Most people have to work hard in order to live their dreams. However, all we see and celebrate is their success because the hard work is usually not done in public. So, when you are struggling in the shadows, wondering why success is not coming fast enough, it’s easy to want to quit.
The successful people you admire are there because they resisted the temptation to quit.
Before looking at the tips below on how not to give up, let’s get one thing out of the way:
No one is suggesting that you stay in a dead-end career which takes you nowhere. If you’re quitting because there is a better opportunity, then, by all means, go ahead. The quitting that does not help is the one where you leave just because you’re not getting results instantly.
Every time you want to quit and take the easy way out, just tell yourself that success doesn’t come overnight.
Things Don’t Get Easy Just Because You Switch Places
There is a misconception that if you don’t like something, then you can switch places and things will get easier. This is a fantasy. If you quit without introspecting and looking deep inside yourself, you may actually be moving with the problem.
In the beginning, you will enjoy the instant gratification which comes with moving. However, as time goes on, you will realize that you’ve solved nothing. The same problems you thought you ran away from in the last situation will suddenly appear.
If you quit just because of the instant gratification you feel when you move into something new, you’re sacrificing your long-term goals. The reality of life is that wherever you go, you’ll always be faced with challenges. It’s better to work on the challenges of something you have already started, rather than quitting and starting on a new set of trials in a new goal.
Every time you want to quit, tell yourself that if success were easy, everybody would be successful. Most people quit because they forget to draw the bigger picture when they start on a goal. Some have drawn the bigger picture, but forget it in the face of challenges.
Always remember that journeys leading to success are often long and grueling. Take the disappointments you meet along the way and if you fall, stand up, dust yourself off, and get moving.
One thing you will have to accept is that success comes at different times for different people. Admit that you’ll see people you know reaching their goals before you do.
While this can be difficult sometimes, you should always try to celebrate with them. Instead of seeing their success as highlighting your failures, take it as proof that achieving your goals is possible.
See Success as a Journey, Not a Destination
Success happens in incremental steps. It is a result of everyday small, smart choices. If you do this consistently and never quit when the going gets tough, you’ll start to see the results of your perseverance.
Making smart, small choices every day starts by taking big tasks and breaking them into smaller units. Working on smaller tasks will help you to see your progress. Take reading a large book, for example. Breaking it into chapters seems more doable than finishing the whole book right away.
You’ll also see incremental results if you are consistent. A good example here is your daily exercise routine. Consistently working on your fitness for twenty minutes every day is better than trying to do a two-hour workout once a week.
Successful people are patient. They understand that progress takes time. For example, if you decided to write a book, writing just two pages a day results in 60 pages a month. That makes over 300 pages in half a year. That’s a very long book by any standards.
No one has ever said that success is easy. If it were, everyone would be successful.
Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves.
We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse.
Yes, our mood is affected by our brain chemistry. But, remember this:
Our brain chemistry is largely affected by our behaviors and habits in life. If we treat ourselves with care and know what makes us happy, we are going to have a more balanced brain chemistry.
Here are a few common bad mental health habits that are making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life:
Bad Sleep Routine
Even if you get enough sleep, having a regular sleep routine matters a lot.
Going to bed early promotes more happiness and energy in life. Studies have shown that going to bed late may be linked to depression and poorer mental health in general. The reason could be that negative thoughts are more likely to appear in our mind at night.
So, by staying up late, you get more and more overwhelmed with worries and negative thoughts. Also, by being a ‘night owl’, you socialize less with people and may start to feel isolated over time. You’ll also be less productive and less energetic the next day.
Many of us live with a lot of stress and have a lot of thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. We may have a stressful job or suffer from anxiety or other problems. Most of us may be hyperactive and constantly seeking new stimuli without realizing that they are making us feel worse.
Taking some time during the day to relax and be with yourself without distractions can significantly improve your mood and well-being.
Lack of Physical Activity
It is a well-known fact that physical activity is necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. But, exercise has huge benefits for your mind, too.
When you exercise, your blood flow improves and your body releases feel-good chemicals. You are also releasing the tension build-up from excessive stress and anxiety. Your muscles feel and work better.
Spending a Lot of Time with Toxic People
We all know people in our lives that just make us feel bad whenever we are interacting with them. They may put us down, undermine our success, not respect our boundaries, and find ways to ruin our mood when we are happiest.
If you are continually trying to change those people, you are just wasting your time and making yourself more miserable. So, try to avoid toxic people as much as possible.
Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system.
Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression.
Excessive Use of Technology
Most of us enjoy our computers, phones, social media and we naturally want to watch the news and see what is currently happening in the world. Even though those tools are great at making our lives and work easier, they can also be great tools for distraction.
They also promote inactivity and tend to be overly stimulating to your brain. Your brain doesn’t like too much stimulation and you may find it more difficult to relax and unwind after spending hours on social media.
Not Being in Touch with Your Emotions
Our emotions often feel too intense and too difficult to deal with, so we tend to suppress them. We distract ourselves with all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.
The problem with that is that we don’t get to process our emotions and face our real problems. We fail to find out through attention and awareness what truly makes us unhappy, anxious, angry or sad.
Our nutrition affects everything in our body, including our brain chemistry. A deficiency in certain nutrients can cause imbalances in our system. Even if we don’t have any serious deficiencies, our eating habits can still affect our mental health. Overeating and not eating enough are both unhealthy behaviors that can affect our relationship with food and our overall mental health.
We’ve all fantasized about trading in our demanding office hours, gossiping coworkers, and overbearing bosses for a work from home gig. But, how do we get past the anxieties that come with the transition?
Nip those fears in the bud and get ready to pursue the career of your dreams with some of the information below.
Why is Working from Home So Great?
Working from home has several benefits besides the ability to make a living in your pajamas. You’ll find that trading in your traditional work can yield great benefits such as:
You’ll save money from commuting to work. You can reinvest the $50 you throw in your tank each week into something that you love. You can even use it to buy an equipment for your new home office.
Working from home can cut out your lunch expenses as well as a few inches off of your waistline. You’re more likely to prepare and eat healthy lunches if you aren’t heading to the food trucks parked across the street from your office.
You can say goodbye to the guilt that comes with having to reschedule outings with friends or missing your kid’s recital because you set your own hours. You’re able to start work whenever you like and put it away just in time to catch a yoga class and a chance to focus on you.
Sounds Perfect, Right?
Not so fast.
There are a lot of great things about working from home, but if you’re seriously considering making the switch, then you need to prepare for its drawbacks.
Check them out:
Were you the first to quit a new instrument, dance class or sport after just a couple of days? Do you still allow your gym to take $20 out of your bank account each month despite the fact that you haven’t stepped inside of a gym since the last year?
Discipline is a key factor to successfully working from home.
While working from home can definitely benefit those that seek control over how much work dominates their life, managing a solid work/life balance can be tough for true workaholics.
If you don’t have a dedicated and closed off workspace, you’ll be constantly reminded of how there’s always work to be done. This could easily lead to burnout if you fail to set boundaries between work and your personal life.
Unless you’re working for a larger company, most self-employed individuals or freelancers that work from home have to acknowledge that their funds will fluctuate. There could be times when you go an entire month without receiving a check and you’ll have to find a way to keep yourself afloat financially in the meantime.
What’s Right For Me?
It’ll take a lot of self-reflection to figure out if working from home might be ideal for you. Check to see if any of the situations below affect you.
You might flourish with working from home if:
You’re self-motivated and you don’t need a boss to stand over your shoulder to ensure that work is done.
You have six months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account, just in case you come upon hard times.
You don’t mind doing self-employment taxes or advertising.
You’re not dependent on a healthcare plan provided by your traditional employer.
You might fail at working from home if:
You’re not self-motivated. If you need a kick in the rear to help you get started on a project, you might be better off with a more traditional setup.
It would put you or your family in financial trouble.
You’re not very good at managing stress. It would only make you more stressed to have the extra responsibility on your plate.
You prefer structure set by an outside source.
You enjoy being able to wheel your chair over to the next cubicle to chat with your coworkers.
Tips for Making the Change
If you’re determined to work from home, you’re going to need help to manage the transition. Here are a few tips to keep you from giving up on your dream to work from home:
Make an effort to get out of the house and see your friends or loved ones 2-3 times a week. When you first start working from home, it can be tempting to just throw yourself into your work 24/7, so that you can make your dream come true. Unfortunately, working all the time can and will lead to burnout.
Stick to a morning schedule. You’ll be far more successful if you can create your own structure that you can amend at any time.
Take inventory of your pantry and fill it up with non-perishable goods in case you run into some financial trouble. Having five or six boxes of stovetop macaroni and cheese can be a lifesaver if you’re running low on cash.
Most importantly, perform extensive research on what you’d like to do! If you want to be a freelance writer, you’ll need to read up on all of the different niches and decide what best fits your skill level and financial needs. There’s also plenty of successful individuals that do freelance graphic design, data entry work, virtual assisting or call center work for a company that doesn’t mind if you work from home.
If you think that you’re cut out for the challenges that come with working from home, start thinking of when and how you’ll begin your transition. If you plan well, you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of working from home in no time!
Cyber security is a major concern no matter what size or type of business you have.
Despite how critical it is, a lot of people are still not doing enough to protect themselves. They don’t take information security seriously – until something bad happens.
Take security breaches for example. They can be costly, often putting small businesses out of business for a few months.
There are practices that could stave off most attacks. Unfortunately, since humans are the weakest link in the cyber security chain, breaches can happen no matter what type of preparation a company does.
To help reduce this risk, there’s a newer and safer model for cyber security. It’s called the Zero Trust model with network segmentation.
What Is Zero Trust?
In the old ways of cyber security, gaining access to a network was as simple as putting in your username and password. Once you’re in, you have access to everything.
Unfortunately, this model has some pretty obvious weaknesses. Hackers only need to gain access to your login data, which is easy to do through social engineering.
In the zero trust model, everyone is assumed to be a hacker.
Login info will get a person into the front door. Once he’s inside, he’ll find many more doors. This leaves fewer chances for hackers to exploit.
This model regularly checks activity logs, too. This is done in real time to detect any threats as quickly as possible.
Even the Department of Homeland Security recommends zero trust segmented networks. It suggests:
Design network segments based on need-to-know and zero trust principles
Ensure that sensitive information is segmented, even from other sensitive information
Layer security measures so each segment has its own requirements for access
According to Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation from Cybersecurity Ventures:
“Cybersecurity Ventures predicts global annual cyber crime costs will grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion annually by 2021, which includes damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm.”
The cost of cleaning breached records varies by company and by industry.
Retail breaches are great examples. They are the most publicized type of breaches because they affect several consumers at once. Generally, they cost millions of dollars per incident to clean up. They also cost the retail outlet in lost sales and reputational damage.
Small data breaches can happen to small businesses, too. In such cases, breaches can cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up. This can easily put a company out of business.
After all, how many small businesses have tens of thousands of dollars they aren’t using to put toward cleaning a data breach?
How To Implement Zero Trust Segmented Networks
Even if you don’t have a large corporation with an information security team and a network architecture specialist, there are still ways for you to protect your small business.
Software can automate some security needs
Next generation firewalls can provide greater security
BYOD and password hygiene policies can go a long way
Security consultants often specialize in working with small businesses to find Info Sec solutions
SaaS and NaaS providers can give your business the same level of security as large corporations
Doing something about your company’s information security before it’s too late is crucial if you want to stay in business. Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, so the time to act to make your network safer is now. You are the weakest link and hackers know that. Don’t let them destroy your businesses by not acting to protect it. Learn more about zero trust network segmentation from this infographic!
Public coworking spaces and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in the last decade. In fact, in over six years, the number of shared office spaces available has jumped from 1,130 to 13,800 — a leap of 12,670 spaces.
This popularity is due to the undeniable benefits of shared working spaces, especially for freelancers and independent contractors. Factors such as energy level, professional ambiance and mingling lend a hand to the success of this office style. However, like working anywhere, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management can decrease your work productivity.
Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you!
Invest in Headphones
Open work spaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, conference calls and more can quickly become a nuisance.
The solution? Headphones.
Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast as it provides too much word input. But, if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks.
If music in your ear isn’t your jam (pun intended), consider complete silence with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Covering up with a pair of these will block out the chitter chatter and clickety clicks, so you can focus on your workload in peace and quiet.
Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sight to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting.
Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines. It can be a garden window or a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task. If possible, include daylight near your workspace. Increased light exposure is proven to improve sleep habits and therefore increase productivity.
Having a plant nearby can also relax the body and foster creativity. If the space doesn’t have plants, consider commuting with your own or bringing a few to leave in the space. Of course, make sure to talk to the owner of the workspace first to ensure that your greenery doesn’t get tossed out at the end of the day.
If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each his own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.
Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.
Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.
The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!
Scheduling your own hours is a huge perk that comes along with this style of working. However, if you aren’t disciplined with your time, it’s easy to start working in overdrive. Keeping set hours helps you stay on track, sets the pace for your day and for your potential clients and assures you do not overwork yourself.
One of the reasons shared working spaces are successful is the fact that they provide a structured space to work that is not home. Use this to your advantage and keep work and home time separate.
In addition to these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.
You’ve developed some goals- serious, life-changing goals. You’re feeling pretty bad-ass about the future. When you think about making these things happen, you feel exhilarated and energized.
But, perhaps, you are a little intimidated, too.
If that is the case, you could read another self-help book and listen to yet another podcast to get motivated. Or you could try something a bit different by time-traveling to the past to gain wisdom and plan your next move.
Dwelling in the past? Isn’t that super backward and negative?
The good news is that you can use the “how” of past success to move towards future success. Past success provides important clues about how you operate when you’re moving in a positive direction.
How do you usually overcome obstacles? How do you cope when things get rough?
Even if your previous achievements are very different from what you want to do next, they can still provide important clues as to how you can best tackle the next phase. Plus, it can be inspiring to remind yourself that you have and you can accomplish great things.
Here’s how you can do this amazing success strategy.
Write Down Past Successes
Take a moment to revel in previous triumphs. Relive the glorious days and be shameless.
Write down all your earlier accomplishments, even the tiny ones you think don’t matter. Think about milestones completed, bad habits broken and times when you truly shone.
My personal example is quitting smoking. I used to smoke a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes a day, wasting brain power and dollars trying to get my next fix. I am proud to say that in 2005, I stopped smoking for good. I didn’t think I ever could do it, but it’s been twelve years!
Get analytical and deconstruct these past achievements. What did you actually do to make those things happen? What did you have to not do to make things happen?
Be as specific as possible.
What did you tell yourself in order to meet the goal? How did you manage setbacks? What environment(s) helped you to become successful? Who inspired and supported you?
Also, if you are feeling brave, write down all the things that didn’t work.
For example, when I quit smoking, I found the following strategies helpful: reading books about the science of addiction, staying away from “triggering” scenarios and tracking daily progress. What didn’t work: feeling guilty and ashamed, nicotine gum, acupuncture and reading about ill-effects of smoking cigarettes. And watching those anti-smoking ads only made me want to smoke more (go figure!).
Develop Strategies Based on Previous Successes To Accomplish Future Goals
You now have a picture of what has worked for you in the past, so similar tactics are likely to work in the future. This is the premise of “Solutions-Focused Counseling”, a technique whereby you identify “the differences that make a difference”. You recognize what you have been doing right, rather than dwelling on seemingly insurmountable problems and obstacles.
With that in mind, write a list of strategies that will provide the best chance of future success. Here are some ideas:
Proximity: What environment(s) will help you thrive? What needs to change in your daily life?
Self-Talk: What phrases and stories do you need to tell yourself on a regular basis?
Tools and props: What types of gadgets, if any, will help you meet your goal? What apps/newsletters will keep you on track?
Support: Who will you ask to check on your progress? What will you require of your groups/social circles? How can family and friends best demonstrate their support?
Heroes: Who do you find inspiring? What lessons can you learn from their success?
Inspiration and motivation: What resources will keep you motivated during setbacks? What types of books, podcasts or CD’s seem to get you going on bad days?
By now, you will have a list of future goals, past achievements, past goal strategies that did and didn’t work and potential goal strategies for future success. You will also have a greater sense of what makes you tick and what things will make you more likely to be successful.
“Coolly competent, the interviewee enters. Her handshake is firm, her gaze unwavering. Her answers are curt and unvarnished. She’s confident. She can get the job done, no doubt about that. But is she a nice person?”
“Warmly incompetent, the interviewee enters. She smiles nervously, but warms to the interview quickly. She speaks in fits and starts, but always with a big smile. She’s a nice person. But can she get the job done?”
Coolly competent, or warmly incompetent?
According to research done by Amy Cuddy, first impressions are binary. “We look first at two characteristics: how lovable they are (their warmth, communion, or trustworthiness) and how fearsome they are (their strength, agency, or competence)”.
We do this to answer a rather important question: whether or not your new acquaintance is a threat. Threats aren’t so prevalent nowadays. You’re rather less likely to be slain by a marauding tribesman. But our hunter-gatherer brains haven’t caught up. So, when we assess a stranger, we’re looking for danger signs.
Consider the first interviewee. Reading the description, many of you may admire her. She’s certainly got ability. But her lack of warmth triggers the ‘danger’ alarm. The interviewer goes into ‘avoidance’ mode, trying to get away from the threat in front of them. Despite seeing their obvious competence, they begin to find reasons to dislike the interviewee. So, even though the interviewee can do the job well, they don’t get it.
Cuddy advocates the approach of the second interviewee. Being warm and lovable activates the listener’s ‘approach’ mode. They begin to feel kindly towards you and will ignore some of the mistakes you make. You’re more likely to get the job. And if you go on to demonstrate great competence, they will say ‘I knew it all along’.
We think of job interviews as all about demonstrating competence. But they’re not: it’s about demonstrating warmth. That’s why they’re a part of the process: to weed out candidates who might pose a threat to the office environment. But what if you feel that you don’t come across warmly enough?
Here begins the deluge of standard-issue advice. Smile. Make eye contact. Shake their hand with both of yours. Sit with your hands a certain way. Keep your body language open.
The trouble with these pearls of wisdom is they don’t go deep enough. The real way to change from office ‘threat’ to office ‘asset’ is in the way you speak about your experiences.
A quick test. Imagine you’re speaking to someone about your day. If you’re alone, speak out loud. If you’re not, run the conversation through in your head. Talk through what you’ve been up to, what your plans are tonight, and what you’ve got on the docket for tomorrow.
Now consider two possibilities. In the first, you logically went through everything you needed to do. “I’m writing a blog in the morning, then taking the dog out, then going out to dinner in the evening.” It all made sense, and hung together like a list.
In the second, you emphasised the emotive parts of your day. “So I’m struggling at the moment to get a blog finished: you know how it is. Then I’m doing a little walk with Jasper. Oh, and we’re going out to this Persian place. They do really good meze.”
Notice the difference in the two stories. One is rich with detail, full of images that spring to your mind. It’s obvious that the speaker enjoys what they do, and remembers important details from their day. But the other is bland. It has the bare facts, but no details: nothing is important enough to remember.
Let’s test this with an interview question: “Tell us about yourself”.
Here, it’s tempting to start demonstrating competency. You might speak logically about where you went to school, what you did afterwards, and what you did after that. But remember, it’s all about warmth.
You can use the same logical structure, but fill it with detail. What did you enjoy most about school? What did you learn about yourself from where you worked afterwards? What was important, enjoyable, inspiring, or difficult about the experience you had? What did you learn?
It comes down to empathy. The ‘perfect’ job interview isn’t one where you read off your resume. It’s a communion. It’s an easy friendliness and emotional openness that proves two things: that you’re not a threat, and that you might just be something special.
How Do You Show Warmth?
Competency is rather easy to demonstrate. You can reel off years of experience and academic qualifications. Warmth is harder. But there are some steps you can take to put you on the right path.
Reframe Your Experience
Anecdotes can be easily abused in interviews. Remember that time you made a discovery that saved the company? Consider how you might share that story in an interview. You might emphasize how important it was to the company and how much money it saved. Imagine the ideal reaction from your interviewer: ‘How conscientious you are! What an asset you are to that company. They must be terrified to lose you: what will happen now that they can’t leverage your competence?’
Try and find the warmth in your experiences. Tell the story of how you found the discovery. How did you feel when you found it? What dilemma did you face? Who did you tell? How did you feel afterwards? What did you learn? These questions invite the listener to consider your motives, instead of just seeing how great you are. They begin to understand you at a deeper level, and you start to build warmth.
It may be your brain that considers what to say, but it’s your body that says it. Sometimes, your body says things you don’t expect. You may feel deeply interested in the subject, but your body may be communicating disinterest. Get someone you trust to assess your speaking habits. Do you speak too quietly? Do you seem bored? Do you seem nervous?
Try to get the simple things right. Make eye contact. Keep your posture upright and your chest relaxed and open. Use energy when you speak to keep your listener interested. And while you’re there, focus on breathing to relax your body and calm your nerves. Tips on diaphragmatic breathing will be invaluable on that front.
The trickiest thing about demonstrating competence is that it pulls you out of the moment. It sends you out of the interview room via memory lane. You begin to lose focus on the people opposite you. And as you lose focus, you begin speaking at them, not to them.
Every time you speak, your listeners are giving you crucial information. From their reactions, they might be indicating that they’ve heard what you’re saying before. They might be showing confusion or interest in something that you only explained minimally. They are guiding you.
Demonstrating competence can feel like reading off a list of things by rote, without regard for what people actually want to hear. Keep your focus on the person you’re speaking to. You’re speaking to them, so explain things that mean more to them. You’ll learn more about them, and they’ll learn more about you. And that’s how you make a connection.
Increased consumer confidence, internet accessibility, multi/omnichannel options, technology, competition and innovation are some major drivers of this upbeat trend.
The Big Question
Is dropshipping for you?
Wisdom says if it is too good to be true, then it probably is. However, just like any business, dropshipping requires time and effort.
Dropshipping is an e-commerce order fulfillment model where a facilitator (dropshipper) receives orders from buyers (shoppers), passes it on to manufacturers or suppliers and delivers those orders direct to customers (D2C).
In other words, you order from a wholesaler or manufacturer only when your customers order from you. There’s no need for you to stock inventory. All you ever have to worry about is marketing and sales as your entire supply chain and logistics are handled for you.
Unfortunately, dropshipping isn’t for everyone. It could be for you if you love to work remotely and independently and if you hate:
Buying and stocking inventory
If you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of the top-rated dropshipping companies today:
Drop Ship Access
You could start a self-hosted dropshipping store. However, for someone who’s just starting out, you’ll be better off with platforms or companies that already have solutions that seamlessly integrate dropshipping with e-commerce like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce etc. You can skip this tip if you have the men and means to build one from scratch.
Cross-border dropshipping is basically you (dropshipper) dropshipping orders to customers beyond your borders. Take a look at the following model to understand the concept better.
Local vs Global Dropshipping
The following highlights some key differences between local and global dropshipping:
1 No customs duties, taxes, levies Custom duties, taxes, levies
2 Known regulated products Different from country to country
3 Single currency Multi-currency considerations
4 Monolingual Multilingual considerations
5 Single time zone Different time zones
6 Cheaper More expensive
7 Limited reach Unlimited opportunities
7 Tips For Better Cross-Border Dropshipping
Now that you know the differences, here are 7 tips to help you nail cross-border dropshipping:
Investigate Your Target Market
You need not become or hire a Sherlock Holmes. Simply look into existing research before you make the leap. Worth over $672 billion, China is the largest e-commerce market. However, issues like distance, customs procedures, government regulation and payment processing are major pain points for non-Chinese businesses.
Do your due diligence and risk assessment before commencing.
Know Your Target Customers
BigCommerce, in a recent report, similarly revealed that 43% of US shoppers shop while in bed. If this group form part or the core of your consumer base, you need to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.
You need consumer behavior insight when dropshipping abroad.
Some key questions to ask include:
What are their age, gender, income level, location?
What hours do they shop online most?
Who are they?
What is their time zone?
Which social media or search engine do they frequently use?
What products sell more?
What device is mostly used?
Answers to these questions will help you streamline your dropshipping services for more efficiency.
Know International Trade Regulations
It is easy to cross the line with cross-border dropshipping if you are ignorant of relevant international trade laws. This is why you need to familiarize yourself with the current business laws before you actually start with your project.
Take, for example, Kenya.
Recently, Kenya banned the production, selling and use of plastic bags, targeting manufacturers and sellers first. This information can help you decide whether to expand into Kenya, considering your product packaging practice.
Follow the Leaders
Follow industry leaders in cross-border dropshipping and not leads. Most e-commerce marketers spend their ad-earned currency chasing and hoping to convert and keep leads. Instead of being like them, you should study dropshippers like Irwin Dominguez who went from zero to over $1 million in one year.
That’s the kind of guy you should follow and leads will follow you back soon. Follow their strategies on blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any other places where they hang out.
Optimize Your Dropshipping Website
It is critical to get your dropshipping website right. It is your major opportunity to attract, convince and convert leads.
As they interact with your website, online shoppers form opinions about your business. They assess your site’s loading speed, landing pages, ease of navigation, design, UX, forms, product photography/description, and checkout to payment.
If you are unsure how to create one, you can hire freelancers to design one for you on a budget that won’t break the bank.
Language is a core component of social identity and culture. Offering your services in languages local to your international audience is a great way to connect with them.
Currency conversion calculations is another pain point for many cross-border shoppers. E-commerce stores that support multi-currency payments take that stress off of shoppers. It allows them to pay in their local currency while you receive payments in your own currency.
Brand recognition and awareness take time to build. It is okay to sign up to popular marketplaces like Amazon or eBay when you are just starting out. They are platforms that support hundreds of thousands of stores. You can gain experience and share valuable insights from forums and community support such platforms provide.
As you cut your teeth and become more successful, you can start considering other options. If you’re on Shopify, apps like Oberlo can make dropshipping simpler by automating everything from product importation to order fulfillment.
What winning tips have you used in your dropshipping business?
A happy, healthy and attractive beard is not just for the rich and famous. All men can have well-groomed facial hair with a little bit of effort and the right beard grooming tips.
If you’ve always wanted to grow beard that is free of beard dandruff, itching and other issues, here are five fast and cost-effective steps to implement.
The first thing to realize is that your beard will not necessarily look like another man’s beard. If you have unrealistic expectations from the beginning, you will set yourself up for disappointment no matter how nice your beard looks.
Just as in life, you have to be happy with what you have and stop looking at what others have. Contentment goes a long way in your perception of yourself. Your facial hair is unique to you and it might not grow as thick as another man’s, but it will look masculine and convey vitality.
When you look into a mirror, be happy with the new growth. If you are confident in yourself, others will feel that and will also like your beard.
Wash & Shampoo Your Beard
You’d be amazed at how many people forget to shampoo their facial hair when they shower.
Just the simple act of washing your beard whenever you take a shower will do wonders in removing any dirt or grime that is trapped there. Sometimes, facial hair gets tangled up if it is longer, so take the time to just clean and straighten everything out in the shower.
Washing your face regularly will help exfoliate the skin and open up your pores. This helps to increase beard growth, making it thicker and fuller over time.
A shampoo with a good scent is a great option. If you go for one with lime or aloe vera, it will do a good job of removing the dirt. Beard shampoos are available and you can compare ingredients to see what works for you.
Remember though, you don’t want to overdo it. Don’t wash your beard so often with shampoo that you dry it out. Moderation is best.
Resist the urge to scratch
Some guys scratch their beard so fiercely that they end up with inflammation, which makes the problem much worse.
While it might seem impossible, resist the urge to scratch it regularly. If you must, try gently scratching it with something soft. One great technique is to use your fingertips instead of your fingernails. This way, you avoid the harder end and make scratching gentler.
You can also try massaging your beard. It will help you get rid of the urge to itch while preventing damage to your beard and skin.
Use a nice oil
Controlling the itch that accompanies beard growth can be one of the most challenging aspects of growing a beard. A good beard oil can help you with this.
Immediately after washing, apply beard oil. It will help keep your beard soft, prevent excessive itching and keep it healthy. Beard oil helps to protect and moisturize your beard by conditioning it, keeping it hydrated and giving it a nice shine.
Comb your beard regularly
Do you own a beard comb? If not, then get one as soon as possible. Beards grow in all directions and length they want, no matter how hard you try to direct them. They can end up looking rough and unkempt.
A beard comb has narrower teeth and will allow you to comb your facial hair more evenly. This helps your beard appear fuller and healthier. Combing also helps prevent tangles and split ends in addition to removing flakes (dandruff or beard-ruff) and reduce obvious patches.
Implement these five simple and easy steps today to have a happy, healthy beard that you’ll feel good about. Be patient with your beard.
At the end of the day, regardless of what you do, genes are an important factor in how your beard is going to turn out. If you take that into account from the beginning, you won’t expect too much and will be pleasantly surprised.
Most of us dream of owning a sleek, sexy and fast sports car. We see these amazing machines in movies, such as in Fast and the Furious, The Transporter and, most recently, Baby Driver.
With movies like these that show how outstanding and powerful these cars are, it’s no wonder why a lot of people want to own one. The sight of even seeing one makes a lot of people have goosebumps. As the driver inside the car revs the engine, its roar makes people shudder and look in awe.
Certainly a head turner in the streets, sports cars are also a unique status of wealth and power. Each car can be custom-made to fit the specifications of the owner. This fact is the reason why almost all of these cars cost a fortune.
However, for those who are financially secure and capable of buying a luxurious sports car, here are five facts you need to know first.
Expect Nothing Less
As an owner of a sports car, you shouldn’t expect less. The reason why these machines cost so much is that everything about it is made to be perfect for you. From the sexy look of the car, the excellent paint job, to the mechanical aspects and engine power, your car is equipped to please your every demand.
In addition to being customized, elite companies, such as Ford, Lamborghini and BMW, all have the capability to let other people know that you are worthy and capable of driving such an awe-inspiring machine.
Reality of Problems
Sadly, even if you’ve finally realized your dream of owning a sports car, reality will soon sink in. Owning a sports car requires tons of meticulous care, expensive repairs, and hefty taxes.
And if you’re a person who has a family, especially with teens, you’re going to have to accept the fact that they want a piece of your car. They’ll want to take it out for a spin, which could mean a bad thing for you and your dream car. Buying a sports car is difficult. Maintaining one is twice as hard.
Not for the Family Guy
Most sports cars are only for two: one for the driver and one “riding shotgun”. You can’t cram in more people inside if you want a comfortable ride. Sports cars aren’t for family trips.
Another reason why sports cars cost too much is that of their resalable value.
A lot of car enthusiasts or collectors are on the lookout for second-hand sports cars because they know of the difficulties of maintaining one. Since they are properly cared for, second-hand sports cars can remain as good as a new one, but with much lower price tags.
Although a second-hand sports car is cheaper compared to a brand new sports car, its price is still attractive. Some second-hand cars can even cost higher than the original price once their reputation and rarity rise through time.
An example of this is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta which sold for only $33,500. The car was held on by its owner for almost 49 years. After waiting, he finally sold it for a whopping $38,115,000. Now, that’s value through the years.
Your sports car can be an absolute head-turner. This is one reason why a lot of people do silly things when driving their sports cars.
No matter how tempting it is, don’t get caught up in the moment and do something that can damage your vehicle. Take pride in your purchase, but don’t do anything stupid that will jeopardize everything that you’ve worked for all your life.
A lot of people think that the only hurdle in buying a luxury car is the absurdly high cost. However, when they do get to make that purchase, maintaining the car is twice as difficult. A lot of individuals will discover that going to any mechanic or to any other place that will take care of your car will charge extra.
Fortunately, owning a supercar isn’t just all about expensive maintenance. When you do get to own one, prepare yourself for the immense feeling of joy and pride when you drive it down the road. Flaunt your car responsibly and there will be no problems for you and your sports car.
Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see stories of women who get shamed in public for breastfeeding their babies. These stories often involve outrageous circumstances. For example, there are women who shop at lingerie stores who ask to feed their babies in the fitting rooms. Instead of being allowed, they are often redirected to an alley.
There’s also a hashtag trending on social media: #IPumpedHere. This hashtag highlights the degrading conditions in which women are forced to prepare meals for their babies upon returning to work.
In reality, however, women are allowed to feed their babies or pump almost everywhere in the United States. How is that possible? Read on.
The United States Is The Lowest Rated Developed Nation For Breastfeeding Policy
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed for at least 12 months. The World Health Organization, on the other hand, recommends two years. For those who can’t and won’t breastfeed, formula milk makes a great and safe substitute but it’s not the best for growing babies.
There are many reasons why women in the United States make the decision not to breastfeed. One of those reasons is the negative reactions women who decide to breastfeed in public gets.
There are laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public in 49 states. There are also laws at the federal level protecting a woman’s right to pump when she returns to work.
Unfortunately, these laws only cover women who work at businesses with more than 50 people and limited to one year after the birth of a child. Because of these and many other issues, only about half of babies in the United States are breastfed until six months of age.
Laws For Breastfeeding In The Workplace
When mothers return to work, they will often need to pump at least twice a day. This helps keep their milk supply up. Without pumping, their babies will not be able to get the amount of breast milk they need to be healthy and to grow. Preventing women from pumping can also lead to pain and discomfort.
Federal law requires that companies with 50 or more employees follow these guidelines for working mothers:
Provide adequate break time for pumping for up to one year after baby’s birth
Provide a space, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump with a locking door
Employers are not required to compensate employees for this time
Provide electricity and refrigeration for pumping and storage
Why Support Mothers In The Workplace?
The biggest reason to support mothers in the workplace is that it is the right thing to do.
When women have options, they are going to be able to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. This, in turn, will lead to stronger families. In addition to that, keeping women engaged in the workforce longer allows them to grow faster in their careers instead of having to start over from the bottom every time they take a break to have a child or care for an aging parent.
Women do the majority of the unpaid caretaking and it can take a significant toll on their earning power in the long run. And if you still need more reasons to support women in the workforce, the United States won’t be able to compete in the global economy with other industrialized nations if we keep marginalizing the talent of women and forcing them off to the sidelines when they don’t always want to be there.
Knowing your rights and being vocal about exercising them is going to be important. Don’t be afraid to talk to your company about your needs because you might find that they are more willing than you think to accommodate you with a pumping room and break time.
If you are going to be breastfeeding in public, and you will be breastfeeding in public more than likely, be ready to confront and diffuse any uncomfortable situations. Remember that you have the right to breastfeed your baby and no one has the right to tell you not to.
The days when solar panels used to be a rare and exotic source of energy are gone. Their popularity is growing and a lot of people are now choosing it as their main source of electricity.
Before installing this system that is supposed to lower energy bills, people are usually curious about the average efficiency of solar panels and the price. If you are one of these people, you’re probably wondering if they are really profitable and how much you can save.
Here are some of the most important facts you should know about solar panels for home.
What is the price of solar panels?
The price of solar panels might be different depending on the state you live in as well as your desired size. The more panels you need, the higher the price tags become.
The average price for solar panels is about $4 per watt. A whole system can be as big as 5 kilowatts, which means it can cost you almost $19,000. That may seem too pricey, but it is worth it in the long run.
If you fear that this price won’t fit in your budget, there are ways for you to spend less on solar panels. Government incentives, for example, can reduce the cost of solar panels.
How to Spend Less on Solar Panels?
Federal investment tax credit is a way to make the price of solar panels lower. It can also save you some money on installation. Except for a national rebate, there are also regional discounts. If you add both, the price can be reduced significantly.
For example, if you have a house in Austin, Texas and want to install a large 7-kilowatt solar panel system, it would cost about $26,000. The city’s rebate will reduce $800 per kilowatt and you will save about $6,000. Thanks to the federal tax credit, you might be able to save an additional $6,000.
All in all, you’ll probably save more than $10,000 in total. So, before installation, consider checking the government incentives you can get in your city.
How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels?
The main reason to install solar panels is that it allows paying less for the electricity. How much exactly can you save?
Depending on the size of your system, you can save from $150 to $200 per month. The solar system pays for itself in a period of about 7 to 15 years. It is a good result considering the fact that it can serve you for 20 to 30 years.
The competition on the market of solar panels is growing, making them more affordable. If you also use the incentives and rebates, it becomes possible to install solar panels for less than $10,000.
Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?
While making a decision about solar panel installment, it is important to think not only about the cost of the system, but also about the amount of sun in your area. Both direct and scattered sunlight is good for solar panels, but there still should be enough sunny days to feel the benefits.
Before installing a solar panel system, it might be a good idea to check a specialist’s opinion and find out if your state is suitable for solar energy usage. Another crucial factor is the location of the house and the roof.
Make sure it is possible to provide panels with good exposure. Check where the roof faces, the number of trees and presence of constructions that are situated around. In case the location is not satisfying, solar panels can also be installed on a garage roof or you can use a ground-mounted system.
Solar panels installment requires a lot of time but if you pay attention to all the details it might become a great investment.
Most young people dream of professional success and glorious careers. What they often neglect in that regard is the importance of good studying and self-development.
Some of the biggest authorities in all fields of work emphasize that consistency in learning is what made them so productive and outstanding.
One of the best football players in history, Brazil-born Pele, cleverly noted: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
A vast majority of famous people are well aware of this fact and they nurture all sorts of daily habits to help them achieve their objectives.
A long time ago, Nelson Mandela stated: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
So, in this article, we will show you the best study tips of famous people you can use for your own success:
Daily routines which increase odds of success
What keeps you going and gives you the motive to study depends on your personality. However, the general goal is to secure a fruitful future through learning, making knowledge your personal capital for the future.
According to John F. Kennedy, the goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. But, how do you improve knowledge and the results of your studying?
Some daily routines are common to many famous persons and we decided to present you our top 5 picks. Let’s take a closer look here.
Get up early
People often say that the early bird catches the worm.
If you get up early, you have more than enough time to plan the day, determine your short-term goals and schedule your activities. Doing so, you will enhance the quality of studying because the brain is always fresh after sleep.
It is not a surprise to discover that many famous persons get up very early. The list includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns.
All of these people know that they have to seize the day and use it only to complete important duties. Just like Tim Cook once said: “You can only do so many things great and you should cast aside everything else.”
Read a lot
Reading is the essence of the learning process and some extremely successful individuals claim that it sets the cornerstone of their career achievements. Billionaire Warren Buffett, TV host Oprah Winfrey and extravagant scientist-businessman Elon Musk are some of those who strongly believe in the power of written works.
Allegedly, Buffett used to read as much as 600 pages each day in the early stages of his career while Musk claims that he literally learned how to build rockets from the books. Needless to say, this is an essential suggestion for all students, teachers and young business people.
It’s a widely known fact that Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks, didn’t go on a vacation during the first 7 years of his private business. At the same time, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer used to triple her weekly working hours while she was a member of Google’s team. These people know that they cannot replace hard work with intelligence, talent or intuition.
Sometimes you just need to unplug and do what you have to do. Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, knew this very well as he used to take thousands of jump-shots each week even in-between seasons.
His famous quote precisely describes the principle of hard work: “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.”
One of the most popular Latin phrases claims that a healthy mind is in a healthy body. This couldn’t be more accurate because training gives people physical and mental strengths to deal with the most difficult challenges. Young people should know this just like Hillary Clinton, Haruki Murakami and Richard Branson know it.
These and many other famous persons conduct regular daily exercises and never skip training sessions. They do all sorts of exercises to remain healthy and in a good shape. They do yoga, swimming, jogging, cardio training or weight lifting.
Body fitness is simply a prerequisite for professional success and that is why you should follow these examples and exercise regularly.
Some people don’t want to nurture the “all or nothing” approach in their lives. Instead, they prefer incremental work processes in a long period of time. This is especially characteristic for famous writers like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway or Stephen King. They all had a writing routine that kept them fruitful and productive.
For instance, Hemingway used to write for a few hours in the morning and then he would stop just to let the ideas flourish inside his head until the following day. On the other side, Twain and King used to set the minimum number of pages they ought to write each day and they would do it without exemptions.
The most important thing in this model is to force yourself to start again on a daily basis. Just like Twain used to say: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Success doesn’t come easy. It’s the product of dedication, talent, hard work and a lot of learning. Some of the most famous people in the world often emphasize how passion towards studying enabled them to become successful.
Through learning, you gain valuable knowledge and also create the habit to work consistently. These are the basic preconditions of success, so do your best to follow these 5 study tips and find out which one suits your character the most.
Managing a business is easier said than done. When you run your own business, you need to give it all your time and attention. It’s a job that is both demanding and fulfilling.
Eventually, you’ll want to turn it into a business that can run without you. This, unfortunately, is the harder part.
The first obstacle you need to anticipate is manpower. For small businesses and start-up companies, it is usually the owner that does most of the work. To help you out, here are the top business productivity apps you can rely on for help.
This is a time tracking app that can help you manage projects and your team at the same time. It can track your team’s work activities which you can view in a simple timeline mode.
If you have remote employees or you’re not in the office most of the time, you can use this app to check on your team’s productivity. As the project leader, you’ll be able to view what sites your members visited or what apps they’ve used in a specific period of time.
Tmetric is completely free and can be integrated with other tools like Trello, Basecamp, Jira, Asana, and RedMine. Compared with other time tracking apps, this one is very user-friendly and does not require training to understand.
It’s a simple click-and-go app with powerful features at no cost.
In addition to onboarding new team members, it’s a great tool for training existing team members without having to set up individual meetings, too. By creating ‘flows’, which are basically tasks made into a smaller set of activities, you can easily track your team’s progress and productivity.
BONUS: You can also consider this free automated timesheet template as an additional resource to help you track time across your teams and stay more productive.
A recent survey showed that almost a third of the US population cannot cook. Decades of TV dinners and ready meals have left many of us unable to find our way around a kitchen. However, with some basic skills, you can find that cooking can be an enjoyable and healthy pastime.
Follow these cooking tips for beginners and easily become a master of the stove- even if you have never cooked before.
How to boil an egg
Let’s start with something simple- a perfectly boiled egg.
It’s great for a quick snack or as an add-on to your salad. It is one of the simplest things to cook — put on a tight lid if you know how.
Cooking an egg to the perfect level of hardness can seem like a mystery. The trick, however, is in the timing.
Put a pan on the stove with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat slightly to a simmer where the water bubbles gently. Add the eggs carefully and then start a timer. You need to leave them for 6 minutes if you want a runny egg yolk. Leave them for 8 minutes if you want the yolk to be set softly or 9 minutes if you want a hard boiled egg.
Cook a perfect steak
Similar to a perfect egg, cooking a perfect steak is a matter of timing. You need to heat a pan until it is smoking hot. Don’t put any oil in the pan. Instead, rub your steak with some oil then some salt and pepper.
Place your steak in the pan and leave it alone! Resist the temptation to move it about. Wait for a minute or so until it is ready to be turned. Depending on the thickness of the steak, you need to cook it for about 1½ minutes per side for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare and about 2½ for medium.
However, rather than just relying on time, here is an additional test. Pinch your thumb and first finger. If you feel the flesh between your thumb and finger, this is what a rare steak should feel like. When you touch your middle finger to your thumb, you will get the feel of medium rare and your ring finger will give you the feel of a medium cooked steak. You can use this as a way of telling if your steak is cooked perfectly every time.
Remember, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow it to reabsorb the juices and be totally delicious!
Handle a knife safely
Your kitchen can be a dangerous place. It’s filled with hot pans, sharp knives and more. Because of that, knowing how to handle a knife is vital. You also need to know how to select the correct knife for the job.
Your knife must be sharp! A blunt knife is more likely to slip and cut you. Treat your knives well and keep them razor sharp. Wash them by hand as your dishwasher will blunt the blades.
Remember that you always need to keep your fingers clear of the blade when cutting. Do this by curling your fingers so that the knife is guided by your knuckles and your fingertips are clear.
Speed is not essential. Practice will allow you to work faster and more accurately with your knife.
How to cook rice perfectly every time
Rice is a staple for many meals. However, wet or burnt rice will easily ruin a dish.
For perfect rice, you need to wash your rice until the water runs clear. Take a medium sized pan and put in about ½ a cup (90g) per person. Cover with water so that it’s about an inch above the rice and bring to a boil.
When it’s boiling, keep an eye on the rice as you are watching out for bubbling holes on the surface of the rice. As soon as you see this, put in a tight lid and switch off the heat. Leave the rice for 10 minutes and serve immediately.
Make a pasta sauce
A tomato ragu is a simple pasta sauce which you can use to create a delicious and quick pasta dish, meatballs or some grilled chicken. It is a very versatile addition to many dishes.
Finely chop onion, carrot and celery and place them in a pan with a little olive oil. You want to gently heat this so that they soften without browning. Patience is everything here!
Add a tin of plum tomatoes, a sprinkle of basil, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and water. Mix well and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer if you can. Make sure you stir it every so often and then serve with your favorite pasta or meat.
Become a BBQ master
Mastering a barbecue is a great skill and there is more to it than firing up the grill and hoping for the best.
Step one, preheat your grill. Placing meat on a cold grill will leave you with undercooked food. Heat the grill for ten minutes or so before you place your first items, ensuring it is searing hot.
Check if your meat is at room temperature. You should take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you start cooking. You can use a meat thermometer. It may cost a few dollars, but it will save you from having burgers that are burnt on the outside, raw in the middle.
For ground beef, you need to ensure that you have an internal temperature of at least 160℉ to ensure that any bacteria is killed. There is nothing worse than being remembered for poisoning your guests!
Oil the grill using a brush so that nothing sticks. Use wood chips to add a smoky BBQ taste. You can wrap some corn on the cob in foil with butter to add to your steak and burgers.
Bluff your way with wine
There has never been a better time to enjoy a good wine. There is such a great selection available at affordable prices.
If you know nothing about wine, you should start by trying out a number of different wines. Many specialist shops will have taster sessions to help you understand wine better. While you are there, remember to jot down the names of the bottles you enjoyed.
Start with some classic wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Rioja. From there, build your selection as you try more new tastes.
Make life simple with batch cooking
We have all been there. We get home from work and want something to eat but we can’t be bothered to cook. So, we reach for a take-out menu.
If you keep on experiencing this issue, then the answer is batch cooking. It’s the art of creating additional portions when you cook meals. It is perfect for dishes like chili con carne, casseroles and soups. You can portion them off into plastic boxes and freeze them until you need them for quick dinners.
Remember to package the meals carefully. There should be no excess air in the packaging as this can cause freezer burn.
Make your own bread
Making bread is something that’s deeply satisfying, particularly if your home starts getting filled with the delicious scent of warm bread. It may not be something you want to do every day, but it’s a great thing to do on the weekends.
The recipes are pretty simple. Basically, you’ll need yeast, warm water and flour kneaded together.
Probably the best tip for anyone who wants to get into cooking is to enjoy it. Look at your time in the kitchen not as a chore, but an opportunity to chill out after work or as a weekend activity. Put on some great music, grab a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy creating some great dishes!
‘If you feel nervous, just take a few deep breaths. In, then out. In, then out.’
This feels like an obvious advice. Everyone knows that slow, deep breathing can calm the heart rate and lower feelings of anxiety. You may have tried this breathing technique to calm your nerves at a job interview, a presentation or a date.
It’s also obvious how to breathe. It’s intuitive, after all.
As you breathe in, the intercostal muscles expand, the ribs rise and the shoulders rise and spread. Then, as you breathe out, it all relaxes. You inhale up and then exhale down. Breathing expert Belisa Vranich says that 9 out of 10 people breathe this way, using what she calls ‘vertical breathing’.
The Bad Things About Vertical Breathing
Unfortunately, vertical breathing happens to be tremendously inefficient.
It uses enormous muscular effort. The rib cage is heavy and your neck and back muscles take most of the weight. The effort of hiking up the rib cage on inhalation can cause neck and back pain.
That extra effort stimulates the ‘Vagus’ nerve, the ‘wanderer’ nerve that travels from the gut to the brain. The brain uses the wanderer nerve to check up on how the body is feeling. When you’re breathing vertically, the body sends up ‘danger’ signals to the brain.
So, just breathing badly can elicit feelings of anxiety.
Vertical breathing also robs your brain of oxygen. Think of the shape of your lungs. They’re pear-shaped, with the large parts at the bottom. Raising the ribs fills the thin, narrow parts of the pear, leaving the oxygen-rich bottom unexpanded.
Oxygen energizes your brain, blood and muscles. Visitors to London’s ‘oxygen bar’ -UK’s only licensed vendor of oxygen- can attest to that.
If your friend feels anxious, tell him to ‘take a deep breath’. Their shoulders rise, their ribs expand, their neck strains, their vagus nerve pings ‘danger’ and their brains de-oxygenate. Most likely, they’ll feel more anxious after that.
So, what could you tell your friends to do differently?
When in doubt, trust Sesame Street. In 2012, they released ‘Belly Breathe’, featuring a rabid ‘monster’ Elmo assisted by Common and Colbie Caillat. In it, they place Elmo’s hand on his belly. He breathes, his belly moves and he returns to his normal self.
Breathing from the belly is otherwise known as diaphragmatic breathing. As you breathe in, the belly expands and this creates an internal cavity for the diaphragm to drop into. The bottoms of the lungs fill with oxygen. The ribs stay still, relaxing the neck and shoulders. Also, the Vagus nerve sends calming signals to the brain.
As you breathe out, the belly deflates inwards. The movement is horizontal, not vertical. This is good breathing.
But, I have a small critique of the Sesame Street method. Their lyrics go: ‘put your hands on your belly and you slowly breathe in’. This seems perfectly innocuous on the surface, but good teaching can sometimes be about changing your wording.
The instruction to ‘breathe in’ is dangerous. Watch the kids in the Sesame Street video. Their hands are on their belly, but they’re breathing with their shoulders. A producer told them to ‘breathe in’, and their brain went ‘Oh, I know how to do that!’ and they breathed badly. In my sessions, most people do the same.
So, it’s not enough to know the technique. We need to reframe how we think about breathing and that’s where I’d like to make my contribution.
When you feel anxious, don’t take a deep breath in. Breathe out first.
Breathing out is very hard to get wrong. Your belly always deflates. You’ll feel it going back towards your spine if you breathe out firmly enough. Some people say “But I need to breathe in first. There’s no air in my lungs!”.
That’s not true. Only puncturing the lungs can empty them. You have a little bit of air in them all the time. It’s called the Resting Expiratory Level and you can use it to breathe out.
And when you’ve breathed out all of your air, don’t think ‘breathe in’. Just think ‘relax’ and notice the air passively returning to your lungs. Notice the belly relaxing back outwards and keep the shoulders still. Yes, that’s diaphragmatic breathing.
You know what they say—applying for a job is a job in itself. Albeit a little negative, the saying is correct—it does take a lot of energy and effort to search and apply for jobs. In this day and age, it’s likely that you will be submitting at least 20 or more applications in an average job search. And when each job requires your resume, an online application (complete with questionnaire), plus a stellar cover letter that’s tailored to each and every job listing, it’s easy to see why the process gets exhausting.
Although it might be tempting to just write a generic cover letter for each of these job listings, you could be sabotaging your job search. The average number of people who apply for one position is around 118. So, how do you put your name at the top of the stack out of the dozens of people applying for a job? Although there’s no surefire trick that will help get you each and every job, having well-written and tailored job materials will always increase your chances of getting a call back for an interview.
So, what are the key components of a cover letter and what should you say in them? How exactly do you write a great cover letter?
Here are a few tips on writing an effective cover letter that will help you land your dream job.
What Does a Good Cover Letter Consist Of?
A good cover letter will accomplish the following four things:
1. Have correct formatting. 2. Tell your prospective employer who you are. 3. Tell your prospective employer why you’re qualified for this job. 4. Tell your prospective employer why you’re more qualified than other applicants.
Now that we know what the components are, let’s break down each section.
Get in Cover Letter Formation
First things first, you have to make sure that your cover letter format is correct. You will need to have your name and contact information in a centered header at the top. The first line will be the date you’re writing the cover letter and will be left-aligned. Underneath your date, you will put a space, and then you will address the person you are writing the letter to (the person listed in the job ad) and put their position name if known, company, and address.
See the example below.
In addition to your name and your prospective employer’s name being correctly formatted, you also want to be sure to keep your cover letter all on one page. If your prospective employer sees more than one page, it’s likely they are not going to read it. So, even if you really want to mention that you won the sixth-grade science fair, you probably won’t have the space to do so. Be sure to sign your letter with a “Sincerely,” add a space below, and then put your first and last name.
Tell Them Who You Are
Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to your prospective employer, and, if you’re lucky enough to get the job, then this will be the introduction to people you could potentially work with for years. You definitely want to make a good first impression, and to make a good first impression you need to properly introduce yourself. In the first paragraph of your cover letter, say your first and last name and write exactly what position you are applying for (there could be several positions open in the company).
After that, you will want to give the employer your “elevator speech” on paper. The HR team or the hiring manager will be blazing through these cover letters to see whom they can eliminate right away so it’s crucial to stick to the important facts quickly. Say why you’re qualified for the job right away. Name your years of relevant experience, your string of internships, or anything else that is relevant. Be brief and professional. You want to be as succinct as possible.
Write Why You Are Qualified
After you’ve introduced yourself, the next one to two paragraphs are going to be about why you’re qualified for this position in particular.
It may be uncomfortable, but this is your time to brag. You don’t want to come off as too much, however. For example, something like this would be fine: “I believe that my experience working on several different types of publications, experience editing in both AP and Chicago Manual of Style, and my ability to collaborate with writers make me qualified for this copyediting position.” But something like this might come off as too braggadocious: “I believe I would be able to enter your position with relatively no training as I have already mastered everything that was listed in your qualifications on the job ad.”
If you can also put your achievements in quantitative terms, do so. An example would be: “As Sales Manager in X Company, I was able to raise our annual profits by a total of 20% for 2016.”
Key tip: Use language directly from the job ad in your cover letter. If the job description says that you must be an expert in using Specific Program XYZ, then specifically state that you are an expert in using Specific Program XYZ.
Write Why You’re Most Qualified
So, you’ve already established that you’re qualified for the position. Now is the time that you need to write about why you’re more qualified than anyone else.
Why would you be good to work with? Have you never missed a deadline on your own account? Do you go above and beyond? Are you always the first one at the office? What is it about you that sticks out above all the rest? Write that in a short paragraph and then you’re ready to close it out.
At the end of your cover letter, you will need to add just a sentence that says something along the lines of, “If you have any questions about my work history or would like any more information, please contact me at _____. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
And then you write a signature and you’re ready to send that letter off.
Be Sure to Proofread
Lastly—and this can’t be overstated—it’s so important to have someone give your cover letter a read and ensure that it is 100% grammatically correct and doesn’t contain any spelling errors. It’s really difficult to catch your own errors, and you don’t want to re-read it after you hit send and discover that you misspelled something in the job title or accidentally wrote the name of the wrong company.
If you are looking for the perfect career option, you might be thinking about majoring in finance. However, you could be wondering what your job opportunities will look like if you do end up getting this degree. Luckily, this is a career field that has a lot of different opportunities. These are some of the potential careers in finance you can look into.
Some people need a lot of help with their personal finances. They might be having trouble meeting their financial goals or might just be looking to make the most out of the money they’ve saved and worked for. For these individuals, a financial planner can be incredibly helpful.
After majoring in finance, you can choose to help people with their personal finances by becoming a financial planner. In this job, you will help people determine how to handle their money, achieve their financial goals and plan for their future. You’ll need a broad and varied view of finances and be able to advise on a variety of financial topics.
Many businesses and non-profit organizations like to have someone who will take a second look at their budget to help determine where they can make cuts and changes. As a budget analyst, you can help these businesses and organizations to improve the way they spend their money.
If you love the idea of working in an office, you might like the idea of being an office secretary. With this type of job, you will help with handling finances, but you may have to wear a lot of other hats as well. This could be a good fit for someone with a finance degree. Someone with a human resources degree or general business degree might also find this as a good job choice.
One of the most common jobs that people with finance degrees look for is a job as an accountant. Of course, there are all sorts of different accountants.
You could choose to primarily work with individuals who need help with their taxes or you could work for a business and handle their payroll, budgeting, taxes and more. You could even open your own accounting firm and provide accounting services of various types to those who need them.
If you choose a career as a credit analyst, you will generally work within a bank or lending institution. Your job will be to take a look at the credit profiles of individuals who apply for various types of loans. After assessing their profiles, you’ll determine whether or not they qualify for the loan.
If you choose a career as an actuary for an insurance company, your job will be to calculate risks. As you might already know, insurance companies generally base their customers’ rates by the chances of them filing a claim.
If you are passionate about finance and would love to share it with others, you can always consider working as an instructor at a college or university. By teaching finance classes, you will be able to improve your own education and share your knowledge with the rest of the world.
As you can see, engaging in these careers in finance can be a wonderful thing as they can open up a lot of doors for you. If you think you might be interested in one of these careers or another career in finance, consider looking into your options for attending a school with a good finance program. After that, you can start working your way to achieving your career goals.
When we look back across our lives, it is often the most prominent of events and landmarks that we remember: a kiss, a birthday party, a new job, or a sporting achievement. Yet it is the way we live our day-to-day lives that truly defines who we are and how we feel. Happiness breeds happiness, and it is important to start with the fundamentals.
All around the world, ordinary people and famous achievers alike have developed ways to buoy their daily experience for thousands of years. Whether due to the local climate, religious and cultural tendencies, or just a chance habit that caught the imagination of others in that region, every place has its own techniques to share on how to make regular life just that little bit nicer.
So let’s take a look at things folk from around the world do to give their day that tweak it needs, and how you can adapt these ideas to your daily life.
The Japanese have a relatively new ‘tradition’ to reconnect with their souls. It’s called ‘shinrin-yoku’, or forest-bathing, and was developed in the 1980s in an atmosphere of suffocating cityscapes and omnipresent technology.
To practice shinrinu-yoku:
Go for a walk in the forest, or a wooded area of your local park
Take time to think about every sound you hear while you walk
Appreciate the smells and the texture of the trees
Reconsider your existence in the context of our ancient natural world.
The Hawaiians have a particular method for dealing with problems in everyday relationships: ‘Ho‘oponopono’. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a colleague at work whom you feel has done you wrong, Ho‘oponopono is a means of figuring out things by yourself rather than responding rashly and making things worse.
Allowing resentment to build will ultimately hurt you more than the person to whom it is aimed. Instead:
Take a deep breath
Find ten minutes to think things through
Be grateful for what you have
Forget your own needs for a moment and consider the other person’s point of view
Express your own feelings calmly
Work towards mutual forgiveness.
‘Friluftsliv’, or ‘free air life’, is the Norwegian practice of spending time in the outdoors. Aside from the benefits of fresh air, subjecting yourself to decent amounts of natural daylight can help you to regulate your sleep and stay in touch with the natural rhythms of the world around you.
If you spend most of your time indoors:
Establish a morning and/or evening ‘outdoors ritual’, such as walking the dog
Use every coffee break at work as an opportunity to get some fresh air
If it’s warm enough, eat lunch outdoors; otherwise, take a stroll through the park before you eat indoors
Look beyond the borders of your town. It’s usually easy to find a national park or natural area to visit on the weekends.
If the Norwegians are all about heading into nature by themselves to ‘re-connect’, Germans are more about reconnecting with each other. ‘Gemütlichkeit’ is that particularly German manner of celebrating togetherness with a frothy beer, a song and a dance.
To get some of this goodness in your own social life:
Be careful not to take the people you live and work with for granted
Never miss a chance to raise a toast
Take time to greet people properly and say meaningful goodbyes, even if you see them every day.
The famous Spanish siesta is an endangered animal. Sadly, even as experts more frequently recommend an afternoon nap to boost workplace productivity, many business managers are concerned that lost time and energy is bad for profit margins.
To take a healthy, effective siesta:
Nap for no more than thirty minutes
Sleep in an armchair or sofa rather than a bed
Make sure you do it regularly and not just as an occasional treat.
We are a generation of multi-taskers – but often, allowing our work and personal lives to overlap means doing a bad job at both and truly enjoying neither. A little daily ritual to demarcate the various areas of your life can help you more accomplished and relaxed. The French do this by taking a small drink between work and the evening meal: the apéritif.
To leave work behind for the day:
Change into a new set of clean clothes as soon as you get home
Switch off work notifications on your phone
Pour yourself a drink of something special – it doesn’t have to be boozy!
Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil
In 1909, the French Society of Hygiene told us: “Yerba mate raises morale, sustains the muscular system, augments strength and allows one to endure privations.” What they did not mention is that drinking this special tea in the company of friends is also good for the soul.
To tap into the South American ritual of mate-tea drinking:
Always offer a drink to everyone in the room when you’re brewing up
Try to establish a ‘tea tray’ culture for meetings at work
Try the real thing – yerba mate can be found in lots of health shops and some regular grocery stores.
‘Keyif’ is all about idle moments of relaxation and contemplation. Remind yourself to take a couple of these each day – the manner of doing so is different from individual to individual.
To identify your moment of mindfulness:
Slow down – take the long route from A to B, and never be in more than a hurry than you need
Pay attention to what makes you happy, be it the sound of the breeze in a tree you walk past each day, or a particular seat in a café that makes you feel calm
Try watching a few ASMR videos for some ideas on how the mundane can become almost transcendental.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnian people like to break up their morning with a slow coffee, brewed in a special pot and served with sugar or candy. It’s thick and tasty like Turkish coffee, but just as important is the symbolic side: taking time to discuss the day’s events or a business proposition.
Enjoy tea or coffee as an experience in itself, not something to fuel you while you work
Use your coffee break to talk to other people, rather than staring at your phone
Look into buying a Bosnian coffee set online – it will change your life!
If there’s one trait all Japanese women share, it’s their fresh, glowing skin. It doesn’t matter if she is 20 or 60 years old, every Japanese woman seems to have a flawless, radiant complexion.
This begs the question, what is their beauty secrets to having porcelain-like skin? How do they manage to look younger and more graceful as they age?
While there’s no magic formula for youthful skin, these lovely ladies do have certain beauty secrets that help them maintain their fair complexions.
Here are some of Japan’s most treasured beauty ingredients, which are used in most of their makeup and skin products:
Tsubaki, also known as camellia, is a flowering plant found in southern and eastern Asia. The tsubaki flower offers a range of benefits for the skin.
The oil extracted from camellia seeds is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and numerous polyphenol antioxidants. Its creamy, non-greasy nature makes it a great moisturizer for rough skin. The oil also has many properties that keep your skin fresh, supple and moist.
Tsubaki flower oil contains vast amounts of omega-9 oleic fatty acid, which increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It is absorbed into the skin as easily as water and it boosts cell growth. It lends flexibility and support to the skin, too.
The oil permeates right down to the inner layers of the skin, nourishing it from the inside and hydrating any dry patches. It is a natural transdermal carrier that transports essential proteins (elastin and collagen) and nutrients, replenishing skin cells and repairing damage caused by heat, dryness and aging.
Camellia oil is free from irritants and is suitable for use on sensitive skin. It opens up the pores and allows the body to remove harmful toxins naturally through sweat glands.
Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit of Chinese and Tibetan origin. It was first introduced in Japan during the Tang dynasty. Both the pulp and the seeds are beneficial for your skin.
The fruit is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has vast stores of vitamin C and flavonoids. Because of that, this fruit can help combat the harmful radicals that can cause premature aging.
Yuzu fruit is a popular skin revitalizing and nourishing agent. It tones the skin naturally and adds to its firmness and vitality.
Regular use of yuzu moistens and refreshes the skin layers. The oil extracted from yuzu softens and nourishes the skin, giving it a supple and radiant appearance. During winter solstice, it is an ancient practice to take relaxing and rejuvenating yuzu baths at home or in onsens.
Sakura, also known as cherry blossom, is one of the two national flowers of Japan (the other is chrysanthemum). It is one of Japan’s best-kept beauty secrets and is used extensively in skin creams and perfumes.
The sakura flower is rich in antioxidants and helps cleanse the body of impurities and pollutants that damage the skin. Its store of essential fatty acids fortifies the skin’s natural barriers, making it smooth and supple.
Sakura extract promotes a firm, mature complexion, regenerating the skin from the inside out. Its anti-glycation properties promote collagen formation in fibroblast cells.
Sakura extract cleans and whitens the skin and combats signs of anti-aging. It inhibits the production of melanin, a dark-brown or black pigment, thereby restoring uneven skin pigmentation. The extract also promotes skin cell growth and combats cell death caused by advanced glycation-end products (AGE).
Ume is a flowering plant used in Japan for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. The common name for ume is plum blossom. The fruit is a rich source of natural antioxidants called phytochemicals. These substances help to combat the effects of oxygen radicals in the body, keeping the internal systems functioning smoothly. It prevents signs of premature aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.
The ume fruit has abundant stores of vitamin C, which detoxifies the body of impure chemicals. This property helps promote a radiant and healthy skin complexion. Ume contains anti-aging nutrients that help to reduce wrinkles and dark spots. You can find it in various Japanese face masks and creams that can help soothe, hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.
Rice bran is a byproduct of rice milling. It contains vast reserves of antioxidants, vitamins B and E and essential fatty acids that combat harmful radicals in the body. It is rich in tocotrienols, which are absorbed into the inner layers of the skin. They form the first line of defense against free radicals. Tocotrienols also restore damage caused by oxidative rays, repairing the skin and slowing the skin aging process.
Rice bran cleans the skin from the inside out, causing it to appear fresh and healthy. The phytonutrient and oryzanol in rice bran acts as an effective sunscreen, protecting the skin against lipid peroxidation caused by UV light. Gamma oryzanol contains ferulic acid, which has anti-aging properties.
Algae refers to a diverse range of photosynthetic organisms known for their nutritive and medicinal value. They are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, such as chlorophyll and omega-3 fatty acids. This makes them ideal for treating irritated skin. They have potent antioxidant properties that help to eradicate free radicals and pollutants from the body.
Algae also combat the effects of oxidative damage to plasma and red blood cells. They support skin cell repair and growth, healing your skin from the inside out and cancelling signs of aging caused by dead skin cells.
Green tea is an herbal drink made from steaming or roasting fresh Camellia sinensis leaves. It’s a popular component of traditional Japanese medicine. Today, you can find it in skin creams and beauty masks.
Green tea is very beneficial for skincare. It contains a store of antioxidants that help in flushing out toxins from the skin. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for soothing itchy skin and healing blemishes and scars.
Green tea is rich in tannin, an astringent that works really well in treating dark circles and puffy eyes. Its reserves of antioxidants and astringents help to soothe inflamed blood vessels under the eyes, thereby reducing swelling or ‘bags’.
The free radicals floating in the body cause the skin to sag, wrinkle and age prematurely. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin C and catechins, which combat the dermal damage caused by these radicals.
The catechins present in green tea act as a defense against acne-causing bacteria. They also regulate hormonal imbalance in the body, one of the main causes of acne.
Furthermore, green tea acts as a natural skin toner that cleanses impurities, reduces large pores and hydrates the skin. Using it regularly can give the skin a fresh and healthy appearance.
Personal boundaries are limits we set for other people regarding their behavior towards us. Establishing personal boundaries means stopping other people from pressuring us to do what we don’t want to do or put up with things we don’t want.
There are people in our lives that can violate our personal boundaries and make us feel uncomfortable, used and emotionally drained. Many of us put up with poor treatment by others because we are afraid to make them feel angry or lose their friendship. We might also feel guilty for standing up to other people and telling them no.
If you often feel like that and have difficulties building and keeping personal boundaries, there are a few things you need to practice.
Get Comfortable with Negative Emotions
Standing up for yourself and saying no to people very often gets a negative reaction from them. That is something to be expected and you need to realize that them getting mad is not your problem and that you cannot allow your boundaries to be violated just for the sake of avoiding negative emotions.
Even though people may get angry at first, they will soon realize they were asking too much from you. And if they don’t realize that and still hold resentment, that is not your fault. You should feel free to let them go.
Don’t Reward Poor Treatment by Giving People What They Want
When people learn that they get what they want from you even when they treat you poorly, they will be encouraged to continue doing that. By standing up for yourself and not giving them what they want, you’ll be teaching them that their behavior is not only unacceptable but also doesn’t get them anything positive. We have the power to guide how other people treat us by our reactions to their behavior.
Feel Free to Say No
You may be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or appear selfish by saying no. However, you need to realize that saying yes when you mean to say no causes you to hold unnecessary resentment towards other people. That isn’t healthy for you and your relationships.
Saying no to someone doesn’t mean you are a bad or a selfish person. It means you are being honest about your feelings and desires.
You can stop other people from violating your boundaries by making yourself unavailable physically or emotionally. Don’t answer their calls and messages or tell them you are busy. Don’t react when they try to get something out of you and don’t participate in conversations that make you feel bad about yourself. Often, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
Know What You Want
To be assertive and to establish clear boundaries, you need to know what you want from people and what your values are. You need to be in touch with your own wants and feelings to be able to communicate them and recognize when they are being hurt or violated. Be introspective and ask yourself if there are things that make you feel bad or uncomfortable but you do them anyway because you feel pressured by other people.
Don’t Try to Change People
People who violate other people’s boundaries usually lack self–awareness and that’s why it’s difficult to make them change their behavior. They see nothing wrong with it.
If someone can’t understand that their behavior is unacceptable even when you explain why, there’s nothing you can do about it. Trying to make them change is a waste of time and energy.
Practicing self-care involves taking care of your health and body, taking alone time to relax and pursuing activities that make you feel happy.
When you practice self-care, you become more tuned with your own feelings. You learn to value and cultivate your own well-being. The more you practice self-care, the less likely you are to put up with people and behaviors that are not healthy for you.
I figured this was the best selection for me as the meals tasted pretty good and they’d help me keep my portions in check.
So, I started on this diet the next day. I set a deadline of 30 days before I was going to weigh myself. I don’t know the exact reason why I picked 30 days, but I knew that weighing yourself everyday would do more harm than good.
During the first 2 weeks, things weren’t really that bad. They were kinda nice actually.
I immediately realized an uptick in energy and started to lose some pounds around the midsection.
I was excited and wanted to weigh myself everyday, but I stuck to the plan and continued to stay away from the scale. However, days 15 to 21 hit and I noticed a huge shift in my mood and willpower.
I had really lost all my energy and I was absolutely hangry.
At first, I thought this was just a normal “correction” as I’d been making changes to my body, but the symptoms kept getting worse and worse.
I tried my best to plow through them and hit day 30, but I was noticing a significant decrease in my work. So, on day 25, I finally caved in and went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of BDUBs, but I’ve never eaten as much as I did on that day.
I completely destroyed a large serving of boneless wings and then had some chips and queso to top it off.
Needless to say, I was absolutely miserable the rest of the day. However, as sad as it sounds, it was still better than being “hangry”.
Then I “Yo-yo’ed”.
Even though I’d had a very large cheat meal during that day, I still wanted to go home and see if I’d made any progress over the last 3 weeks.
Right when I got home, I jumped on the scale and to my surprise, I’d actually lost 11 pounds!
Now, that felt amazing. I’d never been able to really lose weight before and you’d think that would be enough to keep me going. But, like many other “yo-yo’ers”, I told myself I’d jump back on the diet soon. I just wanted to recollect my thoughts before going at it again.
So, I continued to eat “normal” for the next 4 weeks and after that, I was ready to jump back on my diet kick.
I decided to weigh myself on a Sunday before I was going to start. To my surprise, I’ had gained all my weight back…plus 10 lbs!
I couldn’t believe it. I was actually eating a little better than I had in the past so I figured I’d stay a few pounds under my normal weight. Instead, I reached an all-time high.
This was extremely depressing and I thought this was just a “me” problem.
I figured that my slow metabolism was out to get me and that I’d never been able to lose weight. Then, I started to dig into this problem and realized many others were having similar difficulties.
The most publicized examples were actually “The Biggest Loser” contestants. During my research, I came across a lot of articles where they were losing weight during the show. Then, months after the show was over, they were gaining it back and then some!
Now, this obviously intrigued me as I was having similar issues. That’s when I discovered the concept of “ghrelin’ and “fat burning mode”.
We’ll talk about these two concepts throughout the rest of this article, but as a quick overview:
Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” because it helps control your appetite. This obviously has a lot of importance with dieting and can be a good thing. However, when you use the typical “low calorie” diets that are being preached today, then it does the exact opposite.
Because this style of dieting doesn’t lower your ghrelin levels, meaning you have the same appetite as you did when you started losing weight.
Now, that’s bad enough. But, on top of this, your metabolism actually decreases when you start to lose weight.
There are some fancy words for why this happens, but in short, it decreases because you’re smaller and don’t need as much energy….
And that means you have the same appetite but with a slower metabolism, a dynamic duo that essentially guarantees weight gain, whether that be in 1 month or 1 year.
This was an important discovery for me when I came across the concept of fat burning mode. These two are what really helped me kick-start my journey.
What Is Fat Burning Mode?
So, like with everything medical, there’s a lot of geeky terms that go into it. But, in the simplest form:
Our body has two different sources of energy- ketones and glucose.
Ketones are produced when fat is burned and glucose is produced when carbs are burned.
Since we have 2 different sources of energy we can burn, that also means we have 2 different “modes” that we operate in- glycogen burning mode (glucose) and fat burning mode (ketones).
Now, to be 100% accurate, we are technically always in both modes at the same time, but there’s always a primary mode and a secondary mode.
The secondary mode always uses minimal fuel, almost to the point of non-existence. From what I understand, we keep this secondary source alive just so our body knows that the backup source is still available.
Okay, that’s easy enough. But, how do we determine which one is primary and which one is secondary?
That’s actually the easy part of the formula. Glycogen burning mode always trumps fat burning mode.
It’s not because it’s a better source of fuel or anything like that, but because our body has to regulate glucose very closely.
Because glucose is sugar and our blood can only handle so much sugar at one time. Once our blood sugar hits the limit (which doesn’t take much), then insulin has to kick in and start removing sugar from the bloodstream.
Now, this is a good thing but that only leaves so much energy left in our system. That’s why we’re supposed to keep eating small meals while in glycogen burning mode.
Makes sense? Alright, here’s the true kicker.
Guess what happens with the excess sugar after insulin removes it from the bloodstream?
That’s right. It gets converted into stored energy- a.k.a body fat.
Now, that’s bad enough and shows how easy it is to gain body fat. Here’s where things get worse.
The typical western diet is full of carbs and that means we’ve pretty much been stuck in glycogen-burning mode our entire lives.
This is also why people work countless hours to deplete the glycogen in their body and start burning fat or, even worse, starving themselves while doing so.
And to show you the full cycle, that means it’s extremely easy to gain body fat but then you have to work your tail off just to access this stored energy.
Starting to see the problem here?
Alright, so I know that sounds depressing, but here’s the good news.
I’m a minimalist and I wanted to find ways to enter fat burning mode without living in the gym, starving myself or losing muscle along the way.
After years of research, along with the help of some unconventional doctors, I finally found that way.
And in the remainder of this article, I’m going to show you how you can benefit from this research as well:
How to Enter Fat Burning Mode Without Living In the Gym Or Starving Yourself
Step 1: Drink Exogenous Ketones
I actually came across this concept in my earlier days of researching the two different energy burning modes. Through that research, I kept seeing the phrase “exogenous ketones”.
At first, I thought the word sounded extremely fancy and it was some complex subject. However, as I soon learned, I realized that it’s really just a way of saying ketone supplements.
Anyway, when I was doing this research, I came across a story of an individual who started drinking these ketones and began to notice a great reduction in belly fat within a month after she started.
Now, she liked the results. However, she was drinking the ketones for energy and wasn’t quite sure why this was happening. So, she went to the doctor to make sure everything was okay.
It took her a few weeks to find a doctor that actually understood this subject. Once she finally did, he explained to her that by drinking these ketones, she was telling her body to burn fat.
Now, this makes sense as ketones are the source of energy that’s created by fat burn. To be honest, I was a little skeptical to think it was this easy.
So, I decided to test it out and sure enough, within 4 weeks, I had lost 7 pounds- without doing anything different!
Now, that felt great and I’ll show you how to further amplify these results in the next steps. First, you need to make sure you enter fat-burning mode by drinking ketones, so here’s what I advise:
Buy exogenous ketones. I personally recommend KetoCaNa by Ketosports. Those are good enough by themselves but if you really want to crank it up, buy MCT Oil Powder by Quest Nutrition along with it. This works well as KetoCaNa is exogenous ketones and MCT Oil creates ketones once it hits your liver. So, you’re pretty much getting a military grade dosage when you do this. Helpful hint: might be best to start with just KetoCaNa before moving to the full 1-2 punch.
Make a ketone shake every morning with a blender bottle full of water along with your preferred ketone source and drink it. I personally use 2 scoops of MCT Oil along with one scoop of KetoCaNa. But, again, it’s going to differ by person.
Try not to eat breakfast as this ketone shake will be more than enough to get you going.
And that’s it. That’s all you need to enter fat-burning mode.
This trick can work for anybody. However, if you’re diabetic, please consult with your doctor before trying anything out. Insulin sensitivity or restriction can do some funny things with glucose and I want to make sure your body is able to handle both modes before you try it out.
Step 2: Keep Carb Intake Under 20g Per Day
Now that we’ve entered fat burning, it’s important to keep this going.
Technically, you would lose some fat if you just drank a ketone shake every morning and waited to eat until lunch time. But, since we’re already getting into fat burning mode, why not keep it going. And on top of that, the process really isn’t that complex.
As I mentioned earlier, carbs create glucose and that’ll put you into glycogen burning mode. So, the only way to get around that and stay in fat burning mode is by keeping your carb intake low.
Now, everybody is a little different and there’s really not a one-size-fits-all answer, but the one route that does work for everybody is keeping your carbs under 20g per day.
So, why does this differ for everybody then?
Well, because the only time your body turns back into glycogen burning mode is when glucose hits your liver. Some of the glucose that you consume is used up by your muscles, so that’s really where most of the flexibility comes in.
In other words, if you just finished a serious workout and used all the glycogen in your muscles, then you could probably afford a little more than 20g and still stay in fat burning mode.
If you don’t eat carbs, that’s fine, too. Your body can create glucose out of protein. I’m just letting you know why you can have some carbs and still stay in fat burn.
The last thing I wanted to point out is that when I mention 20g of carbs, I mean in general- not any of that “net carb” stuff.
If you’re not familiar with “net carbs”, a lot of people will use the formula of total carbs – fiber= net carbs to determine their daily carb intake.
The logic behind this is that fiber doesn’t turn into glucose and shouldn’t be included as a carb. To some extent, I do agree, but I’ve also seen a lot of people get kicked out of fat burning mode by eating too many carbs in general.
I’ve done a lot of research on this and I can’t really find an exact answer. But, from what I’ve gathered, excess amounts of fiber can turn into glucose.
Again, don’t quote me on that, but I’ve seen what it does so I know it’s important to stay careful with it.
Alright, so since we’re restricting carbs, then what types should you eat?
I always recommend green and leafy vegetables, like broccoli.
It’s important to consume these types of carbs as they’re full of nutrients (like fiber) and they don’t turn into glucose that fast, giving you even more leeway on your total intake.
And that’s really everything you need to know about staying in fat-burning mode, well from a carb standpoint. We’ll cover the rest in the next section.
As a quick recap:
Keep your daily carb intake under 20g (to start).
Try and spread carbs throughout your day/meals. Try not to eat all of your daily carbs at once, but if you’re starting at 20g, you’re probably fine either way.
Get your carbs from healthy sources like leafy vegetables or avocados.
That’s how you stay in fat burning mode. I know it doesn’t sound fun, but once you start to feel the effects and see the results, staying away from carbs gets pretty easy.
On top of that, you don’t have to starve yourself either, you just have to…
Eat A Lot of Dietary Fat (High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb Diet)
Now that we’ve entered fat burning mode and learned how to stay out of glycogen burning mode, it’s time to take care of everything else.
And by everything else, I guess I should just say ghrelin.
Remember that hunger hormone that I talked about earlier? The one that forces everybody to yo-yo diet?
Yeah, that’s never going to go away and if we don’t control it, we’re at an uphill battle.
That’s where this next step comes into play. It’s highly important to not starve yourself and, instead, eat a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet.
Why exactly does this diet work so well? Let’s break it down into sections, starting with fat.
The first thing I like to mention with fat is that it absolutely has nothing to do with making you fat.
Well, I guess if you ate an absurd amount of it, like to the point of vomiting, then maybe. But, as we discussed earlier, body fat is nothing more than stored energy.
And since it’s stored energy, then there’s no reason why we should believe fat is what causes fat (unless you eat excess amounts).
On the other hand, remember when we talked about how glucose is quickly converted into body fat? And not because it was a lot of calories, but because our body can only handle so much sugar in the blood at one time?
Yeah, that’s also the reason why it’s so easy to gain weight while in glycogen-burning mode. You could easily eat 3 big meals and gain some extra body fat with every meal.
Fat, on the other hand, lasts a lot longer and really doesn’t create any metabolic issues. This is why you’ll hear a lot of people eat a high-fat diet while they’re intermittent fasting, because the sustained energy can last them all day.
In other words, don’t worry about the constant small meals that you’re supposed to eat while in glycogen-burning mode.
Then, in addition to this, fat also helps control ghrelin.
This is helpful for curbing your hunger, but it’s also helpful as it lowers your ghrelin levels as you lose weight. This means you won’t run into the high appetite and slow metabolism problem that most yo-yo dieters incur.
So, how much fat should you eat then?
I’ll give you ratios in a second, but from a practical standpoint, just eat fatty foods until you’re full. Don’t worry about counting calories, weighing out food or any of that junk- there’s no need to do that with high-fat meals.
Because the body is really good about self-regulation when in fat burning mode and it’ll let you know if you need food or not.
At the same time, I realized ratios are easier to follow in the beginning. We’ll get there soon, but, first, I wanted to cover exactly what “fat” is.
I do this because when most people hear fat, they instantly think of snickers and candy-things that make us fat.
When I say fat, I mean healthy fats, like:
Grass-fed beef (any beef is okay, but grass-fed is always better) Fatty fish (sardines, salmon, etc.) Pork (pork chops, pulled pork, even bacon) Butter (just make sure it’s real butter) Full-fat sour cream Full-fat cheese Avocados Eggs Pepperonis Cream cheese Coconut oil Olive Oil Avocado Oil Walnuts Etc…
In all honesty, the only fats you really need to stay away from is trans fat and “seed oils”.
I think most people are aware that they need to stay away from trans fat, but here’s the problem…
Food companies are able to hide the fact that their food contains trans fat by titling it “hydrogenated oils” which is the exact same thing.
A Big Fat Recap:
If you’re counting calories, try and make sure 75% of your calories are from fat.
Make sure you’re eating healthy fats.
Avoid trans fats or “hydrogenated oils”.
Avoid seed oils like vegetable oil, sunflower oil and canola oil as these oils are highly inflammatory and not good for you.
We’ve talked a lot about carbs and fat, but we haven’t mentioned protein yet.
And that doesn’t mean protein isn’t important. That just means it’s a little more flexible than the other two.
Before jumping into the specifics of protein, it’s important to remember that protein’s main function is for muscle repair and growth, not energy.
This is also why bodybuilders love it so much and the exact reason why it’s been so severely misunderstood over the recent years.
Now, people think they can just eat protein all day and make muscle, when that’s simply not the case. Muscle has to be created from somewhere (i.e. breaking down muscle from lifting and repairing it with protein), so please keep that in mind.
The second thing I want to point out is that when you consume too much protein (i.e. more than your muscles need), then the excess protein will turn into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
Now, this is also a highly debated issue. Some health bloggers make it sound like one bit of chicken creates glucose in the blood while other bloggers offset this by saying 100% protein will keep you in fat burning mode.
And I’m here to tell you they’re both wrong. I’ve tested both analogies and both strategies have kicked me out of fat burning mode.
Here’s how you can cut through the noise and avoid this.
Protein is important and something you should consume. Unless you’re lifting every day, then you probably don’t need to eat 300g of it.
Like everything else, the amount will vary by person. As a 6 ft, 175-pound male, I try and stay under 100g per day.
With all that said, from a practical standpoint, if you can eat at least 1 gram of fat for every gram of protein, then you’re probably okay.
I know this can be hard at times, especially when you’re eating a lot of meat-heavy meals. So, to offset that, I’ll usually melt a bunch of butter and dip each bite of meat into it- problem solved!
Try and consume 20-25% of your calories from protein.
Too much protein can be a bad thing, but it takes a lot to get there.
Just try and eat at least 1 gram of fat for every gram of protein, and you should be okay.
Protein is important, but not the saving grace that many think it is.
We’ve already talked about this subject and I don’t have too much more to add. But, there are some other things I wanted to relay for the purposes of clarity.
As we discussed earlier, we can only convert back to glycogen-burning mode after glucose hits the liver. That can only happen when the muscles don’t use all the glucose that you’ve put into your body.
In other words, if you eat some extra carbs right after lifting heavy weights, then you’ll probably be okay as the muscles will soak it up.
On the other hand, as we discussed with protein, your body can also make glucose with protein so you really don’t need to eat carbs. That’s why there’s no such thing as an essential carb.
But, if you are going to still eat carbs, just try and eat them from healthy sources, like berries and veggies.
These foods will help provide other nutrients and be helpful overall. Just make sure you’re careful with how much you eat. Some foods, like apples, can add up in a hurry!
Try and stay under 20g of carbs each day.
Try and get your carbs from healthy sources.
You really don’t need carbs, just up protein if you don’t.
These amounts will vary by person and how active you are.
Feel the burn…
And that is your complete guide to burning fat.
If you follow these simple steps and stick with it for a few months, I absolutely guarantee you’ll love your results and keep going.
As with any hard changes in your diet, it might feel weird at first. But, with the help of everything I’ve put in this guide about the best way to lose weight, I have no doubt that it’ll help you progress with your weight loss goals.
The growing popularity of chatbots goes without question. We are all familiar with a rule-based chatbot that is quite easy to distinguish from a human being. It demands exact command input to respond, so this form of communication isn’t that new.
However, AI-powered chatbots make a different story. In addition to the information-providing bots, like Echo by Amazon or Apple’s Siri, that has almost no influence on marketing and sales, online stores get their loyal assistants represented by branded chatbots.
These chatbots are taking a firm position in modern marketing. In 2016, a lot of retailers started using chatbots to foster brand awareness and personalize customer experience.
It was the right decision for both sides. Modern clients are less responsive to old marketing techniques; they appreciate advanced approaches to communication.
A chatbot is a form of software that’s able to hold a conversation in audio or text format. This is a robot copying human behavior. Due to artificial intelligence, chatbots can imitate real communication with a human being.
Machine learning presupposes that chatbots can study and enrich their knowledge. The more they communicate, the smarter they become. However, it will still depend on who they talk to, as the case with Tay Twitter bot by Microsoft.
Nevertheless, social networks and media, like Facebook and CNN, are still interested in chatbots.
After Mark Zuckerberg had presented the first Facebook-Messenger-based chatbot, brands were very fast to adopt the technology. For instance, 1-800 Flowers gave its customers an opportunity to write a name of a friend in its app to order a bouquet for this person.
Chatbots are easy to set and this feature makes them a perfect tool for e-tailers. The similar personalized approach to promotion is applied to one more popular trend called influence marketing.
What is influence marketing?
Influence marketing is a type of marketing aimed at delivering a brand message via industry leaders. Instead of communicating with your customers directly, you hire an influencer. Thus, the target of such companies is not a whole market but a group of influencers.
The main idea of influence marketing is establishing mutually beneficial relations. Such cooperation brings better reach both for the brand and influencer.
Influence marketing is widely spread on Youtube. There are a lot of popular bloggers working with well-known brands to promote their products.
Tarte, for example, organized Trip with Tarte campaign for beauty-bloggers with 1 million+ followers covering all their expenses. The only condition was to shot a video about the trip and share it with the #tripwithtarte hashtag. As a result, millions of internet users learned of the brand. Quite a wide reach, isn’t it?
Takumi made a research showing that brands are interested in working with influencers than with celebrities. But, according to another survey, if an influencer’s post isn’t original enough, it won’t have a strong impact on women.
The answer is simple- you’ll become a marketing wizard.
At the end of last year, two companies combined efforts to create the first influence chatbot for the American brand Cover Girl. Marketing platform (The Amplify) and chatbot developer (Automat) turned Kalani Hilliker, a Dance Moms’ celebrity and an influencer, into a chatbot. Based on Kik messenger, the chatbot mimics the star’s personality to promote Cover Girl coupons.
What kind of marketing magic happens there?
You have only 7 seconds to make the first impression. It concerns not only real-life meetings but also online behavior. People spend on site 10-20 seconds on average so the faster you start reacting, the more chances you get to interest your potential client.
How much time do you spend daily to answer identical questions of your customers? Sooner or later, you’ll get tired of writing the same responses so you hire a person to do this for you or you buy additional equipment for that. Chatbot can do it all for free.
Imagine an influencer talking to you like a friend who knows all your tastes and needs. Sounds like a dream, but now it’s a reality. Speaking about Kalani’s case, the bot managed to generate 14% higher conversion rate than an average Kalani’s post in social networks with striking 91% of positive feedbacks from its users.
Can I create my personal chatbot?
The easiest way out is to hire somebody to do the job for you. But first, you need to know that AI development is rather expensive. Why so?
The technology is comparatively new and there are not many top-level specialists. Lack of skilled programmers can boost the price of the process. Even hiring a junior AI developer will cost you more than $1000/mo, let alone seniors who will demand at least $8,000/mo. Some forums even suggest addressing development institutes to find a future employee there.
But, do you need to hire a programmer to build a chatbot for your marketing campaign? The answer is no. You can find a lot of various tools for building your own chatbot. Even having no skills in coding won’t stop you from getting one. Platforms like Chatfuel don’t require any programming experience and allow you to create an AI chatbot for Facebook or Telegram.
By combining chatbots and influence marketing, you will discover a wide range of opportunities. You don’t necessarily have to be a developer. The only limit is your imagination, so don’t be afraid of mixing new strategies to become more efficient.
Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. Even as far back as the 1700s, the Royal Family was singing the praises of Josiah Wedgwood’s pottery. To this day, Wedgwood is still a household name.
Building a brand takes a lot of work and until very recently, the best way a brand could build a customer base was by paying a celebrity to endorse a product. This created a shortcut to word-of-mouth advertising as a celebrity served as a stand-in for all the small person-to-person recommendations that would ordinarily be used to build buzz around a brand.
There was a time when people trusted celebrities, but that time has passed. Now people rely on regular people to give them recommendations about goods and services. This has led to a rise in a brand-new phenomenon: the social media influencer.
Social media influencers have a few common traits
The social media influencer is a person who was not famous initially but may become famous.
It is a person who built a social media following around a particular topic over time.
Influencers are typically seen as more authentic and trustworthy than celebrities.
Influencers are more likely to interact with their audience than celebrities.
Whereas celebrities are handed down from Hollywood and we don’t generally get much choice about which ones become or stay famous, social media has given rise to a new democratic way to decide who gets to become famous. Influencers aren’t made famous by being discovered by Hollywood – they become famous by being genuine and building up a following over time.
This, of course, means that you can set out to become an influencer as a job. That’s right. The next time your mom tells you that you are spending too much time on your phone, you can tell her that you are working on your next career as a social media influencer.
Decide what you are passionate and knowledgeable about and start building your following online within that community. If the community does not yet exist, all the better- that means you get to guide it!
Stay authentic and always interact with others when possible.
Once you have built a significant following on a topic, look for brands in that space that may be open to influencer marketing. Pitch them an idea on how you would market their product on social media.
Of course, it’s not a traditional career path and it is constantly changing. This means you will need to be able to change directions whenever you discover something isn’t working.
When social media influencers first came on the scene a little over a decade ago there were basically no rules. That meant that you could take a payment to say something nice about a brand or a company and never have to disclose it. These days, there are rules in place that prevent that from happening.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to make sure that viewers know when they are seeing an advertisement. This is why when you are scrolling through twitter, you will often see #ad or #sponsored. Influencers must make it clear when they are in a contract with a company or with a brand so that there is no confusion about the fact money has changed hands.
Following the rules is only one part of the equation, though. You also have to remain authentic and believable in order for your services to be viable as a form of advertising. One of the major changes that has taken place over the evolution of social media influencers is that advertisers are no longer moved to write a check based on your follower count – they are looking for actual quantifiable results. That means you will have to be able to turn your Instagram #ad posts into an actual pipeline for sales.
As you embark on your new career as a social media influencer, remember to be authentic and to always follow the rules. Nearly three quarters of teens think that YouTubers are more relatable than celebrities, and 88% of people trust online recommendations as much as in person ones. There’s a lot of room for the role of the social media influencer to grow. How will you take advantage of the evolution of the social media influencer ?
Did you ever lose something that changed you completely? Something that obliterated your expectations, squashed your goals or undermined your existence? Did you ever run out of everything meaningful until you found yourself staring blankly into a void?
This common yet unsettling experience is a disguised blessing that only a few people recognize as such. Why a blessing?
Because it’s only when a slate is wiped clean that you can write on it. It’s only after a bully comes over and shakes your Etch-a-sketch that you start considering what to create next (sorry, 90s kid).
Life is complex, especially in today’s world where we can browse options to the point of paralysis. It’s no wonder that a lot of people find themselves in need of renewal or a serious self-assessment. But, that’s not a moment of failure. It’s a jumping off point for overcoming challenges.
Philosopher Albert Camus uses the Myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for the human condition. You know Sisyphus, the guy in Greek mythology who was condemned to push a rock up a hill for eternity only to have it roll back down again? Yeah, he’s the one.
Camus refers to Sisyphus as the epitome of an “absurd hero” or a person who experiences, hopes and tries in spite of his undeniable mortality.
A lot of people might think of this “hero” as more of a loser, slaving and living a foolish life in vain. But, that’s a misunderstanding, because a hero has the opportunity to first change himself and then the world. He doesn’t have to be useless or hopeless. Rather, he can grow, learn and thrive against all odds and that makes victory even sweeter.
Sisyphus has a powerful weapon in his arsenal: radical acceptance. The hero understands that he is but a speck in existence with no special significance. He accepts it without a hint of denial and, most importantly, he doesn’t give up after becoming aware of this. He doesn’t give himself away to a “default” life. Simply, he makes the choice to keep himself and all the burdens that come with him.
“The one truly serious philosophical problem is suicide.” – Camus
Sounds morbid? It really isn’t. What it means is that when we’re faced with life-altering events, questions and even despair, that’s when we actually choose life. We suddenly realize what kind of life we want and why. Prior to that, we’re just existing.
So, you might think, “What do all these metaphors really have to do with me?”.
Calling this crazy, rock-pushing fellow Sisyphus a hero shatters every common notion we have about what a hero is. He’s not glamorous, flawless or doing anything remarkable at first glance. He’s not even saving people. So, then why is he (aka. YOU) a hero?
Camus calls him the “Absurd Hero” because of his persistence in the face of absolute struggle. He feels and he doubts, but he continues in spite of the oblivion staring him in the face each day. This concept of a hero is much more realistic than Superman or the Green Lantern.
People aren’t exactly eager to become the Absurd Hero. It’s challenging.
So, when does a plain old person become an “Absurd hero?”.
It could be after a divorce, confusing college years or a long-term job loss. While all are generally unpleasant experiences, all of them have one thing in common- they force you to reassess yourself, your goals and your plan of action. They force you to face major life questions that most people don’t think about often.
It feels something like plunging into a dunk tank after some lucky pitcher finally hits the target. It’s not the asshole target-hitter that you should be focusing on. It’s the plunge.
When everything at the core of you is in question, you find an answer.
I’m talking about moments of total lucidity. That’s when Sisyphus (aka you) is at the top of the hill, pitifully watching his big dumb boulder roll all the way back to the bottom. Feeling helpless and depressed is often unavoidable but contrary to what society tells us, there’s no need to be ashamed of negative feelings. They are catalysts that keep us alive and choosing.
You thought your big dumb boulder (marriage, business, friendship, whatever) meant something. Well, it doesn’t anymore or maybe it never did. Now, you’re dumbfounded.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
No one ever wants to face things like uncertainty, being miserable, or starting over. Yet, these are the exact things that will lead you to clarity because they’ll force you to find it.
Some of us can remember these moments right down to the date they happened while for others, everything just belongs to a blurry time frame. For some, these kinds of moments never happened yet or maybe they never will.
It can be confusing, excruciating, or simply unpleasant. You could spend a moment in it or maybe a few years. Regardless, it ends in choice. Once becoming conscious of a dilemma, some choice is inevitable, even if you choose inaction.
In other words, you have to choose your own rock—your boulder that you’d be willing to push up that giant, eternal hill. This might sound torturous, but it won’t be. Once you’ve found the right thing to push for, you’ll always be fueled.
“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” – Camus
So, how do you find a reason to live when all of the obvious ones were exhausted, didn’t work out or weren’t fulfilling?
Get back to the basics.
Think of the things that you never tire of. The things that always provide you with inspiration and the things you could see yourself helping others with on a broad scale.
Admit it or not, if you want to do business, you’d want to do it with other people- not companies. Putting up a strong personal branding allows you to reach out to your clients more which, in effect, can dramatically boost conversion rates and sales.
But, how exactly do you build a personal brand?
Honestly, there’s no single formula that can make you successful overnight. It will take a lot of hard work and commitment before you can make it big in this kind of business. But, to help you out, below are 10 easy yet proven ways on how to build your personal branding.
Get a logo
If you want to build a personal brand people can easily identify, you’ll need a logo. It’ll be the visual representation of your brand so you have to pay close attention to how you’re going to make it. You can go simple or complicated, depending on your style and the people you want to connect with.
Logotypes are highly effective, despite being simple and plain at times. You can create your brand name and print it on your preferred typeface. This choice can save you time and money, especially if you don’t have enough moolah to spend on hiring a good designer.
While designing a logo used to be a costly and time-dependent process, logo makers have come a long way in recent years, and are rapidly overtaking humans as the go-to tools for creating affordable and eye-catching logos.
In creating a personal brand, it’s understandable why a lot of people work so hard to impress their target audience. After all, the more you impress them, the more they are likely to patronize your brand, right?
Well, that isn’t always the case.
You see, consumers prefer to see the real personality behind a brand. And if you come across as NOT authentic, they are likely to leave you. So, show your true personality. Use social media to bring forth an honest profile your consumers will be able to relate with.
Make friends online
When it comes to personal brands, having influencers around can be one of your greatest assets. These people can share your brand, stories and posts to their respective target audience and this can greatly extend your reach.
Apart from that, you should also be more active online. Join forums that are related to your niche and engage in online conversations that are relevant to your business. Create a personality that people trust. Take advantage of social media in making your presence felt online.
Meet friends offline
Although online influence is essential, you can’t just limit your connections within the boundaries of the Internet. Go out and actually meet people offline. Attend local events within your industry and start building friendships with everyone you meet. Expanding your circle and networking means expanding your influence.
Start a website
If you want to make a name online, there should be a place people can go to if they want to know more about you and your brand. This is where a website plays a major role, particularly the About Me page.
There are tons of tools you can use to create a decent website. You can get them for free or for a fee but make sure to get only what you’ll need. Purchasing complicated tools and not using them will only be a waste of resources.
Provide your consumers with value
Your personal brand should reflect the true you, but it shouldn’t be all about you. Instead, focus on your audience and what they really want. Create content not just to satisfy their needs but to keep them coming back for more.
Make sure to provide them with something unique so you can set yourself apart from your competitors. Research about what your readers are interested in and what products and services they are talking about more. Finding areas of unique perspective will put you one step ahead of the competition.
And don’t forget to be relevant. Be your consumers’ source of information and you’ll easily grow your authority in the industry.
Being consistent can take a lot of work and commitment but it’s one good way to ensure the growth of your personal brand. If you are inconsistent, you’re just likely to confuse and bore your audience to the point that they’ll look for something better.
The initial stage of building a personal brand can be discouraging, especially if you only have a few followers. If you want to make it big, don’t focus on the number and pay more attention to your purpose.
Talk as if you are speaking to hundreds of people. Write as if the whole world is reading your content. You’ll be surprised with how this kind of dedication and focus can change your business.
In your quest to establish authority, it’s likely that you’ll meet other people and businesses that’ll want to work with you. Before you actually agree, think first. Make sure those people and businesses are in line with your brand, vision, and personality.
Your work, as well as your actions, will reflect your brand so be careful in what you do and what decisions you make.
Just give it a go!
Although preparation is key, too much planning can get in the way of you actually starting. In fact, if you wait too long to get started, you may end up not starting at all.
So, don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you start. With your limited resources, start building authority, reach out to people and be consistent with your job. After all these things, success will surely follow.
Building a personal branding isn’t that easy, particularly with so many people aspiring to create their own. If you want to be successful, you have to know exactly what you want to achieve.
Be you in creating your personal brand but remain relevant and focused on your consumers. Take advantage of technology and use tools that can make the process a lot easier. Be consistent and don’t wait too long before getting started.
Imagine yourself on top of a mountain. As you look around, you see the world around you. You know that this is a particularly special moment and that this will not last forever because you’ll have to go down eventually.
Is this the kind of experience you’ll want to relive over and over again in your living room?
If yes, then you’re not alone. A lot of people bring out their cameras or phones to take home with them an experience that they’ll never forget. Some of these people even make a living out of taking pictures of special moments.
They are called photographers.
Being a photographer is a demanding job. Photographers are not always present in elite fashion shows and high-class photo shoots. Sometimes, photographers have to make their way into several fields within in the industry. With this, how exactly can they make money from photography?
We all know that there are a lot of photographers who make a lot of money in the field of fashion and stock photography. Famous fashion photographers include Annie Leibovitz, Todd Anthony Tyler and Mark Getty. These people easily make six-figure incomes or even possibly seven figures.
Now, before you even pick up your camera, know that the field of photography is highly competitive.
It’s extremely difficult for entry-level aspirants who want to make it big in the photography scene or just simply earn an earnest living. However, fashion isn’t the only field in photography. The area is amazingly broad and you can find your niche in one of those specializations.
To get started, here’s how to make money from photography.
First off, take photos of people and events.
For example, photographers are always a must when it comes to weddings. If this is your chosen niche, remember that “people” should be your priority if you want to make a living.
Why? Because people will hire you to photograph them and not mountains or landscapes. They want photos of actual living individuals and the events they want to be a part of.
Of course, another thing to take note of is your happiness. Photography is capturing special moments on film. Making money out of something you love is a commodity for most people and that is the reason why a lot of photographers enjoy what they do.
Being more passionate about your “art” can make all the difference between moving on and giving up on your dream.
Now that you’ve decided to go more realistic and practical by photographing people, you can try practicing on your portraiture. Most individuals want a photographer to capture the best images of themselves.
With more experience and practice, you’ll be soon mastering your craft which means increasing your reputation. More recognition means more projects and this can mean more income.
Continuing Professional Growth
As mentioned earlier, you have to be happy in what you’re doing to be successful. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you’ll get tired of doing it and it’s perfectly normal to feel that way.
However, those who have a genuine passion for what they’re doing will find any means necessary to keep on perfecting their art. Don’t be afraid to branch out into your chosen field.
Although mainstream and traditional photographers frown on these “new breed” of photographers, there’s no denying that they make a lot of money. These photographers don’t come armed with professional cameras, tripods, lightings or anything like that. Instead, they come with iPhones and selfie sticks.
These people are social media photographers. A relatively new field of photography, a lot of people are engaging in this lucrative practice. These people are being paid to create images and share them with their followers.
Top companies such as Nike, Sony and other corporate giants shell out vast sums of money to encourage more people to choose their products. These companies often provide fare, allowance and time to these people just to do their jobs. They get to travel all over the world and make a buzz on the social media platform they’re in, more preferably, Instagram.
You could say that this job is easy and that they’re living the dream. However, the work that comes with this is also difficult. Gathering a lot of followers in a few months time is extremely difficult and requires superb dedication.
Photographers are unique individuals that get to share and experience the rarest moments in the world. They get to capture it on film and share it with everyone else to see. In a way, photographers are like painters who also rely on skill to deliver their masterpiece.
However, no matter how beautiful your masterpiece is, without any income, you won’t be able to survive. Although there are several ways for people to earn money from photography, it will only get tricky if they’re not happy with what they’re doing.
You’ve got big dreams for your business. Unfortunately, your budget is in the opposite direction. And if you think you’re alone in this dilemma- you’re not.
The majority of small companies are chartering the same waters. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no way out. It just means you need to be smart if you want to outwit your bigger competitors.
The big-splash strategies of the Fortune 500 will not work for you as you don’t possess a whole floor of people to maneuver these tasks. You don’t have a Pepsi-size budget either.
But then again, you don’t have to.
The Rule of Thumb
The golden rule in business has always been knowing how to sell. You can build just about anything. But, if you can’t sell it, it won’t matter at all.
Sales are the life of every business. Without it, you’ll most likely fail. Finding out what works best for generating sales for your business is the key to success.
Strategize To Increase Your Sales
According to the US Small Business Administration, 54% of the total sales revenue in the US comes from small businesses. This, however, doesn’t ensure that making sales will be an easy task.
As a matter of fact, one-size-fits-all doesn’t apply when it comes to sales and business. For instance, flyer printing could be beneficial for your business, but it may not for others. Notwithstanding, there are simple yet effective strategies to increase sales that you can use to grow and develop your customer base.
To generate substantial sales, you need to depend on many factors. This includes your niche, location, and industry.
Below, are some of the best marketing strategies that you can use to make your business more prolific in the sales department.
Build Customer Relationship
There are numerous ways to increase sales that pop out on a regular basis. However, traditional approaches still work for modern businesses.
Building relationship with customers is no longer a new idea, but it stands the test of time because it works.
The best approach here is to build a personal relationship with your customers. Listen to their needs and do your best to satisfy them. You can even customize your product offers to meet their needs.
The traditional approach in business can generate sales, but you also need to utilize modern day technologies. The internet allows you to reach a bigger audience and communicate with them in distinct ways.
The approach that you need to make online business is different from what you would normally do in bricks-and-mortar style of business. It’s impossible to keep a personal relationship with each customer online due to the big numbers of potential buyers. But, you can create customer relationships using a sales page with clear contact information and outstanding customer service.
Digital marketing, content marketing, and email marketing are just a few of the available avenues that you can use to maximize digital media.
Consider Print Advertising
It’s unarguable that digital media is a now a primary component of many marketing strategies. However, the age of brochure printing is still very much alive. You shouldn’t disregard print advertising as it remains as one of the most efficient ways to build a credible reputation and customer awareness.
For instance, newspaper ads are advantageous in boosting engagement levels and growing your audience. Besides, the majority of newspapers are now using both digital and print versions of their papers. This means that your business gets double exposure when you use an integrated marketing campaign.
According to the WASP Barcode Technologies State of Business Report in 2016, 43% of small business owners use retention as one of their strategies to upgrade growth of revenue.
The mechanism of retention is simple. You create contents for your existing customers. It will mean a closer partnership with customer service, too.
Go Where Your Audience Is
Choose your battles carefully. Don’t feel bad if you skip Snapchat with less than 50 audiences. You need to spend your resources on things that will benefit your business.
You just have to track where your target audience gathers online. Find out which social channel they love, what blogs and publication they read, which podcasts they follow and just about anything that deals with your audience.
Suffice to say, sales are the lifeblood of every business. When you know how to produce and track sales for your business, then you’re close to reaching your dreams.
Utilize your creativity and flexibility to get the results that you want even it means going back to your start-up roots. And as you go on your daily operations, keep upgrading your sales efforts as it’s a continuous process.
When an average person hears the words “essential oils”, he’d probably associate it with something that can improve the smell of a home. And though that is true, there’s more to essential oils than just bringing a pleasant fragrance.
So, if you are planning to get a new house, here’s an essential oils guide you might find useful.
Widely used for its calming effects, lavender is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular essential oils. Of course, the reason is obvious. This oil brings a soothing effect when you’re stressed or irritated. Aside from that, it can also treat burns and relieve irritated skin.
To treat burns, simply put two drops of lavender oil on the affected area. In a few minutes, the swelling and pain will be relieved.
Having a hard time dealing with nausea? How about headaches? Do you want to improve energy levels?
You might need to have a bottle of peppermint essential oil at home. Massage a drop of this oil to your forehead and temples to relieve a headache. To relieve nausea, inhale straight from the bottle but be careful not to get it in the eyes.
For those of you who have a congested chest or itchy throat, you will need several drops of lemon. When paired with honey, it can effectively soothe a sore throat!
If you want to use it in the kitchen, you can, too! Mix at least 5 drops of this essential oil with 4 ounces of an unscented liquid dish soap to get rid of grease in your kitchenware.
To add an antimicrobial effect to any DIY homemade cleaning recipe, make sure to add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Five drops of this oil added to 16 ounces of water can effectively inhibit the growth of mold. Also, 10 drops of this added to a bucket of water can help ease the job of cleaning the floor.
Although it is a bit expensive, frankincense essential oil can effectively get rid of stress and relieve headaches. It can even help make bath time extra relaxing!
After washing your body with soap, put a few drops of frankincense essential oil to your washcloth. Then, wipe it over your body while rinsing with warm water. The steam will instantly infuse with the oil, giving you the refreshing and relaxing feeling you need.
Oregano might be a popular kitchen ingredient but it also has some other uses at home. It has antimicrobial properties that help the body combat illnesses. No wonder why it’s a must-have! To fight flu and illnesses, diffuse this oil in your favorite diffuser. It’s that easy!
Another powerful ingredient in homemade cleaners, tea tree essential oil deserves a spot in your home. Not only does it have soothing properties that heal rashes and itching, it also has properties that aid in stopping athlete’s foot.
Normally, this oil is diluted with a carrier oil, such as organic coconut oil, in a 1:1 ratio prior to applying to the skin.
Apart from its pleasant smell, wild orange has got many good properties. It does not only work as a sedative, it can also be used for treating an upset stomach. Simply combine a tablespoon of coconut oil with a drop of wild orange essential oil for an instant massage oil.
Here’s something you might not be aware of: Vanilla essential oil has properties that can neutralize the free radicals present in your body. It can protect it against illnesses and diseases.
It also brings about a calming effect that makes it ideal for relieving restlessness and stress. Put a few drops of this oil into your bath or rub the oil on your temples for a quick relaxation.
If you are feeling confused or indecisive, you will need the fragrance of rosemary essential oil. It does a pretty good job at clearing your head and supporting digestive functions.
When combined with peppermint essential oil, it can improve one’s focus and insights, too! Just mix 3 drops of this oil with 3 drops of peppermint essential oil and rub on your upper neck. It should effectively improve your memory and keep you focused the whole day.
Actually, there are still lots of essential oils out there. These are only ten of them. Nonetheless, if you want your family to reap the benefits of these oils, then this essential oils guide can help you get started.
The biggest challenge in dating is finding the right person.
Most of the time, dating is usually clouded with the wrong intentions. Some simply want to get laid while others want to see what happens next. These aren’t really wrong if those are what you intend.
But, if you are looking for the right match, you can easily get hurt if the other person has those intentions.
That is why it is important to make it clear what your intentions are, particularly at the start of the dating process. If you are dating to find the right person for you, then you have to be honest about it. Otherwise, you will get hurt if you play along and can become an easy prey to people who are just looking for fun.
Finding the right person takes time. Actually, it takes an enormous amount of time. Some people can be married, have kids and start a family only to realize that who they live with is not actually the right person for them. No wonder divorce rates are sky high.
Here are a few dating tips for finding the right person:
Fear will always cause us to make the wrong decisions. Fear can easily convince us that who we are currently dating is the best we can have. At your very core, however, you know there is a mismatch in many of your characteristics and personality.
In other words, fear will make you blind to many unpleasant things and this can cause great issues in the long run.
It is best to date not because of fear, whether that is fear of loneliness or being single. Being single shouldn’t actually be feared at all since rushing into a bad relationship is actually worse than being alone.
Do not confuse being partnered with happiness, too. You can be happy alone and you’ll have a greater chance of finding the right person if you are complete on your own.
Take Time Before Committing
Commitment brings a relationship to another level. Sometimes, the sweetness and the “high” felt at the beginning of a new relationship can convince you to commit to something even more serious.
Hold back a little and think about what you are getting into.
Not being bitter, but you have to consider many things. Think about your career, social life, and personal life. If the relationship you are committing to may be disruptive to any of this, it may not be worth it.
There are many relationships that flourished not because of initial attraction. In fact, some of those that truly lasted are people who may have known each other for a long time without being entirely in love. The right person may be the wrong person at first, so give your partner a fair chance.
Who you are craving for may be toxic and cause you problems and those you may consider toxic or perceive to be may just be the remedy you need to achieve and sustain happiness.
You’ll never know!
Establish a Sensible Foundation for a Relationship
Many of us sign up for a relationship as if it’s a promotion of an insurance company. We forget that any relationship requires a solid foundation as it gets established.
Before you go about committing to enter a relationship, have a clear sensible foundation. For example, list your own set of values that are most important for you and see if the other person can identify with them. If not, better look for another one. Otherwise, you’ll just create your biggest regret.
Don’t Let Lust be the Foundation
Lust and sex (as dirty as possible) is a requirement for a healthy relationship. No argument in that one. But, take note that it shouldn’t be the foundation of your relationship.
Sexual chemistry is great but it doesn’t mean you’d go blind over the bad behavior of the other person. Life isn’t about sex alone. Remember the many other aspects of life you need to keep intact.
Have fun dating and don’t let bad experiences take away the possibilities of finding the right person.
Again, it takes a long time to find the right one. But, if you do not stumble upon the wrong ones, you would never get there. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but please learn from them and never allow them to hurt you. Appreciate the transience of people in your life and move on quickly!
Buying food for toy breeds is not as straightforward as just choosing the most popular at the pet store and taking it home. Small dogs have special dietary requirements as they tend to be sensitive to certain food. It’s also more difficult to feed them due to their small size and high metabolism.
Toy breed dogs can only eat small amounts at a time so they need to eat several times a day to keep their blood sugar within normal range. The food needs to be packed with nutrients and calories to ensure that your little dog is getting enough of the things it needs to stay healthy.
While this may sound daunting, here are some guidelines on what to look for when buying the best dog food for small dogs.
Ingredients To Look For
Quality ingredients are the most important thing when deciding which food to buy. Just like with human food, you want the ingredients to be as natural as possible so that they can provide the best nutrition available. The main things to check for in dog food for small breeds are protein, fat and carbohydrates.
When checking what’s in the food you’re considering, protein is the first thing to look for. Protein should be the main ingredient so it should be first on the list. It should also be a high-quality source of protein and something you can recognize. Look for chicken, turkey, or lamb.
Sometimes, game meats will also be used, such as bison or venison. These are good as they are not usually inflammatory and they can be tolerated by dogs with sensitive tummies.
Anything ambiguous, like “by-product”, should be avoided. This is often what’s left over and considered unfit for human consumption after butchering the best meat off of an animal. It can also be a mix of animals from various sources.
Meat meals are also a good protein source. Meal is meat that has been dried to remove the water but still contains the same protein content.
Dogs are unlike humans in their digestion and they can take a quite high-fat diet and still be healthy. Just like with protein, you should look for reliable fat sources. Chicken fat is a good one but any recognizable source would be acceptable.
Fats that are not defined, such as “animal fat”, can be accumulated from all over the place and from various sources so the quality cannot be verified. Preservatives are often added to them to make them last longer as fat turns rancid when exposed to air.
Along with fat, the food you buy for toy dog breeds should also include fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Some of the vitamins small dogs require are fat soluble, which means they need to have these fatty acids in order to absorb them.
As a general rule, there should be 1g of fat for 2g of protein in good dog food for small dogs.
In dog food, carbohydrates are often used as fillers to add bulk and calories. These are often referred to as vague descriptions, such as “grain by-products” or “cereals”. There are also some grains that small dogs, like Shih Tzus, are often allergic to. Examples include corn, wheat, and soy.
However, there are nutrients in high-quality carbohydrates. So, look for lists of vegetables, preferably fibrous ones, like potatoes, squashes, turnips and whole grains like oats.
Things To Avoid When Looking For Food For Toy Dogs
Apart from knowing what to look for in a good dog food, you should also know what should be avoided as much as possible.
As previously mentioned, wheat, soy, and corn are common allergens. They can cause upset stomachs and skin irritations. Along with these, look out for artificial preservatives, like ethoxyquin, BHT, and BHA.
Of course, some preservatives are needed or else the food would go off in storage and transport, but these can be in the form of Vitamin E and Vitamin C substrates known as tocopherols or ascorbates.
There are also some ingredients that must not be given to small dogs and Shih Tzu. These are toxic and can cause organ damage and even death in some cases. These include anything with caffeine, such as tea or coffee, chocolate, onions, fruit seeds or pips, grapes or raisins and macadamia nuts.
Size and Shape Of Dog Food For Small Dogs
Small dogs have small mouths and jaws to match. This means that you can’t give them big chunks of food as they’ll struggle to bite and chew properly. A lot of toy breeds also have compressed snouts and flat faces, like the Shih Tzu, and this makes eating messy and not so easy.
There are specialized foods, mainly dry food, that’s made up of small, bite-sized pieces called kibbles. They’re the perfect size and shape to fit into small mouths and small jaws. Size and shape should be a consideration when picking out the best dog food for small dogs.
Snacks and Treats
The recommendations for food should also apply to the treats that you give your small dogs. Since they can only take in small amounts of food at a time, they are often prone to hypoglycemia. You need to give them a couple of snacks between meals to keep their blood sugar normal. These should be small snacks that your dog can eat quickly and are full of nutrients and calories to keep them going. Just like with meals, avoid snacks that have lots of chemicals, preservatives, and allergens in them.
Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
For extra peace of mind, look out for the AAFCO stamp of approval. The AAFCO test and monitor animal food to make sure that it has the right composition of nutrients and can provide your dog with everything it needs and everything the food claims to provide. It also ensures that there is nothing harmful in there so you can feed your dog with confidence.
No matter where you go, how you go or how many days your stay will be, you can easily spend more cash than you thought you would when traveling. Unexpected travel expenses can cost you more than you would spend if you just stay at home.
Expenses for airplane tickets and hotel rooms are obvious. But, what if you end up losing your baggage? Or someone gets sick?
There are several unexpected travel expenses that can fast spike the total price of your trip to an uncomfortable height. Thankfully, there are some effective and easy ways to cover them. Below are great tips you can use when planning your next trip.
Travel insurance is not really common among people. But, it only takes a bad fall on your trip or a motorbike accident to make you regret your decision of not getting a travel insurance.
Policies are available for a cost as low as a night’s lodging. If you have more money, you can consider increasing your deductible and just use your insurance for real calamities.
There will be times when the train you expect to take you from one spot to another gets delayed for 12 hours. There will be times when you miss your bus and have to buy a nicer class ticket so you can stay on your schedule. In some cases, getting tour buses will be so difficult that you’ll need to spend your last $50 to buy a one-way flight back instead of waiting.
The best way to cover such unexpected travel expenses is to find reasonable offers online for cab or taxi services or get cash advance online.
A lot of travelers just do not pay attention to their free checked baggage allowance once they find tickets with amazing prices. They’ll only realize the problem when they are hit with excess baggage fees.
To avoid this, always double check your airline’s website before packing your suitcase. This will keep you away from extra charges.
Lost luggage problems are a very common scenario today, too. If your baggage doesn’t show up, go to the airline counter to file a report. They may provide you a bag of essentials and ask you to share your contact details. Remember that the longer your luggage is lost, the more compensation the airline will provide. A payday loan could cover this travel problem.
When traveling, your routine changes tremendously. You’ll eat and drink a lot of new things, too. So, you have to go see your attending physician and consult him about your travel plans. If you don’t, you can end up spending tons of cash for expensive medicines, like antiseptics, sunscreen, and allergy pills.
To cover these expenses, you can pack a few medicines in your baggage. If your airline won’t allow it, look for discounts and buy extra packs whenever you see a good deal on your way. A small town without any drugstore can sell these essentials at a high price.
And finally, you should be ready for certain fees connected with lodging that are frequently hidden and unexpected for many travelers. Before signing your final payment, ensure that you have a clear understanding of how much you are going to pay for the whole stay.
Ask the hotel management to provide the list of extra payments that are not included in your stay rate. Also, be ready to cover extra charges, like open bar, internet, and room service fees.
To avoid all those inconveniences and prevent awkward situations during the arrival, include those expenses in your travel budget.
Every time we plan a trip, we often forget the smaller, less pressing stuff. Just keep the above-mentioned points in mind next time you are planning or saving for an overseas trip.
When taking a trip anywhere in the world, you must be prepared for unexpected travel expenses. This way, if something comes up, you won’t end up feeling stressed, frustrated and broke.
Each day, 2.5 million TB of data are generated. This huge quantity of data needs to be stored so that they can be easily accessed later. They are data measured in zettabytes, petabytes and exabytes, which are lesser known terms.
As companies gather rising amounts of data, requirements on infrastructure and technology have become larger. The following 3 Vs describes what Big Data is all about.
This feature represents the absolute amount of data produced by companies. It includes data from transaction information, social media created information, sensor and machine to machine data. Without technologies to accumulate such large amounts of data, storing it easily would be a problem.
Latest technologies allow faster data processing through sensors, RFID tags and other technologies. However, structuring and storing them in real time is a big challenge.
Data come in a wide variety of formats. It can range from regular databases, unstructured video, audio and email to transaction data.
These three features of Big Data offer a challenge for the companies that need to store data in an integrated, structured, affordable and accessible way.
Facebook And Big Data
Social media assure the growth and development of innovation through mass collaboration. Across various industries, companies use social media platforms to promote products and services. They also use it to observe how people respond to brands.
One of the largest Big Data experts is Facebook. It deals with petabytes of data on a regular basis. As the world connects through this platform, it generates algorithms to track those connections.
Whether it’s a wall post or your favorite movies and books, Facebook surveys each and every bit of your data. It does this to provide you superior services each time you log in.
Some Of The Contributors Behind Facebook’s Big Data
There is a variety of technology working behind this platform. Below are the most significant ones:
Facebook manages the biggest Hadoop cluster. It has beyond 4,000 machines and stores millions of gigabytes. This large-scale cluster provides some crucial skills to developers.
The developers can openly write MapReduce programs in any language.
SQL has been combined to process large data sets, as the majority of data in the Hadoop’s file system are in table format. Because of this, it becomes easier for developers to access smaller SQL subsets.
Beginning with searching, recommendation system, log processing and data warehousing, Hadoop is enabling Facebook in any way possible. In fact, its first user-facing app, Facebook Messenger, is based on Hadoop database.
Encountering a large amount of disorganized data each day, Facebook realized that it requires a platform to speed up its analysis. It developed Scuba to help the Hadoop developers plunge into the massive data set. It also allows them to carry on an ad-hoc analysis in real-time.
Facebook wasn’t meant to run across different data centers. A single malfunction could cause the whole platform to fail.
Scuba enables the developers to store in-memory data in bulk. It’s supposed to help speed up the informational analysis. It executes small software agents to collect data from data centers and compress them into log data pattern. The compressed data are further compressed by Scuba into smaller memory systems which can be promptly assessed.
After the launch of Hadoop by Yahoo for its search engine, Facebook also decided to empower its data scientists. It needed help in storing huge amount of data in the Oracle data warehouse. Thus, Hive came into existence.
This tool enhanced the query capability of Hadoop by using a part of SQL. Eventually, it became popular in the unstructured world. Nearly thousands of jobs are running using this system today.
As Facebook doesn’t run on multiple data centers, it needed the help of Prism. It’s a platform that brings out several namespaces. It helps in developing many logical clusters, too.
It was getting difficult to manage the task trackers and cluster resources. As pull-based scheduling model was causing a delay in handling small jobs, MapReduce came to existence. Hadoop was restricted by its slot-based resource management model. It wasted the slot every time the cluster size was unable to fit the configuration.
Developing and executing Corona helped in establishing a new scheduling framework. It helped distinguish resource management from job coordination.
Today, Facebook has become one of the substantial corporations in the world. It’s all thanks to its considerable data on over 1.5 Billion people on earth. However, security and privacy concerns remain as it isn’t sure whether Facebook will just save its big data on its server or use them in order to make money.
But, one thing is for sure. It’s the Big Data that pushed Facebook, a small-time startup in Harvard, into becoming one of the large corporations of all times.
There was a time when having a website was the new thing in marketing. In 2010, there were just 255 million websites worldwide. That number nearly quadrupled to 966 million in just six years.
As a marketing professional, this trend tells me two things: websites are a major factor in strategy planning and websites have to deliver more in order to rise above the crowd.
At first glance, you might say that I have only to worry about the first and leave the second to website designers. However, website designers tend to focus more on how a website looks than how it works and that can be problematic for marketers when the website design has a negative impact on the user experience or UX.
As Steve Jobs said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” That is exactly what it means to have a website with good user experience or UX.
A Marketing Approach to Your Site’s UX design
The UX was not always a big issue, which is why there is a divide between marketing and website design. People, back in the day, were more patient and willing to overlook a cumbersome website if they could get otherwise inaccessible information.
That is no longer the case today.
Now, users have higher expectations when it comes to website performance. Since they have a wider option of obtaining what they want from other sources, they are more likely to leave a site if it has a negative UX design.
The factors that influence website UX include accessibility (loading speed, working links), usability (navigation), findability (SEO), value (content relevance and credibility) and desirability (design and layout). When a website lacks one or more feature, it results in a negative UX.
How does this impact on marketing?
Well, consider that the average user in 2017 will wait only a few seconds for a page to load and about 80% of users are less likely to use a website with poor UX. This means fewer conversions and that’s not good from a marketing perspective.
Marketing and UX Pairing
The question then is how marketing can improve the UX. The answer is simple: the two sides have to work as a team.
Sales and marketing professionals routinely deal directly with people, unlike website designers. As such, they have an in-depth knowledge of what people want and need when they visit a particular site.
For example, if you sell clothes online, the people that go to your site need to buy clothes. How can you provide them with a solution to their problem? The answer is to make it easy for them to find what they want.
Marketing professionals can provide valuable insight into buying behavior and psychology, which may not make much sense to web designers. On the other hand, marketers have no idea of the principles behind website design. They may know how to sell but not how to present it to the user effectively.
In other words, marketing and UX design have to forge a working relationship. Below are some brilliant ways marketing and UX design can boost your site’s conversion rate together.
Coordinate marketing efforts
One of the biggest challenges for many companies today is coordinating different marketing campaigns to benefit the company as a whole. One study shows that nearly two-thirds of companies identify marketing silos as a barrier to communications, productive and effective execution of a cohesive marketing strategy.
Collaboration with the UX design team can break down these silos and improve communications because it establishes a common ground to work on. Working with the UX design team makes any breakdown in communications among marketing glaringly apparent, so it necessitates agreement among them on major goals. When there is a cohesive message and approach, the UX design team can produce a better website. It’s a win-win situation.
Carry out user testing
Marketers may know people but, ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. UX design teams have access to information that reveals how users actually interact with the website through user testing tools. These provide valuable insights to marketers about what the users want so they can refine their marketing campaigns and maximize conversion.
This, in turn, will guide marketers on what they need the UX design team to fix on the website so that they can improve and create the ideal UX. This entails a certain measure of trial and error but it is a very effective method of designing the perfect website in the long term.
Unify campaigns across different channels
Websites often serve as the anchor for campaigns and the average company uses about eight different channels for their marketing efforts. While marketing strategies for each channel optimize user response, they don’t necessarily dovetail neatly into your conversion funnel.
You need to make sure your email campaign is in line with your mobile app so that they end up generating leads or sales for your company. The best way to do this is to design your website to be the pivot or hub for different channels so most of your leads can conveniently navigate across channels.
Now that you know how marketing and UX can work and complement each other, your next step is to take action. Here’s how to do that:
• Do initial research
Designing a site for a kick-ass UX all begins with gathering information about your user. You need to find out who they are, what they care about and where they come from. You also need to know how they spend their time before you can even think about your site design. Learning about your target audience is essential for success in developing your website UX. After all, it is the user experience.
• Monitor users
Your initial user research will give you a good idea of how to design your website. However, until you take it out for a test drive, it is just an idea. Once your site goes up, you should monitor how users are actually interacting with your site and use tools to monitor and analyze their behavior.
Before you do that, take note of your own expectations on user behavior to serve as a benchmark for future observations. This will prevent you from “hindsight bias” and help you figure out gaps in your user research.
• Do a survey
According to TermLife2Go, after you have observed your users and identified certain behaviors you want to understand, do a survey to get the answers from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Most of e-commerce websites are doing actionable plans to enhance users shopping experience. They send specific questions to ask why users bought an item or why they clicked on a certain option. Your intention is not to be nosy, but to increase your understanding of how your users think. That way, you can improve the website UX as well as your marketing campaigns.
A marketing approach to website UX is simply about integrating two important elements of your conversion funnel. If you can manage to do this successfully, it will maximize your marketing efforts to an incredible degree.
A healthy marriage comprises of many different roles. On any given day, you may be the sexy lover, the secret keeper, the playmate or the best friend. This plethora of roles you play contributes to the quality of your marriage.
Being friends with your spouse is guaranteed to make your marriage more fun for both of you. It will help deepen your bond as well. Being friends with your mate means more shared activities, free and open communication and a marriage that is the envy of all your friends.
Wondering why friendship in marriage is important? Here are 10 good reasons:
You get to enjoy similar hobbies
Many couples get together because they like each other’s company and there’s physical attraction. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy each other’s hobbies. When you have already established friendship, you likely have a hobby in common with your partner.
This opens the way for more interesting date nights as a married couple. Instead of going out to dinner, you can head out for a Sunday morning surf, try golfing, play video games all afternoon or go on a photography hike. Having similar hobbies means more bonding time for you as a couple.
By being friends with your partner, you have probably already heard dozens of stories about his ex-girlfriends. You may even have been friends with some of them! Not only does this give you full disclosure about your mate’s romantic past, it can also make you feel less jealous and more secure in your relationship.
Your marriage is enviable
Doesn’t it tickle you on some level when your friends watch you and your spouse interact and then wistfully exclaim: “I wish I had that!” Not that you’re concerned with what other people think of your marriage, right?
There will be less damaging fights
As friends, you’ve had your share of ups and downs. This also means that you’ve probably had your fair share of arguments, too.
By establishing friendship in your marriage, you’ll know how to communicate in a disagreement with your partner and you won’t be afraid to apologize when you are wrong. You know how to consider your partner’s feelings and put yourself in his shoes.
This is friendship at its best. This makes marriage more fun since there’s no pride getting in the way of doing the right thing, particularly when it comes to apologizing, admitting wrongdoing and making up with your lover.
Furthermore, there isn’t that looming fear of this ‘D’ word when you already have a long history of friendship together. This allows you to be open with one another without worrying what effect your honesty will have on your relationship.
You set an excellent example
Your children will depend on you for many things, like food, emotional support and someone to entertain them. They’ll look up to you as an example of how to behave and what standards to expect from life and love. This bodes well for those who have made friendship an important part of their marriage.
Your children will consider your marriage as the basis for what they can expect from their marriage in the future. Your friendship and fun-loving attitude towards one another will set an excellent example for your little ones.
Does transparency in your marriage make it much more fun?
Since you are already friends, you have already heard the best and the worst experiences the other has gone through. From crazy exes to not-so-dignified behavior, you know your partner’s dirty history in and out. This takes a lot of the guess work out of your relationship and leaves more time for you to enjoy each other’s company. You’ll be able to share your problems without fearing what the other person will think.
It keeps things interesting
Friendship makes a marriage more fun by keeping things interesting. When you are friends on top of being lovers, it will keep the relationship from feeling stale or routine. Having fun and laughing together bonds you as a couple and heightens your desire to spend time together. What could be more interesting than taking up new hobbies with your best friend in the world?
Is there anything worse than that clunky, uncomfortable silence that comes from not knowing a new friend well enough? Never fear! This will never happen when you have friendship in your marriage.
You can feel completely comfortable with any silent gaps that appear in conversation with your partner. You won’t feel the need to search for old, embarrassing instances from your past to fill the void. Instead, you’ll simply bask in the glow of one another and enjoy those extra moments of silence that you have together.
Your partner knows how to be happy for you
When you’re good friends with your spouse, you and your partner both know how to be excited for each other. There is no secret jealousy or looming resentment. When you achieve something great, your partner will be right there celebrating with you. They can show you full support and make you feel special.
You’re less stressed out
Being in a close relationship means there is more oxytocin flowing through your body. This “love drug” makes you feel accomplished and appreciated. It raises your trust and lowers stress and anxiety. The happier you are, the happier your marriage will be.
Friendship makes marriage more loving, more comfortable and more fun to be in. It is an aspect of marriage that needs nurturing to stay fiery and alive.
So, make time for your mate every day so you can nurture your relationship and make your marriage as fun as it can be.
Fresh fruit and veggie-based juices are the perfect way to get your daily dose of nutrition without the extra calories. While juicing won’t give you the figure of your dreams overnight, it’s a great way to enhance the effects of a proper diet and exercise program.
How Does Juicing Help You Lose Weight?
Here’s how fresh fruit and veggie juices can help you lose weight:
You’re delivering vital nutrients to your body in an efficient manner, allowing it to directly absorb vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Raw fruits and veggies are typically quite high in water content to keep you hydrated. They help control hunger, too.
Raw fruits contain tiny amounts of fructose. When you juice with 75% veggies and 25% fruit, you won’t be overdoing the sugar.
Green leafy veggies are high in protein to help build muscles while other ingredients can help with digestion and blood sugar regulation.
5 Juicing Recipes For Weight Loss
Green Gut Buster Detox
Packed with the goodness of raw fruits and green leafy veggies, this detoxifying drink helps to counter the effects of junk food, holiday binges and parties. This recipe is rich in vitamin C and health-boosting polyphenols which make it one of the best juicing recipes for weight loss.
To make this Detox juice, put the following ingredients in your juicer:
10 kale leaves (stems removed)
2 celery stalks (leaves removed)
1 1/2 cucumber
2 green apples (cut in half)
1 lemon (peeled)
1 2 inch piece fresh ginger
Preparation Tip – Increase or decrease the amount of apples to add or reduce the sweetness. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Fruit Punch Energy Booster
This sweet and tangy juice is the perfect way to start your day since it wakes you up and gives you the energy and nutrients you need in the morning. Loaded with vitamins and minerals from fruit and greens, it’s also the ideal pre-workout fuel for your body!
To make this Booster juice, put the following ingredients in your juicer:
2 cups of spinach
1 cup cucumber
2 cups pineapple
Juice of 2 limes
Preparation Tip– Add lime juice and ice after juicing the other ingredients to prevent oxidization. Increase or decrease pineapple and apples as per your taste.
Tropical Carrot-Apple Tummy Tucker
Carrots are rich in beta carotene (which helps your body process vitamin A), B vitamins, vitamin K and potassium. In this recipe, the sweetness of carrots is perfectly balanced with the tangy flavor of apples. It’s a drink that’s both nutritious and delicious.
To make this Tummy Tucker juice, put the following ingredients in your juicer:
3 large carrots (chopped)
2 cups pineapple
2 pieces fresh ginger
Preparation Tip – Use firm apples to produce a clear juice and add green apples if you want more tartness.
Sneaky Green-Berry Metabolism Booster
If you don’t tell anyone that this drink has leafy veggies in it, they will never know it’s a green smoothie. Mixed berries add a rich flavor as well as a gorgeous color to this juice, masking the “green” flavor and color of spinach.
To make this Booster juice, put the following ingredients in your juicer:
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup raspberries
2 cups spinach
1 cup coconut water
Preparation Tip – Adding a few chopped beets will intensify the color and mineral content of this drink.
Flat Belly Antioxidant Delight
This drink delivers a huge payoff in terms of antioxidants, minerals, and phytochemicals from fresh carrots, citrus, and green vegetables. Carrots also help to regulate blood sugar.
This juice is so tasty that even veggie-hating kids will love it!
To make this Antioxidant juice, put the following ingredients in your juicer:
2 cups broccoli
1 stick of celery
¼ head of cabbage
¼ head of lettuce
Preparation Tip – Juice the oranges and add to the smoothie container with ice before juicing the other ingredients. Stir well before serving.
For one, you can add lemon to slow down oxidation. You can also use a proper smoothie storage solution if you want to make larger batches of juice at a time. While green smoothies and juices can be whipped up in a jiffy if you have the ingredients at hand, it can still be a hassle to make them each time you want a guilt-free snack or healthy drink.
Smoothie bottles that pump out excess air will help keep ingredients fresh and preserve their health benefits, so you can just grab one from the fridge before leaving the house or when you want a quick snack!
Money is a part of life. Whether we love it or hate it, money is a necessity. It provides food, shelter and health care. It also gives us freedom, opportunity and decision-making flexibility. In addition to those, money allows us to pursue our passions or philanthropic desires.
As much as we may wish it weren’t the case, money plays a huge role in our lives so the attainment of wealth is often on our radar.
During my own journey to wealth, I learned a few distinctions that deepened my relationship with money and allowed the idea of getting rich quick to be a real possibility. Of course, with these terms, there are qualifiers.
Getting rich quick can often refer to a scam or gamblers mentality. That’s not what I’m referring to. Becoming rich is not an event that happens to you. It’s a process that takes place over time. Whether that time period is short or long, that depends on your approach.
I became rich quickly and I was the most unlikely candidate – a high school dropout, blue-collar mechanic. I had a light bulb moment when I realized people could get rich on purpose- not by accident or luck, but by educating themselves how. If they could do it, so could I. And I did.
Let me clarify by saying nobody can tell you how you are going to achieve it. This is an entrepreneurial step and you need to take personal responsibility for it. But, yes, you can learn how to get rich quick and there’s a process you must go through.
You must change how you think about money.
The average person looks at the average income around them. They work hard to earn that because it is their obtainable reality. They believe that to gain greater wealth, you must have to work harder, be smarter or luckier. But, working hard is not a determining factor at all.
The fundamental ingredients of how to get rich quick are: believing, purpose, knowing for yourself and following through no matter what.
When you make the mental leap of believing that getting rich is possible, your mindset has shifted. Once you know great wealth is obtainable for you right now, THAT is the golden first step. Every person who has ever obtained wealth quickly has accomplished this belief first.
HOW you choose to obtain your wealth is the responsibility of every entrepreneur. There are so many different types of business vehicles and you have to pick one that aligns with your passion, that excites you and that motivates you. You must be working towards a vision.
Know for yourself
Most importantly, you have to see the numbers from any venture and know for yourself that there is an opportunity for wealth. You don’t have to invent the opportunity.
I was a mechanic working crazy hours to barely make ends meet when I saw a presentation for a Network Marketing opportunity. I didn’t know the industry at all but I saw beauty in the product offering AND the business model. It ignited something in me and I knew that it deserved my time and would absolutely lift my income. I did the math and saw it for myself. A couple of years later, I was a self-made millionaire.
To become rich quick, you must believe it’s possible, keep your eye on that goal, follow through and it’s yours. If you’ve already decided it’s too hard to make a lot of money or you believe you don’t have the time to invest, then you’ll never see the opportunities that are right in front of you.
The number of times I’ve seen people give up right before I know they’re about to crack is so frustrating. You must be steadfast in your focus and productivity. Otherwise, you’re not really in it to win it. Commit half-heartedly and you will achieve half-hearted results.
There’s not a right or wrong way to make money. At the beginning, I didn’t have the idea, the means or the knowledge to create a venture of my own. I just had the mind shift that I COULD and the opportunity I saw wasn’t a mass produced product with a small profit, requiring huge sales. I saw a high-value product, offering high-profit with great leverage and I made a killing.
To me, that’s a great way to make money quickly in business. It’s not the only way or right way, it is just ONE way.
With lessons I learned from that business and a fire in my belly, I later went on to create my own business venture which was valued at US $170 million in its fourth year. And again, it was based on a high value, high profit product which was loaded with leverage.
That is a great equation for a successful business that has the possibility of creating wealth quickly.
One of the most important components of achieving long-term financial well-being is increasing your income. In most instances, this will come in the form of raises to your salary. As you gain more experience and rise up the ranks, you’ll receive compensation adjustments.
But, do you know exactly how to get a raise?
In this article, we’ll discuss how to craft a compelling ASK which you can use to maximize your salary increase. This past year I used these techniques to increase my base salary by 10%!
Look at your work situation objectively
To start the process, you’ll first need to sit down and objectively look at your work situation. Have you been over-delivering on your project requirements? Have you been showcasing your leadership ability?
Sit down and write a list of 5-10 things that you’ve done to add significant value to your organization. If you can’t come up with at least a few things that you’ve done to add value, you may not be ready to ask for a raise.
If this is the case, don’t be discouraged. Use the situation as a motivator to improve yourself. Reach out to your boss and ask for feedback on what you can do to improve. Once you determine your areas for improvement, begin working towards your action items. Once you come up with 5 -10 talking points, it’s time to begin crafting your compelling ASK.
Crafting your ASK
You’ve done all the hard work of delivering results, now it’s time to talk about them. When developing your ASK, it’s important to determine how much of a raise you’d like.
Do you want a 5% raise? A 10% raise?
Be sure to research what an average raise for your position looks like and determine how much you deserve based on your performance. You’ll need to be prepared to justify this amount to your employer when you’re at the negotiation table.
Next, you’ll want to begin structuring your ASK appropriately. Start by thanking your boss for his/her time and express your appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of a great organization. This will help diffuse the situation and give you an extra positive boost when you begin your negotiation.
Next, you’ll want to highlight the 5-10 items on your list that have added value to the organization. It’s extremely important that you express the VALUE you’ve provided because, in the end, that’s what your employer cares about. Use metrics and other supporting data to solidify your case.
Once you’ve explained your positive results, close out by asking your employer for your determined percentage raise. Below, I’ve given an example of what a good ASK would look like:
“Over the past 6 months, my team and I have successfully delivered on project x & y, increasing revenue by $100,000 as well as reducing customer service average wait time by 3 minutes. I plan to continue to set the bar high for myself and my team so that we can continue delivering more results like these to the organization. As a result, I feel that my compensation should be adjusted by x% to reflect my performance”.
Practice your ASK in front of people to get comfortable delivering your request. This will most likely feel awkward at first, but practice can help you gain the confidence you’ll need to deliver. Now that you’ve crafted and practiced your compelling ASK, it’s time to set up a review meeting with your employer.
Now that you’ve crafted a compelling ASK and practiced delivering it, it’s time to begin your negotiation. Reach out to your employer and request a time to speak with him/her. If you already have a pre-set evaluation meeting, mark it in your calendar.
On the day of the negotiation, show up dressed to impress and ready to kick some butt. When your meeting time finally arrives, thank your employer for meeting with you and sit down to begin your discussion. During the discussion, remember to highlight the VALUE that you’ve created for the organization and focus on the key metrics that you’ve delivered. Once you’ve given your pitch, ASK your employer for your desired raise.
From there, your boss will either accept or reject your proposal. If he/she accepts your proposal, congratulations! You worked hard and deserve every penny of your raise. If your boss rejects your proposal, ask if you could substitute some of your proposed extra yearly compensation with other forms of compensation, such as year-end bonuses, stock options or more vacation time.
Many employers are more lenient with this form of compensation and it may be a great option for you. If your boss still rejects the proposal, ask them if there is anything else you need to do to be considered for a raise in the future. When your boss provides you with feedback, take that feedback and implement it into your plan of attack right away. Once you’ve completed the desired items outlined in your discussion, re-engage the raise conversation.
Bringing it all together
As a high performer and excellent contributor to your organization, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your contributions. Preparing for this important interaction with your employer will not only help you achieve better results in the present, but it can also have a massive impact on your long-term financial well-being.
A good book to read in this scenario is “The Greatest Salesmen in the World” by Og Mandino. Mr. Mandino delivers key selling success strategies through a parable set in ancient Babylon.
I found the timeless lessons he discussed in this book extremely compelling and I enjoyed the story he illustrated to frame these lessons. Learning the soft skills taught in this classic book will surely be of benefit to you in many life and work situations.
Do you have any stories or experiences of asking for a raise? Do you have any beneficial tips or strategies that you’ve utilized in a wage negotiation? I’d love to hear from you.
Parents and educators have done a serious disservice to many people by leading them to believe that IQ is everything and that your grades actually matter once you are out of school. Learning is good and getting good grades can certainly open a lot of doors, but your IQ is basically set for life in childhood. So, if you are going to depend on that for the rest of your life, it will just be a losing game for you.
There is good news, though.
Your emotional quotient, or EQ, can be developed throughout your life and can have a greater impact on your career success than anything else. How to work emotional intelligence? Read on.
What Is EQ?
Your emotional quotient, like your IQ, is a measurement of your emotional intelligence. The more you develop different areas of your emotional intelligence, the higher your EQ climbs.
These are things like:
Social skills – How well do you interact with people and get along with your coworkers?
Empathy – Can you put yourself in other people’s shoes to really understand their point of view? Are you in the habit of doing this regularly?
Motivation – Are you passionate about your work or your hobby? Are you motivated by money and power?
Self-regulation – Are you able to accept things that are out of your control and think before you act?
Self-awareness – Are you aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses? Can you acknowledge these and admit your mistakes?
How Are EQ And IQ Different?
Your IQ is consistent throughout your entire life. It basically measures your ability to learn. There are no major differences between men and women.
Your EQ, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with a little effort on your part. There may be some differences between men and women in general, but it is unclear whether they are biologically or socially driven.
Typically, 70% of the time, a person of average intelligence will outperform someone with high intelligence and EQ is likely the reason behind that.
Some Of The Most Successful People Have High EQs
Oprah Winfrey is so well known for her emotional intelligence that it has its own name: Oprahfication. She has used her ability to get people to open up to build a television empire.
Matt Damon has also used his emotional intelligence to build and maintain relationships with fellow actors as well as to launch the H2O Africa Foundation. Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi once wrote to the parents of 29 of her employees to tell them they had raised good kids.
Emotional intelligence traits like these have allowed each of these people to accelerate their professional lives much more than if they were completely reliant on IQ.
Why Work On Emotional Intelligence?
People with high levels of emotional intelligence earn on average of $29,000 more per year than those with low levels of emotional intelligence. In fact, for every point your EQ rises, you can expect to earn an average of $1300 more a year. The majority of top job performers have high emotional quotients. Clearly, increasing your emotional quotient is something you can’t afford not to do.
Green roofs are roofs covered with vegetation. Before, vegetation growing on a rooftop was mostly due to neglect. Today, however, growing greens on a roof are making a trend.
And for good reason. Green roofs have many benefits for the environment and the home itself. Investing in a living roof can minimize storm waters, add to your home’s insulation, and provide protection for your rooftop. It can even help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and boost its appeal.
Some green roofs are easier to implement than others. It mostly depends on the size of the area you want to turn green and the slope of the roof.
There are three basic types of green roof system:
Extensive systems are for roof areas that are out of reach and not used for other purposes. These areas need appropriate vegetation that will make them low maintenance and self-sustaining.
Semi-intensive system requires some maintenance from time to time.
Intensive systems can make use of any vegetation and should be easy to access as it requires frequent maintenance. This type of green roof functions as a garden on your roof.
Flat roofs can become a lovely rooftop garden. Slope roofs, meanwhile, can have an aesthetic impact on your home. You can use the roof on top of your garden shed or the one on your porch.
Whichever it is, keep in mind that it is not recommended to install a green roof on a slope of over 10° or under 2° without professional advice. The roof should be in good condition and with a decent lifespan. Making sure that your roof can hold the weight of the vegetation and extra weight of saturation during rainfall is crucial to ensure that the roof won’t collapse.
It does not matter whether you choose a small DIY green roof on top of your garage or if you get a professional to turn your sloped roof into a habitat for wild birds. The steps to building a green roof are the same.
How To Build A Green Roof
The first layer should make your roof waterproof as well as root resistant. Therefore, you need to lay out an impermeable layer or root proof membrane. A single sheet is ideal for covering the whole area.
At your local garden center, you can find a heavy duty pond liner. This is the next layer to your green roof that will require the use of an adhesive or mastic sealant. Mark all outlets as you will cut them out later to ensure proper drainage.
Drainage is essential for your green roof as it allows excess water to escape. For this level, cut into the containment frame where the water can run into the gutter of the roof. Pebbles can be used to keep the outlets clear. You can add a layer of stones or rocks to avoid blockages or use them around the edges of the roof to stay clear of unwanted vegetation in that area.
For DIY green roofs, the depth of the substrate is 70-200 mm. This will differ depending on the vegetation planted. The substrate should be lightweight and that is why garden soil is not okay. It tends to become very thick when wet and it may give life to other unwanted vegetation. Mix your substrate with about 70% inorganic material and 30% organic material.
Here comes the fun part!
This is where you get to bring your green roof to life. You can plant seeds which are particularly for green roofs at your local seed supplier or by planting plug plants or plant cuttings. Another way to go is to purchase pre-vegetated mats or blankets.
With the right materials, roof angle and a solid roof, you can have your plants growing in no time. Framing around the vegetation can also be implemented if you want to ensure that the green layers stay intact.
One of the disadvantages of a green roof is precisely the process of its creation which tends to be a challenge for many. Another one is its maintenance. It does require a bit more attention than a regular garden when it comes to planting choices or irrigation.
Still, have fun while putting your green roof together and be proud that you are contributing to the green movement to make this world a cleaner place.
You never hear people say “Yes, I think I’m great!” or “I love that about myself, I think it’s really cool,” or “I just really make myself laugh.”.
It just sounds a bit weird that it’s more socially acceptable to mock yourself, put yourself down and bemoan your shortcomings. It’s almost cool to appear to be broken, dysfunctional and miserable.
The trouble is that we’re forced to conform to other people’s ideas of what we should be rather than be accepted for who we really are.
We’re spat out of school after being shoehorned into categories and graded like goods on a factory production line. And then, as adults, our insecurities drive advertisers to constantly prey on our self-loathing. We’re continually led to believe that we’re too fat, too stupid, too short, too insecure, too lazy and too unproductive. We constantly compare ourselves to others and consistently find ourselves inadequate.
As adults, we continue to feel like children being told off for being too slow or too messy or not trying our best. Rather than it being our parents or teachers putting us down, we let others do it — the media, our bosses, friends and even more destructively, ourselves. We never stop bemoaning ourselves to the point that we allow those negative voices to cause us misery and permeate our whole lives.
Part of true mature thinking is to own and deal with these thoughts. You need to take control of the ones that are valid and to own the constructive criticism.
It was Mark Twain who said: “The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”.
And, he was right. You will spend your whole life with yourself. The quality of your relationship with yourself will have a direct bearing on the quality of your life as a whole.
It’s probably a strange thought that you are in a relationship with yourself. For many people, they are themselves and, in a haze of introspective emotion, they can’t see beyond a two-dimensional representation of their existence. It’s a childish state that many of us remain locked into.
But, to really develop, you need to separate from yourself, develop some sense of objectivity and become your own best friend. You have to distance the childish voices and impulses and to cultivate a mature view of yourself. You need to be able to look down at yourself with compassion and ultimately love and care for yourself.
Having the inner strength to talk yourself through things, the capacity to self-soothe, to be entertained by yourself and to find yourself interesting is incredibly powerful. To be able to look after yourself, respect your own point of view and be confident in your own thinking is liberating and empowering.
I’ve learned that if I can love myself, forgive my own shortcomings and try to live a happy and fulfilled life, then I can have more resources to be the person I want to be to others. It may sound selfish but if I’m unhappy, tired and drained, I’m no use to anyone. I’m less good as a parent, as a partner, as a worker and a friend. Any positive influence I can give has to start from within and if I’m not right within myself, then I’m wasting my time.
So, what are the steps to loving yourself?
Learn to love yourself from the outside – become your own best friend
Try to remove yourself from your immediate emotion and look at yourself objectively. Of course, we all need to feel emotions and be in the moment. But, being able to separate from them and simultaneously retain a sense of balanced objectivity is a valuable skill.
Sometimes we get so involved with our inner feelings that we can’t make progress. Strong emotions can cloud your judgment and having a two-dimensional sense of yourself where you are with your emotions is often detrimental to your well-being.
Become your own best friend. Recognize your emotions and try to nurture a loving and supporting view of yourself so that you can give pieces of advice and comments that are parallel with your inner self.
This sounds more complicated than it actually is. But, think of it this way:
We all have a feeling side and a thinking side and it’s just a case of recognizing and synchronizing the two to work harmoniously.
There are a number of ways to develop this way of supportive thinking. Daily journaling or keeping a diary is a good start as it helps you to reflect on the day’s events. Spending five minutes a day on reflective writing can kickstart your inner voice and allow you access to an inner dialogue that will comfort and support you.
Once you have a sense of your inner voice, nurture and develop it. Converse with it and talk to it. Having an inner dialogue can bring you closer to yourself.
Spend time alone and learn to enjoy your own company
How often do you actively do things alone? There’s always a pressure to be seen with other people or to feel as if we are “Billy no mates”. However, spending quality time with yourself is extremely valuable and underrated.
So many people seem terrified of themselves and clearly don’t like being alone and can’t stand their own company. They constantly fill every waking moment with entertainment and chatter to avoid confronting themselves. To them, a moment alone in contemplation would be a horror.
But, you can’t avoid yourself. It’s impossible and the sooner you learn to love your own company, the better. As with any relationship, it takes time and effort to make it work. There may well be times when you drive yourself nuts but also times when you start to find an inner peace and acceptance that’s priceless.
Have a go at simply scheduling time to do stuff on your own. You can try going for a walk, shopping, going to the cinema or a concert. Even allowing yourself to daydream, sitting with your eyes closed and listening to music is a great way to spend quality time with yourself.
Maybe meditation would work well for you. Any activity that allows you to concentrate on your inner thoughts and feelings is valuable in nurturing your inner relationship.
Develop self-acceptance and compassion
We all instinctively spend a lot of our time comparing ourselves to other people. We are actively encouraged to do this at school and work and our performance is constantly scrutinized. On social media and in advertising, we are incessantly bombarded with images and ideas about how we should be. There’s little wonder that so many of us are full of self-loathing and feel inadequate.
In the past, we were only able to compare ourselves to people within a much smaller demographic. We didn’t have access to media, the internet and travel, so we were able to see ourselves a little more objectively.
Today, the context is essentially the whole world. Inevitably, we are exposed to the best of everything — the fastest, tallest, slimmest, most beautiful, best designed, most efficient or most stylish. It’s hopeless and demoralizing trying to compete with all of those.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. That’s not to say that we can’t have aspirations and dreams for development. However, learning to love our individuality is one of the most important steps to loving yourself. There’s little point in looking at what other people have or haven’t got. There will always be someone who is better and worse than you.
We need to learn to measure and celebrate our progress in terms of our own personal achievement. What really matters is that we are slightly better today than we were yesterday and not that we are better than someone else. Comparing ourselves to others ultimately erodes our self-confidence and kills our self-esteem. By all means, be ruthlessly competitive with yourself.
If we can learn to cut ourselves a bit of slack and accept that life is going to be a bit rubbish sometimes, then we will find that we’ll be much happier and much more accepting of your own limitations.
All people have a gift or a skill that they are better at than others. It can be something that they love or something that gives them enormous satisfaction and pleasure. Sometimes, it feels so good that it’s almost like a guilty pleasure. When our brains are in what’s called “in flow”, we are in one of the most satisfying and fulfilling states that the human mind can be in.
Sadly, many people go through life without finding their flow activities. They never get to spend that quality time developing their skill, feeling positive about their achievement and being one with their purpose in life. If you don’t know what your flow activities are, then think about the last time you lost track of the time of day. It’s when you got so absorbed in doing something that nothing else mattered. You were just happy and at peace with yourself.
These activities are fundamentally precious to your personal well-being so you should schedule more time doing them.
Care for your mind and body
Ultimately, learning to live with and love yourself is about respect and taking the time to listen to your inner voice. It’s incredibly hard to attune yourself to the depths of your inner workings if your outer layers aren’t being looked after properly. This makes it important to look after your physical well-being, too.
Starting to make positive choices about food and exercise can have far-reaching effects on your mood and happiness. Just by being proactive about healthy eating, making informed choices, and respecting your body is a mindset that can spill over into other aspects of your life. Keep in mind that there is an incredibly strong link between physical and mental health.
If everything above just seems far too difficult and complicated, start by simply taking control of your body. Learn to care for your physical health more fully. Start to exercise and be deliberate in your eating habits. Small changes can have a big impact. The very act of deciding to take care and to regain physical control can have positive repercussions way beyond those small first steps.
The bottom line is that you are the only person responsible for your life. You can’t escape yourself. It’s the one relationship that you can’t break off. You can’t divorce yourself, sack yourself or dump yourself. However, you can reinvent yourself so you can become better and stronger. You are stuck with yourself for life and the sooner you come to accept, love and respect yourself, the happier and more fulfilling your life will be.
In Mark Manson’s article entitled “Fuck Yes or Fuck No,” he asks the crucial question about being in relationship. If a person really just isn’t that into you, then why waste your time? This critical advice has hopefully saved a lot of heartache for those who have held on to relationship hope past the expiration date.
Recently, however, a different slice of the same pie was delivered to a friend. Beth had been casually dating Greg when he had a complete meltdown – something about her roommate. Riddled with anxiety, he completely broke down, and the two had a brief conversation about what was going on. My husband talked to her the next day, and the two agreed that the relationship seemed like more trouble than it was worth. After all, it was early days yet. Wasn’t this supposed to be the easy times? Beth decided that it was too much for her and broke it off. She decided she wasn’t so into Greg that she wanted to invest any time in the relationship. She was a definite Fuck No.
My opinion about the matter differed. I saw total value in staying in the relationship long enough to talk about what had happened, using this as a practice run. Let me explain. Beth and Greg had little invested in the relationship as it was so new. Because of this, I felt it could be helpful for Beth to gain some relationship experience (she was very inexperienced) by having a more difficult conversation with Greg.
She could have listened to his fears and revealed some of her own. She could have told him about her turn-off. She could have had a potentially crunchy conversation in a very low-stakes relationship.
This would mean practicing her communication and transparency skills, so when she was in a high-stakes relationship, she’d have more skills. It means that if it didn’t go well and the relationship ended, then she wouldn’t be crushed. Hopefully she’d reflect, learn, and move on. And if it did go well, then she might see if the relationship was truly workable, and perhaps it might evolve into a high-stakes relationship.
First things first, what is the difference between a low-stakes relationship and a high-stakes relationship? A low-stakes relationship – unlike a casual relationship – still has a level of commitment. It might mean seeing the person every two weeks, once a month, or once a year. It means you value the relationship: it’s not disposable or expendable or fast food. You nourish it even if you think it might only last a short time.
A high-stakes relationship has a higher level of commitment. Think: life partner, long term, family relationships. These ones have weight, (sometimes baggage), and are deep on our hearts. These are the ones that often need the most work. This is where low-stakes healthy relationships can help. (Note: It’s always worthwhile checking in about whether or not you’re in a healthy or toxic relationship. Toxic relationships clearly aren’t worth your time or energy!)
In staying in such a low stakes relationship, it’s not about whether the relationship is right or wrong for you, it’s whether both of you can actually learn something from being in the relationship. Now, if there’s not enough connection from the get-go, then by all mean, don’t stay in.
If, as Mark Manson says, the person just isn’t that into you, then leave. But if you seem to share values and enjoy one another’s company, then why let one upset upheave the whole thing? What can you learn by staying in? Lots, I’d say, but only if you really want to do the work.
You might ask yourself, Do I have a lot of healthy relationship experience? Have I learned how to communicate in relationship? Do I know what it’s like to be transparent about my needs? Have I learned how to apologize when my words and actions have had a negative impact (seen or unforeseen)? How can this current low-stakes relationship teach both of us these skills?
And if your answer is Yes, I can learn more… Yes, I want to be able to weather the storms of an intimate relationship – maybe not with this person for long-term, but for right now – then do it. Step into the storm. See what you can learn about connecting with this person. See how you can stretch and grow. See what it means to be messy, human, and compassionate. See what happens when you say Fuck it. It’s not why stay, it’s why not stay.
A true leader can be defined by many qualities, but nine traits stand out as being especially important. Some of them may be new to you while you might agree instantly with the rest.
To help you grow into the leader you are meant to be, here are 9 traits of a great leader you should learn to internalize and adopt.
Trust is the building block of effective delegation, effective teamwork and a happy and productive organization.
Having faith in your team is what makes you a leader and not the kind of micromanaging, look-over-your-shoulder type of boss that everyone hates working for.
To be effective, one of the first things you need to do is demonstrate trust in your team. You should let them learn rather than watch their every move.
Creates a Motivating Environment
A motivated employee will always work better. That’s why great leaders find ways to keep their teams excited about their work.
Depending on your style and your staff’s needs, a motivating environment can be about fair pay, office snacks or letting them leave early if the day’s work is done.
Just make sure to learn the difference between motivating employees and babysitting them. If you want your company to operate like clockwork, then every member must learn to stand on one’s own two feet.
Sets and Communicates Clear Objectives and Goals
A leader is the bridge between the organization’s goals and the team’s actions. As the person who understands the big picture, it’s your job to make sure your team stays on track by relaying clear, specific objectives on an ongoing basis.
This way, your employees will always be in-tune with your organization’s goals and vision. Just make sure that what you’re asking for is fair and realistic to avoid stressing out your employees.
Supports and Empowers Others
The more power your team members have, the stronger you are as their leader. That’s why it’s important to empower and support your subordinates so that they can rise up to challenges whenever necessary. Not only will this make your team better, it’ll also free up your time for more complex tasks.
And as you lend your support, they’ll pay you back in kind. This is the key to forming a symbiotic relationship that fosters motivation, collaboration and dedication to the team’s goals.
Nothing is worse than working under a leader that leaves projects unfinished and throws words to the wind. Even a bad leader is better than an irresponsible one.
Don’t make this mistake. Be meticulous with your word and commit to seeing everything you start through—even if you have to force it. This way, you’ll lead by example and create a culture where everyone feels responsible for what they’re supposed to do.
As a leader, you need people to listen to you. However, the best way to be heard is to listen when it’s their turn to speak.
Remember, team members don’t just look at you for orders. They also want support, attention, and feedback. In order to provide these things in a useful and constructive manner, learn to lend an ear to your subordinates.
Furthermore, a true leader understands the value of being a lifelong learner. Other than internal insights from your company, you can also learn a lot from the content of thought leaders, such as Tai Lopez and Jeff Bullas.
In addition to sticking to the company’s long-term goals, a great leader should always have a vision that’s motivating, simple and inclusive to other employees.
The latter is particularly important. No matter how great you are as a manager, your employees will never function at their fullest potential if they don’t buy your vision.
Fosters a Team Environment
Strong leaders don’t only have good relationships with their employees, they also encourage the entire team to cooperate in a constructive manner. This ensures that they will continue to work together when you’re not around.
Without a team-oriented environment, your staff is just a collection of people reporting directly to you. Fostering cooperation is, therefore, necessary if you want people to work as a single unit and thrive together towards the same direction.
Many early marketing theories treated team members like cogs in a large mechanism. Today, we know better than that. We understand that no two people are the same. Different individuals need different approaches to do a great job and it’s your duty as a leader to understand that.
When you need something done, don’t just focus on the tasks at hand. Give a careful thought on who’s going to do it and how you can encourage them to do their best work. This is the last but definitely not the least attribute of a great leader.
Great Leaders Are Made; Not Born
Vince Lombardi, a 6-time NFL Champion, 2-time Super Bowl champion and 2-time NFL Coach of the Year, once said that great leaders are made “by hard effort; the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
Remember that there is reciprocity in the corporate world. You receive what you give. Lead by example, work hard, and dedicate yourself to your team. Doing all these will inspire your employees to do the same for your organization.
Have you ever gotten excited about your New Year’s resolutions only to have them fizzle out mere weeks after? This is a common enough story and we’ve all been there. When the “fresh start effect” fades away, your determination falters and the first bump on the road often signals the end of the journey.
So, what can we do to keep our motivation high for the longer run? Here are 4 great ways to stay motivated.
Listen to your heart
If you want to feel motivated in the long term, choose a goal with your heart. When an objective comes from your heart, it will be easier to stick with it through tough times. You will make sacrifices more readily when it is clear what you are making them for.
Dig inside yourself and get in touch with the vision that you have behind your goal. If your objective is to eat healthy or exercise, what is your underlying vision? Maybe a vision of yourself in good health, fit, slim and happy.
Whatever that vision is, take a moment to visualize the person you aspire to build. It will help you see meaning in everything you do.
For example, why would you put your sneakers on and go for a run instead of watching a TV series? The sofa might be more tempting than the effort. However, if you go back to your vision, the choice will come effortlessly.
Go after goals which are genuinely yours and you will find plenty of motivation to make them happen.
One day, I checked my own goals and tried to determine what the difference was between those that I achieved easily and those I seemed to struggled with. And I found a clear pattern.
I have a few long-term goals, like maintaining a certain weight or getting a new degree before I reach 40. I realized that I do well with the first one, less so with the second one.
Why do I seem to have a two-speed motivation?
I’m not less motivated in getting a new degree. The problem is that I have nowhere to start from. My weight goal, on the other hand, is linked to short-term goals or habits, such as eating 5 servings of fruits or vegetables per day, eating fish twice a week and exercising at least four times a week. These daily and weekly habits help me reach my long-term objective.
I haven’t set any corresponding habit for my degree goal. And I’m not going to achieve it just by looking at it…
The secret of success lies in the things we do regularly, like our daily and weekly habits. These habits must be aligned with the vision we have.
Having a vision is not enough. It must be translated into small daily steps. If we only have a vision or a long-term goal, we will feel overwhelmed by the mission and we won’t know where to start from.
Sometimes, it’s the other way round and we struggle to ingrain new habits. In that case, the long-term goal may be missing. For example, it’s much easier to find the motivation to go for a run when you have registered for a race or when you aim at getting your beach body back in time for the summer season!
The alignment between habits and a long-term vision works both ways. Having habits that are aligned to a long-term objective gives us the motivation to reach the end goal and sustain good habits.
When you struggle with one of your goals, check whether it’s a habit or a long-term goal. If it’s a habit, make sure that you have a corresponding vision. Why do you want to ingrain this habit?
If it’s a long-term goal that you struggle with, try and set up a daily or weekly habit that will help you get there.
We all know that we are more motivated to do something when there is a reward at stake. The pleasure induced by a reward reinforces the activity which helped get the reward. This is called extrinsic motivation. It can be helpful to kick-start the process when intrinsic motivation is a bit low.
A simple way to introduce rewards is to plan/get/offer the rewards yourself. You need to set the bar properly. You need to do a decent effort to get it.
It can’t be too difficult or you may end up feeling discouraged. It can’t be too easy or you’ll get the reward without the need for motivation.
You also need to define a goal or reward system that makes sense. Eating junk food for a week if you manage to lose three kilos is probably not the best choice! Ideally, the reward and the effort should be somehow aligned. This will help create a virtuous circle.
Buying a smaller dress when you lose a few kilos and getting a massage after a few weeks of physical training are good examples. These rewards will help you build milestones on your path to a better you. They’ll become the symbols of your positive behavior change.
Reassess your goals over time
We can also keep motivated to reach our goals by changing goals!
Goals must be alive and reassessed regularly. It’s important to realize that because monotony is a big motivation killer.
When we set a new goal, we generally improve quite rapidly at the beginning. If you start exercising two or three times a week, you’ll be able to notice progress session after session. Then, it’ll get harder to improve and the progression curve gets less steep. This can be a little demotivating.
We can introduce excitement by having a few stable goals combined with some temporary ones. I want to lose weight, wake up early, exercise and read regularly. These are my core goals which I’m keeping for the long run. In addition to these core goals, I’ll try other things, such as journaling for a month, then learning chess, or cooking, etc.
You may sometimes adjust your goals down. If one of my goals is to play the guitar for 2 hours a week while I barely manage to play more than 30 minutes for a few weeks in a row, I may lose my motivation to eventually hit the target. In such a case, I may be well inspired to target 1 hour instead.
When the target is a little higher than what we are already doing, it pushes us to take a small step and fill the gap. When the target is too high, it becomes counter-productive. Why would I do an extra step if I stay so far anyway?
You can also give up on a goal when you don’t feel like pursuing it anymore or when you have already ingrained the habit and don’t need to monitor it any longer. Our aspirations evolve over time.
When a goal doesn’t make you dream anymore, it’s often better to let it go than drag it along painfully. You shouldn’t feel guilty about giving up goals as it’s natural. But, that doesn’t mean we should stop as soon as the first difficulty arises. It’s a matter of balance.
Take a break
It is also a good idea to take breaks at times, hit the pause button and do something else. It can be very beneficial. Even professional athletes take a break between two seasons in order to recover physically and mentally. They get back to training all pumped up for the new season.
Do the same when you feel tired. It will help you get refreshed and hungry.
Don’t forget to set a date for your come back though!
Once a month or every other month, try and take an “appointment with yourself” and review your goals. Assess what works well, update your goals and refine your strategies. These are some of the best ways to stay motivated and reignite your desire to go ahead.
Building a business from the ground up is not easy. There’s a whole culture surrounding startups these days and you’ll often hear about the “lean startup” or how you only need to work 2 hours on your business and still make money. The reality is, you’re very likely going to be working a lot more than two hours a week for a very long time, and even then you aren’t guaranteed success.
One of the hardest lessons in life is that you can do everything right and still fail. Nowhere is this more evident than in the failure rates of small businesses in the United States. Approximately 20% will fail before their first year, more than a third will fail before two years, half will fail by year 5, and 70% will fail by year 10.
Sometimes the circumstances are truly out of your control, but there are still a lot of things you can do to fail-proof your business before you even get started.
Make A Business Plan
Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail, as the old saying goes. And, apparently, it’s one of the most common reasons why businesses fail.
You shouldn’t just be picking out office furniture and paint colors during the planning phase. In fact, those things should come later.
Primarily, you need to plan what kind of business will do well, where it will thrive and who would be the best people to help you run it. Among the things you should consider carefully are the following points:
Location: Are you in a location where there is an abundance of talent, relatively low business taxes, enough infrastructure for your needs and room for business growth?
Competition: Can you withstand the competition or are you in a sector that is highly competitive when it comes to market share?
Team: Are you choosing the right people for the job or just taking anyone with a resume and a pulse?
Cash Flow Management: Can you deal with the ups and downs of cash flow when customers don’t pay you and you still have to pay rent?
Flexibility: Are you able to turn on a dime if you catch a hint of a shifting market?
The above is where most businesses fail and thinking about how to mitigate these problems at the outset is the first step in building a business that lasts.
Know Your Strengths, But Also Know The Strengths Of Your Community Or Sector
Four of the top five worst places to start a business in the United States are in California, Stockton, Modesto, San Bernadino and Santa Rosa and it’s because of the high poverty rate and low education in the areas.
If you are in any one of these places, you have to carefully plan your business strategy.
Location is important, but so is industry. Healthcare is one of the most successful types of businesses to start while construction and transportation are some of the worst.
Does your town have good infrastructure? It’s going to be hard to start a tech business if you’re somewhere that still uses dial up. Shipping things out? Hope you have access to a major shipping company hub, like UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky.
Having access to top talent is another concern when you are starting a business. If you are starting a business in a place that doesn’t have a university, you’re likely to starve for talent as your company grows. If you’re setting up shop in a place with high poverty, chances are the folks who need jobs the most aren’t going to have the education needed.
Take a look around as you are planning your business and determine what industry would fit your location. Don’t be afraid to move if you can’t get what you need in your current community.
I know quite a few people who spend a fair bit of time thinking about all the might have beens, what-ifs and opportunities they’ve missed. They spend their lives constantly feeling like they’ve missed out on something big.
Their boat has sailed.
They’ve missed their one and only opportunity to be rich, famous and do something really amazing.
I know someone who used to enter the same numbers in the lottery every week. One week, she was too busy to get the ticket before the agency closed.
And her numbers came up.
There were no winners that week and the jackpot money rolled over to the following week: 10 million pounds.
She’s never forgiven herself. The lady that used to go halves on the tickets with her never forgave her either.
Since then (this happened more than 20 years ago), she’s lived her life feeling like she’s missed her boat, the only opportunity she’ll ever have to be happy. It’s gone and that’s it. She lived like she must be miserable, bitter and twisted because she failed to do something. She felt like she didn’t deserve to be anything else.
I suspect most of us would be pretty upset if that happened to us.
Now, the question is, would we allow it to rule the rest of our lives? Or should we consider the possibility that it happened for a reason?
What if, instead of spending more than 20 years beating herself up, that lady had said to herself:
“Isn’t it interesting that THAT happened? I wonder why it happened THAT way? Since I KNOW that everything always happens FOR me and not TO me, this happening can only be for my good. So, although it looks like a major setback, it’s neither a mistake nor a missed opportunity. Ooh, I wonder what life does have planned for me.”
Now, I’ll admit that I’d have a VERY hard time saying anything along those lines for quite a while if something like that happened to me.
But, if I knew that I was putting every effort into being wealthy or happy, then I would also know that just because something didn’t happen the way it OUGHT to happen, everything will still be alright. I will be able to relax and let it go.
Nothing ever happens TO me, but everything always happens FOR me.
Just because I can’t see how something can possibly be moving me towards my goals doesn’t mean it isn’t. So long as I’m keeping my eye on my goals, everything that happens is the Universe moving me towards my goals.
It’s definitely easier said than done, particularly at first.
But it is doable.
It’s simply a choice. You haven’t missed your boat. It just wasn’t the boat you thought it was. Your boat is still there.
Your boat is still waiting.
But, if you’re standing on the dock, staring at someone else’s boat, feeling miserable because you think you’ve missed out or you think someone else’s boat looks better or because you think your boat should look like that…
Then, you’re never going to get on your own boat.
You’re never going to live your own life.
Stop looking at someone else’s life and wishing yours was like that. Be present to what it is YOU want.
Owning a home gives families a sense of independence and security. However, in buying a house, numerous factors influence the family’s choice. They may face economic, socio-cultural, psychological, demographic and personal issues.
In the past, all decisions related to buying a home were primarily made by the male members of the family. However, in today’s times, the same decision is now unanimously taken. All family members can voice their opinions and all needs and preferences are taken into consideration, irrespective of age or gender.
Let’s look at the some of the changing trends affecting the way families buy homes.
A Shift from Joint Family Set-ups to Nuclear Lifestyles
In earlier times, most family set-ups were joint, with closely-related members living in their ancestral home. But, as the population and economy of the country grew, this previously popular lifestyle saw a major shift.
Today’s nuclear family set-up created radical changes in the family’s process of buying a house. There are fewer members in a nuclear family and buying decisions have aligned in the same direction. One good example is space. Fewer family members won’t need as much space so houses tend to be smaller.
Placing children’s needs at the forefront
While making any property-related buying decision, parents and grandparents tend to consider the needs of their children to a great extent. They opt for houses which are airy, well-lit and which have a positive impact on their children’s growth, health and well-being.
Parents also put sufficient thought on their kids’ safety. They take into account the community’s recreational amenities, like parks, pools or playgrounds when buying a house. Additionally, families tend to prefer residential properties which have good schools in the vicinity along with options for extracurricular activities. Parents are more than willing to compromise on their own needs as long as they meet their children’s needs.
Compact homes over out-sized properties
Nuclear families these days prefer compact and self-sufficient homes. This justifies the large number of families opting for space-efficient apartments and flats over sprawling properties.
One good reason families prefer flats over stand-alone properties is because of better social interaction. In addition to that, maintaining a large property can also be quite a hassle, especially when the family is small. Apartments are also more secure and homey for such family size.
Accessibility and proximity
Most apartment complexes today offer convenience to attract more families to buy them. Malls, clubs and sports facilities are all within walking distance of these complexes so families won’t have to spend any time or money on transportation. A lot of them offer basic needs, too. Grocery stores and dry cleaning services are usually just a few feet away from them.
If a housing complex just offers apartments, then families will look for flats that are in close proximity to important facilities, like schools, healthcare, medical stores and retail outlets for added convenience. With the basic amenities within a stone’s throw from their homes, efficiently managing day-to-day activities and maintaining a good work-life balance becomes much easier for smaller families.
Properties with resale value
Families tend to move to larger homes in better locations as their financial status improves. Job changes or increase in the number of family members are also plausible reasons why families look to upgrade to a larger or better home. Thus, families prefer buying homes in prime locations that have a good resale value in the future. For instance, according to a Knight Frank survey, home buyers prefer to move to newer projects with better facilities and those that are closer to the city.
With improvement in job prospects, purchasing power and lifestyle, families have undergone a shift in terms of how they invest in properties. There has been a considerable change in the past two decades and families have started weighing in many factors which were earlier considered unimportant while buying a home.
Ride sharing and ride hailing are often lumped together, but the two services are completely different. One is more like a taxi while the other is more like a bus. What’s not different about the two is that there is still a lot of confusion about who is legally responsible if there is an accident.
Because drivers don’t usually need commercial insurances even though they are performing a duty for which they are getting paid, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay up in the event of an accident.
To clear things up, here’s what you need to know.
Ride hailing is common
Over half of adults in the United States have heard of a ridge hailing or ride sharing app, but only about 15% have used one. This brings a lot of confusion about what it is, what the legal ramifications are as well as its regulations.
Most people who use these services are affluent and between the ages of 18 and 49. 29% of college graduates have used these services as well.
A little over a third of all adults believe that ride sharing services should be treated like commercial taxi services, while about the same percentage of frequent ride sharing users believe the same thing. Even though the liability is the same, most people don’t believe ride hailing drivers are no different from taxi drivers.
More states and municipalities are starting to realize the legal gaps that are occurring with these services and are making attempts at patching them up. It’s likely that more regulations will be passed in the future to protect both driver and passenger.
If you are a driver, you may not be covered
Driving for a ride sharing or ride hailing service can be risky if you don’t pay extra for commercial insurance. Unfortunately, this is a catch-22 because most companies pay so little that you would pay more for commercial insurance than you would end up making in fares.
Currently, New York City requires drivers to carry commercial insurance, which is as much to protect the drivers as it is to protect the riders. What if you are in an accident on your way to pick up a fare and your insurance doesn’t want to pay up? Or worse, if they do pay up and end up raising your rates for the next several years?
It’s definitely worth checking into your coverage before deciding to work a side hustle. The coverage provided by the ride sharing and ride hailing services might not be enough to protect you.
If you are a passenger, you might not be covered, either
Between 2014 and 2016, for-hire vehicle accidents more than tripled. As more and more people are using these services, there will understandably be more accidents.
A ride sharing insurance coverage can fill in the gaps when the driver’s insurance doesn’t want to pay out. However, as lawsuits involving these services are also on the rise, you could find yourself caught up in the middle.
If you are a ride sharing or ride hailing passenger and you are in an accident, here’s what you need to do:
Get help at the scene
Getting a police report ensures that the facts won’t change after you leave the scene. Getting medical attention is the first step in documenting any injuries you may have.
Get information from the driver
Again, gathering the facts at the scene is the best way to ensure they don’t change. Get as much information as possible, like contact information, insurance details and data on the ride hailing service you got.
Have your injuries treated
You may think you are fine, but car accident injuries can become more serious over time, particularly if there’s no prompt treatment.
Keep track of medical bills and expenses, including any lost work
From day one, write down any work you missed because of the accident and any bills you accrue. Keep receipts whenever possible as this will help you get reimbursements.
From state to state and even from city to city, coverage requirements can vary widely.
The state of California requires an additional $1 million in liability coverage when drivers are en route and while they have passengers. Minnesota requires an additional $1.5 million in coverage for the same situation. In some places in the world, like France, ride hailing and ride sharing drivers need to be licensed professionals.
Knowing a little about the risks now, do you think these services should be treated like professional driving services or are you OK with taking the risk?
Learn more about what to do if you are involved in a ride sharing accident from the infographic below.
Hard work is, without a doubt, an indispensable factor in the ladder of success. Without it, there is not much that can be accomplished.
Working hard with sincerity and integrity is sure to take an individual’s career a long way. Unfortunately, there are instances where hard-working individuals can lose their fight and succumb to the various obstacles along the way. These obstacles may look like subtle and honest mistakes on the surface but, in reality, they usually have very serious repercussions.
You don’t need to do something dramatic to be kicked out of your job. In some cases, various honest and subtle mistakes can be enough to end your career.
Here are 5 career killers:
“When you’re a hard worker, the only person that can come in the way of your success is you!“
Everything in this world has its own pros and cons. We’re all aware of the merits of hard work but, like all other things, it can be dangerous too.
It’s a scientific fact that people who usually work hard are differently wired than people who don’t. In the prefrontal cortex of the brain, there’s an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT. The function of this enzyme is to balance out the dopamine levels in the brain.
Now, there are two types of COMT, a fast acting one and a slow acting one. The slow acting one clears up the excessive dopamine five times slower than the fast acting one and is usually found in hard working people. This makes the hard workers prone to anxiety, stress and over-thinking. These things can negatively affect their performance under stressful situations.
People who work hard tend to focus more on the ‘working’ aspect of the job rather than the ‘result’ aspect of it. They come early to office only to be the last person to leave. They work hard but aren’t able to churn out desirable results because they direct their energies in the wrong direction. These people get so involved with working that succeeding in the work takes the backseat. This has turned out to be a big career killer because, at the end of the day, a good result is all that matters.
“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.”
Now, it’s an understood fact that with hard work comes success and with success comes glory. But, it is also true that basking in that glory for too long is a sure shot career killer.
Resting on one’s laurels is a common mistake most people make. They get too attached to the pride and glory a particular task provided them and just can’t seem to move on from it.
Working hard for a task is important but it is equally important to get over it once it’s done. We’ve often heard that such-and-such fell because they let the success get over their heads. This is, in fact, a real practical problem that professionals face which can end up ruining their careers.
“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”
Complacency is almost like the evil twin of the previous flaw. Being self-satisfied is, perhaps, the biggest hindrance to personal growth. Hardworking people have the tendency to feel self-satisfied, if not pushed hard enough.
When a professional works hard and gets his due success, he is appreciated for his work. This appreciation leads to a sense of smug self-satisfaction which makes him complacent. If they are under-appreciated, they lose the motivation to carry on further. It’s a strange paradox.
Anyhow, this complacency is another legit career killer. The trick here is to not be too attached with work and the outcomes of it. You have to know how to keep working and learning without getting stuck at a single point.
Promising big things
“Rarely promise, but, if lawful, constantly perform.”
Remember hard workers being differently wired than the rest? That strange little chemical responsible for the dopamine balance has another role to play in the career-killing behavior of professionals. Quite a mischievous role biochemistry plays in this whole thing!
So, what happens is, this excessive dopamine makes hard workers much more charged than the rest. While being assigned tasks, they (in their charged up zone) end up promising big things to their senior officials. They have the belief that they can actually deliver without realizing the unreasonable nature of their claims.
When they aren’t able to deliver the promises, it ends up pissing their seniors off. Even though they might have done a good job, their broken promises put them in the negative light.
Sucking up to the boss
“Suck up to your boss if you’re not good at what you do!”
One who is good at what one does will only focus on his work, not on other means to climb the success ladder. This is one of the most obvious and common mistakes people make in order to become successful in their careers and it ironically ends up sabotaging them.
There is no other thing that can place a particular individual in a more negative light than sucking up to their senior officials. It’s just plain wrong and immoral! Most people confuse it with people managing and playing politics smartly when they’re two polar opposites. There is no way one can sugar coat this truth. Sucking up is sucking up.
Working hard is not a sure shot formula to success. In fact, there is no formula to success. It’s just a mix of complicated elements, characteristics and biochemistry! Just make sure you don’t make these general mistakes. Work hard, keep an eye on your results, and keep growing. It might just help you succeed!
The game of golf can teach us a lot about what it means to manage a successful career. Golf takes practice, confidence, optimism and most importantly, patience.
Beginner golfers are typically encouraged to focus on their swing before they hit the green. That means breaking down their swing into smaller steps so they can focus on improving their posture, grip and alignment.
While this might be tedious for some, having enough patience to improve your swing will pay off in the long-run.
As you’re building your career, it’s also crucial to fine-tune these same qualities. It’s important to take your career step by step, have patience and be willing to change course if anything unexpected comes your way, like a surprise job offer or a promotion.
Hitting the links with friends during a sunny summer day is a great way to have fun, but a round of golf can teach you more than you think about career management.
Here are some valuable lessons from playing golf:
Work on Your Long and Short Game
When playing golf, you can’t rely on a successful long game or short game alone. While you might want to practice your long-game all day at the driving range, you also need to break out the putter to practice your short game. Both factors are vital to success.
Just like in golf, it’s important to set short- and long-term career goals. Although you should always have your eye on the big picture, don’t forget to break down your long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals.
For example, you can’t drive a golf ball 150 yards unless you have a smooth swing. The same concept applies to your career. For instance, just because a job offer promises more money now doesn’t make it a good move five years from now.
Think ahead and determine how it will affect your long-term goals in your career. This is similar to balancing your golf strategy.
Factors outside of your control often determine whether you’ll have a good game of golf. Whether it’s windy or it begins to rain, as a golfer, you must be prepared to go with the flow and adapt to the elements.
Just like the weather during golf, your career has a lot of aspects you can’t control. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, adaptability is one of the most in-demand soft skills. This is why it’s important to be prepared for anything as you make big career decisions.
Many doors will open and close throughout your career and it’s important to be willing to go with the flow. Maybe a job you think would end up being the perfect fit ends up having a company culture that doesn’t align with your values.
Anticipate the unexpected and prepare for how you will adapt to missteps.
Enjoy the Sand Traps
Golf can put many players in challenging situations, including hitting a sand bunker shot. Even the best players can lose their confidence when trying to hit a golf ball out of a bunker. It’s important to have patience and a positive attitude as you approach the challenging shot.
One way to overcome challenging situations is to change your mindset. Researcher Dr. Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed over time.
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, can hold you back in your career. If you avoid obstacles in your career, like avoiding sand traps, you’ll never grow as a professional or a golfer.
When your ball lands in the bunker, remember that it’s a learning experience and not a failure. Be patient and treat your mistakes as growth opportunities. Reflect on what went wrong and determine how effort can lead to mastery in your career.
Take Practice Swings
The biggest secret to success in a game of golf is practice. It could take years to perfect your grip and make the perfect shot. But as long as you are consistent and have a positive attitude, you can get closer to reaching your goals and improving your game.
It’s also important to research and plan your career. In other words, take a few practice swings before teeing off.
Spend time exploring different options and trying different roles. Before pursuing new opportunities, conduct informational interviews and consult professionals. This way, you will figure out whether you want to continue down a specific career path before you dive all the way in.
Having a strong golf game and a successful career takes time. As you manage your career, remember to focus on building your skills, keep your goals in check and be willing to adapt to different situations. These qualities will help you navigate new career opportunities and also prepare you for a successful and rewarding career.
What other career management lessons have you learned from playing golf?