No one has to make harder decisions than the president. Here's how Obama dealt with his toughest calls. You think you have to make stressful, high-stakes decisions for your work? Just imagine what it's like to have to make the call to send young soldiers into harm's way or weigh bailing out bankers who deserve a jail sentence more than a rescue boat against tanking the economy? How on earth could any mere mortal make such impossibly tough decisions? There are only five Americans in the world who can speak to that, and one of them just opened up. Speaking at a gathering of tech workers, former President Barack Obama spoke in detail about how he handled the crushing pressure of presidential decision-making. Every call was horrible -- "If it was an easily solvable problem, or even a modestly difficult but solvable problem, it would not reach me, because, by definition, somebody else would have solved it," he recalled -- but he figured out a constructive approach to thinking through some of the world's most intractable problems.
1. Swap certainty for probabilities.
Psychologist David Dunning, of Dunning-Kruger effect fame, is known for studying stupidity, but through the power of contrast his work also illuminates how smart people think. Dumb people, he recently opined, see the world in black-and-white. Smart people think in probabilities. "Not, 'Will X or Y occur?' but, 'What is the chance of X or Y occurring -- 10, 50, 80 percent?'" he said. Obama agrees with him. The first step to making a truly tough decision, he told the gathering is "being comfortable with the fact that you're not going to get [a] 100 percent solution, and understanding that you're dealing with probabilities, so that you don't get paralyzed trying to think that you're going to actually solve this perfectly," Quartz reports.
2. Get the smartest people in the room.
"I'm old fashioned. I believe in these enlightenment values like facts and reason and logic," Obama went on, offering a not-so-subtle dig at his fact-challenged successor. "If I had set up a good process in which I could get all the information, all the data, all perspectives, if I knew that I had around the table all the angles...then I could feel confident that even if I didn't get a perfect answer, that I was making the best decision that anybody in my situation could make," he continued. How do you get the best information? From the best people, of course, and that means putting your ego aside and not insisting you know everything or have the biggest brain. Obama insisted "having the confidence to have people around you who were smarter than you, or disagreed with you" was "critical."
3. Ask dumb questions.
Just humbling yourself to seek out expert advice and actually listen to it isn't enough, however. You also have to understand it. That often means going a step further and asking a lot of seemingly-dumb questions. "I always would say to somebody, if they're talking about a really complicated issue, 'I don't understand what you're saying. Explain it to me in English,'" Obama relates. "I think one of the problems with people who are in big jobs is they start feeling as if they have to project that 'I have every answer' when, in fact, most of the time, you may not." Looking for more information on how this process played out in regards to some of the most high-profile decisions of his presidency, such as the Bin Laden raid and the Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster? Check out the complete Quartz article for lots more detail.
Mike Guerriero of Gelotti won the gelato master competition with his Blueberry Basil gelato. He will represent North America in 2021 at the Gelato Festival World Masters in Italy.
Click HERE to visit website.
By using solar power you can cut your energy costs by 40 to 80 percent. Are you looking to boost the value of your home, or to cut your energy costs? Are you looking to boost the value of your home, or to cut your energy costs? One way to do this is to look into solar energy systems or wind turbine systems. These are all forms of alternative energy and form a distributional model, and they're worthwhile investments in home improvements, and often eligible for alternative and renewable energy credits. How much can you save on investing in solar power to cut your energy costs? Well, the break even point for most solar home power systems is 40% - that means that the solar system has to generate 40% of the household's total energy needs. To hit this number, you need to do a home energy audit, and then look seriously at the kind of solar power systems you want to use. Home energy audits generate a report on how much power your home uses, and good ones will break this down hour by hour and day by day, to tell you when your peak energy usage is. By tracking this to what you're actually using, you can identify what's consuming the most energy in your home, and what you can target with solar power systems.
For example, most American homes have two places where a little effort can cut your energy costs. Heating water, and air conditioning in the summer. Making hot water is a prime candidate for cutting your energy costs by solar power, because the sun's energy comes in the form of heat - and making a solar collector that can heat up water in pipes and then use that to store the hot water under the house lets the hot water serve as thermal ballast for a home heating system, and cuts down the number one source of energy consumption in the home. More exotic systems use solar heating to run the hot end of a heat pump chiller; this uses a solar collector as a heat box to heat up a working fluid to work just like an air conditioner. These systems are harder to retrofit to an existing house, but can be done - and they're a great addition to a new home building plan, because of how they work - they cool the house when they're hit with direct sunlight, which makes slashes your energy usage when you need it the most. There's a lot more to solar power here - you can reduce the amount of solar energy needed (or increase the percentage of the home power budget created by solar power) by doing other home improvements like improving attic insulation, and there are concerns for things like storing power in battery arrays or thermal mass to consider, but if you're looking to slash your energy costs, looking into alternative renewable energy sources like solar power are one of the first things you should consider.
Marina Khidekel for Bergen Review Media
Deep work is when you’re really locked into doing something hard with your mind.” It requires “zero distractions.” Focus and prioritization are key to protecting your time and avoiding burnout. In fact, Georgetown University professor Cal Newport — author of the new book Digital Minimalism — recently told The New York Times about his term “deep work,” explaining that it’s “the activity of focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It describes, in other words, when you’re really locked into doing something hard with your mind,” adding that this requires “zero distractions.” We asked members of the Thrive Global community to share the simple strategies they use to focus, prioritize, and work smarter instead of harder.
Tune into your “why”“
If doing something doesn’t connect back to your ‘why’ in life, say no — and don’t feel guilty. It just wastes more time. Focus on what connects you with your purpose, values and mission instead.”
— Mim Senft, founder, CEO, Blooming Grove, NY
“Eat that frog”
“I use Brian Tracy’s ‘eat that frog’ method. I tackle the tasks I don’t like — but are still important — first thing in the morning. I leave the easier tasks for left for later in the day, when my mind begins to wander and focusing takes effort, and refuse to multitask. For me, multitasking means doing many things poorly. I single-task so I can do things well the first time. Keeping my ‘must-do’ list to three items or less helps a lot.” — Cyash Gathinji, freelance writer, Nairobi, Kenya
Answer these three questions about meetings
“Answering three simple questions has helped me tidy up my calendar, work smarter, and give me more breathing room. Look a few weeks ahead and ask these to see if you need a specific meeting, or can delegate it to someone else: 1. If I’m not leading the meeting, can I delegate it and more wisely invest my time elsewhere? 2. Does my presence add (or subtract) value to fellow team members also in the meeting? 3. Is a role in this meeting a better development opportunity for someone else on my team?” — Kelli Thompson, life and leadership coach, Omaha, NE
Make a flow chart“
Whether it’s a work process or a daily lifestyle process that you want to streamline, make a flow chart of the steps involved. If you’re not into flow diagrams, simply list the steps. Then, determine which can be streamlined or eliminated. You’ll save time and money and stress follow your analysis. And, you’ll avoid the mistakes of the past.” — Dr. Marlene Caroselli, author, Pittsford, NY
Tap into the power of prep“
One way working smarter and not harder can be achieved is by focusing on preparation. There is still a lot of investigation, planning, and implementation or ‘work’ that exists in preparing well. However, preparation helps to avoid things such as unnecessary rework, poor impressions being made by seeming unprepared, unforeseen mistakes, or additional amounts of unhealthy stress due to not being as confident as possible in your deliverable our desired outcome. In this way working harder not smarter extends beyond the result of physical and mental exertion, but also includes quality for the experiencer and the doer.” — Tiffany N. Spearman, creative professional, Washington, D.C.
Be open to shifting priorities“
Tim Ferris’ words, ‘Focus on being productive instead of busy,’ are posted on my office wall for my daily reminder to work smarter instead of harder. Setting my weekly goals and priorities has always been very helpful, but understanding that I need to be flexible when priorities change (on a daily basis for most of us) was a game changer. Continual priority setting, re-evaluating and resetting is key staying focused and avoiding burnout.” — Carrie McEachran, executive director, Sarnia, ON
Know your prime time
“The night before, I make a list of the top things I need to work on the next day. I also pick the time of day that my mind is the sharpest and full of energy to work on specifically what’s on my list of things to do and I try not to deviate away from my most important work. Working at a time of day when I have no focus or am the most tired is a waste of time and nothing gets accomplished. I get more work done working four hours a day when I’m at my best versus working a full eight hours and dragging through the day. Being organized is the key to working smarter and not harder.”
— Kiki Dahlke, author, Tampa, FL
Differentiate “deep and shallow work”
“Knowing when to prioritize deep and shallow work allows me to work smarter. By being aware of how my energy and focus fluctuates throughout a typical day and week, I’m able to identify when I’ll be able to work most effectively on complex or simple tasks. This enables me to dedicate my most energized, focused time on complex tasks that require deep focus, while the times that I might feel less energized or focused, can be used to take care of smaller, less demanding tasks.”
— Andrew Gobran, people operations, Minneapolis, MN
Count on your calendar
“I use a calendar to stay on track. If it isn’t on the calendar, it does not happen. The top of the calendar are goals for the week: Family, My Business, Money, etc. The middle part are things that pop up that need to be fit into the week. The bottom is time segments to schedule actions. Things do move. I jot down to do’s as they pop up so that I can deal with them later. Seeing the days on paper help me to be realistic with what I can accomplish each day.” — Lisa Handt Fagan, marketing professor and writer, Atlantic City, NJ
Take breaks for your body and brain
“I take regular breaks to rest my brain and move my body to release any built up tension. Our brains work more effectively when we’re moving — a throw back to hunter gatherer days. I also find setting mini-goals helps me to stay focused in each working period as I’m motivated to get them done.”
— Samantha Toon, business owner, Leeds, England
Practice the Pomodoro Technique
“I follow the Pomodoro Technique, which means I group my activities into 25 minute chunks.
During each chunk, I focus on one type of activity ONLY and shut down ALL notifications and distractions. For example, if I am sending multiple messages or emails, I complete all of the intended messages before circling back to responses that have come in during that 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes, I take 5 minutes to stretch and re-center before moving on to my next activity. After four-to-five Pomodoros, I take a longer break say 15-30 minutes. Taking breaks and spending focused time has been a game changer for my mental health and business.” — Erica Martinez, nurse and wellness enthusiast, Fullerton, CA
Plan, do, review, and adjust
“In order to work smarter than harder, I simply focus on doing the important, urgent things first. I set up a monthly strategy. But on a weekly basis, I define priorities for my tasks on the app Asana, to fulfill the strategy. Then I focus, making sure that’s what I complete first every day. I even block my calendar for the things that can’t be postponed to avoid meetings being scheduled at that time. By the end of the day, I always analyze what wasn’t accomplished and how I can reorganize my schedule to make it happen. Getting the right things done makes you feel like you’re not losing time. So to avoid frustration, make sure you plan, do, review and adjust every day.”
— Luciana Paulise, agile business coach, Beaumont, TX
This article first appeared on Thrive.
Adversity is often a stepping stone to success. That is, if you don’t give up because the cloud of dark emotions discouraged you completely.First of all, when everything is going wrong in your life, you should keep in mind that emotions are big fat liars. You feel everything is going south, but it’s not true. Adversity is often a stepping stone to success. That is, if you don’t give up because the cloud of dark emotions discouraged you completely. A couple of things NOT to do:
1. Don’t focus on what’s wrong
When everything seems to go wrong, you have this unfortunate tendency to focus on what’s wrong. Don’t. When people practice speed driving, they drive their cars where their sight goes. If they stare at the approaching wall, they invariably steer the car toward the wall, even if they know very well they should turn the wheel and the car. Your life goes where your attention goes. If you dwell on what’s going wrong, you will only get more bad things and events. New Age believers will tell you that you “attract” negative energy or your quantum vibrations emanate negativity, so positivity has no access to you. They may even be right. I think the explanation is a bit simpler. Your brain’s primary function is one of a search engine. It absorbs millions and millions of sensual impulses every second and its main job is to segregate this ocean of data so your nervous system and conscious mind can make sense of it. Bad things and good things are happening all the time in your life. The focus of your conscious mind determines which data your search engine will fish out from the data ocean. The title says it very aptly: it appears everything goes wrong. Positive impulses will be weeded out from your brain’s query, so the end picture will get darker and darker.
2. Don’t beat yourself
Blaming yourself for the situation is a default option. Let’s not philosophize why, just assume it as an axiom. In your internal dialog you always assume you are the center of the universe, so if anything goes wrong, it must be your fault, right? You may be even right about this. All in all, most of what you receive in life is the result of your thoughts, words and actions. But beating yourself won’t improve the situation one bit. It will make it even worse. If you get yourself into the present situation, guess who can take you out of it? Yes, you. And if you beat up the only person who can get you out of troubles, getting out of troubles is unlikely. It may be wise to examine how your vices and past stupid decisions brought you to the miserable place you are in now. If you can reflect on the past with an inquiring mind and track down your mistakes, you can figure out eventual solutions. Sadly, most of us are incapable of such impersonal detachment and we fall into the default mode: beating ourselves up. If you know you get on that path too easily just don’t go there. It’s a slippery slope and you should attempt a sober reflection only when you are skilled in self-analysis. If your emotions got in the way, don’t even try. There are better ways.
3. Get your personal philosophy straight
I can give you dozens of tips on how to survive tough times, but if you are stuck in a dark place there is no use bombarding you with advice. You need to know deep in your heart that it is still worth trying to get better. You need to be convinced that hard times are only temporary. And in the end YOU need to implement the advice. Knowledge without implementation is as useless as ignorance. I went through periods of depression in my life; some of them were relatively mild, others were downright excruciating. I know what it’s like to be unwilling to raise your finger because nothing makes sense and your soul hurts. You need a driving internal power to get you out there. You need reasons to keep trying. What are your deepest beliefs about hardships? Is it a punishment from God or a trial? Can you see it’s just a passing state of affairs or you feel like you’re closed in the dark room? If you are a Christian, then I encourage you to turn to God. There are never true “wrong” times in a Christian’s life; everything is under God’s providence.
4. Be with great people
An amazing shortcut to fixing your personal philosophy is spending time with people you want to be like. Do you know someone who went through times when everything appeared to be going wrong in their lives? Spend more time with them. Surround yourself with such people. Do a simple mental exercise: reflect on your hardships and think of someone who was in your situation and not only survived but came out of it thriving. Remember the “everything appears” part? The fact is that it’s almost sure there was someone in your situation in the history of humankind who dealt with it.
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Someone broke your heart? Happens all the time. Your close friend or relative died? Death will accompany humanity as long as it exists. Are you terminally ill? That was the fate of millions of people before you. Your child made terrible life choices and ended up suffering like a dog? This is the story of many parents. Were you fired? So were countless folks before you. Find them. Search for stories of people who experienced what you experience and became stronger. Let their stories affect your self-centered thinking. If they did that, you can do it too. The secret of those who survived similar hardships was their attitude. It’s not what we go through, but what we think about it. Thousands of people got their bodies destroyed and landed in wheelchairs after car accidents and they cracked. Hal Elrod, after an initial shock accepted his situation and was happy that he was alive. Doctors said he would never walk again. Because of his positive attitude he recovered to full health miraculously fast.
The Best Tip
Don’t dwell on what’s wrong. Put your mind on what’s right. Your brain is a search engine. Give it orders to search for what’s right. The easiest way to do it? Keep a gratitude journal. Every morning write down three new things you are grateful for. It will unlock your thinking patterns. You will stop focusing on things going south and rewire your brain into positivity. You will notice positive events and influences. You will see new opportunities.
Senator Steven Oroho – NJ 24th Legislative District, and Steve Adubato talk about the challenges making NJ more affordable and attractive to invest in, the benefits of municipal consolidation.
If you want to achieve mastery, you need to be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. You need to regularly perform and attempt stuff you’ve never done.When you’ve developed mastery of something, you own that thing. You’ve learned the rules inside-out and now you have the ability, as an artist, to create your own rules. You have the ability to create a new game. Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, calls people with this level of mastery, “Game Changers,” because they don’t just play a game, they change the game. People with this level of mastery don’t compete with others, they make others compete with them. They are light-years ahead of the crowd and are setting the context of the future that others will either consciously or unconsciously follow. Becoming a game changer is something that very few people aspire to. Most people are relatively comfortable being good at what they do or paying the bills. For a select few people, though, there is not only a desire to succeed and do well but to create and to fail. To stretch the possibilities of learning so far that they enter what some would call a “no man’s land.” Going to places where no one else has thought to go. Stretching their imagination so far that they can only share their ideas with a very tight “inner circle.” As Peter Diamandis said, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Once you reach a certain level of mastery, and if you have the creative spirit to change the game and world entirely — then you play in the realm of crazy ideas. Here is a brief run-down of key steps in the development of this level of mastery. This list is far from exhaustive but will be useful to you if you intend to leave the world of competition behind and go to places only your imagination can take you.
Peter Genovese for Bergen Review Media
The food is cheap but good, and if you're not from the area, you wouldn't know the place exists.Hole-in-the-wall eateries are hidden gems of sorts, and NJ.com is running down the 50 best in the state.
Here are the restaurants in Bergen and Passaic counties that made the list.
Click Here for full list
Put down the latte and listen up: If you're like the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, saving money needs to be on the top of your to-do list. Like, stat. Believe it or not, about 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have nothing saved for retirement, according to a survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security. It's no wonder that millennials are finding it difficult to buy a house. Although retirement is still a very long way off for this generation, it’s important to be mindful of the future so you can find a clear path towards financial freedom for the end of your career, a vacation, or even an unexpected expense or accident. The basics of personal finance and savings might be lost on some people who feel that it’s near-impossible to save when most of their money is gone within days of getting a paycheck. The cycle begins again and you just feel stuck trying to keep your head above water. However, financial freedom is very reachable through careful money management, budgeting, expense tracking, and getting smart about saving, investing, and building credit. The good news is that it’s never too late — or too early — to get smarter about your finances. After all, the tools you need to help you along your financial journey just might be in your pocket. Here’s a step-by-step guide to saving money by using smartphone finance apps and other clever hacks: 1. Create a budget Knowing how much money you make is not the same as spending it wisely.Staying organized is key to your financial freedom and budgeting apps like Mint and YNAB can help you create a budget and stay within your means every month. Mint is a free app (that's a very important word) that you can customize and tweak to fit your income and help you set your financial goals down to the penny. If you're still unclear on how much you should save every month, Mint can also set your budget based on your income. It can create limits and categories on your spending habits, which you can override at anytime, while the app can connect you to your bank accounts, credit cards, and lenders to give you a full picture of your finances. Meanwhile, YNAB, which stands for You Need a Budget, takes your monthly spending and expenses to the next level with an in-depth look at every dollar in your bank account. In fact, one of the rules for YNAB is every dollar needs a purpose, so you know it's serious about budgets and making sure you stay on track instead of "winging it" from month-to-month. With YNAB, you define what's important to you and how to achieve your goals with good financial spending and saving. The app keeps you on track to use your money on the important things in life like rent, food, medical expenses, and more. It can even account for any unexpected expenses and emergencies without putting a strain on the other things going on in your life. YNAB has a 34-day free trial available, but afterwards it's $6.99/a month. 2. Track your spending and expenses Now that you have a realistic and workable budget, you have to stick to it. Smartphone apps like Quicken can take your path to financial freedom to the next level. Quicken can track all of your spending habits by just taking a photo of your receipts, which automatically puts your spending into categories, dates everything, and tracks the amounts deducted from your balance with your approval. In fact, Quicken is probably the most in-depth of all the financial apps on this list because it's so feature rich. The app can track and record your expenses and investments, create easy-to-read spending reports, and can pay your bills online. Once you sync the app to your bank account, you can even transfer funds from one account to another with the desktop version of the app. It can even predict and forecast your cashflow for the upcoming month, so you can get a better idea of all of your finances. One of the best things about the app is that it's completely searchable. You can search through all of your spending habits, expenses, and reports to get easy access of your personal finances. The Quicken app is also easy to understand and use with a very intuitive interface that even works offline when you don't have a data connection. In addition, the app sends you notifications and alerts when your bank balance is getting low and if you're over-budget for the month, so you don't over spend. Think of the Quicken app as your personal accountant inside of your pocket that you don't have to feed or clothe. The Quicken app works with Android and iOS mobile devices and it's free with the purchase of any Quicken product. 3. Manage your debt: According to Value Penguin, over 44 million millennials are in crippling debt upwards of $33,000 — mostly from student loans from financial institutions. In fact, most millennials are putting off "life milestones" like starting a family and homeownership because their massive debt is in the way, while some are forced to move back home with their parents just to stay above water. Getting out of debt is not an easy feat, but if you have the right tools and a little bit of optimism, you could be debt-free sooner than you think. Smartphone apps like Debt Payoff Planner can help ease your burden with a bird's eye view of how much money you owe, along with reasonable step-by-step methods and techniques to get out of debt faster. The app can track your debt payments and give you a time frame to financial freedom. This means you can track your progress and feel better about your money situation with a real game plan. The best part about this app is that it's completely free. Another good idea? Transfer your debt to a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period and get aggressive with those payments. That way, you won't be paying any interest and you can pay down the debt faster than if you were just making the minimum payment every month. The BankAmericard® credit card by Bank of America offers a 0% introductory APR period on both balance transfers and purchases for 18 billing cycles, after which a variable 15.24% to 25.24% APR will apply based on your creditworthiness. The BankAmericard® credit card has a $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) transfer fee and no annual fee.
4. Get smart about saving money: "A penny saved is a penny earned." This phrase is commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who is believe to have *coined* it during the 18th century. If Mr. Franklin were around today, he'd probably enjoy using a smartphone app like Qapital (pronounced Capital), a fun way to save money by turning it into a game. Once you download the app, start an account with Qapital and link a bank card with a checking account and begin to set your financial goals. Why are you saving money? Maybe you're planning a trip to Paris, or want concert tickets for the summer, or are looking to buy a car. After you set your goals, add the amount you want to save. Say you want to save $1,200 for a new laptop. Now that you're all set, you can set up the "rule" for saving. Qapital sets "round to the nearest dollar" as the default, but you can pick and choose how you want to save. If you picked the default, every time you use your bank card, the app rounds the amount to the nearest dollar and adds it to your account automatically. So if you buy something for $5.62, Qapital will take .38 cents from your bank card and add it to your account. You can then transfer your savings into a bank account to start all over again. So you're saving money without even realizing it. The app has other "rules" like the "Spend Less Rule," where you can save the difference if you spend less on one of your favorite expenses and activities, or the "Guilty Pleasure Rule," where you save money when you do one of your guilty pleasures. You set the goals and the rules, and Qapital helps you save. Qapital is available for iOS and Android. While the app is free to download, there are three membership options for a Basic ($3/a month), Complete ($6/a month), and Master ($12/a month) plans. Check out the company's website for more info.
5. Start investing — like right now: Now that you've managed to save some money, maybe it's time to invest it and gain some personal capital. If you know next to nothing about investing, Robinhood is a good place to start. This smartphone app gives anyone free access to the stock market. For years, buying and trading stocks were only for the wealthy and people in the know. You had to hire a stockbroker who would have to facilitate any purchases and trades on your behalf, while also taking a slice of the pie as commission. However, Robinhood is a completely free way to enter and get 24/7 access to the stock market game with zero fees and commissions. In addition, Robinhood supports cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Etherium, Dogecoin, and more. Crypto is supported in over 30 states for now, while the app plans to gain support in more locations across the nation. This finance app is a great way to build a solid stock portfolio and net worth, while gaining confidence in investing and using cryptocurrency. Robinhood is available for iOS and Android.
6. Build your credit: Did you know only 33% of adults ages 18 and 29 have at least one credit card? About two-thirds of millennials don't have a credit card, according to this survey, and are shy about the proposition of adding more debt on top of their student loan debt. If you're afraid of getting deeper into the weeds but you want to build credit, you have to get a credit card to make your credit score soar. (We recommend Credit Cards Explained for more info on this topic.) Once you sign up and are approved, download the Credit Karma app to help you manage your credit. It's a free app that gives you access to your credit score and credit report, while it can also offer credit monitoring. Credit Karma can also give you information on how to improve your score, including what factors are contributing to good and bad scores, and what kind of products and services can help you achieve exceptional credit. Credit Karma is available for iOS and Android.
7. Find a financial coach: Everyone needs some coaching to get them through hard times. Breaking through to financial freedom and happiness could be just an app download away with Joy, a financial coaching and savings app for iPhone. Once you create an account, you're asked to sync your checking account so you can rate your purchases and transactions. If spending money on an item makes you happy, it's a high value purchase. If it makes you sad, it's a low value transaction. (It's basically like the KonMari method of finance.) Joy then tries to make connections between your mood and outlook and how that relates to your spending, which should prompt you to save more money. In fact, Joy is also a bank of sorts because you can open a Joy savings account that's FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured. In addition, Joy offers savings strategies by tracking your spending, as well as money coaching to help you reach your financial goals — along with a steady stream of articles about finance, happiness, and self care. Sorry Android users, Joy is only available for iPhone.
After four weeks of tough competition, readers have crowned a champion.
After four weeks of tough competition, New Jersey Monthly readers have crowned an underdog, Slack Tide Brewing Co., as New Jersey’s top craft brewery in the magazine’s 2019 Jersey Craft Beer Madness Competition. The competition began on February 26, with Jersey’s top-16 craft brewers (chosen by a panel of beer experts) pitted against each other in the elimination contest. For the contest, New Jersey Monthly split the state into northern and southern regions, with Interstate 195 as the dividing line. The eight northern and eight southern breweries were seeded 1 through 8, based on the vote by the expert panel. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Jason Campbell, who owns Clermont-based Slack Tide Brewing Co. with his brother Tadhg. “We were stoked to be in the top 16 to begin with.” The first big shock of the competition came in Round 1 when Slack Tide, 7th-seeded in the southern bracket, knocked off number-2 seed Tonewood Brewing. Slack Tide won another upset in Round 2 by beating Lakewood’s only brewery, Icarus. In round 3, Slack Tide pushed past their Cape May County neighbors, top-seeded Cape May Brewing. The final round pitted Slack Tide against Magnify Brewing, the 6th-seed in the northern bracket. Magnify had upset top-seeded Kane Brewing to reach the final round. Slack Tide’s full-court press of promotion through social media lifted the brewery to victory. “We tried to mobilize our base as best we could,” says Campbell. “We really just went with it.” This included sharing a new link on their Facebook and Instagram pages when each new round went live on four successive Tuesdays. They also updated their website homepage with an image of each bracket round and a link to vote. The win is just the latest exciting milestone for Slack Tide. In January, the brewery celebrated its third anniversary. Now, they can’t wait to share the good news with the fans who helped them sweep the championship.
Darius Foroux for Bergen Review Media
That’s the thinking error that I’ve made in the past. And I’ll tell you why it’s a mistake to assume positive thoughts are good. I want to ask you a question. How many hours per day do you think?
“I never thought about that.” So let me get this straight. You’re thinking all the time, and yet, you never think about how much time you spend thinking. That sounds like an addiction to me. I know, because I’m addicted to thinking too.
When someone says that overthinking is bad, we often assume that only negative thoughts are wrong. And by that definition, it automatically means that positive thoughts are good.
That’s the thinking error that I’ve made in the past. And I’ll tell you why it’s a mistake to assume positive thoughts are good. But first, let’s talk about the difference between positive thoughts and negative thoughts. Positive thoughts vs. negative thoughts I think most of us agree that negative thoughts are related to:
After all, negative thoughts make our lives worse. And positive thoughts should make our lives better, right?
I wish that were the case. However, the truth is that when you overuse your brain, just like a drain, it can get clogged. The result? Foggy thinking. Which leads to bad decision making.
You Are Not Your Thoughts Sure, you become whatever you think about. No one said it better than Marcus Aurelius in Meditations: “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Our life situation is shaped by the quality of our thoughts. I believe in that. However, most of us assume that we are our thoughts. We say: “Well, I can’t help but think these things. That’s just me.”
No, that’s NOT you. You can decide what thoughts to ignore in your mind. I like how Eckhart Tolle puts it in The Power Of Now: “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker.” The only way to stop identifying yourself with your thoughts is to stop following through on all your thoughts. Instead, decide to live in the present moment — where you don’t have time to think, only to experience. How do you live in the present moment?Thinking is a tool. And instead of using that tool during the 16 or 17 hours that you’re awake, only use it when you NEED it. But how do you do that? Here’s the 4 step process I’ve used to stop overthinking.
Thanks for reading!
I also wrote a book on this topic. It’s called THINK STRAIGHT. Check it out if you want to learn more about controlling your thoughts. This article first appeared on Darius Foroux.
Tesla Model 3 is now entering the European market and it is making some automakers nervous. According to a new report, Porsche and Audi reverse-engineered Tesla’s new electric car and they were quite surprised by its cost. It’s somewhat common in the industry to purchase vehicles from competitor to see what they are up to, but it also becomes a necessity for vehicles that are seen as important disruptors. The Model 3 appears to fit the description as it apparently outsold all other premium sedans combined in the US. During the early production ramp up, it was difficult to get your hands on a Model 3, but some automakers paid a pretty penny to be amongst the first to be able to check out the new electric car. About a year ago, two Model 3 vehicles were spotted on their way to Germany – presumably to be reverse-engineered. Later, a report came out about a German automaker being impressed by Model 3 after reverse-engineering it. Now a new report from Germany’s Manager Magazin (German and paywall) includes a deep dive into the state of Audi with comments from executives and insider sources. It claims that Porsche and Audi, who are working together on a next-generation electric platform, had to change their approach because the cost was too high compared to what Tesla is achieving. They report: “The Porsche and Audi engineers have to change [the PPE] because Tesla’s Model 3 has gotten better than they thought.” The next-gen platform called Premium Platform Electric (PPE) was greenlighted almost two years ago and it is expected to be ready around 2020 or 2021. According to the new report, the first version was coming at about 3,000 euros too expensive, which Porsche is said to be able to absorb but Audi wasn’t on board. They believe that they need to lower the cost in order to be competitive with other upcoming EVs. The battery cell cost is apparently the biggest factor that pushes the cost of the platform higher and Tesla claims to be leading the industry on that front. According to the report, Audi and Porsche could delay the PPE in order to improve the cost and be competitive with Tesla. The PPE is becoming increasingly important for Audi according to Manager-Magazin’s report, which describes a failing e-tron program: The e-tron as the first electric Audi is not only late. It does not reach some target values and has become far too expensive with more than two billion euros in development costs. The approximately 600,000 cars sold for the break-even are now regarded as an illusion. The e-tron electric SUV was supposed to be delivered to customers last year, but Audi says that software issues have resulted in delays. The German automaker is still planning several other vehicles based on the same platform before the PPE becomes available. Electrek’s TakeWe often hear complaints about Tesla not yet delivering on the base $35,000 version of the Model 3, which I think is fair, but we still need to acknowledge that Tesla is the only automaker currently mass producing a compelling long-range EV and doing it profitably. I think that’s what is impressing Audi and Porsche here and what they wish to emulate with the PPE platform. A decade from now, I think we will not only look back at Model 3 for how the vehicle program accelerated EV adoption through volume but also for the impact it had on other automakers. The fact that they were apparently 3,000 euros behind for a platform coming in another 2 years just shows how Tesla is far ahead. As for the e-tron program, the report is worrying. I’ve been cutting Audi some slack over the delays for the e-tron SUV, but I’d like to see some volume soon.We hear that the launch in the US is still planned for Q2 2019.
From the slow, simmering frustration that builds with being on hold with a customer service representative for 30 minutes to the quick snap at your barista when she takes longer than usual to make your oat milk latte, chances are that everyone has wondered how to be more patient every now and then. Kelly Davis, director of peer advocacy, supports, and services for Mental Health America explains that as technology advances and constant reachability can deprive us of time to rest and reset. “Even in the workplace, we’re expected to be available 24-hours a day. Now, your boss is in your pocket, your friends are in your pocket, and it’s really easy to have those expectations go both ways,” she says. “You feel the stress of other people being impatient with you, wanting you to immediately respond to things, and then you’re also expecting people to immediately respond to your needs, even if it’s not consciously.” Besides making even the nicest people irritable, the increasing inability to tolerate delay or a wrench in the plan can have some negative effects on your health, too. “Impatience creates stress, and stress has tremendous health implications,” says Jordana Jacobs, a NYC-based licensed clinical psychologist. “When we’re under stress, it causes chronic low inflammation in the body.” And, of course, inflammation’s the culprit behind a laundry list of problems that span everything from acne to gut to digestion issues. No thanks.
So in this world that expects instant gratification all the time, how is one to cultivate patience? Experts divulge key advice, below.
1. Practice mindfulness and meditation
Both Davis and Jacobs advise bringing a mindfulness and meditation practice into your life—whether you notice your impatience or not. “A mindfulness or meditation practice can help you become more present, teach you how to control your breath, and really focus on just being aware of the things that are happening in your body and around you, and in turn that helps with being less reactive,” says Davis. Even if you’re simply sitting on your floor for 10 minutes in silence every day, that could be enough. Davis says that once you implement this strategy, chances are you become more initially aware of the physical signs of impatience like faster breathing and tensed-up muscles, and can then slow your breath and bring yourself back to the moment (and peace!) more quickly.
2. Practice positive self-talk
You can be your own (patience) hype-woman. How to do that? Davids recommends to turn up your positive inner voice. “When you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed with impatience, try this: say ‘I have time, everything doesn’t have to happen at once, other people are doing their best, and I’m doing my best,'” she says, adding that you can even make it into a mantra, repeating it with your breath until it sticks. When you’re practicing this positive self-talk, Davis adds that you should acknowledge your current emotions and remind yourself that what you’re feeling is only temporary. “You don’t have to come up with a solution just yet—calming yourself down should always be your first step,” she says.
3. Be patient with yourself
Of course, on the journey of becoming a Zen-like patience queen, it’s key to remember to be patient with yourself. It’s okay if you mess up sometimes (and, like, stomp past a slow-walker). “Practice self compassion when you do get impatient, because it’s a skill that you build over time,” says Davis. “We’re constantly bombarded with getting things right away and other people expecting us to do things right away, so it will take a bit of time to practice and build the muscle again.”
4. Remind yourself that life is short
If all else fails, remind yourself that life is short. Jacobs believes that understanding your limited time on earth can help you better understand your priorities, especially when it comes to the little things (like getting cut in line at the post office).
“Deep relationships, love, meaning, and purpose rise above all and we more easily disentangle from the minutiae of our daily lives,” she says, making it easier to be patient when things don’t go your way. This might not feel as helpful in the heat of the moment (who likes to be cut in line?) but having perspective can help you take a step back when you’re about to snap. Consider it the “carpe diem” approach to patience.
Naturally, impatience is linked to anger and irritability. Here are 3 therapist-approved tips on how to let go of anger. Reminder: Lack of sleep can lead to anger, so make sure to catch enough ZZZ’s.
This is the power of the compound effect. Even if you engage your intellect only marginally in some activity, it can bring significant effects over a year. Most of daily activities — that are not totally mindless — will sharpen your mind when practiced over a year. This is the power of the compound effect. Even if you engage your intellect only marginally in some activity, it can bring significant effects over a year. I practice(d) most of the below activities for at least a year. It’s hard to estimate their effect of my brain’s acuteness, but I got some interesting results that speak for themselves.
1. Learn new knowledge
Our capacity for learning is astounding. In the last few years I studied multiple topics, most of them for the first time in my life: self-publishing, personal development, habits development or online marketing. It’s not about becoming an expert (especially not in 10 minutes a day), but about the web of associations your brain creates. Now I get ideas regarding personal development while reading a scripture, or a thought about how a brain works pops out when I study my website traffic.
2. Consolidate old knowledge
For about 2 years I had been studying professional documentation learning about databases. I had been working with databases at that moment in time for more than 8 years, but I had very little formal knowledge (two 6-month courses on university). I passed three professional exams, obtained two certificates and got a better job (35% higher salary). All of that came from 10-minute study sessions.
3. Learn new skills
One skill I deliberately practiced for 10 minutes a day has been speed reading. I quickly doubled my reading speed and maintained my skill at this level. Thanks to those practices I read a few dozen books I wouldn’t have read otherwise.
4. Practice gratitude
I keep three gratitude journals. Filling them with my entries takes about 10 minutes. This activity will not only sharpens your brain, it will improve EVERYTHING in your life. Gratitude makes your brain positive and when your brain is positive:
“Every possible outcome we know how to test for raises dramatically.” — Shawn Achor
I tested it on myself. It works. For everything indeed.
Studies had confirmed that meditation improves performance and productivity. I suppose it sharpens brain as well.Surely, it magnifies your self-awareness and self-knowledge is one of the foundations of success. “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves — their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” — Peter F. Drucker
Thinking in writing has this magical quality of clarifying your thoughts. What was a tangled web of incoherent associations in your head becomes on paper a clear and concise project/ plan/ train of thoughts/ discovery. It’s also great for gaining self-knowledge.
Ancient philosophers knew that already and modern research confirmed common sense: A sound mind in a sound body.People who exercise regularly have better cognitive abilities.
8. Listen to different music
I mean, a different kind of music at every session. The nature of connection between music and brain performance is still an enigma for scientists, but one thing we know for sure: it’s powerful. I’ve seen an awesome documentary about how old people with dementia living in a vegetative state got animated when listening to a music from their youth. And different kinds of music activate different part of our brains.
9. Listen to podcasts
You may learn something. You may hear some fascinating stories or facts. The best in this activity is that you can do it in background while doing something else (chores, workout, walking, etc.)
10. Solve puzzles
There is a plentiful of logic games out there. Don’t focus on getting to another level. Instead try a new game every week (or even every day).
11. Solve real problems
I work in IT support in my day job (applications, databases and servers maintenance). I HAVE TO solve real-life problems every single day. I had no idea what it meant for my creativity and attitude till I started studying personal development. Most people stay stuck in “I can’t” attitude. I don’t. Finding a way out is my second nature. Brainstorming, narrowing down options, trial and error approach — they are for me as natural as breathing. Admittedly, I did it for a lot more than 10 minutes a day.
12. Come up with ideas
Ask a question and brainstorm 10 different answers. Preferably to some practical problem. Even better if it pertains to your life. Claudia Azula swears that idea generation train your brain like a good workout trains your body. Bonus: write them all down (see #6 above).
13. Use your non-dominant hand for daily exercises
Brush your teeth, answer the phone or do any other everyday trivia. It’s known that cerebral hemispheres control one side of your body each. When you use your non-dominant hand neurons run through your less used hemisphere. It’s sharpening your brain in my dictionary.
14. Learn new words
Extending your vocabulary expands your mental horizons. Your vocabulary is like a set of filters your brain uses to process all the sensual impulses and channel them to your conscious mind. This article was originally published on Medium.
Looking back on the times the Academy got it right when it came to the biggest prize. The night of the Oscars ceremony – which was first held 90 years ago this May – is the one essential date in the movie world calendar, the giddy, glamorous apex of industry celebration. It’s fascinating and infuriating. But the Academy Awards don’t always get it right. In fact, on many now infamous occasions, they got it totally wrong. Giving How Green Was My Valley best picture over Citizen Kane, for example. But while there is always going to be debate over whether the best picture actually won best picture – merit is a difficult thing to quantify, after all – each year’s top prize winner and, perhaps more importantly, the reaction to it, tells us something about the cultural zeitgeist.
The Academy Awards represent, indeed, a snapshot of a section of America’s prevailing concerns, the issues and themes that are deemed important by the Academy voters and by the audiences who voted with their feet and put the film on the awards circuit in the first place. Of course, prevailing concerns can be swayed, as they were in the era of Harvey Weinstein’s notoriously forceful awards campaigns. And the issues that concern the average Academy voter are unlikely to overlap much with those of the average punter. But the best of the best pictures over the past nine decades are not just the most elegantly crafted pieces of film-making – they are the films with themes that resonate still with a present-day audience. Wendy Ide
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.