require you to haul a load of chairs and snacks to the beach every time want to play in the sand. See where the closest playground is to your villa, as this is always a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

It’s also helpful to see how far your holiday home is from indoor activities (like a movie theatre or indoor play park) in case one of your vacation days gets rained out.

Consider the number of bedrooms versus the number of kids

Depending on the ages of the children going on holiday with you, you might need to get separate rooms for them. Younger kids usually don’t mind sharing a room of bunk beds with other kids since they see it as an adventure.

Tweens and teens might need their own space, so consider allowing them to have their own rooms, or, if the budget won’t stretch to include that, allow your older children to share a room separate from any younger kids on the trip.

Ask about the amenities

private pool

Since this property will be your home away from home during your vacation, you’ll want to make sure it is as comfortable as possible. Ask your contact if there is an available villa with a private pool (which is always a hit when traveling with kids!) or enclosed yard so your kids can play safely.

You might also want to see if the villa comes with a grill for outdoor barbecues, linens and blankets (which will reduce the amount of luggage you’ll have to carry), and kitchen accessories. Other popular amenities include free Wifi, cable, and local telephone service.

Read previous reviews

When finding the best value villa holidays, you’ll need to find the perfect balance between reasonably priced accommodations and luxury amenities for a complete vacation experience. Make sure you’re getting exactly what you want by reading the honest reviews from previous visitors. See what they liked and disliked and if you can deal with any issues that came up.

Particularly note if there are multiple complaints about nearby construction, check-in or check-out, hidden fees, or uncleanliness of the property. If more than three or four people point out the same negatives, you’ll want to ask yourself if you can live with that issue during your stay.

See Also: Use Pinterest to Plan Your Next Vacation — Here’s How

Ask for additional photos

Choosing between luxury private villas can be a difficult decision especially if you’re planning to visit a location you’ve never visited before. If you are having trouble deciding if a property is right for you, reach out to the villa’s listing agent and ask if he or she can take or provide more recent photos for you. These updated pictures can help you see how the villa’s upkeep and decor has changed since the listing was first made.

Choose a family friendly floor plan

When you’re traveling with your family, you want plenty of space for everyone but you also want to be close enough to your kids if they need help. A floor plan with adjacent bedrooms can be quite helpful if your children are young and need reassurance during the night when they’re away from home.

Find out how baby and child friendly the villa is

If you’re traveling with smaller kids, it’s important to know what types of dangers you’ll be dealing with. If there is a pool, ask if there’s a safety fence around it. Ask the property manager if the house has baby-proof locks on doors and windows.

With these tips and advices, you should be able to find the best villa holidays for families wherever your destination. Have fun!

 

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4 Things Tom Brady Can Teach You About Career Management

Tom Brady has created what is possibly the most successful career for any NFL quarterback, perhaps even in all the major sports. He continues to dominate the league as he nears 40 years old, and he cemented his legacy as the best quarterback ever with his Super Bowl 51 win. He now holds more Super Bowl wins than any other quarterback.

However, his ability to sustain peak performance condition while staying cool under pressure doesn’t happen by accident. His career management skills are worth an in-depth look.

Job seekers and professionals alike can learn a lot from Brady. His career management tactics can benefit anybody who wants to make the most out of their professional life.

Let’s take a look at how you can be the Tom Brady of your industry:

Stay Healthy

healthy diet

It’s no secret that Brady sticks to a strict set of rules for himself. Early last year, his private chef Allen Campbell told Boston.com about Brady’s strict diet. He eats 80 percent vegetables and 20 percent lean meats. Between that and his exercise routines that focus on muscle pliability, he has a very meticulous lifestyle.

When you prioritize your health, your sleep is better, you improve your mental health, and you experience more energy and alertness throughout the day — a clear advantage in your career.

Brady also ensures he gets quality sleep every night, and uses cognitive exercises to destimulate his brain when it’s time to go to sleep. You should also keep your mind healthy with meditation, mindfulness exercises, and visualization. This way, you think clearer and can manage your emotions and stress levels.

See Also: 5 Easy Healthy Habits You Can Start Straight Away

Be Grateful

A common word comes up when people talk about Tom Brady — humility. Despite so many successes in his career, he takes nothing for granted and focuses on bettering himself every day. It’d be easy to call it quits after winning four Super Bowl rings, but he stays focused on playing well into his 40s.

It’s important to stay grateful throughout your career. Just as Brady does, don’t underestimate the value of an opportunity — and that includes those opportunities to experience setbacks. Exercising gratitude helps you keep a healthy perspective on all your ups and downs.

In fact, gratitude can improve your health. A 2016 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that a gratitude journaling intervention improved biomarkers for patients with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure. Participants experienced less anxiety and depression, slept better, and even had lower levels of inflammation.

Maintain a gratitude journal throughout your career to stay focused on the positive things. For example, on those days that you feel like you fall short, instead of wallowing in self-pity and stressing yourself out, you can look at it in a healthier way. You can write about how grateful you are to yourself for trying your hardest and to your employer for giving you the opportunity to try.

Remain Calm

remain calm

Brady is an excellent pocket passer. When the defense breaks through the offensive line, he remains in the pocket instead of scrambling away in a panic and making a bad throw. He adapts quickly when the pressure is on and stays calm while he looks downfield for an open receiver.

He also stays focused on the bigger picture. During Super Bowl 51, despite being down 21-3 at the half, Brady led the Patriots to a stunning comeback. He got sacked five times, threw an interception that was taken back for a touchdown, and still stayed focused on taking the small steps necessary, every one of his 43 completions and 466 yards passing, to make the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

This level of calmness and confidence can be applied to your career management. Embrace major changes, like added responsibilities or new policies, as a way to expand your knowledge, and continue to focus on the bigger picture.

Remain open minded when facing these challenges, and understand that major setbacks play a part in a successful career. This way, you don’t scramble in a panic and miss out on a growth opportunity. After all, those setbacks, whether you’re throwing interceptions or losing a major client, are opportunities for you to learn and grow.

In fact, you should be proactive and seek out new opportunities to learn and grow. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone to look for exciting challenges to overcome.

Show Creativity

The New England Patriots are notorious for running play-action passes. Brady will hike the ball, turn around and fake a hand-off to his running back. As the running back pushes forward into the defensive line, the defensive backfield will come forward to stop what they think is a run play. This gives receivers enough time to get open, and Brady will throw to them for a completion.

This creative play keeps the defense guessing. To succeed in your career, you should seek out ways to innovate and think differently about how you do things at work and with your team. Harness creativity in your line of work and show it off to current employers or prospective employers when you’re looking for a new job.

See Also: Top Tips On Training Your Brain To Be Creative

The 2015 Searching for Work in the Digital Era report by Pew Research Center found that 74 percent of 2,001 respondents said it would be easy to highlight all their employment skills using a personal website. Let’s say you’re passionate about graphic design and want to showcase your skills. A website or online portfolio is a great way to prove your design abilities and showcase your creativity. This way, when people ask to see your work, you can direct them to your online presence.

Career management involves planning and making deliberate choices about what kind of work fits you, how you want to achieve a comfortable work-life balance, and how you want to succeed at personal goals.

It all starts with a vision. Tom Brady envisioned playing a long, successful career in the NFL, and he continues to pursue that everyday. His dedication to his daily routines and career management tactics drove him to five Super Bowl rings, and his career, as he nears 40 years old, doesn’t have an end in sight. You need to commit to your goals, stick to your values, and always be aware of how your actions impact your career management.

How are you managing your career like Tom Brady?

 

The post 4 Things Tom Brady Can Teach You About Career Management appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

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

Have you ever been gripped by paralyzing anxiety? Are you having difficulty overcoming fear?

What I Learned from Panic and Fear

My daughter and I celebrated her high school graduation with a vacation in my home state of Hawaii. To make it extra special, we purchased a zodiac/boat excursion on Kauai to go snorkeling offshore.

The zodiac raft raced us through the azure blue waters with dolphins playfully jumping alongside. We breathed in the salty fresh air and relished the sun’s warmth on our skin.

Once we joined the main boat, we were quickly outfitted with our snorkel gear sans life jacket or float, and jumped in. Not for a moment did I have any hint that I would soon have one of the worst experiences of my life.

We swam in the beautiful waters, floated on the gentle waves, catching glimpses of fish below us. About thirty feet from the boat, I suddenly stopped, panic-stricken. I was sure I was going to drown.

I had passed compulsory swimming classes in grade school, high school, and college. While snorkeling, there was no reason to think I’d drown but fear was immediate.

With a fragile control of my panic, my numb brain reasoned I could swim to the boat if I kept moving slowly toward it, one stroke at a time.

Eventually, I made it back to the boat’s safety, and collapsed onboard, sick to my stomach.

What I Learned about Fear that Day

In my complete panic, I thought I was going to die. Yes, unreasonable—but that thought totally gripped me.

In those moments, I barely hung on to my mind. Thanksfully, lifelong patterns kicked in.

There were others around me. Had I yelled “Help,” I would have been rescued. But my tendency to push down emotions, even strong ones, prevailed, and I couldn’t voice my distress.

Moreover, my early adopted strategy of being self-reliant was so powerful, the thought never occurred to me to ask for help. It was up to me to save myself.

Fear in its primal state reduces us to survival mode because we believe we’re going to die. When fears are the basis for our lives, our choices become limited.

It’s essential to look to see how fear may be running your life, hidden from your awareness.

What Happens When Fear is a Stranger

I’m not a fearful person. Yet when fear arises, it’s extreme and manifests as panic. It’s like someone who represses anger, and out of nowhere rage explodes.

facing fear

The other incident of panic came when I was biking recently. We never learned to ride bikes when we were kids. Consequently, my sisters and I are “dangerous” to self and others when we attempt to ride. But, I decided I was going to become comfortable on a bike.

At the end of my ride, I approached the sidewalk and garage too quickly. When I realized I wasn’t going to turn in time, I panicked, lost grip of the handlebars, hit the garage, and fell to the ground.

Again, extreme fear disabled my mind and my control. But I learned more.

Fears Reveal our Vulnerability

Had I shouted out for help when I believed I was drowning, I would have exposed my helplessness and raw panic to anyone near me. But I was “programmed” to hide such vulnerability–even at the possible cost of my life.

Like many of you, I can hide my vulnerability very well, even from myself.

After all, we are brought up to behave as if raw feelings don’t exist.

What are Our Common Fears?

Fear of failure? Fear of success?

In my view the most common fear is the fear of change.

When people report seeing patterns in their lives, how they
• end up fighting about the same things at every family gathering;
• work in jobs that they hate;
• stay in marriages that are making two people and children miserable
–they cope rather than change.

How about you?

When you decide to make a change, you face an unknown future. The unfamiliar can be uncomfortable.

When you see yourself refusing to make changes to end your suffering, you probably fear change.

These fears may not seem like the same fear I felt when I was headed for the garage door or desperately getting to the boat.

Yet it’s the hidden and powerful fear that runs your life.

See Also: “Feararchy” – The Hierarchy of Fear

What Our Fears Tell Us

When you think of your fears, doesn’t it come down to this? You fear for your safety, a basic survival issue. You believe, I am not safe.

Unfortunately, you may not discover this because you focus on fleeing from this disturbing uncomfortable feeling.

You rarely understand that a personal survival sense of safety is involved when you consider any change.

What You do to Keep Yourself Safe

When you’ve done the conventional things to make yourself feel safe–obtained your education, career, friends and perhaps a family, safety isn’t usually seen as an issue.

But when you don’t have them, you think: I need
• a relationship,
• a better career,
• more money, or
• better friends

You think personal security or safety comes from having certain things in life.

You don’t get to “I feel unsafe.”

Yet any change ultimately stirs issues about safety and survival. You hang on to lifelong beliefs, patterns, and strategies tenaciously, as if survival was at stake.

Your History has Given you Reason to Feel Unsafe

Many of you know your own history of family drama, fighting, illness in the family, accidents, losses, abandonment, betrayal, or abuse that are your reasons for feeling unsafe.

Basic trust was broken when you were young and wounded by neglect. You were alone and needed to feel safe.

If you can imagine a young version of yourself being hurt, feeling lost and desperate, you will sense the instinct to survive rising in response to the fear of dying.

That powerful fear is the driver behind everything you do to survive and make yourself feel safe.

Honor and appreciate it for what it is.

It’s the spirit that kept me swimming to the boat; the spirit behind my decision as a senior to learn to ride a bike.

Crashing and falling to the ground taught me I wasn’t going to die. It was so freeing; I laughed as I picked myself up off the ground.

How Can you Deal Effectively with Fear?

You can lose any one of the basic things in life that you gather to make yourself feel secure–family, friends, partners, money, reputation, or your health at any time.

It’s foolish to rely on external sources for the deep sense of safety you need.

Yet how do we build an internal sense of safety?

Go to the Source for the Truth, Where the Fear Originated

The source of the truth is in the young heart that first experienced the fear. There was no logic or language then, just the instinctive response to hold that fear secret, deep in the heart.

When you can go to this source of your need to feel safe, you can transform the fear.

Your intention takes you there. You don’t need any language. You are there to provide a corrective experience—to make a compassionate connection with the part of you that felt lost, alone, abandoned, and afraid.

A heart-to-heart connection restores trust and a sense of safety. You can be reassuring in your stance–you, the adult, knows with certainty that all the fears, especially the fear of annihilation or death, are not true.

See Also: 5 Tips to Eliminate Fear From Your Life

Other Ways to Have a Sense of Safety

sense of safety

When I see beauty in Nature — flowers, birds, waterfalls, mountains, canyons, meadows—and get absorbed by the beauty of what I see, I forget the fearful me, and I feel safe.
When I appreciate the gifts and full presence of an artist or musician or performer, I forget the small me — safety is no longer an issue.
When I am grateful for what I usually take for granted — the sun that nourishes all life on earth, and the Earth for the oxygen and plants that support our lives–I know I will always have this support and caring.
When I know the space and peace of meditation, I experience myself as something other than the usual me, that has no judgment about death.
The more I connect with Oneness in others and in Nature, there is a sustaining sense of safety.

When We Live through a fear, What Happens?

It was a delightful and relieving experience to read what Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the German plan to demoralize Londoners with the continuous bombing during World War II. The opposite result was a surprise.

When Londoners survived the bombing—living through their worst fears and still being alive, they were invigorated and unstoppable.

Having a fear and moving forward anyway, and learning that the fears were worse than any imagined outcome, is liberating.

Know the Power of Fear and Freedom from Fear

Choose to ride a bike when you’re afraid, panic and fall, to learn that you don’t die.
Choose to make changes because avoiding changes makes life stale or distressing.
Choose to move ahead and risk making mistakes.
Choose to let go of the familiar, to choose what is different, new, and unknown.
Choose to move through fear to learn what lies beyond.

Then you will know freedom, aliveness, and your best dreams realized.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Les Brown

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Living After The Death Of A loved One

I’ve been thinking about death.

My Dad died last year. Diagnosis to death in 5 weeks. A sharp 3-week decline and a 2-week hospital stay. A surgery that was never finished. Cancer had its day.

My friend is fighting off death, just. The big C again. It gets a lot of us. The NHS washed their hands off him. But in his words, “I am not a willing candidate to die.” He’s found advanced treatment in Germany at a cost of £150k.

We’re trying to raise money for him now.

So naturally, death is on my mind. In fact, since my Dad died, I don’t think it’s ever left. Grim has been hanging around, trying to entice me into his home, wanting to add another one to his ledger. He’s wasting his time.

I wish I could say it’s transformed me. That the smell of death has been a timely reminder that life is for a brief sneeze of time. That every second is precious. That life should be seized.

It has, kind of. Lately, it’s sent me to the recesses of my mind to the primeval dwellings where loss, pain and love reside. Like an indefinite Airbnb stay, I’ve been hanging out here.

death hit by a train

And I think loss does that to you. I think it’s like being hit by a train, but not realising you’ve been hit until you wake up from the coma you’ve been in for the last 6 months. And then you hurt. Basic function for 6 months, just about connecting with reality, and then massive constant pain.

The sort of pain that induces lethargy in the day but keeps you up all night. The sort of pain that makes you relive conversations and edit them for better outcomes. The sort of pain that blunts your reality, right here, right now.

And, like climbing out of quicksand, dealing with it can be hard. The first step is to acknowledge you’re in quicksand. Acknowledge the emotional pain you’re in, and then be still until you understand what that means. Only then can you begin to deal with it.

I’m writing this to say that struggling to deal with loss is okay. That you are not alone. That, you are suffering along a journey that millions of others before you have dealt with, and you can take comfort from that. They got through it, and so can you.

It’s hard, yes. If you acknowledge that, instead of carrying it with you, it gets easier. Realise that you’re human, that it’s okay to hurt, and that even the tiniest pitter patter of steps forward is progress.

In fact, largely, you soon realise that dealing with loss is hard, not just because of the loss itself, but because of the expectation you place on yourself that you should be fine about it.

“Just get on with it.” “You’ve got to keep living.” And so on. You find yourself comparing daily to the imaginary measuring stick you’ve set for yourself. “I should be doing better by now.” Like we do with our careers, or comparing with our friends. But worse, because this is pure loss.

So you’ve got to get rid of that measuring stick, and realise that it will take as long as it takes. Sure, there are ways to deal with it better, but time is the ultimate judge.

In fact, some loss never leaves us, and that’s okay. Do I think my Mum will ever fully heal from losing my Dad? No, because it was a 48-year old love. A deep-rooted, soulful kind of love. And the loss of that is the reminder of the love that was there. And so it can’t fully heal because of how deeply they loved each other.

coping with loss

And that’s fine. Because we can take that loss and use it daily as a reminder of how capable of love we are. We can say, “Today I hurt from loss, and I am going out into the world and expressing love. In my interactions, in my relationships, in my career.

Sharing is also liberating. Talking to others, sharing your pain. It gives the other person the chance to express their love and it helps to fill your empty cup. It creates new connections and new possibilities.

See Also: How To Get Back a Normal Life After a Loss

My friend who is battling death is a wonderful example. Stoic-like, he says to me, “I can acknowledge this is what happened (getting ill). Then I have two choices. I can either let the pain I feel own me and overwhelm me, and I’ll die. Or I can use it, acknowledge it, and solve the problem in front of me (getting better).”

So dealing with pain means acknowledging pain and going into the world anyway. It’s not pretending it doesn’t exist. That’s the same as being shaped by it. Instead, it’s saying, “Hello pain, hello loss, I see you,” and then getting from your day anyway.

See Also: 8 Tips for Coping with Pet Loss

 

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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!

 

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7 Ways to Live Within Your Means

Financial gurus often talk about living within your means. You hear it all the time but do you know what it truly means? Have you figured out how to do this?

This advice is all about spending less than what you receive. Another way to put it is to cut back and that sounds no fun at all. However, it is necessary if you find yourself struggling financially.

For the majority, this can be hard to achieve and definitely easier said than done. It is a struggle to battle out bills, rent, food, social life, and maybe travel expenses too. Aside from this, there are credit cards and loans that could tempt us. Unfortunately, this lifestyle is not possible with a limited salary. There are also reckless spending that could catch up and wreck your bank account. This oftentimes causes great stress. It is essential to make important changes to avoid financial ruin.

The question is, is there a way to achieve this without actually changing your lifestyle. Is saving synonymous to sacrifice?

Rather than giving up, there are some tips you might want to take into consideration, although these might require a few sacrifices too.

• Learn how to cook

learn how to cook

Bringing a home-cooked lunch and even some snacks to work can help reduce your food expenses, especially if you tend to splurge on overpriced meals. Just think of how much you could save during the week if you bring your own food!

What’s more is that the food make can be cheaper and healthier if you make it yourself. So from now on, learn to cook even just the simplest of dishes to have more spending money for the weekends and be healthier as well.

• Create a budget

One way to control how much you spend is setting a budget and sticking to it, all while putting your savings to the side. Opening a separate savings account can very much help you, as you won’t be tempted to spend it.

See Also: 5 Powerful Hacks To Help You Simplify Your Budget

• Download saving apps

This is probably the easiest way to save since you’re just on your phone. With several apps to choose from, you’ll certainly find one that suits your needs.

Aside from tracking your usual expenses, at the end of the month, you can see how much you’ve spent in the past week or month. You can also see where you spend too much, allowing you to see where you can cut down your expenses.

• Avoid splurging

Before buying something, you might want to think about it thoroughly first. Ask yourself, “Do I need it?” “What will I use it for?” “When will I use it?” “Do I have something similar at home?”

Meanwhile, despite the notion that you get what you pay for, there are actually cheap items that are also quality goods. So if you really want to buy something, take a look around for the lowest price or try your best to find promos. These will definitely help you avoid spending more money than you really should.

See Also: 7 Steps To Slow Your Financial Burn Rate

• Review recurring expenses

Take time to sit down and review monthly bills and financial obligations. Check the ones that can be negotiated for better rates. Even insurances are reassessed yearly. Do research ahead of time.

• Utilize financial tools

Aside from apps, there are tools that you can use to find discounts and promo codes. There are best deals available in the market for your disposal.

• Consider doing some DIY projects

painting own nails

Choose DIY projects that can help you save money and those that are within your skill level. This includes painting your own nails, making your own cleaning solutions, and growing your herbs and vegetables.

Saving money and trying to live off of what you have can be extremely hard and would take a lot of self-control. So, just try your best to follow these tips and who knows, everything just might work out.

 

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Why Criticizing Others Won’t Get Them to Change … and What Will!

When someone in your life behaves in a way that is off-putting or upsetting to you — maybe they cross one of your boundaries, or perhaps they just do something that is not cool with you, maybe even repeatedly, and you finally get fed up with it — how do you handle the situation?

How do you confront them about their undesirable behavior, or perhaps their lack of desirable behavior?

You want them to change, right?

But is your approach really working to bring about that change?

If you’re like many people, the approach you may very well take is to criticize them and find fault with their behavior. This often takes the form of “You never […]” or “You always […]” — then insert the behavior in question.

But have you ever stopped to consider the reasoning behind criticizing others, hoping it will change their behavior?

If you investigate it, the common thought process is this:

“If I just make this person aware of their behavior by pointing it out to them and how off-putting it is, it should be reason enough for them to change it.”

Sounds logical enough, doesn’t it?

But does it actually work?

When you criticize people and find fault with their behavior, do they end up changing?

I’m willing to bet the answer is: No way!

What usually ends up happening?

Don’t they generally just dig in their heels and become defensive and argumentative?

They either start trying to weasel their way out of the situation by making excuses for themselves and the way they act, or they attempt to justify their behavior by giving you reasons for why they act the way they do.

And in other cases, they may even turn the situation around on you and start criticizing you in return. They may retaliate and start picking out your own faults and flaws.

Now instead of getting them to change, the only thing that’s accomplished is a heated argument, where nothing comes of it but hostility and resentment.

So what’s the solution to this problem?

And how do we get others to change?

The first thing you need to realize is that finding fault with others and criticizing their behavior doesn’t work to bring about change in other people. In fact, it only brings out the worst in them. It only leads to them feeling like they’re under attack.

And how do we respond when we’re under attack?

We either try to defend ourselves, or we fight back

defensive argument

And in that, the whole aim or purpose of our initial actions and the results we hope to achieve (to get the other person to change their behavior because it wreaks some form of hardship on us) get lost along the way. They get pushed to the side and instead, the interaction takes on a complete tangent in the form of an argument, where nothing but animosity and strife are the result.

Then we may get angry and bitter because the person can’t see the error of their ways, even though we’ve so accurately pointed them out to them. And then when the argument is over, likely unresolved and filled with bitterness and resentment, perhaps we go and complain and gossip to our friends about how the person just can’t see and doesn’t understand how their behavior negatively affects us.

See Also: The Best Way to Win an Argument

We blame them for being the problem

blaming others

But what if the problem isn’t really with them? What if the real problem is the approach we took in confronting the situation? What if fault finding and criticizing just doesn’t work to bring about changes in others as it relates to us?

If so, what is the real solution?

How do we truly create change in others’ behavior?

The secret is to separate the behavior in question from the person’s sense of identity.

What do I mean by that?

Instead of criticizing someone’s behavior, making them feel like they’re under attack (which will generally only make them defensive and argumentative), we have to go under their radar and prevent their ego from getting involved in the conversation.

This is done by telling the person how their behavior (or lack of it) make you feel. Instead of placing the focus on them by putting them down, focus on your feelings.

Simply use a statement like this:

“When you […], I feel […].”

For example, instead of saying, “You always come so home so late! What’s the matter with you?” — which will probably just lead to a full-blown argument — simply say, “When you come home so late, I feel worried.”

This prevents you from putting a laser focus on them, which will prevent them from getting defensive and argumentative. Instead, it puts the focus on your feelings about their behavior. And because you haven’t involved their ego in the confrontation, they will be open to listening to you and understanding where you’re coming from.

Because it’s about you and not them, they won’t throw up their barriers as in the case of criticizing and fault finding.

Then the next step is follow-up with a “Would you […]?” question.

For example, “Would you please call if you know you’re going to be coming home late to let me know?”

Here, you’re not demanding anything of them. You’re approaching the subject in a civil way. You’re asking them for permission, in a sense. You’re asking for their consent in the matter.

You’re giving them the choice, and that always leads to more positive results.

If you take this approach instead of criticizing someone and finding fault with them, hoping it will change their behavior, you’re almost sure to find it’s a method that actually produces the results you want.

Remember:

“When you […], I feel […].”

Followed by:

“Would you […]?”

That’s it.

Remember those words the next time you feel like criticizing someone who behaviors in a way that is undesirable to you and you want them to change, and you’ll find it’s the difference between an argument where nothing but an argument is the result, and creating real, positive change in others.

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

 

The post Why Criticizing Others Won’t Get Them to Change … and What Will! appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Have a Child with Skin Sensitivities? Here’s How to Deal with it

To provide the best for a baby, parents make sure that the child is always cared for and nurtured in the best possible way in a secure environment. However, when their child is affected by any kind of disease, then the parents’ role becomes even more crucial. They are then required to put more effort in caring for their children which makes parenting a job harder than it already is.

Different allergies can make the child’s and parents’ lives problematic just as much as a fever or a disease. The sensitivity or allergy can range from a red rash, dry skin, red skin, rubbery patches on the skin and itchy skin. These complications arise due to different conditions but can be treated with care and caution.

Here are certain guidelines to help you deal with your children’s allergies.

Clothing Items

clothing tags

Some clothing items or fabrics with embroidered characters can be a reason for itchiness and rash on the skin. Several tags can also produce itchiness and make the kid irritable if the tag is touching the kid’s skin directly. Elastic bands that are exposed on trousers for kids can also produce rashes and have an itchy effect after being relieved of the elastic garment.

When shopping for your child’s clothes, run your hand through the article of clothing before purchase. If it feels slightly irritable then refrain from buying it.

Remember, all kids’ skins are softer than adults therefore making your child more inclined to having skin irritation. Also, opt for softer clothes that are light and don’t stick to the body too much. If the kid has an elder sibling, then use hand-me-downs as they are softer in comparison due to numerous washings.

Shoes and Outdoor Activity

Outdoor activities are great for kids with sensitivity problems. Camping outdoors, cycling, playing in the local park are few of the many activities that your kids can do to keep them occupied outside.

A kid boxed up in the house is likelier to worsen in condition if he is not exposed to the sun and natural environment too often. Sweat can also be a factor to irritation and itchiness so children are best dressed up in loose clothing and strappy footwear instead of enclosed ones.

Playing outside with sandals or slippers is a much better decision than having your children wear shoes all the time. This way, kids can take them off anytime they feel uncomfortable. There are also no shoelaces that need tying all the time and feet can get sweaty and grow at a healthy pace.

See Also: Five Clever Tips for Stress-Free Family Camping

Detergents, Lotions, and Soaps:

Personal care and cleaning products such as soaps, lotions, and detergents contain chemicals. These chemicals can be harmful to a kid with sensitive skin. They could be even more harmful if a child has an exposed wound or rashes. It worsens the condition and can produce a more complicated wound or sensitivity.

To minimize the effect, keep track of the product that you buy and use products that are made from organic materials rather than using products made from chemicals. Fragrance-free products also have minimal skin sensitivity effects and are better than their fragrant counterparts.

Food Allergies

food allergies

Allergies related to food can also be the cause of some serious skin problems for the kids. It is always favorable to switch to foods that are organic as opposed to chemically treated inorganic foods.

Similar to personal care and cleaning products, the chemicals in foods are known to cause skin-related problems. Design your grocery list in a way that caters to your child’s nutrition just as well as it caters to your child’s allergies. If the problem persists even with your changes in the kid’s diet, then consult a pediatric dietitian. They can pinpoint the food that is causing the allergy and making your kid’s skin sensitive.

See Also: Shifting Your Family To The “Real Food” Diet 

Vitamins

Vitamins are a huge source of nutrition and can be helpful in the proper nourishment of the kids. The lack of these vitamins can be devastating for a child’s health. Health-related problems can also lead up to skin sensitivity. These problems can be avoided by simply keeping track of your kids’ vitamins intake. Your pediatrician can help guide you in making sure that your child’s nutritional needs are being met.

It is always a good idea to listen to your kid if they are telling you about a certain rash, patchiness or dryness in their skin. It will be beneficial for you and your kid to tackle the problem in its earlier stage instead of having the condition worsen over time and causing the child suffering.

 

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Feeling Overwhelmed? 14 Ways To Simplify Your Life

Life moves fast, doesn’t it? It often feels like you’re trying to keep two dozen plates spinning at the same time.

Heaven forbid one of those plates start to wobble. You know, when you have to flat out run to reach it in time before it topples to the floor, taking the next plate and the entire row with it.

Life can sometimes feel like you’re constantly babysitting those darn plates when all you really want to do is experience what’s beyond them. You don’t want to live your life fighting fires and preventing mini-catastrophes on a near daily basis.

How would your life change if you had less plates spinning? It would take the pressure off, right?

See, everything you’re doing right now in your life is a plate that you’re spinning. If you’re feeling burnt out, frustrated and overwhelmed it’s time to simplify, or to keep with our analogy, remove some plates.

Here are fourteen ways to simplify your life.

Assess your commitments

Aside from non-negotiable commitments like work, school, and medical appointments, can you confidently list all the other commitments that are adding to your overall stress?

If you feel like there isn’t enough time in the day and you’re overwhelmed with all those places you have to go and all those people you have to see, consider reducing how many activities you commit yourself to.

This could mean reducing how many clubs you attend, reducing any volunteering activities, and could even mean setting tighter boundaries with that high maintenance friend or co-worker. We all know one of these people and it can be all too easy to get into a situation where you find yourself at the receiving end of their constant demands.

Have a social media fast

How many social media platforms are you signed up to? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? More? It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all of them at the same time. You can find yourself scrolling through news feed after news feed and before you know it, a couple of hours have passed.

If you’re like a lot of other people, you have your phone close to you when you sleep and browsing social media is the last thing you do at night and the first thing you access when you wake up.

I challenge you to fast from social media for a full 24 hour period. You’ll be wondering what to do with yourself. This is a perfect opportunity to do something for yourself.

If you can’t stomach a 24-hour social media fast, consider putting your phone on the other side of your bedroom so you don’t feel tempted to stay awake scrolling.

List your three most important things

Write down three things that are most important to you in your life. Now use these to guide future decisions. If you’re engaging in activities and people that don’t support these three outcomes, it might be worth re-considering your commitment.

Schedule non-negotiable appointments

Do you keep your up and coming appointments in your head? That causes unnecessary stress. Keep things simple by pre-scheduling your annual medical appointments and other up and coming events on a calendar. You can use something physical like a diary or your phone. I use Google Calendar. It’s free and easy to use.

Just say no!

say no

This can be uncomfortable for some people but if you don’t get into the practice of saying no more often, people will continue to take chunks out of your time.

See Also: The Courage To Say No

Reduce media consumption

We are bombarded all day with the latest news, breaking news, shock-horror, and general negativity. It can feel extremely overwhelming to be at the receiving end of a seemingly never ending stream of doom and gloom. You can remedy this by reducing your intake of mainstream news either from the television, newspapers, radio, or the internet.

Purge toxic relationships

We all know people who are difficult to be around. People who are chaotic, negative and demanding on your energy supply. If you want to simplify your life, it’s best to distance yourself from these types of people by setting personal boundaries.

Often, this is ill received because these people take it as a criticism of character and feed off drama. It’s best to either distance yourself or let go completely.

Get rid of your ‘stuff’

Have you ever felt you just have too much ‘stuff’? That pile of books stood in the corner of your living room, those impulsive eBay buys, that pile of clothes that won’t fit inside your already fit-to-burst wardrobe? You might not realise it but clutter like this is ‘visually noisy’ and causes subconscious stress.

Make a list of items that you really don’t want or need and either sell them, bin them, or donate them. You’ll really appreciate your new, fresh environment.

De-clutter your digital space

How does it feel when you check your email and see 3,406 emails in your inbox? Whilst a lot of it is spam, you know there are conversations in there from 18 months ago that are no longer relevant.

You probably have apps on your phone or tablet device that you haven’t used in a long while as well. De-clutter your devices of unused apps, old messages and don’t be shy about deleting things if you aren’t sure. Ask yourself if you really want to keep something. If it’s not an ‘absolutely!’ straight away, it needs to go.

Scrutinize your finances

This is a great exercise to be leaner with your spending. Simply take your latest bank statement and skim through it to find any subscriptions or recurring payments. If you haven’t used the service in a while or don’t really want it any more, then cancel. Use the money for something meaningful.

Limit time spent communicating

If you’re like I used to be, you read emails as soon as they hit your phone. You stop whatever it is you’re doing and read them, right? That’s a massive productivity killer and leads to a feeling of frustration that can be overwhelming.

The solution is to check your emails twice a day. Once in the morning and one in the afternoon. That’s it. If you really can’t wait that long, you can check them at lunch time.

Start walking in nature

I don’t know of a better way to de-stress than a good walk in nature, phone on silent, and technology unplugged. It’s a great way to be mindful as you hear the sounds of nature like the brushing of the leaves and the chatter of the birds. You’ll feel calmer, lighter and re-charged.

Start a meditation practice

practice meditation

Setting aside just 10 minutes every day, either in the morning or in the evening, is a wonderful way to bring calm and clarity into your life. If you plan on implementing a social media fast, this is a perfect time to start.

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

Ask yourself this question

“Is this going to simplify my life or make it more overwhelming?”

Asking yourself this question can guide you in the right direction when you find yourself faced with a set of decisions. Follow your gut feeling on this, too, It’s rarely wrong!

Feeling overwhelmed is downright miserable.

It sucks when you have more going on that you can handle.

You don’t want a life like this. You want to feel in control so you can make progress and feel fulfilled.

My challenge to you: Choose one of the tips above and implement it today. Then tomorrow pick another one. See how different you feel after a week of taking consistent action toward simplifying your life.

Let’s see how many spinning plates you can remove from your hectic life!

Starting from today!

I know you can do it.

You’ve got this!

 

The post Feeling Overwhelmed? 14 Ways To Simplify Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Ways to Recognise a Really Bad Manager

Managers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the benefit of obtaining the necessary training to lead a team. Many bosses just do it because, well, they have to. When interacting with staff, it’s often their personalities that can dictate how they deal with their team.

Do you recognise any of these unhappy management traits?

The People Pleaser

Cast your mind back to Michael Scott from The Office and you will instantly recognise the type. People Pleasers have a deep insecurity and an ingrained desire to be liked by everyone they work with. Uncomfortable of exerting authority, they tend to avoid conflict and unpopular decisions preferring to be everybody’s friend.

As a result of their vague, noncommittal and ultimately ineffectual leadership style, no one really knows where they stand, who is held accountable, or if any progress is actually being made. The danger with this type of management is that the strongest personalities in the team will simply take over and make decisions instead without being held in check.

The Micromanager

The Micromanager is a perfectionist and control freak who wants to be involved in everything. No detail is too small, no activity too mundane, and no decision too minor for him/her to step away. The need to micromanage stems from a firm conviction that the manager is the only person who can do the job properly.

This distrust displayed towards anyone else’s skills and decision-making abilities makes the Micromanager a hard worker, but one who finds it hard to delegate. Often, these are people who have been promoted within the organisation, rising from functional/technical roles to managerial positions where a little more overview is required – and they’re struggling to stand back from the day-to-day detail.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

The Seagull Manager

seagull manager

You’ve no doubt heard the analogy: he flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and flies off. The opposite management style of a Micromanager, the Seagull Manager pays takes no interest whatsoever in the daily running of the project. He’ll be there at the beginning with a vague brief, but then is unavailable for long periods until he drops in at short notice and criticises everything and everyone for doing it all wrong.

Communication skills are not the Seagull Manager’s forte; This manager expects other team members to interpret his unclear directions correctly (perhaps using mind reading skills?) and are flabbergasted and highly critical when this approach doesn’t achieve the desired results. Projects tend to succeed in spite of the manager, usually involving superhuman efforts and oodles of goodwill by the team.

The Screaming Toddler

screaming toddler

This is the boss who throws a tantrum at the slightest problem. If anything goes wrong at all, however trivial, it’s a complete disaster. From forgetting to put sugar in his coffee to losing a major client, it’s always the end of the world. Shouting has become a habit.

Somehow, this type of manager lacks the ability to differentiate between what’s a small deal or a big deal. What’s worse, the verbal explosion will always be aimed at someone in the team, possibly even the entire team; the perceived ineptitude is never the boss’ fault.

Fear is the overriding emotion here. The team has to operate on the basis of second guessing their boss’ mood and make sure every detail is 150% correct to avoid a full-volume verbal dressing down.

The Best Friend

When you spend every working day with the same people, it’s hard not to develop a bond with them. But what if the line between professional and personal friendship is crossed? The Best Friend manager knows no boundaries, and will offload personal problems without hesitation, expecting individual staff members to manage his emotional state of mind.

This is incredibly draining on team members. When the boss’ bad day becomes your bad day, and their private troubles become your troubles, you take on the extra role of sounding board or and counsellor, which certainly won’t have been in your job description.

The Mushroom Manager

Another appropriate image: keep them in the dark and feed them manure. Another control freak, the Mushroom Manager will divulge information on a ‘need to know’ basis only. Project or company goals are hazy, budgets are kept under lock and key, and top down sharing of information is restricted.

Whether out of a desire to further their own careers or because their mantra ‘knowledge is power’ leads them to see anyone in the team as a potential threat, when a mushroom manager is in charge, communication channels between employees and manager are deliberately kept to a minimum. There may be a chosen ‘manager’s pet’ employee who is given access to insider information along with the best jobs, but the rest of the team is effectively ignored.

See Also: Four ways of effective Management: How to achieve Extraordinary results from Ordinary people

If you are ever in a management position, don’t forget this list of bad managers and avoid these same pitfalls.

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What Can Employers Do For Employee Appreciation Day?

Your company is full of assets, I know. But there is one asset in particular that puts the soul into your business and without it you would be overrun and, almost certainly destined to fail. That asset is, of course, your employees!

Showing your employees your appreciation for their hard work and emphasizing how important they are to your company is vitally important for employee morale. After-all, by increasing their self-worth, you’re also increasing job satisfaction and motivation.

One great way to show your employees how much they mean to your business is by celebrating Employee Appreciation Day this 3rd March.

Although it’s not considered an official day in the US, there are plenty of employers who do follow it and make it an “official” day for their company. If you struggle to engage with your employees on a regular basis because of busy schedules, then use this day, along with other employers and business owners around the world, to show your employees how valued they are.

Celebrating the day is easy too, so you needn’t worry about it causing too much fuss or taking people away from their work.

Here are some simple and fun ideas for you to give back to your employees, wherever you are in the world.

Early Finish

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March every year. This is the perfect day to let your employees finish up a little earlier. You can, for instance, let a 9-5 worker go around 1pm so they get a half day off and an extended weekend. Although you might “lose” half a day of working time, you’ll certainly gain productivity elsewhere, as this UK study shows.

Office Lunch

office lunch

By far one of the simplest ways to show appreciation to your employees is by providing lunch over an extended period. It’s not very often an entire company will be able to enjoy their lunch time together, so for a couple of hours, just turn off all phones and let everyone enjoy a lunchtime together.

An office lunch is also perfect if it’s too late to make preparations for an elaborate gathering. You can simply call your local restaurants and get delicious food delivered.

After Work Drinks

after work drinks

Often, your employees won’t be very happy if they don’t get a chance to unwind. Arranging an after-work drink is an easy and effective way to allow your employees to get some free, relaxing time to unwind and socialize with fellow workers.

Put together a kitty so every employee can get a drink or two on the business and allow everyone to have some fun while feeling appreciated. Come Monday, they’ll be feeling motivated and ready to go.

Team Building Activity Day

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to boost team morale is through a team building activity day. Not only will this feel like a fun holiday for your staff, but it also builds essential skills for your employees such as team work, making it a win-win situation for your company.

You might want to research your employee’s interests first though, as although you might enjoy extreme water sports, not everyone else will. There are, however, hundreds of choices when it comes to activity days with everything from paintballing to escape rooms. Each one has its own merits and all are perfect for showing-off your employee appreciation.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

 

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Factors to Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Financing Option

Startup capital is hard to come by. Even with your savings, you will soon realize that you need a capital boost and that is when you will have to choose between the two common means of funding — debt and equity financing.

What are these two funding options?

Essentially, what these two options ask is whether you (1) need to take a loan for capital or (2) get an investor willing to invest in your company. Either option has significant business consequences, hence the thorough considerations.

Under debt financing, you will borrow money from a lender at an interest and you will be expected to repay the money after an agreed duration. On the other hand, equity financing is where you trade the ownership of your company for investment funds. Often, equity investors include venture capitalists and angel investors.

As a result of the disparity associated with these business financing options, you cannot get funds from either source blindly.

Before signing any agreements, keep in mind the following factors:

Amount needed

How much capital does your business need? The amount of capital required by your business will always determine the means of raising the money. It doesn’t make sense to look for a venture capitalist when your business needs only a small financial injection. Therefore, when in need of a small amount in capital, debt financing is the best alternative.

Venture capitalists and other investors make big investments and it is a financially sound decision to look for them when in need of a big sum of money.

Urgency

loan urgency

Loans are viable funding solutions when in urgent need of funds. Although there are associated costs, the urgency of the need supersedes the associated transactional fees making debt financing a great approach. Some of the easily available and affordable debt financing options include SBA loans or borrowing from peer-to-peer lenders online.

In the meantime, all forms of equity financing require time. You have to find the investors, pitch your business to the investors, prepare financial projections, draw up legal documents, and convince the investors to invest in your company. Equity financing is therefore the best alternative when looking for funds to use in growing the business later on.

Other needs besides money

Are you looking for something other than a financial boost? Do you have big expansion plans? Do you foresee rapid growth in business and are in need of a big boost? You need equity financing.

Equity lenders often look at a business’s potential for growth and how they can make greater returns for their investments. If you foresee this and are looking for financing to get you there, then you need to start your search for equity lenders. You will need to prepare a comprehensive business plan, detailed financial projections, and reports of the business history. These are essential for venture capitalists or angel investors but unnecessary in debt financing.

For equity financing, you also need to have a strong management team, a strong marketing acumen, and passion for your business. These will help in convincing the investors and also require a lot of time.

Although venture capitalists own a stake in your company, they will offer excellent and professional advice and guidance to your business meaning that you will avoid unnecessary pitfalls and mistakes. Equity investors are highly experienced and they will be the best mentors for your business.

Just like many other millennials running startup businesses, you may find yourself ridden with student loans and other debts. Besides providing help with the business, equity lenders will guide you on how to get control over the many debts. The most effective and the commonly advocated debt management strategy is debt consolidation.

The option of debt consolidation gives control over repayments by reducing the number of loans payable monthly and also the amount payable monthly at the end of the debt repayment period. With the lower interest rate charged on the debt consolidation loan, you will be at a better position to manage your debts and expenses. Besides personal loans, debt consolidation is an effective debt financing alternative for student loans, outstanding creditor bills, and credit card debt.

Sharing your company

If you are looking for a big investment from venture capitalists, then you should come to terms with the fact that you will have to share your company with an investor. If sharing ownership and the profits of the company doesn’t auger well with you, then, debt financing will be your option. You should note that a loan may not be enough to get you the necessary funding.

When in need of expertise and the guidance of an equity investor alongside funding, then, you will have to clearly highlight that fact and ask for funding to be repaid.

Besides getting bank loans and asking for mere funding from investors, you can take advantage of platforms offering crowdfunding. You should also consider talking to your friends and family, or get loans from non-governmental institutions, microfinance organizations or even getting the affordable government loans. There also are accelerators for startups that one can benefit from.

Interests and fees

interests and fees

When taking the debt financing option, you have to keep in mind the interest rate charged and the associated transaction fees. The rate charged is determined by your credit score. With possible high debts from business and personal loans, as well as your student loans, you may be considered a risky borrower. In this case, your loan application could be declined or approved at a high interest rate.

While considering debt financing, look at the repayment terms. Be smart, get the lender’s amortization schedule, and determine if the loan will be expensive or affordable at the end of the repayment period.

In conclusion, your choice will depend on your personal interests, the urgency of funding, the cost of funding, and future implications on the growth of the company. Finding the appropriate financing option has lasting effects in how your business runs after financing. In some cases, a business may even need both funding options for success.

See Also: 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

The post Factors to Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Financing Option appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

As a business owner, you know your business inside out and are the best judge of its potential. While naysayers will always warn you against taking a business investment loan, it is sometimes nevertheless necessary in order to help your business achieve growth.

Listed below are 5 ways in which a business investment loan can help to expand your start-up.

Finance New Technology or Equipment

new technology investment

As in any business, productivity levels depend on the current level of technology being used. Chances are that when you were first establishing your business, you weren’t able to get the latest or most efficient tech.

Now may be the time to get a small business development loan to get up to date on current technology for your start-up. This may just fuel your business and help it gear up for the next level.

Re-Energize the Face of your Business

Most customers subconsciously judge a business by the office or retail space that it operates from or the kind of branding and advertising it does. Once the start-up is established, it is time to entice new customers with an appealing in-store display, a well-lit interior, easy to identify signage, and other features.

A small business development loan is a great way to fund this renovation or even get ahead in your branding endeavours. A new office, a new logo and allied stationary, or a revamped store may help to attract new talent and new customers since as it shows that your start-up is confident about its growth.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Fund the Next Product Development

Have your initial services and products been well accepted by your target audience? It is now time to innovate and add to your existing offerings or develop new products for which you see potential.

Any kind of new development requires capital. With all your capital used up in setting up your start-up, a small business development loan can be just the push your business needs to expand and add more value to its offerings.

Strengthen your Working Capital

Organising and maintaining inventory is one of the largest business expenses. With a working capital business loan, you can make your start-up more agile. Free capital previously invested in inventory can be focused on the growth of the business.

Help with Getting the Right Talent and Retaining Them Too

right people

Every business needs the right people to keep it functioning smoothly and efficiently. As your business grows, it will need more people to keep pace with the increase in demand. Also, the start-up will demand more experienced talent to help the business plough through to the next phase of growth.

Human resources aren’t just tools, but people who need to be respected, nurtured and well compensated for their hard work and talent. A small business development loan will help to ensure that their salary payments are made on time irrespective of revenue income. And this will ensure that your business stays profitable in the future.

See Also: How to Save Your Startup by Hiring the Right People

While these are typical uses of a business loan, lenders understand that every business is unique and capital needs diverse. With this in mind, lenders provides business loans designed to cater to every business need on low interest rates and various other advantages.

 

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