Dumb Little Man

The One Post Breakup Thing Women Need to Do

“I’m not happy anymore. I see no future with you. I will never love you. You need to accept that and move on. I’m sorry.”

As cliché as it may sound, that was the last I heard from the guy I was so desperately in love with. He’s the guy who dumped me for his major insecurities, male ego, and limitless tail-chasing.

After some time, he went with a follow up stating that he wanted the possibility of a friendship with me- different from what I had been hoping for with him.

break up

You’d like to think that I immediately jumped at the chance to get back together, even if it’s just on a level of completely platonic pals. Or perhaps one of his many previous conquests-now-turned-buddies.

Well, let me tell you this.

I was not that desperate and pathetic.

Flipping him off was below my ladylike standards, so I told him an outright no.

Naturally, he didn’t understand my reluctance as much as I couldn’t comprehend why he wanted to keep me with him, when in fact he’d expressed openly in different terms that he’d rather close the chapter of his life where I was in it, to begin with.

How to handle a break-up with class

post break up

After a breakup, especially in this sort of situation, no matter how much you think it will work on your favor, never beg or plead. That’s even if you are still completely not over or might never be over him. By never, I mean it would be horrific and downright mortifying once you come to your senses!

Trust me. Begging does not work, even if you blackmail him emotionally.

And, do not accept a “Just Be Friends” proposition from the man who brutally jilted you under any circumstance at all! It would be unfair of him to ask that of you, especially when you didn’t want whatever relationship you had to end in the first place.

Handling breakups are different for the vast majority of us as there are a lot of factors that tend to vary.

However, acting loony will get you nowhere.

Overreacting would be a nasty faux pas.

Blowing up his phone and stalking him on social media would not only strain an already non-existent relationship. It would also make you- and not him- more miserable in the long run.

My dear women, I say, go through the breakup with class and what’s left of your dignity.

Various online dating gurus would tell you this and I can attest that it absolutely works a hundred and ten percent: Lose all form of contact with him, as long as it would take for you to reconvene your feelings and your life in general.

Human nature dictates that pain is unwanted, in every aspect, be it physical or emotional.

Unquestionably, going through your normal routine will prove to be very, very difficult. You may find yourself at the end of some nights tired, weeping, and lonely but don’t fret too much. It’s all part of the process to heal yourself.

The bottom line is for you to get a life where you are happy and secure with yourself. You don’t need him to be in it.

Then, live that life and let things run their course.

If he comes back, then it’s up to you to accept him. If you do accept, set boundaries for yourself, which he has to learn to respect.

In case he doesn’t, well, do you really want a man who wants to stay uncommitted and yet desires the benefits of a committed relationship?

See Also: Let Go of Your Ex: 7 Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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How to Stay Strong and Extremely Resilient In Chaos

Despite avoiding the news and mainstream influence 90% of the time, I’m still aware that the world is in a state of chaos and that people are having a hard time finding peace in chaos. Especially in the United States’ political climate, we see ongoing negativity, reactivity, and ignorance.

We typically see chaos as a negative concept while order is preferred. With order there’s stability and predictability, thus we know we won’t be challenged. But of course, a challenge is important to an individual’s growth and most of us know that deep down.

The same goes for societies – they must be challenged to either grow or dismantle.

In nature, chaos is generally what happens before growth and change. While yes, chaos can cause an organism to die. However, it is stagnancy and repetition of old patterns that lead to death.

So, what does this mean for the individual who’s trying to stay sane in the midst of (what is often) other people’s chaos and pain?

Here are what I’ve found to be the two most useful actions to take:

Disconnect

disconnect

NOTE: This does not mean give up. Disconnecting isn’t the same as becoming apathetic and complacent.

Disconnecting is an act of self-preservation and restoration. It simply means you are choosing to disconnect from the things that you know to be false. It could be anything that goes against peace, authenticity, etc.

This will probably include a lot of media.

You will need to take long breaks from the news, social media, and maybe even social events in which your friends/family relentlessly complain, argue, etc. By disconnecting, you claim back your power and separate yourself from the endless barrage of negativity – a lot of which is inflated and false.

You get comfortable in your own energy, without the TV blaring or a friend listing all the horrible things that happened that day. This is an especially critical practice for empaths who have trouble holding their own energy around others. Disconnecting doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care enough to make a change.

Act from the Center

staying strong

Once you’ve disconnected from the mainstream thought process, you can then have a genuine, positive impact. This is HUGE.

Why?

Because everyone else is so caught up in the struggle – the bickering, the wallowing, the insistence that “my way is the best way.”

In this state, chaos, inequality, and violence will continue to flourish indefinitely. The only thing that holds society together is individuals who step outside the thought stream and say, “here’s what I’m going to do to benefit people today.”

Period.

They act from their center because they’ve disconnected from the outside enough to hear their own voice. These people go on to start businesses, volunteer projects, fundraisers or even just bring their own families back to a place of stability. As a famous musician wrote, “they hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds.”

So, if you’re uncertain of what to do and wish you could have an impact during these times of chaos, try this and see what comes out of it. You might be surprised at how stepping back can actually save time and allow for greater productivity.

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How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist

We have all known that person, the one who monopolizes the conversations or seems to always have a flattering story to tell – always about themselves. Maybe, we listen politely for a bit and make a break for it as soon as we possibly can. Perhaps, we suffer silently while inwardly rolling our eyes.

But what if that person is you? Would you even know it?

Identifying narcissism in others is one thing. There are some glaring signs that we can all agree upon. However, identifying it in yourself can be more difficult.

Most narcissists have no idea that they fall into this category. They often view themselves as unique, special, outgoing or justifiably confident. What they don’t realize is that those views taken to the extreme can cause many problems in their relationships, work or even their family.

Why Narcissism Is Dangerous

narcissistic person

Although narcissism can be a dangerous trait, it exists in all of us to some degree. In its most mild and most common form, it can be looked at as a desire to feel special. We can all relate to that on some level. Wanting to feel like there is something that makes us unique, interesting or desirable is completely normal.

For some, however, this goes far beyond the general desire to stand out. For certain people, narcissism can become so extreme that they can no longer relate to anyone around them. They feel they are in a category of greatness no one can understand. They may also assume that they are so unique that rules don’t apply to them or that they are more interesting and have far more to offer than anyone else.

The narcissist may become so intent on proving their superiority that they lie, manipulate or hurt those around them. They do these things in order to maintain the feeling that they are better and more worthy of admiration than anyone else. While these behaviors are destructive in and of themselves, they also have an impact that goes far beyond the day-to-day.

Relationships for someone with extreme narcissistic behavior are often either short-lived or unhealthy. A healthy relationship balances the needs of both partners with each respecting and appreciating the other. When your focus is completely on yourself, this isn’t possible. People in relationships with narcissists will often be used as a prop for the narcissist’s ego. This should prompt a swift end to a relationship because it often results in emotional and mental abuse.

Recognizing Narcissism

narcissist

This isn’t really a fair question because almost everyone will answer no. None of us wants to feel like our behavior rises to that level. It is possible, however, that you are or someone you love is exhibiting narcissistic tendencies.

Consider the following questions when recognizing narcissism:

  • Do you often feel like your decision-making skills are better than others?
  • Do you override what others want because you are sure your desires/interests/plans are better?
  • Are your achievements over-embellished?
  • Do you often think, “they will thank me for this later” when you are doing things?
  • Do you feel like you have an undiscovered talent and you are just biding your time until people see it?
  • Are you a good listener or are you just waiting for someone to stop talking so that you can talk?
  • Do you feel like you have a way to get around things you don’t like and that the rules don’t really apply to you?
  • Do you expect to receive special treatment above others in the same situation?
  • Are you looking forward to talking about your achievements?
  • Do you always have an “I can do you one better” kind of story when others have talked about something?
  • Do you reject criticism and feedback as being stupid or a product of other people’s jealousy of you?

If the answer to more than a couple of these questions is yes, you or the person you answered for could likely be classified as a narcissist.

Narcissism can be a disabling trait. It destroys friendships, romantic relationships, careers, and causes a great deal of personal pain and conflict. When a person finally comes to terms with the truth, it can be a difficult road to recovery.

If you recognize these behaviors in yourself or someone else, it is time to initiate change. For a narcissist, change is a big step in the right direction.

That change is possible but it won’t happen overnight. So, if you or someone you love is trying to make positive alterations, be patient. With time, effort, and a good support system it can be done.

The post How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Avoid The Regret of Yesterday And The Fear of Tomorrow

“We look neither ahead nor backward. We look straight into the present.”

Stay in the present, be in the now, just for today.

We’ve heard those lines time and time again, but we still struggle to get hold of this life-changing concept.

Why? Why is it so hard to know how to stay in the present?

If we’ve been told that focusing on the present is the answer to all of our problems, then why do we find it so hard to do it?

Why do we insist on continually dragging ourselves back into the past or propelling ourselves forward into the future?

The answer is simple. It’s because it’s easy to say but not so easy to do!

So, here are 5 tips on how to stay in the present.

Focus on one thing and look at it with all of your might

I’m not talking about some random object like a pencil or a chair. Looking at that with all of your might would be pretty pointless and boring.

I mean something in nature. It could be a tree, a flower, your dog or your cat.

Stare at it with all of your might. Take every single tiny detail in.

If you’ve chosen to focus on a tree, watch how each leaf moves individually. Zoom in on the lines and texture of the bark and count how many different hues of green you can see. Listen to the tree whisper to you as the wind dances through the branches.

If you decided to gaze willfully at your pet, watch how its body moves gently as it breathes. Watch how it gazes so simply into space or how peacefully it sleeps. Focus on its nose and how it subtly twitches as it smells the world.

When you focus solely on something like that, you are being 100% at the moment and you won’t even realize it.

See Also: Feeling Stuck In a Rut? Here’s How to Change Your Focus

Do a guided meditation every day, just for 10 minutes

practice meditation

Come on now, it’s just ten minutes.

I don’t believe you are that busy that you can’t throw a quick 10-minute guided meditation into your day.

You don’t have to be a spiritual guru or a yogi in order to meditate. Anyone can do it and it really is the best way to center you into the present moment.

There are some brilliant meditation apps for your phone that make meditation quick and easy. Check out Calm or Headspace.

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

Watch the world like you’re watching a movie

When you are sitting on a train or a bus, sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant or even walking down the street, imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater.

Be absolutely still for a moment and just watch everything that is happening all around you in that very moment.

The movie is called ‘Life’ and it’s a fly on the wall documentary film.

It’s the quickest way to get out of your head and find your way straight back to the present.

Focus on the soles of your feet

A weird one I know, like my other four suggestions haven’t been somewhat odd.

If you find yourself feeling all kinds of yucky because you’re preoccupied with what happened yesterday or what’s going down tomorrow, just pause for a moment and focus on the soles of your feet.

Close your eyes and just zone in. Try and feel the soft skin on the soles of your feet without touching them with your hands. Simply use your concentration.

Feel the soles of your feet against your shoes or how they feel against the tiled floor or the grass between your toes. Pay attention to your toes, the arch of your foot, and the bottom of your heal.

Sounds weird but while zoning out on your feet, you’re actually being completely in the present moment. Your thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow have disappeared.

Dance

dance with abandonement

Dancing with abandonment is the best way to clear your head of overthinking and to just feel joy and pleasure right now.

I’m not saying you have to start dancing with abandonment in the middle of the supermarket or at the bus stop. However, if you have the courage to do that, then kudos to you.

No, I’m just suggesting you put some headphones on, lock your bedroom door, and just have a quick boogie to one of your favorite uplifting songs.

It’s impossible not to stay present when you’re strutting your stuff without a care in the world.

The post How to Avoid The Regret of Yesterday And The Fear of Tomorrow appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams

You know the feeling.

You have a dream or maybe a plan. You’ve been at it for quite some time now. Weeks, months or maybe years.

And yet, the dream hasn’t come true yet. In fact, you feel farther from your goal than ever before.

Doubtful thoughts mess with your head in an infinite loop.

What is it that you’re missing?

Are you not smart enough? Is it about luck? Are you too young/old for this?

You feel you know what it takes to make your dream come true, but what if you’re wrong?

Maybe you’re wrong in thinking that you know how to do this.

And that’s exactly what is holding you back.

The Hidden Failure Of Conventional Wisdom

You’ve heard the advice.

Believe in yourself.

Focus.

Keep a positive attitude.

Never give up.

Whatever your goal is, if you follow all of those, you should be able to achieve your goals, right?

Wrong.

Here’s why.

Imagine you’ve come to a new city. You do not know what places to explore. So, you use a map to guide yourself.

Except, it’s the wrong map.

No matter how much you search for a place, the map will always mislead you. You can keep a positive attitude, reaffirm your self-belief, and try as hard as you can. It wouldn’t get you any closer to your destination.

Unless you realize you have the wrong map, the only place you’ll reach is frustration.

Why Most People Fail To Achieve Their Goals

achieving goals

You learn from life experiences. Take a moment and think about all the things you know today.

If your father is a software engineer, you probably started to code at a very young age. If your uncle is a professional painter, you would know the different color combinations and brush strokes.

In short, your life experiences have been a source of knowledge.

But here’s the problem.

Your life experiences are limited. So, the things you learn are also limited.

What happens when your goal lies outside your life experience?

What if you want to build a business when everyone in your family has had traditional jobs? How to be a creative writer when the only people around you are corporate buddies?

How to make up for what you do not know?

You do the obvious.

You guess what will work and hope that you’re right.

Usually, you’re wrong.

See Also: Your Ability To Fail Without Fear Is A Requirement To Reach Your Goals

What Does It Really Take To Succeed?

Two reasons why the successful achieve their goals:

  • They know things that you don’t know.
  • They do things that you don’t do.

If you study the methods of successful people, it becomes obvious that their approach is unique and counter-intuitive.

More specifically, it’s counter-intuitive to your guesses, because you don’t understand things the way they do.

Here’s a personal example.

Years ago, I started a blog without knowing much about it.

I guessed that I should start a WordPress website and write as well as I can. The readers will happily show up on their own.

What I just described is the fantasy of every blogger on this planet.

Unfortunately, it’s merely a fantasy. It never happens this way.

Today, we have hundreds of thousands of blogs. With so many options for a reader, I’ll probably get lost in the crowd of average bloggers, even if I was really good.

It wasn’t just about writing good content and hoping people to show up. I needed to find my readers and bring them to my blog. I have to learn about them and produce my best work that actually helps them. Apart from that, I should do this consistently and exactly in this order.

See Also: 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

How To Not Waste Years In Making Silly Mistakes

The real reason you fail at goals is that you have no idea of what it takes- at least initially.

And if you rely on personal experiences, you’ll have to make tons of mistakes and take years to learn what works.

How to learn about things that you’ve not experienced?

“Proactive Learning”.

You learn how to “avoid” making mistakes. You realize the common pitfalls ahead and prepare in advance.

Why wait to learn from mistakes when you can find and avoid them in advance?

You may feel that avoiding all mistakes is not possible. We all falter and that is true.

However, do you really have to make all the mistakes that most people make all the time?

Instead of making 100 common mistakes, would it not make sense to avoid 90 by being proactive? Just because a person walking ahead of you fell into a hole doesn’t mean that you should, too.

Simply walk around it.

Go Back To First Grade

I know what you’re thinking.

“All this sounds great. Sure, it would be great to avoid mistakes instead of making them. But we realize our mistakes after we’ve made them. How to predict mistakes before making them?”

To answer the above question, you need to answer this first:

Who knows more about building a profitable business?

A businessman earning huge profits or an employee of an organization?

It’s obvious.

It’s the businessman.

He knows how to build a business. He’s done this for years now. He made some mistakes along the way but finally, he is successful.

He knows this game.

If you seek his help, he will show you the right way. He’ll tell you what steps to take. He’ll explain what mistakes most beginners make and how you can avoid them.

His lessons can be the difference between your business thriving or turning to dust.

This question points to an important truth.

99% of people never do much in life. So, when they hear about your dream, the best they can do is discourage you. They’ll call you mad for believing in something big.

But there’s also the 1% that actually make progress, achieve dreams, and realize their aspirations.

These people want you to trust in your dream just like they did. These people don’t want you to give up just like how they didn’t. They want you to succeed just like they did because they know it’s possible.

Your job is to become deaf to the 99% and learn from the 1%.

Not everyone’s opinion matters.

Become A Zen Student Of Success

By now you must have realized:

  1. If you chase your dreams on your own, it’ll take you years before you make it (you can still do it though).
  2. You can save years of effort and time if you learn from successful people.

But, you may still be wondering.

How to learn from the successful?

These people are extremely busy. Bill Gates isn’t sitting close to his phone, waiting excitedly for your call so that he can teach you his Microsoft secret.

The answer.

You live in the Information Age.

There are books, interviews, audio podcasts, and so much more out there. You can sign up for premium courses. A little research can find you plenty of resources to help you understand their methods and philosophies.

You want to understand what they know and how they act based on that knowledge. You’re looking to avoid the mistakes which they’ve made when they started out. You’re looking to succeed without falling into the traps that kept them stuck.

As you pursue proactive learning, you’ll begin to see the following benefits:

  1. Stronger self-belief – Learning from the successful will give you success stories affirming that you’re not crazy in chasing your dreams. Their stories prove it’s possible.
  2. Better Focus – When you’re unsure of your plan, you keep wondering if you’ve made the wrong plan. Proactive learning gives you better focus because you know it will work.
  3. Better Planning – You know you’re learning from the best, so your plan is bulletproof. It has worked earlier and will probably work for you, too.

Rise Of The Superhero In You

rise of the superhero

So, now you know.

You know exactly how to find what it takes to succeed.

Like Luke Skywalker, you will blast the Death Star of self-doubtful thoughts. There is “A New Hope”.

You’re free.

It’s not about being smart, lucky or having the right age. It’s about finding what actually works in real life and then doing it.

You no longer have to guess. By learning from the successful, you will know exactly what to do and what mistakes to avoid. No way are you falling for those traps again.

Like an expert driver avoiding most bumps on the road, the way to your dreams will be one pleasant ride.

Buy that book on business principles. Sign up for that writing course. Book that coaching session with your ideal teacher.

Your goal is no longer lost in some distant future. It’s coming true right now. Every action you take is in the right direction.

You’ve found the right map.

Now, your beliefs, attitudes, and focus will skyrocket your growth.

Go live your dream.

The post How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Reasons to Head Over to Seoul Right Now

You might have heard the saying: Go to Seoul to refresh your soul.

It is one of those emerging tourist spots where the new meets the old. If you haven’t visited this South Korean capital as of yet, then you should totally do it at least once in your lifetime.

Why visit Seoul?

Here are 7 great reasons why Seoul should be on your must-travel list.

Exciting Nightlife

seoul nightlife

The Seoul scene does not die with the sun. Instead, it comes alive with the darkening skies.

After a hard day’s worth of work, the South Korean population tends to get out of their houses and become a part of the vibrant nightlife culture. Amidst the dazzling neon lights and the echoes of laughter, you’ll find people clubbing to vivacious music in the Gangnam district and relaxing in the mini-pools of Club Bugatti Syndrome.

Other than that, you’ll see them heading to the famous Dongdaemun Market to get their hands on the latest fashionable items and to shop till they drop. Karaoke in Noraebang is also one hot nightlife activity which you should add to your list.

Historically Rich

seoul historical places

Seoul has a tale as old as time which is inscribed on the artifacts in its museums and embedded in its famous historic sites. One such site is the revered Changdeokgung which is a grand royal palace of the times of Joseon dynasty. It has a neat architecture and sprawling gardens.

Similar in the theme is the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It’s a large 14th-century wonder, having an attached museum and a peaceful landscape.

Free guided tours are offered for these sites.

Seoul is quite rich when it comes to museums, covering both antiquity and modernity. This includes the 1946-built National Folk Museum of Korea, which highlights the customs and culture of the Korean people. There’s the 2005-built National Museum of Korea as well which displays recent military artworks.

You can visit these, in addition to the famous War Memorial, traditional neighborhoods of the Bukchon Hanok Village, and the rehabilitated historical city gates of Namdaemun and Heunginjimun.

Technologically Savvy

Even though Seoul’s feet are dipped in its traditions, it continues to soar through the clouds of digitization. Just take a look at last year’s Olympics that Seoul hosted.

There were multi-lingual robot greeters, virtual reality ski-jumping simulators, ‘ghost skier’ technology and holograms, 5G speeds, and integrated AI to blow the mind of the internationally visiting crowds.

Other than this, Seoul’s passion for technology shows in its architectural wonders, too. Just look at the Lotte World Tower which was constructed in 2016 and opened to the public in early 2017.

It is a major recreational complex which hosts the world’s largest indoor theme park, movie theaters, and shopping facilities. But its most advanced and highlighting feature is its super-fast elevator which covers ten meters per second. It’s covered with animating screens on all sides.

Spiritually Enlightened

Even though the people of Seoul are becoming more religious, they still value their old traditions at heart. They continue to respectfully visit their Buddhist temples of yore.

These quaint places are full of spiritual energy and you can be a part of it by going for the so-called Templestay Programs. It’ll allow you to live like the Buddhist monks for more than one night. You can observe their rituals and even go on a lengthy discussion with the resident scholars. The 7-story pagoda temple of Jogyesa with vast halls should be on your list.

Low-Budget Options

Though it is true that the average cost of living in Seoul is going on the rise, there are still some pocket-friendly options which will not bore a hole through your budget.

The accommodation is pretty cheap. It’s around US $10 a night if you go to an Airbnb. You can also easily book a dormitory or rent a room in a guesthouse online.

Not only that, if you go around Seoul on public transportation instead of hiring a private cab, you’ll save a lot. Food is also quite budget-friendly and tasty.

So, it is possible to have fun in Seoul without going too much out of your way- money-wise.

Hiking & Mountaineering Possibilities

seoul bukhansan

Seoul is a confirmed metropolis but that does not mean that it lacks natural wonders. There are mountain ranges interspersed throughout the land, offering many hiking opportunities for the locals and the tourists.

Bukhansan is one such range. Having a triple-peaked face, it’s located near Seoul. It’s around 2744 feet in height and is a part of a wider Bukhansan National Park.

Other than that, there is a mountain fortress city to the southeast named Namhansanseong. It’s one of the ideal places to hike through. Inwangsan which means ‘mountain of generous king’ and Gwanaksan are other famous mountain ranges which you should look into.

Culinary Varieties

seoul culinary varieties

If meat-based dishes are for you, then you need to visit the famous Korean BBQ spots.

Imagine carving through the tender marbled cuts of meat lightly seasoned to suit your taste. Brings water to your mouth, doesn’t it?

Head over to Wang Bi Jib to savor such high-quality cuisine. If you’re a vegetarian, then there are Buddhist food options for you, too. One of them is located at the tranquil Sanchon. If you’re a fan of the weird and the extravagant, then Seoul’s themed cafes are waiting for you. Cartooned Hello Kitty or Kakao Friends cafes are some of the most popular sites.

So, what are you waiting for?

Make South Korea’s Seoul your travel destination ASAP.

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9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now

For you to keep your overall health, experts say that you shouldn’t neglect your oral health. It’s because a healthy set of teeth is one of the indicators of your well-being. Failure to take care of it is the same as letting your physical health down the drain.

Thus, it’s not surprising that a lot of people today consider their oral health as one of their priorities for having a healthy lifestyle. However, there are still some folks out there who believe in dental myths. Instead of making their teeth healthy, wrong beliefs cause their oral health to deteriorate.

To clear things, below is a list of dental myths and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: The More Sugar You Eat, The Worse It is For Your Teeth

dental health myths

Yes, sugar can cause cavities on your teeth. However, having tooth cavities is not much about the amount of sugar you consume, but how long it stays in your mouth.

Sugar creates acid that wears away the enamel of your tooth.

So, if sugar stays longer in your mouth, the more it produces acid and the more chances your teeth will have cavities. Thus, after eating sugary food, you should brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.

Myth #2: You Should Only Blame Sugar

It’s not true that sugar is the only bad guy that causes tooth cavity. Starchy foods, alcohol, citrus fruits, and sugar-free carbonated drinks can also cause damage to your precious teeth.

So, if you’re indeed prioritizing your oral health, you should quit eating those foods and start eating fruits and vegetables that are abundant in fiber. Fiber-rich foods can generate the flow of saliva that restores the mineral in your teeth.

Myth #3: Chewing Sugar-Free Gum is as Good as Brushing

Some people believe that chewing a sugarless gum does well as brushing your teeth. If science backs this argument, children would surely be happy. However, it’s not accurate.

Although a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol can help protect your teeth, it still won’t replace your toothbrush in providing yourself with good oral hygiene.

You still need to see to it that you brush your teeth thrice a day to make your teeth pearly clean and to clear away the bad breath.

Myth #4: Flossing is Unnecessary

Some folks out there consider flossing unnecessary and a waste of time. They argue that brushing is enough. Unfortunately, experts say that brushing your teeth is not sufficient. You should include flossing in your oral health regimen.

It’s because there are parts in your mouth that your toothbrush may find hard to reach. That would amount to 33 percent of your mouth uncleaned. To achieve optimal oral health, make it a habit to floss your teeth.

Myth #5: Hard Brushing Will Make Your Teeth Cleaner

hard brushing

It’s not true that brushing your teeth hard can make it cleaner. In fact,  hard brushing can cause bleeding and damage to your teeth and gums. It can chip away the tooth enamel that serves as a shield from bacteria.

So, it will do you better if you brush your teeth gently. If your gums and teeth are sensitive, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing.

Always keep in mind that you should brush your teeth in a 45-degree angle to your gums. Don’t forget to work the toothbrush inside and outside the parts of your teeth. Also, clean your tongue as well as your gums.

Myth #6: Pearly White Teeth is Healthy

It’s a common misconception for many that a set of white teeth is healthy. The thing is that having a set of white teeth is not a standard for optimal oral health. That’s because humans don’t have the same natural color for their teeth.

An individual can have a whiter set of teeth than another, but it doesn’t mean that the person has better oral hygiene. Fresh breath and zero cavity are the primary indications that a person has healthy teeth.

Myth #7: Aspirin is Better at Soothing Toothache

There’s truth that aspirin can relieve your toothache temporarily if the source of pain is from the gum area. However, if the pain comes from the inside of the tooth, aspirin won’t be that effective. It’s because this medicine can’t infiltrate the inside of the teeth to soothe the affected nerve.

It’s also wrong to take too much aspirin to alleviate your toothache as it burns the gums and can cause further complication.

Myth #8: Tooth Bleaching is Bad

There was a time when tooth bleaching is terrible for the teeth. Before 1990, dentists apply acidic ingredients and highly-concentrated whitening gel in the bleaching process that cause damage to the teeth. These ingredients harm the teeth and prompt the enamel to crumble.

Today, however, dentists only apply pH neutral solution in bleaching. A pH neutral solution gives you no worries as it keeps your white teeth while keeping it unharmed at the same time.

Myth #9: A Dentist is Unnecessary When You Don’t Have a Toothache

People who fail to visit a dentist pay the price when it comes to their oral health. Even if you don’t have a toothache, visiting a dentist is a must for the prevention of oral health diseases.

You should keep in mind that you can’t see the progress of oral health problems immediately at the beginning. For instance, you won’t feel any pain when the cavities are just starting to form on the tooth enamel. It’s also true with gum disease.

For you to prevent these oral health problems from happening, you should regularly visit a dentist to check your teeth. Dental experts can give you an oral check-up to improve your oral health.

See Also: Dental Care for Children With Special Needs

Takeaway

There are a lot of proper ways to keep your teeth healthy, but there are also dental myths you have to be aware of. In improving your teeth, it’s essential that you’re cautious about those misconceptions.

The post 9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves

Ice freezing offices. Social media. YouTube. Fantasy football leagues. There is one thing all of them have in common – they are all primary suspects for causing your productivity at work to plummet. Even the top-level CEOs fall under temptation to watch the latest cat video uploaded on YouTube. The difference is, they found a way to overcome these bad habits with some simple hacks and tricks.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer.

Your environment cannot always be controlled, but you can control what you get accomplished. In addition to that, you can always learn from others, mimic their behavior, and discover how they get things done more efficiently. Certainly, there are some easy ways to accomplish more, like turning off your smartphone or blocking access to YouTube.

However, these are all small things that wouldn’t get you far enough. There are far better ways to become the best version of yourself at work. And the best thing is that you can learn these productivity skills by following the good examples of some of the world’s most successful people.

Below are some productivity secrets top-level CEOs swear on.

Develop the growth mindset

You should never be satisfied with where you and your company are right now. You should know that there is always room for improvement in every area. There is always a better and faster way of doing something.

Elon Musk once said: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

And that is growth mindset at its finest.

This skill separates successful people from everyone else.

When your mind is trained in such a way, you know that anything is achievable as long as you put enough effort into it. And if by any means you fail, don’t take it too personally. Instead, approach the problem from a different angle until you get it right.

Use technology for productivity, not for the distraction

use technology

We bet that now you are saying: “What are they talking about? In the beginning, they said that technology is credited the most for all the distractions at work.”

Well, yes and no.

Technology can be of great help and top-level CEOs know that. There are plenty of mobile apps that can make their lives a lot easier and stress-free, especially for the ones who travel a lot. Business apps allow them to stay productive and work from wherever they are. They can basically bring their whole offices with them through a device that fits perfectly into their pockets.

Therefore, we decided to share with you one very interesting interactive infographic created by the people from Cometdocs. It will show you what mobile apps can completely and effortlessly replace traditional office equipment. Just click on the blue dots in order to find out what mobile app replaces the selected office element.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

Schedule your day around when your brain is at its finest

What we mean by this is you should schedule your day around when your brain is at the peak of its power. Postpone all brainless and unimportant activities until it is fatigued.

First of all, there is one question you have to give a precise answer to: “When is my brain at its peak power?”

Let’s say it is from 7 to 11 a.m.

During that period, you should only focus on your most challenging tasks. Your schedule should be blocked off so you could have as little distractions as possible.

What about after 11 a.m.?

Well, continue with your everyday work, respond to emails, do those charts or call people back.

Basically, your mornings or whenever your concentration is at its best should be kept for important stuff and that time should be non-negotiable. Only afterward should you start dealing with your everyday work.

By following this little hack, you will achieve in 6 months what other people wouldn’t achieve in 2 years!

Set limits for everything, meetings, emails, tasks, you name it

set limits

There is no time for wasting time – see what we did there?

Previously, we talked about how you should plan your day around according to your level of concentration. And now, we will let you know how you should manage your everyday work aside from those prime time hours.

Top level CEOs know how to make the most out of every minute and that is easily achievable by limiting your everyday tasks.

For example, you could limit your meetings to 1 hour, 20 minutes for presentation and 40 minutes for the discussion. Nothing less and nothing more.

Or you could set the limit for the length of the emails you send. That way, you could respond to every work-related email you get and save time because you are keeping the responses short. Basically, every task can be limited in some way and you should definitely take advantage of it.

Replace “but” with “and”

Whenever you say “but” in a conversation, you are indicating that everything that you said before the “but” is not relevant. People are subconsciously trained to immediately forget everything you said before the “but”.

For example, someone may say: “I completely agree with everything you said and did, BUT here is what I think.” Have you felt it? Like your brain is preparing to fight.

Replacing “but” with “and” completely changes the tonality and dynamic of communication and this really works. People feel more appreciated and are likely to be open-minded to new ideas and suggestions when you approach them this way. Try it the next time you want to suggest something, you won’t regret it.

Final thoughts

You may try all of these productivity secrets at once or one tip at the time. The case is, all of the top level CEOs focus on doing several things really well each day rather than doing a hundred things poorly.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would love to hear about the hacks you use to stay productive in the comments below.

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The Little-Known Tips For Writing The Perfect Essay

Nearly 2 in 5 high school students lack the English skills needed to complete a college course. This results in most college graduates lacking the writing proficiency needed to get a job, a fact echoed by nearly half of hiring managers.

Most professors agree that essays aren’t just about writing skills or sharing what you’ve learned. Professors describe essay writing as an essential step in the learning process, taking what you’ve learned through reading and coursework, analyzing and synthesizing that knowledge into a clear opinion or idea, and crafting a piece of writing that clearly communicates your thesis.

In short, writing papers helps train you to think and argue.

Writing a perfect essay requires critical thinking skills, reading proficiency, written communication skills, and the ability to organize your thoughts into a clear and concise narrative. Most of us don’t enjoy writing essays, but knowing how to do it right will make a huge difference in your schooling and in your career.

How To Write The Essay

essay writing

Before you get started with your essay, you have to do some prep work. This is one good way of starting to know how to improve your essay writing skills.

Know The Different Types of Essays

Review any requirements laid out by your professor or editor, including the scoring rubric or assignment scope. Read any examples provided by the professor or editor. You might even want to take notes and make yourself a checklist of what to include in your final draft.

One of the best ways to get a good understanding of the assignment is to be familiar with the different types of essays and when to write each type:

Narrative Essays: Tell a real-life story
Expository Essays: Explain or define a topic
Persuasive Essays: Convince the reader to believe or do something

Develop Your Topic

Now that you know what’s expected for the assignment, you’ll need to pick a topic. Sometimes, your professor may determine this for you. If that’s not the case, you need to spend some time narrowing the topic to a more manageable focus.

The best topics should be broad enough to find plenty of supporting information while narrow enough for the essay to delve deep into.

When deciding how narrow the topic should be, always consider the length of your assigned essay. Shorter essays can deeply analyze a single small aspect of the topic while longer essays may need to address how a few aspects work together to form the whole.

As you develop your topic, explore background information from your textbook and class notes and begin to look for supporting research. You’ll need to pick a topic with plenty of good source materials available. Your background research will also help you develop a working thesis. This is a draft version of the essay’s thesis, which you can refine and revise as you conduct further research.

Research & Analysis

Essays are built on what you read and good research is the core of the perfect essay. Remember to pick credible sources (and cite them) and stick to recent publications that aren’t too biased. As you read, take notes so you can refer back to them.

Tips for note taking:

  • Record key elements that back up an author’s argument
  • Keep a list of terms to look up
  • Note questions to follow up on
  • Summarize what you’ve read at the end of each chapter or article
  • Always write notes in your own words, so you won’t accidentally plagiarize
  • Let your notes sit for a few days to give yourself a fresh perspective

Writing & Revising

Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to start writing your essay. Consider your working thesis: is it still consistent with the evidence? Does it need to be broader or narrower?

Revise your working thesis into a 1 or 2-sentence thesis statement. Use words like “although” or “because” to indicate how ideas are related.

Begin your essay with an attention-grabbing fact or a rhetorical question. Then, give a brief overview of the topic before ending your first paragraph with your thesis statement.

Your introduction should let readers know what you’re talking about as well as your thesis, but save your arguments for the body of your essay.

The body of your essay should have a well-organized structure: chronological, cause-and-effect or ordered by complexity. Always conclude with a brief summary of your main points, restate your thesis, and end with a compelling final statement.

Get more tips for essay writing in this infographic:
How to Write the Perfect Essay like a PhD
Source: Online PhD Degrees

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How Is an Entrepreneur Different From a Businessman?

“I am an entrepreneur, but I am also a businessman. I can’t be both. There must be some difference between entrepreneur and business owner. Oh, God! Can anyone help me with this?”

If this is the thought going through your mind right now, then you are on the right page at the moment. Many find themselves in this difficult situation when they start a business of their own. I will try to clear all your doubts and help you decide what you are through my points.

So, read this post till the end to entirely comprehend the difference between entrepreneur and business owner.

Originality of idea

originality of idea

An entrepreneur always starts with a fresh and out-of-the-box idea. He wouldn’t even start if the idea has already been taken.

A businessman may or may not have one’s own idea. He only thinks of money and profits which is why it won’t really matter to him if the idea is already out there.

Since entrepreneurs usually have less to invest, they have to emphasize a lot on finding the most innovative ideas, unlike regular business.

The decision of taking risks

When it comes to risk-taking, an entrepreneur doesn’t usually hesitate in taking any risk as there isn’t much choice.

This, however, might not be the case with businessmen. A businessman would usually think hundreds of times before getting to any decision.

Businessmen take well-calculated risks. One may not take the risk if losing money has been predicted. In entrepreneurship,  it’s always a 50-50 chance.

A boss vs a leader

For an entrepreneur, his co-workers are his business partners. He would even take part in the active processes of his organization to lead his team. This eventually motivates his co-workers and improves their productivity to a massive extent. It also serves as a way for an entrepreneur to consistently keep up with the performance of his organization.

On the contrary, a businessman sees every person working under him as a worker and him as the boss. He may not always keep up with the performance of his organization as there’s a pretty thin line between visualizing things from going through reports and experiencing things personally.

Perspective towards customers service

For an entrepreneur, serving one’s customer is a holy duty which one must do with one’s full heart. One is always grateful to the customers and letting them down would be one’s biggest nightmare. Now, these customs would not necessarily fit a businessman.

For a businessman, customers are just the source of income to one’s business. Practically, one does not truly respect them unless one observes a considerable amount of profit from them.

Perception of competition

A businessman is competing with the market on a daily basis to get his company on the top. He’ll take whatever step is necessary to achieve that.

An entrepreneur continually strives to make his startup better. He does his best without having to actually compete with anybody.

Furthermore, entrepreneurship is all about proving that one’s idea really works in making the lives of their consumers better. Once proven, sales will generate automatically. Of course, the process also requires a great deal of promotion.

Definition of Success

definition of success

Entrepreneurship is striving to get one’s vision come true. A lot of startups have come up with many revolutionary ideas over the years. Of course, there’s no denying the fact that entrepreneurs love to make money, too. However, it’s a business generated out of one’s profound faith in one’s ‘out of the box’ idea.

Most importantly, entrepreneurs are believed to always have something better and new to offer. They aim to revolutionize the lives of many.

However, this doesn’t hold true for a regular business as it is totally profit oriented. In many cases, businessmen even overlook the quality of their services or products as they desperately look for ways to earn more profits.

Success in a regular business, nowadays, is certainly beating the competitors and getting on the top of the SERP. Of course, there’s no denying the fact that there are many regular businesses that have been delivering at their best over the years.

See Also: Top Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs You Need to Know Now

The Bottom Line

In this post, we have shared some valuable points that should make the difference between being an entrepreneur and a businessman much apparent by now.

Aspects like independence, low capital, originality of ideas and of course, innovative ways of earning is what really make an entrepreneur. Most importantly, it is absolutely based on coming up with the most brilliant ideas to improve lives.

A regular business, on the other hand, runs on the basis of heavy capital and unimaginably effective promotion to beat its competitors even if it has nothing new to offer.

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

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Why You Should Keep Your Journal Positive

I’m sure you’ve heard about the wonderful benefits of keeping a daily positive journal.

Journaling is just as great as you think it is. It comes with a world of creative freedom and you can make with it what you wish. It’s a great way to get what’s on your mind down on paper.

All the parts of your day that are eating at you and all that anger that is erupting inside of you can be exploded onto a piece of paper. With it, you can let go of those emotions and raging thoughts deep inside of you.

While the freedom to vent without judgment is one of the many benefits of journaling, it is even more beneficial for you to journal your positive, hopeful thoughts.  Here’s why:

It Increases Gratitude

journaling

We are always so caught up in the negative. We spend too much time focusing and writing down what went wrong with our day than recognizing what went right.

There is an endless amount of beauty in this world and too much we take for granted. Every day, journal about the people you love, the gifts you have, and the fortune you’ve been given. Once you consider all the blessings in your life, even the worst days won’t seem quite as bad.

See Also: A Little Bit of Gratitude, Everyday!

Builds an Optimistic Attitude

Getting into the habit of writing down positive thoughts and events will help shift your mindset to become more positive.

For many of us, we’ve fallen deep into the habit of self-deprecation and it has become quite a challenge to break. Changing your perspective won’t happen overnight, but keeping a daily positive journal could be a great and simple way to change how you think forever.

Every time you want to write down something negative, change it to something positive. In time, you will find your mind making this change as well.

What You Put Out Into the World is What You Receive

positive journaling

If you release negativity into the world, you will only receive more negativity.

Journaling can be a great way to manifest your desires or shoo them away. If you want something, write it down.

Write down how achieving this desire would impact all your senses. Write about it like you already have it — as if you are already experiencing the benefits. Putting these feelings out into the world can and will attract a positive outcome that will fulfill your desires. Radiate positive energy and the universe will reward you.

See Also: Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life

Start the habit of losing yourself in writing down all your blessings and emitting all of your happiness onto a blank page. Even if you’re feeling deep in a rut, unlucky, and unloved, you can still release some optimism into the world.

What do you have to lose?

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5 Ways To Get Physically Fit Without Spending Too Much Money

According to research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than 1 in 3 adults are overweight and 1 in 13 adults have extreme obesity.

The findings mentioned above are to be expected in today’s fast-paced environment. More and more people spend long hours at work to maintain their financial resources. Unfortunately, this 9-to-5 lifestyle often affects our food and lifestyle choices. Most adults on a tight budget avoid the gym because they don’t want to spend money on monthly membership fees.

It may seem like a wise investment to some, but let’s be honest. A gym or fitness center can be heavy on the pocket.

However, sticking to your budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your health. Getting fit on a budget is totally possible.

So, here are 5 of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to get physically fit without burning holes in your wallet.

Walk 10,000 steps a day

walk daily

Most of us take our phone everywhere. We use it to message friends, take photos, send emails, and much more. So, why not take advantage of this hand-held device and use it to track our fitness levels, too?

iPhones have an inbuilt step-tracker loaded as a standard feature. But the latest study suggests that using our smartphone to track the total steps taken in one day may not be accurate. Researchers found that the iPhone’s built-in pedometer missed about 1340 steps (almost half a mile) in a day.

This is why we recommend you to invest in a physical tracker or a pedometer as it can help you achieve your goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Walking for 30 minutes a day has tons of health benefits and can help keep chronic illnesses at bay.

Watch what you eat

If you are looking to lose fat and build muscle, then you need to increase your intake of healthy food. Eat a balanced diet that contains protein to help build muscles, fruits and vegetables for mineral and fiber, wholesome carbs to keep those energy levels high, and healthy fats to boost fat loss. Don’t forget to drink ample amounts of water to stay hydrated.

Eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive. Whether you are a student or an adult living within a limited amount of money, here are 20 tips that will help you make better food choices on a budget.

Volunteer for a good cause

We are a firm believer in the idea that what goes around, comes around. Try giving a few hours in a week to your nearest nonprofit organization. Help them with physical work like garden digging, trail building or training your local sports team. You’ll experience double the satisfaction. Nothing beats the good feeling that arises after helping others and the soreness that comes from working hard for a good cause.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Clean up

clean up

Believe it or not, you can burn a lot of calories by cleaning, especially if it is the intense spring-cleaning sort. The exact number of calories spent during housework and cleaning varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s weight.

Stay away from toxic chemicals and don’t contaminate your environment by using them regularly. Use mild cleaners like soap, water, and vinegar which do an equally good job. Get moving by pushing the couch and cleaning underneath it. Wash the windows and get out all the extra stuff out from the garage.

Catch up with a friend

Catching up with a friend or colleague for a game of tennis, golf or swimming is a great way to combine socialization and exercise. You’ll feel motivated and refreshed after flexing those muscles and spending quality time with a cherished one. Remember, the key is to avoid picking up a pack of beer on your way back and passing out in front of the TV!

Conclusion

If you want to live a long and healthy life on a budget, think positively and work hard to achieve your goals. Visit your physician at least once a year to know more about the workout that best suits your body type. Use a waist trainer to maintain a correct posture during the workout session.

Eat home-cooked food at least five days a week. According to research, home-cooked meals are far more nutritious and healthier than convenience foods. Plus, apply the Japanese concept of living and eat till you are 80% full instead of wiping your plate clean every time. Give up smoking and drink occasionally.

Just make these small changes in your lifestyle and switch to these lifelong habits. You’ll notice a rise in your mental and physical health while staying well within your budget.

Do you have any tips or tricks that can help stay us fit without spending bucket loads of money? Share your best-kept fitness secrets with us in the comments below.

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Six Golden Rules for Successful Project Management You Need to Know

Project management is pretty straightforward – you find the requirements, create a realistic plan, assign the right people on the job, set a deadline, and most importantly, get work done. However, when it comes to the real world, project management is never that easy. The situation often gets too complicated and the team gets confused managing multiple tasks at once. As a result, deadlines are missed and the project faces absolute failure.

So, what can you do to make a project successful? How do you ensure that your project gets completed on time and on budget? Where can you start mastering how to manage a project so that it becomes successful?

Well, it’s your lucky day. Here are a few golden rules that you can use to guarantee your project’s success.

Ensure you have a detailed project scope

The scope of a project comprises of the complete project details ― key milestones, deliverables, deadlines, the overall budget, and more. Now, before a project starts, it is extremely important that you and your team have access to the detailed project scope. If something is missing, don’t hesitate to ask your client or stakeholder to provide the necessary information.

Create a flexible strategy

create flexible strategy

When it comes to project management, you never make assumptions. In order to ensure the success of a project, you need to have a plan for everything. Furthermore, it is also important that you are able to mold your plans and strategies according to the evolving needs of your project. Basically, make sure you are prepared for every situation.

Have the right team

A major factor that decides the fate of a project is the kind of talent you have on your team. That’s why it is important that you hire the right kind of people. Make sure that their skills and expertise are a perfect match for your project and its requirements. Also, don’t involve too many employees. Limit the size of your team to perform more productively.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Set clear roles and responsibilities

set roles and responsibilities

When many people are working on the same project and deadline, confusion and conflicts may happen. This is why it is important that a project manager clearly defines everyone’s roles and responsibilities at the start of a project. Consider using project management and task management tools for this purpose. These tools can make it easier for you to make each team member understand what is expected of them and what tasks they are responsible for.

See Also: Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation

Never micromanage

If you want to see your projects succeed, you will have to let your team members make their own decisions whenever needed. Don’t over-control or micromanage your projects. Give your team some space and empower them to bring the best results.

Celebrate

Last but not the least, make it a habit to recognize and reward people for their great work. This is a great way to keep everyone motivated and track overall team productivity from time to time.

Managing and delivering projects is a stressful job. However, it won’t be challenging if you keep the above rules in mind. Try to follow them as closely as possible and you’ll soon know how to manage a project successfully.

If you have a rule that helps you manage things better at work, share it with us in the comments below.

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The Alternate Life Commandments

Most humans are in challenged pursuit of (near) universal desires and setting and achieving their ultimate life goals.

Religions, societies, cultures, and individuals apply varying classifications to each. But distilled to their core, most of us lead a life-long pursuit of the following:

  • Physical well-being
  • Clarity of the mind
  • Passion
  • Success
  • A positive legacy
  • Continuous self-improvement
  • Love & acceptance

Commitment to each should come easy in theory. Physical well-being supports a long healthy life. Success generates status and financial wealth to purchase incredible things. And passion infuses elusive meaning and fulfillment into our lives. You get it…sign me up!

So, why do people struggle so mightily to sustain diets, a driven work-ethic, exercise routines, and hobby generation/practice?

Life is remarkably difficult

It’s dynamic as hell and pulls our attention in every direction imaginable day to day. And when we’re not distracted by external forces, hard-coded mental and physical habits (many undesirable) dominate our daily routine.

On autopilot, we often make decisions that are not aligned with the intentions of our “ideal self”. We, as humans, are painfully shortsighted when it comes to our ability to consistently find present-moment motivation to embody a lifestyle that leads us towards the attainment of long-term aspirations.

I fancy myself an expert on the matter. Not at all because I’ve cracked the code and am the self-actualizing master. No, kind of the opposite actually. My specialty to date, rather, is in committing to, starting, stopping, and ultimately missing lofty goals. I’m like a spark factory without anything laying around to catch fire.

I adore self-help materials and philosophies that address the tricky science of habits. I aspire to join the front-line ranks of the biohacking self-optimization movement that’s swelling in popularity around the world. But, as with my unreliable meditation practice, my commitment is spotty. I remain largely unchanged at age 28 despite having what I thought were all the right intentions…

Time to radically shift my mindset. I know that habits form in response to a consistent reward. So, I considered how I can tweak the Action-Reward relationship to tap into “purposes” that are more inherently motivating to me. To create rewards that are attainable in the short-near term. To enjoy rewards that are more consistently tangible and that fortify the richness of my personal legacy. The Alternate Life Commandments represent where I’ve netted out on this thought process. According to these, I defined a clear purpose that holds me accountable to aggressive self-actualization goals:

The Alternate Life Commandments

Exercise to activate deeply memorable experiences

exercise

  • Strong fitness allows us to consistently pursue and conquer life’s epic “summits”.
  • Many of the most memorable places/experiences on earth are far off the beaten path. Never allow physical shortcoming to hold you back from greatness.
  • Anecdote: Fatigue thwarted my first summit attempt of Mt Shasta. Not only did I forfeit the experience, but it weighed negatively on me for years. Last year, I trained hard and blitzed it a decade later. Redemption was so sweet.

Exercise so your body is not a physical limitation to experiencing your dreams.

Meditate to fully internalize life’s wonderful moments

  • Mindful peace and presence gift-wrap our memories. Inversely, a hyperactive mind or addiction to social media spoil them.
  • We cannot fully appreciate a beach chill, sunrise summit or a simple walk in the park unless our minds are engulfed in the present moment.
  • Mid-experience meditation may amplify a moment’s serenity, but we must practice mindfulness regularly to win the battle against our subconscious.
  • Anecdote: When training for a triathlon 2 years ago, I biked across Golden Gate Bridge to Hawk Hill regularly. Every morning, overlooking an identical view, I pulled out my iPhone to capture a few SnapChat panos. This habit was a result of my weak mindfulness. It literally pulled the world into my personal moment, tainting the experience.

Practice mindfulness so your life experiences are pure and deeply memorable.

See Also: How to Meditate When All The Other Techniques Don’t Work

Create career success to pursue and master amazing hobbies

  • One of my favorite quotes, from Jerry Seinfeld, frames the importance of owning strong hobbies: “A person’s coolness is determined by the extent to which they’re about what they’re about.”
  • Success, managed properly, generates leisure time and disposable income to support hobbies and continued learning.
  • We earn days off. We’re promoted to the role that calls the shots. We’re permitted to work from home and we build a business (or team) under our success that is self-sustaining.
  • Success-enabled-passions ultimately generate fulfillment in life.
  • Anecdote: I’m exploring the world for a year while maintaining my job because I earned it through dedicated grinding.

Work hard to ultimately spend more time doing the things you genuinely love.

Purge social media to fortify relationships with those you love

  • Research suggests that humans can maintain 5 intimate relationships at once. This limit is dependent on the time an individual has to invest in deep and consistent connection.
  • Psychology experts confirm that relationship quality is far more important to our well-being than relationship quantity.
  • Next time you pick up your phone to troll social media, call a loved one instead or a friend that feels increasingly distant. The time needed to otherwise check in on 1000+ “friends” across 3+ networks is ample, trust me.

Trade poisonous time spent on social media for relationship-enriching moments with those you love.

Practice frugality to reduce stress

  • Notorious BIG had it all wrong… at least for the consciously frugal. It should absolutely be “mo money less problems” or perhaps corrected to ”mo things mo problems.”
  • Everything we buy/own is something to damage, lose, regret, or neglect. All of which creates a combination of stress, disappointment, and more spending.
  • Focus on the essentials and make select quality purchases (from your basic black T to your first home).
  • Build a rainy day fund to easily brush off the flight rebooking fee, phone dropped in the pool or taxi from the airport because you just want to get home.

Be frugal to simplify life and eliminate crippling financial stress.

Travel adventurously to break the habit of being you

travel

  • We love to travel because it forcefully turns our tired routines inside out.
  • Fresh sites, cultures, and perspectives paired with experiences that push the limits of our comfort zone put us in personal growth mode.
  • Time away from the rat race gives us moments to reflect deeply on the status of our lives and set a corrected course moving forward.
  • Introduce yourself to the local, join the expat couple going on a mountain bike, and chart a course far off the beaten path. Push the boundaries of your habitual self.

See Also: 6 Ways Traveling Alone Makes You Stronger

Pursue international adventures to accelerate self-actualization.

Eat well for a healthy body and mind. Fuel success in each practice.

Drink less for alcohol poisons the well of each practice.

Finally, there you have it, the Alternate Life Commandments. Which, if any, resonate most strongly with you?

The post The Alternate Life Commandments appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation

Small business owners are no strangers to sacrifice. Whether it’s spending your family vacation tied to your laptop or skipping a paycheck to float the business, owners give their all to help their business succeed. But if you’re working long nights trying to do everything yourself, you’re probably not making your business grow.

Paralyzed Overthinker: Delays making choices, creating more work in the long run.
Overwhelmed Hothead: Easily frustrated and overly combative.
Immediate-Satisfaction Seeker: Takes impulsive shortcuts that favor short-term goals.

Does one of these profiles describe you?

If so, you might be suffering from decision fatigue. Decision fatigue robs your brain of its decision-making powers and has a negative effect on your business. Learning the steps for effective delegation can help you refocus on your long-term goals.

Step 1: Hire the Right Team

hire the right team

Small businesses can struggle to compete with the salaries and benefits offered by larger companies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the right people. Focus on what you do have to offer. It can be flexible work hours or better company culture. Try to hire people who are a good fit for your company and are committed to sticking around.

Replacing a single employee can cost nearly a quarter of their annual salary. Specialized employees whose replacements might need additional training can cost even more. The good news is, as freelancing grows more common, you may be able to find qualified flexible staff who can work only when you need them.

When hiring contract workers keep in mind:

  • Freelancers only work when needed, but you can always offer a full-time position later
  • Find someone qualified so you don’t waste time training freelancers
  • There’s no guarantee your flex staff will be available when you need them
  • Flex staff are less invested in your company, meaning they’ll bail if a better offer appears

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Step 2: Create a Training Manual

A training or operations manual can guide your employees through procedures and decision making even if you’re not around to provide input. Your manual should lay out procedures that are consistent, proactive, and any staff member can follow. Design your policies and procedures so they’ll scale easily as your company grows. That way, you’ll be able to save yourself from major organization shifts down the road.

When writing your training manual, be sure to include:

  • An overview of your company’s history and story
  • Your mission statement, company culture, and long-term goals
  • Descriptions of major systems and operations
  • Job descriptions for each employee, including their specific responsibilities
  • Instructions and procedures for regular operations and tasks

You can streamline your operations even more by creating form letters for responding to common client questions. With a little tweaking, your staff will be able to quickly answer queries without bugging you for input. Once you have a well-trained staff in place, you’ll be free to let go of daily decisions and focus on the bigger picture: growing your business.

Step 3: Time to Delegate

effective delegation

If you’ve prepared your business and your employees well, beginning to delegate should be natural and easy. Start by considering each employee’s skills and match their strengths to the tasks at hand. Don’t dump a whole set of new responsibilities on the same employee. Give everyone the time to adjust to a new task before asking one to take on even more.

It’s always important to keep in mind how much time each employee has available. It might be tempting to delegate all administrative tasks to your office manager, but if he’s already working late every night, you’ll need to get other staff to help out, too. Asking one employee to do too much is a recipe for disaster. Many workers will simply get fed up and leave the company.

Delegate tasks that don’t require your input or don’t match your expertise, such as:

  • Bookkeeping and payroll
  • Social media management
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Legal counsel
  • Data entry
  • Web design

Regardless of what you delegate and to whom, remember that you’re asking your staff to take on extra work and extra responsibility. Be sure to acknowledge and be grateful for their extra effort. Always offer constructive feedback and give thanks for a job well done.

To learn more about how delegation can help your business thrive, check out this infographic:

The post Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

In Sickness and In Health: How to Cope With A Sick Partner

When you get married, you might write your own vows or you might stick with something that’s tried and true. Either way, you are pledging yourself, your love, and your support to another human being through all of life’s tricky circumstances. But what happens when things go awry and life throws your relationship a curve ball? How do you cope and start dealing with chronic illness in marriage?

What Does Facing Illness or Injury Do To Your Relationship?

love in health

There are different illnesses and injuries that can occur. Dealing with a broken arm is far different than dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Either way, however, even the slightest incapacitation of a partner can change the dynamic of your relationship significantly.

All of a sudden, the daily roles to which you have become accustomed to change and things between you and your partner change as well. You become either a caretaker or the one being cared for. Either way, this can alter your connection with or perception of your partner.

Romance often takes a backseat as you and your partner adjust to your new roles. This change, along with the altered responsibilities, often causes problems for the relationship and each partner individually.

The change in a relationship when dealing with chronic illness in marriage may also lead to emotional issues. Depression is not uncommon and it can affect the both of you.

If you think that you or your partner is depressed, there are resources you can reach out for help. This is critical when the effects become long-term.

Unfortunately, these hurdles can be difficult to jump and can lead to bigger challenges than just romantic issues. The divorce rate among couples, especially younger couples, where one partner faces health issues is much higher than that of the general population.

Dealing with Chronic Illness in Marriage

So, what can you do to protect your relationship and keep it healthy, even if one of you is not?

Communicate. Each of you is going through something difficult and unique. You need to talk about it. Understanding your partner’s point of view is crucial. When you are wrapped up in the changes you are facing, it becomes easy to forget how those changes are affecting your partner. Discussing how you each feel can create empathy and respect for the other’s circumstance. Neither is easy. And although you are each facing tough times individually, you can actually support each other and go through them together as well.

communicate with each other

Seek support. Friends and family are particularly important in times like this. This is true for both of you. Stress during such time can be a lot to handle and people that care for you can provide perspective and relief. And no, you are not likely to be imposing or taking advantage by leaning on them a bit. If they are people that care about you, they will most likely be happy to be there for you. Even just a conversation to get your mind off things can help.

Remember the love. Yes, things are different and they are likely difficult. However, you fell in love and made a life together for a reason. Remind yourself of this. Pledging your life to another person really is for better and worse, in health and in sickness. You have to hold onto the good times to get through the bad. Remind your partner of these things, too. Each of you is likely to get bogged down in the current circumstances and forget to look at the big picture.

Conclusion

Regardless of the seriousness of the health issues – whether they’re temporary (hopefully) or permanent (worst case) – your relationship can survive. Certainly, the severity of the problem will impact the difficulty of keeping things together, but it can be done.

Remember that you’re not alone. Not only do you have each other but you also have resources in the form of your family and friends. Of course, there are also your trusted healthcare professionals to take care of you and your spouse during the tough times. They can help you get through things. Most of the time, all you have to do is ask.

The post In Sickness and In Health: How to Cope With A Sick Partner appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

35 Small Acts Of Kindness To Spread Happiness And Flex Your Kindness Muscle

You want to be happy.

So, you do everything to maximize your happiness. You do the things that make you happy. You set and achieve goals. You make as much money as possible so you can buy your way to happiness.

But, what if I told you that one of the best ways to feel happy is to give it away.

Here’s what I mean…

Happiness is not a scarce resource. The more you give or share happiness, the more you get it back.

The joy of giving love and kindness is one of the best things you can experience as a human.

So, how do you experience the feeling on a regular basis?

I’ve got your back. I’ve compiled the list of 35 best random acts of kindness you can do in your daily life.

You don’t have to think of great ideas to become a kinder person. Every small act counts. As Aesop once said…

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

So, without further delay, let’s get down to the list.

Smile at strangers

smile at strangers

A straight face helps no one. Smiling, however, can change your and others’ day in an instant. You don’t even have to fake a smile. When you’re genuinely happy to see fascinating people around you, the smile comes naturally.

Help a stranger

Helping people may require a donation of your time, money, effort, and energy, but it’s one of the best things we can do to keep humanity alive.

Be kind to anyone who serves you (even if you pay them)

Say “thank you”. Sure, you’re paying someone for their services, but don’t let money be an excuse for not being kind and grateful. Go beyond the transaction and overpay with kindness.

Forgive people

Everybody makes mistakes. You always forgive yourself no matter how big or small of a mistake you make. Do the same with every person who has done you wrong. It will liberate you.

See Also: 5 Reasons We all Deserve Forgiveness

Lower expectations

Expecting someone to do something for us is normal. But if someone doesn’t meet your expectations, remember that it is your job to manage your expectations. When in doubt, expect less. If they do more than expected, be grateful.

Give people the benefit of the doubt

If you don’t know the truth, assume a better judgment. It’s not about finding the truth, it’s about what you choose to believe. You may be wrong, but sometimes, it’s better to let go and choose what’s helpful.

Make someone laugh

Don’t you love those people who can make you laugh when you’re taking life too seriously? Laughing is a free therapy. The best part is that when you make others laugh, you get the therapy, too.

Listen to people

When I say listen, I mean REALLY listen. Like listening to others’ feelings, expressions, body language, and words. Don’t make it about you by thinking about what to say next. In the age of smartphones, giving full attention is rare but we can keep it alive.

Compliment people

Small random words of genuine compliments are beautiful. Genuine compliments come in your mind by training yourself to look for the good in people. Notice what’s good about others and don’t keep it to yourself.

Giving constructive feedback

While complimenting someone feels good, don’t shy away from giving constructive feedback. Because when you really care about others, you help others to do better by telling what they can improve on.

Waste fewer resources

Whether it is plastic, water, food, fuel, paper, electricity or other items, do your best to minimize the waste. When saving resources become a norm, more people will do it. And guess who can turn it into a norm? Us.

Donate or volunteer

Other than donating money, items, and clothes to a charity or a cause you believe in, you can donate your time by volunteering.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Inspire or motivate others

Your words have power whether they are verbal or in written form. One of the best use of your words is to inspire or motivate others to do the right thing.

Say good morning

Start off the day well by wishing people a good morning. It’s an excuse to practice gratitude.

Keep plants

Planting a tree, owning a garden or keeping plants at home not only helps the planet but staying in touch with nature is super beneficial for you.

Do an unexpected loving act for your loved ones

Help someone out with laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning or any other chore.

Spend time with someone without being in a rush

We all are busy. However, when you take out the time for someone without constantly looking at your watch, you can give them the best gift of all - your quality time.

Hug

Hugging releases oxytocin which helps us connect on a much deeper level. Some other ways you can connect are by giving a pat on the back and giving a high-five.

Have at least one vegetarian day a week

At least once a week, keep a day in which you won’t eat meat or just eat less meat in general.

Send a thank-you letter

Express love and gratitude by writing someone a thank you email, message or letter. It’s a small but high-impact gesture to let someone know how much you appreciate them.

Share what you have with others

You can share your food, resources, items, and so on. As we all know, sharing is caring.

Choose empathy

We make judgments about people instantly. It’s not your fault; it’s part of our nature. However, you can still choose empathy and let go of harsh judgments.

Cook a meal for someone

If you’re a regular chef, invite someone over. If you don’t normally cook at your home, try cooking a meal for others.

Give someone a book

If a book changed your life, share it with someone you love so they get can read it, too. It’s a small gift but it may have a huge impact on someone’s life.

Take care of yourself

When you take care and manage yourself better, you act less with your impulses and show up in a more positive way. Because if you feel negative, you spread the same vibes around you.

Pick up litter once in a while

If you do that, maybe other people will do the same and throw away less waste on the streets. Leading with an example is a step forward towards better public habits.

If someone’s in a rush, let someone get ahead of you in the line

You can also let anyone with a few items at a grocery store get ahead if you have too many items to check out.

Hold the door (or elevator)

Make it a habit to hold the door for the person right behind you. It’s not only kind, but a mature gesture to do.

Be happy for someone

Whether it’s a big or a small win, when someone achieves something, be happy for them and cheer them up.

Share your knowledge

If you know something that can help someone, teach them what you’ve already learned so they don’t have to hunt for resources to learn from scratch.

Call your parents

They miss you.

Pay for someone

Paying for someone’s meal, ticket or any other item is a great gesture of kindness.

Put gym equipment in its right place

Put in those reps, but make sure you put those weights back from where you picked them from.

Be super kind with a customer service rep

They listen to a lot of complaints all day long. Make their day by treating them really well by being extra kind to them.

Leave a positive comment or review

We consume a lot of stuff on the internet. But so often, we forget to hit the like button or leave a positive comment on the content we like. As a content creator, I know how big of an impact you make with such a small act.

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.“ - John Bunyan

This list is just a starting point. There is no limit to how kind you can get.

Kindness is a therapy. When you feel down or discouraged, come back to kindness. It will give you the strength and the positivity you need to get back up again.

Even when you don’t feel down, it’s best to turn acts of kindness into your habits. Because with these best random acts of kindness, you’ll feel happy spreading happiness around you.

As you become kinder, more people will follow your lead as you set an example of what humanity looks like.

The world has seen enough rage, distrust, envy, and hate. It’s time you show up like a superhero with your superpower - your kindness.

Let’s not let the standards of humanity fall down. Together, we can make the world a kinder place to live.

The post 35 Small Acts Of Kindness To Spread Happiness And Flex Your Kindness Muscle appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Must-Know Things While Designing A Book Cover

Authors pour their heart and soul when they write a book. When the manuscript is finalized, the next critical task of designing a compelling and appealing book cover comes. Some authors outsource the designing of their book cover, while some take the DIY route.

If you wish to design your book cover on your own, you can use online graphic design tools such as Designhill. You can create an alluring book cover design with this AI-based tool within minutes.

Additionally, here are 12 book cover design tips you can try for your next project:

Who will be reading the book?

book reader

While creating a book cover design, keep in mind the intended audience. Who is likely to read the book? The age and gender of your readers are crucial in designing a book cover as well as brochure design.

Does the book’s genre have a traditional cover style?

Each industry and genre has their established design style. For instance, book covers for romance genre have couples while thrillers show the protagonists. The key is to create an alluring book cover while using the traditional style so that the audience can identify the genre with just one look at the cover.

Is the book a single or part of a more extended series?

Books that are part of a series often follow a certain style and theme. Make sure to confirm with the author if the book is intended as a single work or as part of a series. Consider the books for Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. Since they all belong to a series, there is a similarity and consistency in their designs.

What will make the book stand out?

A book cover is the most influential marketing asset to sell the book. Although it is recommended to follow the genre’s established style, the book cover must have a surprising or eye-catching element that can sway the reader to consider buying the book.

What should be the focal point of the book cover?

Each book has a focal point around which the whole content or story revolves. Identify the focus of the book so that the cover showcases the central point aptly.

Which font is suitable for the genre of the book?

Using the correct font and typography is critical for creating a compelling book cover and brochure design. Cursive fonts may not be suitable for specific genres like teen fictions. They often have whimsical and comical fonts. Book cover designs for thrillers, meanwhile, have classic fonts.

In which format will the book be published?

Today, e-readers have gained popularity as readers can access a plethora of books anywhere and anytime. Check whether the book will be published in digital format or only as a printed book. This is because, in case of an e-Book, the cover must be appropriate for a small thumbnail.

Will be the book sold in paperback or hardcover?

When it comes to hardcovers, the designs can be printed on the jacket or the book itself. For a paperback book, the size can vary depending upon the trim size. A 500-page book, if designed too small, would appear too thick. If designed too big, it can give the appearance of a booklet or magazine.

Does the book cover design work in black and white?

Color is an essential element of a book cover design. Before you set out to create a design, ask if the book cover has to be printed in color or black and white. If the cover is intended to be printed in monochrome, the essential elements become contrast and shadows. For colored book covers, more attention has to be paid on using the correct color combinations which the users find appealing.

What is the author’s vision for the book cover design?

A book cover is the representation of the author and how he presents the book to the world. Make sure you consider how the author envisions the face of the book to create a true depiction of the content. This is the reason why many business owners create their own logo using an online logo maker. The business owners and authors can be the best guides when creating a design.

 What is the author’s budget?

There are many elements to a book cover which need licensing and registration. The list includes custom fonts, graphics, ISBN identifier, barcode, and more. The author and designer must keep in mind the overall budget associated with the design process right from the beginning and to optimize each aspect effectively.

What is the printer’s requirement?

Printers have their own set of requirements for printing a file. Typically, a flat file is required by the printer as all the parts of a book cover or jacket such as the spine, front, back covers, and flaps. The format is another key element to be kept in mind when you finalize the design. Some printers prefer a PDF format while some use .ai or .eps formats. In case the book cover or brochure design requires foil printing or embossed print, another set of files is needed as a guide.

The bottom line

designing book cover

Equipped with these book cover design tips, you are now ready to create a stunning book cover and see your vision come to life. Check a designer’s complete portfolio before hiring and discuss your requirements at length. The key to remember is that your book cover is the representation of your brand. It must be something you are proud of.

Author Bio

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to book cover design, brochure design, interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce.

The post 12 Must-Know Things While Designing A Book Cover appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Digital Detox: Should You Switch Off For The Benefit Of Your Health?

We are a nation of gadget addicts and knowing how to disconnect from technology isn’t easy for most of us.

These days, it seems if we’re not quadruple-screening with the television, iPad, laptop, and phone, we’re checking relentless WhatsApp pings in meetings, snatching furtive glances at our iPhone’s glow in darkened cinemas and live-tweeting the births of our own children. It’s like the country – in fact, the whole planet – has hit peak internet. While the magic of the world wide web is undeniable, more and more of us are realizing that it might be time to switch off.

Considering a digital detox? Wondering how to disconnect from technology?

There are a few key stages you’ll need to work through if you’re going to survive this challenge but the benefits could be overwhelming. Here goes…

Admit you have a problem

If you’re considering an electronic detox, you’re obviously aware that your level of screen-time is getting ridiculous. It’s truly admitting that you’re an addict that will set you on the path to digital detox success.

While apps like Moment can help you monitor how much time you spend on your phone and how often you pick it up, a simple hand-written list of what gadgets you rely on, and which apps your eyes dart to again and again will help you see just how much technology rules your life. It gives you a chance to fall back in love with a pencil and paper.

Get away from it all

If seriously ousting your gadgets from daily life is a prospect too terrifying to deal with, a tech-free holiday might be your perfect compromise.

Grab some cheap and cheerful throw-away cameras so you won’t be tempted to reach for your phone. Head off to some place where the air is fresh and your biggest distraction will be the moo-ing of cows or the rustle of the breeze.

This digital detox guide by holidaycottages.co.uk gives some serious insight into the potential benefits of powering down.

Kick it old school

On the subject of a notepad and pen, one of the best ways to gently ease yourself from the clutches of gadgets is to rediscover the chilled-out, back-in-the-day alternatives to these apps.

The ‘Notes’ app on your phone can be one, for a start. There’s no purer joy than scribbling yourself a ‘To Do’ list and proudly ticking off the day’s essential tasks.

Obsessed with Whatsapp?

Tell friends that if they need you, they should give you a call. You’ll be surprised at the wonders an hour-long chat with your partner can work.

If Candy Crush is your happy place, a crossword or Sudoku may feel like hard work but after a day or two, your iPhone’s garish screen will seem painfully harsh.

Be ruthless with your rules

Set yourself some clear, manageable boundaries and work from there.

Always checking your messages? Push notifications have to go. At first it’s tough and you may find yourself checking just as much to see what’s going on inside your suddenly silent apps.

Set a time of day when you can catch up on your correspondence. If your Snapchat and Whatsapp are clogged with Kardashians memes or friends using the Impossibly Perfect filter, consider deleting the apps altogether.

Leave your phone in one place and only use it when you need to. It’s better than keeping it with you for every tea-break and toilet trip like some buzzing, bleeping security blanket.

Switch off long before bedtime

Scrolling aimlessly before bedtime is a habit many of us are guilty of, but it’s also a dangerous one.

If you need your evening Instagram fix, post or search with the lights on and then put your phone away. Take twenty to thirty minutes to read, meditate, write a diary or shower with your phone out of the way until morning.

A proper old-fashioned alarm clock or a wake-up light will get you up and at ‘em without leading you into a Youtube vortex before breakfast. Imagine!

See Also: The Negative Effects of Technology in Child Development

The post Digital Detox: Should You Switch Off For The Benefit Of Your Health? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Famous Cryptids: Are They Real?

Do you believe in monsters, fairies or supernatural creatures?

Around the world, nearly every culture has stories of cryptids: beings which are commonly thought to be made-up stories. Whether it’s the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot or the Chupacabra, there’s little evidence to prove whether these famous cryptids do or do not exist.

What evidence does exist is usually grainy photographs or accounts of shadowy sightings. While many people believe in their existence, others reject it as simple misidentification and storytelling. Cryptozoologists search for evidence of their existence, while mainstream science insists their existence is impossible or implausible.

Let’s get know some cultural cryptids:

The Invisible Elves

the invisible elves
Via theatlantic

According to one survey, more than half of all Icelanders believe in the existence of elves. The legendary Huldufólk or invisible elves are nearly indistinguishable from humans. Their behavior and appearance are nearly identical to people, but their height maybe anywhere from a few centimeters to 3 meters (10 feet) tall.

The invisible elves are quiet and peaceful, keeping to themselves so long as their lands aren’t threatened. In contrast, the Huldufólk are territorial. They will lash out and disrupt construction and development that threaten their land. When something breaks down or goes sideways on a construction site, many think the invisible elves are to blame.

The Jersey Devil

In the early 18th century, so the story goes, a mother of 12 learned she was pregnant with her 13th child. Upon learning this news, the women cried out, “May it be the devil”. Her wish came true 9 months later when she gave birth to a beast that would become known as the Jersey Devil.

Description of the Jersey Devil alludes to a kangaroo-shaped figure, with the horns, bat-like wings, and forked tail often attributed to the devil. The Jersey Devil might have the head of a goat, horse or possibly a dog depending on the source, but he always has terrible claws hands and cloven feet.

Don’t believe in the Jersey Devil?

Reports say that the Philadelphia Zoo took it seriously enough to offer a $10,000 bounty to anyone who could capture the horrifying beast. Many searched the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, looking for the legendary monster. Unfortunately, no one was able to catch it.

The Wendigo

wendigo
Via ancient-origins

In the forests of the Great Lakes region, from central Canada to Minnesota, First Nations and Native American tribes tell stories of the same monster. The Wendigo, a shapeshifting monster that eats human flesh is known in the legends of the Algonquin, Cree, Innu, and Naskapi. The giant can grow to as tall as the tops of the trees. It has a heart of ice, matted fur, a lipless mouth, and jagged yellow teeth.

The Wendigo possesses people and uses them to hunt down their family and friends. Its skeletal frame and ill-fitting skin denote its constant state of hunger. Each time it eats, the creature grows larger and therefore, more famished.

Other Cultural Cryptids

Probably the most famous cryptid, the Loch Ness Monster, is a giant sea monster. Believed to live in Scotland’s Loch Ness, it first appeared in 1933 after several sighting and photographs. People believe it resembles a large dinosaur.

The Black Shuck, a large, black dog is said to roam the English countryside. Its ghostly form is believed to be an omen of death. Harry Potter fans may recognize a version of the Black Shuck known as the Grim.

What Do You Believe?

Whether or not you believe in these famous cryptids, their effect on popular culture cannot be denied. From movies and TV to a museum dedicated to strange creatures and psychic phenomena, everyone loves a spooky story. In fact, in the 1930s, taxidermists grafted deer antlers onto jackrabbits, creating the image of a jackalope that persists in stories even up to this day.

Belief in the paranormal goes far beyond the existence of cryptids. More than half of Americans believe in psychic phenomena, extrasensory perception, and spiritual healing. The CIA even launched a program to investigate remote viewing and its possible uses for intelligence gathering.

Are all paranormal beliefs a scam or could some have real truth to them? Learn more about paranormal beliefs and psychic powers in this infographic:
strange beliefs

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Best Rewards Cards For Funding Your Family’s Next Vacation

Family vacation costs can add up quickly, especially when the number of mouths to feed seem to grow with each big trip. Sooner than you realize, the cost of a big family trip can seem like a vacation experience straight from the movies. With that, you have to know how you can start planning a family vacation on a budget.

Whether your family is big or small, saving up for vacation and saving while on vacation can help bear the financial burden of your next big trip while maximizing fun for the whole family. Here are some tips you can use.

Saving Up For Vacation

saving up for vacation

Cashing In On Cash Back

A great way to save for your family’s next vacation is by squirreling away all that cash back earned on everyday purchases. If you don’t own a cash back card already, you may want to consider opening one. Your savings can only be accomplished if you pay off your balance before the close of each billing cycle though.

The best cash back cards to look for are those in which the cash back doesn’t expire, ones that have the highest cashback rates, and those that don’t limit cash back to certain categories.

Also, be on the lookout for special incentives, like bonuses if a certain amount is spent in a certain period of time. For example, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is offering a $200 credit if you spend $1,000 within the first three months.

Let Your Work Travel Pay For Your Vacation Travel

If you find yourself traveling more and more for work and you’re booking much of the travel yourself, you might as well use a travel rewards card that allows you to rack up miles. Since vacation destinations for your family may require a different airline than what you use for your work destinations, a sure bet is to use a card that will give you universal rewards points redeemable for most airlines, such as Chase Sapphire or Capital One Venture cards.

Many cards will give you double the points for a variety of travel-related purchases in addition to 1:1 points on regular purchases. Plus, if you don’t already have a travel rewards card, you can take advantage of bonus incentives by opening a new one.

Saving While On Vacation

saving while on vacation

Making The Choice

While you may not want to have one card for cash back, one for airline miles, one for hotels, and one for resorts; by choosing the best cards for your family, you’ll be giving yourself more opportunity to save up for vacation and continue the savings while on vacation. Take your time, look at your current cards, and decide which points or miles card is right for you.

Hotel Rewards Cards

Another option worth considering is a hotel rewards card, especially if you’ve grown a preference for one particular hotel brand chain accommodations and decor over others. If you’re already a loyal customer to Hilton brand hotels for example, then you may be able to rack up some free stays quickly with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

You can earn 50,000 Hilton Honors points by spending $1,000 in the first three months, and 7x the points with every dollar spent at a Hilton brand accommodation. If you’re more of a Marriott kind of family, take a look at the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card. They’ll give you 100,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 of purchases within the first three months (which isn’t hard to do for a big family on vacation).

Resort Rewards

One of the most popular resort destinations for families is Disney. Whether it be Disney theme parks such as Disney World, Disneyland, or a Disney Cruise, if your family is seriously Disney, then you may want to consider opening a Disney Premier Visa Card.

Not only will you be able to receive extra savings at these attractions, you can earn rewards points to use at Disney movies and on any Disney merchandise.

International Travel

If you’re planning on taking off to see the world with family in tow, don’t forget to consider which rewards card you’ll be using. Some card companies actually charge a 3% fee for any international transaction. This includes any transaction outside of the U.S. even though you may be making the purchase from your living room couch.

The best rewards card companies, like Chase Sapphire or Capital One Venture, will give you rewards for spending money on your international vacation. Consider them when planning a family vacation on a budget.

The post Best Rewards Cards For Funding Your Family’s Next Vacation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Smart Tactics to Resolve and Stay Out of Entrepreneurial Debt

Debt is a part of every business and every entrepreneur knows that. However, not all entrepreneurs are aware of the difference between a bad and good debt and that makes it hard to learn how to avoid the debt trap.

All good business debts are credit lines, mortgages, and loans. They get leveraged for the benefit of the entrepreneur’s business. In other words, they are productive debt.

Bad debt, on the other hand, is the amount that you can’t leverage as your company expands. Financial experts call this reductive debt. Simply put, it’s money which isn’t working in your favor. Generally, this capital gets used to purchase things that are beyond your financial reach. Typically, the results aren’t always favorable.

Reasons entrepreneurs encounter debts

Entrepreneurs find themselves in debt for three main reasons. They are discussed as follows:

The fluctuations of the cash flow

Some entrepreneurs and business owners sometimes undervalue the crucial cash-flow ups and downs. They are unable to predict a poor cash-flow for a prolonged time frame. These entrepreneurs usually switch to credit cards to manage the troublesome cash flow, hoping there’s some balance.

Most entrepreneurs feel that they can repay off their credit card amounts fast, but that’s far from the truth. And that’s the starting point of the crisis. It is here that entrepreneurs contemplate on loan and get caught up in a debt cycle.

Excessive business pressure

Sometimes, entrepreneurs start to live on their business income. It is not a smart call until such time the business can support them.

Most leave their jobs and go all out to develop a business. But most don’t realize that they aren’t yet ready to pay off the monthly earnings that they stay on.

Each company requires investment and it also needs time to invest. It also requires time and reserves for generating a consistent cash-flow. If you resonate with this, have a second line of earning to balance the crisis.

Overconfidence is dangerous

At times, entrepreneurs can be overconfident while using productive debt. Generally, the situation shapes up something like this:

The entrepreneur counts on his earnings and he decides to maximize the business debt to expand his business as fast as possible. However, his lifestyle also gets modified to the new income level.

Here’s where the situations go out of hand.

Due to losing customers or an economy change, a crisis happens. The entrepreneur incurs a financial loss and the situation goes out of control. The entrepreneur incurs a debt to smoothen financial crisis.

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

How to manage entrepreneurial debt?

Entrepreneurs who understand good debt go a long way. Their strategies are progressive. Some of these entrepreneurs, who are millionaires, have various thought processes that other business owners don’t possess. They have a unique way to make money and manage debts as well.

Two primary methods have been discussed below as follows. If you want to know more on managing entrepreneurial debt management, you can browse through sites like NationalDebtRelief and others to get better information.

Getting out from a reductive debt

Every entrepreneur wants long-term success. For that, it’s essential to obliterate all kinds of wrong and reductive debt from your business at the earliest.

The spreadsheet strategy or analysis must be familiar to you. It is instrumental in taking you out of any business debt faster than you can imagine. The process is simple.

All you need to do is:

• Develop a basic financial plan
• Adhere to it
• Learn from your experience

You need to start by outlining the monthly earning. Know how much of it you can use on an end-to-end basis to reduce the reductive debt. Commit as much as you can. The amount you decide to pay to remove the deficit needs to stretch you.

Go on and create a reductive debt list in proper order. You may start with a high-value debt amount at number 1 and the least at last. Don’t forget to add in the least payment beside every debt in your list.

Once you do this, you’re all set to execute the plan. Go ahead and take out the exact sum that you promised to remove the debt with on a monthly basis. You may add some extra money to small debt payment.

Keep on making your required minimum repayments for every remaining payment. You’ll notice that the lowest debt gets repaid fast this way. Going forward, you may apply the same process to pay off the high-value debts. In the same process, you’ll see that the high-value debt amounts get repaid. Repeat this process, until such time all the debts get cleared.

Consciously stay out from any debt

It is the ideal way to steer clear of all kinds of business debt. However, precise financial planning is essential. You can count on few of the best business practices to manage and stay away from entrepreneurial debt.

Try and shrink expenditures – Being frugal is smart. Successful entrepreneurs always suggest this practice. You can read books that will be of help.

Avert unnecessary expenditures – Do consider the opportunity expenses when you are arriving at a financial decision.

Recruit people only when it’s possible – You have to pay your staff. So, it’s a smart call to only recruit people when you have the financial capacity to. Else, you will have to apply for a loan and eventually fall into a debt cycle.

Don’t stretch with productive debt – Spending carefully, even with productive debt, is crucial. Making investments that can go against you isn’t a smart decision.

Conclusion

In all situations, it is always advisable to have ample cash deposits. It helps to manage economic downturns and manage other emergencies.

In the recent times, debt consolidation has proven to be a great way to manage entrepreneurial debt. Rather than repaying at various quarters, it is easy to pay off one huge loan amount. That way, an entrepreneur will have one amount to pay off in a month.

Today, there are various financial institutions providing debt loan consolidation services and other financial counseling. You can use it to plan your business cash-flow better and master how to avoid debt trap.

See Also: Entrepreneurship: A Better Career Choice For Generation Z?

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3 Really Crucial Steps To Help You Solve Any Problem In Life

These days, everyone is busy. And with lives overburdened by hectic schedules, people are no longer able to see through their problems. They feel so weak that they just give in to the situation and don’t exert effort in knowing how to solve any problem. They feel overpowered by the challenges that come their way.

Some people attempt suicide when they see no way out. In such situations, they usually seek motivation from others. However, they do not understand the true meaning of that motivation. They believe in others, instead of themselves.

That’s where they are wrong. Motivation is not something that can be given. Rather, it is something we have to accept and believe in ourselves.

The key to solving any problem lies within us. So, we have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe that there’s always a way out. We just have to keep trying and eventually, a door opens up and leads us out.

Here are some steps to solve any problem:

Acceptance

People usually try to avoid their problems. Either they run away from the situation or deny it.

However, they have to understand that the only way to solve any problem is through acceptance. Even mathematicians say that “the first step to solve any problem lies within the problem itself”.

Instead of denying your weak point or running away, accept the situation. It will make the problem a lot easier to solve. Also, we have to accept the fact that we are lacking somewhere so that we can figure out a way to improve that lacking point.

Belief in oneself

Whenever a problem arises, people usually trust others more than themselves. Either that or they simply believe that the problem is quite big for them and that it would be tough to get through it.

Positivity and self-belief can lead you out of the problems. There is nothing in this world if not hope and belief. We have to trust ourselves that we can succeed and surpass even the worst situations.

People usually give up, thinking of their limitations. However, what they should also believe is that those limitations can be overcome.

Thus, believing in ourselves is the second step to solve any problem. If it is not taken into consideration, then we are bound to let any bad situation prevail.

Motivated hard work

motivate hard work

Hard work can help us succeed but it’s not always easy. To reduce its toughness, motivation is required. Fortunately, we can motivate ourselves.

If someone criticizes us, for instance, you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Instead, use it as a fuel to become better. Motivation can make you stronger and more effective.

Conclusion

Motivating oneself can be a tad tricky at first. After all, it’s hard to maintain that ardent belief that things will turn out great in the end. However, trust that you won’t have a hard time understanding how to solve any predicament once it becomes a habit. You need to make it a habit — only then will you able to outperform yourself and continue to grow.

By using these three tips, we can overcome any problem in our lives. So, next time a problem comes up, you’ll know what to do.

The post 3 Really Crucial Steps To Help You Solve Any Problem In Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Lesser-Known But Highly Effective Hacks to Achieve Sales Success

Sales is one of the most crucial aspects of a business and the art of selling is a sought-after trait. In fact, as competitive individuals, humans go through a continuous process of selling. From selling delegated products to selling our skills and unique personalities to our superiors in the office, we regularly undergo the sales process in our daily lives. This makes it important that we become extremely aware of the best ways to boost sales.

“No matter how big (CEO) or small (a salesman) is the job, experience in sales is a must”, said Naeem Zafar, former CEO of multiple unicorns including Bitzer Mobiles and the founder of Telesense, in an interview.

Now, to ensure that you become successful in the process, here is a list of 5 lesser-known ways to boost sales.

Tune in to your prospect’s frequency

Grabbing the attention of your prospect is the most important thing in the sales industry. More than speaking about the product, you need to ‘listen’ to the customer and suggest to him the right product.

This typically requires building a certain amount of trust with the prospect. The best way of doing that is by tuning yourself according to the potential customer.

Mirroring the customer’s actions is how you can pair yourself with his frequency. If he talks slowly, slow your speech down. If he is a conservative, serious person, hold your dad jokes and be serious as well.

Understanding customer psychology and showing familiar ground between you and him is crucial to furthering the sales process. After all, like attracts like, right?

Foresee objections and prepare answers to them

Anticipating is the key and preparing accordingly is your best bet.

The most embarrassing part of sales is when your prospect throws an objection or problem at you and you have no answer to that.

To prepare yourself, you must start by thoroughly researching the product you are selling. Keep track of the competitive landscape and know the pros and cons of your product so you can demonstrate its unique offering when compared with rival products in the market.

To know how to handle prospects, make a list of hurdles already thrown your way by previous prospects or customers and come up with turnarounds for them. Having done that, you will automatically feel more comfortable talking to customers. That can make you look more confident and approachable, setting you on the road to speedier sales success.

Unleash your emotional chameleon

As mentioned above, you need to let the customer do the talking and exercise patience when it comes to sales. In fact, you have to take the back seat and let the prospect drive if you want a successful deal.

Start by letting the customer narrate his problems. Throw emotional darts at him and pinch his pain points. Then, slowly take the leash and guide him towards the solution– your product! And voila, you have your deal signed!

The key is to be sophisticated and subtle while you do this. Genuinely try to understand the customer’s pain points.

Take note of feedback

Customers tend to share feedback in creative ways. From Facebook posts to spitting venomous words in person, customers tend to be brutally honest when it comes to sharing feedback and reviews.

Quite naturally, this can be a huge blow to the seller’s ego, causing the salesperson to get offended and switch off from the conversation. However, ignoring the issue can only lead to dissatisfied customers leaving your product/service subscription and a needlessly high churn rate.

To counter this, think of such unpleasant customer interactions as a golden chance to understand current issues. Use them to come up with things you need to improve or work on.

Grab an in-person meeting

Phone calls and emails all work fine but if you want to hook the big fish, get a face-to-face appointment.

Again, you need to be creative here and not seem like you are imposing yourself on the customer. A light, cheery, ‘I’m in town next week, want to meet up?’ or ‘I’m free tomorrow, can I pop in?’ will work much better than saying outright to your customer why they should purchase your product/service.

Once you get the opportunity, you can pitch your product in a far more relaxed setting than the four-walled sales setting of your office. This can increase the probability of signing a deal sooner than you thought possible. To maintain professionalism, bring a prototype along. If you can get the product itself, there’s nothing better.

In Summary

These are just a few ways to boost sales. The key lies in understanding that your customers and prospects need to see value in your product/service. Critiquing your product is the first step towards understanding the crowd. Once you understand the mindset of the person buying your product or subscribing to your services, you will be in a much better position to sell.

The sentence ‘How can I help?’ should be your signature line and a smile on your face should reflect your empathy, understanding, and conviction. After all, persuasion is the key to sales success.

Happy selling!

The post 5 Lesser-Known But Highly Effective Hacks to Achieve Sales Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Find Happiness Within Yourself?

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Happiness is a state of mind. We can keep ourselves happy in every situation; we only need to make up our mind.

There are people who have a limited income and simple lifestyle and yet, they are happy. There are people who have big houses, expensive cars, loving families, stable jobs, and great health but they don’t feel happy at all.

Ever wonder how the principle of happiness works?

This article can give you a clearer idea on how to find happiness within yourself.

Root Cause

Most of the time, we want others for love and approval. We continuously feel that something is lacking within ourselves and that the outside world can complete us.

If we want to be and stay happy all the time, however, it is essential that we learn to value and love ourselves. Instead of finding happiness here and there, find your confidence. Happiness comes after such ‘self-care’ behaviors.

Start believing that your happiness is more connected to you and your behaviors more than any other circumstances. Follow these simple yet powerful tips and start learning how to find happiness within yourself.

Decide

decide happiness

This step is the very first thing in learning how to find happiness within yourself.

You have to decide and you have to choose to be happy. Change your state of mind and distract it from sadness.

Define the road to happiness. Write down your meaning of joy in a diary. Keep all your senses open and try to observe triggers which lead you to any positivity. Eliminate negative thoughts by imagining something useful and write it down. Choose to believe that you can be happy.

Visualize

You must show the world that you want to be happy and will never fail in that. Convince yourself that you are on the right track to finding happiness. Visualize the best version of yourself and work for it.

Set some goals for your life that can make a difference. Such goals can tremendously help you in reaching your fullest potential. Stop ruminating and thinking about the moments and things which other people have said to let you down.

Develop

Finding happiness within yourself is not rocket science but just like any other habits, we need to cultivate it, too.

Cultivate happiness by developing an optimistic outlook. Optimism brings positive change to our mind so that we can overcome issues. Also, show your compassion and develop the skill to deal with negativity. Challenge your negative thoughts and never allow them to control your mind.

See Also: Four Surprising Yet Effective Ways To Tune Into Your Soul

Forgive and Forget

Forgive yourself, no matter how bad your mistake was!

If you have realized it and now want to take a fresh start, forget it and forgive yourself. Don’t make your past ruin your present.

Try to forgive others, no matter what they did to you! To forgive someone is not for them; it is for you and your peace of mind. That can lead you to the happiness.

Practice active gratitude. Accept the good and imagine the best. Stop blaming others and be open to change. Forget any bad memories, listen to your heart, and find purpose again.

Appreciate

Frederick Keonig once said, ‘We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.’

It is essential to take a few minutes to consider where happiness comes from. Always focus on what you have in life and not on the things which you have lost in the past. Start appreciating all the positive things around you, including people who work hard to make you smile.

Meditate

meditate regularly

Meditation is powerful. It can heal a lot of things.

After closing your eyes and when you focus on the center of your forehead, you will feel that many problems and plenty of negative thoughts are trapping you. But after practicing for a few sessions, you will surely feel peace.

Meditation can calm your mind and may give you some direction. It helps you to listen to the inner voice and declutter the chaos. A few minutes of exercise are also helpful to stay positive and energized.

Choose Wisely

Be with others who make you smile and not the ones who have a hugely negative approach to life.

You can help them but when you are struggling with yourself, choose to stay away from any form of negativity. Hold on to your values and never compromise your self-esteem.

Remember that it’s hard for you to gain the confidence to find happiness within yourself. Treat yourself well and do things you love.

If you want someone, you can also take professional help. It is FINE.

See Also: 5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

Go out and explore my friend. Take pictures of beautiful things and convince yourself that it is okay to BE YOU and it is okay to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t treat you right.

It’s Not Complicated!

To find happiness is simple. Anything from the chirps of birds to a bandstand can make you happy. Even paper boats, snowfall or your childhood memories can do that.

There are 1000 reasons to be happy and only 10 reasons to be sad. But still, we focus on the ten and don’t see the brighter side.

Take a break from televisions or cellphones and write down all the things that can make you happy. Whether it is a meal, beach, mountain or some silly jokes, write it down.

Feel everything, whatever it may be – happiness, sorrows, laughs, tears, pain, heartbreaks, anything!

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Let it go and treasure yourself. The universe will help you find happiness within yourself. Just live with the flow and keep smiling.

The post How to Find Happiness Within Yourself? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

4 Sure-Fire Steps That Will Make Your Home Shine for Selling

Whether you’re trying to sell your home or you want to spruce things up, a little bit of effort can go a really long way. You could either spend a lot and have someone else do it all for you or you could muster a little bit of elbow grease and do some home improvements to make before selling.

Either way, here’s a list to help you out.

Take Care of the Exterior

Not many people will start here but addressing the exterior of your home is pretty significant. Impressions matter and the outside is the very first thing visitors and potential buyers will see. Invest a little bit of time to take care of little details.

If you have a yard, this may be the best time to mow it. After this is complete, check on the overall health of the lawn.

Does it have a mostly uniform appearance? Are there brown spots or has crabgrass begun to take over?

Buyers who have maintained a lawn before can quickly spot an unhealthy lawn, so you may have no other option than to kill these weeds rapidly.

In addition to the lawn, trimming other plants like shrubs, bushes, and hanging tree branches can make a huge difference.

After addressing outside greenery, start looking into cleaning the exterior. One of the best tools you can turn to is an industrial style power washer which you can rent at a decent price.

Power washers that utilize pressurized, hot water are the most effective way of removing impressive amounts of stains and dirt. These machines are best suited for blasting away stubborn stains on concrete.

Driveways and walkways are the best places to start but be extremely careful when using a power washer on the actual exterior of the house. They are quite powerful and have the ability to cause unintended damage.

See Also: 10 Important Home Features That Home Buyers Want

Easy Cleaning Hacks

cleaning hacks

Of course, if a listing is squeaky clean, it has a better chance of selling than a “kind of clean” house. This isn’t groundbreaking but you need to visit every single room to be entirely sure that the rooms are spotless. At a minimum, every separate room should be as clean as possible to entice buyers.

Don’t go crazy with cleaning supplies. Here are a few cleaning hacks to tackle some problems you may run into:

  • Grimy showers: Residual soap scum isn’t exactly the best way to sell a bathroom. It looks terrible and is painfully apparent on showers with glass doors. Combine ten parts water to one part muriatic acid. Then, pick up some steel wool and you can wipe away soap scum with ease.
  • Cleaning mold: Mold is both unappealing and potentially unhealthy to be around. By combining one part water with one part bleach, you can effectively wipe down surface mold. If you aren’t the biggest fan of bleach, you can also try a blend of vinegar, sugar, and water to clean surface mold.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: One of the most useful and innovative cleaning products ever released is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Able to scrub away stubborn stains better than traditional sponges without being as abrasive, it’s a must for any deep cleaning job. Strong enough to tackle wall stains like scuffs, crayons, and markers, they’re pretty cheap if you get them on Amazon.

See Also: The Six Best All-Natural Cleaners for Your House

Treat Bathrooms with Care

Like it or not, bathrooms are a huge deciding factor for home buyers. This may come as a shock to first-time home sellers, but it is one of the most important rooms to address.

Upgrading bathrooms is an investment of both time and funds. The good news is that there are a few easy ways to maximize your investment without sinking too much cash.

  • Replacing hardware, fixtures, etc. – A sure sign of a dated bathroom is how old the toilet and other fixtures look. Painting is easy but updating the stuff future homeowners will be using on a daily basis will not go unnoticed. You don’t have to get the best available but this investment will pay off nicely.
  • Mirrors and other small upgrades — Replacing cabinets and countertops can be an expensive, exhausting job. You can look at other cosmetic upgrades instead to save some money. Your best bet is to shop around for stylish, contemporary mirrors to replace what is in the bathroom right now. These mirrors – as well as towel bars – can be easily mounted to the wall for a fresh, modern look.

Strategic Painting & Staining

home improvement

Your ambition may get the best of you when considering what to paint. There’s no sense in going overboard when you can be strategic with your painting targets. With intelligent application and just a few coats, the impact new paint can have on a room is impressive.

Before diving face first into painting the exterior or large rooms, consider a few smaller jobs to try out first.

  • Kitchen cabinet revival: This could potentially save tons of money, removing the need to replace older kitchen cabinets. By stripping and staining old cabinets, you can spruce them up at a low cost. The trick here is to also swap out any cabinet hardware (knobs, handles) with contemporary selections.
  • Minor cover-ups: Keep your eyes peeled for areas of the house where minor touch-ups can be applied. It may seem superficial, but you never know how detail-oriented buyers might be. In particular, try to find opportunities to cover up cracked or chipped paint. Bonus tip – paint the garage door! If you think about it, this isn’t necessarily a huge undertaking unless you’re trying to take on a six-car garage. With some fresh paint, you may be blown away at how much of a difference it can make.
  • Ugly fireplace: Fireplaces can be a great feature to promote. There are times where an existing fireplace has become outdated and unattractive. One remedy for unappealing fireplaces is to slap several coats of paint to the surrounding room. Another option is to paint the fireplace with a contrasting color to make it stand out.
  • Ceramic tile painting: No matter how you slice it up, replacing tile can get pretty expensive. Not to mention it’s a labor-intensive endeavor. As a significantly cheaper alternative, consider simply painting over old tile. It does require a special technique, so make sure to do it right.

Final Thoughts

Preparing a home for sale doesn’t have to be a costly effort. By making these home improvements to make before selling, you can whip your home into shape in no time.

You could go to the extreme by taking on substantial renovation projects or buying brand new appliances since these activities will always pay off. Just make sure that you put into account what you can afford and get a feel for the local housing market.

Even if you aren’t selling your house, these tips will make your pad shine and instill a sense of pride. Putting in just a modest amount of effort will prime your home for guests, future homeowners or for your own satisfaction.

The post 4 Sure-Fire Steps That Will Make Your Home Shine for Selling appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Millennials Still Go To The Movies?

Over the last 20 years, nearly 1 in 4 movie theaters have closed. Many people feel the days of the movie theater are behind us, with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu providing premium content from the comfort of home.

In reality, there are more big screens in the United States than ever, despite the lower number of theaters. The days of the small, dollar theater may be behind us but the multiplex is gaining popularity. And it may surprise you to learn that millennials are driving this trend.

But what’s with millennials and movies?

Movie theaters are far from disappearing. Box office revenues have grown over the past three years. In 2017, box office earnings hit a record high at over $40 billion. Of the top ten highest grossing films in history, six were released in the last five years. Moreover, two of these films, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, were out in the first half of 2018 and four are from the Marvel franchise.

Highest Grossing Films Worldwide

  • Avatar
  • Titanic
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Jurassic World
  • The Avengers
  • Furious 7
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Black Panther
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Who Goes to the Movies?

The people most likely to go to the movies are millennials who are nearly twice as likely to frequent theaters as any other age group. Common knowledge might say streaming devices are replacing trips to the cinema, but frequent moviegoers actually own more technology than the average adult. From smartphones, tablets, computers to gaming systems and personal assistants, nearly 80% of moviegoers own at least four different types of technology.

All of that tech might not be replacing the big screen, but it’s changing our media consumptions. Millennials and younger adults are the biggest users of online streaming services. Rather than replacing trips to the theater, streaming services are just another way to consume media. Young adults are watching, listening, and streaming more than ever.

Why Choose the Cinema?

movies and millennials

In 2017, more than double the number of Americans went to the movies as those who attended major-league sporting events and theme parks combined. These 1.2 billion moviegoers picked an outing that costs less than half the price of visiting an amusement park or basketball game. While the price of tickets is going up, movies are still an affordable option for those looking to treat themselves to a little luxury.

Compared to the cost of installing a professional-quality theater at home, a family of four could visit a luxury theater every month for 9 years and still spend less. Movie theaters are adding to the luxury with more amenities as well. Adjustable, reclining seats offer comfortable seating with more elbow and leg room than traditional theaters. And many theaters offer dine-in options or full-service bars that give you dinner-and-a-movie all in one place.

What’s So Great About the Big Screen?

Seeing a movie in the theater isn’t what it used to be and it’s not just the seats that are getting better. Theaters are switching from old, film-based projection systems to digital screens that offer better, brighter pictures. And new 3D technology makes movies more life-like.

The latest tech dual-laser projection brings a film to life with brighter displays, more vivid color, and a million-to-one contrast ratio. Today’s screens can display more nuanced tones and a greater spectrum of colors for the ultimate theater experience. What’s more, the newest and greatest technology can be added to existing screens, from the big screen to your home computer, with little more than a firmware update.

Surround sound is making strides as well, with 64 speakers installed on each wall of the theater. There’s even newer theater tech that does more than just place sounds in different speaker channels, like earlier versions of surround sound technology.

This new tech allows filmmakers to place each sound in a specific location in the theater, creating soundscapes that are even more nuanced and creating the same effect across theaters with varying speaker setups. Sound can pan around the room, moving seamlessly from speaker to speaker.

Check out this infographic to learn more about millennials at the movies and the numbers behind the big screen’s continued success:
Afordable Luxury: the summer blockbusterDolby

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How to Actually Start the Task You’ve Been Avoiding

Life would be great if we only did things that we wanted to do, each moment of the day. However, that sweet freedom also comes with a price. For example, many significant achievements of the humanity would never be realized if we could do only what our fleeting hearts wanted.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re having a problem with procrastination and trying to find out a way to beat it. For example, you may be facing a big ugly project or another task that you’ve been putting off for too long. Or you may be looking for some tips to increase your productivity and avoid procrastinating on something.

Whatever the reason is, you’re doing the right thing by trying to minimize the effect of procrastination on your life. It has been linked to some adverse health and social effects such as stress, fatigue, and poorer performance.

Read further if you want to know how you can get stuff done.

Stop Making a Huge Deal Out of Anything

A big reason why people procrastinate is that they make a huge deal out of the project they need to complete. Psychologists call this “catastrophizing.” For example, Psych Central defines this term as “an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it is.”

As you probably know, the most common reasons for such behavior are related to how painful, boring, or difficult it is to complete the task.

Well, some tasks may be boring and difficult, but boredom and hard work aren’t legit reasons to avoid doing something! In fact, they won’t even have any profound impact on you. Procrastination, on the other hand, causes stress, so it can have a long-term effect on your overall well-being.

So, try to keep things in perspective. Of course, a task you’re yet to accomplish may not be your favorite, but you can get through it, that’s for sure.

See Also: 4 Habits That Will Improve Your Focus And Destroy Procrastination

Try to Find Benefits of Completing the Task

What is the first reason for postponing the task? Avoiding all the distress and inconveniences associated with its completion. While they certainly sound good, they are only short-term gains that cannot even compare to long-term consequences such as the stress of not doing it and possible implications for failing to complete it.

So, by doing the task instead of putting it off, you avoid all those long-term consequences. Moreover, there must be some benefits that you’ll get as a result of completing the task, such as praise or financial rewards.

For example, if you’ve been putting off starting a daily exercise session, think of both short- and long-term benefits of completing this task. They could be an increased energy and a boost to your self-esteem.

Get a Motivation Buddy

motivation buddy

Having someone to hold you accountable for your projects could be a good way to get you back in the game even after you’ve slipped into procrastination. Don’t believe it? There are many examples of people assisting others in achieving their goals.

Perhaps one of the most interesting and extraordinary examples comes from the United Kingdom. Jamie Brooks was caught in an unhealthy lifestyle and weighed 504 pounds (228 kilograms) while being only 31. The things started to change when one of his friends, Neil, decided to be his motivation buddy. His plan, however, was rather original, because it was to serve Jamie some tough love.

Neil sent Jamie a text every day for six weeks where he called him things, including ‘fat f***.’ Other motivational texts included “You’ll be dead by the time you’re 40.” And guess what? It worked! Jamie lost 294 pounds (133 kilograms) and dramatically improved the quality of his life.

Read more about the story of Jamie at Metro.

Divide Work into Smaller Pieces

Catastrophizing often means intimidation by the size of the project. If this is the situation that you’re facing, try to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed by breaking up the project into smaller, digestible parts that you can achieve much more quickly and easily.

For example, if you have a large research paper to write, you can begin by writing only one small part. Let it be the easiest one, too.

Get Rid of Distractions

task distractions

One popular reason why people postpone doing something for days, weeks and even months is a lack of a productive environment. Indeed, the environment can be a huge barrier to productivity; for example, social media, phone calls, TV, and other distractions are well-known reasons why so many people fail to complete their tasks.

See Also: One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Drop the Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist involves a lot of risks for productivity. For example, these people tend to wait until things are perfect to start working, so this mentality can hold you back from doing your tasks.

Moreover, unrealistic standards created by perfectionism could be a threat to health and professional experience, so it’s better to avoid falling into this trap and focus on being better rather than perfect.

The post How to Actually Start the Task You’ve Been Avoiding appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Easy Money Hacks to Improve Your Finances

Personal finance doesn’t have to complicated. With the right mindset and commitment towards a better financial life, you can make big improvements effortlessly and quickly.

The following are 10 easy money hacks that can take your personal finance management to the next level:

Online Shopping

online shopping

One of the best ways to save money is to shop online as frequently as possible. This is because there is a slew of reliable and useful online portals including Amazon, Walmart, etc. where you can enjoy attractive discounts and cashback offers.

By making purchases at the right time and from the right website, you can easily save up to 30% or more than you would otherwise spend at your local store where you have limited options and limited time for research.

Refinancing

Is your mortgage or car loan giving a hard time? If your answer is “yes”, then refinancing can be a good solution to look into.

In refinancing, you essentially take a new loan to repay the current one. The advantage of this is that you can get a lower interest rate and a more flexible repayment structure with the new loan.

Increasing Credit Score

Your credit score will play a huge role in your life as far as the finances are concerned. So, if you have a high score, then not only you can get a personal loan, home loan, etc. rather easily, you can also negotiate and get a lower interest rate than the standard. This way, you can save a lot of money on the interest.

There are many easy and simple ways to improve your credit score. You don’t even need the help of a professional to succeed in this endeavor. You can just refer to authority websites and blogs such as the Dough Roller Blog for tips and advice. By taking the recommended credit-building measures, you can make decent improvements in a short period and enjoy more financial freedom!

Avoiding Minimum Payments

minimum payments

Credit card issuers often market their products with the “minimum payment” feature. As you can imagine, it’s an option for a credit card user in which they can choose to pay only a small portion of their credit card bill i.e. the minimum payment to avoid penalties. However, it’s something you should stay away from as much as possible.

When you make a minimum payment, your account is saved from fines and penalties. However, the remaining amount i.e. what’s left on your bill after you have made the minimum payment is carried over to the next month and added to the next bill. In addition to that, this balance continues to attract interest. Thus, always pay your bills in full to avoid paying interest and to protect your credit score.

Buying Used Items

There is nothing wrong with buying used products, especially when they cost a lot when bought new. However, the key is selective purchase.

For instance, items like furniture, expensive college books, hardware tools, musical instruments, etc. can be easily bought online with websites like eBay, craigslist, wallapop, and letgo etc. This is because these items age well and their quality does’t degrade too much over time if they are well taken care of.

Buying used items can help you save as much as half of the original price. However, always be sure to inspect the products before you hand over the money.

Availing Tax Benefits

Do you pay the exact amount of income tax that’s applicable to your profile? There are ways to lower your taxable income which means you can save money that you would otherwise pay in taxes.

For instance, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money into an account tax-free and withdraw it tax-free when used to cover medical costs. Similarly, you can deduct interest from your student loan payments on your tax return.

Taking up Freelancing

There are many easy ways to make money online. For instance, if you are good at writing, photography, video editing, etc. then you can take up related gigs online from SMEs and individuals looking for help.

There are a number of reliable and high-paying freelancer websites like Upwork and Freelancer where you can create an account to bag gigs and earn some decent money on the side. This will also allow you to use your free time during weekends or holidays for something productive and financially beneficial.

See Also: 5 Freelancing Tips That Will Make you Successful

Setting up an Emergency Fund

emergency fund

Life is uncertain, and if you lose your job one day or aren’t able to work for some other reason, then your savings can deplete quickly, thus leaving you vulnerable. You may end up taking a personal loan at a high interest rate being short of options. However, you can prevent this kind of situation by setting an emergency fund for the rainy days.

Ideally, an emergency fund should be enough to cover your expenses for at least 3-6 months.

Using a Mobile App for Tracking Expenses

We have all heard that creating a monthly budget, monitoring the expenses, etc. is important. However, who has the time to note down all the expenses and do the math? Fortunately, there are a number of free apps that can help you track your spending.

The best personal finance apps in the market are capable of reading your emails and SMS for automated tracking, creating detailed reports, suggesting payment methods and credit cards that offer discounts, etc. Thus, these can help you save money in a variety of ways.

Reconsider Recurring Expenses

A lot of times, one-time expenses such as car repair, dental treatment, etc. can’t be avoided. However, the recurring expenses which are also the biggest burden on your finances can be looked into and altered for saving money.

If you find that there are more affordable alternatives to your current recurring expenses such as insurance premium, Internet connection charges, cable bills, etc. then you can make a switch. Maybe you can find a cheaper Internet plan, or replace your home’s light fixtures with their energy-efficient versions at to lower your utility bills, etc.

So, these were some of the best ways to improve your financial health. Do try them out and see how you get the benefits in just a short period! Good luck!

The post 10 Easy Money Hacks to Improve Your Finances appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Four Surprising Yet Effective Ways To Tune Into Your Soul

I’m going to ask you a question which you may or may not have ever asked yourself.

Does your life actually feel like it’s in alignment and in flow with what your soul needs and desires?

If you take a trip down memory lane right now and re-visited everything you did over the past week, is there anything that stands out as feeling heavy or wrong? Maybe there’s something you felt an unusual amount of resistance around or something that simply sucked your energy dry? Maybe it was more obvious and screaming out as a ‘Hell No’ or as being undeniably out of alignment and flow?

When life gets on a roll and one thing leads to another, it’s so easy to begin taking action or making decisions which are not truly in line with what your soul really desires and requires.

Those little choices add up and gradually, little by little, a feeling of uneasiness begins to creep in. You can’t quite seem to fully relax or settle. You’re restless and there’s something you can’t quite put your finger on. If only you could just figure it out, you’re quite certain you’d be able to relax, enjoy your life, and feel in the flow!

The good news is that it’s quite possible. Take a day to slow down, breathe, and look within.

Choose a day where you give yourself permission to not have to do anything- not even your normal daily non-negotiable tasks. And after, try using these four tools below!

Meditate

meditate daily

This can be as simple as having a search on YouTube for a guided meditation video that resonates with you and then listening to it!

You can spend 5 to 30 mins or whatever feels right for you. Just breathe, relax, and be with yourself. See and feel whatever comes up and allow yourself to just be with it.

After you’ve listened to your guided meditation or practiced your own mediation, finish off by asking yourself:

If I was living a life aligned and in flow, what would that look and feel like for me?

See what comes up!

See Also: How to Meditate When All The Other Techniques Don’t Work

Journal

Find yourself a quiet place. It can be your favorite cafe, park or maybe it’s in the bath with a glass of Bordeaux! You can choose any place as long as you feel relaxed, not rushed, and there are no distractions.

Take your time and work through these journal prompts.

Remember your soul always knows. It’s because everything is already written and all available choices have already been mapped out. All you need to do is to know how to get in touch with your soul and ask:

  • What does my soul have to say right now?
  • What would my soul have me do?
  • In all honesty, what does my soul desire?
  • What does my soul require?

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

Sweat it out

walking exercise

Allocate some time during the day to move your body. This might be a hot yoga class, a fast-paced walk, a gym session or a stretching routine.

The aim is to move your body and ideally, break into a sweat.

You can use this time to not only detox physically through sweating but to detox emotionally as well. Just set an intention before you exercise that you are releasing what needs to be released. Having this time to exercise is rejuvenating for the mind, body, and soul.

Soul aligned action

I’m a big believer that life should be fun, flow-based, and easy!

Take some time to do exactly what it is that your soul needs and wants. It can be something that you find enjoyable, fun, and naturally drawn to doing. This should feel almost effortless and it should come from within.

Maybe it’s a phone call with a soulmate, playing with your kids or binging on a TV series. Maybe it’s taking a long bath while you talk to a loved one or dancing around the lounge to your favorite playlist.

You get the idea!

Use these four tools as much as you need to help bring you back to YOU.

These are four simple but powerful ways to help you know how to get in touch with your soul. They can also highlight what’s not aligned for you.

Eventually, it will become clear if there are any changes you may need to make so you can live more in alignment and flow with your soul.

When you tune in and say yes to what your soul desires, life will then say yes to you!

The post Four Surprising Yet Effective Ways To Tune Into Your Soul appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Breaking The Cycle of Confirmation Bias

No matter how much you share political stories on Facebook, you’ll likely never change your friends’ opinions on the issues. In fact, sharing and reacting to political posts will only create a more polarized community because Facebook’s algorithms show you what you like. This is where learning how to avoid confirmation bias becomes tricky.

Polarizing Opinions on Social Media

On social media, Democrats and Republican link to articles that share their party’s natural bias. Almost half of the links shared by Congress members come from these slanted sources. It’s not just political figures that tend to be biased, either.

Each time you like an article on one side of the debate or ignore a post from an opposing side, Facebook gets more data on what you want to see. Over time, your news feed will show information from fewer sources and you may even land yourself in a fake-news bubble.

This sort of echo chamber occurs when dissenting opinions are filtered out of the dialog. It enables confirmation bias, the natural human tendency to overemphasize information that supports one’s opinion and overlook anything that could prove it wrong.

This underlying human flaw doesn’t just change how we consume information; it affects how we share it as well. Social media users share news articles from liberal or conservative sources 22% more often than stories from more centrist outlets.

Investigating Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias lets us cherry-pick information without even realizing we’re doing it. Multiple studies show that humans tend to have a strong tendency to hold to an established opinion, regardless of evidence.

In 1975, the Stanford suicide note legitimacy study asked two groups of participants to determine whether each of 25 suicide notes were real or fake. The psychologists running the study told each group their score, giving one a false high score and the other a false low score. Even when they revealed that the scores were fake, participants believed they had done well or badly according to the score they were assigned.

Another experiment at Stanford, the capital punishment study in 1979, grouped participants based on their established views on the death penalty. Both groups were present with two fictitious studies: one supporting capital punishment and the other questioning it. Both groups found the studies credible and felt that both studies supported their existing views.

The Stanford experiments show that confirmation bias makes people with opposing views feel validated by the same information. It even reinforced our opinions in the face of contradictory evidence. This phenomenon reduces the diversity of opinions, allows misinformation to spread, and leaves us vulnerable to manipulation.

How to Avoid Confirmation Bias

Combatting the effects of confirmation bias is difficult. One of the most important steps is noticing when you’re caught in an echo chamber. Recognizing the signs takes practice and self-awareness. Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection can help as well.

Signs You’re Caught in an Echo Chamber

confirmation bias

  • Distinct community structure
  • Strong polarization of opinions
  • Perception of facts clouded by emotional narratives
  • Shared values/meaning, leads to self-validation

While Facebook’s data collection has been the subject of a lot scrutiny for its failure to combat or flag fake news, sites like Google offer a better alternative. Google’s algorithms flag fact-checked articles for readers and punish unsubstantiated articles and attempts at misinformation. Choosing your sources carefully is a great strategy to keep confirmation bias at bay.

Another strategy is researching the evidence carefully. Use fact-checking sites like Snopes to see if a story is accurate before you share it with others. Get the news directly from reputable, less biased sources. And of course, don’t blindly trust what you read on social media.

Tips for Fighting Confirmation Bias

  • Avoid emotional thinking
  • Recognize logical errors
  • Try to understand others’ point of view
  • Remain skeptical of your own beliefs
  • Keep an open mind toward others

It can be difficult to fight confirmation bias and it’s impossible to overcome it completely. However, exposing yourself to a variety of opinions and doing your own research will help you learn and practice this skill. Instead of blocking or unfriending people you disagree with, engage in conversation and always consider the possibility you could be wrong.

Finally, to learn more about confirmation bias and its effect on social media, check out this infographic:
Confirmation Bias
Source: Psych Degrees

The post Breaking The Cycle of Confirmation Bias appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life

I’ve always had massive aspirations, dreams, and desires my entire life. With hard work, commitment, and a lot of journaling, I’m now living the life I’ve always dreamed of and wanted to create.

Journaling has been a massive part of my success. I personally journal daily as I believe that mindset is the key to everything!

Everything in my life, I have created through asking for it and it helped to first know what it was I was asking for. What was it that I wanted? Who did I want to be? What did I want to do? What was deep in my soul that I wanted to share with the world?

That’s where journaling came in!

There are a number of ways you can journal and you’ve probably come across a few.

What I want to share with you are a few basic and powerful questions you can ask yourself to get you focused, clear, and feeling empowered in any and every area of your life.

Below, I’ve put together some powerful journal prompts about life you can use to create what you truly desire. You can use them as much or as little as you need.

How This Works

Read the questions below then answer them in your journal. Write as little or as much as you feel. Don’t hold back. This is between you and yourself.

Deep down, you know the answer to everything you need to know. So, take your time and let it surface. If any question makes you feel like you do not want to answer it, I’d be seriously looking for a reason why.

journal writing

Let’s get to it!

  • What do I REALLY want?
  • What do I want to have?
  • How can I wake up every morning and feel amazing?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I want to be?
  • How can I re-frame or change this?
  • What would I need to believe in order to be and have and do all of that?
  • What action can I take right now to make this happen?
  • How do I know what’s preventing me from taking this action?

The next set of journaling prompts is what I use daily to describe and become super clear on creating what I considered to be my perfect day.

  • On your perfect day, where do you wake up?
  • Who is around you?
  • What is the first thing you see – describe your environment in detail.
  • Where do you go?
  • What is your ideal morning routine – describe in detail.
  • What do you eat?
  • How does the day feel to you?

The Crucial Part

life journal

I want you to list 5 to 10 powerful statements or beliefs that can support what you have just written down. Remember, it’s your beliefs that drive your choices and decisions. You must establish a set of powerful beliefs that support what you’re wanting to create and have in your life!

I’ll give you a few of mine so you have an example:

  • I allow myself always, to access my deepest intuitive powers.
  • I am guided by deep wisdom from within.
  • Everything always works out perfectly for me.
  • I have everything I need to know inside of me.
  • I FULLY trust my soul.
  • Every day, I choose to wake up and trust, that everything is taken care of.
  • I am safe to express myself always.

Through your journaling, you might discover you have a dream you want to work on. Instead of it feeling completely daunting and like it’s never going to happen, your powerful beliefs will be in place to support you in making it happen. It is possible if you decide for it to be.

Reiterating powerful beliefs will give you more energy and a drive which comes from within you. Use these journal prompts about life as regularly as you need.

Whatever it is you dream, no matter how grandiose or out of reach it may seem right now, for somebody somewhere in the world, it’s normal to live like that and be like that.

It’s just how life is and you can make it happen to you as well.

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

The post Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business

People do not like to wait. They don’t like being put on hold. They don’t like when a website takes forever to load. They don’t like waiting for a call or an email that they doubt will ever come at all. Generally, people don’t like being told to wait for anything. Anything at all. This is understandable because there’s really nothing more precious than time. In fact, there are so many distractions these days that people need to evaluate what they do with their time, which is the one single thing you can’t bring back. Once it is spent, it is gone forever.

This is also what businesses need to understand. If you want to keep your customers happy, get to their concerns as quickly as you can. A study on customer response time revealed that for 43.4% of customers, one business day is still an acceptable response time for emails. However, 43.9% want a response within four hours or less.

It’s a whole different story on social media. In a virtual world, more people want it extra fast. A related survey showed that a whopping 84 percent of customers prefer getting an instant response – that means within 24 hours after a post has been posted on social media.

Still, all these efforts and the hassles ultimately pay off in the end. A study from Autodeal about car dealership response time showed that dealers who respond to a customer in six hours or less have a better conversion rate. If the response time is reduced to under an hour, the conversion rate can increase by an additional 37%. People want it fast, and they associate good customer service with a quick response from the business’ end.

Now that we have pretty much settled on the importance of quick response times, let’s see how you can improve your brand’s quickness in customer response during a time where everyone seems to be impatient and easily-irked.

Sweeten your automated replies

improve customer response

A customer needs to know if his inquiry, feedback or complaint has reached the right people. This is important because only then will a customer know that he is valued and that his concerns matter.

A lot of companies now use automatic response emails to serve several purposes. Among them is to reach out to a customer, improve customer relationships, as well as give the company some time to sort things out, and craft an appropriate reply. You can have autoresponders via email or text.

But since everyone is doing it, you might want to make your messages more personal and less bland. For example, use their first names and not just the impersonal “sir/ma’am”. Draft your automatic responses in a way that sounds like it is coming from an actual human being — warm, sincere, and genuine. You might also want to consider adding a summary of their complaint, and a number of days when they could expect an action. Just be true to your word and stick to it.

Use a response software

It is not advisable to keep everything in your shared company email or to have someone manually print out everything and file them accordingly. It is best to invest in customer service software to improve your workflow and to make everyone’s life easier.

This type of software acts like your obsessive-compulsive secretary. It stores, sorts, tracks, and backs everything up. It can also be linked to your email to send those autoresponders and to your social media pages as well. A reference case number or a ticket can be issued for better tracking of concerns.

The good thing about this is it keeps everything centralized. Apart from that, the company can also keep messages and conversations that they might find helpful in the future. On the backend, you can store and sort messages, monitor response time of staff, and keep all the information and data that are very valuable these days. Through this, you will know what the top complaint about a product or a service is and work on it. You’ll also have a clearer picture as to the demographics of your market, which will allow you to target messages more effectively.

Direct them to FAQs

faqs

By this time, you probably already have an idea of what the frequently asked questions are. In your website, app or social media page, you may categorize these questions so that customers can be directed to your FAQ page. For all you know, customers don’t even need to contact you anymore. Just direct them to the said page. They most probably can solve whatever concerns they have on their own. This is called being proactive, something that customers always appreciate. In your automated emails or text messages, you may also add a link to your FAQs to let your customers know that this section exists.

Engage your employees

Improving customer response time can be a very mechanical thing, but since you are dealing with real people with real concerns, you need actual people responding to them. Companies need to engage their employees in the whole process — from setting an objective to the strategies. Remember that any software can only be as good as the people using them. You cannot set a 3-day response time if your company receives hundreds of inquiries and feedback a day and you only have five customer service officers.

Companies must also enhance employees’ soft skills such as communication techniques that involve listening, empathy, and exercising responsibility. At the same time, brush up on everyone’s technology skills to increase productivity and improve delivery.

See Also: Know Your Customers In The Digital Age

Speed is an essential component in improving customer relationships. However, it shouldn’t be achieved at the expense of quality. Any company must learn how to balance speed and quality of responses. While there are tools you can use such as automated emails and customer service apps and software, don’t underestimate soft skills that can only come from employees who have the heart for customer service.

The post Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A Quick List of Adventure Activities You Must Try

Whenever you find that you are losing focus on your mundane activities and daily chores, it merely implies that you need to relax and take it easy. There is no better way to break free from the monotony of everyday life than to set off on a short holiday. Whatever the case may be, make sure you enjoy each moment to the fullest. In this write-up, we’ll share with you a list of adventure activities you’ll definitely find appealing.

Let’s take a look at them:

Skiing

skiing vacation

With dusty mountains and soft snow around, you will undoubtedly be lured to try out the skiing facilities available at the resorts. Few of the best destinations for this sport include Austria, Switzerland, France, Quebec, Japan, and Dubai.

White shark cage diving

Some places in South Africa offer tourists the opportunity to dive with sharks. Yes, that is right!

Gansbaai, located on the southern side of Cape Town, is the place. You can also try and explore Mossel Bay. In fact, Cape Town is often referred to as the capital for white sharks.

Skydiving

Can you imagine jumping out of a plane and allowing yourself to fall freely while gradually embracing gravity? Usually meant for the strong hearted, skydiving will put even the bravest to the test.

Of course, you can always enjoy seeing someone else perform this stance. You will find spots in almost every country including Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, France, Spain, Norway, and Germany to name a few.

Surfing

Some exotic places where you can explore or try surfing are the Hawaiian Islands, South Africa, the Indonesian Archipelago, and French Polynesia.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is perhaps one adventurous activity you can indulge in. There are many places around the globe where horse riding is offered.

Whether you are a die-hard fan of Gulf stream horse track races or you want to just try out for your leisure, the most prominent places that you will find this sport include Western Riding (USA), South Africa, Iceland, Andalucía in Spain, Macedonia, Botswana, and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Paddle Boarding

paddle boarding vacation

There are many reasons for indulging in this sport. It not only relaxes you, but it is an excellent form of exercise as well.

So, if you are not able to hit the gym while you are on holiday, this activity will perhaps keep you on your toes and keep your weight in check.

Conclusion

Regardless of the type of adventure sports you indulge in, just make sure that you ponder over a few critical points to ensure your safety and that you make your trip a memorable one.

These include the following:

  • Make sure you are ready to take on the sport as far as health is concerned
  • Find out the rules and get acquainted with the guidelines
  • Seek assistance from a professional
  • Keep your medical kit handy

If your thrill-seeking heart is craving for a vacation, you can consider this list of adventurous activities that’ll give you the experience of a lifetime!

The post A Quick List of Adventure Activities You Must Try appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Replacing Windows? Demand The Best Service

Knowing how to choose replacement windows and who should do it in your Colorado home can be a daunting task.

To start with, you have to figure out what kind of windows will work best for you and since you’re an expert in something other than windows, this can be a chore all by itself. You’ll get quotes from different replacement window firms, and each might come back with a different recommendation.

Wood? Aluminum?

And is the company recommending these windows because they’re really the best choice for you or is there some other motivation for the recommendation? Might they be recommending the windows for which they will get the highest markup, for instance?

(Here’s a hint: In Colorado, you want locally-made vinyl windows built and designed with our unique Rocky Mountain climate and altitude in mind.)

Then, there’s price to consider.

One homeowner recently received quotes from three replacement window installers – including a well-known “big box” retailer whose name you’d instantly recognize – and was shocked to see that the costs ran from “x” to “2x!”

How can one firm charge twice as much as another for the same job?

Another hint: Don’t pay 2x! The lowest bid isn’t always the best overall deal.

So, suppose you find two or three firms who come back with comparable bids and recommendations for high-quality vinyl replacement window installation. How do you choose among them?

Ask about service.

The best firms hold themselves to the highest standards of service quality. Go with the firm you think really aims to delight their customers.

Time Is Money

call replacement window company

If you call a replacement window company and they tell you they can have someone out to give you an estimate sometime between Thursday and April, that will tell you something about their service.

Maybe that example is a bit of an exaggeration but if the company doesn’t handle your job in a timely manner, it does say a lot about how much they value their customers.

Every business gets busy. A professional window installer’s time is valuable and so is your time.

You can sometimes tell, early in the process, whether a firm holds itself to a high service standard simply by evaluating how long it takes them to respond to your request for an estimate.

If the firm sends someone out to look at your job right away (within a few hours, or a couple of days, at most) and if the person who shows up is efficient, knowledgeable, and professional, that also sends you a message.

They care about their service levels. They care about you.

Cleanliness Is Good, Too

Say you have to choose between two firms who sent a prompt professional to estimate your job. You’ll ask each of them when they could start the work and how long the job will take.

Some jobs can be completed in a day. Others are completed over a period of two days or more.

If your job is one that will take more than a day, ask the installation firms what you can expect at the end of each shift. If they’re surprised by the question, that’s part of your answer!

The best firms not only anticipate the question but they have a procedure in place to keep things neat and tidy while they’re away from your property.

To the installation firm, maybe it’s a “job site” but the best firms think of it more as your home or place of business. And they have systems in place to ensure that they treat the place accordingly.

It’s About Respect

check reviews

Look at the testimonials and online reviews for the replacement window companies you’re considering. You’ll probably be able to tell a lot about the level of respect each firm has for its customers.

The best firms have glowing reviews from happy customers who received great products at a great price and excellent service as well.

The installers are friendly and courteous. The “job site” is kept clean and tidy during and after each shift. And the company do what they promise to do.

And if some tricky problem comes up during the installation, the firm should be able to handle it like a professional.

More than one company will say they want your replacement-window business. But if you ask a couple of questions and check out some online reviews, you’ll be able to tell which firms really do value you. They’re the ones who hold themselves to high standards of customer service.

See Also: What Would a Home Economist, an Environmentalist, an Allergist, and Your Mother Say About Your Home Windows?

The post Replacing Windows? Demand The Best Service appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Piping Ain’t Easy! 5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Hiring A Local Plumber

Whether it’s a residential or commercial set up, plumbing emergencies can happen anytime and without any warning.

The plumbing maintenance in homes and offices is unique in that most people don’t see it as something truly dangerous or important. When a pipe bursts or some other piece of plumbing malfunctions, many homeowners try to fix the plumbing issue by themselves.

Why You Need A Plumber

What people often fail to realize is that tackling plumbing problems requires the right knowledge and skill. Not only will the issue be harder to fix if left unaddressed, the problem could cost a fortune. Besides, leaks and drips can turn into major headaches and that’s why you need a good plumber.

Professional local plumbers have the skills, expertise, and needed equipment to properly repair any plumbing problems. They can also identify problems that require your utmost attention right away.

With that said, hiring a local plumber may sound easy but it’s actually more complicated. Considering the fact that there are a plethora of plumbing companies flooding the market today, you need to be extra careful.

If you have to hire one in a pinch, oftentimes they are not as savvy as expected. To make sure you end up with the best one, here are some really great tips for hiring a plumber.

Experience is key

plumbing

Experience in any type of craft is a vital tool that an individual and business should possess and plumbing is no exception. Besides, there are obvious benefits to hiring a professional who has been in the plumbing industry for long. Not only have they handled different plumbing jobs, but they also have been able to come across different challenges and problems to solve.

By hiring an experienced plumber, you can rest assured that the work will be done with utmost perfection and care.

Check credentials

While there is a slew of plumbing companies, most of them operate without all the necessary credentials. The sheer fact that a plumber is not licensed says a lot about his professionalism.

Unlicensed plumbers are not accountable to regulators. Most of the time, they are not available whenever things go amiss.

Needless to say, make sure you check whether the plumber is licensed and insured before making the final decision. You can ask about this over the phone before you even make an appointment. If the plumber or his representative on the phone can’t provide the master plumbing license number quickly and easily, that’s your cue to move on.

Don’t break the bank

Plumbing repairs and replacement can get expensive. Make sure you have a written estimate in hand before any work begins. Furthermore, professional plumbers are able to carry out a quick survey of the job and tell how much equipment, manpower and time is needed for completing a particular task. From this survey, they are then able to provide a breakdown for what you’ll be charged.

Be sure to ask if the total at the bottom of your estimate bill is all that you will need to pay. Take it as a chance to clarify if there will be no extra charges to the service. In addition to this, check the warranty being offered by different plumbers so that you can make the right choice.

Word of mouth

It goes without saying that no marketing strategy is as powerful or as influential as word of mouth. From online searches to a quick conversation with your family and friends, you’ll be able to get an honest opinion as to who you should hire.

In addition, make sure you visit the plumbing company’s website and go through their past customers’ reviews and testimonials. As with any review and testimonial, the odds of someone taking the time to write a positive review is a lot slimmer than a competitor or a vindictive customer posting a negative review. Besides, you will almost always find occasional negative reviews and testimonials about most companies. Just beware if you find too many of them!

Ask for references

local plumber

When it comes to hiring a local plumber, make sure you ask for references. Better yet, wait to see if they offer up the information first. Generally, any reputable plumbing company will have a list of happy customers and the jobs they have done.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the plumbing system in your home or office is incredibly essential to your health and safety. This is why it needs to be properly maintained.

Any plumbing work, no matter how big or small, should always take priority. This is because even the most ordinary job can quickly become a major and very expensive project if not attended right away.

Whether it’s a leaking pipe or dripping faucet repair, make sure you use the tips above when hiring a plumber.

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How to Write The Perfect Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel

Bringing in new customers and converting them can sometimes be challenging. With so many brands and products on the market, differentiating from the competition is near impossible. However, the AIDA sales funnel methodology can contribute to the cause more than you think.

Implementing the time-old sales model into the content creation strategy set by the marketing team will ensure organic growth and sales outreach more than most methods would. With that said, let’s take a look at how we can use AIDA to separate our content marketing funnel strategy from the rest.

Basics of AIDA

In short, AIDA stands for “Attraction, Interest, Desire, and Action.” These are the cornerstones of your typical sales funnel in which certain content is distributed to the market at even intervals. As the name suggests, AIDA stages aim to gradually introduce a product or a brand to the market. It raises awareness of it before promoting a direct purchase.

This methodology alone is what separates AIDA from typical content strategies that rely on scheduling and audience profiling. AIDA can effectively lead individual users from a passerby to a loyal customer if the content reflects the aim to gradually convert someone into a recurring customer.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of what AIDA represents, let’s take a look at how we can implement it into our existing content creation strategies.

  • Brand Awareness

brand awareness

The first stage of content marketing through AIDA aims to collect customer information for future reference. This means that every marketing campaign should start with content designed to achieve outreach and interaction.

The more emails, phone numbers and contact information you collect, the more successful your first stage of AIDA will be. The content created for this purpose usually comes in the form of email marketing and calls to action. These factors ask the readers for some upfront trust and patience. Products and services should not be promoted in this stage but only hinted at. We are aiming to raise awareness of our presence on the market and not sell anything outright.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

  • Product Interest

Creating interest in your products might just be the toughest stage of AIDA. You need to ensure that people are interested and curious about your products to a point where they will want to know more about it.

You can achieve this by creating demonstration video content, write testimonials or product reviews through influencers. Also, you can employ some of the largest translation companies on the market. They can translate your content into other languages for international marketing purposes.

In other words, the Interest phase of your sales funnel focuses on building hype and anticipation for a product that the customers absolutely need to possess. This mindset is what you should aim for when creating content for the second stage of the sales funnel.

  • Purchase Desire

If you played your cards right, your future customers should be knocking at your door by now with questions about your products. However, there is one more stage of the sales funnels to focus on before creating direct sales marketing content.

Your customers’ desire to buy, use and promote your products and services is the true indicator of successful marketing. You should focus on creating a need and a desire to purchase your brand’s products through calls to action that offer discounts, loyalty benefits, extra goodies for early adopters, etc. Desire can also be raised by emphasizing the benefits of using your products in the household environment, during family activities, friendly hangouts, etc.

Add as much value, examples and advantages to your product as possible while still maintaining the aura of professionalism. The more value you add to your product, the better it will sell on the market once your launch window approaches.

See Also: 12 Tips That Build Customer Loyalty And Boost Sales

  • Customer Action

customer action

Your customers’ action or the purchase of your product should be the final stage of your sales funnel. If all previous stages were done correctly, Action bookends the campaign and brings a few final customers before the purchase window opens officially.

Content that focuses on action should include calls-to-action that emphasize direct purchase. You can include how-to guides, examples of use, tips for product enjoyment and other customer-centric content in your final sales funnel stage.

The interest and performance of your product peaks with Action and gradually drops over time. It’s important to monetize the buzz created around your brand before the customers’ interest shifts to some other marketing campaign.

A Step-by-Step Approach (Conclusion)

Implementing AIDA or any other sales funnel method might seem like an overcomplicated risk. Every stage of a sales funnel needs to be as effective and impactful as the one that came before. While that may be true, AIDA provides the perfect model for filtering and segmenting our customer base.

This is especially useful with expensive and niche products that simply don’t work for every customer. Use your best judgment when implementing AIDA into your content strategy. Don’t be afraid to segment your own marketing campaign into separate steps.

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How to Begin Celebrating Small Wins to Start A New Life

Starting a new life is not easy. You have to get rid of any bad, old habits. However, letting go of any habit or behavior is not easy, either. That’s why you have to set the goal you want to accomplish.

On this journey, you need to identify the small wins that indicate that you are accomplishing something. These accomplishments motivate you to keep moving in the right direction.

If we focused only on the big wins, we would never feel like we will ever get any achievements. A new behavior is not formed overnight. You have to work for it.

Here’s how you can start celebrating small wins every day.

Start small

start small habits

Many people make the mistake of doing too much at once while trying to achieve a given goal.

Maybe you want to start an exercise program or any other new habit. If that’s the case, you have to start small and progress gradually.

For instance, if you are used to waking up at 10 a.m and want to change to waking up at 6 a.m, then you need to make the transition slowly since this is a huge change. You could start by waking up at 9 a.m for a while, then 8 a.m, until you become comfortable waking up at 6 a.m.

Also, try to create a ritual by doing the same things at the same time each day. Doing this helps your body adjust and adapt to the new routine.

Change one habit at a time

You made a grand plan to start leading a healthy lifestyle when the year started and want to start working on it. You are filled with enthusiasm to get started. You want to start a new diet, exercise daily or any other new habit right away.

With such a huge goal, you feel tempted to do all of them at once. However, this is similar to multitasking and you will end up failing.

To avoid this, focus on working on one habit at a time and only move on to the next when you have gotten used to the previous one.

See Also: 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Group your big habits into chunks

As you continue gradually adjusting to your new habits, you will find yourself swamped with things you need to do at some point. For instance, if you decide to start exercising and gradually increase its level of difficulty, a time will come when you can’t increase it any higher.

You should divide big habits into smaller sections and do them continuously throughout the day. For instance, if you need to do 60 squats a day, you can divide them into 3 sessions and do 20 squats in each.

Remove your barriers

When starting new habits, it is easy for you to change directions when the initial plan doesn’t go as expected. However, if you really want to achieve your goal, you need to keep them close for ease of access. You have no excuse for not doing it.

For instance, if you want to start reading a few pages of a book before going to sleep every day, you could keep your Kindle or hardcover book on your nightstand. Change is uncomfortable but it has to happen.

change habit

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

Get back on the horse

It is not easy to go through a change in behavior. There are times you will slip and go back to those practices that were not good for you. The problem is if and how you bounce back from it.

If you are set on changing, you should get back on track quickly whenever you trip to avoid dropping off altogether. You should never make the same mistake twice.

For instance, if you miss a workout once, don’t miss it the next day. The aim is not for you to be perfect but to be consistent.

Stack habits on existing ones

It is easy to stick to a habit if it is added onto one that already exists. Thus, doing one habit leads to you doing the other. For example, if you always brush your teeth after eating, it is easy for you to start a flossing routine. Whenever you are brushing your teeth, you will always remember to floss.

Conclusion

Developing a new habit is not easy. Start by making small changes and gradually progress to bigger ones. You can’t change your habits in one day. The time it takes to form a long-lasting one varies.

Accomplishing it and getting it to stick is a big win for you. Remember that just because you were able to form the habit does not mean it can’t fall apart. You need to be patient and consistent to achieve your goal. Keep in mind that new habits result in a new life.

So, start celebrating small wins and you’ll be starting on the right track.

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5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

Ever wonder how successful people are so successful?

Habits play a crucial role in shaping our lives. According to a psychology study at Duke University, 45% of everything we do on a daily basis factors in daily habits.

We all know that bad habits can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being. They can hinder your road to achievement and success. Good habits, on the other hand, can help you rise above others and be at your best.

The concept of success differs with each person. To some, it may mean earning more money. To others, it can mean happy relationships or a simple sense of achievement.

So, what are the common habits of successful persons that set them apart from the rest of us?

Let’s try to dig deeper to find the answers.

Reading as a habit
reading habit

Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett reportedly once said that reading is the most important habit he’s picked up.

Tom Corley works as a financial planner and accountant. He conducted a survey that involved 233 participants with most of them being self-made millionaires. The results of the survey depicted interesting patterns.

Among the participants, 88% claimed to spend half an hour or more each day to reading. Most of them prefer reading non-fiction pieces that include history, self-help books, and biographies.

P.J. Worsfold, head of product for FTSY (“footsy”), an artificial intelligence platform for matching people to shoes, claims to read one hour mostly about his industry and other events related to his niche. Plus, whenever possible, he shares useful articles and a small piece of his opinion.

That helps him remember the significant sections of a piece and gives him the opportunity to explore and use them to view other things.

See Also: Best Business Books: The First-Time Entrepreneur’s Reading List

Be an early bird

About 50% of the participants Corly interviewed stated that they get up around 3 hours before their actual workday starts. It gives them ample time to get additional things done, which may include finishing side projects, working out, or just planning ahead.

Other examples of early risers include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who is known for getting into the office at 7 a.m. Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief heads out to playing an hour-long tennis match on a daily basis as early as 5:45 a.m.

This shows that although getting enough sleep is very important, you might want to schedule your sleep cycle so you don’t have to keep hitting snooze until the last minute.

After all, the early bird catches the worm.

Work out and stay fit

We have all grown up knowing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, especially working out and staying physically fit.

James Parrelly is the managing partner of Paw Pods that provide eco-friendly pet caskets and urns made from 100% biodegradable materials. According to Parrelly, successful entrepreneurs require mental and physical fitness. He further adds that clearing your mind and challenging yourself physically with a tough workout daily helps you stay ready for the daily challenges of a business.

To sum it up, a strong body carries a strong mind.

Work on communication skills

communication skills

Communication plays a key role in building constructive interpersonal relationships on a personal as well as on a professional level. Working with data, facts, and figures is important. However, if you are unable to convey the right information and message in a timely manner, you are less likely to achieve your objectives.

As Richard Branson, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders states: “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.

As with other skills, it is important to continuously work on improving communication to help you stay more efficient while interacting with anyone on any level. Emphasizing the value of proper communication further, Branson once shared a quote from the popular author Brian Tracy who said this:

“If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

Use technology

Whether you are a professional just starting a career or a CEO, it is important to keep yourself organized especially when it comes to daily tasks. Especially for people who have a lot on their plate, be it running multiple businesses or trying to balance work-life routine, a to-do list is highly mandatory.

Kris Snyder is the CEO of Vox Mobile, a Cleveland-based organization that provides enterprise mobility solutions. The company has an annual growth that trends above 30% and enjoys consistent inclusion in Gartner’s MMS Magic Quadrant. Snyder also happens to be the founder of the Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance (GEMA).

Snyder advocates for using technology to attain strategic objectives and initiatives. For instance, scheduling a weekly agenda with important clients through a PRM tool. This allows for real-time prioritization of relationships and interactions on a daily basis.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

What’s your take on success and how do you manage to achieve it? Share your ideas in the comments below.

The post 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Why You Should Buy a Soundbar for your 4K TV

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

What is a Soundbar?

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

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

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

Deciding Between a Soundbar and a Sound Base

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

Why Get a Soundbar?

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

Dolby Atmos

dolby studios dolby atmos
Via dolby

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

DTS:X Sound

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

Types of Soundbars

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

Traditional Soundbar

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

Wall-Mounted Soundbar

wall mounted soundbar type
Via expertreviews.co.uk

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

Reasons to Invest in a Soundbar

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

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

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

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6 Really Important Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Married

Are you ready to get married?

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

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

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

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

Do you want to have children?

before marriage questions

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

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

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

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

Can you both make your marriage the number one priority?

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

This question is the most challenging and very important.

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

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

What is your attitude towards drinking and drug use?

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

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

What is your involvement in religion?

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

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

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

Does your philosophy of managing money match your partners?

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

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

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

Do you have health issues which could impact the relationship?

questions before marriage

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Author Bio:

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

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Why Am I Not Happy? (I Should Be)

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

Does this sound familiar?

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

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

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

Are you not happy or are you not satisfied?

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

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

Feeling dissatisfied is fairly common.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happiness is subjective

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

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

You deny yourself

limiting happiness

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

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

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

You feel guilty

Yes, this happens.

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

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

Anxiety, worry, and stress

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

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

You’re unhealthy

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

You don’t know what makes you happy

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

Maybe they’re the wrong boxes.

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

Remember, everyone is different.

You are depressed

depression

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

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

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

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

The post Why Am I Not Happy? (I Should Be) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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

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

The Role Vision in Learning

role vision in learning

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

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

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

Signs Your Child May Need Glasses

sign of poor vision in children

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

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

Early Intervention for Eye Health

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

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

Milestones for Infants & Toddlers

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

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

Vision Care for Children

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

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

Please include attribution to FramesDirect.com with this graphic.

How to Tell if Your Kid Needs Glasses Infographic

The post Does Your Child Really Need Glasses? Here’s How You Can Tell appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

4 Really Simple Yet Highly Effective Ways To Achieving A Goal

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

But what exactly is a goal?

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

The tips below can help you get started:

Clarify your goal

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must write down your goals

writing goals

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

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

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

See Also: 5 Ways Writing Can Lead You to Mindfulness

Constantly evaluate your goal

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

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

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

Set a deadline

set goal deadline

 

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

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

The post 4 Really Simple Yet Highly Effective Ways To Achieving A Goal appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One

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

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

Understanding Drug Addiction

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

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

help addicts

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

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

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

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

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

Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction

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

1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction

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

2. Offer Your Support

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

3. Open the Lines of Communication

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

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

4. Get Everyone United

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

5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment

rehab center

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

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

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

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

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Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know

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

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

good feng shui

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

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

The role of chi in spatial design

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

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

About Yin and Yang

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

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

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

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

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

feng shui house

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have an Evacuation Plan

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

Start Gathering Supplies

gather supplies

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

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

Have an Insurance Plan

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

Protect Important Documents and Other Belongings

protect documents

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

Protect Your Home

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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5 Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans Fast

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

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

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

Figure out your budget

figure out budget

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

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

Refinance your student loan

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

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

Get in on the sharing economy

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

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

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

Treat the loan like a mortgage

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

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

Focus on one goal at a time

focus on one goal

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

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

There are two ways of doing it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure everybody takes part

peer feedback participation

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

Ask them to be specific

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

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

Provide a rubric

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

Use technology

peer feedback technology

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

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

Track results

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

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

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

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15 Surprising Gmail Tricks and Secrets

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

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

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

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

gmail offline mode

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

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

Using Canned Responses, Speed Up the Replies

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

An Option to Filter Emails With Many Aliases

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

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

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

Withdraw Sent Messages

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

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

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

Backup Gmail Emails Locally

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

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

Schedule Outgoing Emails

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

Convert Email Into a To-Do List

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

Speed Up the Workflow With Keyboard Shortcuts

Following shortcuts can be used for different purposes:

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

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

A Feature to Customize Category Tags

gmail inbox

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

Easily Unsubscribe from Newsletter

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

View LinkedIn Profiles of Contacts Within Gmail

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

Increase the Speed of Email Responses

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

Track and Follow Up the Sent Emails

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

Mute Noisy Messages in Gmail

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

Open Multiple Gmail Accounts at Once

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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