Dumb Little Man

Why You Should Buy a Soundbar for your 4K TV

As televisions evolve, so do all of the equipment that go with it. You bought a 4K television because you wanted a crystal clear picture with bright and bold colors. It follows that your sound quality should also be top-grade. This is why many people have started to buy soundbars for their home entertainment system.

What is a Soundbar?

A soundbar is a one or two-piece system that functions as speakers for your 4K television. They’re specifically designed for people who are not able to install freestanding speakers for their television. Additionally, the sound output quality of just about any soundbar is infinitely better than you’d get with your traditional television speaker system.

These devices are designed to fit seamlessly into a very compact and slender space. Soundbars generally only use two cords when you hook them up to your television. This eliminates the problem of clumsy cords hanging out the back and around your entertainment system.

Most soundbars also play the sound back to you in surround sound. This allows you to immerse yourself in your show without taking up the usual space that a traditional surround sound system would. There are several speakers built along the entire length of the soundbar. You can set them and choose which output you want to use.

Deciding Between a Soundbar and a Sound Base

When you start searching for a soundbar, you’ll notice very quickly that there is a subcategory called a sound base. Both of these devices perform the same action. They give you crystal clear and uninterrupted sound quality. However, a sound base is designed to sit on a shelf or TV stand. They’re durable enough to support your television’s weight. Additionally, a sound base can’t be mounted on a wall as a soundbar can.

Why Get a Soundbar?

If you’re thinking about buying a soundbar, you obviously want better sound quality than your typical television speaker will give you. You’ll get greater clarity, a richer sound, and an overall better experience when you use a soundbar. Additionally, soundbars also support:

Dolby Atmos

dolby studios dolby atmos
Via dolby

Dolby Studios released Dolby Atmos to take their viewers listening experience up to the next level. They added layers and layers of sound to a traditional listening experience. This layering was made possible because the rich sound comes from above the listener. Any sound you hear can travel in a variety of directions. In turn, you get a surround sound experience that’s better than ever before.

DTS:X Sound

To get the most out of your 4K television, you want to be able to experience the sound that comes with your UHD-Blu-rays. This is known as DTS:X sound. A soundbar can take this clear audio and magnify it, so you get full room-filling sound. Additionally, it can help to project it around the room. It turn, you’ll get a viewing experience that matches your 4K television.

Types of Soundbars

There are generally two different types of soundbars available. They both perform the same task of enriching your audio experience. The mounting system is what makes them different.

Traditional Soundbar

A traditional soundbar is designed to sit right in front of your television. Some companies are designing them to blend right in with your television to increase the overall aesthetic appeal. They’re very slender in build. This makes them easy to set on a smaller television stand without a problem.

Wall-Mounted Soundbar

wall mounted soundbar type
Via expertreviews.co.uk

The second type of soundbar available is the wall-mounted soundbar. This is a great alternative for people who want to hang their 4K television up on the wall. Mounting your soundbar on the wall creates a clean and sleek look. You get mounting hardware included when you buy your soundbar. This allows you to install it yourself quickly and easily.

Reasons to Invest in a Soundbar

There are several reasons why people choose to purchase soundbars for their home entertainment systems. They include:

  • Aesthetics: A soundbar can add a clean and modern look to your entertainment system. They’re designed to be sleek, space-saving, and they appeal to people who like the more modern design.
  • Audio Projection: As we mentioned above, soundbars can project the audio up toward the ceiling of your room. This will cause the audio to come from all angles when you use the soundbar. You’ll be able to immerse yourself with clear, room-filling sound.
  • Sound Quality: People want their sound quality to match their new 4K television quality. A soundbar gives a sound quality that is unmatched by traditional television speakers. This includes the speakers on your new 4K television.
  • Subwoofer: If you’re after that deep bass sound, you can purchase a subwoofer to add on to your soundbar. You can also find a soundbar that comes with an additional subwoofer included. This will let you experience the entire range of sounds each time you use it.

When it comes to buy soundbar, there are several important benefits that come with this purchase. It’s important that you shop around and compare various options, so you’re sure that you find the correct soundbar to suit your needs. If you do this, you’ll get a sleek addition to your home entertainment system that gives you sharp, clear, and rich room-filling sound quality.

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6 Really Important Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Married

Are you ready to get married?

Having a discussion right from the start of a relationship that you are looking for a life partner is a great approach. Do not agree to stop dating others until you and your partner have discussed where you’d like the relationship to go.

Are you both thinking in the same direction or do you have different goals in dating?

After a time of exclusive dating, for a maximum of 6 months, we recommend you have a conversation about a timeline for marriage.

Here are the tops questions you should ask before getting married.

Do you want to have children?

before marriage questions

One of the most common challenges that we see with our clients revolves around women who have the conflicting pressure of building a career as well as a romantic relationship with enough time to honor their biological clock for having children. Starting to create a family over the age of 36 years old can be difficult for women.

It is very painful for a woman to be in a relationship for five or more years only to learn that her partner does not want children. Unlike a man who can have children at almost any age, women need to be asking questions about children early on in their relationships.

One of our patients, Donna, is a woman who is 36 years old and is now freezing her eggs because she desperately yearns for a child. Her husband of eight years is just not interested in children. She hopes someday he will change his mind.

If you want children, do not continue to be in a relationship where the other party is not sure if they want to have children. We recommend that you politely and lovingly tell your partner that should they change their mind, they can let you know.

Can you both make your marriage the number one priority?

Are there commitments to parents or prior children that prevent you from making this relationship your priority?

This question is the most challenging and very important.

There are invisible loyalties that can undermine marriages. Parents, overworking, passionate hobbies, health issues, and even friendships are some of the commitments or obligations that can prevent a couple from coming first with each other. It is devastating to find out after your wedding vows that you are not the priority in your partner’s life.

These issues can be negotiated but it needs to be done before you make your relationship official.

What is your attitude towards drinking and drug use?

Another important issue you need to address before you take yourself out of circulation relates to your partner’s attitude towards alcohol and /or drugs. Frank discussions about drugs and alcohol use are essential.

Do not think that you will change your partner’s attitude towards drugs and alcohol because of your love for each other. Alcohol and drug use is a huge problem that can lead to loneliness, disconnection, and divorce.

What is your involvement in religion?

You also need to discuss your perspectives about participation in religion. If you have important differences, that could be a big problem. Having different religions can also be problematic.

If you’re going to have children, what religion will you raise them with? Do you want to be at home raising the children and be a full-time domestic partner or do you want both of you working?

If you come from a culture that expects the mother to be home with the children and your partner does not, this could be a big conflict. If both partners feel comfortable about working full time, that could be fine. It is important to talk about your financial and domestic roles before committing yourself for marriage.

Does your philosophy of managing money match your partners?

Discussions about financial goals are important before committing to marriage. Arguments about money are a common cause for divorce.

Do you have debt? Is it important that you have a plan for retirement? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you work for the purpose of travel and adventure or are you more interested in building your savings, or just living within a budget?

Who will pay the bills? Over what amount of money would you want a joint decision to spend? $100? $500?, $1000?, $10,000?

Do you have health issues which could impact the relationship?

questions before marriage

Not disclosing your history of depression, debilitating migraines or other ongoing health problems can explode later. If discussed ahead of time, your partner will not feel betrayed by your withholding information about major health issues.

Recently, a couple came to see me for counseling because the wife had a dramatic episode of depression just days after the wedding probably due to the stress of organizing the event. She had been on bipolar medication with on and off depression for a year but had not disclosed this to her new husband. He knew she was on some medication, but he did not know the details.

She was unable to function for 12 hours after the wedding and only then told him of her problem. He felt betrayed. Their lives have been greatly affected by this intermittent cycle of depression and his distrust has grown as he now contemplates divorce.

Conclusion

Love and passionate romance are an important value in modern marriage but unless you are open and honest about these issues, your marriage will just have a shaky foundation.

Sitting down and honestly talking about your expectations will not sound like an exciting venture. However, this is an important conversation that needs to happen if you want to avoid painful surprises.

Don’t think that you can change your partner. If you are not able to negotiate important differences, know that these are the issues that will inevitably show up in your relationship and cause stress and crisis eventually. We encourage couples thinking about marriage to ask the questions we have discussed. You need to use your thinking (not feelings!) and you need to inquire about your differing values and life goals to save yourself from a preventable life of discord and disappointment.

Author Bio:

Dr. Barbara Grossman is a PhD marriage counselor with over 30 years of experience with 60,000+ client hours. Michael Grossman MD is an antiaging rejuvenation physician specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement and stem cell therapy. They have conducted marriage workshops for over 25 years to thousands of couples. They are the authors of The Marriage Map: The Road to Transforming Your Marriage from Ordeal to Adventure.

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Why Am I Not Happy? (I Should Be)

You look around you and think, “I have a great life, I should be happy, but why am I not being happy?”

Does this sound familiar?

Perhaps your career is going well, your relationship is strong, your family is great, and you have all the material things you need. So, why are you still plagued by a feeling of unhappiness?

Happiness is a tricky thing and measuring it is even trickier.

But before we start considering why you may not be experiencing the happiness you feel you should, ask yourself this question.

Are you not happy or are you not satisfied?

Happiness and satisfaction are often confused but there is a distinct difference.

To begin with, happiness is an emotion whereas satisfaction is not. If you are looking at your life and the various components that give you pleasure, it is likely you are not unhappy but rather dissatisfied.

Feeling dissatisfied is fairly common.

We are conditioned to want certain things in our lives– money, houses, cars, work accomplishments. Without them, we might feel like we haven’t satisfied certain criteria for success. We feel that we are missing things.

We are also never told that there is a point where you can feel, well – done. In other words, once you achieve the things you were aiming for, most people want more and will ask (or feel like asking) “what’s next?”

The feeling of dissatisfaction or “what’s next” is a frustrating one. It can prevent us from really enjoying our lives and the people in them. It can cause us to always look for the next thing.

So, although you may have everything you need to feel happy, dissatisfaction may be keeping happiness at bay.

But what if it isn’t dissatisfaction and you truly do not feel happy in spite of what seems like a pretty good life?

Feeling unhappy in a seemingly happy life can happen for a number of reasons. Give some thought to those below.

Happiness is subjective

Measuring with the wrong ruler is one of the biggest issues with happiness. What makes one person happy is not necessarily the same thing that will make another person happy.

So, if you are not happy and feel like you should be, think about what you are evaluating.

You deny yourself

limiting happiness

Do you love to draw, dance, write or read? The list could go on and on.

If you deny yourself things in life that are a release or an outlet because you feel like they are silly or superficial, you could be limiting your happiness. Hobbies, no matter which ones you choose, are an important part of life and happiness.

See Also: 7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness And What You Can Do About Them

You feel guilty

Yes, this happens.

Too often, people don’t think they have a right to their own happiness. They feel guilty about enjoying their lives because so many others struggle. You never need to feel bad about having a happy life. Enjoy it.

If more people did, the world might be a better place.

Anxiety, worry, and stress

No matter how happy you are, these three are a factor in nearly every life to some degree. The key is managing them.

There have been chapters written on how to do this but your approach will depend a great deal upon what it is that’s plaguing you. If one or all of these things are a problem in your life, it can impede your ability to be happy.

You’re unhealthy

This is another factor that comes in various degrees, but study after study shows a direct link between being physically active, eating well, and happiness. If you haven’t already, it may be the right time to make some positive changes to your physical well-being.

You don’t know what makes you happy

Have you checked all the boxes and still don’t feel the happiness you think you should feel?

Maybe they’re the wrong boxes.

This goes back to using someone else’s ruler. Many people never get to know themselves well enough to really know what makes them happy. They follow the guidelines that have been generally accepted by society and expect happiness to come from doing so.

Remember, everyone is different.

You are depressed

depression

Many people suffer from depression. It isn’t a passing sadness or dissatisfaction but a persistent feeling of unhappiness and hopelessness.

Depression doesn’t typically go away on its own and should not be left untreated. If you suspect that you are suffering from depression, seek professional help.

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

If you have reached a point in your life where you are questioning if you will ever actually feel “happy”, take some time to really consider what that means to you. If your definition seems to be what you already have, look a little deeper. You may actually be dissatisfied or perhaps just one step away from getting where you want to be.

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Does Your Child Really Need Glasses? Here’s How You Can Tell

Approximately one-third of children (under 18) in the United States wear glasses or contact lenses. Yet, many children don’t have the glasses they need. 14% of 5th graders went without needed glasses in the last year and nearly one-quarter of teens with correctable vision have the wrong prescription. Among African-American and Mexican-American teens, that rises to one-third who are wearing glasses with an insufficient prescription.

The Role Vision in Learning

role vision in learning

Nearly half of children don’t notice they’re struggling to see until they can’t see the board in the classroom. At that point, their vision is likely already affecting their learning and performance in school.

Poor vision makes it difficult to read. It can cause headaches and tiredness that can interfere with one’s ability to focus on a task.

Parents often don’t realize their child has trouble seeing until told they need glasses during an eye exam. Kids rarely complain about poor vision because it’s all they’ve ever known. Don’t let your child fall behind – learn to spot the signs of poor vision.

Signs Your Child May Need Glasses

sign of poor vision in children

If you notice these signs that your child is struggling to see, it’s time for an eye exam:

  • Tilting head to the side or covering one eye
  • Holding books or mobile devices too close
  • Sitting very near the television
  • Complaining of headaches
  • Struggling to do well in school
  • Difficulty learning to read
  • Frequently rubbing eyes

Early Intervention for Eye Health

Early detection of vision disorders is essential to children’s learning and development. In preschoolers, poor vision has been linked to delays in cognitive and motor development. Not being able to see clearly can interfere with children’s ability to learn and early treatment can be key to preventing further loss of vision.

Head Start provides preschool education to children from low-income families and requires every child to be screened for vision and eye health. As a result, 1 in 5 preschoolers enrolled in Head Start has a diagnosed vision problem. For children not enrolled in Head Start, regular visits to your pediatrician should include an eye check and screening for indication of poor vision.

Milestones for Infants & Toddlers

If your child has difficulty reaching these milestones it could be a sign of poor vision or other developmental issues. See your pediatrician for follow-up and testing.

  • Maintaining eye contact (8 weeks)
  • Smiling at familiar people (3-4 months)
  • Watching and mimicking hand movements (5 months)
  • Looking at and reaching for an object (6-7 months)
  • Recognizing familiar faces (7-9 months)
  • Pointing at pictures in books (9-12 months)

Vision Care for Children

Don’t ignore vision care just because your child doesn’t show signs of blurry vision. Vision care includes monitoring eye health through regular check-ups, in addition to determining the need for corrective lenses. An eye exam is recommended for every child with a family history of poor vision, a recognizable eye abnormality (such as the lazy eye), or who has other risk factors for vision problems.

Check out this infographic to learn more about children’s vision and eye health:

Please include attribution to FramesDirect.com with this graphic.

How to Tell if Your Kid Needs Glasses Infographic

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4 Really Simple Yet Highly Effective Ways To Achieving A Goal

Setting a goal is one thing that we must all consider in life. Whether you are a professional, a service provider, a student or an entrepreneur, you need to be able to set clearly defined goals. It encourages you to pursue and work harder.

But what exactly is a goal?

A goal is something you intend to achieve at all cost. It could be to increase sales, boost income or to reduce weight. Whatever that may be, you need to know exactly how to achieve your goals and dreams.

The tips below can help you get started:

Clarify your goal

Before you can achieve your goal, you need to be clear about it.

For one, goals are different from mere wishes. Wishing to get more money isn’t a goal as it is just a wish. It will only become a goal when you are definite about the amount you want to make.

For you to get more money, you must ask yourself questions such as these:

  • How much do I want to make?
  • What can I do to increase my financial base?

For instance, I may have to work extra hours to add to my income or I may need other streams of income to increase my earnings.

I know of a young man who works in an agricultural research institute. Although he has a monthly income from his job, he still anchors events during the weekends. Aside from the monthly salary he gets, he also makes money during weekends. This is an example of how a person can increase earnings.

You must write down your goals

writing goals

Most people don’t write down their goals. They only rely on their mind to focus on what they want to achieve. Unfortunately, that isn’t a good idea.

When we write down our goals, it becomes easier for us to know exactly what we are aiming for. Clearly written goals can help you to ponder and reflect on what you need to do or work on.

Every time you see the goals you have stated out to pursue, your subconscious mind instantly generate ideas on how to forge ahead and make them a reality. Written goals can encourage you to control the direction of your life.

See Also: 5 Ways Writing Can Lead You to Mindfulness

Constantly evaluate your goal

This is a critical aspect of goal setting. A man does not put yam on fire and immediately go to sleep. He must constantly check it. Otherwise, it will burn. The same applies to goal setting.

You must constantly review your goals. You can check it on a bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. This will help you determine whether you need to change your strategies or continue with what you are doing.

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

Set a deadline

set goal deadline

 

Whenever you are pursuing a goal, also set a deadline for it. Setting a deadline puts you on your toes and drive you to work extremely hard to hit the target. When you don’t set a time frame for yourself, you’ll find it hard to focus and feel motivated.

Knowing how to achieve your goals and dreams isn’t that hard. In fact, just by following these tips, you should be able to work on your goals and conquer the challenges you’ll encounter along the way.

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6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One

If one of your loved ones has a drug addiction, you know that the road to recovery is typically a very long, challenging, and heartbreaking journey that the entire family will go on. You may get so overwhelmed that you decide to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.

However, this can cause more damage to you, your loved one, and your entire family. If you’re not sure what to say to a family member in this situation, we’ll give you several useful tips so you can help your loved one start and stay on the journey to recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Before you can help your addicted loved one, you have to understand the addiction itself. Perhaps they started their drug addiction because all of their friends were experimenting, they were curious, or they wanted to numb themselves to emotional pain.

Although drug use doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is going to abuse drugs, the line between recreational user and drug addict is often blurry, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a single point where it goes from recreational use to addicted.

help addicts

However, if drug use is starting to cause issues with relationships or in a work environment, your loved one could be slipping toward addiction. Common risk factors for drug abuse include:

  • A family history of addiction
  • Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect
  • Mental health disorders
  • Early exposure and use of drugs

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

There are several physical and behavioral symptoms that come with drug addiction. While each drug comes with separate manifestations, and symptoms vary depending on the drug, a few common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in the sleeping patterns
  • Sudden changes in how much money they’re spending

Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction

There are several things that you can do to help support your loved one as they fight their drug addiction.

1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction

The first thing you want to do is to educate yourself about drug addiction, the signs, symptoms, and the addiction process. Drug addiction is extraordinarily complex, but educating yourself will give you the tools you need to recognize the signs of addiction and how it affects your loved one. You’ll learn how to recognize that your loved one is struggling and needs help.

2. Offer Your Support

A lot of the time, someone who has a drug addiction doesn’t understand how much they mean to their families and how much their families love them. Talk to your loved one as soon as you notice a problem. Don’t watch and wait for them to hit their rock bottom. Let them know that you know there is a problem and that you’re going to be there to support them.

3. Open the Lines of Communication

Family members and friends worry that opening up the lines of communication can lead the loved one with the addiction to take drastic steps. While this may be true in some cases, it can also go very well. When you start the discussion, keep these points in mind:

  • Wait until the person seems sober. They’re less likely to lash out, and the can understand logical thinking more clearly. They’re also more likely to be honest with you and have a conversation.
  • Set up a time to talk when you have more than five minutes alone together. You want to have a two-way conversation where you can discuss your concerns and understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling.
  • Emphasize to your loved one that you care for them and that worry about their well being is what is motivating you to talk to them.
  • If they deny that there is a problem, table the discussion for a future date. You’re not trying to convince the person that they have a problem. You’re trying to let them know that you believe there is a problem and that you care.
  • Most importantly, know that there is no quick fix for addiction. The recovery journey is going to be a long and involved process.

4. Get Everyone United

It won’t be beneficial for anyone involved if people are not on the same page. Addiction can make people manipulative, and everyone has to present a united front. You’re all there to help your loved one. The easiest way to do this is to have all of their friends and family current and willing to offer support.

5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment

rehab center

It’s almost impossible for someone with an addiction to stop on their own. The best drug rehab treatment centers can be wonderful places for an addict to start the healing process. Treatment centers are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you find and choose the best rated rehabs for addiction treatment. They’ll be able to get counseling to help them deal with the cause of their addiction as well as learn life skills to help them cope without drugs.

6. Stand By Your Loved One as an Ongoing Recovery Process

Rehab isn’t an instant fix. There simply isn’t an instant fix for drug addiction. It’s critical that your loved one feels like they have your full support throughout the recovery process. Encourage them to seek ongoing care, attend meetings, and join a recovery support group. Your family can attend a support group for families of addicts and go through a recovery process.

Drug addiction can be a devastating and scary time for both the family and the person with the addiction. However, recovery is possible with the best drug rehab treatment centers. Additionally, these six steps can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them on their recovery journey.

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Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know

The ancient Chinese thought a lot about the relationship between the body and the environment. This helped them create a holistic system that nurtured wellness. They called it feng shui.

Early feng shui practitioners studied medicine, astrology, meteorology, and aesthetics. They supplemented it with lots of practical observations of the world around them to come up with their guiding principles, many of which hold up remarkably well in contemporary times.

good feng shui

So, what are those principles? How do they affect the use of feng shui for harmony in the home?

One of the main ones is about flow or what the Chinese call chi (also spelled qi). Chi is all about movement, breath, and energy force. It is integral to the study of Chinese medicine and martial arts.

The role of chi in spatial design

For one, there should be just enough space for the energy force to flow easily and freely. A good floor plan ensures a circuitous and even flow between and within rooms. Stagnant energy (i.e., in a basement apartment or a room teeming with clutter) or overpowering direct energy (i.e., at the head of a T-junction) can have detrimental effects on your health, relationships, and/or finances.

On the other hand, imagine the feeling you get when you enter a well-designed spa. With every object chosen and placed intentionally, it captures the flow of gentle chi and immediately invites guests into a state of serenity.

About Yin and Yang

Another guiding principle is the harmony between yang (active) and yin (passive) elements.

Certain rooms should emphasize the yang (office, living room) whereas others should foreground the yin (bedroom). All rooms, however, should incorporate both the yang and yin in harmony. This could be reflected in the color scheme, proportion of different objects, and in the lighting of the room.

An example of this is a bedroom that features restful colors, such as greens and blues for the walls but incorporates enough warm colors. You can use a pop of orange or bronze in the accessories to offset too much coolness in the overall design. Most good designers can naturally harmonize the different elements to create a general sense of balance and elegance.

Finally, good feng shui practitioners showcase elements of nature throughout their designs. Feng shui recognizes and harnesses the power inherent in natural objects: the living dynamism of plants, the solidity of rocks, the brilliance of metal, the mobility of water, and the warmth of fire.

Even indoors, these elements can emit their special properties and influence the energy of a space. For example, plants and fish tanks could energize your living room and enrich your social life but might not bring about the most restful sleep in your bedroom. Metal elements, symbolizing wealth, should be sprinkled liberally near the entryway or in an office to usher in prosperity.

feng shui house

Conclusion

So, when you’re considering lifestyle changes to promote improved well-being for you and your family, consider the interior design and feng shui as much as you think about your diet and exercise. Seek inspiration in the photos of the beautiful spaces that populate Instagram or in your favorite e-magazine.

Ask yourself what feelings these photos invoke and try to emulate the designs in those projects. Think about how well your space flows, how well the various design elements work together, and how the space functions and feels.

Place natural elements throughout your house, tapping into their energy. Just like our body, our homes need consistent loving attention in order to be the soft landing place that nurtures us for our life journey. That’s the basic idea in using feng shui for harmony in the home.

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How to Prepare for the Hurricane Season: 5 Important Tips to Follow

Hurricane season officially started one month ago, but the peak has yet to come. Most severe hurricanes occur between mid-August and late September. This means you still have time to prepare your home and family by developing an effective hurricane plan.

Last year was a historically catastrophic year for hurricanes with Maria, Harvey, and Irma doing unthinkable damage to North and Central America. This is why it’s so important to start preparing for the hurricane season even before it starts. Don’t leave the survival of your home and your life up to chance.

Make sure you do these 5 things before the big storms make landfall over the next few months.

Have an Evacuation Plan

If your area is expected to be hit by a severe hurricane, you need to know where you can go, how you will get there, and what you will bring with you. When an evacuation is ordered for an area, people start to panic and don’t know what to do. If you have planned out exactly where you will evacuate to, there will be no reason for you to panic.

Start Gathering Supplies

gather supplies

One of the biggest issues people face when a hurricane is approaching is not being able to buy supplies such as basic food and water. Stores will quickly run out of water and non-perishable foods when a big storm is coming, so make sure you’re prepared by buying the supplies you need even before a warning is issued.

It’s better to be prepared for something that doesn’t happen, instead of not being prepared for something that is about to happen. You can store the supplies in a spare closet or your garage. If a storm doesn’t hit, you’ll just have a bunch of food and water for the rest of the year.

Have an Insurance Plan

If you live in a high-risk area such as a flood zone, it’s extremely important you have a good insurance plan in place. Don’t leave everything up to chance by skimping out on a flood or hurricane insurance policy for your home. Paying for this insurance is a small price to pay that will end up saving you in case of a major weather catastrophe.

Protect Important Documents and Other Belongings

protect documents

If you have documents such as a deed to your home or important family items that can’t be replaced, you need to protect them in case of a storm. Buy a hurricane-proof safe where you can put these things in so they are protected from any damage.

Protect Your Home

Make sure your home is as protected as possible before hurricane season. If possible, install storm windows so you don’t have to worry about putting up plywood when there’s a hurricane threat. Fix up any loose parts of your house because they can cause real damage in heavy winds.

Make sure your door has strong locks to keep them from blowing open during a hurricane. If a storm is about to hit, remove all loose items from around your home so they don’t fly around during the storm.

Conclusion

Taking these precautions is important, even if you think a hurricane is unlikely to hit this year. It never hurts to be prepared for the worst, but it can definitely hurt to not be prepared.

So, make sure you start preparing for the hurricane season before it hits. That way, you can feel confident in the safety of your home and your family.

See Also: Safety Tips for Natural Disasters: A Quick Guide On How To Secure Your Property

The post How to Prepare for the Hurricane Season: 5 Important Tips to Follow appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans Fast

No one can deny the fact that education nowadays has become very expensive. It is not always possible to fund the whole investment personally and sometimes, you’ll need assistance in the form of student loans.

If you have a good strategy in place though, paying off student loans fast is possible. In case you are having problems devising a plan alone, you can reach out to a financial adviser who can analyze your outstanding loan and give you the best method to clear it.

Being just out of college still means there is a lot left to see in life. Therefore, worrying and losing sleep over student loans should be avoided. If you are looking for help, then this article can guide you in taking the right steps.

Figure out your budget

figure out budget

This is the first reality check that you need to do before paying off your loans. You need to figure out what your budget is every month while repaying. It should be more than the minimum balance that you should invest in.

Whatever extra cash you have, don’t use it for any other purpose other than paying your loan. The extra cash will assist you in clearing your debt faster.

Refinance your student loan

If you have multiple student loans running at various places, getting it to one single agency might be a wise decision. By doing this, you will need to pay only a single interest instead of multiple small ones. As a result, your interest amount will be lower.

Refinancing gives you additional time to repay the loan but consider the decision very carefully. The longer it takes you to pay your loan, the higher the accumulated interest will be. Act according to your situation.

Get in on the sharing economy

Sharing economy is a very novel and fair concept that has caught on with the younger generation.

If you are swimming in a debt pool, consider renting or borrowing useful stuff from strangers instead of paying a lot of money to buy them. This can help cut down your expenses, leaving you with more money to repay your loan.

Since a digital platform is involved here, the transactions are relatively safe, which allows many strangers to collaborate.

Treat the loan like a mortgage

Once you have an outstanding student loan, treat it like you would treat a mortgage. A mortgage is a property or a good whose value is almost similar to your loan amount.

Any issues with the loan can be settled by taking over the mortgaged entity. Once you treat your student loan like a mortgage, you will be motivated to clear your loans as soon as possible.

Focus on one goal at a time

focus on one goal

If you have multiple loans on your head and you keep worrying about all of them at once, life is going to get difficult for you. Instead, you should focus on one loan at a time and concentrate on clearing that.

If you are having difficulty in deciding how and where to start, you could refer to debt review. It can analyze your outstanding loans and give you a plausible solution to repay it.

There are two ways of doing it.

You could take up the loan with the largest amount and start clearing it and once that is done, you can go for the loan of the next lesser amount. This is called the debt avalanche system and it works for most people.

Another technique is to clear the low-cost loans first and then go for the higher ones. This gives you a mental satisfaction of finishing at least one loan so that you can move on to the next one with confidence. This is known as the debt snowball system. You could resort to any of the ways according to your convenience.

A student loan is a burden at a tender age but once you have a good strategy in place, you won’t have a hard time freeing yourself from your debt.

See Also: Is There Going To Be A Student Loan Apocalypse?

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The Little-Known Peer Feedback Strategies You Can Use in The Classroom

In every level of the education system, students are provided with assignments which help teachers to evaluate them. Now, for effective learning, it is necessary to give feedback to the students. It can help them understand the mistakes committed, which can then improve their knowledge and skills. It can also make a student more confident and enthusiastic when it comes to learning.

There’s a handful of benefits of peer feedback. However, even though this process is very effective, implementing it in the classroom is not that easy. There are many challenges that a teacher must face. The list includes reluctance from the students, non-specific feedback, and more.

In order to implement effective peer reviews, the following measures can be taken:

Make sure everybody takes part

peer feedback participation

It will not make any sense if only one or two students give feedback. You must encourage everyone to get involved. Tell the students to participate in the program.

Ask them to be specific

Students should be taught how to give constructive feedback. This is to help the students learn how to improve their work.

Giving a two-word review will not be enough. The feedback needs to be specific and it should focus exactly where a student needs to work on or in what area has one excelled in. This process requires the students to think critically, enabling them to hone this skill.

Provide a rubric

To help a student in providing constructive feedback, it is important to have a specific rubric or guideline. This way, they will know where they need to focus on while reflecting on their peer’s work. A rubric will also assist them to understand what can be considered as a good work, and they can create their own feedback based on that standard.

Use technology

peer feedback technology

Utilizing a user-friendly, engaging, and fun platform will make the process of peer review more enjoyable for the students. And as a result, student participation will also increase.

See Also: Technology in the Classroom — Should Technology Take Over The Education System?

Track results

Teachers should also keep track of the feedback and the students giving the reviews. This way, they have a way of checking if the system has been productive or not.

Peer feedback is very effective for teaching and learning. With proper implementation, students get the chance to think about their own learning and learn what they can do to improve themselves.

This process is also great for the teachers since they don’t usually have enough time to give a personal feedback to each student. By using these techniques, teachers can implement an effective peer feedback system and create a great classroom culture.

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15 Surprising Gmail Tricks and Secrets

Whenever it comes to email service providers, Gmail does not need any introduction. It has more than 1 billion monthly users. The factors which make Gmail popular are:

  • Simple interface
  • Easily integrated with other Google applications
  • Cloud-based storage device

The most important advantage of using a Cloud-based service is that the data can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This write-up explains the top tips and tricks to help you use Gmail efficiently and effectively for business as well as personal needs.

Make Use of Gmail in Offline Mode to Access Email Without Internet

gmail offline mode

In the main settings option of Gmail, a link to install Gmail offline will be there under the “Offline” tab. As soon as this Chrome plugin is installed, a user can search, read, reply, and archive the email even in the absence of an internet connection.

Actions are lined up and synced when an internet connection is there. This option is really helpful when there is a limited or unstable internet connection.

Using Canned Responses, Speed Up the Replies

If a user has to type the same reply continuously to a conversation, a lot of time can be saved by activating the option “Canned Responses” in Gmail. This option will be present under the Labs tab. Once this option has been enabled, it can be used by pressing on the arrow sign at the bottom right corner of the Compose New Email dialog box. The multiple scanned responses can be generated and a user can label them for easy reference.

An Option to Filter Emails With Many Aliases

Many people are not aware of the fact that dots in email addresses are neglected. So, users can send email to abc.xyz@gmail.com or abcxyz@gmail.com, and this will not make any difference.

A user can also add words at the end of the usual alias with the help of + symbol. For example, yourname+work at gmail.com or yourname+family at gmail.com. Such email addresses will not require any special setting. They will go to the inbox folder by default.

The filtering option makes this option really helpful. As the emails hit the inbox, a user can apply filtering option to forward it to some specific people, set labels to archive or label the emails automatically. This way, emails are sorted even before a user saw them.

Withdraw Sent Messages

It happens with everybody: a user hits the send button and then regrets it. Maybe a user has sent an email to the wrong person or committed a mistake that has been realized too late.

Fortunately, Gmail provides an option to cancel sent items in Gmail. But, for that, a user has to enable that option.

Navigate to the General tab of Settings. Enable the option of Undo Settings and select a time limit. A user has a maximum of 30 seconds to cancel a sent email.

Backup Gmail Emails Locally

Even though emails are backed up in the cloud-based storage space, it clearly does not mean that there is no need to take a regular backup. It is because in case of account hacking or accidental deletion of data, a user will definitely be left will no emails.

So, the best solution is to take a backup by using Google takeout or ‘export Gmail emails to PST‘ or other file formats using SysTools Gmail Backup SOftware and saving it on the local system. This way, not even a single email will be lost.

Schedule Outgoing Emails

Sometimes, a user composes an email but did not want to send at that time. So, Gmail provides a feature to “Send Later”. For this purpose, Boomerang is a plugin for Gmail, which adds send later button to the Compose New Email dialog window. Then, choose any time to send the message later automatically.

Convert Email Into a To-Do List

Gmail equips an option of “Task” in Gmail. This inbuilt feature is very beneficial to users who use their Inbox folder as a to-do list. In this way, if a user receives an email to perform any task, it can be added to the Task list. The subject of this email will be added to your to-do list with a due date.

Speed Up the Workflow With Keyboard Shortcuts

Following shortcuts can be used for different purposes:

  • c – compose a new email
  • ⌘/Ctrl + Enter – send
  • e – archive
  • r – reply
  • / – search

For this, the option has to be activated in Settings. A plugin known as Key Rocket should be installed.

A Feature to Customize Category Tags

gmail inbox

With the help of “Social” and “Promotional” tabs, the inbox can be managed more efficiently. These tabs can be closed if a user has to use other advanced filters. Other 2 tabs that can be included are “forums” and “updates”.

Easily Unsubscribe from Newsletter

If a user has subscribed to too many newsletters, unsubscribing to them one by one will consume a lot of time. Unroll.Me will be of great help with that. A user can also select an option to receive a daily report which will combine all the relevant information in a single email.

View LinkedIn Profiles of Contacts Within Gmail

For people who use Gmail professionally, Rapportive is a very helpful plugin. This will replace Gmail ads with a summary of the sender’s LinkedIn information.

Increase the Speed of Email Responses

If a user spends a lot of time in replying to the emails, Gmail allows the user to set a time limit for writing a single email. Doing so will compel a user to be concise and write to the point without wasting the time.

Track and Follow Up the Sent Emails

In Gmail, FollowUp is a relationship manager. It will notify you when the emails are opened. It can also remind a user to follow up or sends a follow-up email automatically on behalf of the user.

Mute Noisy Messages in Gmail

In a group discussion, it is bothersome for a user to receive messages that he/she does not need. A user can mute noisy conversations in Gmail. After doing this, all the messages will skip the inbox and go directly to an archive folder.

Open Multiple Gmail Accounts at Once

Gmail facilitates the user to log in to different accounts, without signing out of the previous account.

The Bottom Line

Gmail is a cloud-based email platform which helps users save the data in the cloud. It is one of the most well-known names in the business. To make sure you get the most out of it, there are many tricks for using Gmail you’ll find handy. These 15 tips should be able to get you started right away.

See Also: How To Organize Your Gmail In 20 Minutes (And Keep It That Way)

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5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

They say you become just like the company you keep. Therefore, picking and choosing friends is one of life’s most underrated skills.

Friends make or break you. The right group of friends will help you get through life and succeed while the wrong ones will hold you down and potentially destroy you.

Moving through life, you’ll encounter countless people, many of whom you will call your “friend” at one point in life. Unfortunately, not every friend stays. In fact, the average length of a friendship is said to only be around seven years.

Most often, friends come and go but there are few who stick around for better or worse.

Not everyone who sticks is good for the relationship. Sometimes you must make the difficult choice of removing toxic people for your personal well-being.

Recognize these five signs to help you make this choice.

You Feel Drained Each Time You Hang Out

toxic friends

When you’ve been friends for a while, you’ve likely had your fair share of good and bad moments. Friends are there for you during bad times and vice versa. But this doesn’t excuse friends who always seem to suck the energy out of you every time.

Friends like these are toxic. They are usually negative, judgmental, and seem to be using you as a personal therapist to deal with their issues. This is extremely draining.

Cut these types of “friends” off before their negativity rubs off on you. Have some respect for yourself. You are not a personal punching bag.

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

You Can’t Compromise on Personal Values

It’s necessary to have friends from all walks of life because they offer you different views and help you grow. However, there are friends who you will never see eye-to-eye with.

Initially, it may not be a problem dealing with these friends but as you move further in life, your personal differences may just be too big to ignore.

Compromising on things like what to eat or what to watch is one thing. But when you are dealing with differences in life choices, you can’t afford to be with someone who contradicts you too often.

You’re the Only One Doing the Work

It takes two to tango. Otherwise, you’re just dancing with yourself. The same theory applies to friendship.

When you start realizing that you’re the only one making any effort to hang out or talk, that’s a red flag that your friend doesn’t value your friendship as much as you do.

Life happens and sometimes we become busy and burdened by responsibilities. True friends will try to spend time with you. If they can’t do that, then it’s best to move on.

You Can’t Be Yourself Around Them

It can take a while for people to become comfortable. When you met your friends for the first time, you probably felt wary at first but once you gained each other’s trust, it was smooth sailing.

But if there are still people you don’t feel comfortable with even after knowing for a while, you should move on.

You can’t develop good chemistry with everyone. And it’s not a true friendship if you can’t be yourself around them.

One of You Develops Unrequited Romantic Feelings

unrequited romantic feelings

This is the toughest friendship to end because neither of you did anything wrong unless you count “catching feelings” wrong. When you or your friend becomes hopelessly smitten but the other doesn’t reciprocate, it becomes an awkward situation.

This is painful because you are ending what was once a great friendship.

Holding on will only be more tragic. Save yourselves from future drama and quit while you’re ahead. Maybe, when feelings aren’t as hot anymore, you can rekindle your friendship.

Identifying which friends to keep is a tough process but keep in mind these key points. Chances are, you are already subconsciously doing it. Being more aware of your feelings towards your friends and relationships can help you refine the company you keep.

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3 Easy Yet Effective Ways to Remove Junk From Your Home

Getting rid of junk can seem like an overwhelming task if you’re not prepared. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re just clearing out years of stuff that has been piling up in your garage or if you’re taking on a major home renovation project – you’re going to need ways to declutter.

You could ask your brother-in-law and borrow his pickup to make runs to the landfill or you can get professional help from a removal service. Another option is to rent a dumpster and pile everything in it at once. Each option has its merits but it’s hard to make the right decision until you know all the pros and cons.

Rent a Dumpster

rent a dumpster

At the top of our list is a dumpster rental. There are a lot of advantages to removing junk this way that many people never consider. For them, it’s just too much of a challenge or effort and nothing could be further from the truth.

In today’s consumer-driven economy, convenience has become one of its driving forces. Having a dumpster delivered to your driveway and then removed once it’s full is about as convenient as it gets. In most cases, you can rent the dumpster for a full week and they come in a variety of sizes. It can allow you to work on your project at your own pace without any major time constraints.

There are few things more annoying than hiring a junk removal service only to realize you didn’t get everything the first time and you have to call them back – it can get quite expensive.

When you rent a dumpster, you have full control of what you put in it and when you’re done with it. Since you’re not rushed, there’s a good chance you won’t forget anything. If you look at it in this light, it may actually be a less expensive option and it’s definitely the most convenient.

Pros

  • No time pressure
  • Plenty of waste removal capacity
  • Can work at your own pace

Cons

  • More expensive than running to the landfill yourself
  • You do all of the work

See Also: 8 Reasons To Rent A Roll-Off Dumpster

Hire a Junk Removal Company

There are some real advantages to hiring a junk removal service. Probably, the most obvious is that they do all of the heavy lifting for you. That’s great if you have any injuries or health concerns. Many of these services will haul away just about anything you want – for a price.

That’s one of the most important things to keep in mind. A junk removal service can get quite expensive, especially if you have to make multiple trips to the local landfill. You also have to accommodate their schedule. The time that works for them won’t necessarily be the most convenient for you.

Pros

  • They do all of the labor
  • Most services will haul any type of household goods away

Cons

  • Can be expensive when multiple landfill runs are required
  • You have to fit in their schedule

Make Multiple Trips to the Landfill

landfill

One of the first options we consider when we have some junk to dispose of is to do it all ourselves. If you own a pickup truck, this may seem like the best solution. After all, how hard is it to make a couple of quick trips to the local landfill?

You will have to pay a small fee and there are the fuel costs to consider. Overall, however, it is an attractive option.

Where this gets tricky is when you have a lot of junk to get rid of. If you’re in the middle of a major renovation project, you may have to make several trips to the landfill to get rid of everything. It’s also going to tie up a lot of your time making those trips if the landfill isn’t close by.

Pros

  • Least expensive option
  • Convenient for small jobs

Cons

  • Time-consuming
  • Can be inconvenient
  • May not be practical if the landfill isn’t close by

The Best Solution

Each of these ways to declutter has pros and cons and sometimes, the best solution will come down to your own personal needs. If you can’t remove the junk yourself due to physical limitations, a junk removal service is the obvious way to go. When you’re not worried about any health concerns and you know you only have a little bit of junk to get rid of, a quick trip to the dump in your own pickup truck may be the cheapest and easiest option.

For the most part though, if you have a lot of junk or a project that’s going to take a little bit of time, renting a dumpster is usually the best option.

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Paperless Office: Myths, Benefits, and Tips for Going Paperless

Operating in an eco-friendly manner has been the new black for some time now. However, being trendy is not the main benefit of going paperless in the office. It actually offers tons of advantages.

Top myths about paperless office

Even though the term paperless was first used in 1978, the amount of misconceptions that still surround it is quite surprising. Let’s get to debunking:

  • Paper-free automatically means environmentally-friendly – It’s not that simple. If your go-to approach to becoming paperless is just to scan all documents and throw away the paper, you won’t do anything ecological. For starters, to be called eco-friendly, you’d have to at least recycle that paper.
  • Being paper-free requires complete rejection of the paper – Of course, in the perfect world, you would say no to all the papers. In reality, however, a paper-free office is actually a concept of an organization striving to minimize the use of paper. That’s why complete rejection is not really necessary.
  • Paperless office is less secure – That’s not true as well. Digital cloud services and paper-free tools protect your business data better than you might think. They usually utilize highly secure encryptions to protect your business data. Also, paper documents are not bulletproof, too. They can easily get spoiled or lost.

Why bother going paperless?

paperless office benefits

So, what are the benefits of the paper-free concept? Why did it become so popular? From our point of view, the advantages are clear and really impressive.

  1. It saves money. You won’t have to spend on printers, papers, toners, inks, shredders, and whatnot. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, going paperless can save a company about $80 for each of your staff members per year.
  2. It saves time. On average, it takes workers about 5 minutes to come to a filing cabinet, find the needed document, and then work on it. Multiply this by how often your workers need to find new docs and you’ll see how much of their time will be freed by going paperless.
  3. It improves business workflow. When all of your documents are in electronic form, collaboration with your partners becomes faster and easier. For instance, being able to sign papers digitally allows you to avoid the old-fashioned print-sign-scan-send routine. Instead, you can sign papers with a tap of a finger, speeding up your sales process. Also, the mere absence of paper and filing cabinets makes your workers more organized overall.

How to go paperless?

paperless office how to

You might think that you are ready to make the transition, but it is important to understand that you can’t go paperless overnight.

Here are the best tips for going paperless.

  1. Choose a cloud storage for your business data if you still don’t have one. There are plenty of popular services out there, like Google, Microsoft or Dropbox. They have different amounts of available space and privacy policy rules, so be careful. Choose the one that suits your business best.
  2. Scan all your documents and transfer them to the chosen cloud storage. Considering the amount of paper in use by an average company, you probably won’t make it in one day. That’s why we suggest you to make a daily transfer plan and then process at least one filing cabinet a day.
  3. This step is important eco-friendly-wise. Now that you have all your documents in electronic form, you should get rid of the unnecessary papers. It is important that you recycle them. Normally, you can find a couple of recycling companies in most large cities, so this shouldn’t be that much of a trouble.
  4. Implement paper-free tools. For example, your company should consider using tablets instead of laptops and desktop PCs when possible so that employees could work effectively on the go. Tablets are also indispensable when working with clients when you have to fill in profiles and questionnaires or close deals in a matter of minutes. Another great paperless tool that facilitates client work is electronic signature services. It is a technology for electronically signing documents. It also allows you to remotely collaborate with stakeholders and sign your documents even on-the-go. Some of these services also provide additional features, like templates, offline mode, and secure storages.
  5. Go for electronic invoicing and billing. This includes paying your bills with online banking, especially since there are no legitimate reasons not to. Once you’re geared up with paper-free tools, you are ready to practice e-Invoicing, too. FYI, your savings from turning to electronic invoicing can reach up to $8 per invoice.

In conclusion

Going paperless is a multi-step and time-consuming process. However, the benefits are worth it. Be patient with these tips for going paperless and you’ll soon see the improvements in your office.

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Debt Collection Technology Updates You Need to Be Aware Of

If you’re not on time with your bills, it’s important that you stay aware of the latest debt collection technology. From your smartphone to Ringless voicemails, debt collectors have gone high-tech to help increase payments.

While agencies argue that their methods benefit customers and allow collectors to complete their mission, debtors are left surprised and consumer advocates are beyond angry.

Here are the latest updates on debt collection technology:

Ringless Voicemail Drops

ringless voicemail

A lot of debt collectors are excellent in finding ways to test and defy the laws that put a limit on how often they can call their clients. One of those ways allows them to send voicemails directly to phones without causing a ring.

Due to a technicality, these messages don’t appear as calls but messages that show up as voicemails.

The Consumer Protection Firm’s attorney Billy Howard doesn’t fall in line with companies like Stratics Networks who argue that no violations of regulations occur because auto-dialed collections technically are not phone calls. “They’re trying to torture the language of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,” says Howard.

Senior sales vice president Paul Gies of VoApps Inc. believes differently. Gies argues that customers prefer ringless messages to standard calling because it creates less pressure to respond immediately. Consumers can return when they’re able to without feeling forced. He adds that collectors believe the system works too well.

And it’s not only the consumer Gies believes he’s looking out for. Even clients tell them that they overwhelm their call centers with inbound volume.

Avatars

Friendly avatars can increase the likelihood of payment from debtors than when they visit typical sites. That is according to Tom Gillespie Jr. who works as the chief executive of BeGuided Inc.

His collection company, Access Receivables Management Inc., works under the idea that “nice people collect more”. They aim to turn around traditional interpretations of debt collectors by moving away from practices like threat and insults with characters like Zoey. This animated avatar appears in borrowers’ inbox and guides them through the debt repayment process.

Zoey and avatars like her have a wide range of character traits. From access to multiple languages to the ability to smooth-talk borrowers into repaying debts, these avatars offer a personal approach. They also have access to credit histories to allow for better payment plans for debtors.

“In the last year, we’ve sent out millions of emails” notes Gillespie, “We’ve had zero consumer pushback” when using avatars.

Speech Analytics

Cursing during conversations with debt collectors will be met with prompts provided by CallMiner Inc. software. It helps direct discussions back to where they need to go. These programs evaluate keywords used during conversations to identify emotions.

The color-based box system used by Supervisors incorporates the company’s speech-analytics system. Colors communicate the agent’s standing while interacting with a debtor. Green means that the conversation is typical and the agent is providing necessary information like “mini-Miranda” rights for debtors to understand their rights.

If a box changes color to red, it signifies a problem. Maybe an agent is experiencing difficulty or there’s profanity.

“A supervisor can consider barging in and taking over the call, or whispering into the agent’s side of the call,” CallMiner marketing vice president Scott Kendrick explains.

The Eureka program of CallMiner has multiple functions. It can provide a ranking system for agents and guide the negotiations for valid results. It can even step in and give better responses when an agent struggles to make an emotional connection with the borrower.

Games

Debt collection agencies like FidoTrack LLC in Vermont use video game tactics to motivate agents to compete against each other to improve performance. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering collection agencies are known for not caring or being reachable.

The president and founder Brett Brosseau justifies these tactics saying that “you figure a lot of people who are actually collecting are maybe on the other end of the phone in their personal life. It sucks to ask people for money.”

Agents at FidoTrack improve their sales by 19% according to Brosseau through these types of regulated games. He adds that consumer complaints are down as well with shorter calls and a better response.

The game-like competition between collectors may make work more enjoyable but debtors surely aren’t enjoying them.

Other Tactics

social media tracking

Skip tracing makes it difficult for debtors to hide from collection agencies because agents look through various social media to locate them.

While some collectors will merely use social media, others are taking more aggressive approaches. An agency in Texas, for example, links the Social Security Numbers of their clients to their social media accounts, causing upset among specific groups.

Spoofing, on the other hand, is a tactic employed by agents who change their area code to match the debtor’s local one. This tricks the debtor into responding. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advocates for canceling this practice.

If consumers feel they have been mistreated, they have options. They can either complain to the right government agency or they can sue the agents. This opens them up to something called scrubbing.

Collectors look through lists of databases when they are scrubbing to remove potential hazards. These “banana peels”, as they are called in the industry, are people who have litigious records and are seen as unnecessary hazards.

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Squeaky Clean: How To Clean Up The Different Types of Carpet Stains

Every awesome house has a carpet inside it somewhere. Whether it’s in the living room or the bedroom, a rug is there to provide safety, beauty, and charm. A lot of times, a carpet faces a lot of roughing up as it puts up with a lot of factors that can gradually increase its deterioration.

One of the most dreaded things that can happen to your carpet is a horrible and stinky stain. You and your guests won’t see it immediately, but you will surely notice it eventually. And when you do, it’s important that you know how to approach it.

Below are the different types of carpet stains and how to effectively remove them.

Wine Stains

wine spill

Hosting a house party is a common event that a lot of us do. A party is fun especially when it has music, food, and drinks. However, all the fun goes away when it ends, especially for those who have to clean up after.

Imagine this: You wake up and walk around the house, seeing the aftermath of an epic party. You then look down at your carpet and see the biggest stain.

How to get rid of em’:

Most wines are red or purple and are hard to miss once it stains your carpet. Time is of the essence when dealing with wine stains.

It’s better to deal with them when they’re fresh by using a small rag wet with hydrogen peroxide. Rub it vigorously, being careful not to spread it even more. Afterward, use a spray bottle with warm water and some detergent to finish the job.

Writer’s Note: You can apply the same steps when cleaning up blood stains.

See Also: A Quick Guide on How to Clean Up Blood Spills Properly

Pee and Poop

pet pee and poop

The poop that our furry friends leave behind is always a huge and smelly mess. Sometimes, poop isn’t the only problem because our pets also pee on the carpet or any furniture. When their pee dries up, it forms yellow botches and is quite pungent.

And it doesn’t stop there. Pets can also throw up on your carpet leaving a similar stain and smell behind.

How to get rid of em’:

If the stain or mess is still wet, try blotting it with white paper towels until the stain and moisture are absorbed. Be careful not to rub it in as it can quickly spread if done the wrong way.

Keep blotting it carefully until the stain is gone and the area becomes dry. If the stain is all dried up, try moistening it so it’ll become softer and smoother to clean up. Whether it’s dry or wet, a stain will smell.

To eliminate the odor, try using vinegar mixed with warm water and spray it on the stain. You can also substitute vinegar with detergent, lemon juice, etc.

Bubblegum

bubblegum stain

Most kids and some adults love chewing gums which could mean a bad sign for your carpet. When bubblegum hits your carpet, be ready for a sticky situation. Gum sticks to the fibers of your carpet, which mean carelessly removing them can damage your rug permanently.

How to get rid of em’:

One of the most popular methods of removing gum on your carpet is to put a ziplock bag full of ice cubes over the gum. When it’s cold or frozen, use a sharp object such as a knife to scrape away the gum carefully.

Another method is to use cleaning solvents and applying it on a cloth. Rub the cloth on the gum and slowly remove it by rubbing vigorously. Be careful in using solvents as most solutions will stain certain fabrics.

Takeaway

No one wants a carpet that has a large, visible stain on it. And for sure, no one wants to notice a carpet that reeks of poop and pee. However, although it may sound horrible, staining your carpet is a reality that most of us face.

Don’t lose hope. Whether it’s poop, wine or an annoying piece of chewing gum, rest assured that there are methods that can quickly remove the stain and stench away from your carpet. You just have to know the different types of carpet stains so you can properly address them.

The post Squeaky Clean: How To Clean Up The Different Types of Carpet Stains appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

What Should Be Your World Cup Drink This Summer?

The World Cup is in full swing. What better way to celebrate it than by drinking the traditional cocktails from the countries participating? For each of the 32 competing countries, there is a cocktail or mocktail to whip up to celebrate their culture and cuisine.

Whether you’re a football fanatic, a fairweather fan or an unwilling supporter who can’t seem to avoid being dragged along to watch the footie, there’s no better way to celebrate (or tolerate) this year’s tournament and get in the ‘spirit’ than with a cultural cocktail in hand.

Throwing a World Cup party? Add a touch of class and impress your guests by mixing up a batch of cocktails.

Here’s what you’ll be drinking for the next few matches.

Senegal v Colombia

For Senegal v Colombia, you’ll be drinking an exotic combination of Jus de Bissap. It’s a refreshing mocktail made of pineapple juice, lemon juice, dried hibiscus, vanilla extract, ginger, and orange blossom. It also has the somewhat stronger Carendals – aguardiente with soda water, lemon juice, and fresh strawberries.

Japan v Poland

For Japan v Poland, there are some fairly strong cocktails on the menu. Samurai Rock is Japan’s offering. It’s made by mixing sake with lime juice. For Poland, it’s the Zubrowka and Apple. It’s a lethal combination of Polish vodka mixed with apple cider.

England v Belgium

For the all-important England v Belgium match? You’ll be sipping a classic Pimm’s Cup where you add Pimm’s and lemonade with lots of fresh fruit and mint. You can also try the Black Russians to wake you up. It’s simply vodka and coffee liqueur.

Panama v Tunisia

For Panama v Tunisia, mix up a batch of Seco Sours. It’s Seco Herrerano, strawberry syrup, and lemon juice topped with lime and mint. You can also try the Arab Springs. It’s Boukha, lemon juice, and grenadine topped with ground cardamom, mint leaves, and pomegranate seeds.

Which cocktails will you be drinking most frequently?

favourite world cup drinks

Certain nations have performed better than others throughout the World Cup’s history. This means that as the tournament progresses and more and more teams get knocked out, the cocktails from countries like France, Spain, and Brazil are likely to be on the menu most often!

That sounds like a rather ideal situation, given that France’s national cocktail is the delicious Mimosa. It will transport you to Belle Paris and the banks of the river Seine.

Spain’s is the fruity Sangria which will bring to life visions of the beautiful Costa del Sol and Brazil’s is the tangy Caipirinha that can transform even the dreariest of days into a sunny day on the busy streets of Rio!

Other favorites from around the world

cocktail drinks

Here are the other national cocktails which you need to try out, too.

Australia’s Fairy Floss Windmills

This playful cocktail consists of vanilla vodka, strawberry floss, elderflower liqueur, apple juice, and cranberry juice with a twist of lemon.

Denmark’s Anaconda

Shake together cachaca, Midori, lime juice, and pineapple juice to create a fruity cocktail that tastes like a fruit cocktail!

South Korea’s Grapefruit Soju

The clue is very much in the name but this cocktail is a delightful combo of soju and grapefruit juice.

Serbian Rakija

Prosecco, Rakija, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice make up this Serbian thirst quencher.

Switzerland’s Champagne St. Moritz

This fancy aperitif is a recipe of gin, champagne, apricot brandy, and orange juice.

Make this World Cup a round-the-world trip of cultural cocktails. And of course, since the World Cup is being hosted in Russia this year, it’s only fair that each match should also be accompanied by a toast of vodka. Get either a straight or mixed with ginger ale to create the nation’s Moscow Mule.

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How to Rewire Your Brain for Success

The brain is an incredible organ. It is constantly regenerating and renewing itself while absorbing the information being thrown at it. However, not every piece of information it absorbs is positive or even correct.

For example, if you fall down in public and feel embarrassed, the thought “I’m an idiot” pops into your head. Your brain will absorb it and form a neural pathway. This pathway is the connection through which neurons send their signals from one part of the brain to another.

And as more things cause embarrassment for you, the stronger that pathway becomes to the point that it affects how you live your life.

What if you utilize how your brain works naturally to promote productivity, happiness, a sense of self-worth, and success in your workplace? The results will amaze you.

What Am I Talking About?

importance of mindfulness

What I am really referring to is something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy used by mental health professionals all over the world. CBT is an evidenced-based therapy that assumes changing harmful thinking can lead to an ultimate change in behavior. Even further, more recent versions of CBT focus on changing a person’s relationship to harmful thinking. It rewires the brain and those aforementioned neural pathways to initiate a change in behavior.

This kind of practice can also be described as ‘mindfulness’. It involves focusing on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings while noticing one’s relationship to those feelings. It is much easier to change one’s relationship to feelings and circumstances when they are acknowledged.

Does This Even Work?

The Harvard Gazette recently published an article outlining a study done on the effectiveness of using the above techniques to change one’s brain with respect to depression. I believe this to be interchangeable with anxiety, stress, or even a lack of productivity in one’s life.

Dr. Gaelle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical school and a neuroscientist, began practicing mindfulness and experienced great benefits. As a scientist, she wondered how it could benefit others and how the process could be documented.

What is amazing about her study, outlined in this article, is that she could visually see a difference in scans of patients’ brains before and after they practiced mindfulness and the change seemed to be there to stay.

See Also: 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

What Does This Mean For You?

practice mindfulness

Even if you are not struggling with something as serious as depression or PTSD, utilizing a tool or practice like mindfulness or CBT could really make a difference to your success as a person. It’s possible that you have some thought patterns cycling on a daily basis that are hindering your success in work or your productivity on a project.

I truly believe that taking inventory of your daily thought patterns can tremendously help you. You can begin by pinpointing something in which you have a physical hiccup.

Do you struggle with deadlines and procrastinate until the last second? Do you eat healthy all day and binge on all the unhealthy foods right before bed?

Whatever your goals or scenarios are, write them all out as they pop into your head.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

For example, if you struggle with procrastination, your thoughts surrounding this issue may be one or a few of the following:

  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I want to do a perfect job so I fear to start the project.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I dislike my work and do not want to begin the project.

You probably have a lot more thoughts or reasons for feeling such way. So, sit with yourself for a few minutes and really think about them before writing them out. Choose one that you deem is harmful to your productivity and write down why it shouldn’t be that way.

In Conclusion

Now, you know how to rewire your brain for success.

The next time you are procrastinating, revisit what you’ve written and it’ll create the positive changes you want in your brain. It will file this new information and override the old, ultimately changing your behavior.

I hope you find this information helpful in your quest for a more productive, happy, and successful life.

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The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business

Paypal is the biggest payment gateway out there and there’s no doubt about that. It is the most famous online payment system in the world to the point that people associate the word “payment gateway” with Paypal. It offers a nice, clean and very comfortable service within a click and makes everything possible. You know the score.

However, Paypal is not the only payment gateway out there and it is not even the best of the bunch. Sure, it dominates the market but it doesn’t mean that the competition is just slacking around. There are competitors and they rapidly evolve and try to outplay the big guy.

Before we get to the best alternatives to Paypal for business, let’s explain its problem first.

Paypal is a victim of its own marketing. Over the years, Paypal was hyped as the one and only super payment gateway and people believed in that idea. However, the reality is not exactly like that.

Paypal is good for basic transactions. It is serviceable for slightly larger sums but when it comes to a commercial operation with diverse payments and schedules, it gets clumsy and barely usable.

Another thing that raises concerns is security. Paypal is not very good at it. There are holes in its security systems that enable account hijacking and account blocking and that is not something you want to experience. Imagine the consequences of such glitches in your business.

Who are Paypal’s Competitors?

Diversity is the key to success in eCommerce operation. You need to have a set of options for your business and you need to give your customers several options to perform payments.

By using only one payment gateway, you are seriously limiting not just yourself but your customers, too.

With that, here are the best alternatives to Paypal for business you should consider.

Stripe

stripe payment

Stripe is a heavy hitter. It came late to the party and turned the tide on its side simply by being handsome and charming. Jokes aside, it is one of the biggest competitors to Paypal because of its smoothness of operation and security.

Stripe is really easy to integrate into any kind of website. In addition, it avoids redirects and performs the entirety of operation on your website. It gives a larger degree of control over the operation and that is particularly calming for a businessman.

Stripe’s greatest asset is its fraud detection system. It consists of thorough credibility checks, comparison with blacklist databases, and analysis of activity. It guarantees that no one ever will succeed in wrecking your account.

Stripe’s fees are standard but chargebacks are lower than Paypals.

The challenge comes with operating it. In order to make Stripe work, you need to know a thing or two about programming. That isn’t that much of a problem if you think about it for a moment.

Square

square-official-payment

Square is probably the most radical payment gateway out there. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t skew the principles of the economy. Instead, it offers services that feel absolutely different from any other payment gateway available.

For the lack of a better word, Square is “Stripped-down” or “no-nonsense” payment gateway. That is what makes it so attractive to an ever-growing audience.

From the user experience perspective, Square is very similar to Paypal if it was cleaned-up and dropped weight. It is faster, smoother, and more elegant to use.

In terms of service, it is a reliable and trustworthy gateway. If there is something wrong, don’t worry as its customer support service will be the ones to handle it.

Authorize.Net

authorize net

Authorize.Net was there from the very beginning of eCommerce on The Internet. It saw it all and it knows a couple of tricks. As one of the oldest payment gateways active today, Authorize.Net has the benefit of having the time-tested trust.

One of its major assets is security measures. Authorize.Net is a perfect gateway for those who have a paranoia about online transactions.

In terms of UX, it is really user-friendly. You can do whatever you need if its legal. The tools for structuring payments are easy to handle and there are many additional settings that help with nuances and scheduling.

However, Authorize.Net is not cheap and that is a major turn off.

Braintree

braintree

Braintree is a division of Paypal that is a much better fit for eCommerce payments.
The best thing about it is how easy it is to handle very different types of payment. Just a couple of clicks and you can get your thing done.

Another great thing is integration. Unlike Paypal that needs some tweaks in order to fit the website, Braintree fits every type of site like a glove.

Fees are standard but in exchange, you get more features to play with so this is definitely a win. However, there might be some complication regarding technical adjustments.

Conclusion

Paypal still stands tall in the payment gateway segment, but there are worthy competitors who have something else to offer. For business owners, that is a good thing.

The nature of the competition in the payment gateway segment is beneficial for every involved party. It jumpstarted rapid evolution, increased the overall quality of services, and deepened sets of available features.

As such, the variety of options available is inspiring.

The post The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Healing from A Heartache: How to Stop the Pain for Good

Someone you really love goes out of your life. You lose a part of yourself and your heart fills up with frustration, anxiety, and worry. At times like this, you think only about one thing- how to stop heartache?

Well, how to deal with it?

If physical pain is the pain in your body, then emotional pain is the pain in your soul. The healing process may take a little more time and effort. It’s a hard thing to go through. And, unfortunately, almost everyone knows what it is but not everyone knows how to move on from it.

Here are the best ways to remove emotional pain and feel free to enjoy life again.

Feel Your Pain

emotional pain

Emotional pain will vanish if you accept it. It seems so obvious but actually, it is the most difficult part of the healing process.

Let yourself experience some suffering for a little while because it’s normal to feel sad after breaking up with someone you loved. In such way, you can reboot and prepare yourself for something new.

Change Your Routine

A lot of things will remind you of your failed relationship.

To lessen the pain from such memories, you have to change your life a little bit. Change your habits, try new things or the way how you do things. Move furniture in your flat, listen to the new trend in music, and so on.

Let’s start right now as there isn’t any room in your new life for the person who broke your heart.

Communicate with People

Don’t ever try to live off the grid after breaking up. Conversely, you have to spend more time with your relatives, friends, and people who can really support you during this crucial phase.

You can help someone in need or those struggling with pain, too. It’ll give you the chance to spend time away from your grief and self-pity.

Try Meditation

meditation

Meditation is a good technique to stop emotional pain. It heals your soul and clears your mind of negative thoughts, which weaken your emotions and hurt your being. Through meditation, you’ll reach a pleasant state where you can visualize yourself happy, loving, and joyful again.

It allows you to reverse the physiological effects of your painful heartbreak, get rid of toxic emotions, and reopen the possibility of a new relationship.

Final Thoughts

Heartbreak is terrible and there’s no doubt about it!

However, it is in your hands to make this period a little bit easier. Don’t bet on a quick fix because you’ll need time to recover. Cure your heartache and realize that there’s no turning back.

Life goes on. Accept your pain but don’t dwell on it. Meditate to reprogram your brain but don’t withdraw into your shell. With those things, you’ll easily know how to stop heartache.

The post Healing from A Heartache: How to Stop the Pain for Good appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness And What You Can Do About Them

A lot of people want to be happy, smile, and have fun in life. This means that these people are not yet happy. Otherwise, you didn’t want to be happy, right?

What a lot of people don’t take in consideration is that they have the power over their own happiness although it doesn’t always look like it.

In this article, I will help you become conscious of ways you’re sabotaging your own happiness and how to fix it.

You Let Other People Put You Down

Did your partner talk to a girl/boy you were feeling jealous of? Or did someone upset you by saying you did something wrong?

These are signs that you’re putting other people in control of your emotions. If others are in control of your feelings, you’ll feel like you’re on a roller coaster you can’t get out of. I understand that some behaviors are annoying and that there are other people in your life, but you can still be an entirely separate person from them.

I used to respond with a lot of emotions to what other people say or do. One day, I realized that it didn’t even matter if I didn’t answer. And let me tell you, it feels so good not having to respond to what other people say or do. Just mind your own business.

How To Take Control

If someone says or does something, it doesn’t mean that they’re such a person. It’s just a behavior that’s performed by that particular person. When you are aware of that, you’ll be able to separate the person from his actions.

People have their own lives and they should be able to do what they want. Everyone has a reason why they do something and it’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

So, mind your own business and live your own life. If people want to make fun of you, great. If people want to make fun of you, they have their reasons.

You’re Not Living The Life You Want

When I was 17 years old, I was working as a warehouse worker at this company for 3 months. I did not see my job as a significant one and it wasn’t hard to do. However, I found out that there was a very negative atmosphere there.

One time, I went to the canteen for a break and I heard these men, around the age of 50, talk to each other. “We only have to be here for 17 more years guys, then we can finally leave,” one said.

I was shocked.

These people didn’t like their job and were almost working there their entire lives. This guy just said he wanted to keep doing this for his lifetime (at that time) until he could go and retire.

From that day on, I made the decision to always be in tune with myself and make my decisions based on that.

If you’re living your life not the way you want and you’re not doing something about it, please take action. The only things you’ll regret in life are the risks you didn’t take.

“Suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

How To Live The Life Of Your Dreams

This is actually a pretty simple (not easy) process. First, you have to find out what you ultimately want in your life. Then, you start working towards it. Along the way, you’ll find out how you’ll get there.

You’re Not True To Yourself

This is a thing I really try to focus on in my life. It’s about being really honest with yourself about your feelings, values, and mission. Telling yourself what you’re feeling and communicating them to others can keep you accountable.

A lot of times, people talk about things but do the opposite.

For example, my dad tells me all these life lessons but he’s not living up to any of them. He used to say to me that aggression isn’t a solution to a problem but when something goes wrong, he gets mad.

“You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”

At the end of the day, there will be times when you have inner conflicts. I always say to myself that I would never give up but at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I had to give up several ventures because they just didn’t work for me.

You’ll have to find the middle ground here and not beat yourself up entirely because you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.

If you are not true to yourself, you’ll likely feel a little bit bad about yourself and this can affect your happiness. Being true to yourself means keeping your values in mind while also considering the situation.

How To Be True To Yourself

You can be true to yourself by accepting full responsibility for your life. Everything that happens to you is a consequence of your actions and thoughts.

This means that when something happens, you should always ask yourself first what you’ve done that lead to this outcome.

By taking full responsibility for your life, you’ll have all the power over your actions, thoughts, and feelings.

You Talk To Yourself In A Negative Way

talking to yourself negatively

Something I, as a perfectionist, struggle with a lot.

Do you ever notice that you’re talking yourself out of something or saying to yourself that you didn’t do enough?

This is something that happens to a lot of people. Although we may be very confident about ourselves, there’s always this inner critic that’s talking sh*t.

Telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re not meant for something or that you’re not worthy of someone.

You and I both know this is utter nonsense but at the moment, it seems very legit.

If you continuously talk yourself down, you know what it’s going to do. If you didn’t do much on a given day, or so you think, you’ll beat yourself up and say you’ll have to catch up the next day.

The next day, it will be even harder because it’s impossible to do 2 days of work in 1 day. It will lead to negative self-talk again. This opens up a cycle of negative self-talk which will only make things worse. You’ll never be proud of yourself this way.

How To End The Inner Critic

To end the inner critic, you’ll have to go through a simple step-by-step process I outlined below for you.

Step 1. Identify what your inner critic is talking about and where it comes from.

This is something separate from the real you as you only believe it because your inner critic is telling you over and over again.

Step 2. Accept that this is not the real you and change the belief you have about yourself.

Is this voice saying, “I’m ugly”?

Change it and say to yourself that you are freaking beautiful and do it with as much passion as possible. Even if you don’t believe it yet, force yourself.

Write it down if that helps.

Step 3. Repeat it consistently. Write the opposite of every inner critic’s beliefs down. Read or speak it over and over to yourself until you feel better about yourself.

Step 4. Reflect on the belief now. Do you still believe you’re ugly? Keep telling yourself that you’re beautiful because you are beautiful!

See Also: 9 Baby Steps To Happiness For The Naturally Gloomy

You’re Comparing Yourself To Others

Especially if you’re on a journey to success, you’ll look up at a lot of people who have something you want to achieve.

It’s really common for people to compare themselves and it’s one of the biggest mistakes people make. As you and I know, everyone is different and we live different lives.

If you compare your level 1 with someone else’s level 100, you bet you’re going to feel sad about your current situation.

It’s going to make you feel utterly miserable about yourself.

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

If you look at it from a mathematical standpoint, what do you think the chance is 2 people live the same life?

Having the same kind of parents and environment. Having the same experiences in life.

Even Siamese twins have different experiences.

It’s just impossible to have the same things as someone else.

With this in mind, you need to accept yourself as you are and that your life journey is different than any other life journey.

You need to go through the things you’re going through to become the best version of yourself.

Everything happens for a reason.

You Never Ask For Help

Do you always do everything on your own? Thinking you can solve everything alone?

When you’re experiencing a lot of problems, emotionally or any other way, and you don’t ask for help, you’ll have to deal with everything on your own. This is a robust process which can lead to a lot of stress and unhappiness.

Why You Should Ask For Help

Even the happiest people in the world need others to help them. If you take a look at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, he’s got a whole team of people advising him in his choices as a leader.

People who take care of his website, planning, etc.

He also talks about relationships being a vital part contributing to someone’s habits in his book ‘The Art Of Happiness’. Having people around you can really help you through the tough times.

You can reach out to them and ask them directly for help or just for company.

One thing you shouldn’t do is isolate yourself. If someone asks you to go out, go out with them. Being with another human being can make you feel consolidated.

You Keep Thinking About The Past

thinking about the past

Do you always remind yourself of the mistakes you made with a person you still think about from time to time? Or are you blaming yourself for something that has happened in the past?

If you’re living in the past, you miss the good things that are happening right in front of you. You’re keeping yourself in a negative state of mind by focusing on something that already happened.

The past is past and it can’t bring you anything. The present is your only moment and opportunity to be happy.

How To Be Present

Pause.

Breathe.

Look around. Absorb your environment, thoughts, emotions and whatever else is there.

Observe, smile, and let go.

That is all you have to do to become present.

You could call it meditation or whatever you like.

See Also: Happiness Techniques From Around The World That Can Change Your Life

Conclusion

I hope you now understand the ways you are sabotaging your own happiness and how to fix it.

You deserve to be happy.

I think it’s vital to become happy so that you can spread your happiness to others and make the world a better place.

It’s up to you now!

The post 7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness And What You Can Do About Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stop Being Lazy And Workout

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

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Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs

When it comes to fleas, prevention is much easier than trying to get rid of an infestation once they take hold. Fleas can spread rapidly from your dog to the surrounding environment and this makes it that much harder to get rid of them.

A single flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and the majority of the flea population thrives in grass and carpet. Only around five percent of the fleas present get on your pets.

There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your home, pets, family, and yard stay free of fleas.  But, what is the best way to get rid of fleas on dogs?

Do Regular Checks

regular checkup

You want to routinely check your pet for fleas at least once a week. Check under your pet’s legs, in and around his ears, and close to his skin. If you see small black moving dots, it’s a good indication that your pet might have fleas.

Groom Your Pet Routinely

Whether your dog has a long or short coat, you’ll want to set up a grooming routine. You can do it for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a week. This should be enough time for you to check your pet’s coat for fleas that may be hiding under its coat.

This routine grooming can give you time to bond with your dog, too.

Clean up Your Yard

Your yard or garden may be the root source of your flea infestation problem. Take steps to get rid of fleas in your yard and ensure that it’s a clean and safe place for your pets.

Fleas like moist and warm shaded areas with a lot of organic matter, like dead leaves or compost. Mowing your lawn and picking up debris will give fleas fewer places to live.

Get Regular Veterinarian Checkups

Not only are regular checkups good for your dog’s health, but they can also help to catch any flea problems early on. The earlier fleas are detected, the earlier treatment can get started.

Don’t Use Old Flea Preventative Products

Certain preventative products can be expensive. This extra cost is why people like to hang on to them past their expiration date. However, once a product expires, it can lose its effectiveness.

Treat Fleas All Throughout The Year

Although fleas like warm and moist environments, they can survive all throughout the year. A good preventative measure is to give your dog an oral flea medication like Comfortis for dogs. A lot of these products last one month, and they come in a soft chew so your dog won’t have a problem digesting them. They help to prevent fleas and they also kill any current infestations.

Use Citrus to Repel Fleas

If you don’t like the idea of using a medicated product to help protect your dog from fleas, try the natural route. Did you know that citrus is a natural flea repellent?

You can take a freshly squeezed orange or lemon and rub the juice into your dog’s coat. This will be safe for them to lick off and it’s effective in repelling fleas. Simply reapply it as needed.

Use Essential Oils

You can make a flea deterrent spray to put on your dog and to spray around your house using essential oils. All you have to do is mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one quart of fresh water and four or five drops of essential oils.

Flea repellent essential oils include lemongrass, cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and citronella. Spray this around your home and on your dog to repel fleas and freshen the air.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

If you find fleas on your dog or in your home, there are several easy things you can do to get rid of them.

1. Do a Deep Clean

You can deep clean your home to help control any fleas. Make sure you pay special attention to carpets, furniture, and areas where your pet likes to play or sleep. Using a citrus-based cleaner is a good idea.

2. Bathe Your Dog

flea prevention

Fleas don’t like water as it makes it difficult for them to hold on to your dog’s coat. Bathing your dog at least once a week can help you control the flea infestation. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to their shampoo or buy medicated shampoos.

3. Spray Your Yard

When you’re taking care of the fleas inside of your home, you also want to make sure you treat your yard. You can buy specialized sprays and apply them to your yard and around the outside of your house to kill any fleas. This can help prevent your dog from bringing them back inside and undoing all of your hard work.

Fleas can be a big problem that you need to prevent in any way you can. Our eight flea prevention tips can help ensure that you don’t have to go through all the hard work of stopping an infestation. This also ensures that you enjoy a happy home and a healthy dog.

The post Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Be A Great Best Man

So, your best mate is finally getting hitched. He has already popped the question to his girl and has now asked you to be his best man.

The feeling is pretty eccentric, isn’t it? After all, we rarely get to be the ‘best’ anything in our lives. Not to forget, knowing your mate values your friendship enough to choose you as his go-to guy during the most important time of his life is truly special.

Now that he’s chosen you, do you know how to be a great best man?

Being a great best man involves more than just throwing a party and crawling through a speech. In fact, experts on the topic say that you should assume that you’re the co-host of the marriage ceremony.

To give you a clearer idea, here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know and do in order to excel as the best man to your best mate:

Before the big day

Your responsibilities as the best man start well before the wedding.

Make sure everyone is on time for suit fittings

best man duties

This might not sound important to you, but it is an indispensable part of your responsibilities as the best man. Not only do you have to help the groom select his tux, you have to make sure everyone shows up on time to get fitted for their suits.

Organize an epic stag party

This is probably the reason why most men are excited to be the best man- the stag party! However, keep in mind that organizing one is easier said than done.

To begin with, make sure you talk to the groom about how or where he wants to spend his last weekend as a single person. Additionally, it is your responsibility to ensure the party fits the budget of everyone involved and that everyone will have a great time.

In case you find these things overwhelming, it is a great idea to involve professionals.

Help out with the wedding prep

Helping out with the wedding preparations doesn’t stop at picking tuxedos. It is also your responsibility to help pick the right vendors, venue, and honeymoon destination.

Whatever preparation involves the groom will probably involve you, too. That includes the rehearsal ceremony and the rehearsal dinner.

On The Big Day

best man dutyThis day is extremely crucial for the groom and it is imperative that the best man executes his duties perfectly so that everything happens seamlessly.

Travel to the venue with the groom

It is natural for the groom to be nervous on the day of the wedding. If the groom allows it, plan to get ready with him. Take a few beers along and simply spend some time with him.

The best man is the groom’s confidant. It’s his job to listen to and calm the groom when he’s questioning every life decision he has made so far.

Bear the ring

Cute little ring bearers are one hell of a crowd pleaser but please, don’t give a diamond ring to a kid! Give them a knock off to carry down the aisle and keep the real thing safe inside your jacket pocket.

Make sure the ceremony goes down smoothly

As mentioned earlier, you are the co-host of the ceremony. Make sure all vendors are doing their jobs and deal with any issues that may arise.

In some cases, the best man is required to pay the officiant. If that is the case, the groom will provide you with a sealed envelope for that.

Sign the marriage license

The maid of honor and best man sign the marriage license as witnesses to the marriage.

During the Reception

Once again, it is time to play the co-host.

The best man speech

Probably the most daunting part of being the best man, delivering a great speech is not something you want to take lightly. Here are a few tips that will help you deliver a great speech:

  • Start preparing and practicing early, unless you want your speech to turn into drunken rambling.
  • Make sure your speech is a toast and does not revolve around the groom’s humiliation. It is also a good time to remember that mentioning any ex-girlfriends or crazy night adventures is strictly off limits.
  • Keep in mind that children and elders will be hearing your speech. For this reason, it is better to go easy on roasting the groom. Keep things tasteful and your speech will be remembered for all the good reasons.

Be the life of the party

It is your job as the best man to make sure the reception party keeps going. If you feel like the guests are being hesitant, get on the dance floor and inspire them to let loose. Aside from that, don’t forget to dance with both moms!

Decorate the getaway car

This is probably the final thing you have to do as the best man. Make sure you don’t get carried away with the decorations. If you are the designated driver for the bride and the groom, make sure you stay sober till the very end.

Conclusion

Being the best man is not easy. However, it is a tradition that must be upheld with ownership and responsibility. If you have done everything perfectly, it is time to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

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Taking The Mystery Out of Life: Why Humor Is Important

In one of his books, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.

Some persons attribute the quote to Einstein. Others reach back and give Buddha credit.

Regardless of who said it, there is really no middle ground where some things are miraculous and others, well, not so much. Too many people fall into the middle ground. Others believe in the existence of miracles as really taking place- if only rarely. Some are more jaded than others.

Plenty of people prefer to live with a sense of wonder because it’s more fun.

Life and everything in it are mysterious. Even tangible items, like science, is easier to understand than exploring life. Biology allows us to observe what is happening.

In life, we become active participants. We can only wonder how life works and accept the results with a touch of humor. We lean towards taking ourselves too seriously.

But, do you know why humor is important?

Keeping A Sense Of Humor

sense of humor

Life can’t be serious all the time and humor goes a long way in easing the pain. Being able to laugh is healthy for everyone.

When used correctly, humor can even defuse tense situations.

In a relationship, humor has been recognized as vitally important. Cultivating humor in a relationship requires both individuals to remain respectful. Marriage is not a stand-up routine or a witty repartee. A good marriage is two people playing with words where humor is not used as a weapon.

Contented people approach life and love with a finely tuned sense of humor. This isn’t about making jokes that rival Jimmy Fallon. It’s about seeing the funny side of being alive and reveling in everpresent humor. Life can be ironic, fun, and entertaining.

When you share humorous observations and are able to be silly and non-serious together, you’re open and vulnerable. You’re showing you are comfortable in your own skin and at ease with your partner.

There will be challenges and obstacles in life.

When a couple finds humor, things go much smoother. It may take some effort, but that’s alright. A sense of humor can keep the world balanced even if things feel like they are flying apart at the seams.

humor in relationships

See Also: 3 Ways To Inject More Humor Into Your Relationship

In a particularly challenging situation, you can make light of it and find humor. It’s a means of enjoying and appreciating each other’s support and company even in a position that is mostly crappy. Comedy is a form of relief in a stressful situation.

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life,” wrote William Arthur Ward, an American writer.

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Depression Is A Myth: 4 Simple Reasons Why You Think So

It’s easy to understand why depression is a myth for most people. Unlike cancer which has physical symptoms that you can easily relate to, the symptoms of depression aren’t easy to recognize.

What exactly is depression?

depression

Depression, also called depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a mood disorder that affects your basic activities. It affects how you sleep, think, handle situations and the way you relate to others. Depression can also make you suddenly lose interest in things that would normally bring you pleasure.

See Also: Social Media Causing Depression and Anxiety: Is It True?

Why You Think Depression Is A Myth

Quite a lot of people think depression is a myth and you just might be one of them. Below are some possible reasons why.

You have never been a victim

This, I believe, is the number one reason why you think depression is a myth. Experience is the best teacher and this is particularly true in this case.

There are over 300 million people worldwide suffering from depression. They all have their respective stories to tell.

These people believe depression is real simply because they have lived through it or are still experiencing it. They understand what it means to not be in control of your mood, to suddenly hate the things you used to love and to have sudden suicidal thoughts.

You have no personal relationship with someone experiencing depression

A mother who had to watch her child go through depression will never think of depression as a myth. You, on the other hand, would believe depression is a myth because you have never watched someone you know go through the agony of depression.

It’s usually easy to disprove a thing or not believe in it when it has no direct effect on you.

You confuse sadness with depression

sadness not depression

As humans, it is perfectly fine to feel sad at various times- your favorite team lost a perfectly fine match, your favorite designer ruined a dress you love, your relationship isn’t going all too well.

In each of those situations, it’s perfectly fine to feel sad for a few days. Depression, however, is totally different.

Unlike sadness, depression does not stay for a few days. It stays for weeks or months and even years. And the crazy thing about it is that you can feel depressed without a single reason.

You have zero idea what depression means

It is quite easy to consider depression as a myth when you have no idea what it means.

A kid believes Santa is real simply because the kid doesn’t fully understand the things that are going on. The same principle goes with depression but with a little adjustment.

Instead of believing like a kid, you don’t believe depression exists because you do not understand what it is.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

Don’t be ignorant of the truth. Just because you say something isn’t true, that doesn’t make it any less true. You might consider depression a myth, but it’s not.

If you still can’t comprehend, talk to people who have gone through it. Try to get a feel of what it truly means or do a little research and get your self up to date.

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11 Really Effective Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Anxiety

No one can evade stress completely but you may resist it by mastering a relaxation method. Relaxation techniques can decrease the level of anxiety and bring your body into a state of equilibrium.

Apart from producing a balancing effect, relaxation also magnifies energy and concentration. It helps overcome illnesses, alleviates pain and enhances problem-solving abilities and motivation.

By following the relaxation techniques to relieve anxiety below, you’ll be able to get all those benefits and more:

Breathing meditation

Deep respiration is a simple but powerful relaxation method. Using it, you focus on the so-called “cleansing of wind”.

The key to understanding the practice is to breathe only out of the peritoneum, capturing as much fresh air as possible. When you inhale deeply, you draw a lot of oxygen. The more of it you get, the less your tension and anxiety will be.

Breathing techniques are easy to do almost everywhere. You can combine it with aromatherapy or you can listen to music.

See Also: Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes

Rhythmical movements

Rhythmical movements are exercises for arms and legs. It can be running, walking, swimming, dancing, rowing or climbing. These movements are only efficient if they are used in conjunction with “full awareness”.

The latter requires full involvement into the present moment and focusing your consciousness on the sensations of your body. So, when you jog, try to concentrate on each step.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This is a process where you systematically strain and relax different muscle groups. With regular practice, you will gain in-depth knowledge of how tension and total relaxation are felt by the different parts of your body. This awareness will help you notice and counteract the first signs of muscle pressure which accompanies strain.

“Full awareness” meditation

Full awareness meditation is where you remain aware of your “short-term” experiences, both internal and external. Past memories and thoughts about the present and the future may provoke strain. By remaining calm at the moment, you can bring your nervous system into balance.

Visualization

Also known as controlled imagination, visualization is a special version of a conservative meditation that involves the use of all sensory organs.

For this , you should choose any environment you like and become its guest. It is essential that it maximally soothes you. It can be a tropical beach or a favorite place where you liked to stay when you were a kid. You can try the exercise in silence or when listening to music.

Yoga

Yoga refers to the series of movements and static poses accompanied by deep breathing. Besides reducing anxiety, it will help you increase flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance.

If you practice it regularly, it will enhance your ability to remain relaxed even during stressful times. Since there’s always the possibility of experiencing injuries, it is better to attend classes with a professional trainer.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Audible stimulation or music therapy

Depending on your personal preferences, sounds for relaxation may be based on natural phenomena like the wind, waves or rain. It can also be rhythmically monotonous noises with musical instruments.

Your other choices include classical, original and specially written musical compositions and instrumentals. You can also perform audible stimulation with voiced texts.

Tai Tzu

Tai Tzu is a series of slow, measured, and smooth movements aimed at concentrating, relaxing and stimulating conscious circulation of vital energy through the whole body. It is considered a safe way to eliminate stress for people of all ages and any physical fitness level.

Physiotherapy

A bath filled with warm water can help ease up stress. This method is effective because of the density of the liquid. It allows you to remove muscle tension, put pressure on soft tissues, help restore blood supply and improve lymph drainage.

Various methods of physiotherapy, such as pearl baths, hydromassage, toning showers, and Charcot’s shower, are based on the properties of water. One of the new ways of unwinding – floating – is based on sensory deprivation.

In this method, a person goes inside a closed chamber where there are no sounds or visual stimuli. He is placed in a state of almost weightlessness due to the high density of salt water.

With good equipment, the chamber is a highly effective way of achieving maximum muscle and psycho-emotional relaxation.

Massage

A lot of techniques were originally based on Eastern spiritual and religious foundations. After a period of adaptation to the European culture, some esoteric components of the Chinese, Japanese, and Indian systems have been subjected to changes. As a result, corporal practices became the most popular today.

One of them is Qigong massage. It’s performed by a specialist who reacts to the response of the patient’s body.

Postisometric relaxation

Postisometric relaxation is based on the combination of an isometric load on the muscles and its subsequent inert stretching. This combination must be carried out 4 to 6 times, until the disappearance of painful feelings.

Contraindications to the technique include skin inflammation, poor health, headaches, pulmonary insufficiency, hypertension, vein thrombosis and cardiac arrhythmia.

In Conclusion

The best relaxation techniques to relieve anxiety will depend on your goals and personal preferences. But remember that the best way to start is to include them in your daily routine.

Of course, it’s hard to find time in most people’s tight schedule but many of these techniques are easy to practice while doing other things. You could meditate on your way to work or while waiting for a meeting. You can apply “full awareness’ while you’re playing with your dog, going to your car or climbing the stairs. The most important thing is the desire to do them and understanding their usefulness.

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Eight Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Health Insurance

Health insurance can be expensive, but not having it can be an even bigger mistake. Did you know that the average cost of an emergency room visit in the United States can cost upwards of $1,233 per visit. If you don’t have insurance, you could end up paying this bill out of your own pocket. There are several common mistakes people make when it comes to your health insurance, and you don’t want to make them if you can help it.

Picking Health Insurance with a Low Premium

good health insurance plan

With health insurance, your premium is the amount you pay each year for your healthcare before your insurance covers the rest. A lower premium means that you’ll pay more for any co-pays or deductibles after you have the services. A higher premium means that you pay more upfront, but the costs go down once you pay it.

If you’re generally healthy and if you have a decent financial cushion that can handle a more significant medical bill, you may benefit from having a lower premium. If you have ongoing health issues, a higher premium may be better because it’ll reduce the costs of your visit expenses.

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

You Only Use Employer Health Insurance

Insurance through your employer might be a most cost-effective option, and it might seem like the best deal upfront. If you’re relatively healthy, you can usually find cheaper options because the employer’s insurance rates are based on their employee’s average health statistics. It is essential that you shop around and compare health insurances.

Additionally, many employer health plans cover routine doctor visits and even emergency room costs, but they might not have vision or dental options. It’s essential that you shop around and look at your employer’s plan to see what services it’ll cover and which ones you’ll have to pay for.

Not Reading all of the Fine Print

Health insurance can be very dry and difficult to understand. This is why a lot of people don’t read it, and they assume that whatever they have done will be covered by their insurance plan. This isn’t always the case, and you could get a nasty surprise in the form of a large bill.

The fine print on your insurance information will tell you everything you need to know about your plan. It’ll let you know whether or not specific services are covered, what your co-pays are, what percentage of hospital stays the insurance will cover per day, and how much you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance picks up the rest.

Don’t Find out if You Have an HMO or a PPO Plan

HMO insurances have strict in-network and out-of-network fees they can charge. It also dictates which doctor, clinic, or hospital you can visit and have your insurance pay for it. A PPO plan is more flexible, and it lets you choose your doctor or clinic, and it can also be more lenient with in-network and out-of-network care.

A POS plan is a hybrid plan of the HMO and PPO plans. These types of programs let you see out-of-network doctors and clinics, but they usually require that your primary care doctor gives you a referral so you can go to them.

Skipping Health Insurance Because You Never See the Doctor

health-insurance-benefits

Life and accidents happen, and your health is one thing that you don’t want to be unprepared for. This is especially true because healthcare costs continue to climb, and even routine doctor visits can cost you over $150 per visit.

If you decide not to get insurance and you need medical care, you’ll most likely have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. Many insurance companies refuse to backdate their services, so you’re out of luck and on the hook for the full bill amount.

Ignoring Your Flex Spending Account

Many employers let you set aside a percentage of your check into a flexible spending account tax-free. These flexible spending accounts help you pay for medical bills that your insurance won’t cover. These non-covered services could include eyeglasses, dental, emergency room visits, co-pays, prescriptions, and deductibles.

Your flexible spending account can also help you reduce the amount you claim on your yearly taxes. If you have a taxable income of $80,000 each year, your annual tax amount is 15 percent or $16,000. If you’ve managed to save $3,000 in your flexible spending account, your taxable income goes down to $77,000. The amount the government claims as taxes drop as well.

Not Having Prescription Drug Coverage

Did you know that a lot of insurance plans don’t cover prescription drugs? While this may not be a big deal if you don’t take them regularly, they add up quickly. Certain prescription costs have gone up by as much as 10 percent, and you don’t want to get stuck paying for these on your own.

Take a look at your current policy and see if it covers the medications you routinely take. You might have to call your insurance company and ask about your specific medications, especially if they’re more expensive. You could also ask your doctor if any generic versions of your medicines exist because they’re usually cheaper.

Not Renewing Your Insurance Each Year

Almost every health insurance plan requires you to renew it once a year. State plans may require a renewal every six months. Make sure that you don’t forget about your annual or semi-annual renewal paperwork. If you don’t get it, call your insurance company.

Once your insurance lapses, it may be difficult to get it active again for the same price or on the same plan you had before. If you have medical services during the time your insurance lapses, it may not backdate and cover those services. This could cost you a lot of money and drain your finances.

These eight health insurance mistakes are very common, and you want to avoid them at all costs. Your health is important, and you want to make sure that you can get the care you need when you need it.

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A Simple Guide to Understanding Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency market has grown. It has gone far compared to its status when it was just starting way back 2009. According to the updated list of Investing.com, there are 1,890 cryptocurrencies available in the market.

By now, you’re probably wondering what those cryptocurrencies are. Guess what?

If that’s the case, then this article is for you. This will give you a better understanding of cryptocurrency and the following:

  • The main types of cryptocurrency
  • The top cryptocurrencies and their differences
  • Pros and cons of each cryptocurrency

What is Cryptocurrency?

The prefix “crypto-” originally stands for cryptography. It is a technology that stores information to keep attackers away from malicious undertakings.

If you will connect cryptography to your history class, Allied Forces in WWII used to apply it to send and receive confidential and secret messages. Nowadays, computer technicians utilize cryptography in a lot of different ways. One of them gave birth to cryptocurrency.

You can’t examine the history of cryptocurrency without first beginning with blockchain. It was started by Satoshi Nakamoto for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transaction using Bitcoin. Blockchain gave the response to digital trust since it records imperative data publicly and doesn’t enable anybody to expel it. It’s transparent, time-stamped, and decentralized. Everyone can access it with the use of the internet.

With cryptocurrency, people don’t have to entrust their wealth to a single company such as a bank to handle their money. Banks are centralized while cryptocurrency is decentralized and runs by blockchain technology. Blockchain serves as a public ledger which enables tracking transactions while maintaining the anonymity of the parties involved.

Three Main Types of Cryptocurrency

bitcoin

Bitcoin

It is the first one to use blockchain in 2009. A person under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto started it as a way to digitally and anonymously pay for goods and services between two parties without the use of third-parties to verify transactions. Several years passed, Bitcoin’s primary role is for goods and services trading. In 2013 to 2014, it boomed. It slowed down its pace and soared up again in 2017 until today. Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency made in history.

Altcoin

“Alternative Coin” to Bitcoin, it means that any cryptocurrency aside from bitcoin is considered as altcoin. And there are thousands of it available in the market. Altcoins came after the success of Bitcoin. More often, it presents as a better version of Bitcoin. Numerous altcoins are endeavoring to focus on any apparent constraints that Bitcoin has and thought of coming up with newer versions and competitive advantages.

Token

Some people find tokens generally fascinating. In contrast with the other two, tokens are special because they don’t have a particular blockchain. They are used to make purchases on Decentralized Applications. They also provide specific advantages like discounts. The dApps are built for the use of smart contracts which is why they use tokens.

Tokens have a value and that is the reason why people get them. Some purchase tokens to offer them later at a higher cost rather than get and utilize them right away on a dApp.

To transact using dApp, you must have Ether or NEO to make the necessary purchases. Other dApps are built on other blockchains like ETH or NEO. The nodes on the said altcoin blockchains still verify the token transactions. This means that the transaction fee is still paid using ETH or NEO and not with the token itself.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners: How Can You Get Started?

Well-Known Cryptocurrencies in the Market

well known cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin

Pros

  • There are only 21 million Bitcoins.

There are only 21 million bitcoins to be mined in total. Since 17 million is already in circulation, the remaining 4 million bitcoins can be seen as a shortage for crypto enthusiasts.

This is actually a good thing. If there’s a lot of Bitcoin fans who want more of it despite the low supply, they’ll have to pay more just to get their hands on them. This can dramatically increase the price of Bitcoins.

  • It is easier to exchange than the other types.

It means that Bitcoin is easier and faster to convert into cash.

  • Bitcoin is acceptable in almost all stores than any other cryptocurrencies.

Hundreds of online sellers accept payments in the form of bitcoin. It is good for larger transactions because there is no charging on taxes. It also has lower transaction fees. Bitcoin has already established its name and that is why the trust and acceptance rating from the market is high.

  • It’s the biggest cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is the king of all kings. It’s in charge of about 40% of the market. This domination means that Bitcoin has a huge liquidity and it has already established its name to public knowledge. Users do not have to worry about the malicious activities concerning cryptocurrency.

Cons

  • Fluctuation happens a lot. The price of Bitcoin changes almost every day. Actually, Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange based in Shibuya, Japan collapsed and filed for bankruptcy due to Bitcoin’s price falling up to 50%.
  • A better cryptocurrency may replace Bitcoin. Hundreds of altcoins and many are still coming up. Bitcoin has been in the market for 10 years and any of the newer and advanced cryptocurrency may eventually replace the king crypto since there are other cryptocurrencies researching for advanced features than Bitcoin can offer.
  • It’s being used for crime. Many scammers are using the identity of popular celebrities or personalities to mislead others. Some fans of the artists are being victimized because they don’t know that accounts used for solicitation are fake ones.

Ethereum

Ethereum allows people to create dApps, tokens, and even smart contracts.

Pros

  • People who use Ethereum-built dApps will constantly require Ether.
    They’ll need it for the transaction fees as dApps run on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • There are newer projects on Ethereum.
    Arcade City, an app for P2P ride sharing where drivers and users are matched together, is being built now under Ether. An application, just like torrent, a file-sharing software called IPFS, will be launching soon. Ujo Music, a decentralized music platform where artists are being paid directly is also under construction. More projects concerning Ethereum will come soon and crypto fans shall stay tuned.
  • Speed. It only takes a couple of seconds to complete a transaction process in Ethereum. That is in contrast to Bitcoin which takes a minimum of 10 minutes.

Cons

  • Ether coins supply is greater than Bitcoin.
    This means that the scarcity for ETH is far from reality due to the fact that there’s a huge availability of the coins compared to Bitcoin.

Ripple

Ripple makes bank payments quicker which is why it’s considered as the banker’s coin.

Pros

  • Well-known companies have confidence in Ripple. There are financial organizations that have developed a partnership with Ripple. This is why it can be considered as a better alternative for you in the finance world. Gaining trust from the government, it has already manifested its power and influence.

Cons

  • Ripple is not decentralized. Ripple Labs, the company behind it, owns the majority of the tokens (XRP). They have power over it and if ever they want to, they have the power to sell all the tokens they have. This will definitely send the price down.

Litecoin

The blockchain for Litecoin was once a part of the Bitcoin blockchain. It split up when the update of Litecoin came. It has similarities with Bitcoin but Litecoin has distinct features.

It’s the first cryptocurrency to utilize the Lightning Network. It fixes issues concerning cryptocurrencies like scalability. It can process a lot of transactions in a matter of seconds.

Pros

  • Much faster and costs less than Bitcoin. Litecoin transactions only take seconds, just like Ethereum.

Cons

  • It’s only slightly better than Bitcoin. Litecoin won’t be that useful if Bitcoin improves into cheaper and faster transactions.

Lastly, taking the time to get a better understanding of cryptocurrencies is one way to know what you can get and what you can risk from using them.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

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How to Stop Smoking For Good

Everyone knows that smoking’s a bad habit. It costs a lot of money and it’s unhealthy for those around you. It’s also one of the leading causes of cancer.

It’s safe to say that there are plenty of reasons you want to quit. But, to actually tackle such a feat is as difficult as you imagine.

Nicotine is the most common substance Americans are dependent on and it’s been claimed to be as addictive as heroin.

Of the 35 million people in the U.S. who attempt to quit a year, around 85% relapse- usually within a month. With that, here are some of the most effective tips on how to stop smoking for good.

Allow Withdrawals Symptoms to Take Their Course

One of the hardest parts of quitting is the withdrawal symptoms. Many who experience them find the experience miserable. This is due to the flu-like symptoms that the body must go through in order to rid the brain of its nicotine dependency.

Though your withdrawals aren’t going to be easy, they don’t have to be as bad as some make it out to be. It’s remarkable when you consider how it’ll take less than a week to physically undo all that smoking has done to your body.

As you go through this week, keep in mind all the good that will come out of it and all the benefits one little week can bring you. If you can keep yourself open-minded through this process, you’re less likely to get those miserable cravings.

Distractions

coffee distraction

It’s only natural for your body and brain to want more nicotine. The best way to make sure you don’t give in to the temptation is to keep yourself distracted.

It’s different for everyone. Some find a cup of coffee during break helpful. Others find puzzles like Sudoku keep them more focused.

Try anything that works for you. This might take some experimenting but I promise, you will find something. You may even just find a new habit you didn’t expect yourself to enjoy.

Avoid the Substitutes

There are a variety of nicotine substitutes that are meant to ease you off of the substance. These include electronic cigarettes, nicotine gum and patches, and nasal sprays.

However, it’s greatly recommended you avoid them at all costs. At the end of the day, they’ll only be giving you the craving you’re trying to avoid. They’ll only push back your withdrawals.

With substitutes, there’s also the idea that you’re making a sacrifice. By consuming nicotine in smaller doses, you’re making the chemical seem precious.

Never forget that quitting is a choice and you’ve made this choice for a very important reason. Remember why you made that reason and let it ease you through your cravings.

Relax the Body and Exercise the Mind

effect of meditation

Many smokers often find themselves wanting a cigarette break after doing a laborious task. Usually, it’s a means of unwinding. When this becomes a habit, you’ll find yourself associating moments of relaxation with nicotine.

Just as with the distractions mentioned above, you’re going to need new habits which can make you feel at ease. Some find meditation to be a great technique while others prefer deep breathing exercises.

Just as with cigarettes, both methods are a way of loosening up your muscles and allowing your head to feel more present at the moment.

See Also: Spiritual Pointers for Quitting a Bad Habit

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

The good majority of Americans run on a fixed schedule week in and week out.

With the same environment and routine playing over and over again, you might find quitting more difficult.

Exploring new places in the area you live in is another way to keep your mind off of smoking. Whether this is a new restaurant, park or a new street, the change in environment can do a lot for your brain.

If you can take a trip somewhere far, that’s even better. A new place will offer you a sense of excitement and might just take you out of your comfort zones.

Seek Out Support

The most efficient way for you to stay on track is to keep looking at those you care about the most. Not only is a support team a great way to keep yourself from smoking, but they’ll also provide you with assistance when times seem low.

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine out there. There’s no better source for it than those who’re already around you.

You’d be surprised how far a simple conversation can go. Many who have quit claim that just talking to someone helped distract them from reaching for another pack.

In instances where you are at work and on a break, a phone call can be the difference between sufficiently quitting or going back to the same habit.

See Also: Where to Find Friends and Support During Addiction Recovery

Pick the Date

You have a goal and want to make it a reality. Don’t wait until the moment feels right. Pick the date you will no longer be a cigarette smoker.

With a specific time frame in mind, you’re creating an objective for yourself- something to look forward to and work towards.

Some people need up to a month while others only need a couple of weeks. Regardless of your preference, figure out a plan and a deadline for yourself.

In Conclusion

Whether that be easing off cigarettes or finding the right people for support, this whole process relies solely on time.

It’s going to take time for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. And it’s going to take time for your brain to understand that you’re no longer a smoker.

Studies show that the majority of people relapse within their first month after quitting cold turkey.

That’s because your brain is hardwired on expecting cigarettes during certain moments of your schedule. Even after physical withdrawals, your mentality anticipates another burst of nicotine.

As I’ve mentioned above, you need to find new habits in order to get over this mentality.

However, simply starting these new habits isn’t enough. You need to work on them and push yourself in ways you might not have expected.

It’s one thing to find distractions. It’s another to act upon new habits.

This is something you might want to plan out before the arrival of the date you’ve set for quitting.

With that, I wish you the best of luck and congratulate you on your decision to quit.

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How to Pursue Your Purpose and Overcome Your Limitations

Purposeful living is the beginning of self-actualization. Defining your purpose that’s aligned with a burning desire is the key to success.

Now, what does success mean to you?

How you define success determines your eagerness to find your purpose. Successful people overcome limitations by mixing thoughts with definiteness of purpose. They are not afraid of taking action and when faced with setbacks, they never quit.

Successful people pursue their purpose and overcome their limitation because they have cured themselves of the “excuse” disease. They never make up excuses why they can’t, why they do not, and why they aren’t.

To effectively pursue your purpose, you need to treat and cure the “excuse” disease effectively. You have to go through a mental cleansing process and get rid of the excuse disease. When you face challenges, avoid the temptation to use your lack of education, age, bad luck or family background as excuses.

This is how to pursue your purpose and overcome your limitations:

Kill the “no brains” excuse

Most people around us have this internal feeling that they aren’t intelligent enough to pursue their purpose and succeed. Most of the time, it all comes down to how they think. They downplay their brainpower and overestimate the brainpower of others.

I want you to understand that it is not how much knowledge you have that matters but how you put that knowledge to use.

To pursue your purpose and overcome your limitations, you have to understand that enthusiasm and interest are factors you have to seriously consider. Therefore, to overcome the “no brains” excuse, having the right attitude and willpower to finish what you’ve started is important. This way, you are sure to successfully pursue your purpose than those with intelligence alone.

Develop the willpower to stick with whatever you are doing presently until it is completed.

Overcome the “age” excuse

Sometimes, you’ll find people who fail to pursue their purpose by using their age as an excuse. As a result, they lose the opportunity to try something new.

Age is in the mind and to overcome your limitations, you have to learn how to let go of the age excuse. No time is late or early to pursue your purpose. You have to learn to try something new at any point in your life.

You have to develop the power of belief inside you so as to be able to overcome the aged feeling.

Muster all the strength you can, tell yourself you can overcome your limitations, and be successful.

Here is how you can overcome the age excuse:

  • Do what you really want to do at any point in time. Never think that  you should have begun years ago. It’s only late when you allow your mind to think it’s late.
  • Always be enthusiastic about the future and practice looking forward to it.

Finally, there is no better time than now to pursue and overcome your limitations. Nothing happens by accident and we do not become successful by making excuses. You will find success in pursuing your purpose and overcoming your limitations if you only look for reasons why you can and not why you can’t.

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How To Survive A Broken Heart

I get asked how to survive a broken heart all the time and my response is always the same: piña coladas. This is why I am a relationship expert. I know so much about love that I can change Cupid’s diapers (he poops little peanut butter cups.)

This is a non-gender specific advice. If you’re a woman who has been done wrong, put that pint of ice cream down and pick up a piña colada. If you’re a man who’s been rejected, turn down the heavy metal music you’re playing and turn up the rum, pineapple juice, and coconut milk.

I’m not saying you should go out and drink so much you wake up fully clothed in the bathtub with a slice of pizza stuck to your face. Just simply use a piña colada as an airbag to create the collision a break-up creates. This famous tropical drink can transform the brass knuckles of rejection into marshmallow peeps.

It’s not a cure but a shortcut back to the highway of love.

Did he say “It’s not you, it’s me?” Has he ignored your last 15 texts?

Stop acting like there’s an alien lizard or worm living in your chest and you have minutes to live. This sucks but don’t insult the human heart. Thinking that it can’t take grief is like thinking the sky can’t support the stars. Just do what I tell you to do. Order a piña colada at a bar where there’s a jukebox playing funky tunes- a bar where there are members of the opposite sex so you can do some window shopping.

Touch with your eyelashes. But I seriously encourage chatting, winking, and making out. Every time two human beings kiss, a flower blooms somewhere in the world. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s a nice thought. I have never regretted making out with someone, only not making out.

how to deal a broken heart

It helps to think of your heart as a piece of steel- not chocolate or flesh or crepe paper. A shiny ball of steel which has a breaking point.

But have you ever seen steel forged?

It’s heated in a volcano hot furnace until it glows white. It’s so hot, the hard steel is malleable. Then, it’s hammered and smashed into shape.

Two pieces are clobbered to form one whole piece and then the steel is dumped into the water. Once it’s cool, it becomes extremely hard.

I’ve had my heart broken many, many times. And each time, I ended up stronger. My furnace? A piña colada. Maybe some Patsy Cline, a new friend for that moment.

Normally, as a dude, I don’t drink cocktails. I like my liquor to be liquor-flavored. My favorite beer is in a can. Cocktails seem to be designed to obscure the taste of liquor as if I drink it for the delicious flavor. I drink whiskey because, after a long day, I like my toes to be warm.

Adult beverages should not taste like candy. Cocktails are fundamentally dishonest, booze dressed up like Rainbow Brite. I don’t begrudge a lady who wants to enjoy a fruity drink, like an Appletini, a Chocolatini or Cheesecaketini. I’ll be having a bourbon.

However, I do make one exception to this rule: piña colada. If I get dumped, I shuffle right up to the bar and order a piña colada. Coconut mug? Yes. Umbrellas? Two. Cherries, orange slices, and pineapple chunks skewered on a plastic sword? Please.

Piña coladas taste like the beach. The ocean is just one giant, salty tear.

She cries with you and calms your fever with a frosty wet kiss. A piña colada is a vacation in a blender. It’s a sweet bubble. I have seen cowboys with faces hanging longer than curtains order a piña colada and five minutes later, you can see their hearts melting.

pina colada for a broken heart

All it takes is one. So, do it. If there’s a song coming, sing it. Can’t sing? Everybody can sing. The Power of the Colada compels you! Stomp your feet. Clap your hands. Unleash the Kraken!

You know how they say time heals all wounds? Piña colada can do the same thing. It heals and reinforces them. My heart is made out of airplanes and suspension bridges and ninja swords.

Final Thoughts

I know other relationship writers have tons of advice on this topic. But I’m inclined to think that advice is crap if it doesn’t involve a night where you force yourself to shower, put on pants without elastic waistbands, and venture out into public- actual public and not Facebook.

Facebook is not public. It’s a fun little website where advertisers own your private life and then sell it back to you. Public, as in, inhaling the molecules of other human beings. If your heart is currently broken and you’re of drinking age, then I insist that you enjoy a piña colada. Just drink responsibly and eat the fruit. It’s good for you.

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About Dementia: The Silent Epidemic

Despite the notable dips in life expectancy in the United States in recent years, humans’ overall life expectancy is up. A hundred years ago, life expectancy in the U.S. was 48.3 for men and 51.1 for women. That is, of course, factoring in the exceedingly high rate of infant mortality people experienced back then.

Today, most people live well beyond childhood, their childbearing years, and even retirement. With this uptick in life expectancy has come an uptick in age-related illnesses. This makes it important that you do your research about dementia well.

What Is Dementia?

Part of the problem with treating and even diagnosing dementia is that it is not just a single condition with a single cause. The three most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell which kind of dementia a patient has until after death when the brain can be examined.

Common warning signs of dementia include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty with speech and communication
  • Loss of focus or attention
  • Decreased vision
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased reasoning skills

Dementia Is Incredibly Common

dementia

Between the ages of 65 and 74, your chance of developing dementia is only 3%. Once you make it to 75, your chances increase dramatically. That’s 17% between 75 and 84 years of age. When you hit 85, your chance of developing dementia jumps to a staggering 32%.

There are currently at least ten different known forms of dementia and post-mortem studies suggest that only 49% of diagnoses are correct. To make matters worse, any form of treatment is incredibly complicated, thanks to the blood-brain barrier which keeps foreign objects and organisms out of the brain.

New treatments seek to circumvent this issue using ultrasound technology. For now, making patients and their families as comfortable as possible is the greatest concern.

We Need Better Dementia Care Now

If we can’t cure or even treat dementia effectively, then we should exert more effort in making sure that patients can live a life as dignified as possible. We all know that dementia care is expensive. One study found that it was 80% more expensive than caring for someone with cancer.

Unfortunately, many people don’t plan for their life once they become older. This can leave loved ones scrambling to figure out how to care for them with a limited budget. The most basic care can cost $70,000 per year.

Higher quality care can lead to better patient outcomes for dementia patients. Choosing a facility with a lot of green space and residences that appear normal can encourage independent behavior. Those green spaces can even cut down aggression, a natural reaction of a dementia patient when he can’t make sense of the world around him.

Making the patient’s surroundings as familiar as possible can also cut down on confusion and make them feel more at home. Some nursing homes even make their patients’ door look like the ones they have at home.

A nursing home in Germany did something ingenious to help their residents who suffer from dementia. They carefully studied patients who tried to run away and realized one very important thing: they all headed to the bus stop first.

Their solution was to build a fake bus stop in front of the nursing home so that when a patient couldn’t be persuaded not to leave, they would have a place to go and calm down. Oftentimes, staff would accompany them to the bus stop and escort them back into the building.

See Also: Exercise Your Mind and Reduce Your Risk of Dementia With These 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Humane Treatment Is Imperative

Dementia has to be a very frustrating experience for a patient. Could you imagine literally being locked up in your old age? Encouraging greater independence and trying to give the patient something familiar to cling to are very important steps toward giving dementia patients greater peace of mind.

Learn more about the need for better dementia care from this infographic!
”Understanding
Source: Executor.org

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Top 5 Signs You Might Need Help with Alcohol Addiction

America is facing an addiction crisis much larger than any generation before. Now, the drugs are harder and smarter but some old ways of getting high seem to continuously plague the human population.

Alcohol has been used for hundreds of years as a relaxant and a depressive drug. For some people though, it isn’t just about having a good time but it’s something they end up living for and throwing away their lives for.

Here are the top 5 symptoms of drinking problem you need to know about:

Day drinking

If you need a drink before the drugstore is legally allowed to sell you a six-pack, it’s generally a good sign you might need to look into your decisions. Vacations are fine but when you feel the need to drink outside of traditional lunch and dinner hours, you might want to take another look at your habits.

It’s not just a solo cup but a solo night

Drinking alone is one of the biggest tips that you might be bordering on a problem. Social drinking is something that many consider as healthy. If you find the need to drown your sorrows in a bottle of tequila while watching Grey’s Anatomy, you might either be a very devoted Grey’s fan or you might have some soul searching to do.

You change your plans to drink

Canceling on people at the last minute and bailing on plans is a sign that you prioritize your bottle of beer over social engagements. If you find yourself doing this consistently, then it’s worth a second look.

You’re using money you don’t have for your beer budget

When you can’t pay for something but choose to buy it anyway, know that you have a problem with alcohol. The truth is that many alcoholics build up their debt and money troubles this way. It can only steamroll into other issues down the road.

People tell you there is a problem

If someone stops and asks if you have a problem, then you probably have a problem. The occasional drunken night is not the same as an entire week with you passed out.

All kidding aside, addiction is a serious problem. It should be addressed and treated with the help of a trained medical professional.

See Also: Can You Curb Alcohol Addiction In Its Early Stage?

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Tops Tips In Choosing A Place to Live

If choosing a place to live in was easy, everyone would love where they live. However, a surprising number of people do not. The Place and Happiness survey conducted by American urban studies theorist Richard Florida and the Gallup Organization found that one-third of 28,000 respondents felt either ambivalent or unhappy about where they live.

According to the May 7, 2018 USA Today article, millennials skip starter houses to land their dream homes. Millennials are making their first home their forever home.

But, what happens when these first-time home buyers discover their forever home is not in their forever location? How can millennials and others avoid the costly relocation?

millennials forever home

See Also: Here’s What Millennials Want When They Buy A Home

Choosing a place to live is the most expensive life decision many of us make. It’s a decision that gets even costlier financially and emotionally when we find out after relocating that the place we selected is a bad fit. That’s why it’s vital for everyone to invest serious time into designing their life before investing serious money into their forever home.

Place is integral to our happiness because where we live influences every other aspect of our lives. Richard Florida writes in his book Who’s Your City?, “The place we choose to live…can determine the income we earn, the people we meet, the friends we make, the partners we choose, and the options available to our children and families.”

whos your city richard florida

Choosing your location

In choosing your location, you need to assess and identify your needs, preferences, priorities and short- and long-term goals. Then, you assess the features you’ll need in a place to support the life you envision. Finally, use that information to guide your online research and evaluation of prospective locations.

What should be a straightforward process becomes complicated as soon as you go online and find “best” place lists, report cards, livability scores, reviews, and opinions. Those data are often inaccurate and irrelevant, derailing your most focused research effort.

Choosing where to live is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. It carries the same weight as choosing a partner and a job. While centralized resources are readily available to help you search and find compatible partners and jobs online, there are no resources to help you find your forever location.

Centralized resources are essential to help us find, analyze, and evaluate information online. That way, we can easily identify prospective locations that can match our needs, preferences, priorities, and goals. Without those tools, we’re left to figure out things on our own.

For millennials who are hoping to find their forever home on the first go, it’s important to be involved as much as possible in the process. Finding, gathering and evaluating the information needed to make the right decision requires the right planning and research tools. That’s why I’ve made it my goal to design and make these tools available to take the guesswork out of people’s search and allow them to find their happy place quicker and easier.

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4 Simple Steps To Landing Your Dream Job

Aaron is a fresh college graduate looking to land his first full-time job. He studied Finance in college and has been researching companies in the Phoenix area for available entry-level finance positions. Aaron worked as a server throughout college but he doesn’t have much relevant experience in the financial industry. He’s new to the job hunting process and doesn’t know where to begin his search. What can Aaron do to increase his chances of landing a great job? This is a very common problem for many fresh graduates across the nation. In a recent survey administered to over 500 graduating students for Door of Club’s “College Graduates’ Views on Job Prospects” segment, over 67% of students did not have a job lined up after college. This is a big problem considering that the average college graduate has over $37,000 in debt. In this article, I hope to shed some light on how to land your dream job.

Utilize LinkedIn

linkedin This is probably my favorite social platform today. With over 450 million active users around the world, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for professionals. Not only do many companies post job openings on LinkedIn, the site allows you to connect with professionals from wide range industries and backgrounds. One of the best ways to learn about positions you may be interested in is to reach out to professionals. They know what it takes to succeed in the role. Asking them about their experiences can give you a better understanding of what to expect. When I was looking for my first job back in 2014, I consistently reached out to professionals on LinkedIn to ask questions related to various roles I was applying for. Not only does speaking with these individuals give you a better understanding of what to expect from a role you’re applying for, it also helps build rapport with the individual. On 3 separate occasions, the professionals I spoke with forwarded my resume over to their hiring managers. These interactions resulted in 3 separate in-person interviews. Although you shouldn’t expect your connection to forward your resume along, it’s a possibility if you impress them with engaging questions and show interest in the company. I’ve provided an article I wrote on how to best approach these professionals here.

Come up with S.T.A.R responses

You might be wondering what gives with the silly title? The acronym S.T.A.R refers to Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is an approach that has been used by many hiring managers across the nation to evaluate job candidates on their aptitude for a role. Given that on average 118 applicants apply for any job opening, you’ll need to develop sound responses to an array of behavioral questions to ensure that you distinguish yourself from the pack. Start by thinking of 5 to 10 stories of times you exhibited skills such as leadership, technical ability, teamwork, adaptability, strong judgment, and ethical behavior. One of the things I did to come up with these stories is to look at a list of 70 to 100 commonly asked behavioral questions. Then, I asked myself if those stories covered the desired outcome of the question being asked. If the answer was yes, I’d write down the story. Once you’ve come up with a list of at least 5 to 10 stories, walk through each part of the S.T.A.R technique formula. For a great article I wrote on how to develop your S.T.A.R responses, check out the link provided here. Now that you have your responses written out and ready to go, utilize the next technique to become a true interviewing rock star!

Practice

Have you ever heard the phrase “practice makes perfect? Although it does have many sports applications, it also applies to landing your dream job. As part of your interview prep, compile a list of 50 to 100 behavioral questions you may be asked. For a list of these questions, I’ve provided a link to help you get started. Once you’ve compiled your list, read through each one and practice delivering your S.T.A.R responses in front of a mirror. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, popularized the idea of the “7% rule”. The rule illustrates how 7% of your perceived credibility comes from verbal communication while a whopping 93% of perceived credibility comes from non-verbal cues (38% – vocal tonality and 55% – body language). This just goes to show how important projecting confident and assertive body language can be to performing well in an interview. I remember the first time I tried delivering my S.T.A.R responses in front of a mirror. It was a frustrating and lackluster experience. I constantly messed up and was forced to start over on multiple occasions. However, I eventually got into a rhythm and I was able to deliver my responses effortlessly. Practice your responses until you feel extremely comfortable delivering them. Now that you feel comfortable delivering your responses, set up a few mock interviews to practice your responses in front of others. It’s amazing how different of an experience it is to have someone ask you questions in person. Repeat this cycle as many times as you need in order to feel comfortable. The goal is to be able to deliver a clean and polished response to each of the questions on your list.

Interview day

job interview You’ve prepared tirelessly, you’ve done your research and now it’s time to make it happen! On the day of the interview, make sure you have a healthy breakfast and then go about your normal routine. Eating breakfast has been shown to improve overall cognitive performance and increases alertness in the morning. Leading up to the interview, be sure to validate the location of the interview and the time you need to be there. To be safe, I always recommend you show up between 15 to 30 minutes prior to your interview. This will allow you to get a lay of the land and will show that you’re a punctual individual. When it’s your turn to be interviewed, be sure to shake your interviewer’s hand firmly and begin the interview process. You’ve prepared extensively for this moment so be yourself and have fun. Once the interview is complete, thank each interviewer individually for their time. They’ve taken time out their busy schedule to interview you so it’s important to show appreciation. When you arrive home from the interview, begin crafting your “thank you” emails. These emails should be short, concise, and highlight why you’re a good fit for the position. For a great article on how to craft a solid thank you letter, check out the link provided here. Although the process of preparing for an interview can feel stressful, it can become an extremely worthwhile experience. What are some of the strategies you’ve implemented in your interview prep? Do you have any other suggestions that you feel would benefit our readers? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

See Also: 6 Interview Hacks That Are Sure To Land You The Job

P.S.

My book recommendation for this article is “Winning” by Jack Welch. Although this book doesn’t have to do with the interview process, it does provide great insights on how to perform well in your career. In the book, Jack shares his insights on management and how you can apply his “winning” strategies to advance your career. This book is one of the best ever written on the subject of management and career advancement and is definitely worth the read. I’ve provided a link to the book below: https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Ultimate-Business-How-Book-ebook/dp/B000FCK3GO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497004814&sr=8-1&keywords=Winning

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How to Finance A Startup Business

After telling your boss to go to – well, you know where – and coming home to explain to your wife what you had just done, you sat in your man cave and processed both reactions: your boss was shocked and your wife was seriously mad.

You’ve got this, so you assured her. But, is that really the case?

Yes, you have a wonderful business idea that will surely take off, but she brought up a very important point:

How are you going to finance it?

Don’t fret as we share with you the best tips on financing your business.

Business Investors

business inventors People invest in businesses every day when they purchase stocks, but you aren’t ready for your initial public offering just yet. You need somebody who is willing to put his or her money into your idea, which is an entirely different beast.

Your first step is to write a business plan that details your idea. You will be asking people to give up their cash, so you must keep this in mind when you write your plan. Think back to your business courses in college.

You likely learned that there are many sections of a business plan and all are important. You must include an executive summary first that briefly encapsulates all aspects of your vision. Next is your company description which should include your corporate set up and business goals.

After that, describe in detail your product and/or services and how they will make money. The fourth section is your marketing analysis. Section five should explain your business startup and growth strategy and how you plan to implement it. Sections six and seven, meanwhile, are your management and financial structures, respectively.

Investor options include angel investors, crowd funders, and – believe it or not – your competition.

Angel investors are wealthy people willing to put their own money into business ventures. Some will put a ton of cash into a new venture while others will invest just a tiny sum. You can have one or many angel investors banding together and forming a group.

Angel investors do more than just give you moolah; they can also take a stake in your company which means they will expect investment returns. Many will take a management role, too. They can give you crucial advice while you’re still starting out.

Crowd Funders

For the independent entrepreneur who doesn’t want anyone else involved in managing his startup, crowd funders are another option. It leaves you 100% in charge.

Just like GoFundMe, there are a lot of available online crowdfunding websites for businesses. You will need to find a website the best one that can help you raise money. Remember to be realistic about this financing option.

While there are success stories about people reaching their funding goals, they don’t mean you’ll surely experience the same thing. For you to be successful, your plan must be full proof and others must become impassioned by your idea.

The benefit is this money is yours to keep with no strings attached. This is another reason why so many business startups try crowdfunding.

It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you may still receive donations which you can use for your startup and for networking with others in your niche. This can bring you to investment by your competitors.

That isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Many people in your industry might be interested in giving you a helping hand. Competition is healthy and when you’re on your feet, you can divest out and be on your own. Don’t forget about microloans and grants, either.

Growing Your Entity

Once you are up, running, and turning a profit, think about venture capital to grow your business to greater heights. Venture capitalists are people who invest in existing entities to give them the boost they need to reach their next plateau and then go beyond it.

Many people think that venture capitalists only invest in technology companies, but this isn’t the case.

Many businesses receive funding from VCs, as they’re called, including biotechnology and other science companies, food service, retail, and beyond. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber have taken advantage of VC financing in the past, too. amazonChris Sacca is one venture capitalist who helped put Instagram and Twitter (among others) on the map. Born in Lockport, New York, Sacca founded Lowercase Capital which has had its hand in financing and managing numerous businesses.

Experts in business growth, Sacca and his team helped owners design and implement growth plans. And when you look at Sacca’s record, you’ll realize VC is a wonderful tool once you’re established. It’s full of visions which are usually successful.

Your wife will calm down eventually and you don’t ever need to worry about your boss again. In the meantime, write a comprehensive business plan and seek out the money you need to get your venture off the ground. There are plenty of financing options available whether you are just starting out or planning your growth. So, keep your mind open and good luck to you!

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

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5 Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids about Responsibility

If you want your children to grow up into capable adults who are strong and independent, it’s important that you work on them and start in time. Molding young minds and teaching kids about responsibility is not something you can take lightly.

Now, considering that talking won’t help much (it’s not that they don’t want to listen – it’s their attention span), you need to come up with different ways to make this fun. Here are some suggestions you might find helpful.

Let Them Help Out

helping in the household chores

Many parents I know are putting their finest effort into getting their kids out of the way when doing chores. Instead of trying to explain that they will have enough time to deal with housework in the future, you should indulge their curiosity.

Teach them how to do household chores at an early age and be patient with them. They can take longer than you to complete the chores but practice makes perfect. Soon, they’ll find the tasks a lot more enjoyable.

See Also: Top 10 Tips to Help Children Develop Useful Habits

Adopting a Pet

This is every kid’s dream and you should try and make this happen for your children. Taking care of another being can teach them some of life’s greatest lessons.

You can get a dog or a cat. You can even get your children a bird or a fish. Just make sure to ask for their opinion when deciding on a breed.

Collecting Coupons

Cutting colorful pieces of paper can be fun for kids, especially if they get to eat their favorite cereal and get a toy as well. There are a lot of websites that offer great discounts for practically everything. You can join forces with your child, browse through fun items, and save money together.

Earning Pocket Money

kids responsibility

Sure, you can simplify things by just giving your kids money. However, if you’re planning on teaching children about responsibility, encourage them to work hard for their money.

It can be a valuable experience for them as they get to learn how to work hard, be frugal, and be responsible for their earnings.

Reward System with Consequences

The best way to prepare your kid for the big bad world out there is to teach them how hard work is always rewarded and that there are consequences if you are lazy. If you want this system to work, make sure that you explain everything in detail. That way, your children understand and know exactly what to expect.

For a chore completed carefully and properly, you can take them somewhere cool, award them with a few bucks or come up with an activity you both enjoy together. This will have a positive effect on your relationship with your child.

Don’t forget to set an example.

Children are like sponges. They’ll notice if you’re taking shortcuts and they will most definitely copy your behavior. So, act like you speak, be disciplined and persistent. By doing that, you can be sure that you have done your best in teaching kids about responsibility.

See Also: 8 Ways To Nurture Your Child’s Self-Motivation

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8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men

Dressing sharp and looking smart doesn’t always mean having to burn a hole in your pocket with brand names. It’s actually useless without the proper know-how on how to style and carry yourself. Check out these very simple and doable fashion hacks for men that will have you looking extra dapper in and out of the workplace.

Love the Blazer

Although a suit is always a good choice, a blazer is an essential piece to any wardrobe because it’s so versatile. A well-fitting blazer is a fast way take a plain outfit to business casual, and the dark blue, smokey charcoal, or gray blazers are perfect for sitting and doing desk work. You do want to make sure you have a good fit and that your blazer’s shoulders align with yours.

Pro Tip: Make a fist and put it between your buttoned blazer and your stomach. If it fits properly, you shouldn’t have any problems. If it’s too large, you’ll have a lot of extra space, and if it’s too small, you’ll have trouble making a fist.

Shoes Make the Man

The wrong pair of shoes can derail a well-put together outfit very quickly. The trick is to strike a balance between good-looking and comfortable. After all, you’ll wear them for hours at a time. Depending on the environment, a boot can be your go-to if you’re not wearing your dress shoes. A good boot can handle different weather conditions, and it pairs very well with most business attire.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your boots don’t have scuff marks in them. Contrary to popular belief, people do look at your shoes. Take a few minutes and condition your boots with shoe conditioner or leather conditioner if they’re made of leather. It’ll remove the scuff marks and make them look new.

Use Moisturizer Instead of Hair Gel

Gel works wonders for helping your style your perfect hairstyle, but it comes with two pitfalls. It’s very easy to use too much and get hair that feels crunchy and looks unnatural. Gel can also strip your hair of natural oils leaving you with a dry, damaged mess. Swap it out for hand or face moisturizer. It’ll still give you styling help and holding power while protecting your hair’s natural oils.

Pro Tip: You may be tempted to use a handful of the moisturizer to get it to hold, but less really is more. You need a pea-sized amount or a dime sized amount at most, and you want to rub it between your palms and then apply it to your hair for a frizz-free, natural look.

Don’t Underestimate a Good-Fitting Pair of Pants

good fitting pair of pants

You may be tempted to live in jeans, but most business professionals have to have several different pants styles at this disposal. Whether it’s a pair of dress slacks, green chinos, or a wool slack, a good fit is essential. Your pants should fit snugly around your thighs and hips and end short enough so you can show off most of your shoe. They should also fit snug to your groin area without constricting you.

Pro Tip: When you’re shopping for pants and you’re not sure if they’ll fit well or not, measure with your elbow. If you can fit from your fist to your elbow inside the waistband of the jeans without them being too large or small, they’ll most likely be a good fit.

Use a T-Shirt

Did you know that a t-shirt with a blazer tossed over the top is considered casual business wear and it’s suitable for a lot of offices and professional settings? Make sure your t-shirt’s bottom falls between the middle of your belt and the middle of your zipper and that the shoulder seam lines up with your shoulder.

Pro Tip: If your t-shirt shrinks, you can restore it to it’s original fit quickly and easily. Take the shrunken t-shirt and place it in a bowl or bucket of warm water and a few teaspoons of hair conditioner. Wait five minutes, take it out and stretch it back to the original size.

Have a Power Tie

men fashion hack tie

We recommend having several different ties on hand, but if you only want one or two, go for darker colors with subtle patterns or a solid color. It’ll work well with anything you match it with, and this includes busier or brighter patterns. It lets you dress it down by adding a leather jacket over your dress shirt, so it’s versatile as well.

Pro Tip: Your tie should reach your belt buckle and go no lower when you tie it. Also, be aware of your tie’s width. If you want to be safe, go with the modern 2.5-inch width. However, it has to be proportionate to your lapels, so if they’re wider, your tie can be as well.

Match Your Socks

Yes, your socks are mostly hidden for view. Yes, it’s rare that anyone will see more than a flash of them as you go about your day, but that small flash can undo all of your fashion-conscious efforts. Pick out socks that complement what you normally wear, whether it’s in everyday life or at the office.

Pro Tip: When you’re trying to decide what color socks to wear, consider your pants and what color they are. Generally, you want to match your pants or go a shade darker or a shade lighter. If you’re good, a contrasting color that compliments your shoes and pants is a safe bet.

Stay On Top Of New Styles

new styles

Sign up for a men’s clothing subscription. Box subscriptions have been flourishing awhile now ranging from beauty products to sweet treats to meal deliveries. In similar manner, you get a box of clothing goodies especially curated for you. You’ll get clothing items ranging from shirts, jackets, pants, and accessories. On one hand, you’ll get clothes that fit your style, and on the other hand, probability is high that you’ll stumble on a new style you’ll like. It’s win-win.

You can also discover new styles that fit your taste and lifestyle by keeping an eye on social media like Pinterest and Instagram. These two platforms are an excellent source of styling inspiration.

Pro Tip: Use hashtags to come across new ideas. Want to try out a navy blazer? Try searching with the #navyblazer hashtag.

These eight fashion hacks for men are easy and quick ways to keep you looking sharp and well-dressed. They can help you make a good first impression and give your confidence a boost all in one go.

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Top Security Ideas for Businesses You Need to Implement ASAP

A thief walks through an unlocked door and manages to steal valuable property – money, fixtures and intellectual property.

A security guard, working a double shift, falls asleep and fails to prevent a violent crime on the premises.

An office employee wanders into the wrong area of the building and suffers an injury due to lack of proper safety clothing or equipment.

Off-shift vandalism shuts down a factory line for days, costing the organization thousands of dollars.

These are all examples of poor physical security systems and procedures and they should never happen.

When things are under control, the organization operates smoothly and its people are kept safe and comfortable.

But when security systems fail, results can be disastrous.

How effective are your organization’s security measures?

A physical security assessment can tell you a lot about how “under control” things are in your organization or facility. If you’re unsure of that, check out these security ideas for business you can start using today.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

organization security

Get a straightforward assessment of your organization’s security systems before disaster strikes.

Start with a consultation with a qualified and experienced security firm. They know what to look for and what to recommend to keep your operation running smoothly.

A comprehensive assessment will evaluate the following:

  • Access to the facility and to various areas within the facility of the right personnel at the right times
  • Compliance with codes and regulations as well as with current best practices.
  • Preparedness for a variety of contingencies- from fire to natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • Risk management across a range of potential vulnerabilities- from personal injury liability to asset protection.
  • Environmental responsibility and security of materials and equipment, which could pose risks to safety and health.
  • Problems which might exist within an organization’s current security systems and procedures, including gaps and vulnerabilities, which may not have been previously considered or “caught.”
  • Vulnerabilities to the security of the organization’s data and intellectual property.
  • Appropriateness of the organization’s security program, given such factors as the location of the facility, the type of business, or the amount of foot or vehicle traffic anticipated at peak times.
  • The effectiveness of the current security program

Maximize Your Security Resources

security cameras

A great security firm not only knows how to find gaps and vulnerabilities but is sensitive to the limits of your organization’s resources.

It’s one thing to have the best security money can buy but most organizations have to maximize a limited budget. They need the most efficient and effective security program for the money they can afford to invest.

A professional assessment will not only show where the operation might be vulnerable but also reveal possible redundancies.

In Conclusion

Make sure things are under control in your organization. Call a security professional, and walk through the operation right away to learn what a potential thief or vandal might already know about your organization’s vulnerabilities. After all, the time to know about a gap in your security system is before a disaster strikes.

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5 Things to Let Go If You Want to Be Happy

There are some things in life that have us convinced that life without them would be terrible or uncomfortably weird.

In reality, however, life generally gets better without those things. Nothing in life should create a dependency.

I recently let go of a lot of junk, including material possessions, and I’ve never felt better in my life. If you want to experience the same things, here are the top things to let go so you can start living the life you’ve always wanted.

Checking Facebook Daily

checking facebook daily

Value your time and emotions.

What tangible good comes from Facebook? Ask yourself that and be critical for a moment.

Are you feeling uplifted and motivated by what you see there? If not, it’s time to abandon ship. If scrolling through all the baby, house, and vacation photos makes you jealous of your “friends,” it’s time to let go of Facebook.

You’re not going to “miss out” by not checking Facebook. If someone needs you to know something, they’ll text or call you.

Studies show that Facebook makes us feel bad about ourselves. That’s enough reason to leave it. Jealousy isn’t something you want consuming your emotional life.

I caught myself getting upset by the lack of engagement on my posts while I saw plenty of engagement on angry, political posts. That feeling was not helping me. Spending 45 to 60 minutes on Facebook per day was a huge time drain that could be spent improving my skills and life instead.

So, I replaced reading my Facebook feed with more positive things that stimulated my mind without causing emotional turmoil, like Futurism.

See Also: Social Media Causing Depression and Anxiety: Is It True?

Watching Football

Value your time. It’s so important that I have to mention it again.

I used football as an example because it was an excuse to day drink for me. Watching football was an excuse to be lazy all weekend. Fortunately, I was only burning one full day on it (Sunday), but if you add up all the time I spent reading about fantasy football, that was a whole day’s worth of work per week.

Maybe for you, it’s watching reality shows and keeping up with celebrity gossip. Maybe it’s binge-watching an entire Netflix series each weekend. The exact television program doesn’t matter. We Americans watch five hours of shows per day. Yet, we complain about a “lack of time” for things we say we want to do.

Don’t know how to spend your time in a more positive way?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Go on a hike
  • Take a yoga class
  • Hit the gym
  • Cook healthy meals
  • Read good books
  • Play board games with friends

Watching football or any sport, for a lot of people, is filling a void – the football team is part of an identity. That’s not a good route, my friend. Just be yourself and accept yourself for who you are and what you like. Love yourself and don’t tie your identity to anything other than you. You are enough.

Trust me, addressing that inner void feels much better than avoiding it forever. Then, you can enjoy watching a game without being invested in the outcome, which is freeing for your mind and spirit.

Drinking Alcohol Regularly

drinking alcohol

Value your money and your body.

I used to drink three or more nights per week. And, predictably, I did not stop at one drink. That was Thursday through Sunday of drinking and feeling less than my best. For what?

This past December, I did a 30-day challenge of zero alcohol. It felt amazing for my body and it also boosted my mental clarity. There were no sloppy nights and subsequent hungover mornings which meant better productivity.

If you want to find a bunch of extra time in your week – stop drinking.

Did I accomplish anything by drinking alcohol?

No. Alcohol consumption prevented me from accomplishing my goals, actually. Time and money were wasted on an activity that was not fulfilling me or helping me grow. Fortunately, I was saving money by hosting parties instead of spending $10+ per drink at a bar, but that did nothing for saving time.

After letting go of alcohol and my emotional baggage, I lost 18 pounds in less than two months. That was more than 10% of my body weight at the time (cut from 173 to 155). Drinking tons of water, like Tom Brady recommends, helps, too. I also changed my diet to be a dairy-free pescatarian, thanks to the guidance of my health coach, Laila Robins.

See Also: The Tell-Tale Signs You May Have Alcoholism

Consuming the News

Most of the news doesn’t actually affect us. The news is meant to stir emotions and keep us hooked to the platform.

The big media outlets push fear and we absorb that fear, causing us to turn against each other. How?

Fear becomes anger and anger becomes hate. It’s a horrible cycle we’re spinning.

The only way out is to disengage. Unplug from the sources of negativity and fear-mongering. Stop tuning into the voices trying to drive a wedge between you and your fellow humans. That wedge does zero good for humanity.

We need positivity and love pouring from people. Be one of the people making the world lighter, happier, and better. Love your neighbors and don’t stop showing love even when it’s tough.

Show love for people who disagree with you instead of getting mad at them. And definitely don’t look down on others – condescension is really bad energy.

Be positive. Be happy.

Complaining

Eliminate the negativity in your life. You can start with complaining.

Negative emotions wreck our health and productivity. It spreads negativity from within ourselves to the world, too.

If we stop complaining about what we don’t have, we’ll be happier.

Tim Ferriss is brilliant and provides fantastic insight into this. He puts emphasis on the benefits of taking time for gratitude by challenging himself and others to go through 21 days without complaining.

This challenge will be a whole lot easier to accomplish if you let go of the aforementioned things.

Think about it: you won’t be able to complain about your “friends” having more than you because you won’t see posts about those things. No more complaining about your team or a celebrity making a dumb decision because you missed that, too. There won’t be any political talking head getting you to complain about other people with different views. You won’t be drunk or hungover, too.

Research shows how much we’re influenced by the people around us. This provides extra incentive to not stick with negative people. Let them go and cut them from your life. It may be painful at first, but you’ll be better after.

Who knows?

Maybe they’ll realize that being negative is costing them friendships and they’ll soon change their lives as well.

Conclusion

If you start eliminating those top things to let go, you may find yourself enjoying life more.

So, start today and give up something that isn’t serving you. Let that positive life energy flow through you and to the world!

The post 5 Things to Let Go If You Want to Be Happy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Tips for Creating A Wedding Budget

Are you nearing your wedding day and still have not figured out the best ways in creating a wedding budget? If yes, then you have to be smart while planning your budget and just go for the essentials that will not force you to break your bank.

If you are curious to know what those ways are, check out the following amazing tips you can start using now.

Make Your Reception Private Yet Grand

One of the most common things that bother couples the most during their wedding planning is the guest list.

Cut down the guest list and only include your close friends and relatives. That way, you won’t have to spend too much on your reception.

Also, watch out for off-peak seasons as that can help you save more. Don’t forget to consider holding your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, too.

Focus on Greenery More than Flowers

wedding budget

Although most people will go for flowers, choosing for greenery instead will give you a great chance to create a reasonable budget. This does not mean you have to completely eliminate flowers from your list. You just need to focus more on non-floral elements.

If you are adamant about flowers, then make sure you invest in floral products that are in season and comes at a discounted price.

See Also: Make Your Celebratory Table Special With Minimum Effort

Wedding Bands

wedding bands

This one is an important consideration, especially if you are on the bride’s side. A wedding band is mostly the only jewelry that a groom will wear throughout his life.

To make things easier for you, shop for wedding bands online from credible sources and get wedding bands at great prices. Also, make sure to research on certain metals before purchasing the wedding ring.

For instance, if you cannot afford to buy platinum wedding rings, look for alternatives.  Palladium, for example, offers the same luxurious feel yet it comes at a budget-friendly price.

Opt for the Services of a Budding Music Group

Needless to say, music is an integral part of any and all traditional wedding. It helps create the right ambiance and mood for the guests and the couple.

Resist your urge to book a live band at your wedding event. Instead, find amateur music groups with refreshing and untapped music talents. Conduct a short audition or ask for their videos to examine how well they can set everyone’s mood at the event.

Consider Web Designers for Printing Invitations

In case you are unable to stretch your budget to get a professional wedding invitation designer, look for web designers who know how to design and print wedding invitations.

You can also buy software packages that provide classic layouts and creative graphics along with fun fonts for making your invitation card stand out.

Final Thoughts

Creating a wedding budget is now easy with the aforementioned tips. They are a great help for making things smooth for couples who want to save their funds for the future. Cut all the unnecessary costs by adhering to these tips and have a budget-friendly yet great wedding.

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Data Security Tips for the Remote Workforce

As technology advances at a rapid pace, hackers and cybercriminals are finding it easier to hack into a company’s system to steal data. According to the SMB cybersecurity report, almost 43% of all small businesses in the United States suffered through a data breach and were victims of cybercrime in 2016.

Therefore, it is important for you to develop and implement the best cyber data security tips to prevent such attacks from taking place.

What Are the Threats?

Data Loss and Device Failure

Forgetting to back up your data and not updating your device on a regular basis can cause huge problems. You could lose data due to human error, experience file corruption or even overheating of your device. This makes it important that you keep a backup of your data in your Cloud accounts so you can easily access the information that you need.

Stolen Devices

Another threat that can harm your business operations is when your device gets stolen and the criminals get access to your company’s information. People often steal devices in order to sell them for cash.

Cybercrime

cyber crime

Cybercrime is a virtual crime which happens online. It includes stealing of personal and financial information.

There are rules and laws that are created to stop such illegal activities. Whenever you see any illegal activity on online platforms, you should report it to the authorities right away.

How Can You Enhance the Security for Remote Employees?

Create Backups and Recovery Plans

Having backups and recovery plans are the best strategies you can implement. You should also have regularly scheduled system cleanings and updates to maintain the security of your company’s system.

Backing up information is extremely important because it helps restore the original data in case you lose your device or it gets compromised by hackers or intruders.

Spread Knowledge

The rules and regulations regarding security tend to change quite frequently because technology is advancing. This is why you need to update your security strategies to cope with the changing threats.

You need to research threats that can be harmful to your company so that you can educate your workforce for more effective security. Your employees play a vital role in the security of your company. They have crucial information, which can be extremely dangerous if leaked outside.

Update your employees regularly and get them the latest tools to fight the threats and defend against the attacks.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

In order to enhance the security of your company, you should use a Two-Factor Authentication as it makes it more difficult for hackers to operate. The Two-Factor Authentication system will lock your account and require a password along with a code to unlock it. This is a strong type of system that keeps unauthorized people away from your accounts.

Update Your Software Automatically

When running a business, you need to update it on a regular basis. Waiting for an installation of the latest update is not an option. You need to have the latest version installed to serve your customers.

In addition to this, the latest versions allow for better performance because they include solutions that weren’t available previously.

Use VPN for Secure Networks

There are many employers that offer remote employees access to the secure network so that they can work without any obstacles. An encrypted connection will allow employees to safely and securely browse the internet while preventing third party interception.

Off-site employees should never use open or public Wi-Fi connections. They might get intercepted by hackers and the company information can get leaked. Employees should be provided a VPN so that they can easily work in a safe environment with no issues.

See Also: How to Set Up a VPN

Security Protocol and Access Controls

You should keep a constant check on the security protocol and access controls of your network because employees might not be using the information correctly. You need to keep an eye on the information that’s flowing in and out of your company in order to check for fraudulent activities.

Protect Smart Devices

protect smart devices

You should protect the mobile devices of your organization at all times. This is to prevent unauthorized access to confidential information.

You can do that with strong passwords, photo recognition, thumb impressions, and pattern unlocking systems. In addition to those, you can use a two-factor authentication to enhance the security of your devices.

See Also: 8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy

Security is of utmost importance and should not be taken for granted. You cannot compromise your organization’s security because hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for opportunities to hack into your system. That is why you need to implement these data security tips and strategies to ensure a safe working environment.

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The Definitive Guide To Cryptocurrencies

There’s a lot of information out there about cryptocurrencies. However, for the vast majority of people understanding what they are and how to use them remains a mystery.

Most people think that Bitcoin is the only type of cryptocurrency and that it only applies to illegal activities. In reality, that’s nowhere near the truth.

To enlighten you, here’s a handy cryptocurrency guide you can use.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency built on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology uses a public ledger to record transactions and each transaction bears the insignia of the previous transaction. This ensures continuity.

Decentralization prevents single point data breaches since all transactions occur across the network. Instead of being government issued like a fiat currency, it is built on a zero trust model by private individuals for various reasons.

Everything is on a public ledger. That way, any attempt to tamper will be obvious. Using it is just like any other currency. Even big companies like Overstock, Microsoft, and Expedia accept payments in Bitcoin, making it one of the most prevalent and widely known cryptocurrencies.

Buying And Selling Cryptocurrency

Depending on how you want to use your cryptocurrency, you have different options for how to buy and store it.

If you want to use it just like cash to buy and sell things online, you can use something as simple as the Cash App by Square. It allows you to trade your dollars and make payments using Bitcoin. If you want to buy cryptocurrency as an investment, you will need to find the right exchange for you.

Choosing an exchange can be as simple as picking the one available in your country. You can also choose based on maker and taker fees, security breaches, and more. Most importantly, if you’re planning to sit on your cryptocurrency for a while, make sure you are storing it in a cold wallet offline to prevent theft.

Getting started on cryptocurrency exchanges is the first step toward making full use of the cryptocurrency boom.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners: How Can You Get Started?

Types of Wallets Available

When buying cryptocurrency, you have to choose the right wallet depending on your purpose. Your options include:

  • Desktop Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies are available through one computer only.
  • Online & Mobile Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on the Cloud for ease of use.
  • Hardware Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on a single piece of hardware, like a thumb drive.
  • Paper Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on a piece of paper you print out.

Who Are The Major Players In Cryptocurrency Right Now?

the winklevoss twins

There may be some people you have heard of and lots of people you have never heard of making their fortunes in cryptocurrency.

Remember the Winklevoss twins?

They were famous for their lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, alleging he stole the idea of Facebook from them. After they won $65 million in their lawsuit, they invested $11 million in Bitcoin back in 2013. Today, that’s worth over $1 billion.

In 2015, they created the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and they have also applied for and been denied the ability to sell a Bitcoin-based ETF. They became Bitcoin’s first billionaires in 2017.

Eddy Zillan is hardly a household name but the Ohio teen has become quite wealthy. He has invested his life’s savings in cryptocurrencies.

When he was 15 years old, he started investing his savings from teaching tennis lessons into cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. He started with a $100 investment and quickly scaled up to everything he had – some $12,000.

Within a year, his portfolio was over $350,000. He’s now a cryptocurrency consultant and has earned over $1 million in cryptocurrency markets since he first got his start.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

Is It Ok To Own Bitcoin?

There is a lot of confusion about whether owning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is legal. Currently, it is not illegal to own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the United States. Many other countries, however, have outlawed it.

If you are ready to take the plunge, figure out your objective, find your best exchange, choose a storage system, and get going. Learn more about the basics of cryptocurrency from this infographic.
Guide to Cryptocurrency
Source: Best Accounting Schools

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The Best WordPress SEO Tips You Should Totally Try

WordPress is one of the largest platforms for creating and managing a website. It offers free services for individuals and organizations which allow them to create a blog or a website. These services can be upgraded for an affordable fee by users at any time.

Another great reason for the popularity of WordPress is its massive range of SEO friendly tools and plugins. Before we get to the WordPress SEO tips, let’s try to understand first why you need a good SEO strategy.

Importance of SEO

wp seo tips

Among numerous ways of browsing the internet, the most common options people use to search for new information is through a search engine. Be it Google, Yahoo or Bing, all modern search engines use some algorithm to arrange their search results.

However, these results are often in millions and most users usually find a useful page link on the first page of search results.

There are various methods that enable website owners to place their websites at the top of search results and increase traffic. While these techniques are not proven to work instantly, they work well in increasing the visitors and ad revenue.

In today’s time, creating a website has become an excellent potential source of income for anyone. Using SEO can turn that potential into a reality.

Effective WordPress SEO techniques

WordPress has a wide range of features and tools which allow users to perform various SEO functions on their websites with ease. A few tried and tested techniques which have yielded positive results are listed below:

Friendly URL structures

Some URL structures contain the Post Name while others can include day and name, month and name, numbers or customized structures. The structures which only contain the Post Name are easy to be read by humans as well as search engines.

These can be accessed through the Permalink Settings of WordPress and may subsequently increase the chances of a page ranking higher in search engine results.

Plugins

Since WordPress is a humongous platform with support from a vast community of developers, there is a WordPress plugin available for almost anything. Users can choose to employ numerous plugins at once.

There are also some plugins which can perform many essential SEO functions. This includes “Yoast SEO” or “All in One SEO Pack” which are also free.

XML Sitemaps

This file lists all the pages on the website, making it easier for search engines to find the site’s entire content.

Although this technique does not boost the site rankings instantly, it makes finding information easier. This helps in quickly getting the initial rankings and also helps search engines to update rankings shortly after a content update.

Various SEO plugins available on WordPress can help in generating the sitemap quickly.

SEO research

Generally, when a person has to search for something on the internet, they enter phrases into the search engine.

For example, a person looking to buy a house in California will enter “real estate in California” and search for further information in the resulting links. Those phrases are known as keywords and search engines look for them in websites before arranging the search results.

WordPress plugins allow users to search for the trending keywords to include in their latest articles and posts which may lead to an increase in their ranking.

Search engines also look at the links embedded on a page, also known as backlinks. While having references and links to useful websites with relevant and high-quality content can improve a website’s ranking, using bad links may lead to the site being banned from search engines permanently.

Analytics

wordpress analytics

WordPress contains a wide range of features that can check the performance of different pages and visitor patterns.

These data can help in monitoring statistics, like the most popular pages and posts on the website. They can also be useful in planning future posts which could potentially generate more revenues.

Other features:

Various editing features can also help in improving search rankings and getting more audience.

WordPress has inbuilt features for tagging the content and dividing it into categories which makes sorting out pages on a website easier and more efficient for visitors as well as search engines. It also has other features to smoothly insert external and internal links, optimize images, etc.

A site may also rank lower if it’s unsecured or performs slowly. People don’t want to visit websites, which have previously received a bad rating or those that are simply time-consuming.

WordPress has numerous advanced features for increasing site performance and updating security which helps users to easily secure and upgrade their website.

WordPress has several more features and functions and regularly adds new ones with every update made by them. People can learn more about SEO using WordPress through official guidebooks and tutorials along with referring unofficial sources as required. Online marketers and website owners can also choose to take a detailed course to learn various uses of WordPress.

Organic SEO techniques allowed by search engines do not guarantee results within a given time. However, many online marketing experts believe that regularly updating high-quality content paired with SEO can increase traffic to a website over time.

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Dating In Midlife: 5 Tips To Help You Get Started

When you are in your teens and twenties, dating didn’t seem overly complicated. It might have seemed awkward and occasionally stressful, but not overly complex in most cases.

Fast-forward to your 40s or 50s and now all of the rules have changed.

What used to be “Hey, you want to grab a beer?” or “Would you like to go to dinner and catch a movie?” now must often be coordinated around kids, jobs and even exes. That is if you even know anyone that is not only single but also interested in getting back into the romantic swing of things.

So, how do you get back to dating in midlife?

First, know that there are going to be challenges. Second, recognize that today’s day and age has made dating far more complex.

If you are finding yourself in your mid-years and back on the market probably after a long-term relationship or marriage, you are likely to be a little lost on how to meet eligible potential companions and how to handle things when you do.

If that is the case, check out the tips below to help you get started.

Spend some time thinking about what you want

midlife dating

If you are coming out of a marriage or long-term relationship, it would be smart to take some time before jumping back into things. Use this time to narrow down what you are really looking for.

Do you want a long-term, serious relationship or someone just for light companionship? Do you want someone to travel with or someone who is happy puttering around the house and watching movies?

People in this age differ so you should be clear with your desires. Don’t waste time or play games.

Know there will be baggage

In the 40s and 50s, people have already experienced many of life’s big moments. Most will probably have kids and even grandkids.

They will have developed habits, both good and bad, that you will have to accept. There may even be a relationship with an ex that you will have to get used to.

Be careful though.

If the divorce is new or they are just separated, you should exercise caution in dating. You are likely to say the same thing about yourself. With that, remember that acceptance is a two-way street.

Protect your finances

As everyone comes with baggage, they also come with a financial track record. This can be good and bad.

Regardless, when it comes to finances in your 40s and 50s, you have likely started or should have started laying the foundation for retirement and golden years. You may own a home and are hopefully on solid footing.

A new companion or romantic partner in your life should not derail your financial plans. It is probably wise to keep your finances separate. If you are considering a different arrangement, consult with a financial adviser to ensure the right decisions are being made for both of you.

Consider online options – but be careful

This is probably a new one and possibly feels uncomfortable depending on your age. But online dating has come a long way and can help you meet like-minded people. It also offers a population of people in similar circumstances all looking for companions.

Be careful though on just what sites you use. It is worth doing some research on the groups that target your age range and interests. Some will ask for a membership fee, so be sure that there are ample positive reviews and strong ratings by the Better Business Bureau before you pay.

And, as always, do not provide personal information beyond what is necessary for your site’s profile.

See Also: 5 Tips for Effective Online Dating

Think about hobbies, classes, professional affiliations, and friends

dating during midlife

If online dating is not for you or is just not working, consider broadening your horizons. Taking classes like cooking, trying a new hobby, or joining professional groups like Toastmasters or The Chamber of Commerce can expose you to potential new friends.

Whatever your circumstances, dating in midlife can be intimidating. Despite that, try to enjoy the process of meeting new people and the excitement of finding a new romance. Don’t get hung up with challenges. Those you are meeting are dealing with the same challenges and are probably experiencing the same range of emotions.

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How to Create A Fairy Garden Outdoors

Despite what most people say, creating a fairy garden is surprisingly easy and you can do it by yourself or with the help of your kids. You can find fairy garden kits so you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for all the bells and whistles to make a perfect garden.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide on how to create a fairy garden outdoors.

Materials and Fairy Garden Accessories

fairy village

First, we need to collect all the materials and fairy garden accessories you’ll need for your project.

The list includes:

  • Container with a drainage hole
  • High-quality potting soil
  • Plants (Irish Moss, Boxwood, Lithodora, living-rock plants)

Fairy Garden Accessories

  • Miniature furnitures like bark, twigs, and leaves
  • Pebbles
  • Fairy figurines
  • Decors

The Instructions

Plan the Design

A fairy garden is a make-believe concept which is why there is no limit to what you can do to it.

Start by sketching out the design on the potting soil using a stick. Decide where you will plant the tree and place the miniature bench, fountains, and other decorative items.

Start Planting

Remove excess potting soil from the container to plant the boxwood tree. You can use any type of plant you like.

While planting the tree, remember to keep an inch of space from the root of the tree to the rim of the pot. Tease the roots apart gently, plant the tree, and press the soil around the roots.

Now, plant the moss and other plants.

Start Adding the Pebbles, Stones, Furniture, and Decor

fairy garden
Via Pinterest

Make a path by littering small pebbles onto the soil. All the furniture should be natural. You can construct a mini bench using four sticks, a piece of bark, and a leaf. A small bird’s nest can be used to mimic a Papasan chair. A tiny bench can also be made by stacking a bigger rock above two smaller rocks.

Add A Fairy House

fairy toadstool house

A fairy garden feels somewhat incomplete without a fairy house. It’s not mandatory but if you want to include a fairy house in your garden, then make sure the house’s walls are made from different materials.

The walls can be supported by placing twigs vertically outside and stacking small stones inside. Twigs or bark work great for a roof.

We recommend you only build three walls since an open fairy house will make it easy for you to decorate it.

You can use small stones or pebbles as “tiles” or a bark as a “wooden floor”. You can use a leaf as a “carpet” inside the house, too.

To make the “beds”, try using flat rocks and the flower petals or scraps of colored fabric can be the “sheets”. You can consider building a playing area for the fairy children. You can make a swing from twigs, a string and a bit of fabric.

Fairy gardens look adorable and enthralling to kids. They also make good additions to your otherwise boring backyard garden.

So, what are you waiting for?

Author Biography

Leroy Perez is a well-rounded blogger who has a wide variety of interests and specializes in doing in-depth research for every garden. He’s a notorious Writer, Editor, Blogger. He loves gardening. He currently is a blogger for https://www.earthfairy.com.au in a genuine effort to provide the best quality content to his readers.

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The Top Advantages of E-Learning You Might Not Know About

With the advent of the internet and everything being almost fully available online, learning has changed. Now, almost anybody can easily learn even the most difficult skill right from the couch!

Along the years, many remote learning centers have developed complete e-learning models with no brick and mortar school affiliated at all. These companies have evolved into the likes of Udemy, Edx, Alison and a long list of others that we now know.

This is why many people choose e-learning.

It allows you to take charge of your learning experience, choosing what, when, and how to learn. Whether you are a visual learner or you prefer learning with experience and other students, there’s always an option with e-learning.

What Exactly Is E-Learning?

e learning

It’s a learning method where students use electronics and technology to learn. It’s mostly carried out away from the traditional classroom setting. It’s as simple as that.

E-learning is employed at the higher education level but it isn’t unusual to find e-learning programs for grade school curriculum, like with K-12 Online Academy or even Starfall’s e-learning program that target babies to older kids.

A Little History

In 1960, almost 60 years ago, e-learning first debuted in the form of “PLATO”, a CAI (Computer-assisted instruction system) which was created by Donald L. Bitzer. By 1966, it was already introduced in schools.

It did take a full 34 years since the creation of PLATO for the first higher education institution that would use an online-based curriculum to be created. From there, things got solid pretty quickly.

The 2000s saw fully online open source learning programs like Udemy springing up in full force. Businesses also began to use e-learning around that time. It didn’t take much longer for social and mobile learning to become a thing, too.

E-Learning Broken Down By Type

e learning advantage

There are two major types of e-Learning: synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Synchronous e-Learning – With this model, both the students and their teachers have to be online at the same time for learning to take place. It is more like the traditional instructing system, except that the classroom is online.

This system makes use of:

  • Chat rooms
  • Video conferencing
  • Live streaming
  • Voice

Asynchronous e-Learning – This system is more flexible with timing and allows each student the opportunity to work at his own pace. It makes use of:

  • The Web
  • Email
  • Message and discussion boards
  • Digital curriculum resources
  • Social networking
  • Collaborative documents and wikis

How e-Learning Happens

There are five main methods commonly employed with e-learning. It includes:

Microlearning – Because the average person can only really focus on something for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time, microlearning strives to deliver learning in small bits, called “information morsels”. This method is very effective in boosting understanding and retention by at least 30%.

Gamification – Using interactive games to boost learning outcomes outdoes the expectations of many. It boosts long-term retention 10 times more than the usual norm!

m-Learning – Because mobiles are easily accessible, in bed and even in transit, this is the go-to form of learning for most students. 99% of people think that mobile education enhances their learning experience.

Video learning – Many people are visual learners and, frankly, videos can save much more time than other forms of learning and is most suitable for busy employees.

Social learning – This is where most people who aren’t self-starters find the most return on investment. There is peer-to-peer interaction to help students who may have fallen behind get up to speed.

Advantages of E-Learning

Over the years, many advantages of e-learning over traditional learning models have been observed. The following are just a few of the advantages that students may get.

E-learning cuts down the cost of learning per person by a large margin. The average cost of learning a course using the traditional learning system has been pegged at $95 per student against e-learning’s measly $11!

With e-learning, students also save time. It has been reported to take between 40 to 50% less time to complete a course via e-learning. It also consumes 90% less energy.

E-learning actually saves the environment. CO2 emissions generated per person are 85% less than traditional learning systems.

Students find that with e-learning, they retain more (as much as 7 times more) of the knowledge acquired for a longer period. It’s because the process is mostly interactive and allows learning by practicing.

With the savings on time and overall cost and the increased retention experienced, students find that they have at least a 50% increase in the return of their investments (time and money).

The numerous unrivaled advantages of e-learning and its speedy advancement in the last few years prove that e-learning is here already. Students, as well as instructors, are embracing it.

There are more work-from-home teaching opportunities today and companies like Edx and Udemy are bound to have an even bigger impact on the shape of tomorrow’s global society.

E-Learning in 2018

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How to Easily Build Your Website with AI

If you want your business to succeed in the modern world, you’re going to have to think long and hard about how to establish your online presence.

The first thing you should do is put yourself in the shoes of the client that you are trying to win over. Ask yourself: where’s the first place they’re going to look?

You guessed it – Google.

Searching on the Internet is by far the fastest way to get access to information about anything. This is why most people don’t look anywhere else.

Technology is quickly changing the way we do business. With that, our perspective also needs to change if we want to stay on top of our marketing game.

Your Online Presence

If you want your business to be found by your clientele, you have to establish a presence in the very place that they’re going to look – the world wide web. This is what having an online presence means.

If you don’t have a website or a page on social media yet, you need to ask yourself – what exactly is stopping you from doing so?

Is it your time or budget? Or are you simply clueless about what a good website is and what it should be able to offer to your clientele?

Many people think that they aren’t tech savvy enough to start with it. However, the truth is that you don’t really need to be proficient about technology at all. The tools we have access to these days are so advanced.

I assure you that establishing an online presence and building a website is not as difficult as it used to be in the past. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that we have access to artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a computer’s ability to think instead of just being told what to do.

When you open a browser and type in a web address, your computer takes you to that address. Basically, it is just following orders and you’re the one doing the actual thinking.

AI is the next step. It can improvise and come up with solutions independently.

In other words, with AI, you don’t have to be extra specific. It can think for itself.

An AI website builder is a piece of software that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to listen to your input and create something based on that. It listens to you and then it takes some extra steps to build your website.

The best thing about it is that AI guides you throughout the process. It doesn’t need you to be tech savvy at all.

AI website builders out there are Bookmark, Firedrop, The Grid, and Wix ADI. Read reviews if you’re interested.

Advantages of AI Website Builders

There are plenty of advantages of using artificial intelligence to build your website.

But first, let’s look at the alternatives.

One of them is doing the whole thing yourself– designing your page, adding functionality, and fiddling with databases. It’s a very complex process that requires skills you can’t just pick up in a day or two.

Another alternative is paying someone to do it for you. But even an experienced web developer needs time to work on your website before it can go live. Dedicated web development companies will take a month or two and they can be quite expensive.

Using an AI website builder solves both of these problems. It’s much cheaper and you can have your fully functional website available within the day.

Will my website be unique?

Yes.

A common misconception with AI website builders is that your website won’t be as unique as it needs to be. And while it is possible to see where this kind of concern comes from, it really isn’t as much of a problem as most people are led to believe.

Your website won’t just be built by a computer. It will be built by you and the computer together.

There’s a big difference. And as I mentioned, the results you’ll receive will directly depend on the input you provide.

Can AI optimize my website?

ai website

Again, yes.

Most modern website builders do a lot more than just build up a web page that looks good and works well. They can also help you with SEO (search engine optimization) and your site’s user-friendliness.

A lot of those things will be up to you but the good thing is that it is pretty hard to mess up when you’re using AI. All the options that you have at your disposal will already lead you to a fairly optimized website that is ready to go.

Embrace AI

Artificial intelligence is slowly taking ground in modern society. As technology evolves further, we’re bound to see more of it in almost every aspect of our lives.

Just the fact that AI has come far enough to aid us in a process as complex as web development is already amazing. It is definitely something you should be taking advantage of as a small business.

So, if you need a website pronto and aren’t overstocked with time and money at the moment, AI is the way to go.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business

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Why You Need A Daily Morning Routine Even If You’re Not A Morning Person

I can almost hear you thinking: “Just one more snooze” as you shuffle around your bed early in the morning.

You’re either giving yourself just enough time to get ready for work or rushing to get one bite to eat before heading out. This is the sad reality most people face.

You hear about morning routines on the web and in Podcasts. You hear about morning routine practically everywhere yet you’re convinced they don’t apply to you.

Afterall, you’re not a morning person. You’ve always stayed up late and sipped on coffee like water throughout the day.

The problem with your current routine is that you’re bound to fail eventually. Worse yet, you may wake up one day and realize that you’ve been living someone else’s dreams and not your own.

Starting each morning without a plan is a recipe for accomplishing “random” tasks throughout your day. In other words, nada!

It wasn’t that long ago when I, too, fumbled each morning and after discovering the impact my mornings had to my entire day, I quickly adopted a daily morning routine.

It boils down to this: if you want to make every day successful, you’ll need a morning routine.

Let me walk you through on why this is the case.

Start your mornings with the intention

So, what’s the hype around your mornings?

Simply put: 0 distractions

Most dream about going back to school or starting a business. Most dream about finally having the courage to change careers.

The result?

Most people lose hope with achieving their dreams. Some struggle squeezing time for their dreams and very few accomplish them.

The answer?

Carve out uninterrupted time each morning. Use this time to plan out the most important tasks that you’d like to accomplish by the end of your day.

Let’s say you’re planning to go to grad school one day. Start breaking this goal down into actionable steps with concrete deadlines.

For example, if a prerequisite is taking the GMAT test, then spend 1 to 2 hours each morning studying.

Repeat this for 5 to 7 days a week and you’ll be carving out 10 to 14 hours for your most important tasks.

The best part is that your mornings are only a small portion of your day. Once you begin making progress towards your goals, you’ll become motivated to carve out additional time throughout your day.

Start waking up with intention and reap the benefits of your uninterrupted mornings.

Create a morning routine that sticks

morning routine

Accomplishing goals is great but goals alone won’t create a fulfilled life.

Instead of using your morning routine solely to accomplish goals, incorporate other meaningful factors. In the book “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, Hal covers 6 different components or Life Savers.

the miracle morning

The 6 components are:

  • Silence: Sitting in silence or meditating. (1 –5 mins)
  • Affirmation: Reading positive affirmations out loud (i.e. today’s going to be a great day). (1 –5 mins)
  • Visualization: Visualizing your goals or looking at a physical vision board. (1 –5 mins)
  • Exercise: Doing home workouts or going to the gym. (1 –60 mins)
  • Read: Reading blogs or books relevant to your goals. (1 –5 mins)
  • Scribble: Writing down your most key goals to accomplish by the end of the day. (1 –5 mins)

Start using Hal’s Life Savers in your morning and eventually add your own components to truly make this routine yours.

Start living a purposeful life

living a purposeful life

Imagine this:

You’re no longer snoozing your alarm and you wake up each morning excited.

You’re excited not because you’re going on vacation or anywhere special. You are feeling pumped because you’ll be making progress towards your most important goals. You’re healthier than ever, smarter than ever, and more present than ever.

It wasn’t too long ago when you considered yourself a night owl. Now, you can’t believe your life has changed for the better.

Sounds good?

The truth is you can transform your life for the better. You now understand why morning routines are a powerful way to start your day.

The only person stopping you from living a fulfilled life is you. I challenge you to adopt Hal Elrod’s morning routine and discover how your life transforms.

Are you going to keep wishing for better days or take the initiative to make each day a successful one?

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