August 13

7 Bad Habits That Stand in the Way of Your Success

Historian Will Durant once summarized an idea of Aristotle’s as, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” And often it is your habits that determine your success–or stand in its way.

If you can rise above the habits that are blocking you, you can reach the potential you’ve always held.

These seven self-destructive habits are a good place to begin:

1. Letting everyone else define what you want. It’s your life, so put a stop to allowing other people to decide for you. Take back control, and set healthy boundaries. Make your own decisions, and own your own life.

2. Playing it safe. If you’re on a timid path, you’re probably fearful about the future. But playing it safe will never be as satisfying, or bring the rewards, of taking the risk and going for it–and getting hurt, making mistakes, and having failure in the process. It’s the choices you make along the way that make the journey so rich, so don’t rob yourself of that experience.

3. Letting negativity rule. How many negative people do you have in your life? How many negative thoughts in a day? It’s easy to be surrounded by negativity without even being aware of it. But it’s expensive–it often comes at the cost of the things you want. Cut out negativity from your life, and give that energy back to yourself.

4. Living in the past. Whether it’s nostalgia for the good old days or an inability to get beyond a damaging history, dwelling in the past keeps you from moving forward. Do whatever it takes to bury the past so you can come into the now.

5. Proceeding with procrastination. You have a choice of how to spend every minute of every day. It’s fine to spend some time thinking and dreaming, but it’s the time you spend getting things done that will move you toward your goals.

6. Giving in to despair. Sometimes good things fall apart and bad things come together. But there are plenty of good reasons to keep learning and growing. When things go wrong, it’s up to you to learn the lessons and keep on connecting the dots.

7. Giving up. The moment you’re ready to quit is often the moment right before it all comes together. Let determination and tenacity carry you through. Be the person who falls seven times but gets up eight.

Begin today to eliminate the habits that are standing in your way–whether it’s some of these or something else entirely. Then, discover the successful person you are meant to be.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Lolly Daskal

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July 9

11 Things Ultra-Productive People Do Differently

When it comes to productivity, we all face the same challenge—there are only 24 hours in a day.

Yet some people seem to have twice the time; they have an uncanny ability to get things done. Even when juggling multiple projects, they reach their goals without fail.

1. They Never Touch Things Twice
Productive people never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.

2. They Get Ready for Tomorrow Before They Leave the Office
Productive people end each day by preparing for the next. This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.

3. They Eat Frogs
“Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.

4. They Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent
The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.

If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.

5. They Stick to the Schedule During Meetings
Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

6. They Say No
No is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity.

7. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times
Ultra-productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.

8. They Don’t Multitask
Ultra-productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

9. They Go off The Grid
Don’t be afraid to go off grid when you need to. Give one trusted person a number to call in case of emergency, and let that person be your filter. Everything has to go through them, and anything they don’t clear has to wait. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.

10. They Delegate
Ultra-productive people accept the fact that they’re not the only smart, talented person in their organization. They trust people to do their jobs so that they can focus on their own.

11. They Put Technology to Work for Them
Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they use apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smart phone and alerts you when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Travis Bradberry

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June 17

10 Important Drivers of Successful Entrepreneurs

Success in small‬ business‬ can take many paths. However, it’s clear there are certain entrepreneurial drivers that are present in most successful businesses. We’ve read about personality traits, but there is more to small business success than having the passion and confidence to win. There are common processes that influence success, so recognizing and trying even one of these drivers might fight off failure. Remember, if you always do things the same way, you’ll always get the same results. So think about trying one or some of these important drivers of successful‬ entrepreneurs‬ and see how your business can benefit.

1. Raise the Bar:
You’re not working for a boss anymore, so the only expectations you need to meet are your own. Make sure they’re set high enough so that you continue to grow over time. While there’s a confidence boost in accomplishing things, if you’re not challenging yourself enough, it’s a false sense of accomplishment. You must grow yourself to grow your business.

2. Dream Big:
If you can dream it you can achieve it. No entrepreneur ever became a millionaire by limiting her dreams. After all, dreams are free, aren’t they? There’s nothing wrong with making big plans, even if you can’t see right now how you will accomplish them. As they say, aim for the moon. There’s nothing wrong with hitting a star if you miss!

3. Take Responsibility:
That means take responsibility for accomplishing your goals and for your own mistakes. You have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t reach your mark, so make sure you’re taking the necessary actions to move toward your objectives. And when you make a mistake, acknowledge it and learn from it. However, the worst thing you can do is dwell on it, so just keep it moving.

4. Develop Action Habits:
Things don’t get done in business by talking about them. Be a person of action. If you say you’re going to follow up with someone, do so promptly. Keep lists of projects you need to work on and set deadlines for yourself. Overall, just make sure you’re in the habit of taking action where you need to.

5. Visualize Your Success:
This goes with dreaming big: create a vision board of what you want your company to be like in five years. The process can go a long way to making it a reality. Will your company still be just you running it, or will you have employees in a few years or a few locations? How many clients will you have? Seeing this picture can help you plan for it. Put the vision board on your wall so that you can remind yourself why you work so hard.

6. Associate with Winners:
Remember how, as a kid, your mom never wanted you to play with “that kid” down the street? Maybe he had no manners, or she thought he came from the wrong part of town. Who we associate with does say something about ourselves, so when you hang out with successful people, a little of that magic rubs off on you. Look around at your network and see who you want to influence you. Make sure you’re not always the smartest person in the room.

7. Give Back:
Becoming your own boss isn’t just about your own financial success. It’s about giving back to your community, usually through your time, money, or influence…or all three. If you grew up in a community where entrepreneurship wasn’t encouraged much, just think of the influence you could spread by actively working to develop new small business programs in your local school, sponsoring a little league team or mentoring students.

8. Embrace Change:
As much as we dislike it, change is a part of entrepreneurship. Not only is technology changing how we market and run our businesses every day, but your industry is changing too. To remain relevant in your space, stay on top of industry trends. You’ve got to roll with those changes and be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice so that your business stays relevant.

9. Have Faith:
Part of loving that process is appreciating the hard times as much as the good ones. It’s about having faith that even if things seem to be falling apart in this moment, they’ll soon get better. Trouble is temporary. The less you let the negative affect you, the easier it will be to rise above it. Prayer works too. Sometimes just some deep breaths in and out will help you see things more clearly.

10. Love the Process:
That’s exactly what running a business is: a process. The trick is that you must figure out what you don’t know about running a business. You’ll have tedious times that will test your patience, and you’ll have others where you’re flying high. Enjoy the roller coaster you’re on and know that everything is an opportunity to learn.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:

Melinda Emerson
@SmallBizLady

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June 9

5 Golden Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From

1. The people you surround yourself with, contribute to your success.

You want to make sure that you surround yourself with like-minded people that won’t interfere with your goals. The company you keep should be there for you when times are tough in addition to being there to celebrate the victories.

2. You should always think big.

The truth is, there are more failures than successes — both in Hollywood and in the startup world. Those that do succeed and “make it” do so because they thought big and went for it. You have to believe in yourself 100 percent — because there are going to be times when people doubt you. Never let self-doubt enter your mind and stop you from thinking big.

3. You have to be prepared to take multiple falls before getting your big break.

You have to be willing to fall flat on your face to reach your goals. When defeat is looking you in your eyes the easiest thing to do is to quit. Most do. The ability to get back up after falling on your face is what separates the failures from the success stories.

4. Your instinct is right more than it is wrong — don’t bet against it.

In the real world, if your “gut” feeling is telling you something, you need to follow it — and learn to trust your instincts.

5. Don’t forget to have fun.

You have to be able to turn work-mode off, even for just a little bit. Stepping back to live in the moment will help you avoid burning out and keep your inner-battery charged.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: @MDMJonathan

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May 7

7 Dark Truths About Entrepreneurship

When you’re thinking about taking the plunge and becoming an entrepreneur, for the first few weeks and months of your entrepreneurial journey, the prospect of being your own boss and investing in your own enterprise is exhilarating. You read stories about overnight successes and other business leaders finally feeling fulfilled in their work and think that you’ll experience the same level of success or fulfillment as soon as you get started.

While these positive and exciting elements of entrepreneurship are certainly true and make the job worthwhile, you have to remember there’s also a dark side to entrepreneurship. It isn’t all fun and games, and those “overnight successes” are almost invariably the product of exhausting behind-the-scenes work and years of practice and failure.

Before you get too excited about being an entrepreneur, temper your expectations with these seven dark truths:

1. You won’t make money right away.

Raising capital for your business is tough, and usually serves as a financial eye-opener to hopeful young entrepreneurs who think business ownership leads to quick profits. The truth is, for most businesses, the first few years of operations are spent getting your infrastructure up and running. You’ll spend more than you’ll generate in revenue, and as a result, you probably won’t receive a paycheck for several months. You’ll have to rely on your personal savings or reserves for basic living expenses and hope things pan out in the future.

2. Your personal life will suffer.

No matter how optimistically you charge into the role or how committed you are to prioritizing your personal relationships, they are going to suffer as you continue building your business. You’ll be working long hours, sometimes at home, and you’ll be on call for resolving business problems on nights, weekends and holidays. You’ll be distracted almost constantly, thinking about the problems your business is facing, and the financial stress you’ll bear will take its toll on your relationships.

3. Trying to juggle everything will take its toll on you.

As CEO of your own business, you’ll wear many hats. You’ll do some of the work you love to do, but you’ll also be an administrator, a supervisor, a technician, an HR manager and a marketer all at the same time. No matter how excited you are to take on these responsibilities at the beginning of your time as an entrepreneur, this constant gear shifting will inevitably wear you down.

Related: 3 Vital Things to Consider Before Starting a Business

4. Your emotions will get the better of you.

There will be times where your emotions well up and get the better of you, even if you try to suppress them or find a healthy outlet for them. You’re too invested in your own enterprise for this not to happen. You may feel depressed and discouraged about your progress, or fearful that you won’t make a profit in a reasonable amount of time. When your emotions get the better of you, you’ll feel miserable and you’ll make worse decisions.

5. Nothing will happen the way you think it will.

Your business plan might carefully detail out every step you envision for the first few years of your company, but no matter how much research you’ve done, you won’t be able to predict everything. Even the things you can predict won’t happen exactly how you envisioned. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be forced to adapt, sometimes in ways you don’t want to adapt.

6. You’ll make decisions that will haunt you.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll serve as the primary decision-maker for your company and you’ll have to make hard, stress-inducing decisionsthroughout your tenure. Some of those decisions will stick with you, even if you make the logically correct one. You’ll have to change company direction. You’ll have to part ways with partners. You’ll have to sacrifice part of your vision for the company. You’ll have to fire people.

These decisions are never easy, but must be made, and they will haunt you.

7. You are going to fail.

Your entire company might go under. If it doesn’t, there will be some other failure, massive or minor, that will interfere with your plans and compromise your vision. Failure is an inevitable, and essential, part of entrepreneurship, though realizing this rarely makes it easier to accept. The obstacle of failure is ever present and always daunting when you’re leading a business, and working through that failure is too much for some. However, the ability to recover from failure is what separates super successes from the rest.

I’m not trying to talk you out of becoming an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is, and should be, an exciting and rewarding endeavor for anyone who chooses to pursue it. Instead, my intention is to help a new generation of self-starters prepare for the sometimes harsh realities of business ownership so they can better understand the obstacles ahead of them and realistically prepare for the journey.

 

ARTICLE WIRTTEN BY: Jayson Demers

 

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February 8

10 Signs You Were Born To Be An Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, but almost all of them share similar personality traits. From confidence to curiosity, there are certain attributes that are inherently entrepreneurial. These are 10 signs that you were born to be an entrepreneur.

Risk-Taking Behaviors

Starting your own business is a risk in itself. That being said, the sort of risk that entrepreneurship entails is just one of many tests for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs tend to take the saying “with no risk comes no reward” a little bit too literally, but that’s what makes them fearless leaders and successful business owners.

Tenacity

Drive and the ability to stick with a task go a long way when it comes to building and running your own business. A lot of people don’t have what it takes to see a business through the tough times that can last for years, but at the end of the day, perseverance is what makes a great entrepreneur.

 

Confidence

It takes a lot of confidence to break out on your own into uncharted financial waters and persist with something you love, even if it is difficult. But entrepreneurs tend to be some of the most confident people around, and they have to be in order to see their vision through to the end.

Adaptability

Everybody knows how fickle the economy can be, and it takes an adaptable individual to navigate these changes with grace and persist to make a business a success. Furthermore, as somebody who will frequently encounter unchartered situations and difficult decisions, an entrepreneur is always willing and able to take challenges head on and try to find the best possible outcome. You never know what to expect as a business owner, but entrepreneurs are always ready and able to adapt to the challenge.

Curiosity

Curiosity is a trait that most entrepreneurs have in spades, and it can really help them innovate and drive their own success. Most businesses are built upon their owners asking questions of the market and finding problems to solve, and they persist by looking into new strategies and solutions to keep them on the cutting edge.

Restlessness

There is quite a bit of work that goes into running your own business; in fact, there is something to do almost all of the time. Entrepreneurs will have no problem with this, as they are always looking to have their hands on what might be the next big thing.

A Focus on the Big Picture

Being able to juggle tasks and wear a million different hats makes a successful entrepreneur, especially at the crucial beginning points in the life of a business. A good entrepreneur can strategize and utilize all parts of a situation with ease.

A Rebellious Streak

It takes a lot of guts to break out on your own, away from the security of working for someone else. This kind of rebellion definitely started early on in life, and you might notice a pattern of breaking the mold in your past.

A Desire to Build Things

This doesn’t necessarily mean physically building things, but entrepreneurs really love the process of putting things together to create a whole to show. New challenges excite the entrepreneur and being able to build a successful business or product from the ground up is a source of pride for most.

Competitiveness

Entrepreneurs love to show off their competitive side through their successes, and won’t give up until they’re on top. Just like the world’s most successful athletes, entrepreneurs have an undying drive to be the best of the best, and are always finding ways to outdo their competitors.

Every entrepreneur is different, but the most successful ones all share these 10 personality traits. If this list sounds like you, you may be cut from the entrepreneurial stone and maybe someday, you’ll be the founder of the next major company.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Murry Newlands | Contributor, Inc.com

 

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February 1

12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

Multitasking is overrated. Here are some surprising ways it can make you less—not more—efficient.

The multitasking myth

We all do it: Texting while walking, sending emails during meetings, chatting on the phone while cooking dinner. In today’s society, doing just one thing at a time seems downright luxurious, even wasteful.

But chances are, you’re not doing yourself (or your boss, or your friends and family) any favors by multitasking your way through the day. Research shows that it’s not nearly as efficient as we like to believe, and can even be harmful to our health. Here are 12 reasons why you should stop everything you’re doing—well, all but one thing—and rethink the way you work, socialize, and live your life.

You’re not really multitasking

What you call multitasking is really task-switching, says Guy Winch, PhD, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount,” he says.

“It’s like a pie chart, and whatever we’re working on is going to take up the majority of that pie. There’s not a lot left over for other things, with the exception of automatic behaviors like walking or chewing gum.” Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity, he says, because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity.

It’s slowing you down

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t save time. In fact, it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth than it would to finish each one separately. The same is true even for behaviors as seemingly automatic as driving: In a 2008 University of Utah study, drivers took longer to reach their destinations when they chatted on cell phones.

“What tends to save the most time is to do things in batches,” says Winch. “Pay your bills all at once, then send your emails all at once. Each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.”

You’re making mistakes

Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into whatever you’re working on, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking.

2010 French study found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much trouble, because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes you make.

It’s stressing you out

When University of California Irvine researchers measured the heart rates of employees with and without constant access to office email, they found that those who received a steady stream of messages stayed in a perpetual “high alert” mode with higher heart rates. Those without constant email access did less multitasking and were less stressed because of it.

And it’s not only the physical act of multitasking that causes stress; it’s the consequences, as well, says Winch. “If you do poorly on an exam because you studied while watching a baseball game on TV, that can certainly trigger a lot of stress—even self-esteem issues and depression.”

You’re missing out on life

Forget seeing the forest for the trees or the glass half full—people who are busy doing two things at once don’t even see obvious things right in front of them, according to a 2009 studyfrom Western Washington University.

Specifically, 75% of college students who walked across a campus square while talking on their cell phones did not notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby. The researchers call this “inattentional blindness,” saying that even though the cell-phone talkers were technically looking at their surroundings, none of it was actually registering in their brains.

Your memory may suffer

It makes sense that if you try to do two things at once—read a book and watch television, for example—that you’re going to miss important details of one or both. But even interrupting one task to suddenly focus on another can be enough to disrupt short term memory, according to a 2011 study.

When University of California San Francisco researchers asked participants to study one scene, but then abruptly switched to a different image, people ages 60 to 80 had a harder time than those in their 20s and 30s disengaging from the second picture and remembering details about the first. As the brain ages, researchers say, it has a harder time getting back on track after even a brief detour.

It’s hurting your relationships

“This is an area where I think multitasking has a much bigger effect than most people realize,” says Winch. “A couple is having a serious talk and the wife says ‘Oh, let me just check this message.’ Then the husband gets mad, and then he decides to check his messages, and communication just shuts down.”

One recent study from the University of Essex even shows that just having a cell phone nearby during personal conversations—even if neither of you are using it—can cause friction and trust issues. “Do your relationship a favor and pay your partner some exclusive attention for 10 minutes,” says Winch. “It can make a big difference.”

It can make you overeat

Being distracted during mealtime can prevent your brain from fully processing what you’ve eaten, according to a 2013 review of 24 previous studies. Because of that, you won’t feel as full, and may be tempted to keep eating—and to eat again a short time later.

Experts recommend that even people who eat alone should refrain from turning on the television while eating, and to truly pay attention to their food. Eating lunch at your computer? Slow down and take a break from the screen to focus on each bite.

You’re not actually good at it

Yes, you. You may think you’re a master multitasker, but, according to a  2013 University of Utah study, that probably means you’re actually among the worst.

The research focused specifically on cell phone use behind the wheel, and it found that people who scored highest on multitasking tests do not frequently engage in simultaneous driving and cell-phone use—probably because they can better focus on one thing at a time. Those who do talk and drive regularly, however, scored worse on the tests, even though most described themselves as having above average multitasking skills.

It’s dampening your creativity

Multitasking requires a lot of what’s known as “working memory,” or temporary brain storage, in layman’s terms. And when working memory’s all used up, it can take away from our ability to think creatively, according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Too much focus can actually harm performance on creative problem-solving tasks,” the authors wrote in their 2010 study. With so much already going on in their heads, they suggest, multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous “a ha moments.”

You can’t OHIO

No, not the state! Psychiatrists and productivity experts often recommend OHIO: Only Handle It Once. “This is a rule of thumb for many people with ADHD, but it can also be practiced by anyone who wants to be more organized,” says Winch. “It basically means if you take something on, don’t stop until you’ve finished it.”

The problem with multitasking, though, is that it makes Only Handling It Once a near impossibility—instead, you’re handling it five or six times, says Winch. “If you’re going to stick to this principle, you need to be disciplined and plan out your day so that when a distraction arises or a brilliant idea occurs to you, you know that there will be time for it later.”

It can be dangerous

Texting or talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, is as dangerous as driving drunk—yet that doesn’t stop many adults from doing it, even while they have their own children in the car.

It’s not just driving that puts you at risk for the consequences of multitasking, either. Research also shows that people who use mobile devices while walking are less likely to look before stepping into a crosswalk. And in one study, one in five teenagers who went to the emergency room after being hit by a car admitted they were using a smartphone at the time of the accident.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Amanda MacMillan

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January 23

10 Tricks for Paying Attention

You’re late to work (again), behind on a project, or can’t remember the action points from the last meeting. If you’re one of the roughly 10 million U.S. adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it can be a constant challenge to stay on task.

Anthony Rostain, MD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, says you can get distracted by external stimuli like noise or internal stimuli like daydreaming; these different distractions require different coping strategies, he explains.

Here’s how to pinpoint your weaknesses and 10 strategies for getting the job done.

1.  Write it down.

2.  Map it out.

3.  Create the right environment.

4.  Prioritize tasks.

5.  Take a quick break.

6.  Set a timer.

7.  Plan some joy.

8.  Delegate.

9.  Chunk it.

10. Record it.

For more details, check out the link.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Karen Pallarito

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January 3

7 Things Every Woman Should Know When It Comes To Being Paid What You’re Worth

1. Don’t be afraid to discuss your salary.
Out of the women surveyed, 50 percent reported talking to a colleague about how much they make and 72 percent said they’ve discussed paychecks with their best friend.

2. Be knowledgable of what other people are making in your field.
Seventy-one percent of women said they had compared their salaries with that of others in similar jobs. If you know your relative value in your field, you’re well-positioned to ask an employer to adjust your pay accordingly, Zappos.com HR director Hollie Delaney told Glamour. “Say: ‘I’d like to talk about the ways my job has changed. I was hired in [month, year] and my responsibilities were [list of tasks]. Over the past [period], I’ve gotten great feedback, and you’ve added [new responsibilities]. I’ve looked at what similar positions pay and found salaries in this ballpark. I’d like to discuss getting my pay closer to that,’” Delaney said.

3. Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. 
“The biggest mistake I see women making is simply not asking. They think, ‘I’ll just take on the extra work and someone will reward me for it.’ But very few companies will come to you and offer more money. So set up that meeting!” Delaney told Glamour. Sheryl Sandberg didn’t start a whole movement for nothing: We all need to lean in a little. When asked if they would negotiate their salary at the beginning of a job, 54 percent of men reported they would compared to only 39 percent of women. Only 43 percent of women Glamour surveyed had asked for a raise over the course of their careers — and out of those 43 percent, a whopping 75 percent received raises when they asked.

4. Many women still feel underpaid.
Although women have generally begun to feel better about their pay (77 percent of readers felt underpaid in 1988), 59 percent of women still reported thinking their salary was too low. Forty-four percent of respondents thought their paycheck would be higher if they were a man.

5. In several fields, women actually make more money than men, on average.
While women only earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar, we out-earn men in jobs that heavily involve “organizational, design or interpersonal talent,” lead economist at PayScale.com, Katie Bardaro, told Glamour. For example, Glamour cited corporate counsel jobs as one where women on average out-earn men with a woman making $128,000 compared to a man’s $112,500.

6. Money really can’t buy happiness.
Out of the women surveyed, 89 percent said that flexibility and work hours were more important than their paycheck and 53 percent of women said they would take a pay cut to be happier at work.

7. Loving what you do trumps all.
When asked if they would stay at their jobs if they won the lottery a surprising 40 percent of women responded yes.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Alanna Vagianos

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December 30

5 Email Habits Of Highly Productive People

Ping! Check email. Ping. Check email again. Ping. Check. Ping. Check. Ping. Check.

If you’re like most people who sit in front of a computer all day, this probably sounds like you: When you’re not currently replying to an email, you’re looking to see if you have any new ones. Then when something new does come in, you read it, debate how to respond, then deem it too time-consuming for the moment. “I’ll get to that later,” you think. And if there’s nothing new, you’re nervously wondering why. “Is it because my inbox is full?!” So you keep checking back every 15 seconds until something pops up — in the meantime deleting all the junk mail that has since clogged your inbox.

But a life tethered to your email means those other projects you want and need to do — be they big reports or personal tasks — can get postponed by days, weeks or months. Not to mention, a new Canadian study found hyper-checking your email can make you (surprise!) more stressed. So we asked five people who have a barrage of emails to answer to tell us how they tame their inbox.

Read on for their strategies to deal with the deep, dark email crevasse.

Set Designated “Reply Times”

“I do many quick checks of email throughout the day to see if there’s something high priority and urgent that has come in, but I only allocate two times a day to fully deal with the email that has accumulated. By batching all of the heavy duty email processing into bigger chunks, I can be much more efficient and reduce the feeling of constantly switching tasks.”
–Jacob Bank, computer scientist and co-founder and CEO of the Timeful calendar app

Pick And Choose What’s Key

“I respond to priorities as soon as possible, and keep correspondence clear and super positive. Knowing that I’ll still never get through all the emails, I prioritize people who are asking for help and opportunities that support my intention. I’m also not afraid to use the “!” for high priorities or dramatic effect.”
–Tara Stiles, yoga instructor, author of Make Your Own Rules Diet and W Hotels’ fitness partner

Email Only The Quick Things

“Email works for quick day-to-day correspondence, but when I have something important to discuss or decisions to be made, I pick up the phone. It is always better to hear the person on the other end — the inflection in their voice. Emails can often be misunderstood.”

–Bobbi Brown, makeup artist and Health’s contributing beauty and lifestyle editor

Sort All Your Stuff
“I have found that treating my online mail just like post office mail works wonders. I created folders: Everything from mom folder, workout class folder, celebrity clientele folder, house folder, summer cottage folder, medical folder, kid folders, etc. With emails organized into categories, I can easily do my three steps … find, take action or delete. You’ll also need to unsubscribe from junk. The volume of junk email is tremendous, and spending time deleting each one is taking precious time away from you. Finally, prioritize emails that need attention that particular day. I hit reply and drag them to the corner of my desktop if I can’t get to them at that moment. Otherwise I use my other rule: Don’t leave an email request — answer ASAP.”
–Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer, author and founder of Sunday Set-Up, a healthy eating club

Respond — Don’t Mull

“I try to respond to emails as soon as I see them because otherwise they can get pushed further down the inbox and may be ignored. I recommend you be responsive but not superfluous. By responding quickly and writing short, non-flowery emails, you can create an image of efficiency and attentiveness. Even short words like “Thanks” or “Got it” will help you build a culture of trust and signal that you are on top of your inbox.”
–Roshini Rajapaksa, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, Health’s contributing medical editor and cofounder of Tula Skincare

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Leslie Barrie

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October 14

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

At the Canadian Cancer Society, the month of October is about more than just raising awareness of breast cancer, it’s about taking action to save lives.  To support the cause, I purchased a PINK rake this year to pick up all the beautiful fallen leaves off the yard.

pink rake

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September 29

Modern Manners

It is not unusual to hear manners dismissed as artificial or outdated vestiges of a formal and stuffy past. Some argue that manners constrain self-expression and are no longer relevant in a world that celebrates the uniqueness of an uninhibited individual. Others say that manners are superficial and that respect for another person has to be earned.

Manners are about respect — respect for others, respect for the environment and respect for oneself. They are about choices and a reflection of values. In my mind, this is why manners are so modern. They are essential navigation tools that enable people to exist together with civility and dignity. They govern how we relate to one another and now, perhaps more than ever, this matters. Contrary to what many believe, having good manners doesn’t require a certain upbringing or education. Modern manners are available to everyone:

Respect for others: Say thank you, give a compliment, send a condolence note, wait patiently for one’s turn, speak without profanity, be on time, send a thank you letter, acknowledge the people around you, open a door for someone, hold the elevator, help an elderly woman cross the street, offer to do an errand for a neighbor, pull out a chair for someone, allow an overwhelmed mother and her three kids to take the taxi you hailed in the rain, stand when another person enters a room, remove your hat, resist the impulse to put someone else down, respect different religions, politics and traditions, and smile… These are little things, the “petty sacrifices,” but they are always well worth it. They shape our lives and how we interact with one another.

Respect for the environment: Taking care of one’s environment is central to good manners. This applies as much to a student’s college dorm room as it does to a company’s and a country’s carbon footprint. Being mindful of our surroundings and appreciating the beauty around us, cleaning up our messes and someone else’s are ways to show our respect for the world we live in. Look up from your device and notice the birds, the breeze and the sky above you. As Henri Matisse said:

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

Respect your environment, not because it is the politically correct thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.

Respect for self: Learning how to take care of oneself is essential for wellbeing and self-respect is at the core of this. Respecting one’s body through exercise, a healthy diet and sleep, respecting one’s mind through self-discipline and hard work, respecting creativity by developing one’s artistic abilities, appreciating talent in others, cultivating long-lasting relationships and friendships, and living a life that reflects one’s values, are gifts to oneself and others. As Arianna Huffington highlights in her best-selling book, Thrive, burnout, stress and depression are worldwide epidemics today. Taking good care of oneself and self-respect matter more than ever.

At the heart of respect for others, for the environment and for oneself, is kindness. Kindness always counts and manners keep kindness at the forefront of all interactions. Keep in mind:

Good manners open the closed doors; bad manners close the open doors.
— Mehmet Murat Ildan

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Samantha Boardman MD

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September 19

Your Brain On Coffee

How Coffee Perks You Up 
Everyone knows caffeine is the stuff in your coffee that keeps you awake and alert—at least for a while. How does it work? It plugs neurochemical receptors in your brain that would normally light up in response to the types of hormones that make you feel tired, shows a study from the U.S. and Italy.

At the same time, by plugging those sleep-triggering receptors, caffeine allows energizing brain chemicals like glutamate and dopamine to circulate more freely. When you feel a buzz from your triple espresso, it’s those two chemicals—not caffeine—that are amping you up, research shows. So think of caffeine as the DJ at a wild party; it’s hanging out off to the side of things and keeping the party going so your brain’s good-time chemicals can rock out.

Coffee, Your Memory, and More
A study from Johns Hopkins University found swallowing the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee boosts a person’s memory for new information by roughly 10 percent. How? Probably in the same ways caffeine keeps you awake and sharp, explains Michael Yassa, Ph.D., co-author of the Johns Hopkins study. Yassa says caffeine might help ramp up the activity of those brain chemicals involved in memory storage.

There’s also some evidence that coffee may strengthen the sense-based information your brain collects. Many studies dating back to the 1970s have found that the amount of caffeine in one to four cups of coffee can heighten your brain’s sensitivity to light and color, as well as sound. This may contribute to caffeine’s memory boosting abilities, the studies hint. (If you’re brain is better at absorbing sensory info, your memories will be sharper, the data suggest.)

Dozens and dozens of research papers have also tied coffee and caffeine to improved decision making, focus, quicker information recall, longer and sharper attention span, and many more brain benefits. Some newer research has even linked coffee consumption to lower rates of age-related brain diseases like dementia.

Coffee and Your Mood
Coffee may help ward off the blues (the serious kind linked to depression). Several research papers have shown the caffeine in coffee may increase the amount and activity of the brain chemical serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression. And this serotonin boost may help explain why a study from the U.K. found people who drink coffee in the morning feel friendlier, happier, and more content.

On the other hand, too much caffeine can heighten your feelings of tension and anxiety, shows a study from Singapore. It can also crank up your stress levels if you’re already feeling frazzled. “Too much” depends on how much caffeine your system is used to dealing with, the authors say. So if you’re a two-cup-a-day person, you’d probably have to drink double that amount to feel these negative mood effects. At the same time, if you don’t drink much coffee, smaller doses of caffeine could trigger anxious feelings, the authors say.

The Bad News
Multiple studies have shown caffeine is both habit- and tolerance-forming. That means if your brain gets used to your drinking coffee, you may not be able to think clearly or feel sharp if you abandon your brew. You may also have to drink more and more coffee to feel like yourself, research suggests. But the good news? For most people, there are few downsides to drinking up to 24 ounces of coffee a day, concludes a massive review study from Oregon State University.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Markham Heid

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August 19

9 Things Successful People Won’t Do

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

They Won’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Emotionally intelligent people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Won’t Die in the Fight

Emotionally intelligent people know how important it is to live to fight another day. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They Won’t Prioritize Perfection

Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

They Won’t Live in the Past

Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.

They Won’t Dwell on Problems

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

They Won’t Hang Around Negative People

Complainers are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. You can avoid getting drawn in only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix a problem. The complainer will then either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

They Won’t Hold Grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event involved sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Learning to let go of a grudge will not only make you feel better now but can also improve your health.

They Won’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major challenge for most people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

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August 14

5 Remarkable Things Happy Entrepreneurs Do

Despite the challenges entrepreneurs face, there are ways for them to influence their own happiness. Here are five remarkable things happy entrepreneurs take the time to do:

1. Give money. Starting up a company isn’t just about making money, it’s also about being able to give back. Donating money can help entrepreneurs focus on what’s important in the midst of juggling investors and dealing with seed rounds.

Most entrepreneurs want to start a business built to last. Ironically, giving money, rather than keeping it, is the one way to make that money live forever — because it actually helped someone, and that is eternal.

2. Treat everyone with respect. Being a business owner can lead to an inflated ego. After all, the head of any company makes dozens of decisions daily that impact the future of the organization, and often many people. It’s easy to allow this kind of power to overtake empathy at times, but an inflated ego will only cause heartache and headaches and lead to losing great employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Happy entrepreneurs treat employees and customers with the utmost respect. At the end of the day, if you made a lot of money but hurt a lot of feelings, that is not a successful day. The best way to feel happy about yourself is to help others feel happy about themselves.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are so many fires to put out as an entrepreneur, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Have a little faith, whether in a higher power or karma, that things will work out.

Don’t get panicked about every little (or big) crisis that comes up. It’s important for leaders to save their energy for the big dips along the way instead of wasting time worrying about every small pothole.

4. Try to utilize the company platform to help the community. Entrepreneurs want their work — and their companies — to be meaningful to others. Whether it’s donating resources or coming up with an internship program to help people launch their careers, the company’s actions should somehow benefit the community.

5. Display gratitude. It’s easy to get snowed under, overwhelmed and let stress take the wheel. Starting up and running a company is no small feat, yet there are plenty of things to be grateful for each and every day. For example, having the eyes to read this article. Or waking up this morning.

Each day of life is the greatest gift, and remembering to be grateful for that can keep us grounded and happy through our challenges as entrepreneurs.

Research By: Penn State University

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August 11

Three tips to stop boredom from boring you:

1. Focus! What do you want? 
Don’t let boredom hijack your plan. If you’re eager to accomplish a difficult task, remember that you’ll feel best when you persevere, not when you run. Even waiting on line at Trader Joe’s can feel meaningful if you frame the time as an opportunity to practice patience. Think about the virtues that matter to you and how boredom thwarts you.

If you feel bored because you’re spending a lot of time pursuing a career that doesn’t matter to you, let your boredom act as a life alarm and take action.

2. Act into it
Feeling bored isn’t just an emotion; the experience includes actions like mentally disengaging, complaining, watch checking, and procrastinating. To feel less bored, get more engaged by acting passionate. Sitting front and center in a meeting may feel more engaging that vigorous Web-surfing.

3. Find peace in the realization that a meaningful life includes tedious moments
Trying to barricade yourself from monotonous moments is pretty impossible. And most of what we find most meaningful includes moments that aren’t that entertaining. We often feel more accomplished leaving the library after a long night studying than leaving a movie theater laughing.

If you befriend your boredom — it won’t kill you.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Tatty

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July 1

Resilient People

The 5 Characteristics of Incredibly Resilient People

Here are five things resilient people have in common:

1) They practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to your life on purpose. Mindful people monitor the thoughts that come through them. However, instead of reacting to their negative thoughts, they observe them like a storm that is passing through.

Furthermore, they pay attention to what is right in their lives. They give it strength and value, thereby turning up the volume on the beauty that surrounds them.

They understand their role in the universal flow of life. They realize that they are a part of a divine cycle of life and death.

And in this understanding, they remain like the eye at the center of a tornado.

The world will continue to change around them. But at the center of this tornado, is their mind, where there is tranquility and calm.

2) They don’t compare themselves to others

They don’t spend their time feeling sorry for themselves. They realize that every soul has a different journey and therefore it is pointless to compare the path of your life with someone else.

They are continually trying to be the new and improved version of themselves. And as long as they are better than they were yesterday, they know they are on the right path.

They are their own measuring stick of success.

3) They understand that after every big setback is an even bigger transformation

I remember in medical school when part of our rotation was to learn how to deliver bad news to patients, I shadowed a physician who informed a young 40-year-old woman that she had stage four breast cancer.

Immediately, without missing a beat, this woman said, “I know one thing. After every big setback is an even bigger transformation.”

Resilient people understand this. They see difficulties as stepping stones to a transformation.

4) They find humor in everything

Laughter, in its very highest form, is a spiritual practice. It connects us to the part of our soul that heals. When we laugh with others, we gain a sense of interconnectedness and belonging.

Laughter may help lower our blood pressure and increase our vascular blood flow. It can do wonders for our health.

Resilient people look for reasons to laugh. They find humor in the mundane. They understand that paying attention to the ordinary is what makes life extraordinary.

5) They do not try to control their lives

Gary Zukav wrote about elegant spirits like this:

The journey of a hawk depends on both the hawk and the wind. The wind is your life. It is all the things that happen from the time you are born and the time you go home. Elegant spirits don’t know what will come up next, the same way that hawks don’t know which way the wind will blow next.

This doesn’t bother them, because they don’t try to control their lives any more than hawks try to control the wind.

Resilient people do not try to control their lives. They surrender to the flow of the wind. They adjust their sails and ride the next wave of their life.

People that have overcome hardships, tremendous obstacles or disease often feel that life goes from black and white in the before to many beautiful colors in the after. The have turned up the volume of beauty in their lives. They practice mindfulness. They stop comparing themselves to others. They find humor in everything.

And they know that they have been transformed.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:  Smita Malhotra, M.D.

 

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June 24

New Grads

I should start off by telling you I was a bit weary to write this piece because I didn’t want to come off as whiny or desperate, but I feel that is important to be honest about the situation I find myself and many others in.

How many times have you heard the fact that many young people can’t find work in their field after graduation? It’s become a regular topic in the news and sadly, at my dinner table. Three years ago I completed a four-year program that allowed me to graduate with both a degree and diploma. It was a solution to the problem I had heard about (university students having to attend college to get hands on skills, and vice versa for college students to get a degree). With that being said, can someone please tell me why, three years later, I have yet to land my first “adult” job in my field? I can only imagine the responses I will get to that question. So before the comments come pouring in, let me just explore some situations with you.

1. Entry Level — Many of the “entry level” jobs I apply to ask specifically for three to five years of working/ paid experience in a previous similar role. If nobody gives us new kids on the block a chance, how can we ever get those years of experience? I have been to several job interviews where I think I did great, get a call back for a second interview and get my hopes up only to fall flat on my face. “We just wanted to let you know you were really great, and we think you would be a great fit, but unfortunately we went with someone who had more experience. We can keep your resume on file and give you a call when a similar position becomes available.”

2. Network, just keep networking — I’ve been networking for three years, successfully networking I might add. Sure, I’ve learned a lot from some of the really great professional connections I’ve made, but I have yet to get a job through networking. I have heard so many times from people “Can’t you ask so and so to get you a job there?” No, no I can’t. That’s not the way things work anymore.

3. Volunteer somewhere to get an in — I absolutely, positively agree that volunteering is an important part of gaining experience in your field. However, I know there is a slim chance I will get hired after I volunteer with an agency because many non-profits rely on volunteers in order to stay afloat. Yes, there may be “paid” positions, but how often do they become vacant? I had three student placements, one in particular that I absolutely loved and could see myself working there in the future. Lo and behold a position became available for the exact work I had been doing voluntarily for the past eight months as a student, so of course I applied. I followed up with them a few weeks later, and they told me because I didn’t have paid experience, I wasn’t qualified. Were they serious? I just did that exact job with them, unpaid! I knew the clients, I knew the policies and procedures, I knew the staff, I knew everything that job entailed, yet I was unqualified.

4. Apply, just keep applying — I am not sure people of earlier generations actually understand what job applications entail or how many people apply for the same position (it’s thousands by the way). Personally, each and every application can take me a few hours. I have to tweak my resume and cover letter for the specific job I am applying for. It’s not as simple as copying and pasting and crossing my fingers. The competition is fierce and you have to sell yourself (as much as I hate doing it). I sometimes go over my resume and cover letter for days before I actually submit it. The pressure to come across as that unique, perfect candidate has to be squeezed into a few pages, and you just have to hope it does your personality and professional skills justice. It becomes very overwhelming and disheartening after a period of time, and you start to lose faith in your abilities. This is extremely hard for someone who already suffers from depression and anxiety. I know I have the passion and qualifications, but it’s my lack of patience that’s starting to wear thin. Will I ever get a job in my field? At some point or another I will have to work full time (in a replaceable job) and give up the energy I have been putting in applying for positions in my field just to make ends meet.

5. Don’t be so picky — I wish I could be picky. I wish I could even get the chance to be picky. I have even started applying to jobs that I know I am not fully qualified for. At this point in my life, I would take below minimum wage to get the chance to work in my field. Desperate? Maybe. But I would do anything to get the experience and get my foot in the door.

So hiring committees, I ask you this: Why don’t you take a chance on me or new grads who are looking for their first break in the workforce? We are eager, and ready when you are.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:  Sarah Robertson

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June 20

Challenges

Challenges are what make life interesting.  Overcoming them is what makes it meaningful.

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April 20

Pesty Insects

Here are 12 common (and less common) methods for dealing with mosquito bites. Some seem contradictory and others a little goofy, but the logic is sound. Whatever works. What is your strategy for dealing with mosquito bites?

Apply Ice
Why it Works: Ice helps in two ways. Like taking an antihistamine, ice reduces swelling and has the added benefit of numbing the nerves sending “itchy” signals to the brain.

Apply Heat
Why it Works: Holding a hot compress or running hot water over the affected area will overload the nerves in the same way ice does and also opens the pores to allow the itch-causing toxins easier escape. Best used in conjunction with an antihistamine or other treatment that will reduce swelling.

Baking Soda
Why it Works: When mixed with a little water and applied as a paste, this household alkaline can help neutralize the pH balance in the bite, providing itch relief.

Toothpaste
Why it Works: A dab of toothpaste on the bite will act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from the wound as it dries. Menthol in the toothpaste will also provide a “cooling” sensation that will occupy the nerves in the same way ice does, relieving discomfort.

Deodorant
Why it Works: Aluminum chloride in bar deodorant will draw moisture (and toxins) from the bite.

Wet Tea Bag
Why it Works: Another astringent, the tannins in a moist black or green tea bag soothe quickly.

Garlic
Why it Works: A natural antibiotic, fresh garlic rubbed on a mosquito bite is said to knock out the bacteria causing itchiness. Evidence is inconclusive, but some swear by this method.

Vinegar
Why it Works: Malic acid in apple cider vinegar is a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, able to soothe painful bites.

Honey
Why it Works: Another natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, honey is a quick pain reliever.

Fresh Basil
Why it works: Rubbed on the affected area, natural camphor increases blood flow around the bite and breaks down itchy anti-clotting agents in mosquito saliva.

Aloe
Why it works: Gel found inside aloe vera plants applied to insect bites acts as an effective antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and disinfectant.

Take an Antihistamine
Why it works: Reduces swelling, relieving pain and allowing itchy, blood-clotting mosquito saliva to depart the wound. The novelty factor may be low, but it’s tried and true

-By Mick Telkamp for HGTVGardens.com

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March 11

8 of the Dumbest Things People Say

If you want to know how people think, listen to what they say. The old adage says, “As a man thinketh he doeth.” I’ve spent most of my career working with entrepreneurs and coaching CEOs who want to take themselves and their companies to a higher level. Then, when I lay out an action plan of how to get there, I often hear things like, “That’s impossible,” or, “That will never work.” With that mindset, they’re right!

Whether the task is impossible, or whether it will actually work, is less important in this case than how this person thinks. Most people are so convinced by their dumb thinking that simple things become impossible, and most new efforts never work. What people say mirrors how they think, and both are indicators of what they’ll do.

Here are some of the dumbest things people say:

1. “Patience is a virtue.” Well this may have been the case 1,000 years ago when a donkey was used as transportation, but today the fast eat the slow. Patience is no longer a virtue, but a liability. Look at the big companies slowed down by excessive committee meetings. Many are now extinct or suffering. Smaller companies that make quick decisions take market share.

2. “I just want to be comfortable.” This belief is squashing the middle class today. Millions of people in this country seek comfort and spend money on things that make them feel comfortable in the moment, but cost them in the long run. They buy products they can’t afford as a form of therapy. The comfort seeker is basically saying, “I gave up on doing something special a long time ago, and I’m convincing myself that I just want to be comfortable.”

3. “Money won’t make you happy.” Really? The only people who say this are people who don’t have money. People with money would never blame their money on their unhappiness. People with money want money and happiness, and I assure you they won’t give their money away just to be happy. Quit telling yourself that money won’t make you happy because the reality is money can’t make you happy or unhappy. If you are going to be unhappy, have some money to go with it.

4. “It’s the journey not the destination that matters.” Wrong. It’s the destination that matters. This sounds nice, but Dr.Seuss and his band of holistic healers will not meet you at the finish line for coming in last. Ask the Olympians, or the NFL owner who wants a Super Bowl ring, or ask Lebron James if it’s the season that matters or the championship. True, the journey is important, but face it, if you’re not first, you’re last.

5. “I don’t have time.” This is the biggest lie people tell themselves everyday. Even the busiest of people have time if they want to make time. You think you’re busy until there is an emergency, and then you immediately make time to handle it. If your kitchen catches on fire while you are reading this, I assure you that you will produce time to put the kitchen fire out. People who say they don’t have time spend their time on things that don’t create more time.

6. “I’m living the dream.” Too many people say this too often to even be believable. I know it is meant to be a gesture of enthusiasm and positive mental attitude, but I just don’t get it. I understand that one man’s nightmare could be another man’s dream but come on, are you really living the dream?

7. “I will do it when I get to it.” Uhh…no you won’t because you won’t get to it. This is an admission of procrastination and/or of being overwhelmed, or both. This person is so busy and so enamored with other tasks that this new thing is just too much. A person who can actually get things done will never respond like this. Instead they’ll say, “Leave it with me, I will get it handled.”

8. “That’s impossible.” This person believes the world seems impossible. They’re overwhelmed and no longer consider the possibilities and adventures of new projects but focus on the limitations. The “that’s impossible” person stops everything in their mind and compares the slightest task to going to another planet. This is not someone who can manage or lead.

People say the dumbest things and they don’t keep it to themselves so pay attention. Listen to what others say so you know how they think. This is a great insight for dating, hiring and promoting people. People who say dumb things are not dumb. They are dangerous! Misery loves company, and people who say dumb things tend to clump together with people who do dumb things.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Grant Cardone

 

 

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March 4

Creative People

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people.

 

Here are 18 things they do differently.

 

They daydream.

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.” 

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly. 

They take time for solitude.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important … They’re keen observers of human nature.”

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where others don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

“Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.

And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reducedstress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Carolyn Gregoire

 

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February 19

It’s Gonna Snow Forever

Wintery Toronto on Bora Bora

The days in this city seem so long lately, especially when the snow keeps falling and falling and falling.  Today for my Photoshop exercise in class, I decided to morph myself to Bora Bora.  *SIGH*  If only life was that simple.  Fantasy vs Reality !

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January 12

Noise

IN MY CURRENT HOUSEHOLD:

Background or low-level noise in the home, work or school often disrupts people’s concentration. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ambient noise also affects people’s health by increasing general stress levels and aggravating stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary disease, peptic ulcers and migraine headaches. Continued exposure does not lead to habituation; in fact, the effects worsen.

Several studies have indicated that stress resulting from ongoing white noise can induce the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps to restore homeostasis in the body after a bad experience. Excess cortisol impairs function in the prefrontal cortex—an emotional learning center that helps to regulate “executive” functions such as planning, reasoning and impulse control. Some recent evidence indicates that the prefrontal cortex also stores short-term memories. Changes to this region, therefore, may disrupt a person’s capacity to think clearly and to retain information.

Though not definitive, recent research also suggests that noise-induced stress may decrease dopamine availability in the prefrontal cortex, where the hormone controls the flow of information from other parts of the body. Stress resulting from background noise, then, may decrease higher brain function, impairing learning and memory.

 

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January 11

Happy People

6 Things Happy People Never Do

 

Happy people do a lot of things.  They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.

But they NEVER…

1.  Mind other people’s business.
Forget about what others are doing.  Stop looking at where they are and what they have.  Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.  YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons!  Ignore the distractions.  Listen to your own inner voice.  Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be.  Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU.  Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Seek validation of self-worth from others.
When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you.  And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you?  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you.  People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life.  So forget what they think and say about you.  Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true.  Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem.  What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3.  Rely on other people and external events for happiness.
Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need.  But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have.  We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy.  Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage.  It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.  Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier.  Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy.  Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation.  Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you.  A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

4.  Hold on to resentment.
Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past.  What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy.  It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past.  To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you.  Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5.  Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.
You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.  So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY.  When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself.  Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  They are all lies.  They solve nothing.  All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)

6.  Resist the truth.
It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth.  Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.  If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night.  You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular.  It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one.  It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live.  Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.

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