Dumb Little Man

9 Traits of a Great Leader

A true leader can be defined by many qualities, but nine traits stand out as being especially important. Some of them may be new to you while you might agree instantly with the rest.

To help you grow into the leader you are meant to be, here are 9 traits of a great leader you should learn to internalize and adopt.

Demonstrates Trust

traits of a leader

Trust is the building block of effective delegation, effective teamwork and a happy and productive organization.

Having faith in your team is what makes you a leader and not the kind of micromanaging, look-over-your-shoulder type of boss that everyone hates working for.

To be effective, one of the first things you need to do is demonstrate trust in your team. You should let them learn rather than watch their every move.

Creates a Motivating Environment

leadership attributes

A motivated employee will always work better. That’s why great leaders find ways to keep their teams excited about their work.

Depending on your style and your staff’s needs, a motivating environment can be about fair pay, office snacks or letting them leave early if the day’s work is done.

Just make sure to learn the difference between motivating employees and babysitting them. If you want your company to operate like clockwork, then every member must learn to stand on one’s own two feet.

Sets and Communicates Clear Objectives and Goals

leadership quality

A leader is the bridge between the organization’s goals and the team’s actions. As the person who understands the big picture, it’s your job to make sure your team stays on track by relaying clear, specific objectives on an ongoing basis.

This way, your employees will always be in-tune with your organization’s goals and vision. Just make sure that what you’re asking for is fair and realistic to avoid stressing out your employees.

Supports and Empowers Others

good leadership skills

The more power your team members have, the stronger you are as their leader. That’s why it’s important to empower and support your subordinates so that they can rise up to challenges whenever necessary. Not only will this make your team better, it’ll also free up your time for more complex tasks.

And as you lend your support, they’ll pay you back in kind. This is the key to forming a symbiotic relationship that fosters motivation, collaboration and dedication to the team’s goals.

See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

Commits to Follow-Through and Completion

good leadership qualities

Nothing is worse than working under a leader that leaves projects unfinished and throws words to the wind. Even a bad leader is better than an irresponsible one.

Don’t make this mistake. Be meticulous with your word and commit to seeing everything you start through—even if you have to force it. This way, you’ll lead by example and create a culture where everyone feels responsible for what they’re supposed to do.

Listens Attentively

leadership style

As a leader, you need people to listen to you. However, the best way to be heard is to listen when it’s their turn to speak.

Remember, team members don’t just look at you for orders. They also want support, attention, and feedback. In order to provide these things in a useful and constructive manner, learn to lend an ear to your subordinates.

Furthermore, a true leader understands the value of being a lifelong learner. Other than internal insights from your company, you can also learn a lot from the content of thought leaders, such as Tai Lopez and Jeff Bullas.

Remains Vision-Oriented

leadership traits

In addition to sticking to the company’s long-term goals, a great leader should always have a vision that’s motivating, simple and inclusive to other employees.

The latter is particularly important. No matter how great you are as a manager, your employees will never function at their fullest potential if they don’t buy your vision.

Fosters a Team Environment

leadership skills

Strong leaders don’t only have good relationships with their employees, they also encourage the entire team to cooperate in a constructive manner. This ensures that they will continue to work together when you’re not around.

Without a team-oriented environment, your staff is just a collection of people reporting directly to you. Fostering cooperation is, therefore, necessary if you want people to work as a single unit and thrive together towards the same direction.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Focuses on People, Not Tasks

traits of a great leader

Many early marketing theories treated team members like cogs in a large mechanism. Today, we know better than that. We understand that no two people are the same. Different individuals need different approaches to do a great job and it’s your duty as a leader to understand that.

When you need something done, don’t just focus on the tasks at hand. Give a careful thought on who’s going to do it and how you can encourage them to do their best work. This is the last but definitely not the least attribute of a great leader.

Great Leaders Are Made; Not Born

Vince Lombardi, a 6-time NFL Champion, 2-time Super Bowl champion and 2-time NFL Coach of the Year, once said that great leaders are made “by hard effort; the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

Remember that there is reciprocity in the corporate world. You receive what you give. Lead by example, work hard, and dedicate yourself to your team. Doing all these will inspire your employees to do the same for your organization.

 

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

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

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

Listen to your heart

goal vision

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

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

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

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

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

See Also: How to Set Personal SMART Goals To Succeed

Align your habits with your long-term goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reward yourself

reward system

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

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

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

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

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

Reassess your goals over time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a break

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

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

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

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

 

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How To Fail-Proof Your Business From The Beginning

Building a business from the ground up is not easy. There’s a whole culture surrounding startups these days and you’ll often hear about the “lean startup” or how you only need to work 2 hours on your business and still make money. The reality is, you’re very likely going to be working a lot more than two hours a week for a very long time, and even then you aren’t guaranteed success.

One of the hardest lessons in life is that you can do everything right and still fail. Nowhere is this more evident than in the failure rates of small businesses in the United States. Approximately 20% will fail before their first year, more than a third will fail before two years, half will fail by year 5, and 70% will fail by year 10.

Sometimes the circumstances are truly out of your control, but there are still a lot of things you can do to fail-proof your business before you even get started.

Make A Business Plan

business plan

Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail, as the old saying goes. And, apparently, it’s one of the most common reasons why businesses fail.

You shouldn’t just be picking out office furniture and paint colors during the planning phase. In fact, those things should come later.

Primarily, you need to plan what kind of business will do well, where it will thrive and who would be the best people to help you run it. Among the things you should consider carefully are the following points:

Location: Are you in a location where there is an abundance of talent, relatively low business taxes, enough infrastructure for your needs and room for business growth?

Competition: Can you withstand the competition or are you in a sector that is highly competitive when it comes to market share?

Team: Are you choosing the right people for the job or just taking anyone with a resume and a pulse?

Cash Flow Management: Can you deal with the ups and downs of cash flow when customers don’t pay you and you still have to pay rent?

Flexibility: Are you able to turn on a dime if you catch a hint of a shifting market?

The above is where most businesses fail and thinking about how to mitigate these problems at the outset is the first step in building a business that lasts.

See Also: How Awareness In Business Can Predict Your Future Success

Know Your Strengths, But Also Know The Strengths Of Your Community Or Sector

business location

Four of the top five worst places to start a business in the United States are in California, Stockton, Modesto, San Bernadino and Santa Rosa and it’s because of the high poverty rate and low education in the areas.

If you are in any one of these places, you have to carefully plan your business strategy.

Location is important, but so is industry. Healthcare is one of the most successful types of businesses to start while construction and transportation are some of the worst.

Does your town have good infrastructure? It’s going to be hard to start a tech business if you’re somewhere that still uses dial up. Shipping things out? Hope you have access to a major shipping company hub, like UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky.

Having access to top talent is another concern when you are starting a business. If you are starting a business in a place that doesn’t have a university, you’re likely to starve for talent as your company grows. If you’re setting up shop in a place with high poverty, chances are the folks who need jobs the most aren’t going to have the education needed.

Take a look around as you are planning your business and determine what industry would fit your location. Don’t be afraid to move if you can’t get what you need in your current community.

See Also: 4 Key Ideas To Help Your Passion-fuelled Business Take Off Fast!

Businesses Fail Frequently, But Yours Doesn’t Have To

A little extra planning can go a long way when starting a business. Learn more about why businesses fail from this infographic and then do a serious audit of your business plan or current business.

Have you built something that can last or something that will barely survive the next major market shift? Is your team up to snuff? You owe it to your business to ask the hard questions.

Source

WhyBusinessesFail

 

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You Can’t Miss Your Boat

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

Their boat has sailed.

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

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

And her numbers came up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is doable.

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

Your boat is still waiting.

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

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

waiting goals

 

You’re never going to live your own life.

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

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

Tips On Achieving Goals

writing goals

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

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

Remember: Everything happens FOR you, not TO you.

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

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Changing Trends in the Way Families Buy Homes

Owning a home gives families a sense of independence and security. However, in buying a house, numerous factors influence the family’s choice. They may face economic, socio-cultural, psychological, demographic and personal issues.

In the past, all decisions related to buying a home were primarily made by the male members of the family. However, in today’s times, the same decision is now unanimously taken. All family members can voice their opinions and all needs and preferences are taken into consideration, irrespective of age or gender.

Let’s look at the some of the changing trends affecting the way families buy homes.

A Shift from Joint Family Set-ups to Nuclear Lifestyles

nuclear lifestyle

In earlier times, most family set-ups were joint, with closely-related members living in their ancestral home. But, as the population and economy of the country grew, this previously popular lifestyle saw a major shift.

Today’s nuclear family set-up created radical changes in the family’s process of buying a house. There are fewer members in a nuclear family and buying decisions have aligned in the same direction. One good example is space. Fewer family members won’t need as much space so houses tend to be smaller.

Placing children’s needs at the forefront

While making any property-related buying decision, parents and grandparents tend to consider the needs of their children to a great extent. They opt for houses which are airy, well-lit and which have a positive impact on their children’s growth, health and well-being.

Parents also put sufficient thought on their kids’ safety. They take into account the community’s recreational amenities, like parks, pools or playgrounds when buying a house. Additionally, families tend to prefer residential properties which have good schools in the vicinity along with options for extracurricular activities. Parents are more than willing to compromise on their own needs as long as they meet their children’s needs.

Compact homes over out-sized properties

Nuclear families these days prefer compact and self-sufficient homes. This justifies the large number of families opting for space-efficient apartments and flats over sprawling properties.

One good reason families prefer flats over stand-alone properties is because of better social interaction. In addition to that, maintaining a large property can also be quite a hassle, especially when the family is small. Apartments are also more secure and homey for such family size.

Accessibility and proximity

school accessibility

Most apartment complexes today offer convenience to attract more families to buy them. Malls, clubs and sports facilities are all within walking distance of these complexes so families won’t have to spend any time or money on transportation. A lot of them offer basic needs, too. Grocery stores and dry cleaning services are usually just a few feet away from them.

If a housing complex just offers apartments, then families will look for flats that are in close proximity to important facilities, like schools, healthcare, medical stores and retail outlets for added convenience. With the basic amenities within a stone’s throw from their homes, efficiently managing day-to-day activities and maintaining a good work-life balance becomes much easier for smaller families.

Properties with resale value

Families tend to move to larger homes in better locations as their financial status improves. Job changes or increase in the number of family members are also plausible reasons why families look to upgrade to a larger or better home. Thus, families prefer buying homes in prime locations that have a good resale value in the future. For instance, according to a Knight Frank survey, home buyers prefer to move to newer projects with better facilities and those that are closer to the city.

See Also: 10 Important Home Features That Home Buyers Want

To sum it up

With improvement in job prospects, purchasing power and lifestyle, families have undergone a shift in terms of how they invest in properties. There has been a considerable change in the past two decades and families have started weighing in many factors which were earlier considered unimportant while buying a home.

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Do You Know What To Do In A Ride Sharing Accident?

Ride sharing and ride hailing are often lumped together, but the two services are completely different. One is more like a taxi while the other is more like a bus. What’s not different about the two is that there is still a lot of confusion about who is legally responsible if there is an accident.

Because drivers don’t usually need commercial insurances even though they are performing a duty for which they are getting paid, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay up in the event of an accident.

To clear things up, here’s what you need to know.

Ride hailing is common

ride sharing

Over half of adults in the United States have heard of a ridge hailing or ride sharing app, but only about 15% have used one. This brings a lot of confusion about what it is, what the legal ramifications are as well as its regulations.

Most people who use these services are affluent and between the ages of 18 and 49. 29% of college graduates have used these services as well.

A little over a third of all adults believe that ride sharing services should be treated like commercial taxi services, while about the same percentage of frequent ride sharing users believe the same thing. Even though the liability is the same, most people don’t believe ride hailing drivers are no different from taxi drivers.

More states and municipalities are starting to realize the legal gaps that are occurring with these services and are making attempts at patching them up. It’s likely that more regulations will be passed in the future to protect both driver and passenger.

If you are a driver, you may not be covered

Driving for a ride sharing or ride hailing service can be risky if you don’t pay extra for commercial insurance. Unfortunately, this is a catch-22 because most companies pay so little that you would pay more for commercial insurance than you would end up making in fares.

Currently, New York City requires drivers to carry commercial insurance, which is as much to protect the drivers as it is to protect the riders. What if you are in an accident on your way to pick up a fare and your insurance doesn’t want to pay up? Or worse, if they do pay up and end up raising your rates for the next several years?

It’s definitely worth checking into your coverage before deciding to work a side hustle. The coverage provided by the ride sharing and ride hailing services might not be enough to protect you.

If you are a passenger, you might not be covered, either

Between 2014 and 2016, for-hire vehicle accidents more than tripled. As more and more people are using these services, there will understandably be more accidents.

A ride sharing insurance coverage can fill in the gaps when the driver’s insurance doesn’t want to pay out. However, as lawsuits involving these services are also on the rise, you could find yourself caught up in the middle.

If you are a ride sharing or ride hailing passenger and you are in an accident, here’s what you need to do:

ride sharing accident

  • Get help at the scene

Getting a police report ensures that the facts won’t change after you leave the scene. Getting medical attention is the first step in documenting any injuries you may have.

  • Get information from the driver

Again, gathering the facts at the scene is the best way to ensure they don’t change. Get as much information as possible, like contact information, insurance details and data on the ride hailing service you got.

  • Have your injuries treated

You may think you are fine, but car accident injuries can become more serious over time, particularly if there’s no prompt treatment.

  • Keep track of medical bills and expenses, including any lost work

From day one, write down any work you missed because of the accident and any bills you accrue. Keep receipts whenever possible as this will help you get reimbursements.

See Also: 5 Financial Emergencies Everyone Must Be Prepared For 

  • Decide whether you will need to hire a lawyer to recoup your costs

Sometimes, insurance companies are happy to pay up right away just to close the case. Other times, they may not be as willing and you’ll need help to get reimbursements for your expenses.

See Also: Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Coverage requirements vary based on location

From state to state and even from city to city, coverage requirements can vary widely.

The state of California requires an additional $1 million in liability coverage when drivers are en route and while they have passengers. Minnesota requires an additional $1.5 million in coverage for the same situation. In some places in the world, like France, ride hailing and ride sharing drivers need to be licensed professionals.

Knowing a little about the risks now, do you think these services should be treated like professional driving services or are you OK with taking the risk?

Learn more about what to do if you are involved in a ride sharing accident from the infographic below.

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Five Career Killers Every Professional Should Be Aware Of

Hard work is, without a doubt, an indispensable factor in the ladder of success. Without it, there is not much that can be accomplished.

Working hard with sincerity and integrity is sure to take an individual’s career a long way. Unfortunately, there are instances where hard-working individuals can lose their fight and succumb to the various obstacles along the way. These obstacles may look like subtle and honest mistakes on the surface but, in reality, they usually have very serious repercussions.

You don’t need to do something dramatic to be kicked out of your job. In some cases, various honest and subtle mistakes can be enough to end your career.

Here are 5 career killers:

Hard work

signs of overworking

“When you’re a hard worker, the only person that can come in the way of your success is you!“

Everything in this world has its own pros and cons. We’re all aware of the merits of hard work but, like all other things, it can be dangerous too.

It’s a scientific fact that people who usually work hard are differently wired than people who don’t. In the prefrontal cortex of the brain, there’s an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT. The function of this enzyme is to balance out the dopamine levels in the brain.

Now, there are two types of COMT, a fast acting one and a slow acting one. The slow acting one clears up the excessive dopamine five times slower than the fast acting one and is usually found in hard working people. This makes the hard workers prone to anxiety, stress and over-thinking. These things can negatively affect their performance under stressful situations.

People who work hard tend to focus more on the ‘working’ aspect of the job rather than the ‘result’ aspect of it. They come early to office only to be the last person to leave. They work hard but aren’t able to churn out desirable results because they direct their energies in the wrong direction. These people get so involved with working that succeeding in the work takes the backseat. This has turned out to be a big career killer because, at the end of the day, a good result is all that matters.

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

Resting on the laurels

“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.”

Now, it’s an understood fact that with hard work comes success and with success comes glory. But, it is also true that basking in that glory for too long is a sure shot career killer.

Resting on one’s laurels is a common mistake most people make. They get too attached to the pride and glory a particular task provided them and just can’t seem to move on from it.

Working hard for a task is important but it is equally important to get over it once it’s done. We’ve often heard that such-and-such fell because they let the success get over their heads. This is, in fact, a real practical problem that professionals face which can end up ruining their careers.

Complacency

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

Complacency is almost like the evil twin of the previous flaw. Being self-satisfied is, perhaps, the biggest hindrance to personal growth. Hardworking people have the tendency to feel self-satisfied, if not pushed hard enough.

When a professional works hard and gets his due success, he is appreciated for his work. This appreciation leads to a sense of smug self-satisfaction which makes him complacent. If they are under-appreciated, they lose the motivation to carry on further. It’s a strange paradox.

Anyhow, this complacency is another legit career killer. The trick here is to not be too attached with work and the outcomes of it. You have to know how to keep working and learning without getting stuck at a single point.

Promising big things

“Rarely promise, but, if lawful, constantly perform.”

Remember hard workers being differently wired than the rest? That strange little chemical responsible for the dopamine balance has another role to play in the career-killing behavior of professionals. Quite a mischievous role biochemistry plays in this whole thing!

So, what happens is, this excessive dopamine makes hard workers much more charged than the rest. While being assigned tasks, they (in their charged up zone) end up promising big things to their senior officials. They have the belief that they can actually deliver without realizing the unreasonable nature of their claims.

When they aren’t able to deliver the promises, it ends up pissing their seniors off. Even though they might have done a good job, their broken promises put them in the negative light.

Sucking up to the boss

sucking up to the boss

“Suck up to your boss if you’re not good at what you do!”

One who is good at what one does will only focus on his work, not on other means to climb the success ladder. This is one of the most obvious and common mistakes people make in order to become successful in their careers and it ironically ends up sabotaging them.

There is no other thing that can place a particular individual in a more negative light than sucking up to their senior officials. It’s just plain wrong and immoral! Most people confuse it with people managing and playing politics smartly when they’re two polar opposites. There is no way one can sugar coat this truth. Sucking up is sucking up.

See Also: Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner

Working hard is not a sure shot formula to success. In fact, there is no formula to success. It’s just a mix of complicated elements, characteristics and biochemistry! Just make sure you don’t make these general mistakes. Work hard, keep an eye on your results, and keep growing. It might just help you succeed!

The post Five Career Killers Every Professional Should Be Aware Of appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Career Management Lessons You Can Learn From Playing Golf

The game of golf can teach us a lot about what it means to manage a successful career. Golf takes practice, confidence, optimism and most importantly, patience.

Beginner golfers are typically encouraged to focus on their swing before they hit the green. That means breaking down their swing into smaller steps so they can focus on improving their posture, grip and alignment.

While this might be tedious for some, having enough patience to improve your swing will pay off in the long-run.

As you’re building your career, it’s also crucial to fine-tune these same qualities. It’s important to take your career step by step, have patience and be willing to change course if anything unexpected comes your way, like a surprise job offer or a promotion.

Hitting the links with friends during a sunny summer day is a great way to have fun, but a round of golf can teach you more than you think about career management.

Here are some valuable lessons from playing golf:

Work on Your Long and Short Game

long game

When playing golf, you can’t rely on a successful long game or short game alone. While you might want to practice your long-game all day at the driving range, you also need to break out the putter to practice your short game. Both factors are vital to success.

Just like in golf, it’s important to set short- and long-term career goals. Although you should always have your eye on the big picture, don’t forget to break down your long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals.

For example, you can’t drive a golf ball 150 yards unless you have a smooth swing. The same concept applies to your career. For instance, just because a job offer promises more money now doesn’t make it a good move five years from now.

Think ahead and determine how it will affect your long-term goals in your career. This is similar to balancing your golf strategy.

See Also: A Guide to Developing Your Career Prospect

Play the Wind

Factors outside of your control often determine whether you’ll have a good game of golf. Whether it’s windy or it begins to rain, as a golfer, you must be prepared to go with the flow and adapt to the elements.

Just like the weather during golf, your career has a lot of aspects you can’t control. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, adaptability is one of the most in-demand soft skills. This is why it’s important to be prepared for anything as you make big career decisions.

Many doors will open and close throughout your career and it’s important to be willing to go with the flow. Maybe a job you think would end up being the perfect fit ends up having a company culture that doesn’t align with your values.

Anticipate the unexpected and prepare for how you will adapt to missteps.

Enjoy the Sand Traps

sand traps

Golf can put many players in challenging situations, including hitting a sand bunker shot. Even the best players can lose their confidence when trying to hit a golf ball out of a bunker. It’s important to have patience and a positive attitude as you approach the challenging shot.

One way to overcome challenging situations is to change your mindset. Researcher Dr. Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed over time.

A fixed mindset, on the other hand, can hold you back in your career. If you avoid obstacles in your career, like avoiding sand traps, you’ll never grow as a professional or a golfer.

When your ball lands in the bunker, remember that it’s a learning experience and not a failure. Be patient and treat your mistakes as growth opportunities. Reflect on what went wrong and determine how effort can lead to mastery in your career.

Take Practice Swings

The biggest secret to success in a game of golf is practice. It could take years to perfect your grip and make the perfect shot. But as long as you are consistent and have a positive attitude, you can get closer to reaching your goals and improving your game.

It’s also important to research and plan your career. In other words, take a few practice swings before teeing off.

Spend time exploring different options and trying different roles. Before pursuing new opportunities, conduct informational interviews and consult professionals. This way, you will figure out whether you want to continue down a specific career path before you dive all the way in.

Having a strong golf game and a successful career takes time. As you manage your career, remember to focus on building your skills, keep your goals in check and be willing to adapt to different situations. These qualities will help you navigate new career opportunities and also prepare you for a successful and rewarding career.

What other career management lessons have you learned from playing golf?

See Also: 4 Things Tom Brady Can Teach You About Career Management

 

The post 4 Career Management Lessons You Can Learn From Playing Golf appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Hobbies For Couples That Can Strengthen Your Relationship

Feeling bored doesn’t have to mean you don’t love your partner anymore. It’s probably just the right time to find something new and interesting to do together. Taking up a new hobby is one great way to start.

It will give you something new to talk about. It can give you and your partner a fresh perspective, too.

If you are curious to know, take a look at these six hobbies for couples that you can try out today. They might just bring you and your partner closer together.

Cooking

cooking together

Whether it is Japanese or French, learning a new cuisine can be loads of fun for couples. It’s not only enjoyable and creative, but it can also let you learn new things.

Taking a class is an excellent way to start. If you don’t want to leave the house, there are many YouTube video tutorials and online classes you can check out at little or no charge. With a little practice, you’ll soon be able to try new and intriguing recipes.

Cooking together provides an excellent chance to take charge of your health. Besides, every chef needs an assistant, so it makes a perfect partner activity.

Physical Training

There are a variety of sports that are best done with a partner. Biking, running, weight-lifting, yoga and hiking are great examples.

Picking something that is fun and challenging for both of you will give you the opportunity to really support one another. It will also give you the chance to better your health and achieve things you never thought possible before.

Who would be better to cross a finish line with than the person you love the most?

With physical training, you’ll get the satisfaction of having pushed yourself to new heights as well as being able to form a deep connection with your partner.

Language

Learning a new language is one the most difficult yet useful things you can do.

Have you ever thought about traveling to another country?

If yes, then pick a place that interests you both. Once you have selected a place, you can begin doing your research. You can use online programs, software and apps so you can learn that country’s language from the comfort of your home.

You and your partner can learn and practice together. It won’t be long before you can say “I love you” in another language.

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

Games

fun relationship

It may sound like child’s play, but learning a new game is an excellent way to keep your mind sharp. You can try board, video or online games.

Most of these games require a lot of thought and strategy to master. These things can help build important relationship skills, like communication and respect. It can also teach you a lot about teamwork, too.

See Also: Video Games and Relationships: A List of Pros and Cons

Dancing

Whether it is ballroom or hip-hop, dancing is a rewarding pastime, especially with a partner. Learning choreographed moves to music helps build coordination, mental acuity and physical health. Doing it with someone you love makes it all the more fun. Dancing can also be very sultry and romantic. This can bring you closer both physically and mentally.

Building or Refinishing Projects

Maybe you have an old piece that needs updating already. If not, take the time to scour garage sales or flea markets with your partner and find cool items that you can update. Hunting for that hidden gem is a great activity to do together.

Even if they have no place in your home once done, you may be able to sell them again for a profit. Engaging your creativity along with your partner’s and then working toward a common goal, will bring you closer.

Conclusion

No matter what your hobby of choice is, having something that you can do as a couple can help deepen your relationship. Remember, hobbies for couples don’t have to be expensive. There are lots of tutorials you can find on the internet.

Hobbies can be therapeutic in general and, for a couple, that can translate to a stronger and happier relationship. Who knows, you may even discover some interesting new things about each other or yourself that you never knew before.

The post 6 Hobbies For Couples That Can Strengthen Your Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Why Runners Should Get a Sports Massage

Sports massage is a form of physical therapy that is designed to help athletes prepare and recover from intense training and activity. This style of massage aims to prevent injury while supporting the repair of damaged muscles, tendons and soft tissues.

When is the right time to get one?

sports massages

There is no right answer for this question as it’s subjective. Generally speaking, however, there are four main categories of sports massage: Pre, post, general and injury-specific.

Each category has a different purpose.

Pre-event

The main purpose of this style is to prepare the body for intense exercise or for an event. While some people prefer a light session, others request intense, deep work a couple days before or the night before an event.

The nature of the session depends on the request of the client. Trained masseuses adjust their routines to suit the wants and needs of their clients, especially the intensity of the session.

The athlete should feel light and refreshed after the session, not still and sluggish. Pre-event massages usually involve light strokes, dynamic/isolated stretching, and deep tissue techniques.

Post-event

The goal of a post-event massage is to minimize the onset of muscle soreness. In most cases, a runner will need a post-event massage within 26 hours of an intense workout or event to stop the body from becoming sore.

Since the muscles can undergo micro-trauma and tearing, it’s important to help the body heal. Unlike the pre-event massage, the post-event massage is lighter but slightly deeper.

It uses slow, flushing and controlled strokes as to avoid causing further damage to the muscles. It incorporates static stretching into the session, using 30-second holds to massage certain regions on the body.

Apart from the massage, athletes can also take ice baths after stretching to decrease post-work out trauma. The combination of these two treatments can drastically speed up recovery.

General massage

The purpose of a general massage is to loosen tight muscles, enhance range of motion, release trigger points and minimize the chance of injury. Generally speaking, runners tend to respond better to deep tissue work when experiencing a general massage.

It is the job of the masseuse to alter the intensity of the massage to ensure that it’s effective but won’t cause further damage. If the runner continues to experience painful, burning aches more than 36 hours after a general massage, it’s usually a sign that the masseuse has applied too much pressure.

Injury massage

Injury massage is slightly more specific than the previous styles. It is usually done to heal a specific damaged muscle, ligament or tendon. This style can be incredibly effective when applied appropriately and by a trained expert.

Similarly, athletes are advised to work alongside a doctor or physical therapist before establishing a proper treatment plan. Every injury is unique and each treatment plan should depend on the extent or nature of the injury.

Common injuries among runners

Tendinopathies- This is an injury to one or more tendons. Trained masseuses use deep, stripping strokes on the tendon and also perform cross-fiber friction to help heal the area. You’ll need to apply ice to the injured tendon for 10-15 minutes.

Ligamentous- This is an injury to one or more ligaments and is treated similarly to tendinopathies. It also incorporates deep, stripping strokes and cross-fiber friction.

Strained muscles- Strained muscles should be treated no more than twice a week since the muscles also need time to relax between sessions. Masseuses apply deep work around the area and use light, flushing strokes on the strained muscle.

When the muscles start to heal, the masseuse will use deeper strokes and cross-fiber friction on the actual area of injury. Gradually, the intensity of the static stretch will increase and resistive stretching will be introduced towards the end.

Iliotibial Band- This is one of the most common injuries among runners. Also called as Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, it is usually detected through pain on the outside of the knee. Treatment usually includes intense, deep massage techniques in order to work three of the gluteal muscles: the tensor fasciae, latae and the band.

Achilles Tendinopathy- This is an injury associated with the Achilles heel. Masseuses usually start with deep, stripping techniques, since the muscles and Achilles are connected, and these can tug on the tendon when tight.

Runner’s knee- Runner’s knee is easily distinguishable because it causes pain behind or around the knee. Although common among runners, it is exclusive to them. In most cases, the underlying cause is muscular imbalance in the four quad muscles.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

Study

sports-massage-runner
Via fitagainsportstherapy

Physiotherapist and chiropractor, Greg Lehman believes that one of the main benefits of sports massage for runners is pain relief.

“Pain changes how we function and can even inhibit healing. Massage may also help with recovery after a workout and may help get us out of a stress dominated state of our nervous system.” 

He also put emphasis on how relaxation is an overlooked, yet critical aspect of a runner’s training regime. He explained that stress can impact all elements of training, including mental strength and focus.

Studies have shown that regular massage therapy can reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol. At the same time, it can also encourage the production of hormones, such as oxytocin, which increase happiness and relaxation. The benefits of massage suggest that runners, and most athletes for that matter, can recover faster after a hard workout or an event with the help of sports massage.

Conclusion

All runners are prone to injury and sports massage is one good way to prevent that. If you aren’t comfortable seeking help from a massage therapist, self-massage is a free and easy alternative you can try.

 

The post Why Runners Should Get a Sports Massage appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways To Stop Your Shopping Splurges

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

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

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

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

Does this sound like you?

The diagnosis

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

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

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

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

Therapy for retail therapy

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

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

Cut up the cards

cut credit cards

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

It’s a psychological thing.

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

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

Make a plan

So, how do you make that budget?

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

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

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

The 10-minute rule

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

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

Look, don’t touch

shopping online

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

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

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

Dine well

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

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

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

Picture a world without stuff

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

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

Be grateful for what you’ve got

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

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

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

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

The post 7 Ways To Stop Your Shopping Splurges appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Simple Tips On How To Form A Habit

Do you still remember your New Years Resolutions? How many of them have you put into practice?

Let me guess: Little to none of them.

And you’re not alone.

Good habits seem to be very hard to form while bad habits just sneak up on us when we least expect them. That’s how it feels, at least

But, guess what? Good and bad habits actually form the same way.

As a Certified Fitness Coach and 100% Vegan, let me give you some tips on how to form habits.

Pull the trigger

Habits start with triggers.

You feel stressed out? You’ll feel compelled to smoke a cigarette. You’re about to go to bed? You’ll have to brush your teeth.

These are simple triggers that initiate reactions. And like these triggers, you also have to identify specific triggers that can help you build better habits.

Ask yourself: How are you reminded of the habit?

Build a checklist

Generate a trigger by creating a checklist. All you need is a blank paper, a pen and some duct tape. You duct tape the blank paper to an open spot in your home, like your fridge.
Then, write the name of the habit that you want to form on top of the checklist.

Put some small check boxes on the left side of the paper with your target dates. These dates should reflect the frequency of the habits you want to build. For example, if you want to go to the gym once or twice a week, you need to write down the dates of your planned workout days for the next two months. You should have a total of 18 dates for that. Every time you go to the gym on your specified dates, you check off the box.

Bonus Tip: Use your signature

An even better way to check off the habit is by using your signature. If you put your signature on the checkbox after finishing the habit, you’re telling yourself that you’ve done the work the right way. You’re using the self-serving bias to your advantage.

The self-serving bias means that you want to enhance your self-esteem and self-worth with your actions. The signature is a reflection of yourself.

Think of it this way:

You’re putting your signature on the stuff you agree with. You’re enhancing your self-worth by completely nailing the habit. Because of that, the habit is more likely to stick.

Start Small

walking exercise

If your goal is to go to the gym four times a week, don’t start with that habit.

I know that you might be extremely motivated this very moment, but the key to long-term change in your habits is consistency.

Start with a 5-minute walk, two times a week. When you have low expectations, it dramatically increases your likelihood of forming a habit that will last long.

Why?

Because having time for a 5-minute walk every day is easy while 2 hours of exercise isn’t. You can eat one banana every day but you’ll find a full day of eating healthy harder.

Start with smaller goals as much as possible and it will make you less likely to procrastinate.

Overcompensate

Starting small won’t only make habit formation easier; it can help you compensate on certain days, too.

What you will find, after a certain period of time, is that you’ll be able to easily go for a ten-minute walk, instead of the planned five-minute walk. You’ll be progressing in an easy, playful way and this will increase your motivation. Plus, it will make habit formation feel like something that you ‘want’ to do, instead of ‘needing’ to do.

See Also: Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life

No need to feel sorry now. What are you waiting for? The year isn’t over yet. Take your New Year’s Resolutions out of your closet and start forming new habits the simple, fun and sustainable way.

If you enjoyed this article, please watch and share my video below.

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5 Tips For Smashing Your Weight Loss Goals

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

Well, I did.

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

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

I guess, sometimes, everyone needs a kick!

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

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

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

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

Food prep

food prep

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

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

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

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

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

Understand your Macro splits

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

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

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

Download Myfitnesspal

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

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

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

Exercise

exercise regularly

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Set short term goals that add long-term results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and smash your goals!

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

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6 Ways Traveling Alone Makes You Stronger

Solo travel is growing in popularity. In fact, the number of first-time travelers who choose to go solo has more than doubled in recent years. Despite that, solo travelers are still a niche minority as most travelers prefer to go in couples or groups.

Traveling alone is a whole different experience. There are certain benefits you can only get from waking up alone in a totally unfamiliar place and charting your own course deeper into the unknown.

Even if you’re not traveling long-term, venturing out for a solo vacation once in awhile can help you build skills and competencies that you can bring back and apply to all areas of your life.

Here are six benefits you can get  from traveling alone:

You Learn to Rely on Yourself

traveling

You’ll get organized. Nobody else will be there to fold your laundry for you. You either do it yourself and take pride in the process or you stuff it in your backpack and content yourself with wearing wrinkled clothes.

You’ll learn to organize your finances. Without proper handling, your cash can easily slip away in a matter of days. You have to pay attention and track your spending.

Watch your own back because you’re the only one responsible for your safety. In fact, you might be the only person on the continent who cares whether you live or die! Learn to exercise caution and self-care and you’ll start becoming empowered.

You Deal With Some Big Emotions

You fall and pick yourself back up. You get extremely frustrated. You miss your family back home. You wonder where you went wrong and what the hell you are doing all the way out there anyway.

And you deal with those emotions while getting overwhelmed with joy and excitement, too.

Ultimately, you’ll learn that the world isn’t causing your emotions. You are. And, unfortunately, the world can’t solve them for you.

Traveling alone will help you learn to experience immense moments without being clumsily demonstrative. It’ll help you go through your emotions and deal with what’s really causing them.

You Build People Skills

You’ll encounter different kinds of people and build social-emotional intelligence along the way. This is a powerful tool you can use anywhere you go.

You’ll soon learn how to have a calm and pleasant conversation with the bank officials even when you’re panicking because you can’t access your account. Calmness and sweetness are more likely to win their assistance.

If you’re only in town for the weekend, you can make friends fast. You can even find a relationship quickly, too. You’ll have someone to bring to a festival or that local restaurant you’ve been wanting to visit. Even when traveling solo, you don’t really have to be alone all that much if you don’t want to.

You’ll also learn cross-linguistic communication. Even if you’re not planning to learn the language by immersion, you can always pick up the basics. The rest, you can do with body language, visual aids and a lot of patience. This is a delicate process as you’ll have to overcome your fear of looking foolish.

Traveling solo can increase your awareness of the body signals you’ve been unintentionally sending. And, because of that, you’ll be able to work on your posture and how you approach other people so that they will be more willing to engage.

You Chart Your Own Course

charting own course

As a solo traveler, you can watch your decisions become plans, train tickets and then memories. You don’t have to wait for anyone, hurry up the experience or postpone your trip just because someone doesn’t want to go with you. Your destiny lies in your own hands.

You Come Face to Face With Your Smallness in the World

The world is big. It’s not just its geographical size but the magnitude of the people and their willingness to help you when you are a vulnerable stranger.

It’s one thing to say it and another thing to encounter it.

There is no humility and openness like that of a well-traveled person. When you see how big the world is and the magnanimity of its people, it’ll make you realize how diverse the world is. Strangely, this makes you both more humble and confident.

You Gain a Sense of Confidence

Traveling makes you more aware of how powerful you are than the first time you strapped on that backpack and walked out the door. You have seen yourself in dynamic, dangerous and unimaginably foreign situations and you’ve handled it.

You’ve tested yourself. You know your power and you know your limits. And you know that whatever you were so worried about in your life before you ventured out, you can handle that now, too. It’s not a problem anymore.

See Also: 5 Steps To Reinvent Your Life By Traveling

Conclusion

Traveling solo isn’t a requirement for leading a good life. You can build a lot of these skills elsewhere.

But, traveling alone accelerates your emotional and mental growth in a way that no other activity can. It makes you more open, agreeable and stable. It gives you a story and it makes you wise.

So, the next time you’re feeling that travel bug, take the extra leap and do it alone. You might surprise yourself with what you can handle.

See Also: 10 Wonderful Benefits of Traveling

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Top Five Skills To Develop In College That Can Help You Get Your Dream Job

While in college, it’s not surprising for students to be starry-eyed about working. However, when reality strikes, life can be devastating.

As a student, to avoid such a situation, it’s important that you see things as they really are. You need to know that having a college degree isn’t a passport to a dream job. It might fetch you an interview call, but that’s not everything. To actually land the job, employers will want to know, among many other things, what you can do.

You need to have a particular skill set that fits their needs. They will also want to know if you’re a leader, can work independently, think logically and are professional in your dealings.

Unfortunately, most students don’t know many of these things. Others feel they will pick them up as they go along in their professions. Some students may learn professional skills by reading “management books by reputed authors“, watching videos on these subjects or latching on to management gurus.

See Also: 3 Management Books Every Upcoming Entrepreneur Must Read

Now, if you are wondering what exact skills can help you in getting your dream job, read on.

Leadership skills

leadership skills

In life, you need to demonstrate leadership skills where applicable. The ability to assume leadership roles as and when the situation demands in college and in working life will help young professionals to assume positions of influence in the future. Besides, “companies prefer hiring leaders rather than followers“.

You can develop this skill by looking out for leadership opportunities while still in high school. As a student, you can do this by becoming the captain of a sports team, a drama club or a student movement.

Collaborative skills

College kids should work well in groups while collaborating on projects. The ability to work as a team is one of the things employers often look for.

Apart from team-based projects like service activities in high school, you can learn to be collaborative by participating in extracurricular activities and athletics, too.

Essay writing skills

essay writing skills

As a college student, you will have to juggle multiple subjects and write numerous essays. Some of them can come with very short deadlines. The trick is to master essay writing skills and get so comfortable with researching and formatting your essays that you can handle them with ease and quick turnaround times.

If you are unsure about how well you can write an essay, ask yourself if you are confident that you can score an A+ if you write the essay yourself. If you aren’t confident in your ability, it is recommended to take help from professional essay writing services. Use their essay as a reference to improve your essay writing skills.

Communication and interpersonal skills

Another skill you must learn is listening “actively, humbly and attentively“. You should also learn how to start and carry on a conversation and ask relevant questions at the appropriate time. Make sure to maintain eye contact with your group members in group projects, too.

You can inculcate better communication and interpersonal skills by speaking with your teachers in one-on-one situations. Getting a good internship is another great way to enhance your interpersonal and communication skills.

Problem-solving skills

Students and working professionals will always be confronted by numerous challenges that will need deft handling. You can work on your problem-solving skills by taking classes that teach experiential learning. You should also try out new activities that can put you in unusual situations, such as a debate or an oratory club. By participating in group projects, you can develop problem-solving skills, such as logical thinking, critical thinking and decision-making.

Time management skills

By the time you move on to college, you should have ingrained good time management skills. You should be able to track several projects efficiently and prioritize tasks.

You can improve your time management skills by taking in more responsibility. Some examples include obtaining internships, doing volunteer work or engaging in extra-curricular activities.

See Also: 5 Essential Time Management Tips to Live By

Growing personally and academically during college comes with hard work, perseverance and lessons. Don’t give up and keep honing your skills as they can be your ticket to getting your dream job.

 

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Seven Mindfulness Steps To Build Self-Esteem

It’s no secret that a lot of what we think and do are the products of our habits. These habits are often carried out unconsciously and they lead to our emotions and beliefs. These emotions and beliefs then lead to certain actions. These actions can reinforce our beliefs or have consequences that start the cycle all over again.

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been defined in many ways. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn has described it as, “Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”

Generally speaking, mindfulness has two major aspects to it.

The first involves the following:
• Being generally aware of the present moment
• Noticing when that awareness wanders
• Bringing that awareness back to the present moment

The second most common aspect of mindfulness is focusing on something in particular. This involves:
• Paying attention to something in particular, like one’s breath
• Noticing when the mind drifts from that thing
• Bringing attention back to that thing.

Strengthening mindfulness for self esteem

Mindfulness is a skill that most westerners are not used to. Becoming more mindful usually takes specific forms of practice. Many traditions and methods have been developed over the years.

The different forms of meditation have been generally accepted as mindfulness practice. Still, the main goal of being more mindful is to apply its principles to real life situations.

mindfulness and meditation

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Seven steps to utilize mindfulness for self-esteem

Stay in the present moment

Most of your distressful feelings are either memories of things gone wrong or thoughts of a less than optimal future. If you find yourself feeling less confident, odds are you’ve been harping on past failures or are worrying about a particular outcome.

You must strive to vigilantly observe when your mind isn’t focused on the present. When you notice your awareness drifting, bring it back to the here and now. Concentrate on what you’re doing right now at this very moment. There’s a saying, “If you have one foot in the future and the other in the past, you’re pissing on today.”

Don’t confuse ruminating and worrying about the future with planning. Depending on how ingrained your habit towards negative thinking is, it can be a thin line between worrying and planning.

Think of it like this.

If you tell yourself that you are going to do x, y and z, it’s usually planning. But, if your thinking is along the lines of “what if” or “such is probably going to happen”, then you’re probably worrying.

Don’t judge

Judge not or you shall be judged.

This saying has more truth to it than most people realize. Judging can become a formidable unconscious habit. What you often don’t realize is that by judging others, you’re actually drawing comparisons.

You will eventually judge someone to be better at something than you. And once that happens, you will start to down yourself and attack your own self-esteem.

A good way to practice being non-judgmental is to watch the news or read the newspaper and not form an opinion about what you see. In other words, try not to think that the event, the people involved or their actions are right, wrong, smart or stupid, etc. Then, try to bring this same mindset when dealing with others.

When you judge others, your mind slips out of the present moment. It makes you vulnerable to ruminating about the past and future. Remember, judge not, or so you shall be judged.

Stand tall

Research has shown that standing with good posture can have beneficial effects on your mood. It is hard to walk with one’s head, shoulders and chest held upright and not feel good. If you’re standing with good posture, most people will look at you and treat you as if you are confident. It can help you feel better about yourself.

One of the hindrances that make it hard for many people with low self-worth to stand tall is fear of eye contact. If you keep the two previous steps in mind, staying in the present and forming no judgments, it will be easier for you to look people in the eye.

Don’t stare. Just occasionally look people in the eye, especially if they’re looking at you. If you still find eye contact hard, there are a couple of hacks for it. You can look at the bridge of a person’s nose, instead of directly in the eye. Another trick is to look at a person’s ears if you’re directly in front of but not too close to him.

Demand your space

People with low self-esteem often don’t want to be noticed. When in public, they try to be as unobtrusive as possible. Whereas people with high self-worth stand out. One of the ways they do this is by taking up space.

For instance, when standing, try to keep your feet shoulder-width apart. When sitting, keep your knees apart as much as is appropriate for the situation. When you do this, you’re basically telling the world that you not only have balls, but they’re big ones. Try and keep your hands away from you as well, being mindful not to consistently fold your arms across your chest.

If you are a man, you should also be mindful of keeping your elbows away from your torso as well. Keeping the knees and elbows drawn in is often viewed as weak and submissive, not to mention effeminate in some cultures.

Make faces

The look you hold on your face often influences your mood. You should strive to have the look of a confident winner. Different people show that differently.

For one person, it could be a smiling face. For another, it could be the look of a person who’s serious and doesn’t play games. The choice is yours, as long as it is the facial expression that you feel a confident person would wear.

A lot of times, when you have low self-esteem, you defeat yourself before you even start. You have a look of defeat, submission or unhappiness plastered on your face. Not only does this affect your mood, but it can influence those around you.

When you smile, the whole world smiles with you. If you look upbeat and confident, it can make it easier for people to gravitate towards you. People instinctively know that emotions are contagious. Therefore humans tend to be attracted to people who feel good.

On the other hand, if you look like a depressed loser, not only will you tend to feel that way, but it can make people hostile towards you. They don’t want to feel like you do, so they will tend to avoid you or drive you away.

You’ll even find people will often be attracted towards you if you look slightly angry. The key word is “slightly”. If you look enraged or ready to explode, people may stand clear out of fear for their physical safety. Anger is not generally considered a positive emotion, but an angry person is generally looked at as having more confidence than one who looks submissive.

Relax

mindfulness and relaxation

Relaxation techniques help to alleviate the effects of the fight or flight response. Being in a relaxed state won’t necessarily build confidence, but it can help to relieve anxiety and other adverse moods. This step takes practice.

In the beginning, it’s recommended that you practice some type of relaxation technique. This is so that you know what relaxation actually feels like. Once you have established how it feels, you’ll have to be mindful of the stress on your body. The common trouble spots are the face, neck, shoulder region and the central torso. During your day, you can do a quick self-check to see if there is unnecessary tension in those trouble spots.

Act as if

This step includes bringing all the other steps together. It’s sort of like being a method actor.

You contemplate how you would imagine a person with high self-esteem would act and then you strive to emulate that type of behavior. It may be awkward at first and people that know you may be put off a little. They may not take the ‘new’ you seriously. But, if you’re consistent, they will fall in line. The key is consistency.

You will eventually slip into your habitual ways of behaving. This is where mindfulness plays its part. You have to train your mind to become aware of your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors so that you can correct them as soon as possible. If done often and consistently enough, this in and of itself will become a habit.

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

Conclusion

We see that high self-worth can be influenced by what you do and don’t do. Always remember that it’s about progress and not perfection. You should strive to be mindful of using your thoughts and behavior to:
• Prevent self-defeating thoughts from arising
• Eliminate self-defeating thoughts that do arise
• Bring up esteem building thoughts when they are not presently in mind
• Maintain esteem building thoughts that are currently in mind

If you want moderate gains in your self-esteem, be mindful of the steps you take to move through life. Your limits are only set by the limits of your mindset.

The post Seven Mindfulness Steps To Build Self-Esteem appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

“In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step,” begins the 2016 Women in the Workplace Study.

It’s not hard to believe, considering that only 17% of startups have a female founder. There are multiple factors holding women back from succeeding in the workplace. The study continues to note that women often miss out on vital interactions with members of management, stifling their ability to climb the corporate ladder from the get-go.

The more interactions missed, the shorter the ladder becomes over time. This creates a cumulative effect that becomes impossible to make up for later in life. What can be done to ensure that everyone has an equal shot at success? How do you boost the success of women in the workplace?

When Sheryl Sandberg wrote “Lean In” four years ago, her stated goal was to have half of businesses run by women and half of homes run by men. “In terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off,” Sandberg said in a USA Today interview earlier this year.

She continued by noting that women comprise less than 6% of the Fortune 500 CEO in the United States. There are fewer countries in the world run by women today than there were when her book was first published. In the United States, she notes, there is only a tiny percentage more women in Congress. There has not been, she points out, much appreciable forward movement in women in leadership roles worldwide despite the efforts of a veritable army of women leaning in.

Along with the launch of her book, Sandberg also launched a nationwide campaign urging women to form “Lean-In Circles” in order to support and encourage each other throughout different stages in their careers. These groups provide mentorship and camaraderie for women who might not be getting such in the workplace.

According to Leanin.org, the most important steps for managers to close the gender gap in the workplace include:

Challenge The Likeability Penalty

Oftentimes, women are punished for being “bossy” or “shrill” in the workplace just for doing their jobs. It’s important to ask yourself if you would react the same way if you were talking to a man.

Evaluate Performance Fairly

Try to measure performance objectively and look for opportunities to make decisions in a gender-blind manner.

Give Women Credit

If you see a man take credit for a woman’s work, speak up.

Get The Most Out Of Meetings

Be on the lookout for women who are being kept in the background in meetings and encourage them to take part.

Share Office Housework

If there are tasks, like making coffee or emptying garbage, that need to be done, be sure they aren’t just automatically falling to female employees.

Make Work Work For Parents

Support working parents any way you can. Make sure they know they are part of the team. Don’t make assumptions about work-travel and work-life balance without checking with parents about their needs.

Make Negotiating A Norm

Women are less likely to negotiate and may need encouragement to do so.

Support Mentorship and Sponsorship

Mentoring can help women succeed from both sides—leadership as well as personal development. Having a program in place can foster a sense of purpose from within your organization.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

woman at work

In addition to these steps, there are many habits women can employ to propel themselves forward in the workplace. Overcoming adversity is necessary for many women. Oprah overcame an impoverished childhood and J.K. Rowling overcame being a single mother on welfare.

See Also: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Becoming Millionaires

Everyone can benefit from writing down goals. Dolly Parton has been known to not only write out her goals but also to go about her life as though she had already achieved them.

Taking time to rest and recuperate is crucial. Many women burn the candle at both ends thanks to an imbalance in work and home life. If you are one of these women, meditating or just enjoying a few minutes of quiet time can really make a difference.

Finding balance is the key. There will be compromises as the world changes, so tempering expectations and making the most of even the smallest of victories is going to make you happier in the long run. Learn more about the habits of highly successful women from this infographic.

Source

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10 Easy Steps To Buying A New Mattress

You’ve decided to get to bed early. You unplugged all your devices, made the room temperature comfortable and turned off the lights.

An hour has passed and you’re still wide awake, tossing and turning in a modern reenactment of the Princess and the Pea. After a couple more turns, you managed to get to sleep – only to wake up feeling crappy with an aching body.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about proper sleep hygiene. The right mattress counts, too.

Now, if you are wondering how and where you should start, here are 10 easy steps to help you find the right mattress.

Check your mattress

Ideally, you should change your mattress every 9 to 10 years. However, if you are constantly waking up with pain in your lower back, neck and shoulders, you should make the replacement sooner.

The presence of lumps and sagging are telltale signs you need to buy a new mattress. Frequent sneezing, while you’re on your bed, is a bad sign, too. Household allergens can accumulate on your mattress over time and if you don’t act right away, you can end up with allergies that can give you more than just poor sleep.

Know what you want

There’s no universal rule when it comes to mattresses. You should stick with your own preference to ensure your comfort.

Take note of what you liked in your past beds and consider the things you didn’t find comfortable. This is particularly important, especially if you’ll be buying your mattress in a physical store. A lot of salespeople can talk you into buying the most expensive mattress that’s nowhere near comfortable.

Assess your sleeping style

sleeping position

One of the most important things you should consider when buying a new mattress is your sleeping style.

  • If you are a side sleeper, you should find a mattress that can provide adequate support for your hips, shoulders and other pressure points.
  • In case you are a back sleeper, the best mattress for you is one that can support the natural curve of your back and spine. When lying flat, you should be able to insert no more than one finger between the mattress and your back.
  • For stomach sleepers, pick a mattress that can prevent your lower back and stomach from bending downward as it can cause tension and pain.

See Also: Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type?

Do your research

Before making a purchase, make sure you do your research first. Ask your friends and family about what type of mattress they are using and know their experiences. Check reviews online and see how well certain mattresses last. You can also visit manufacturer websites to know what materials they are using for their products.

Set a budget

The most expensive price tag doesn’t guarantee the highest comfort. In finding the best mattress, it’s actually more about your body type, sleeping style and preference.

You can find a lot of quality mattresses under $1000. Some of them are even priced lower. When shopping around, make sure you do your research first so you won’t fall victim to tempting sales pitch.

Shop around

Once you are done with your research, it’s time to explore. Go to local showrooms and browse mattresses online. Get a feel of the different brands and see what you like and don’t like. Take note of their prices as well as other information you might find important.

While shopping around, be careful not to make any commitment yet. You are likely to encounter a lot of salespeople but don’t feel pressured into making a purchase until you are ready and sure.

Take the time to test the mattresses

test the mattress

Your body needs at least 15 minutes to fully relax. Use this time to test each mattress.

Lie down on your typical resting position and see how well the mattress can support your body. Take note of the areas that are making you feel comfortable as well as the parts that are making you feel awkward. You shouldn’t experience any numbness or pain. Mattresses can be firm, soft, or in-between.

Don’t be afraid to ask

When you don’t have enough time to test all the mattresses or you just want to be clear about your choice, don’t hesitate to ask the salespeople. Although they are trying to make a sale, you can still get accurate information from them if you ask the right questions.

Take, for example, a mattress’ motion separation. You won’t be able to determine if a bed has good motion separation if you’re testing it out alone. The same goes for temperature regulation as well as a mattress’ foundation.

Read the fine print

Shopping for a good mattress doesn’t end with price or materials. You also have to be aware of the guarantees, returns and warranties. Be clear about what is and isn’t covered so you’ll know what to expect.

Keep your mattress in shape longer

Now that you’ve found the perfect mattress for you, protect and extend its life so you can have more nights of good sleep.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Routinely clean your mattress at least twice a year by flipping and rotating it.
  • Strip the cover of the bed and vacuum its fabric covering. Make sure to vacuum the entire surface area to ensure that there are no pet hair, dust or cracker crumbs left.
  • If there are any stains, wash them with a mild detergent and water. You can also use an enzyme-based cleanser. Be careful not to saturate the mattress and make sure its’s completely dry before you make your bed.
  • You can deodorize your mattress by sprinkling a bit of baking soda over it. Let it sit for a couple of hours before vacuuming.
  • Expose your mattress to fresh air and sunlight. This is one good way to eliminate bacteria.
  • Replace and wash your beddings once a week.
  • Use a disinfecting spray on the mattress as well as the box spring to get rid of bad bacteria.
  • Invest in a good mattress cover. It will protect your mattress from dirt and stains.

See Also: 10 Things You Never Knew About Bed Bugs

 

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Red Flags: When To Start Giving Up On Relationships

Falling in love with someone can be a wonderful experience. As you learn about one another, you begin to see new ways of learning and experiencing life. There is little that disrupts the flow of a newly budding relationship and it is easy to become swept away by the attraction.

However, once you have settled into your role as a partner, the attraction and adoration may no longer enough. You will face the challenge of working out problems. Unfortunately, some couples never recover from the hardships of learning how to compromise and growing together.

So, how do you know when it’s time to start giving up on relationships?

There isn’t enough quality time

You or your partner is seeking pleasure and satisfaction outside of the relationship.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a couple having different interests. In fact, two people in a healthy relationship should have experiences that they enjoy independently as well as together.  The struggle comes when one or both of the partners begin to seek enjoyment outside of the relationship at all times.

While this may seem like an insignificant problem, the lack of quality time spent together can compromise the health of the relationship in the long run.

Be sure to balance the time you spend doing what you love and the time you spend with your partner. If you find yourself relieved when you are not around your partner, it may be time to reconsider the future of the relationship.

The relationship is experiencing unfaithfulness

unfaithfulness

Unfaithfulness is like a wound that is unable to properly heal. There may be forgiveness and closure, but the harm the action caused will never fully disappear. All that may be left is a scar and there will always be evidence of the hurt.

Infidelity is commonly referred to as “cheating” and typically includes any sexual relationship outside of two exclusive partners. Cheating or infidelity, however, can also present as emotional or visual. If you find yourself looking at others for visual pleasure or you experience an emotional connection with another person that should only exist within your relationship, you may need to take the time to reflect on your relationship.

You become uncomfortable as a couple in social settings

If one or both of you are visibly uncomfortable when you are in public together, something is probably wrong.

This does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship. It may simply mean that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

But, if one of you is intentionally avoiding the other when you’re with friends and family, the problem may have deeper roots. It may be the right time to talk it out with your partner and reevaluate things.

See Also: I’m Saying Thanks For Breaking My Heart

There are red flags of abuse

If you are harming your partner intentionally, either by words or by actions, then the health of your relationship is already diminishing. If your partner is doing things with the intent to harm you, it is time to walk away. No loving or healthy relationship comes with the intention to harm.

There may be times when a person does something that hurts the one he loves the most, but if this hurt has progressed to intentional, hurtful behavior, it is better to just walk away. Talk to local resources offering help for dating or domestic abuse. The trained individuals in these institutions may be able to provide you with a clearer answer about the abuse you are experiencing.

You and your partner are traveling in very different directions

ended relationship

Lastly, no matter how much time has passed since you decided to become an exclusive couple, life can still lead you to two separate directions. Differences in passions, desires and hopes for the future often spell the end of a relationship.

Healthy couples either work through these differences or mutually decide to end their partnership. Other couples have difficulty with this process and the ending of the relationship can be quite ugly. But, regardless of how messy it may look, it is important to know who you are and what you want. Your joy in life, no matter what you are doing, is what you pass on to the people around you and to your children.

Is staying with this person going to uplift you and encourage you to continue seeking joy? Or is staying with this person going to bring you down and discourage you from going after what you desire out of life?

Remember, it is never too late to walk away. Some of the best and healthiest relationships involve people who never give up and continue to grow with one another. If only one person is choosing to grow, change and move forward, is the relationship going in the right direction?

See Also: Leave The Past Behind: 6 Ways To Learn The Art Of Un-Loving

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How To Make The Gig Economy Work For You

Fifty years ago, the expectation was that you would be in the same job until you retire. Today, 34% of the U.S. workforce are freelancers and that number is expected to reach 43% by 2020.

The shift is being driven by a few different factors.

First, the economy has been slow to recover since the Great Recession that started back in 2007. People have had to figure out how to survive in a terrible job market. But, now that the economy is recovering, people are finding that they prefer the flexibility and independence that comes with being their own boss.

According to Forbes, there are lots of reasons for the projected growth in the freelance lifestyle:

  • Workers who enjoy pension plans in private companies in the US have declined alarmingly from 60% in 1982 to a mere 14% today. That’s much less people getting their retirement money and financial security from private US firms.
  • Average rental costs increased by 13% in the US and yet median family income went down by 8% from 2000 to 2012. This means less buying power despite increased cost of living.
  • According to the popular platform LinkedIn, the average length of time that people are unemployed is more than 25 weeks. This has propelled people looking for jobs into the freelance market.
  • A study by two Oxford professors showed that developments in automation and computerization will put approximately 47% of jobs in the US at risk in the next 20 years. This is projected to affect workers in transportation, logistics, office and administration, and production.

Freelancing is an attractive option for people in all stages of life.

For younger workers, it can give you the flexibility to work whatever schedule suits your lifestyle. Older workers may find that they can have more creative control of their careers. Parents, on the other hand, can schedule work times around family needs.

The freedom and flexibility that come with freelancing have numerous benefits to people in all stages of life.

benefits of freelancing

Freelancing is not without drawbacks, however. Getting and keeping clients, meeting deadlines and paying the bills is all on you:

  • You’ll have to pay your payroll taxes, an additional tax burden above what you pay as an employee of a firm.

  • With no matching funds from an employer, you’ll have to save for retirement.

  • You’ll have to purchase and pay for your own health insurance.

How To Succeed As A Freelancer

There are lots of habits you can put into practice if you want to be successful in the gig economy. Here are a few examples:

  • Maintain a current portfolio so you aren’t scrambling to put together work samples when a potential client asks.

  • Maintain a website and social media presence so you’ll look like an engaged professional.

  • Keep your professional business cards handy because you’ll never know when you might meet a potential client.

  • Always complete work on time as agreed. Your reputation is at stake!

  • Create contracts so that all terms are known and agreed upon.

  • Maintain relationships with past clients. They are more likely to give you repeat business and recommend you to other potential clients

See Also: 5 Freelancing Tips That Will Make you Successful

benefits of gig economy

Forbes points to the rapid rise of part-time freelancers as a big contribution to the rise of the gig economy. LinkedIn has seen a 100% increase of members adding freelance work to their profiles in the last 5 years.

Says Walker: “This is a way for (professionals) to take matters into their own hands and proactively have more control over their professional lives.”

Even if you have a full-time job, with wage stagnation, chances are you are still struggling. Working part time in the gig economy has become a popular option for many people, supplementing their incomes, giving them real world experience and allowing them the freedom to pursue creative jobs they otherwise might not get to do.

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can be a totally liberating experience if you put your mind to it. There are many benefits to the lifestyle and they can really make all the difference in your life. Cutting your commute, for example, could prevent you from having a heart attack or stroke, according to some studies! Learn more about the rise of the gig economy from this infographic!

See Also: 10 Ways Your Life Improves When You Become a Freelancer


Freelancing in the Gig Economy

Inforgraphic by JOBVINE

The post How To Make The Gig Economy Work For You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

Research tells us that willpower is like a muscle. You can work on making it stronger, but you can’t keep it flexed forever.

In other words:

Willpower is a limited resource.

There’s no better use of one’s willpower than on forming the right habits. The right habits serve as the bridge between where you are and where you want to be. Once those habits are formed, you don’t have to exert willpower on them anymore. Your journey towards success is effectively put on autopilot.

Try and adopt at least one of the following six productivity habits and reap the fruits of increased happiness and fulfillment.

Join the 5 a.m. club

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”

– Ben Franklin

Waking up early is a habit common among the world’s highest achievers. Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Immanuel Kant and Thomas Jefferson are all examples of men who were early risers.

Turns out:

Several studies have correlated waking up early with success.

In a 2008 Texas University study, college students who woke up earlier earned a higher point than those who study and sleep late (3.5 vs. 2.5).

Also, Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early risers are more proactive and more likely to respond positively to statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”

And if that isn’t enough, psychology research also tells us that early risers are happier and healthier than night-owls.

When you wake up early, there are less distractions and more time for you to focus on planning your day and doing what needs to get done.

Check out this actionable guide to discover how to burst out of bed every single morning.

Meditate Daily

meditate everyday

“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.”

– David Lynch

After interviewing more than 200 world-class performers like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Amelia Boone for his podcast (The Tim Ferris Show), Tim found that the most consistent habit among his guests was some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.

Meditation is a practice that is a thousand years old. Only recently has science begun to discover the profound effects that it has on the brain.

A group of Harvard-affiliated researchers reported that, over time, meditation can increase the brain’s gray matter. This is the region of your brain associated with decision-making.

What is life but a sum total of your decisions?

If something as simple as 10 minutes of daily meditation can improve the quality of your decisions, imagine what it can do for your overall quality of life.

Meditation has also been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness, slow down aging and increase happiness. It’s a habit that can improve every area of your life.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this beginner’s guide to meditation.

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

Read for 30 Minutes Everyday

read a book everyday

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

– Socrates

I compare reading to taking the red pill because it’s what snapped me out of the matrix of societal conditioning. Reading the works of great men and women showed me the extent of what’s really possible.

When we hear about Richard Branson in the media, we see him as the cool and suave, self-made billionaire. However, when you read his autobiography, you’ll learn about the mistakes he made, the obstacles he overcame and the lessons he learned. It has a sort of humanizing effect on him and you’ll realize that what one man can do, another can do as well.

Expose yourself to a wide variety of books and ideas to develop a dynamic and empowered perspective on life.

Need help getting started? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to read more.

Practice Gratitude

“Gratefulness is a higher organ of perception, through which you can accurately appreciate a fundamental truth: the universe works in mysterious ways, and you’re the constant beneficiary of its generosity.”

– Phil Stutz

Practicing gratitude teaches us to love the life we have while in pursuit of the life we want.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to those who have more than us. But, when we realize the simple miracles of everyday life (e.g. access to clean water, the ability to walk, a warm bed to sleep in, etc.), it puts things in perspective.

The power of gratitude has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Here’s one that I like in particular:

Researchers brought participants into a lab and asked them to write a few sentences each week focused on a particular topic. One group wrote about the things they were grateful for while the other wrote about daily irritations or things that displeased them.

After about 10 weeks, the participants that wrote down what they were grateful for were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, exercised more and visited their physicians less.

Practicing gratitude literally changes your brain and makes you a happier and more fulfilled person. Make it a habit to write down 5 things that you’re grateful for every single day.

Skip Breakfast

“Since I’ve started intermittent fasting I’ve increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased explosiveness, and decreased the amount of time I’ve spent training.”

– James Clear

This habit might come as a shock to you. After all, we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This idea, however, is quickly being laid to rest as the benefits of intermittent fasting have become too many to ignore.

See Also: Breaking the Fast: What I Have Learned Using Intermittent Fasting

Did you know that digestion is actually one of your body’s most complicated and intensive functions? That’s right.

By skipping breakfast, you extend your overnight fast and allow your body to focus its resources on other important tasks, like controlling blood sugar and facilitating cellular recovery.

Furthermore, a short-term fast can boost testosterone and growth hormone levels. These two factors can seriously enhance your progress when trying to lean down.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating. To get started with IF, you only have to follow one rule:

Eat within a 6-8 hour window.

So, if you wake up at 8 a.m., simply skip breakfast and have your first meal between 12-2 p.m. Have your final meal between 8-10 p.m. It’s as simple as that. For a more intensive resource for, you can check out James Clear’s guide.

Since adopting IF, my productivity has also shot up. My body is not involved in digestion and I find myself more focused on work. By the time I have my first meal, I’ve already gotten so much work done that the rest of the day is pretty much just a bonus.

Make Your Bed

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

Making your bed in the morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. As the first task of the day, it will set the momentum for your next set of tasks. By the end of the day, it will be like a domino effect that has carried over.

As McCraven mentions in his University of Texas commencement speech:

“Making your bed will reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

 

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The Hidden Advantages Of Using Nofollow Links For Your SEO Strategy

What is the ultimate goal of your marketing strategy?

For most companies, it is to increase their brand presence. In digital marketing, it is all about getting in the first few ranks of Google search results. You should push your brand towards popularity to increase your ROI.

According to the leading SEO companies, it is all about getting the right kind of links. Getting outbound links and inbound links is the perfect way to encourage new customers. This improves search result ranks as well.

The ideal number of inbound links and outbound links is yet to be found. However, 1:1 seems to be the golden ratio for blogs right now.

Before we get into the details, let’s first talk about the kinds of links that matter.

Dofollow links are the most common type of links that SEOs use to usher in search engine crawlers for site indexing. We have always perceived Nofollow links as the less useful ones. However, a recent report from Kick Media SEO is about to change that.

What are Dofollow links?

If you are aware of SEO terms and practices, we are sure you are already on the edge of your seat waiting to correct us. Technically, there are NO dofollow links. All natural links without the nofollow tag are Dofollow or followed links. These are the literal opposite of the Nofollow links.

It is a link that search engine crawlers can follow to index the content. Dofollow links are the default. Unless you add a Nofollow link, all pages have a basic Dofollow link. This signal is organic and trusted by bots.

The more Dofollow links a website has, the more Google regards the site as authoritative. They are the positive signals no bots can disregard.

What are Nofollow links?

Nofollow links make sure that Google does not pass any “link juice” to your target page. Google does not transfer any PageRank across these sites either. SEOs have always overlooked them since they considered these links ineffective.

Apparently, these links do not have any direct impact on site SEO. Therefore, all efforts on a Nofollow link are useless.

However, Google states they do not follow these links “in general.” This leaves much room for assumptions. This is where a few SEO companies jumped in for new research.

What are the benefits of Nofollow links?

It is quite apparent that using Nofollow links will not boost your page rank. However, Google can use these links to increase your user engagement, particularly organic user engagement. They can boost your visibility and credibility. They can act as an introduction to your company, brands and products.

For Rob Toledo from Moz, using a nofollow link got him hundreds of visitors. It increased CTR and user engagement. Much like his experience, an upward trend is now an expected outcome of using nofollow links.

It is all about balancing the links. The ratio does not have to be 1:1. It is more about your brand’s requirements. Using 40 nofollow links against 60 dofollow links is a standard practice. This creates a more natural link profile that keeps the link ratios almost even.

How can you make the most of your nofollow links?

Nofollow links can bring you more organic engagement. Not all these links are equal and you cannot expect all of them to put in the same kind of traffic. Here are a few ways to optimize your nofollow links:

  • Make it interesting. Make sure the link leads to engaging content. People should feel intrigued by the product or service that is at the end of that link.
  • Develop compelling content. This is basic for any successful digital marketing strategy. If you want the best out of your SEO strategy, you need to work your content team. Get them to write compelling content that will entice human readers and will engage bots for easy indexing.
  • Blend your links. You cannot work with nofollow or dofollow links only. You also need to factor in outbound links that will lead users to authoritative sites. Conduct A/B tests to perfect the ratio according to the outcomes.
  • Include freebies. People love free gifts. The only challenge of working with Nofollow links is to lure people to follow the links. For example, if someone is advertising your products with nofollow links, make sure they link to some contest. This will encourage participation and boost your online presence.

Although Nofollow links have been around since 2005, we have started exploring them only recently. They are no longer response to spam comments and negative reviews. They are now instruments of organic SEO.

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

 

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7 Tips in Choosing Perfect Toys for Your Kids

When a birthday or holiday rolls around, no doubt your kids will present you with a wish list of the toys they want. And every time a toy commercial comes on TV, your child is probably pointing to everything they see, asking you to buy it. While you’ll want to fulfill some wishes, there are some more things you should think of when buying toys for your kids.

Here’s how to make the right choice for finding perfect toys for your kids.

Choose Brand Names

toy brand name

Brand names tend to be more reputable and often offer warranties that ensure the durability of the toys you buy. If you shop online, in particular, be cautious of brand names because there are many knock-off items at cheaper prices. While those price cuts might seem like a bargain, they often aren’t very durable. They’re also more likely to come from a vendor with a less than stellar reputation which could leave you with a broken product and wasted money.

Check Out The Reviews

Internet trolls aside, the majority of reviews you see are legitimate. You can learn a lot about the products you plan to buy by seeing what others who have bought and used them have to say about it. If there are more bad reviews than good ones, you’ll probably want to look for a different brand or product instead.

If you want to know if buyer reviews are legitimate, check out Fakespot.

Keep It In The Age Limit

Toys are all designed for different age ranges. Children under the age of 3, for example, shouldn’t have anything with small parts because of the dangers of choking.

Other toys are for older children and while a child of 5 won’t be attempting to eat small pieces, they might not have the patience or understanding for a toy that’s been created with older children in mind.

Think About The Product Features

That toy guitar sure is cute! But does it have a volume control on it? If not, you’ll be doomed to listen to it blaring every single time you attempt to make a phone call. Some products in the same genre will have very different features on them too and it’s up to you decide what makes one set of features better for your child.

Choose Toys That Do More Than Entertain

learning toys

Some of the toys you choose for your child will be purely for fun value. But other toys will have educational elements to them. Things like water tables or block sets or even toy kitchens all provide an opportunity for your child to learn new things like colors, shapes, new words, even new languages.

There are also other toys that can help children build self-confidence or self-esteem such as pretend toys or musical instruments. While it’s nice to give your kids plush and cuddly toys to love on, the perfect toys for your children can teach soft skills too.

Think About Assembly

Is the toy you’re choosing ready to go right out of the box? Or will it require some effort on your part to put it together?

Make sure you’re aware of the packaging and assembly so you won’t be surprised when you’ve got a new dollhouse that you have to put together while your children shriek with excitement and try to touch everything as you’re assembling it. Talk about pressure!

Compare Prices

Once you’ve decided on the toys you want to buy for your child, you’ll want to look at the price. Not everyone has a limitless budget. You’ll want to factor in things like the cost as well as the usage of it.

For example, if you’re going to buy a walker, you might want to invest in one that has a detachable face of learning activities. That way, when your little one begins walking on her own, she’ll still get use out of this toy.

Before you buy it anywhere, compare the prices of the toys you’ve selected among reputable stores in your area as well as online. Don’t forget that if you order online, you will have to factor the cost of shipping into your budget unless it comes with free shipping.

Remember, toys should be age-appropriate, safe, and durable. Keep that in mind and you’ll always find the perfect toy!

 

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How To Control Negative Thoughts: A Practical Approach On How To Suffer Less

It is well-known that thoughts create emotions. But, the full consequences of this fact are largely misunderstood.

Thoughts create emotions. Then, those emotions guide our behavior. For example, the thought “I’m never going to succeed at school, why should I even study?” creates emotional distress. That emotional distress can easily trigger coping behaviors, like binge-watching House of Cards or mindlessly refreshing Instagram every five seconds.

That’s just the beginning of the spiral, though. That where learning how to control negative thoughts become difficult.

After you’ve been binge-watching TV or staring at your cell phone for an hour, you’re going to have a new thought, “Damn, I shouldn’t have wasted an hour on my phone. I’m so stupid. I’ll never pass that class.”

These thoughts create more emotional distress and that leads to more coping behaviors.

But, wait a minute!

Shouldn’t that thought help motivate you to study? Isn’t calling yourself out in an honest way helpful? Don’t you have to fight your way out of stress? If we were completely logical creatures, you’d be right.

Our thoughts don’t directly lead to behaviors. They create emotions which lead to behaviors. This creates a trap that is exceedingly easy for us to fall into.

The first step in this example is the thought, “I should be studying right now.” This creates the sense that we aren’t being productive enough and that we are screwing up. The emotion we feel because of this thought isn’t motivation, but distress.

What do humans do when they feel distressed? Cope. What are the most common coping behaviors used in 21st-century life? Electronic media, food, and drugs.

This is a counter-intuitive idea, but it has very important implications.

In her best-selling book, The Upside of Stress, psychologist Kelly McGonigal writes: “When I speak with physicians, I sometimes ask them to predict the effects of showing smokers graphic warnings on cigarette packs. In general, they believe that the images will decrease smokers’ desire for a cigarette and motivate them to quit. But studies show that the warnings often have the reverse effect.

The most threatening images (say, a lung cancer patient dying in a hospital bed) actually increase smokers’ positive attitudes toward smoking. The reason? The images trigger fear and what better way to calm down than to smoke a cigarette? The doctors assumed that the fear would inspire behavior change, but, instead, it just motivates a desire to escape feeling bad.”

This pattern is a lot like psychological quicksand. As soon as we have a negative thought, like “I should be studying or I shouldn’t be eating this pint of delicious Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.”, our instinct to fight it gives that negative thought more emotional charge. That emotional charge is expressed as an increased feeling of distress which makes us think even more negatively. And, before long, our head is beneath the sand and we’re suffocating from what was originally just a relatively benign negative thought.

Break Free

break free

Negative thoughts create negative emotions and that leads to negative behaviors.

This is an extremely frustrating pattern that can easily affect our behaviors and the quality of our lives. The solution isn’t to learn how to think more positively or to learn how to control your emotions. The solution is much more obvious than the traditional approaches, yet it is also more elusive.

To escape the vicious cycle of negative thinking, you must accept the negative thought as it is. Just like in a quicksand, to stop sinking, you must stop fighting it and be still. With negative thoughts, you must learn to compassionately accept them as they are.

Once you learn to accomplish this effectively, you will still have negative thoughts. However, they will drift away like clouds on a gentle breeze instead of darkening into a storm of emotional suffering.

See Also: 5 Steps To Release Bottled Emotions And Live Happier

The root of our suffering is our belief that we can (or even should) eliminate negative thoughts and emotional pain. The thought that suffering is ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ is already a negative thought by itself. This way of thinking makes stress a trigger for more stress.

To escape this spiral of stress and suffering that we get trapped in, we must learn to relate to our thoughts differently. Modern psychologists have developed effective strategies to accomplish this.

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, cognitive fusion is a state in which we become entangled with our thoughts and we lose the ability to distinguish between thoughts and objective reality. Author Russ Harris says, “In a state of fusion, a thought can seem like: 1. the absolute truth 2. a command you have to obey or a rule you have to follow.”

The solution to cognitive fusion is learning cognitive defusion. According to Harris, “This is where we can observe our thoughts and see them for what they are – just products of our busy minds.”

There are numerous strategies that can help us achieve cognitive defusion. Here, I’m going to focus on one that is both easy-to-use and highly effective.

Labeling is a mindfulness technique that allows us to defuse from our thoughts. It helps us identify our thoughts as subjective opinions, instead of objective facts. I recommend practicing labeling as a dedicated daily meditation practice (5-15 minutes to start). This will help you build it into a natural thought habit.

How to practice labeling

practice labeling

Either during a sitting meditation or anytime throughout the day, notice your thoughts. For example, you might notice you have the thought, “I don’t want to be meditating right now, I have more important things to do.”

To label this thought, simply tell yourself, “I am having the thought that I don’t want to be meditating right now.”

If you are having the thought “I am too tired to work right now”, label it by telling yourself, “I am having the thought that I am too tired to work right now.”

Labeling also works with sensations and emotions. For example, “I am having the sensation of tightness in my neck,” or “I am having the feeling of anxiety.”

The practice is fairly uncomplicated and making it into a habit won’t take long. Of course, the more you practice this during dedicated meditation, the more you will naturally label your thoughts in your day-to-day life.

Labeling won’t eliminate your negative thoughts or emotional pain and it doesn’t have to. The point of labeling is learning to become aware of your thoughts so that pain does not need to become suffering.

Have your efforts to eliminate negative thoughts or emotional pain ever panned out? After years of struggling against pain, has it become clear that the traditional approach of coping through escapism or self-punishment doesn’t work? Maybe fighting pain just creates more pain.

Experiment with this technique and notice if it affects how you relate to your thoughts. Do they become louder or quieter? More invasive or easier to manage?

You may find that once you start to create distance from your thoughts (without trying to change them), that they affect you less.

You may notice that you still have the thought, “I’m never going to succeed in school, there’s no point in studying,” and that thought may still be painful. But, the thought isn’t you now. It’s just a thought and the pain is just pain.

You may notice that you are now able to accept stress as something that happens. Now, you can experience it without needing to avoid it through coping. You may notice that your thoughts and pain no longer spiral into stress and suffering. As a result, the quicksand no longer sucks you in. You’re able to surrender to it and you can finally be free.

See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Balance Your Emotional State

The post How To Control Negative Thoughts: A Practical Approach On How To Suffer Less appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5+ Trends for Bloggers to Follow This Summer

Being a blogger is very exciting because you are part of something that is forever evolving. There are always new trends emerging and old trends taking a back seat. It does sometimes become challenging to keep up with these trends, but you definitely should not fear change.

There are many tools online to help you become a successful blogger. You can find anything from a paraphrasing tool or even a topic generator when you’re a little stuck.

We should be happy that we are living in these times wherein we have technology and software available to us for free. Let’s get right into the trends every blogger should follow this summer.

Longer articles

longer article

We have been seeing this trend make its way into the blogging world for a while, but it has become more prominent as of late. Readers are looking for longer and more high-quality content as opposed to shorter posts.

This isn’t a bad thing since it is better to do one long post once a week rather than doing 5 shorter posts a week. Of course, these posts need to add value to the reader’s life and cannot be a simple rehash of common information. Use a text paraphraser to eliminate any badly worded sentences and produce only high-quality content.

See Also: How to Write a Blog Post That Millennials Will Read

No comments

Many bloggers have started to turn their comments section off and those who decide to leave the comments section activated will see a definite decrease in comments.

This does not mean that commenting in blogs is becoming outdated. Rather, the means of communications is simply changing. Social media is becoming the new comments section and it is vital that no blogger forgets this. Being active on social media is part and parcel of the job and you will be left behind if you do not participate.

Email list

This is a typical trend that we have been following for a while, but some bloggers still do not understand the importance of an email list. You cannot simply start an email list without interacting with those who subscribed.

Make sure that your emails are engaging and add additional value to the subscribers, more so than your blog already does. There has to be something extra for the subscribers because they took their time to click that button and fill out your form.

Branding

I am sure that as a blogger, you already know the importance of your blog’s brand. What will become more of a trend this summer is personal branding. Humans interact and relate to humans and you want your audience to get to know the face behind the blog.

There are great benefits in paying attention to your own brand. The face behind the blog is what people are searching for. If the readers feel like they connect with you as a person, you have the ability to build a relationship of trust.

Mobile traffic

attract web traffic

You are going to see more of your traffic coming from the mobile phone. This trend is not going anywhere and will continue to increase. With all the strides in smartphone technology, many will use their phones more for internet activity.

In anticipation of this, you want to make sure that your blog is mobile friendly and navigates at a fast pace on mobile phones. Our generation has become a little impatient in terms of speed and quality. If you want to win them over, always test your websites on various pieces of technology to make sure it is up to standard.

See Also: 5 Proven Strategies That Can Massively Increase Blog Traffic

Forget about ads

Ad revenue has been dropping for a while because consumers have become aware of the money-making vehicles behind it. Unless an ad seriously interests the viewer, they are unlikely to click on that link.

Also, people have become afraid to click on foreign links for the fear of a virus on their computers or cellphones. There are many other way to make money on the internet and ad clicks are no longer it.

Conclusion

Always be on top of trends. Do not sleep on things that can potentially skyrocket your blog to success. It is not impossible for you to become the next big blogger, but you will have to move with the times.

There are many blogs that are honestly fantastic, but fail to reach maximum heights. The cause could be that they are stuck in the past and refuse to change. A lot of hard work goes into a blog and what you put in is what you will get out. Remember there is a lot of competition out there, but they have nothing on you. Stay committed, be persistent and you will see your blog evolve.

 

 

 

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Pay off Student Loan Debt by Going Back to School

If you are currently struggling with student loans, you’re not alone. According to Forbes, 44.2 million Americans struggle with student loan debt. For many people, the financial burden of debt infringes upon their quality of life. Thus it is important to pay off loans as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to escape student loan debt is to pursue a degree that will get the highest return on your investment. If you have already graduated college with a bachelor’s degree, you may find that you’re not able to make enough to pay off your debt. Returning to school for a higher-level degree might be just what you need to increase your income enough to pay off your loans faster and easier.

Graduate Degrees Garner Higher Income

One of the biggest advantages of going back to school and obtaining a master’s degree is that doing so will boost your starting salary. This substantial increase in income will enable you to pay off your student loans, as well as get into the career of your dreams.

According to a 2015 study lead by Georgetown University, students who graduate with a master’s degree earn around $17,000 more per year than those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree. As such, students with a graduate degree are able to enter the workforce and earn a higher wage from the start. This significant advantage enables them to pay off their loans quicker.

Of course, this benefit varies across different fields of study. For example, a degree in architectural engineering will tend to net you more income in the job market than a degree in, say, social work. Nevertheless, the Georgetown study found that there was a demonstrable increase in income for graduate degrees over bachelor’s degrees, regardless of the chosen major.

Defer Your Student Loans

If you choose to go back to school, you can temporarily defer your student loans so you don’t have to make payments while attending school. This will ease the strain on your finances while you redirect your mental energy toward graduating in a more lucrative field. Keep in mind, however, that if you have defaulted on previous payments, you may not be able to defer your loans.

Reduce Your Graduate School Loans

working student

Even if you defer your loans, with tuition costs being what they are, you’ll probably have to take out more loans in order to go back to school. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re in school to qualify for a higher paying job, it’s actually an investment.

That being said, make the most of this investment by reducing what you take out in loans. You may not be allowed to work part-time, but you might be able to find time to donate plasma, do freelance writing, or apply for scholarships/grants (this last one is HUGE!). Think of anything to supplement your income and lessen what you’ll have to pay back later.

See Also: 7 Ways to Save Money while Earning a College Degree 

Embrace “College Student Poor”

Everyone hates the “poor college student” lifestyle, but college students have a wealth of money-saving life hacks in their repertoire. And don’t worry — you don’t have to live on instant ramen to save money the college way.

  • Cut down on “luxury” expenditures like new clothes, trips to the car wash, and eating out. When you have to go, price-check first and go for the best deal.
  • Attend university events with free food (who knows, you might have fun).
  • Take advantage of the student gym instead of buying a gym membership.
  • Student discounts! They can be found everywhere: movie theaters, museums, car insurance, restaurants, phone plans, etc.

Pay Off Other Debts

pay off debt

Once you’ve graduated and landed your dream job, it might be tempting to live the opulent lifestyle you dreamt of while working your tail off in grad school. But your work isn’t over yet! Paying off smaller debts can make room for paying off another, larger debt (aka your student loans) faster. This is called the Snowball Method, developed by Dave Ramsey, and it really works!

You can also choose to refinance, so instead of making many small payments on various debts, you make just 1 big payment each month that will go toward all of them. You may cringe at such a large payment coming out of your bank account each month, but thanks to refinancing negotiations with each lender, you’re actually paying less than you were before.

Higher Income = Larger Payments

Sticking to the minimum payment on your student loans can cost you thousands in interest in the long term. Put your extra income to good use by making larger payments on your loan—reducing not only how long you will be making payments, but also how much you have to pay off.

See Also: What Can Employers Do About The Student Loan Crisis?

Summing Up

Going back to college for a master’s degree is a surefire way to improve your job prospects, open your career, and increase your income. More importantly, it enables you to pay off your student loans once and for all, granting you invaluable peace of mind.

 

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Good Web Content That Can Sell For $100

Not so long ago, UX Myths posted an article which demonstrates that people are not too fond of web content reading. In fact, they only read around 20% of all the articles and there’s no guarantee that they actually read everything.

So, it seems kind of unfair that you have to spend hours picking the right keywords, writing and polishing texts only to have readers simply scan through your article.

This, however, should not bother you. As long as you create worthy content and find your audience, you will have no trouble having people that will read your articles. Moreover, you will be able to easily sell this content and make money from it.

Sounds fantastic, don’t you think?

We can almost see you asking us how can you sell your writing for at least $100. And it’s a good thing because we do have an answer.

So, meet this complete guide to good web content writing.

Content is the king

The question of whether your content is read or only scanned through relies heavily on how good the content is. Of course, the style, lists, and visual aids are vital. But, unless your content is interesting and engaging, you will not draw your readers’ attention.

What makes for good content?

According to Kissmetrics, high-quality content is:

  • original
  • actionable
  • accurate
  • engaging
  • though-provoking
  • diverse
  • easy to read

It might sound a bit overwhelming and you might be forced to spend long hours polishing and changing your text. Well, you don’t have to do that. All you need to do is spend some time learning how to create content that will grab readers’ attention.

Identify the audience

target audience

Each one of your articles needs to target the correct audience. It’s the secret of successful writing.

Once you start writing some general articles that talk about everything and at the same time about nothing in particular, you won’t be able to sell it.

People will only want to buy content that is likely to bring them traffic and, as a result, revenue. And for that, it has to speak to a specific audience on specific topics.

So, before you grab a pen or hit the keys, make sure to create a clear picture of who your audience is. Think of why they would be listening to you, what they expect to hear, what pain they have and what solutions you can offer.

Go over each one of these statements if you want to reach them with your message – and voila! – your content will easily be in demand!

Follow the latest trends

You wouldn’t want to be left behind. So, try your best to understand the latest trends these days. Know what people expect to see and what channels you can use to reach out to new people.

For instance, you need to remember that 34% of all online users only read their emails through mobile devices, states the Impact. The same applies to the blog posts on social networks.

Therefore, if you want more people to read your content, you need to optimize it for mobile devices. This means that paragraphs and sentences need to be shorter, the font should be bigger and the formatting eye-catching.

Moreover, keep in mind that more people read content via social media. Posts on Facebook should not be long, must have catchy headlines and contain many visual aids.

All in all, follow the latest trends for better results!

See Also: How To Avoid A Content Crisis When Your Deadline Is Looming

Use the right copywriting techniques

Another important thing when it comes to content writing is to use proper copywriting techniques that can bring your writing to a whole new level.

Among common methods every copywriter must know include:

  • using keywords
  • having one main idea per section
  • adding lists and bullet points
  • using sub-headings
  • writing short paragraphs, sentences, and words
  • inserting links to reliable sources

You will be surprised to see what results such an approach can bring! If you follow these recommendations, that 79% of users that do not read the whole article will be more likely to finish your whole piece. So, why not try it?

Find a good site to sell your articles

find a good site

Thanks to the latest trends, more and more people are willing to work from home. Thus, new sites for freelancers emerge. All you need to do is to find the one that fits your expectations.

We have gathered a list of good sites where you can start your career as a freelancer.

Remember that it is good to have a good and persuasive portfolio at first so that when asked about your experience, you would be able to present good examples of your writing.

To create a portfolio, you might offer your articles to bloggers who can post them in the “Guest posts” section of their sites. You can also start your own blog on any topic you are good at or start writing good informative posts on your page on Facebook.

Good websites to check out

  • CollegeHumor – It’s not hard to guess what this site is looking for from their writers. Should you have relevant content, don’t hesitate to offer it to them.
  • Love To Know – It is a perfect resource for writers focusing on the financial topics, fashion, beauty, technology, and many other subjects.
  • Freelance Writing Gigs – This site offers you a list of openings for writers you can check out as well as helpful tips for the beginners.
  • iWriter.com – This site has fixed rates for the articles. The problem with this is that once your writing is rejected, you get no money.
  • Upwork – This is a place where both freelancers and clients meet. You can find the job you will enjoy here in no time.
  • Tuts+ – If you are an experienced writer, you can write for this website as well.

The list can go on and on. You absolutely have all the chances to enter the niche and make your first $100 in the nearest time. Just learn how to write well or polish your skills – and get paid for the amazing content you are crafting.

See Also: 21 Must-Read Tips To Write Better Web Content

The post A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Good Web Content That Can Sell For $100 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Finding Your Soulmate: 6 Ways To Know When You’ve Met ‘The One’

You might not believe in ‘the one’ or the idea that there is a perfect person out there destined to be yours. But, maybe you’ve been dating someone for a while now. You love them, enjoy their company and are wondering if they are the one you’ll commit to spending the rest of your life with.

How can you really be sure?

There are the loving feelings you have for them that can give you hints. You may even have thoughts that living without them would be unbearable. Those are both good starts. However, there has to be more than that to know that he or she is ‘the one’, right?

There are. And to help you figure it out, here are 6 tips on finding your soulmate.

You both feel lucky to be with each other

It’s a good sign when both of you think you hit the jackpot with your relationship. You feel like the luckiest person alive to have this person as yours and they feel the exact same way. You’re feeling blessed to have each other and you couldn’t be more grateful.

You have similar priorities and values

Opposites may attract, but if you have opposing life goals and values, the relationship will likely experience a lot of turmoil. On the other hand, if you and your partner share common priorities about family, children, work or even money, then you can know that you can build a future together.

It doesn’t matter what you do together

fun relationship

When you’re with someone you truly care about, even the mundane can be fun. Your time together doesn’t have to be filled with fun or fancy dates. You are just excited to be with the other person and spend time together. You care about the smallest details, like how her day went or what happened at work.

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

Your friends and family see what you see

Your family members and friends see why you like this person so much and they like the idea as well. If you’re falling in love with a special person and have supportive friends and family, then they will encourage the relationship. Always be cautious if your friends and family aren’t tickled over the person you are dating.

You can have healthy conflict

Every relationship is bound to have its arguments and disagreements. It’s how you handle those arguments and disagreements that show how compatible you are.

Can the two of you respectfully disagree and work through conflict in a healthy, productive manner? Or do fights turn into screaming matches where everything escalates and there is never an end to it?

The two of you should feel like you can tackle anything together in a respectful, considerate and effective way.

You are truly yourself around them

happy relationship

In the early stages of a relationship, we put our best feet forward. But, as we get more comfortable and know someone more and more, our true selves come out. It might be for the better or for worse.

You shouldn’t feel like you have to hide your intellectual or silly side whenever you are with them. When your partner has seen the many facets of you and loves you anyway, it’s a good sign the relationship is a keeper.

Conclusion

Sometimes, you just know. Call it a feeling or a gut instinct, but we often can just tell when something is right. If all the above things are present in your relationship and you have the feeling, then congratulations! It looks like you’ve met your match.

This does not mean, however, that living happily ever after will come automatically. Relationships take work. Finding your soulmate takes effort. You have to be willing to put into and not just take from it.

When you appreciate each other, have similar values, enjoy just being together, navigate conflict in a healthy way and can be yourselves with each other, you are off to a good start. Having these things going for you gives you a good foundation to build from and increases your chances of having a successful relationship.

If you don’t have all of these characteristics, you don’t have to give up. Successful relationships are built, not born. Pick one or two to start working on improving and see what happens next.

See Also: 7 Best Secrets to Building Lasting Relationships

The post Finding Your Soulmate: 6 Ways To Know When You’ve Met ‘The One’ appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Power of Volunteering

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

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

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

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

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

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

It makes you feel better

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

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

So, doing something good can do you some good!

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

You can learn new skills

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

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

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

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

You can make new friends

volunteer work

This is one of the importance of volunteering.

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

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

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

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

It makes you more employable

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

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

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

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

How can I go about volunteering?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteering overseas

volunteering overseas

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

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

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

The importance of volunteering

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

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

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

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

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

The post The Power of Volunteering appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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3 Ways To Inject More Humor Into Your Relationship

As soon as you stop laughing with your significant other, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find yourself on the miserable road to relationship hell.

The person you were once so enamored with will start to take on the look of a hairless cat that’s been left out in the sun for too long. You’ll hear the cell block doors slam shut on your relationship as you look forward to a dim future with your crusty ball and chain.

And one day, you’ll gratefully fling your carcass into the earthy arms of an early grave.

Ok, we’ve taken a dark turn here. Let’s go back to the actual issue.

The real question is, how can you keep things fun and new? Let’s move on to the humorous portion of this article and explore a few ways to bring the laughter back to your relationship.

Why Laughter is Good for Your Relationship

In addition to the fun and happy moments that laughter provides, there are also some scientific reasons why humor is great for your relationship.

According to a study performed by the University of North Carolina, couples who laughed together reported better quality of relationship with feelings of closeness and support that stemmed from it.

Some of the findings include:

  • While women laughed more often, men’s laughter was found to be more contagious.
  • The female’s reciprocation of laughter had a positive effect on the men.
  • The longer the laughter continued, the greater the men’s rating of satisfaction, commitment and passion toward their partners.

Laughter makes us feel better, both physically and emotionally. This is likely to make us nicer to our partners. When you laugh more often, you’ll typically become less defensive, more spontaneous and you’ll have less inhibitions. In other words, your interactions can become much more upbeat and positive. You’ll end up enjoying each other’s company to a greater extent.

So, how can you tap into the benefits of laughter and use them to improve and maintain the quality of your relationship? Check out these three relationship humor tips you can actually use.

 

Going Back to Your Early Years

relive childhood days

What is your favorite childhood memory? Which places do you remember playing and laughing in when you were growing up?

If you know your partner well enough, it’s likely that you’ve heard about a few of their fond childhood memories. Taking the time to revisit the places or reenact the events together can be a fantastic way to tap into happy moments.

Sneaking off to the park and swinging together under the moonlight, watching an old treasured movie while you’re curled up together or dancing like nobody’s watching are just a few ways to bring back the magic of youth.

The Spontaneous Trick

be spontaneous

Some of the best fun is often the result of spontaneous choices.

Breaking away from the old routine might not be easy, but it’s a great way to bring more fun into your relationship. Some things you may want to try include:

  • Taking an unplanned trip
  • Trying something new together
  • Switching up the sexual routine
  • Saying yes to unexpected opportunities

Whether you are laughing at the ridiculous positions you find yourself in while taking that yoga class for the first time or find yourselves lost in a small town with a suspicious looking clown on the side of the road, you’re guaranteed to create some interesting memories when you make an effort to be more spontaneous.

A Good Old Fashioned Gag

This tactic is powerful, but it’s often neglected.

Most of us can probably remember the last time we picked up some flowers or a thoughtful trinket for our partner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice gesture. But, how often do you bring home a great gag gift?

Bringing the laughter back into your relationship will probably take less time than you think when you implement a few of these relationship humor tips. Give them a shot today and experience the joy that comes with a good belly laugh.  

Are there any other techniques that you’ve used to amp up the humor between you and your partner? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

See Also: Five Traits Women Want In A Partner

The post 3 Ways To Inject More Humor Into Your Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships

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

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

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

Share core values and interests

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

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

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

Place importance on physical attraction

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

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

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

Communicate

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

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

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

Compromise

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

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

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

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

Make an effort to enjoy your partner’s interests

fun spousal activities

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

See Also: 7 Ways To Inject Romance Into Your Relationship 

Constantly challenge yourself

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

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

Don’t go to bed angry

spouse argument

The is probably the best relationship advice ever.

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

See Also: 7 Ways to Make Your Angry Wife Happy

The post 7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Achieving The Perfect Balance Between Studying And Working Full-Time

Balancing work and school can be difficult. If you are looking for ways to make the best of your time, here are a few tips you can use.

Review class syllabi

Class syllabi are those small documents created by your instructors, teachers or professors to assist with your studies in the course of the semester. Make a point to go through the syllabi for all your classes. That way, you will have a clear understanding of what will come in the following weeks, including topics to be taught and dates for exams.

Use a good calendar to schedule work and school deadlines

good calendar

Using a calendar, like Google Calendar, can go a long way in keeping up with end-term exams for school or important projects at work. With your entire schedule in front of you, you’ll find it easier to know when you’re available. Setting deadlines for both school and work will also ensure that you’ll never miss any deadlines or fail to prepare for exams.

Start working on assignments the moment they are issued

Avoid postponing school assignments to the last minute. That way, you won’t need to study all night to the point that you get too exhausted to perform effectively at work.

To avoid this, work on your school assignments at the first opportunity. Taking those initial steps, like researching for the assignment and taking a few notes, will help you build some momentum.

Manage your debt to avoid getting distracted by stress

The stress of huge credit card debt, mortgage, car loans or student loans can weigh you down. It can make it difficult for you to concentrate on your education and perform at work. Seek expert advice on debt relief to learn how to take this weight off of your shoulder.

Try out a few different study methods

Use your study time in the most optimal way. To do this, you might need to try a few different methods of absorbing, retaining and synthesizing information.

Some methods include having a study partner, rewriting notes and jotting down some concepts. The only way of finding out which method of study is the most appropriate for you is by experimenting.

Have clearly set out tasks for your studies

study method

While at the office, it’s typical for you to have a defined set of tasks. This can include meetings with your workmates, writing/replying emails, speaking with clients, etc.

You should approach your studies the same way. You should come up with study tasks that are clearly set out, like writing reports and researching term papers. This can help you manage your study time better.

See Also: How to Stay On-Task…Every Day

Schedule your entire week’s study sessions

The last thing you want to do is study in a haphazard manner. Simply opening a random textbook and reading a random chapter won’t help.

So, set aside chunks of time in your calendar for tackling specific topics. These blocks of time can be anything from 30 minutes to three hours, depending on your work/school calendar.

Construct an emotionally supportive network

Have a solid emotionally supportive network both professionally and by and by. That emotionally supportive network can represent the moment of truth you,” says Amy Chen, advertising and correspondence administrator for TINYpulse.

Regardless of whether it’s your administrator, guide or a relative, ensure that everyone around you is energetic about your choice to set off for college.

Time administration is everything

I had at regular intervals of my life (with the exception of Sundays) planned for 30 minutes increases,” says Gabe Lumby, CPA and organizer of Gabe Lumby CPA. Lumby says the way to adjusting classes, examining, work and your connections is dealing with your time purposefully.

See Also: 5 Essential Time Management Tips to Live By

Make your director mindful

Ensure that your director knows that you’re going to school and knows your work limit. Bringing your manager into the discussion at an early stage may even result in acknowledgment or an advancement after graduation.

Adore your learning

When you’re really energetic about your training and vocation, it stops feeling like work all of a sudden. Don’t simply consider it as doing assignments and checking in hours. Instead, consider it as enhancing your brain and propelling your vocation.

“You have been given an open door that few individuals in this world have: a school training,” “Don’t simply take a class, satisfy a fantasy. Cherish what you are doing!”

The post Achieving The Perfect Balance Between Studying And Working Full-Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Reason Days Feel Like They’re Flying By And How To Fix It

A lot of people often find themselves wondering why time flies.

Well, time isn’t what it used to be. It seems just yesterday that I started writing this article and yet it was three days ago. At this rate, I fear I will awaken at an elderly home tomorrow morning. And I’m just 26 now.

It wasn’t always like this.

I remember each of my childhood years as lasting an eternity. Unlike the other kids, I never wanted to grow up. It felt like a scam and I was right.

Upon reaching legal adulthood, everything sped up. Days mix with each other to form an indistinguishable blur of events and I don’t like it. I can’t seem to remember what this past Wednesday felt like or what decisions I made on Tuesday that lead me here. Moments like this often make me wonder why time flies.

Three weeks ago, I returned from a trip to Rome for three days. At the end of the first day, I laid exhausted in bed from a thrilling time in the city. That day felt as if it lasted more than 24 hours. The second day felt exactly the same way and so did the third. They were days full of excitement, joy, stress and learning.

As I played back the days in my head while flying out of Rome, those three days felt like twenty. I could recall each past activity in detail. I felt like I lived more in those three days than I had in months before the trip.

The Science

Intense moments, good or bad, feel as if they lasted longer. This is because the brain remembers much more when the information is relevant or if it causes a strong emotional reaction. I’ve washed dishes a million times, yet I can only recall one or two occasions. I would hate to remember the color of every dish soap I’ve ever used.

the_feel_of_timeWe spend more time doing yellow, but we only remember yellow. The varied experiences in colors feel as if they last longer.

In the beginning years of our lives, most experiences are new and important. The brain remembers most of these pieces of information in great detail throughout the day. Remembering days in their entirety creates the illusion of living longer, both during real-time and when accessing memories.

In contrast, as we age, few experiences are new, more mundane and less relevant. Days seem like they fly by that we can’t even remember past eve.

Holding On To Slippery Time

Understanding why time flies or what we can do about it isn’t hard. Intuitively, if our time feels like it’s going by too fast, we need to slow down.

I am aware of two types of feel for time.

Type one is how long each day feels from the moment I wake up. Going through a stressful moment at work would make my day feel longer as I count the hours ahead. Type two is how long the past days feel relative to today.

It is vital for me to have a good control over these two types of time. As often as I could, I try to get out of my comfort zone in an attempt to seek new powerful experiences — a great solution for both types of “time feel”.

I join local groups to talk and share and this often results in an exchange of powerful moments. I travel monthly to absorb new places and their culture.

Every day, I take some time to break the routine and monotony of my daily tasks by replacing them with new activities. I talk to strangers, hear their stories, eat my lunch seating under a different tree or share my stories through the web.

having fun

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

Time Halt Summary

Here are your key takeaways in making each day special and different.

1. Get out of your comfort zone as soon and as often as possible. Take risks as they are healthy in mild amounts.

2. Visit new places. Have you been to the broom closet in your job?

3. Share with people and hear their stories. People appreciate unloading their emotional baggage and an engaging story might be the tipping point in your day.

4. Break your self-imposed discipline. Don’t repeat the same tasks every day.

5. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s not always healthy to feel safe in your daily decisions or the type of clothes you wear. Only with mistakes will we know what works and what doesn’t.

See Also: 7 Ways to Get More Comfortable With Feeling Uncomfortable

The post The Reason Days Feel Like They’re Flying By And How To Fix It appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Substandard Services When Outsourcing

Outsourcing jobs is a great way to solve problems at work. It can help you deal with heavy work overload, time sensitive deadlines, lack of work competence or having inadequate workforce at a given time.

However, it is still not as ideal as it sounds, especially with all its potential risks. This includes hiring incompetent freelancers or competent freelancers that overcharge their services.

It is in your best interest to avoid both of these scenarios and the following article will help you do so. Here we will provide four tips on how to avoid wasting money on substandard services when outsourcing jobs.

Plan for what is needed

outsourcing plan

The best way to avoid unnecessary expenses is to have a well-laid-out plan for your freelancers. The more specific you are, the better.

First of all, the people you collaborate with are not mind readers. Since you communicate via emails, it’s easy for a project to lose its track due to the lack of necessary information.

Moreover, if you fail to provide detailed information, you risk getting a project that meets your demands but lacks in quality. So, give them online samples of the level of quality you expect to see. Try to be specific about what you do not want to see.

This way, you will be fully covered when asking for a refund if the demands are not met. Moreover, freelancers who lack the competence to meet those demands will back off.

Ask for previous work samples

When you are hiring someone, it is imperative that you go over their portfolio.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell from someone’s portfolio if he can fill in your specific task. So, for that reason, it would be best to ask freelancers if they have a previous work sample of something that is similar to what you are going to ask for.

Maintain communication

maintain communication

Once you select your freelancers and award them the project, it is important that you maintain communication. As we said, you are not sharing the same working space.

If the project is delicate, it would be wise to organize a Skype call. You can also ask to receive screenshots of how your project is going. This way, you can correct any inconsistencies immediately. You’ll be able to see in advance if you have made the right call, too.

Get a referral or test potential candidates

Lastly, if you are not sure in the expertise of your potential candidates, you can test them out. You can also ask for referrals from other trusted users in the same niche as you. You can do the testing if you are down to two or three potential candidates so it won’t cost you a lot.

Focus on these traits

If you want a reliable outsourcing partner, then you need to have a clear list of their purpose. If they can meet these standards, you can count on them.

> Positive results – The Company can help you increase your customer satisfaction and decrease production costs within the desired time frame.

> Compatibility – The Company should share common goals and values as your company. They need to be performance centric, care about their clients and community and use same methods for managing the company.

> Innovative – You need a company that can greatly contribute to your business and that can perform on their own without the constant need for monitoring. They should help you modernize your business regarding technology, equipment, etc.

See Also: How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business Grow

> Flexibility – You need a company that can adapt to your standards and provide you with a personalized service to meet your demands. They need to consider your needs as a priority and you need to adequately reward them for their devotion.

> Adaptable management – You need a company that can respond quickly and adapt to changes without sacrificing the quality of the end results. In other words, it needs to have a reliable management team as well as competent staff.

> Benchmarking – You are going to know the outsourcing solution is reliable if they can provide you with evidence explaining that you are receiving a high-quality service. They need to create new growth potential and offer measurable success in the field of employee and client satisfaction.

> Resourceful – They need to continuously deliver in-depth content that is innovative and that fits your needs and demands.

> Constant quality improvement – With continuous collaboration, the quality and the performance of your outsourcing solution should improve. Basically, you need a company that can keep up with you. They need to work on their own staff and provide new and comprehensive training courses for their employees in order to achieve these results.

Conclusion

We hope you will end up with an outsourcing agency or freelancer you can trust and collaborate on numerous other projects in the future. Once you find a competent outsourcing company, it will be far easier to handle projects in the future.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

The post 5 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Substandard Services When Outsourcing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Movie Locations To Visit This Year

If you liked our previous article on movie locations, then you’ll enjoy this one too.

The best movies have the power to transport you to exciting places or faraway worlds. They can put you in the moment and make you feel like you’re part of the action. What could be more exciting than that?

Well, how about really being there?

We’re not talking about virtual reality tours or amusement park knockoffs. We’re talking about setting your feet on the same places that set the stage for some of Hollywood’s most iconic moments — or at least their real-world counterparts.

You can pretend you’re in the middle of your favorite scenes, so recite some lines if you feel like it or take a few Instagram-worthy snaps.

Bring Hollywood to life by visiting these five inspiring movie locations.

The castle from “Harry Potter”

First of all, there’s the famous Harry Potter series.

You’re a J.K. Rowling fan and you’ve got a wand and a Ravenclaw scarf to prove it. If only you could step inside Hogwarts and get a glimpse of Harry and his wizarding pals’ world.

Well, you can! And we’re not talking about the Universal Studios look-alike in Florida.

Although this movie used plenty of cool special effects to transport you to an ageless time, its makers chose a 500-year-old school as Hogwarts’ inspiration. Hop across the pond and visit Christ Church College in Oxford, United Kingdom. Guided trots around campus cost £13 (or about $17) per person and they’ll give you all the insights you can handle. Even a Slytherin would feel a little giddy about that.

“The Sound of Music” scenery

Unfortunately, you won’t be reenacting Julie Andrew’s iconic opening scene because the meadow where the scene was shot is privately owned. The owner isn’t welcoming to visitors, too.

Fortunately, the other scenes from this classic were filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria. More than 300,000 fans journey each year to this picturesque part of Europe, looking for their own chance to climb every mountain and spot Edelweiss in bloom.

Not sure you’re comfortable exploring alone? No problem. Tours abound for “Sound of Music” aficionados like you.

The Rebel base from “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope”

If you’ve got the skills to bull’s eye a womp rat in a T-16, then you’ll definitely want to check out Tikal in Guatemala.

This archeological site served as the Rebel Alliance base on Yavin 4. You won’t find any X-wings in the site’s temples. However, you can learn all about a civilization from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Tikal was one of the Mayan civilization’s largest cities during the Classic Era — more than 1,000 years ago.

Entry into the park will only set you back $20, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time. The central part of this ancient city covers almost 10 square miles.

The bridge from James Bond’s “Skyfall” thriller

Got a sweet spot for engineering marvels from the big screen? Then, you’ll want to check out the Varda Viaduct. This is where James Bond fell to his apparent doom in the opening of “Skyfall,” the Bond series’ 50th-anniversary offering.

Although train service prohibits tourists from walking the bridge, you can head to the surrounding cliffs in Istanbul and take in its 102-year-old glory. And if you’re going to Turkey anyway, you might as well absorb the culture.

The grate where Marilyn Monroe’s dress went viral

Finally, there’s that iconic white cocktail dress blowing in the air.

Although Marily Monroe is no longer with us, she’s cemented her place in American history and so has the location of her dress “slip-up” during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch.”

Monroe’s husband at the time, baseball slugger Joe DiMaggio, didn’t appreciate the publicity stunt. Fortunately, you can still appreciate one of the most famous subway grates in movie history. It’s in New York City, on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street.

While there are plenty of places we can’t visit (the Death Star comes to mind), there are tons of fantastic movie locations we can still visit. Next time you watch an awesome flick, take note of the scenery and do a little research after. You might be able to see a movie magic come to life.

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Choosing The Perfect Handmade Diamond Ring For Your Engagement

Knowing how to choose an engagement ring is tricky and buying it is quite a challenging task. You would not like to go wrong on any count since it has a lot of emotional significance. It is a symbol of your deep love, dedication and bond with your life-partner-to-be.

Before stepping out to buy the best engagement ring ever, you must have a crystal clear idea of exactly what you are looking for. As a guide, here’s how to choose an engagement ring.

Determine Your Budget

You need to consider several important factors when buying an engagement ring. One of these factors is your financial capability. As much as possible, do not go overboard.

Apart from that, you should also choose the ring style that will perfectly complement your partner’s personality and lifestyle.

Start by Browsing the Web

You could browse the Internet and go through the latest collections online to draw some inspiration. This way, you could visualize the ring style and diamond shape that’s just right for you before getting your diamond ring customized.

By going through an extensive collection online, you’ll be able to find out if you are attracted to square or round shaped diamonds. You can check out multiple stone settings, contemporary designs or vintage ones. You could choose from a stunning collection of handmade rings that are designed to perfection.

Look for Real-Life Inspiration

You could solicit advice from your friends and family. You could draw inspirations from utter strangers, too. Many of them would be happy to let you try out their rings. This could be a great way to start your engagement ring shopping.

Check Out the 4 Cs for the Best Diamond

If you want to know how to choose an engagement ring, you must learn how to check the clarity, cut, color and carat of the diamond.

The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. A diamond with a better cut would dazzle more. If your diamond seems to be more colorless, it would imply higher quality grade. Color grade depends on the actual lack of color.

Almost all diamonds are known to have some imperfections. Diamonds that have negligible or no imperfections are given the highest clarity grades. Carat, on the other hand, refers to the real measure of a diamond’s exact weight. It is, however, not the only factor that determines the brilliance and value of a diamond.

Keep these 4Cs in mind while choosing the diamond for your engagement ring. Examining the certification is important, too, so buy a certified diamond.

Choose the Right Shape

The shape refers to the form of a diamond from the top view. Rather than the cut, it identifies the genuine geometry, edges and features of the stone. You could get a diamond that has a round, emerald, princess, square, pear, oval or heart shape.

Choose the Best Metal

There are endless metal options. You could choose from the usual yellow gold or the popular rose gold. You could also get your ring made with a platinum, silver or palladium metal.

Choose a metal as per your own personal preference. If most of your ornaments are made from yellow gold, you could stick with the same material. If you are more used to silver accessories, you could opt for platinum.

Choose a metal that looks great on your specific skin tone. With regards to the band, you have an assortment of metals to pick from. One prominent decision is platinum as it’s strong and particularly immaculate. It makes a great decision for ladies and grooms with delicate skin.

There’s gold, too. It typically comes in an assortment hues, including white, yellow and even green. Past platinum and gold, you may likewise consider palladium, which has a grayer shade than platinum. You can also consider a reused metal band, which may incorporate a blend of platinum and gold.

Conclusion

Apart from your personal preferences and unique specifications, you also need to make sure about the ring’s size. It needs to fit your finger snugly and comfortably. Choose a perfect fit so that you could flaunt your engagement ring all your life.

The post Choosing The Perfect Handmade Diamond Ring For Your Engagement appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties

Owning a rental property can be a lot of work but wise management can keep it profitable for years to come. Whether you’re new to the game or an old veteran, these 6 modern features can increase property value as well as make it more comfortable for residents.

1. Wi-Fi

If your rental property doesn’t have Wi-Fi yet, better install it quick. Wi-Fi has become the standard for homes and businesses and if you want to stay marketable, a strong Wi-Fi signal is a must.

However, partnering with a low-quality Internet service can actually hurt, rather than help, your marketability.

Here are the top 10 service providers of 2017, according to Top Ten Reviews:Top Ten Reviews:

1. Comcast
2. Time Warner Cable
3. Verizon
4. AT&T
5. Cox
6. Charter
7. Suddenlink
8. Cable One
9. CenturyLink
10. Frontier

2. Solar-Powered Water Heater

Conventional natural gas or electric water heaters can be a substantial monthly expense. More importantly, they can make up a big part of your carbon footprint, too. Investing in a solar-powered heater is a one-time outlay that saves on both money and pollutant emissions.


Photo credit: thegreenmanproject.com

3. Home Automation

If you’re installing a solar-powered water heater, why not go one step further with home automation? Home automation devices like smart thermostats, smart lighting and smart HVAC can save energy, reduce a home’s carbon footprint and boost property value.

4. Home Surveillance

Home security systems, like those offered by ADT, Frontpoint and Armorax, should be next on your list of value-boosting property enhancements. With features like cameras, motion sensors, alarms, 24-hour surveillance and easy-to-use controls, they can protect your buyer and your reputation.

As you compare companies, keep in mind that although quality comes with a price, it pays in the long run.

See Also: 8 Sharp-witted Ways To Protect Your Rental Homes

5. Smart Doorbell

A doorbell may not be the first investment that comes to your mind, but have you heard of smart doorbells?

They’re the new peephole, allowing residents to discreetly view visitors while remaining hidden. Some smart doorbells also offer a monitoring feature so you can see a visitor before they even reach the door. Although small, these nifty devices can also boost property value.


Photo credit: securitysales.com

6. Central Air Conditioning

If your property does not already have central air, it’s time to get that installed. This will not only make your tenants’ lives more comfortable but it can also save energy costs in the long run.

Central air systems cost roughly $0.30 to $0.50 per hour at $0.10 kWh. For comparison, one window unit costs $0.11 to $0.75 per hour, depending on the size of the room being cooled. Keep in mind that most properties need more than one window unit to stay cool.

7. Water Softener

If your property is in an area with hard water, invest in a water softener. Hard water can create mineral buildups in pipes and appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, and hot water heaters. Eventually, this can substantially reduce performance and lifespan in these appliances, forcing you to pay for repairs or even replacement sooner than necessary.

Having a water softener improves your property’s appraisal value and, as an added benefit, can prevent unsightly deposits on faucets, shower doors, etc.

8. Landscaping

If yard maintenance is not part of your tenant’s rental contract, then the responsibility of keeping the place looking nice falls to you as the landlord. Rental properties with curb appeal are worth more as well as they are better able to attract tenants when you have a vacancy.

Key areas to pay attention include:

  • Weeding flower beds/around shrubs
  • Mowing and watering the lawn
  • Trimming trees and shrubs
  • Raking fallen leaves in fall
  • Clearing snow from driveway/sidewalks

revamp garden

 

Landscaping is one area that can trap you into wasting money. Take care not to go overboard. Additions like ponds, fountains, and even swimming pools cost more than they are worth.

9. Renovations

Are your rental’s appliances getting old? Are the carpets looking shabby? Has the paint lost its pristine glow?

A renovation is an old trick of the trade, but not one to be forgotten. Updating the kitchens and bathrooms is a big one and it can provide about 80% ROI. The right changes can’t only improve property value but also attract higher-income tenants.

Conclusion

As you manage your rental properties, don’t forget that your renters always come first. Take care of them and you will have stable profits for years to come.

The post 9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Mind Exercises That Will Teach You How To Build Self Confidence

Are you a confident person? Do you know how to build self-confidence? How can you tell?

Is it because you value and love yourself? Is it because you make sure you have all your ducks in a row all the time so you know what to expect?

Back in the day, if you had asked me, I would have said “Hell, yes! I’m smart. I know my worth and I know I’m an awesome person so yep… I’m confident.”

But, like most folks, I would have been confusing self-esteem with self-confidence.

See, self-esteem is your evaluation of yourself and your worth. I knew who I was, and I didn’t allow any man, woman or child to treat me any less than I deserved. So, self-esteem? Yep, I had tons of that.

But, self-confidence is a whole different story.

It’s not bravado or cockiness as those relate more to insecurity. It’s not throwing your weight around or talking over everyone in a ‘look at me, look at me!’ type attitude.

Confidence is quiet and more subtle than that. It’s that trust in yourself and your abilities that move you to action.

And I didn’t realize I was missing that until I punked out on a chance to be the registered badass expert during a system outage at my job. All the big wigs and my peers were trying to solve the problem and I had a possible solution.

But, I froze.

“What if they think it’s stupid?”

“What if they think I’M stupid?”

“Better to have no opinion than having a wrong one and look like a fool, right?”

I’m wishing I could tell you that I stood up and spoke my idea, but you already know how that ended.

I kept my mouth shut because I was scared to be wrong. I doubted myself,  knowledge and abilities. And I felt like a jackass for being scared to open my mouth- like I’d die if I did.

Maybe this has happened to you, too, and you can relate to the missed opportunity of greatness because of self-doubt. Or maybe you already know that your confidence can use a boost.

Wherever you are, know that this doesn’t have to be you. It doesn’t take much to stop doubting yourself. In fact, it just takes a few tips and constant practice so you can get to the place where you can let your badassery fly and just trust yourself and your ability to blow the mind off those around you.

Here’s how to build confidence.

Get Physical

1. Spend a day being decisive

Try spending one day where everything you say is prefaced with a decisive tone.
For that one day, banish unsure phrases, like ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I think’ and ‘Maybe’ from your vocabulary.

Removing such wishful tones from your speech is incredibly powerful, positive and affirming. It forces you to be sure of your decisions, opinions, and choices. Even if you aren’t totally convinced, saying something out loud with a commanding tone helps convince you of your own ideas.

This isn’t some fake-it-until-you-make-it trick. It’s removing your fear of what others may think- a common cause of self-doubt.

You already know what you want and what you think. Sometimes, we just need a cheerleader to tell us that our idea isn’t too crazy. This exercise will teach you to become more decisive and your own personal cheerleader.

2. Take care of your body

When you work out, feed your body well and get good sleep, your body gets flooded with endorphins. You know, those feelings of accomplishment that flood over you when you do something kickass and your body is feeling happy, relaxed and unstoppable.

back pain exercises

When your body is running at its optimal level, you are more productive, able to absorb more experiences around you and more capable of proving to yourself that your body can accomplish more today than it did yesterday. And that’s what builds confidence – collecting successful experiences and believing you can do more than you did yesterday.

3. Rock a Gangster Lean

Did you know that certain poses, like standing with a wider stance, are argued to increase testosterone, lower cortisol and make you feel more powerful and confident?

Sometimes you just need a little nudge. Just like speaking with power and decisiveness, you just need to ‘deliver’ with boldness so you can stop worrying about the impression you’re making on others.

And there is real science behind it. Harvard Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, teaches that power poses can help liberate us from fear in high-pressure moments. They can help us perform at our best and connect with and empower others to do the same.

So, try smiling, standing up straight with your shoulders back and chin up and with a more open relaxed pose to help put on more confidence.

Change Your Motivations

4. Aim to fail every day

Most of the time, we never try anything because we are afraid that we’ll fail. We worry what people will think and what they’ll say. We fear that we’ll be ridiculed.

But, here is a little secret.

No one is watching you or waiting to see if you are going to fail. No one is waiting to laugh at you.

Why?

Because people are worried about the exact same thing! They are too busy worrying about themselves, chasing their own fears and running their own insecurities in their mind.

So, what would you try if you knew that no one would be watching you? The best way to overcome that fear is to aim to fail every day. Aim to fail at least once every day because failure is the real evidence that you’ve tried something new.

Order that Tai Latte from Starbucks you’ve been wondering about. Wear heels to the office or call about that house you’ve been eyeing. Walking around with little fragile hearts avoiding failures means we are avoiding action and life in general.

Failure and mistakes are needed and expected if you want to move on with life. They are lessons that can teach us to look inward, refine our goals and affirm our desires.

5. Reach your bliss point

Ever notice that when you are in a good mood, everything seems to fall into place? It’s not that suddenly the universe opens and people want to give you good things.

When you’re happy, your perspective changes. You become more positive and, instead of seeing difficulties in opportunities, you see opportunities in difficulties.

Your boss asks you to work on a project outside of your given skill set? While others see that as a frustration, you see it as an opportunity to learn.

Think about your bliss point and try to reach it. It’s your sensory profile where you optimize your ‘feel good’ vibes.

The way to do that is to give yourself little pleasures. Stop waiting for the weekend, your success or retirement and start giving yourself a taste of what’s to come.

Whatever you like that can change your perspective, do it.

De-clutter your space, add a fresh coat of paint to your walls, rearrange your furniture, wear a new scarf, get your hair done- whatever blows your skirt up and makes you happy, do it.

The sillier or more frivolous, the better. Happy people are hopeful people. Hopeful people are fearless people.

6. Build your competence

If you want to stop doubting yourself, then you need to have a reference to draw your knowledge from. You can’t speak on what you don’t know. And if you aren’t sure, you are less likely to speak anyway.

So, if you want to build your confidence and improve the delivery of your message when you interact with others, then you must have competence. Go deep spending time studying your craft and go broad when improving yourself.

Whether it’s parasailing, candle making or outdoor hiking, develop new interests and skills that can improve your life and make you interesting.

We are not binary individuals that have natural strengths and weaknesses. We can grow and improve in anything at any stage of our lives.

If you are uncomfortable with public speaking, then read a book, take a class or join a club. Continue working on improving yourself and that’s one of the best ways you can start learning how to build self-confidence.

Mold Your Mind

7. Disappoint your parents

If you are wondering when you turned from fearless to fearful, then look at your childhood. Try to recall how your parents or guardians responded when you did something great or when you failed at something.

Seriously, you can totally pull the ‘blame your parents’ card for this one.

In their effort to protect us from sadness and disappointments, they taught us what they knew and how the world works by their standards. It is usually to lower your expectations and avoid risks.

Years later, you probably noticed that little voice in your head, giving you all the reasons/excuses why you can’t do or try what you want. That is a clone of your parents.

But, don’t be fooled! Your beliefs are incredibly powerful!

If you always wanted to be a writer and the people around you all told you that you can’t write books because you were too young or too dumb, then you might believe that and never even try to write the book of your dreams.

But, what if you hear the stories of J.K. Rowling, Oprah and Les Brown who are wildly successful despite facing difficulties, you might start changing your own beliefs and exploring new experiences.

Think of all the reasons why you ‘can’t’ do what you want and reflect on whether it’s true or not. If it’s not true, then choose to change your thinking and create a new narrative. If it is true, then determine what you need to do to change that.

So, how about we plan to disappoint our parents by dumping many of their teachings to form our own beliefs? Don’t worry, you have my permission.

8. Be child-like

When you were a kid, anything was possible.

Chocolate milk comes from brown cows. The moon is made of cheese and if you climb a ladder high enough, you can get there and see for yourself.

Get that mindset again and adopt the attitude of “why not”.

What’s the worst that can happen if you give it a try? I mean, really?

Most of the things we imagine won’t happen and, if they do, it won’t be as bad as we think.

So, take the pressure off. You don’t know and can’t control what anyone might think, so why not just see how far you can get? Instead of spending your energy thinking of why something won’t work, focus on gaining experiences.

You literally cannot go wrong, because, no matter what the outcome is, you are on the right path to where you need to be.

See Also: Why We Should Look at the World as a Child Again

9. Ride the rainbow

When you succeed, bask in the awesomeness that has occurred from your hard work.
Smile, think about it and remember how hard it was to get here. Post it on Facebook or just tell your friends. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate your success or shrug it off as luck or chance.

Like Spencer Johnson says in Who Moved My Cheese, “Smell the cheese and celebrate the cheese often!”

Each victory helps you to win another and is a testimony you can use to renew your spirit when doubt creeps back in. It also provides evidence that you can achieve if you stay persistent.

10. Renew your mind daily

Confidence isn’t built in a one-time activity. That’s because doubts and fears are likely to creep in all the time. They are like weeds you must pluck every day.

So, bear this in mind:

Continuously taking risks, learning from failures and reaping rewards is how confidence is made.

Get Ready for Awesome

Just imagine not being shy about voicing your ideas – even if it’s not fully formed. Imagine never feeling fearful of what people think and doing what you want because you want it. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning feeling empowered as your feet touch the ground, looking forward to the day ahead and not dreading it.

Sound impossible? No, they’re not.

These simple tips on how to build self-confidence have dramatic effects on your belief in yourself. Do the work, try a new tip every day and flush out the stories that say you are any less than awesome.

You’ve got your road map. Now, all you need to do is follow it. Your new life of being a badass awaits.

The post 10 Mind Exercises That Will Teach You How To Build Self Confidence appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Maintain Your Privacy Online

Threats to online privacy seem to grow every day so make sure you know how to protect yourself. There are a lot of things you can do to stay safe online. Unfortunately, not all of them are guaranteed to work.

Clearing your browser history, for example, can’t really do anything. Installing an ad blocker won’t get the job done, too. If you really want to protect your online privacy, here are the things you need to do.

Use secure passwords and usernames

It seems so convenient to just use the same usernames and passwords for every site. That way, you can remember them even without writing things down.

But, consider this:

If you use an easy-to-guess password for your social media and use the same one to log in to your bank, you’ve just made it super easy for someone to gain access to your bank account.

To protect yourself, choose passwords that are at least eight characters long and make sure they contain different types of characters. Use numbers, capital letters, lower-case letters, and symbols. Change your password for every site you frequent, too.

Writing with Computer

Use a password manager

The next step in password protection is to use a password manager. It’s an app that can generate crazy-long passwords that you couldn’t possibly remember. It encrypts not only your password but also your security questions and their answers, your credit card numbers and their PINs and other vital security information.

Now, all you have to remember is the password to your password manager.

Don’t click on the link

You know better, right? So, why do you click on those links you get on your email?

Usually, it’s because the email came from someone you trust. However, what if your friend clicked on a malicious link? Your friend’s entire address list could have been hacked and that includes you.

As much as possible, don’t click on suspicious links, even if they came from people you trust.

Lock down your social networks

Sure, those warnings that pop up on Facebook every month or so about how the platform is going to steal all your data are indeed trollish. But, even though they’re fake news, they actually have a point.

You need to lock down your social media privacy settings which are often defaulted to Public. This setting means everyone can see everything on your wall.

For your online privacy, change your settings to Friends. If you should unlock a single post to Public, make sure you haven’t inadvertently opened up your whole account to the world.

The bonuses here? Real life bad guys can’t see when you’re away from home to break in and steal your non-virtual stuff and your bosses and ex can’t see what you did on the weekend.

See Also: Don’t Get Your Identity Stolen – Here’s How

Look for a secure connection

When you’re about to log on to a site, take a look at the URL. Does it say “http” or “https”?

That “s” stands for “secure” and it means that your data (including your username and password) are being encrypted as they travel back and forth across the web. This is particularly vital when you’re making online purchases or handling other financial transactions.

Often, you’ll see a padlock icon next to the URL to confirm the secure connection. While you’re at it, secure your own devices by setting and actually using the lock screens on each device.

Block cookies

It’s so cute when a brand you’ve shopped with sends you just the perfect ad, isn’t it? Except, it’s not so cute after all.

That brand or advertiser found you by attaching cookies to your browser and now they’re following you — and not in a good way. In some cases, they can even follow you from all your devices to keep track of your online behavior.

Block those third-party cookies. The advertisers will still be able to track the pages you visit, but they’ll have to work a whole lot harder to do it.

Use a VPN

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is probably one of the best and simplest ways to protect your online privacy. With a VPN, your data is encrypted so your internet service provider can’t see your internet usage — and neither can anyone else. VPNs provide protection against hackers and they keep your surfing safe when you’re using Wi-Fi.


Photo credit: indiatimes.com

Use Tor

Head to Tor to anonymize your IP address automatically. With Tor, your browsing experience becomes private — well, as private as you can be, given that you’re still on the internet. It can hide your information from hackers who want your identity, corporations that want your money and data and government that wants who even knows what.

There are a lot of dodgy people on the internet. Don’t let them into your virtual home. Take these basic steps today to protect and maintain your online privacy.

The post How To Maintain Your Privacy Online appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life

Integrity is probably at the center of my core values.

If I’m not being generous, I’m out of integrity. If I’m not being honest, I’m out of integrity. When I’m not showing compassion, I’m out of integrity.

Another way to look at it is if I’m out of integrity, I’m not in alignment with what’s important to me. And to be perfectly honest, I simply can’t function when my integrity is out. My life just doesn’t work.

Now, whether my integrity is out or not is entirely subjective. Logic doesn’t come into it and I can’t talk or justify my way out of feeling out of integrity. If I’m out of integrity, I KNOW I’m out of integrity and no amount of sophistry, understanding, justification or reasoning is going to change that.

It sounds like I’m being really harsh on myself, but that’s not how it is at all. By working on getting myself back in integrity, I’m constantly moving further into alignment.

Things don’t flow when I’m out of integrity. Stuff doesn’t work and I feel blocked. It’s unpleasant when I’m that way. It feels like I’m wading through quicksand.

Why life feels like hard work

Half the time, it’s not obvious that I’m being out of integrity and that’s where problems happen. Because my integrity so intrinsically links with everything else, all I know is I feel out of sorts and things feel just not quite right.

I’ve felt like that for a few days now and it’s been getting more and more difficult to achieve or complete anything. Even writing has been difficult and, trust me, I usually have no problems in writing something.

Then I realized: I’m out of integrity.

I gave my word to do something and it hasn’t happened. The reasons for it not happening are completely out of my control, but it’s still my responsibility.

My word, my responsibility. No one’s fault, just my responsibility.

I told someone I’d do something and it hasn’t happened. I’ve communicated with the person and reset the event date 4 times now. It’s still not going to happen and I’m not willing to reset the date again. My integrity is out, not just on sticking to my word but also on another of my core values: fairness.

Even though the reasons are completely out of my control, I don’t feel like I’m being fair to the other person for constantly changing the plan. And I’m feeling awful about it.

feeling awful

I’m feeling awful because my integrity is out and I can’t do anything about it. The other person was very understanding, but it isn’t my fault and I’m not the only one to blame.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is that it’s MY integrity that’s out, therefore, it’s MY integrity that needs mending.

I want to feel good about myself, so I MUST take responsibility. The reason is simple.

I’m taking responsibility, regardless of the fact that not all things and people are under my control because I gave MY word that I’d do something.

Living with knowing that I can’t stand by my word is unacceptable.

I could go down the path of justification, reasonableness, and blame. After all, it’s not entirely my fault.

But, if I do that, then it’s like giving the power over whether I’m true to myself and my core values to someone or something else.

I’m giving the power about how I feel about myself to someone else. It’s like letting someone else have control over my life. And no one should have that power over anyone else.

Only WE know whether we’re being true to ourselves or not.

If you feel that something’s “off”, that life is hard work or just a bit icky, take a long, hard look at yourself. Find out where you’re not being responsible. No matter how ridiculous it seems or no matter how much things are completely out of your control, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

take responsibility

Take responsibility for knowing that you’re being true to yourself. Don’t leave it for years like I’ve done in the past. Look at it NOW.

See Also: Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life?

Where are YOU out of integrity?

I can pretty much guarantee that if life is feeling like hard work for you, it’s because you’re out of integrity SOMEWHERE.

It might be around your values or because you feel like your job isn’t the one for you. You might have given up on a dream, eating poorly or not exercising. You might be in a relationship that you know is not right for you. It might be due to all the things you’re saying in your own head.

So, have a close look and find out where you are running out of integrity.

Don’t waste any more time not feeling completely in the flow. Do something about it NOW.

See Also: Flow: Discovering The Secret to High Performance and Happiness

The post How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

In between work, family and social media, we take few precious moments to reflect upon our lives and realize the importance of mindfulness.

Perhaps, you purposely avoided looking at your life because, if you’re totally honest, it can be brutal. Just think about the tsunami of judgmental thoughts that swamped your mind and caused you a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Not surprisingly, a lot of worries are just byproducts of our society. However, our greater personal dissatisfactions are actually the result of our own internal turmoil driven by confusion.

Are you feeling confused?

You’re not the only one. Notice how confusion is self-evident all over the world.

Research scientist Kathryn Tristan suggests in her book Why Worry that at some time in our lives, half of us in the U.S. will suffer from anxiety, depression or addiction—the very opposite of an authentic life.

But, then something miraculous happens.

On your way home from work or a rushed meal out, the dusk’s rising luminous moon captivates you and you experience a moment of ecstasy and utter peace.

All is right with the world and you weren’t thinking about a thing. You were just alive and brilliantly so!

From mundane to miraculous

What was the shift?

The clouds of confusion lifted. For a moment, you were in perfect balance, consciously mindful of the miracle of life that involves you.

Here’s the big picture:

You were being your best, most authentic self instead of listening to habitual, self-limiting thought patterns.

Authenticity emerges when you live not just from mind and body, but from the heart which is your natural state. Done consciously, it is mindful living. It is the mastery of life.

A life lived without a heart and soul is a life filled with confusions. This can manifest as problems in your personal life.

“If quality of life is important to you, mindful living trades confusion for life’s magical moments—every single day.”

In his book, Living from the Heart, Nirmala said, “What you are seeing, smelling, hearing, sensing, and pondering is limited by and filtered through your thoughts. Your thoughts mediate between you and reality and interfere with seeing it more fully and purely.”

According to neuroscience, what thoughts are and what gives rise to them is still a mystery.

Think of thoughts as one of the many useful tools the brain uses to navigate our physical world. By themselves, thoughts are two-dimensional mind fences.

An expanded awareness that includes the heart means a far richer life that is fulfilling, regardless of the circumstances or what you are doing.

Shocking to some, you don’t have to do anything at all to experience an authentic life.

But, ask yourself this:

Would you rather run through a meadow at sunset with fences? Or the meadow of your life unhindered as far as the eye can see or even beyond?

When we live from the more inclusive reality of our mind, body, and spirit (heart), we open our lives to the miraculous on a daily basis.

How to enjoy the miracle of your authentic life

Slow life down each day

Although you’re not fully aware of the importance of mindfulness, you’ve been actually practicing it intermittently throughout your life without realizing it. Immersing yourself in nature, going for a walk and even hand-washing dishes are forms of mindfulness.

Recall how you felt a sense of calm and well-being within your body. Notice how balanced your world became. Now, do these things consciously and with your heart. Add yoga and meditation.

Life gets immensely satisfying when we let go of our mental expectations and enter the “Zen” or the flow.

Mind the gap for miracles

“When you allow your thoughts to breathe by paying attention to the gap in between, you move out of reactive-ness to being response-able.”

Thought devoid of the heart and soul is a form of insanity. No wonder so many people are confused.

You have the ability to tap into your highest wisdom and determine whether the glass is half empty or half full.

Minding the gap is how you go from continually making lateral moves in life to sky-high vertical limitlessness.

Whenever there’s a challenge, rather than carelessly and spontaneously reacting, surprise everyone by saying you’ll give it some thought. This means giving your initial thoughts some space to breathe.

Silence without judgment is extremely powerful and contains miracles. It shifts, even breaks, habitual destructive patterns.

Give up planning for 90 days

In Western culture, planning is thought to be one of our greatest assets. Google the power of planning and you’ll be inundated with reasons why a plan is paramount to reaching your goals.

Are you willing to open the door to the even higher power of synthesis the Harvard Business Review calls “strategic thinking?”

Strategic thinking lets go of planning initially, integrating intuition and creativity to allow spontaneity to appear naturally.

Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Rather than projecting different possible scenarios, be a blank slate by asking, “What’s next?”

Leaving infinite possibility open is to create a vacuum that life must fill. It’s more powerful than projecting imagined preferred scenarios which contain limits.

Say “I don’t know” often

get comfortable with emptiness

At least to yourself!

Emptiness is very challenging when you are pressured by society to fill every nook and cranny with busyness. Your brain will be sure to scream it to you every chance it gets.

Emptiness removes all barriers, including you getting out of your own way.

I can tell you, based on my experience as a writer, that the muse is within. Any artist or creative person will agree to that. All inspiration arises from the void of emptiness.

Get comfortable with emptiness and learn to play with unlimited possibilities.

I personally prefer being a blank slate every chance I get. Like the unofficial Buddhist mantra goes, “Empty, empty. Happy, happy.”

I can easily put myself into a state of emptiness by watching trees blow in the breeze.

Open yourself to higher consciousness

In Practicing the Power of Now, spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle, extols the value of mindfulness by acting as witness to your thoughts. To quote, “So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.”

Have you tried being a witness to your own thoughts? It’s life transforming.

The beauty of learning to be mindful at any age is that it allows you to express your thoughts at your personal level of truth and authenticity while enabling you to dig for deeper understanding.

Don’t stop there. Yes, keep going. There is always more inclusive wisdom to discover.

“Let us honor one another where we stand, knowing we each travel
a unique journey toward higher consciousness.”

Be bigger than your body

practice meditation

Ask any Zen Master or Yogi and she or he will tell you that your identity is not wrapped up in your thoughts. Yet, it’s one of the causes of human existential crisis.

As you climb Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs toward self-actualization, you will come to realize that you are much more than your body. Only in the complete synthesis of mind, body and spirit can you see beyond basic survivalism so that you finally begin to thrive!

Know you are enough

Mind, body and spirit realization is fulfillment in and of itself!

There is no greater authenticity than to know who you really are as part of the infinite. Greater is the gift of YOU, boundaries removed.

As a guiding light, you now offer others, by example, the same freedom and opportunity. No longer confused, doing good naturally follows as you move from a place of selfishness to one of service to humanity.

Are your choices today filled with love?

Your authentic life

As part of evolution, aided by the tools of technology, human consciousness is expanding faster than ever. Living multidimensionally in mind, body and spirit will be your brilliant future.

Embodying consciousness, your new, authentic life will change everything for you. Your mojo is now working for you, instead of the other way around.

You will wake up energized in the morning, excited to be alive because you’re expressing yourself authentically. You will feel empowered like never before as things you despise begin to disappear. Freedom and prosperity will flow more abundantly in your life.

The importance of mindfulness is now completely clear to you. You will see the world and the Universe supporting you every step of the way.

It got you here, didn’t it?

The post 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Turning Trials Into Triumph

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

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

So, what’s the difference between these people?

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

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

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

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

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

A Tale Of Turning Trials Into Triumphs

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

essex whaling disaster
Via Mother Nature Network

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

stand up to obstacles

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

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

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

The post Turning Trials Into Triumph appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Deal With People: Little-Known Secrets To Make People Like You

“The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you” – Rumi

When I was younger, I often questioned why people did not treat me nicely. I would doubt why they did not communicate with me, even though I was such an interesting and well-versed person.

Probably, I thought, because they are not at my level of education and are just interested in simple things.

Later on, I wondered why men aren’t courting me or showing signs of attention, even though I always acted as a very nice and loving person and tried to always look good. Later, in business, I was also perplexed why clients were not choosing me among others. That is even though I always communicated professionally and did my best to understand their needs.

In situations like these, I was tempted to think that the people around me were wrong, that they did not understand the depth of my nature, the value of my presence or the accuracy of my offers. Though, while such thoughts helped me to feel better, they did not make the people around me nicer.

Until one day, I realized the secret which fixed all the “wrong” people and made them very “right”.

The secret is very simple:

I am responsible for everything that is happening in my life. I am responsible for creating the way other people treat me. And I came to realize that the way I acted in the past, even though it seemed right for me, was not a “winning strategy”. It was simply not the right way!

Here are some of the things that helped me learn how to deal with people.

I thought that being smart was cool

I was always smart and the people around me just didn’t have the opportunity to show they were actually smart, too. The lesson for me was to learn how to be “unsmart” or “foolish”.

I learned to show my vulnerability, ask for advice and reach out for help and support as often as I could. Being able to be smart and unsmart at the same time is such a beautiful combination. It allows me to pour my knowledge when others need it or to empty myself for receiving new knowledge when I need it.

I was always loving

love yourself

What was I doing wrong by being loving? What could be better and more desired by men than that? Why were men still treating me bad?

For sure, something was wrong with them. At least, that’s what I thought to myself. Mistake!

Intelligence is a lot like love. If you are always full of it, then the people around you wouldn’t have a chance to add to it and this makes them very confused. The real winning strategy here is to be attentive whether the love you give is accepted and well perceived.

If you come to the point when you give so much out of your full heart but you receive no response, then it’s a clear indicator to switch off your flow.

For example, every time you think of sending another love message to your partner, send it to yourself and show love to yourself. Every time you want to suggest something fun and entertaining, suggest it to yourself and do this exclusively for yourself.

Do not be afraid to lose your partners. It is just not possible to not love a person who loves and respects herself/himself. The quality of your partners will go up.

Start with making small experiments with this new strategy. Building up this balance between loving your partner and loving yourself is a jewel addition that can promote self-development. I guarantee you will love the effects.

I was so professional

being professional

Why would people not want to work with me? Again, it is not about me being cool, but about how they feel next to me. I realized my strong stand made them feel threatened, low and tightened. I also realized that professional business is not only about the uniqueness and greatness of my product, but about whether people feel comfortable, appreciated, respected, fulfilled and honored next to me.

I learned that maximizing professionalism and maximizing empathy and care go hand in hand.

This is how I approach “inconvenient” people now:

  • When someone is too aggressive – I know they want my modesty.
  • When someone is too manipulative – I know they need my sincerity.
  • If someone is too smart – I know they ask for my appreciation.
  • When someone is too stupid – I know they need my faith.
  • If someone is too untidy – I know they are thirsty for my inspiration.
  • If someone is too depressed – I know they want my naivety.
  • When someone is too negative – I know they need my love.
  • When someone is too egoistic – I know they ask for my vulnerability.

See Also: How To Develop Empathy By Understanding Subjective Hardship

Conclusion

The bottom line is simple:

I came to realize that those people who seemed nasty or “bad” to me came to my life as teachers.

They taught me things I once considered wrong or inappropriate. However, looking more deeply into the issue, I found some brilliant lessons that helped me learn to love myself as well as others. Those lessons helped me give freedom to others and to set the rules, to know how to let go and to appreciate what I have. I also learned to keep my mind flexible and open.

I understood that when I got irritated about someone, that was exactly the opportunity for me to identify and correct my rigid beliefs. Enlightening these “gray” areas of my mind helped me to gain more clarity about all the situations of my life and to become much happier and reasonable.

When life teaches you through other people, do your best to understand the lessons it presents and work on achieving that perfect balance in your personality. Thank these people for making you more aware, skilled, and happy.

People are not bad. All people are, in fact, good. Each of us is born from a divine sparkle and everyone has some goodness. You just have to know how to deal with people and how to bring out the best in them.

See Also: 12 Stressful Things To Let Go Of If You Want To Live A Calm Life

The post How To Deal With People: Little-Known Secrets To Make People Like You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Factors That Can Help You Achieve Success

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

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

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

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

Self Image

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

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

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

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

Self-Esteem

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

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

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

Self-Confidence

self confidence

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

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

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

Self-Discipline

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

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

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

See Also: How To Improve Your Self-Discipline

Self-Love

love yourself

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

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

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

See Also: Yoga Helps You Love Yourself

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

The post 5 Factors That Can Help You Achieve Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

helping others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Do What Makes You Happy

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

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

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

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

Investment In Your Mentality

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

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

Note to self: “Don’t stop here.”

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

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

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

Teach Yourself

teach yourself

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

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

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

Big questions that can be helpful:

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

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

There Is No Right Time

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

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

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

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

 

The post How To Get Out Of A Rut: 5 Ways To Move On appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type?

If you have been frequently waking up with back pains and a bad mood, it’s probably your mattress to blame.

In general, we spend as much as a third of our lives in bed so it’s only right that we invest in the right mattress. It should be able to give you both comfort and support so your spine, ligaments and muscles can relax during the only time your body gets to relax.

So, should you get a new mattress? Check out these telltale signs:

  • If your mattress is already sagging, it’s high time you give it a rest. Over time, springs can break down, fibers can wear out and foams can get softer. These things can mean lack of support to your most vulnerable parts.
  • The presence of lumps can mean uneven density and this can lead to uncomfortable pressure points.
  • Ideally, you should replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years. If yours is more than that, you’re compromising your sleep.
  • The presence of more pains and aches than you had before you went to bed is a clear sign you already need a replacement.
  • Most mattresses can accumulate allergens, particularly mold, dust mites and mildew. If you find yourself sneezing whenever you get close to your bed, consider assessing your mattress.

See Also: 10 Things You Never Knew About Bed Bugs

What Is The Best Mattress?

The best mattress is the one that will work best for your body type. As your body has its own contours and needs, you have to know exactly what your options are. There several types of mattresses you can choose from.

Here are some of them:

Memory Foam

memory foam mattress

The memory foam, particularly the visco elastic foam, is conceptualized by NASA scientists. It’s patterned from the material that was supposed to absorb the effects of G forces during the take-off process.

Compared with other mattresses, this one is special in that it follows the contour of the sleeper’s body. It helps distribute weight to eliminate pressure points. This makes memory foam great for those who suffer from back problems and other body aches.

There are different formulations when it comes to memory foams. There’s the standard memory foam that is temperature sensitive. There’s also the plant-based memory foam which is more breathable and has a faster response. The last type is the gel-infused type which is commonly marketed as a cooler.

Latex Mattress

latex mattress
Via uratex

Latex mattresses are more expensive than other types because of their materials. Despite the cost, this type has one of the simplest constructions. They are highly durable and can last for over 15 years. They feature low-pressure support and can contour to your body’s shape without the heat or chemical odors. latex mattress provide great bounce, responsiveness and cooling, too.

Waterbed

waterbed
Via waterbed-deals

Waterbeds can provide average pain relief. They are designed to mimic conventional beds but with low heat and odor complaints.

There are two main types of waterbeds: the hard-sided and soft-sided. Both feature a water chamber which can either be waveless or free flow.

Airbed

airbed
Via intexcorp

Airbeds are nothing like the ones you use for camping. This type comes with an adjustable air chamber which works as its support system. The good thing about airbeds is that you can adjust their firmness according to your body’s needs.

Specialty foam mattress

tango mattress

This type is a bit unique in that it uses one or more types of foams. It can either be latex, polyurethane, memory or gel. Specialty foam mattresses come in different densities and shapes to ensure you get both comfort and support. If you are wondering what specialty foam mattresses look like, check out this two in one mattress.

How To Choose A Mattress Properly

Know how old your mattress is

In general, if your mattress is already 8 years old or older, you should consider getting a new one. Take note that this doesn’t apply to all types of mattresses since there are some that can extend beyond that time.

If you are unsure about how long your mattress type should last, you should decide based on your sleeping patterns. If you’re restless or you find yourself frequently waking up in the middle of the night, just go buy a new one.

Determine what type of mattress you’ll need

The type of mattress you’ll need will depend on your preference, body type and sleeping positions. Consider the following:

  • If you sleep your side, you’ll need a mattress with lots of pressure relief. It should be able to support your body weight and conform to the shape of your body.
  • If you are a stomach sleeper, choose a mattress with a firm top surface. It’s the best one for support.
  • In case you like sleeping on your back, invest in a mattress that can provide support while keeping your spine in its proper alignment.
  • If you tend to toss and turn at night, go for an innerspring mattress with latex, memory foam or pocketed coils. These materials are great for isolating motions, like when you don’t want to disturb your partner with your movements.
  • If you like a lot of the features of the different mattresses and can’t make up your mind, pick a hybrid style mattress. This type can provide the motion isolation feature of memory foams and the buoyancy of a mattress with an innerspring core.
  • For allergies, stick with mattresses that are resistant to dust mites and molds. Pick foam and latex since they have inherent antimicrobial properties. If you choose an innerspring mattress, you can enclose it in an allergen-resistant cover to make sure you don’t wake up sneezing at night.

See Also: Have a Child with Skin Sensitivities? Here’s How to Deal with it

Set your budget

Mattresses don’t go cheap, particularly those in the luxury end of the market. The good thing is that there are lots of options now that will enable you to find the right mattress at the right price.

In choosing, keep in mind that expensive doesn’t always have to mean better, but don’t go ultra cheap, too. Since the quality of your sleep will depend on your bed, make sure you don’t skimp on your mattress.

 

The post Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Cure Your Skin Today: The Best Adult Acne Home Remedies

When your face is breaking out, you just want to crawl into bed and not come out all day long. And as you feel embarrassed, you can’t help but wonder: Wasn’t acne supposed to be left behind in your teenage years?

Adult acne is frustrating, embarrassing and difficult to deal with once it develops. Its causes are far more complex than teenage acne which makes it even harder to eliminate.

Fortunately, there are a few great natural remedies for adult acne that you can use to lessen the severity and duration of your acne breakouts. From kitchen herbs to common vegetables, you can help your skin glow again by mixing up a few things at home.

Choose one of these common at-home remedies to improve your skin’s condition!

Crushed Peppermint

crushed peppermint

One great way to treat your skin’s acne is to apply a peppermint paste on the acne-prone areas of your skin. Peppermint is known to have naturally occurring anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

You can find peppermint leaves at your local store or you can even grow your own!

To make a peppermint paste:

Crush up 3 or 4 peppermint leaves.
Rub the paste on affected or acne-prone areas of your face.
Allow the paste to sit on your skin for about 10 minutes.
Rinse your face with cool or lukewarm water.

Always test this paste on a small section of your skin before using it regularly. Peppermint can be irritating to some skin types!

Zinc Supplements

zinc supplements
Via ods.od.nih.gov

Zinc is often used to naturally help regulate hormones. You see, one of the most common causes of adult acne is unbalanced hormones.

By regularly taking zinc supplements, you may be able to calm down some hormone fluctuations that can be causing your acne problem. Simply put, zinc supplements can help treat acne!

Oatmeal and Honey Paste

oatmeal honey paste
Via jewelpie

Oatmeal and honey are two great ingredients that can do wonders when it comes to treating acne.

As you know, oatmeal can absorb liquids. And just as it can absorb water, it can help absorb oil from your skin, too. Honey, on the other hand, can work to tone your skin. It has antiseptic properties, too.

Here are the ingredients you need to make a simple oatmeal and honey paste:

⅛ cup honey
½ cup cooked oatmeal

Mix these two ingredients together and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, liberally apply to oily skin for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Repeating this technique one or two times a week can help boost your skin’s oil control. This, in turn, can reduce the number of acne breakouts you get.

See Also: 10 Best Skin Foods For Healthy Glowing Skin

Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil
Via keeperofthehome

Tea tree oil is a very popular and effective way of treating acne spots as soon as they appear.

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and antifungal. This means that it can keep your skin very, very clear of any bacteria!

Before using tea tree oil on your skin, however, you need to dilute it. Using undiluted tea tree oil on your skin can actually worsen inflammation, so you should use a 5% solution instead.

It’s super easy to use. All you have to do is apply a small amount of tea tree oil directly to the problem spots and leave it on overnight.

This home remedy can help reduce the severity of mild to moderate acne breakouts.

Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been praised as a miracle acne solution for years now, and there is a good reason for that. This miracle worker is packed with magnesium, acetic acid, and potassium – all of which can help kill bacteria on the skin!

This type of vinegar has many acne fighting properties. It can:

  • Clear up excess oil
  • Balance the pH level of the skin
  • Work against bad bacteria

Thanks to these three properties, apple cider vinegar can provide you with some relief from adult acne.

There are two great ways to use apple cider vinegar.

For one, you can use cotton swabs to apply it directly to the affected areas. Secondly, you can boil one cup of apple cider vinegar with water and use its steam to treat your skin.

Yogurt & Honey Mask

yogurt honey mask

Another great way to make use of the acne-fighting power of honey is to combine it with a great skin hydrator, like yogurt. A simple combination of these two ingredients can do wonders for your acne-prone skin.

When you have acne prone skin, it can actually be exacerbated if your skin becomes dehydrated. Whether you realize it or not, dehydrated skin causes your face to overproduce oil and that puts you at more risk of acne.

Hydrating your skin is simple with this yogurt honey mask. All you need is:

One tablespoon raw, organic honey
One tablespoon of yogurt (preferably organic, but not required)

Mix these two ingredients together and then apply it to the problem areas of your face, paying close attention to where you break out most often. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before gently removing the mixture using a damp rag.

See Also: 6 Vitamin-Packed Smoothie Recipes for Glowing Skin

Say Goodbye To Adult Acne

Don’t spend any more days hiding at home or piling on makeup just to hide those frustrating breakouts. There is no need to hide if you take advantage of these natural remedies for adult acne.

It’s very simple to work with the antiseptic and hydrating ingredients that we already have in our kitchens. In fact, there are many fantastic herbs that can fight acne. You just need to know exactly how you can use them for your skin’s needs.

Whether you choose to combine oatmeal and honey or work with crushed peppermint instead, your skin will surely say “Thank you” for trying these solutions at home! Get glowing, clear skin with these easy at-home remedies!

The post Cure Your Skin Today: The Best Adult Acne Home Remedies appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Why Shopping Online Doesn’t Have To Lead To Stolen Packages

In the dark ages of the 1980s, people used to have to drive to the store and buy their own toilet paper. They would then load it into their cars and drive it to their homes and carry it inside.

It seems like such a foreign concept today. Just thirty-something years later, we can press a button in our bathroom closet and have a drone deliver our toilet paper to our front porch hours later. Alright, maybe most people don’t have drones dropping off their toilet paper, but that IS an option today, especially with more people buying things, even necessities, online and having them delivered.

There’s almost no reason to leave your house for supplies anymore in most major cities. You can even have your groceries and prescriptions delivered right to your house.

But, there’s just one problem.

With the uptick in E-commerce, there has been a corresponding uptick in theft from mailboxes and front porches.

In the last five years alone, E-commerce has more than doubled. Online sales are expected to almost double again over the next five years, reaching $523 billion a year by 2020. Unfortunately, in 2016 alone 11 million people had packages stolen from their front porches, three-quarters of which happened when they weren’t home.

Because of this, a large number of people say they are worried about having their packages stolen from their doorsteps, particularly when they aren’t delivered on the first attempt. This makes delivery more difficult for delivery drivers. It drives up the cost and, subsequently, extends the amount of time it takes to receive packages. It also makes people wary of ordering online, which is scary for online retailers and delivery services.

online shopping

There are a lot of factors that can prevent packages from being delivered on the first try. And theft isn’t the only thing preventing you from getting your packages on time.

If there isn’t a safe and dry place to leave a package, it can get destroyed by the weather. If something is too big to fit inside a mailbox, a mail carrier might not be able to leave it there. More often, there are items that can’t be delivered without a signature.

So, if you have to sit around all day waiting for the delivery man, how is that supposed to save you from going to the store?

Online shopping makes things easier for many people. There is a greater selection of merchandise you can choose from and there are search algorithms that can make the process a lot easier. You will never have to leave your house to go out searching for what you need.

Unfortunately, that convenience ends when you get that package stolen off your front porch. All kinds of solutions have been developed to combat this problem, including doorbells that can record videos of people trespassing your front porch. Unfortunately, those doorbells can’t actually stop those thieves. By the time you see their videos, your new dress or your heart medication are already gone.

online shopping delivery

So, why not give the delivery person a secure place, like a smart mailbox, to use for your packages? Having a locked place means no more missed deliveries and a serious decrease in the likelihood of theft.

Secure mailboxes are nothing new. Remember that keyed mailbox at your first apartment complex?

Secure mailboxes are more necessary today than they ever have been before. Today’s smart mailbox can communicate with you when you have a package delivered or when it is en route. It can even give you the option to communicate with the delivery driver in case you don’t want your package delivered on a specific day.

Options for preventing stolen packages include:

Security cameras

Pro: deterrent
Con: once it’s gone, it’s gone

Delivering to Work/Another Address

Pro: someone will usually be there
Con: you still have to schlep it home

Rerouting Packages

Pro: have it delivered when you will be home
Con: longer wait, more hassle for the delivery driver

Smart Mailboxes

Pro: packages delivered anytime are kept secured and safe from the elements
Con: Big and bulky, more expensive than a regular mailbox

More options mean more flexibility and security for everyone involved and that’s just good business. Learn more about how to prevent package theft from this infographic. A better way to deliver packages could even usher in the next big wave of E-commerce ideas. You might find yourself asking, “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”

Snail Mail vs Smart Mail [Infographic]
Source: MailHaven

 

The post Why Shopping Online Doesn’t Have To Lead To Stolen Packages appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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3 Good Reasons Why Planning Just Isn’t For You

Planning. Simply the sound of this word is enough to give me a rage fit and a subsequent migraine.

Whether you want to start a business, do well at college or just become good at any kind of activity, one of the most frequent pieces of advice you will get is to plan everything. Even when it comes to relationships, planning is still considered to be essential.

At first, I became really angry and frustrated when I read all those articles because I am terrible at planning– really. The only thing I have managed to plan so far is my shopping list.

I have a bright memory from childhood. It’s when I decided it was time to get all fancy and organized and created a schedule of the entire following day. I was so serious that I even used an A3 sheet of paper for my schedule and I’m not kidding you.

And now, you can try to guess how much I lasted on my schedule.

I managed to do only one thing from the list and that’s to wake up. The rest of my day went haywire, as usual.

After years of struggling with my hectic and disorganized self, I started to question the premise and had anti-planning thoughts.

Can planning really do miracles to your life? I highly doubt that. I believe that, like everything on Earth, it has its downsides. Here are some of them.

Plans make you frustrated

frustrated planner

I’m a perfectionist- yeah, that’s weird for someone who hates plans- and it backfires so much when it comes to crossing out items from my to-do or even shopping lists. If I can’t manage to find something or if I postpone a tiny errand to the next day, I will feel dissatisfied with myself. No matter how many tasks I do that same day, that one uncrossed thing will bug me.

What to do instead?

If you’re like me and “1 pound of sour cream” in your shopping list can ruin your day if uncrossed, try creating lists of things you actually DO as you go on with your day. This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence. At the end of the day, you’ll be looking at a list of things you actually managed to do and not those you didn’t manage.

Plans don’t make THAT big of a difference

A lot of people expect to become time-management gurus the moment they start creating plans. But, guess what?

That doesn’t happen in a snap. It has to be learned much like any other action and habit out there. More than that, though planning helps you become more organized, the main point is that you need to do things. Planning alone won’t get you anywhere, except the fact that you’ll become incredibly good at creating lists.

What to do instead?

Try the immediate action strategy. Planning is preparation, and preparation is usually good. But, let’s be honest. Most of the time, we start making plans to procrastinate and to feel like we are actually doing something good about our lives.

So, instead of indulging into writing another list, choose a tiny action. Let’s say, clean a small section of your working table or finally move all the clothes from the chair to your drawers.

Plans can increase your anxiety

anxious planning

Life goes by its own rules with little regard for our plans. People forget to return a call or even show up, cars break and bad weather strikes unexpectedly. Life is haywire and that’s probably the reason we like plans so much. They help us make a little sense of the mess that’s constantly going on.

When something unexpected and unavoidable intervenes with your perfectly designed plan, it can make you feel like you are out of control and this adds more stress. You have a lot of things to deal with and now you have another issue to solve. In essence, it means less time for more things to accomplish.

What to do instead?

Choose a couple of pivotal actions and make them vital for you. See, there’s a lot going on with our lives, but we don’t forget the basic things anyway. We eat, sleep and drink.

Choose a couple of simple actions and make them an absolute must of your day. Soon, you will be used to them that you won’t need a plan to remind you anymore. You won’t beat yourself up for not sticking strictly to your schedule.

I’m not saying you should totally forget about lists and to-dos completely. They can be useful when you are packing for a trip or having a really hectic time. However, I don’t believe you need a to-do list for every day of your life. To me, they are more of a play-pretend game than of real usefulness.

What do you think about planning and to-do lists? Are they overrated or do they really make a big difference?

Share your insights below and maybe you can help me and other people who are all about anti-planning change our minds.

See Also: Todo List Apps for People Who Don’t Like Todo Lists

The post 3 Good Reasons Why Planning Just Isn’t For You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Tips On How To Prep Your CV For More Job Interviews

If you want to get an interview for the position at the company you are applying for, then there are 6 things you should bear in mind. In this article, we will partially focus on cover letters as well as other important resume writing tips.

So, grab a pen, and get ready to totally change your approach to CVs and cover letters.

6 Tips On Successful CV Emailing Process

Address your email to a particular person

emailing resume

Avoid using general opening phrases like “Dear Sirs” or “To Whom It May Concern.” They are impersonal and cannot impress the recipients.

Most recruiters state that emails which are addressed to a specific person get higher chances of being read and paid special attention to. To know who to address your CV to, you can research the company’s LinkedIn account or company website.

Just think about it:

If you are getting dozens of cover letters a day, you are more likely to pay attention to the applicant who knows you by name than an applicant who simply addresses the company in general. So, if you do not want your resume to get into a stack of other similar “impersonal” letters, then address it to a particular person.

Use Keywords

A lot of companies use state-of-the-art technologies to analyze all the emails they get as well as the resumes in them. These technologies function in such a way that they identify the keywords in a letter or resume they receive.

Thus, after you familiarize yourself with a job description, make sure to check its keywords and major requirements. Keep these keywords in mind as you craft your cover letter and resume.

This will not only help a potential employer see you as a perfect applicant but will also help your letter avoid getting screened out.

See Also: Resume Action Words That Will Get You That Job

Be Original

In numerous resume examples one can find online, we see all the same patterns which candidates repeat time after time. Unfortunately, such clichés and standard phrases do not build up a strong image for you.  They can even do the exact opposite.

For this reason, we highly recommend that you try to be as original as possible. For instance, check out the story of Sumukh Mehta who created a resume for GQ magazine and structured it in the form of the magazine itself. His resume went viral and still serves as a brilliant example of a CV which can get you not only an interview but the actual job.

Find Connections

You probably know the theory about seven handshakes. If not, then you should be aware of it.

The theory says that all people on the planet are connected through seven handshakes. This means that you have connections with almost everyone through other people you know.

All you have to do is find these connections and use them for your own benefit. If you can get a recommendation, then all the better as you can mention this when you write your cover letter. It can make all the difference.

Write a Bright Opening

writing resume

You do not have much time to make a good first impression. In fact, professional recruiters say that they only have around 14 seconds for one resume as they get at least 250 applicants a day per position.

So, if you want to be among the people they will likely invite to an interview, remember to create a bright opening. Take one information from your resume and use it as your winning ticket. You can also mention some experience that you had which makes you brilliant for the position.

Write something like “I used to work as a sales manager for this company for a year, and I increased their sales by 30%.” This can draw the company’s attention and stimulate their interest in your resume.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Even if you do not have all the skills they expect from a perfect candidate, you can emphasize the ones you have and sell them to the company. To do that, you need to provide evidence to support your statements.

You can add some numbers that can illustrate how much you contributed to your previous place of employment. Think of your own unique way to present such experience.

We hope that with our practical resume writing tips, you’ll be able to email your CV correctly. We guarantee that if you follow our tips step by step, you will certainly get yourself an interview.

See Also: 16 Worst Resume Mistakes

The post 6 Tips On How To Prep Your CV For More Job Interviews appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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