I recently turned 24 years, and I decided to spend time reflecting on what I learned over the past years of my life. I don’t feel like 24 in my mind, and let me tell you, my life is not what I pictured it would be like when I was a kid.
Turning 24 just doesn’t feel like anything major, but I will have to say, looking back I do feel I’ve had a major shift in terms of my outlook on many things. So, I decided to reflect on 24 life lessons I’ve learned over these years.
1.✨Don’t compare your path with others
You don’t have to do things the way others do. You are not them, and they are not you. You won’t get the same results they have because you have your own strengths, skills, and voice. You have your own journey.
2.✨Friends come and go
You’ll lose friends and that’s okay. All the people that enter our life have a purpose, they teach us lessons and they leave when the lesson has been taught. Your true friends will stick around until the end.
3.✨You can’t please everyone
Stop trying, it’s impossible! And very exhausting. So just do whatever feels right for you, you’ll become a lot happier.
4.✨Your thoughts become your reality
If you think you can’t do something or you’re not good enough, you’ll be less likely to take action. Try to switch your mindset and think that you can achieve anything you want.
5.✨Get smart with your money
Learn about investing and saving. Don’t spend your money on unnecessary things. Make yourself a budget. You never know when your financial situation can change.
6.✨ It’s okay to feel emotions
There were days I felt depressed, anxious, and sad for no reason. And other days, I felt amazing, happy, and grateful. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. It’s okay to feel sad and it’s okay to feel happy. But learn when you’re ready to release those “bad” feelings. You can choose how you want to feel.
7.✨ Your mistakes don’t define you
Learn from them, acknowledge them, then let them go and try again.
8. ✨Don’t be afraid to be yourself
There is only one you. You’re unique and the worlds deserve to see your authentic you.
9. ✨We rise by lifting others
If you help someone feel good, you feel good. Give, support, encourage, share, and love. This can really change the world.
10.✨ Focus on your breath on the hardest times
In times of stress, overwhelm, anxiety, anger, or fear you can always come back to your breath to connect to yourself. The key is to notice and pay attention to when you need to take a step back.
11.✨Human connection is so important
Make the most out of every interaction since you never know when things could change. Spend time with people you love and tell them what they mean to you.
12.✨ Change is necessary
Growth doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable, remember that. Push past your safe space and take a chance. Grab all new opportunities!
13.✨Take care of your body and mental health
Make time for yourself, drink your water, fill your body with the nutrients he needs, sleep, do things you love, dance, smile, speak up if you’re unhappy, change situations that affect your mental state negatively. Make sure you’re okay and if you’re not, ask for help.
14.✨It’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out yet
I realized that we all have our own journeys and timelines. It’s okay if you are still figuring out what you want in life. And don’t compare your life to others, this only leads to frustration and self-doubt. Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen.
15.✨You are capable of more than you think
For example, I’ve never imagined that I would be able to work for myself and turning what I do into a career. This proves that we are all capable of more than we think.
16.✨Everything happens for a reason
Everything really happens for a reason, always. Even your darkest days. They come to teach you and to prove to you how strong and capable you are.
It may feel like things aren’t going to get better, but they always will in the end.
18.✨Communication is key
Mostly on relationships. If you want a healthy and happy relationship you need to communicate with one another.
Practice gratitude every day. Focus on the amazing things you do have rather than what you don’t.
20.✨Pain is almost inevitable
Physical pain, emotional pain…Everyone is going to experience pain at some point in their lives. Don’t try to hide from pain, but don’t let it take over your life.
Make sure you’re there in the moment when you’re with someone. When you’re on a walk or doing something you enjoy. Put your phone away and give them your full attention.
22.✨Pets make life so much better
We don’t deserve animals. They are such a light in our lives. I personally love dogs. They love us unconditionally and they fill our homes with so much love and happiness!
23.✨Never forget to be kind
You never know what someone else may be going through, so always be kind.
24.✨It is okay to ask for help
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. Your loved ones will surely want to help you, you just have to ask. And if their support is not strong enough, look for a therapist. Just take care of yourself.
Article by Kati Pereira
The research is clear. You can improve your physical and mental health by thinking this more frequently.
Most people realize that the mind and body are connected into a feedback loop. "A healthy mind in a healthy body" is why psychologists and physicians alike recommend sensible eating and regular exercise.
Neuroscientists, however, recommend a different approach. Because they know that body-centric lifestyle changes (like diet and exercise) are difficult to maintain, they recommend starting with the mind. And they've identified the one thought that, when regularly focused upon, is most likely to propel your mind and body into an upward spiral.
Neuroscience Says Your Body and Mind Get Stronger When You Focus on GRATITUDE
Yes, that sounds all crunchy granola, but there's actually extensive research into the positive mental and physical effect of that specific thought and emotion, according to a fascinating article published by the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association. Here are some highlights:
1. Gratitude makes you more likely to exercise.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who keep gratitude journals "reported fewer health complaints, more time exercising, and fewer symptoms of physical illness."
2. Gratitude reduces your stress level.
According to a study published by National Center for Biotechnology Information "cultivating appreciation and other positive emotions showed lower levels of stress hormones [specifically] a 23 percent reduction in cortisol and 100 percent increase in DHEA/DHEAS levels."
3. Gratitude improves the quality of your sleep.
According to a study conducted at the University of Manchester and published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, regularly focusing on gratitude and thankfulness "improved quality of sleep and [resulted in] longer sleep hours."
4. Gratitude increases your emotional well-being.
According to studies published in the Journal of Research in Personality, gratitude leads to lower depression and higher levels of social support while making you less likely to consider suicide.
5. Gratitude makes your heart stronger and healthier.
According to research conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, the presence of gratitude in a patient "may independently predict superior cardiovascular health." Other studies show that gratitude increases the physical activity and therefore the speed of recovery for heart patients while reducing their inflammatory biomarkers.
6. Gratitude makes you a more effective leader.
According to a Wharton study, grateful leaders "motivated employees to become more productive [because] when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, engage in productive relationships, are motivated to do their best, and work toward achieving the company's goals."
In some of the studies, participants kept a gratitude journal in which they'd list at the end of the day all the reasons they felt grateful. That's a good technique, but you can feel gratitude all day by simply asking yourself, "What can I feel grateful for right now, right here?" Your brain will come up with an answer.
There’s an old Chinese folk tale about two monks. They come to a poor village to beg for food, but no-one has any to spare, each family barely has enough to feed themselves.
So the monks say they’ll feed the entire village by making a huge pot of Stone Soup.
Then they start searching for the perfect stone. Eventually they find it: large, smooth, round, flat, evenly coloured. They bring it back to the village and ask to borrow a large pot, they fill it with water.
As it boils, they taste it, it needs a little salt. Someone brings salt. The monks say it’s good, but it would be better for a few herbs. Someone else brings herbs. The monks sip again, they say it’s getting there, it just needs a little rice. Someone brings some rice. The monks say it’s nearly done, it just needs a little meat. Someone brings some meat.
The preparation goes on like this until everyone in the village has contributed something. Eventually, the monks say it’s perfect. They throw the stone away, and the monks and the villagers enjoy the delicious soup. Now, of course, we all know what’s happened. The stone had no more taste than any other stone. The stone was only an excuse to get everyone to add the ingredients for a soup.
But without noticing, the villagers went from only having a tiny bit of food each, to having enough delicious soup to feed everyone. It’s a simple folk-tale, but actually, it’s a story about diversity.
How an intangible idea can mix separate elements together to make something better.
The creative motto used to be: "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
Nowadays we’d simply say 1+1=3. Keeping things separate means that’s all we get, but putting them together means a new thing happens.
In cinema, it’s generally accepted that Sergei Eisenstein was first to recognize this.
Every art-school film class starts with Battleship Potemkin: the Cossacks on the steps.
On its own, a soldier’s boots are just that. A pram is just that. A woman’s face is just that. But edit them together and the mix creates a terrifying massacre.
The mix is what inspired French Nouvelle Vague cinema, which inspired Martin Scorsese.
That’s what we should learn, to mix things together.
If strategy, creative, and media stay in their silos, then we’ll only get separate thinking.
But the most exciting work I’ve ever been part of is when we work together.
We won creative awards where the "creativity" didn’t come from the creative department. Because we had diversity of thinking.
But diversity doesn’t just mean strategy and media having an opinion on creative.
It also means creative having an opinion on strategy and media.
Obviously, we need diversity of race, gender, age, class, religion, etc.
Because once we get past that, we can hire the best brains and ignore the package.
That’s the great thing about Stone Soup, the essential ingredient is the stone.
But the stone doesn’t add anything to the soup, it’s just an idea.
What the stone represents is what Buddhists call "mind".
The mind itself is nothing, it doesn’t even exist in the physical world.
But, that’s the power of an intangible idea: as Buddha said, "All there is, is mind."
By Dave Trott
Dave Trott is the author of Creative Blindness and How to Cure It, Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking, and One Plus One Equals Three. Previously published over at Campaign Live
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.
Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence can also be very useful when it comes to alleviating stress. In an article for The Harvard Business Review, Kandi Wiens, a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program and Director of the Penn Master’s in Medical Education Program, wrote, “When we can’t focus at work because of distractions, it may lead us to feel stressed about not being productive, which then causes us to focus less, further feeding the cycle. Unfortunately, most of us don’t notice our focus declining until we become completely overwhelmed.” But by using emotional intelligence skills such as self-awareness, mindfulness, and shifting our focus to others we can break this cycle. “Instead, pay attention to the causes of your stress and inability to focus and then take actions that promote improvements in the specific brain functions that drive concentration and awareness.”
It should also be noted that emotional intelligence accounts for 90% of career advancements, emotional intelligence is responsible for 58% of your job performance and people who have these types of skills make $29,000 more, on average than their non-emotionally intelligent colleagues.
“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.” – Jack Welch
Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it very difficult to know how much you have and what you can do to improve if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book.
Unfortunately, quality (scientifically valid) EQ tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people Talent Smart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a low EQ. These are the behaviors that you want to eliminate from your repertoire.
You don’t get angry
Emotional intelligence is not about being nice; it’s about managing your emotions to achieve the best possible outcomes. Sometimes this means showing people that you’re upset, sad, or frustrated. Constantly masking your emotions with happiness and positivity isn’t genuine or productive. Emotionally intelligent people employ negative and positive emotions intentionally in the appropriate situations.
You get stressed easily
When you stuff your feelings, they quickly build into the uncomfortable sensations of tension, stress, and anxiety. Unaddressed emotions strain the mind and body. Your emotional intelligence skills help make stress more manageable by enabling you to spot and tackle tough situations before things escalate.
People who fail to use their emotional intelligence skills are more likely to turn to other, less effective means of managing their mood. They are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide.
You have difficulty asserting yourself.
People with high EQs balance good manners, empathy, and kindness with the ability to assert themselves and establish boundaries. This tactful combination is ideal for handling conflict. When most people are crossed, they default to passive or aggressive behavior. Emotionally intelligent people remain balanced and assertive by steering themselves away from unfiltered emotional reactions. This enables them to neutralize difficult and toxic people without creating enemies.
You have a limited emotional vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36% of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions. People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.
You make assumptions quickly and defend them vehementlyPeople who lack EQ form an opinion quickly and then succumb to confirmation bias, meaning they gather evidence that supports their opinion and ignore any evidence to the contrary. More often than not, they argue, ad nauseam, to support it. This is especially dangerous for leaders, as their under-thought-out ideas become the entire team’s strategy. Emotionally intelligent people let their thoughts marinate because they know that initial reactions are driven by emotions. They give their thoughts time to develop and consider the possible consequences and counter-arguments. Then, they communicate their developed idea in the most effective way possible, taking into account the needs and opinions of their audience.
You hold grudges
The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding on to 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 on to stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding on to a grudge means you’re holding on to stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.
You don’t let go of mistakes. Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.
You often feel misunderstood.
When you lack emotional intelligence, it’s hard to understand how you come across to others. You feel misunderstood because you don’t deliver your message in a way that people can understand. Even with practice, emotionally intelligent people know that they don’t communicate every idea perfectly. They catch on when people don’t understand what they are saying, adjust their approach, and re-communicate their idea in a way that can be understood
You don’t know your triggers.
Everyone has triggers — situations and people that push their buttons and cause them to act impulsively. Emotionally intelligent people study their triggers and use this knowledge to sidestep situations and people before they get the best of them.
You blame other people for how they make you feel. Emotions come from within. It’s tempting to attribute how you feel to the actions of others, but you must take responsibility for your emotions. No one can make you feel anything that you don’t want to. Thinking otherwise only holds you back.
You’re easily offended. If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which create a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation
Bringing it all together Unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable. As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, it builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. As your brain reinforces the use of these new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors die off. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it.
While you may be able to guess some common causes of breakups, there are things therapists want you to know about why these things can result in the end of a relationship.
It isn't always easy, after all, to have an outside perspective, notice these problems, and recognize the damage they can do. But by learning more about them, you and your partner may be better able to keep your connection strong. To start, it's important to know that "many relationship problems do have a root in poor communication," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. If you aren't listening to each other, or arguing in a healthy way, frustrations will build — and you may break up.
Of course, there are also other factors, such as dishonesty, disrespect, and infidelity, that can obviously have a big impact, too, Manly says. If any of these things sound familiar, though, rest assured there are ways to turn your relationship around.
Speaking with a couples therapist can be a big help, especially if you have ongoing issues that you haven't been able to resolve. Establishing boundaries, or relationship "rules," can be beneficial, too. But most of all, it can help to avoid making these mistakes whenever possible, since experts say can very easily result in a breakup. Read on for a few common mistakes, why they can take such a toll, and how you may be able to set them right.
Not Spending Enough Time Together
While you may want to spend all your time together in the early days of your relationship, it's important to keep that going as the years go on — and work on maintaining a sense of fun. Because if you fall into a rut, Manly says, you can lose interest in each other and drift apart.
"Relationships thrive when couples spend time together that is connective in nature," she says. "This might include exercising, cooking, playing, or other activities that allow for emotional and physical connection."
If you feel like you've lost your spark, you may want to schedule more time together, and make an effort to hang out. Manly says to turn off technology, put aside your work, and get rid of any outside distractions, and "use this time to connect and tune in to each other."
"Dishonesty is one of the prime killers of relationships," Manly says, which is why it's important to create the type of connection where it's OK to share what's on your mind, and tell the truth.
A few white lies may sneak through, but that doesn't mean all is lost. "Depending on the type and level of dishonesty, healing may certainly be possible," she says. "In many cases, a relationship therapist can help get things back on track, but both partners must be committed to ongoing honesty for true and lasting healing."
If you can't do this for each other, and set a few ground rules to keep dishonesty at bay, a breakup may not be far away.
Communicating In A Toxic Way
"Healthy, positive communication is as essential to a healthy relationship as clean air is to our bodies," Manly says. Without it, it's nearly impossible to keep a relationship alive. You may feel frustrated, and not know how to meet each other's needs. And before you know it, you're breaking up.
"In cases where toxic communication has made things go awry, couples can work on healthy communication skills through couples therapy [...] and then make a daily practice of using the positive skills learned," Manly says. You may also want to practice listening skills, and truly hearing what the other has to say.
Many arguments and toxic convos stem from not listening, so this can be a great place to start, and it may even help get your relationship back on track.
Arguing About Money
It may not come as a surprise that disagreements about money can drive a couple apart. In fact, it just so happens to be one of the top causes of divorce.
But here's why. "Couples often have different views about how money should be managed and if money is tight, the stress can be overwhelming causing couples to lash out at each other," Dr. Jeff Nalin, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder and chief clinical officer of Paradigm Malibu Treatment Center, tells Bustle.
In other words, it isn't so much about not having money, but how you deal with it as a couple. "Communication is one major key to a successful relationship," Nalin says. "To turn things around, couples need to work on their communication where money is concerned. Examining the finances together, budgeting, and setting long-term goals can help couples to work together in a healthier way."
This will lessen your chances of having toxic arguments, which will keep you from resenting each other, which will hopefully prevent all this money talk from breaking you up.
Not Prioritizing Each Other
"One interesting commonality across most relationship killers is this: one or both partners do not make a healthy relationship a top priority," Manly says. "And, when the relationship is not a top priority, the ongoing learning and growing required for a healthy relationship simply [won't] happen."
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't also focus on work, friends, goals, and hobbies outside of your relationship. But that putting those things first, 100 percent of the time, can cause you to lose that all-important connection.
According to Nalin, infidelity is another common cause of breakups. It can take the form of an emotional affair, micro-cheating, and physical affairs, all of which can be painful in their own way. Due to the breach of trust, it can be tough for a couple to move past an affair, and find their footing again. But making a concerted effort to patch it all up can save your relationship, if you choose to do so. You may want to go to couples therapy, Nalin says, and figure out how to work through it. It may also serve as a good moment to learn more about your relationship, and what you can do to prevent a similar problem from happening in the future.
Not Respecting Each Other
"Respect is one of the highest core values of relationships," Celine Sauvet, a certified dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle. And without it, it makes sense why a relationship might crumble.
"When a partner does not show respect (yelling at the partner, calling [them] names, make [them] feeling bad, etc.) this becomes a toxic relationship," she says. "To avoid that, ensure [you] have healthy boundaries." In some situations, it may be necessary to leave, and that's OK.
But you can work to build up trust and respect in your relationship, in many situations, by sticking to those aforementioned rules. These issues may be the most common causes of breakups, but they don't have to happen to you and your partner, if you know how to avoid them
Sara Angle for Bergen Review Media
If you’ve ever had any kind of relationship with someone who frequently needed validation, had trouble establishing trust, or felt distant (and who hasn’t?!)..You’re already familiar with some hallmark signs of adult attachment styles—whether or not you’re aware of it.
The relationship-personality test de rigueur, the 5 Love Languages (you can take the quiz here to learn yours!), can help you understand the ways in which you and your S.O. experience love. But adult attachment theory outlines certain styles—secure, anxious, fearful avoidant, and dismissive avoidant—that provide a framework for understanding how you relate to others and your ability to establish intimacy, says licensed clinical psychologist Dina Wirick, PhD, who has done research on attachment style.
“Your attachment style develops in infancy through your bond with your primary caregiver,” says Dr. Wirick. “This forms the way we see ourselves, others, and the world. It becomes part of who we are and is part of our personality.”
“[Attachment style] forms the way we see ourselves, others, and the world. It becomes part of who we are and is part of our personality.” —clinical psychologist Dina Wirick, PhD
Basically, your attachment style is part of your subconscious, but pretty important to your everyday life—kind of like a GPS for navigating interpersonal relationships, says social worker Erica Cramer, LMSW. “It helps us determine which relationships we want to pursue and which ones we should avoid. When we reach a crossroads in a relationship, it enables us to decide which direction to turn and the best way to move forward,” she says.
So how can you figure out your attachment style? There are lots of online quizzes and questions you can ask yourself that can help you determine which attachment style best fits your personality, but Dr. Wirick warns that most lack scientific validity. “A psychologist who specializes in relationships or emotion-focused therapy is your best bet,” she says of getting a clear diagnostic.
Understanding your attachment style
A secure attachment is the healthiest style, in Dr. Wirick’s opinion. Someone with a secure attachment, she says, is more likely to trust their partner, be vulnerable, and not have a problem with intimacy. Overall, these people tend to feel confident in their relationships.
“Chances are, they were raised by caregiver(s) who were supportive and responsive to their needs,” Cramer says. “They were mostly encouraged to venture out into the world, try new things, and were confident that their caregiver(s) would welcome them with open arms when they returned home.”
Anxious attachers seek reassurance and validation from their partner, often questioning whether their partner truly loves them and if their partner will leave them, says Dr. Wirick. While they want intimacy, they may have trouble with being vulnerable. Those with this attachment style are also likely to assume failed relationships are their own fault and overanalyze where they went wrong, Cramer says.
“As a child, they most likely had caregiver(s) that did not make them feel secure and like the world was a safe place. They may have gotten mixed signals from the caregiver(s) and, as a result, are not sure how to interpret other people’s behavior,” says Cramer.
“Someone with an avoidant attachment has trouble trusting people and does not want intimacy,” says Dr. Wirick. This type of person has trouble opening up and letting people get to know them. They may even become more distant when a partner gets closer.
Not all avoidant attachers are the same though—contemporary researchers have further identified fearful and dismissive styles underneath the avoidant umbrella, which are basically characterized by how much anxiety and avoidance an avoidant person exhibits. “Both types of avoidant styles look similar but are shaped by different early experiences,” she explains.
Those with a fearful-avoidant adult attachment style have high anxiety about abandonment in relationships, which manifest in common avoidant behaviors. These can take the shape of not returning texts, deflecting conversations about commitment, or not expressing emotions.
“Experiencing abuse and trauma from a caregiver, which evokes fear in the child, is likely to lead to a fearful-avoidant style,” Dr. Wirick adds.
If someone has a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, they exhibit general avoidant behaviors but lack anxiety about abandonment. This style is common in children whose caregiver was unaffectionate and unresponsive to their needs, Dr. Wirick specifies.
How attachment styles may affect romantic compatibility
Beyond helping to color how you relate to others, understanding attachment styles can help you in the romance department by being able to intuit how your partner relates to you and how compatible you are. “If you know what makes your partner tick, it will be easier for you to meet their needs and expectations of your relationship,” says Cramer.
Dr. Wirick says secure attachers are usually able to establish a healthy relationship with anyone, though it can be difficult to establish a long-term relationship with someone who has an avoidant-attachment style because they have trouble committing and opening up, she adds.
Cramer notes that anxious and avoidant people often date one another, but the relationship tends to end poorly, because the anxious person clings to the avoidant person, and the avoidant person runs away. Two avoidant people may also struggle in a partnership due to intimacy fears and commitment issues. Two anxious people, though, are capable of a more seamlessly successful relationship so long as they’re able to help keep each other’s anxiety at a manageable level, she adds.
Furthermore, attachment styles aren’t set in stone, and some people may not fall into one category neatly or exactly. Heck, someone’s style can even change over time, depending on life experiences in various relationships, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Still, knowing your own and your partner’s current attachment styles can only help you communicate within the scope of your relationship. And if that isn’t one key hallmark of partnership success, really, what is?
Un-acknowledged, un-communicated expectations are often the primary cause of resentment and upset. To clear those up and enjoy healthy and connected relationships, we have to become masters at communication. Relationships—romantic or otherwise—are messy. Two people with different backgrounds, preferences, etc. will not always see eye-to-eye, making misunderstandings and disappointments inevitable.
In today’s world, though, many people give up on relationships too quickly. The moment things get tricky, they bail. Or they simply resign themselves to living in an unhappy, conflict-laden life. The fact of the matter is this: any relationship can be improved if both parties are willing to work on their communication.
Healthy communication requires facing difficult subjects, asking questions, explaining intentions and expectations, sharing feelings, and taking time. It requires vulnerability, empathy, validation, presence, and personal responsibility—all things I’ve written about before on this blog. And while it’s impossible to make you a master of communication in a short blog post, the following tips can help.
Tips for Improving Communication in Relationships
1. Talk (or better yet—ask)
This seems like a no-brainer, but if communication in your relationship is poor because you don’t want to talk with each other, you have to get the wheels turning again before the other tips here will work. If asking your friend or partner about their day feels mundane, ask their opinion on something you know they’re passionate about. Ask about something you know they’ve been wrestling with or working on. Ask more personal, thoughtful questions to get past the small talk and into a shared interest.
2. Seek First to Understand
Remember that you never have the full story. Whether you’re in a heated argument or someone has simply asked for your advice, seek first to understand the situation before diving into accusations or solutions. Ask clarifying questions (“Are you upset because I didn’t call last night?”), check your assumptions (“I assumed you didn’t want to come—was I mistaken?”), and invite greater clarity (“Could you help me understand why you feel like I’m not listening?”). This is also a great time to remember the power of using “and” instead of “but,” and leading with “I” instead of “you.”
3. Be Clear (and Honest)
How comfortable are you with stating your opinion? How honest are you when someone asks how you’re feeling? Do you ask for what you want, or do you hope people will figure it out? Healthy relationships depend on the ability of both parties to comfortably share their thoughts, feelings, preferences, etc.
If you struggle with this, make a conscious effort to improve. Start with small steps. Find “safe areas” to practice in—relationships where you know the other person will be respectful—and gradually work up courage and confidence to speak your mind in any situation.
Not only will this improve satisfaction in your life, it will make things easier for those you interact with as well. When they trust that you’ll speak up when you have an opinion or need something, they’ll feel less like they have to read your mind, walk on eggshells etc. Win/win.
Got it? Try it.
Make communication a priority today. Whether at work, at home, or out with friends, pick one or more of the above tips and see if you can enhance or simplify a conversation.
We often think that things, especially the getting of things, make us happier whether that’s a new car, shoes, new nail polish, or something else,” says Taylor Martin, Virtual Life Coach.
While those quick happiness boosters might seem materialistic, according to research led by social psychologist Daniel Gilbert, those quick hits of happiness might not be far off from what we need for long term satisfaction.
Having quality, new experiences not only makes us happier but the effects of happiness linger for a longer period of time. Ultimately, this provides a better quality of life when implemented frequently.
Looking to switch up your routine and experiences to increase your level of happiness?
We spoke to a handful of life coaches and medical doctors to get their insights on some of the easiest to implement, out of the box experiences that will make you happier.
Choosing passion over a big paycheck
In a recent study by BetterUp Labs, nine out of ten people surveyed said they’d trade up to 23% of their future earnings in exchange for a more meaningful job—and what’s more, studies have shown that if you’re working on something you find both challenging and satisfying, you’ll not only be happier but more productive as well.
Volunteering and helping to others
“One of the first things that come to mind when talking about happiness is the importance of giving,” says Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, PhD. To some, it may be surprising to learn that serving others can make you happy but volunteering is a perfect example of this.
When oriented at others, it helps with mental and physical health. Multiple studies have confirmed the benefits of volunteering that include improved life satisfaction, self-esteem, and happiness.
“It is also notable for reducing psychological distress, symptoms of depression, and mortality.” Dr. Velikova added.
Indulging your senses
“By just observing a flower and using all of our senses to fully experience the flower we allow ourselves to release the endorphins that trigger our feeling of joy,” says Taylor Martin, Virtual Life Coach, adding that it’s not only the act of savoring but the mindfulness that is required.
“Having to focus on all of our senses, even just for a minute, requires our minds to focus on one specific situation.”
This focusing relieves our mind from thinking about other weights that it may carry throughout the day.
Taking photos of the mundane
“Surprisingly, taking photos does have an impact on happiness,” says David Foley, founder of Unify Cosmos, a meditation center in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“I’m not limiting this to just traveling, I mean taking random photos throughout life’s mundanity.” According to Foley, taking photos forever freezes a particular moment in time and doing it randomly, “let’s say for the first snowfall of the year,” boosts those levels of happiness. How? “Looking back on those will instantly remind you of the memory of that particular moment, and the reason why you captured it in the first place.” That will instantly put a smile on your face.
Fostering a healthy relationship and sex life
According to a recent study from Oregon State University, those who have a healthy, active sex life tend to be happier at their jobs.
The study followed 159 married people over two weeks and found that for at least 24 hours after having sex, participants were more productive, more satisfied in their job, and generally happier.
“A gratitude practice is simple practice where we intentionally focus on the positive things that have occurred or exist in our life and helps us enhance a positive mindset and strengthen neural pathways for positive thinking,” says Shefali Raina, a High Performance Coach based in New York.
Not only does a regular gratitude practice remind us of the positive things in our lives, it elevates our sense of health and well being on a daily basis by “limiting our negative biases, altering our thoughts, emotions and perceptions of the upcoming day and thus allowing us to feel happier.”
Learning to manage stress
Modern life is fast paced, highly competitive and dynamic and relentless deadlines and constant changes create internal stress. “It is important to learn to be self aware and regulate stress at work so that you are resilient and the volatility of the days and weeks does not impact your sense of calm and happiness,” said Raina.
“A daily mindfulness practice which strengthens your focus muscle and reduces your emotional volatility (amygdala reactivity) to external events goes a long way in helping you stay calm, energized and happy throughout your day and not being impacted by stress.”
Fostering sleep discipline
“Sleep serves important functions including in learning, memory retention, creativity and helps set us up for positivity and well-being for the next day,” explains Raina. She adds that reframing sleep as productive time, and ensuring you get adequate sleep every day is one of the most important things you can do to elevate your mental and physical energy, and feel happier.
Journaling, or writing about your thoughts, emotions, experiences and goals helps create a space of profound self clarity and safety, builds our internal resilience and well being, and helps enable us to focus our attention on the things important to us.”
Journaling, when used correctly, is a powerful tool for personal development and greater positivity and feeling happier,” adds Raina.
There is no age limit on dating or falling in love, and no matter how old you are, the desire to find that someone special still remains. The main thing is to stay hopeful, and to put yourself out there.
Many people come to dating much later in life either because they have been divorced, bereaved, or because they spent more time curating a career and not romance. But people aged 50 and older often have a stronger likelihood of success than their younger counterparts for a number of reasons.
You know what you want.
Young people have lots of big plans and grand ideas, but it isn’t until later in life that we really work out what is important to us. Flashy clothes and status are only temporary and not essential for healthy, happy relationships.
You realize that personal qualities such as generosity, respect, and kindness are actually the things that will last long after all the glitz and glamour have faded and ensure that the relationship will give a lifetime of happiness rather than a season of fun.
You know yourself.
Part of the reason that young people can find it difficult to settle in relationships is because they are still unsure of who they are, what their values are, or what they want to do with the time they have. We’re fortunate to have reached a stage of life when we’re more than comfortable in our own skin.
You’re emotionally mature.
Many people don’t mature emotionally at the same rate as they do physically. The ability to be objective, to see something from someone else’s point of view, to respond to facts rather than being overwhelmed by feelings, are all skills that improve with age.
You value life.
By the time we reach our 50s, most of us have lost someone close to us — parents, other relatives, and maybe even friends. The experience of loss often has a very grounding effect on our personalities, becoming less likely to take people and things for granted. This can make us more open minded that a relationship doesn’t have to be perfect in order for it to be happy and fulfilling.
You’ll live longer.
Not only are you never too old to date but dating can also help you reap the benefits of a long life. Studies have found that love helps to keep your heart healthy, your blood pressure down, and gives you more emotional resources to overcome challenges, because people who have someone special in their lives are often more motivated.
Sports are not just for pleasure. When we watch with a discerning eye, sports willingly give us the tools and assets we need to build our lives to win at whatever we pursue. I look at our core values structures. In basketball, we need to look no further than LeBron James to see a fierce competitor who always gives his best. These Winter Olympics, we’ve seen grit and perseverance personified by athletes like Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and skier Marit Bjoergen of Norway.
Each day we’re immersed in situations that provide definition and clarity to our lives — enabling us to see parts that we can add to make our own, becoming the sum of who we truly want to be. It’s the kindness that we show to a stranger, allowing them on the subway first. It’s gratitude shown to a daycare worker who puts the needs of your child before their own.
We see love and commitment in the world around us. Our prism to see this is amplified in magnitude when viewed through the paradigm of sports. I’ve coached basketball for six years, and it’s been among the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve learned about positive attitude, hard work, and discipline, all values that appear in my book, The Value of You.
These values and lessons are not just fundamentals for living a successful and happy life, they will transform your way of thinking and lead you to magnificent opportunities and relationships.
Few movies have had as profound an impact on me as the classic, Hoosiers. It came out when I was just a kid, though as I began to play the game of basketball, I saw its wisdom in how I created my makeup and approach to the game. I realized that even in sports, it’s so much more about the mental, emotional — and even spiritual — makeup we have.
As I got older and became a business coach, sports coach and professional, I understood why so many of the lessons from this movie resonate with millions today. I’ve listed out seven parts of Gene Hackman’s legendary locker room speech to his team prior to the state semifinal game. I’ve broken each part down by the true message he aims to convey.
Its wisdom and lessons are practical for all of us. They’re filled with great guidance you can deploy in your life — no matter your profession or where you find yourself trying to go. I hope you find this rewarding on your journey!
1. “There’s a tradition in tournament play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you.”Focus on the task at hand.
Immerse yourself with maximum effort and a positive attitude in that one moment. I encourage you to make goals, dream big and focus on the task at hand. Don’t concern yourself with all the next steps when you’re there in the trenches working on the task at hand.
2. “I’m sure going to the State finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.
”We all dream, imagine and realize that the moment of standing in the winner’s circle will be exhilarating and triumphant. This is what we work for. And yet, if we concern ourselves with this too much while we’re in the moment — on our journey — we fail. We get nervous. The best way to keep your nerves in check — and succeed — is to focus on the process.
3. “Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here.
”Forget about all the glittery things — frankly the things that don’t really matter. Especially when you’re competing for something, focus on doing the job to the best of your ability. The more you progress in life, the more important it is to keep moving forward. Yet, it’s just as important to remember all the great things you’ve done to lead you to where you are today — standing as a proud man or woman of accomplishment. Closer to your dream.
4. “Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again.
”Plain and simple — focus on your values. Focus on the fundamentals that serve as the foundation for you to live the life you want — on your terms.
5. “And most important, don’t get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game.
“Don’t worry too much about the result. Rely on all of the preparation, values, planning and being yourself to do your best. I’ve read how college basketball coaching great, Jay Wright doesn’t even talk much about winning and losing. On your journey, focus on building yourself up to who you truly desire to be. The dreams and visions implanted in your heart and mind will suffice and permit you to move forward at the pace you desire.
6. “If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, (and)
7. I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners!
”Hard Work. Focus. Competitive Greatness. Dedication. Devotion. Maximizing your potential.
And again, if you focus on the task at hand, do your absolute best without worry, you’re going to always end up a winner. Regardless of whoever is keeping the official score. You will always win when you define success, create goals and then work for them with a values-based, winner’s mindset. Focus on the moment. That moment is really all that matters.
Build Your Game Plan to Win.
by Christopher Reynolds for Bergen Review
Summer always means water, whether it’s an ocean, lake, river, swimming pool or hot tub. But now that we’re worrying more about germs, it’s natural to wonder: Will this season’s swimming, surfing, floating and soaking be as safe as it used to be?
Yes, many experts say.
“There is no data that somebody got infected this way [with coronavirus],” said professor Karin B. Michels, chair of UCLA’s Department of Epidemiology, in a recent interview.
“I can’t say it’s absolutely 100% zero risk, but I can tell you that it would never cross my mind to get COVID-19 from a swimming pool or the ocean,” said Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It’s just extraordinarily unlikely that this would happen.” On web pages giving pandemic advice, the federal Centers for Disease Control say, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas.”
As both professors noted, the chlorine in most swimming pools is enough to inactivate the virus. The U.S. Masters Swimming organization makes the same point in its coronavirus briefing for frequent pool swimmers.
As for rivers, lakes and the ocean, experts say there are no known cases of COVID-19 transmission through those bodies of water. Also, the outdoors is understood to pose less risk than indoors because of free air flow.
Surfrider Foundation staff scientist Katie Day has written, “Similar coronaviruses [to COVID-19] have been shown to remain viable and infectious, at least temporarily, in natural freshwater environments including lakes and streams.” But researchers say they aren’t sure if it’s possible for humans to contract COVID-19 that way.
Even if it was theoretically possible, “I’m not concerned about the ocean and large lakes,” Michels said. “The dilution effect is so humongous that I don’t think there is a risk that anybody gets infected this way.”
Said Cannon: “You’d have to probably drink the entire lake to get an infectious dose of the coronavirus.”
Some viruses do make their home in fecal matter carried into the sea with other sewage; that’s why Southern California beaches often are closed immediately after rains. But research so far shows that COVID-19’s principal means of transmission is respiratory, not fecal-oral.
So far, scientists say, there is no data suggesting that the COVID-19 virus remains viable in saltwater. They’re also not sure if the virus remains infectious once it has been through a human digestive system or a wastewater treatment plant.
“The virus really likes being 37 degrees Centigrade [98.6 degrees Fahrenheit] in human saliva. It likes to be warm and wet,” said Cannon. “Obviously, it can survive outside the body, but the clock is ticking as soon as it leaves our body.”
In an analysis of fecal matter from several COVID-19 cases in the journal Nature, no samples were found to be infectious.
As the Surfrider Foundation noted in a recent briefing for surfers, Kim Prather, Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher, is working on a National Science Foundation project to look for the COVID-19 virus in sea-spray droplets in coastal waters that receive regular sewage flows.
“Clearly, more research is needed on this particular virus,” Prather told L.A. Times reporter Rosanna Xia in April, “to determine whether it loses infectiousness through sewage treatment and exposure to air, sunlight and water.”
Rather than worry about coronavirus in water, UCLA’s Michels and USC’s Cannon said, swimmers should stay well separated and take care before and after entering the pool, lake, river or sea.
“I would be more concerned about touching the same lockers or surfaces in the changing room or on the benches outside the pool. Those are higher risk than the water itself,” Michels said. “The other thing is you have to maintain distance. … More distance is always better.”
At least one other potential threat in the water whose prevalence is confirmed by data: drowning.
Long before the pandemic began, the CDC was estimating 10 unintentional drowning deaths per day in the United States. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates 320,000 drowning deaths per year.
If you’re on your own in a pool, lake or the sea, Cannon said, “You’re way more likely to drown than get COVID.”
by Thomas Oppong for Bergen Review Media
Successful people don’t just drift off to the top. Getting there requires focused action, personal discipline and lots of energy every day to make things happen,” says American author and entrepreneur Jack Canfield.
Jack couldn’t be more accurate. Don’t let old habits hold you back in life. Take control of your habits and improve the quality of your life.
Build a system for everything you do
It pays to build systems to keep your life on track. In “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” author Scott Adams explains: “ … A system is something you do on a regular basis that achieves your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
Systems are the foundations of a better life and great work. Using systems can make your life easier.
A system provides you with an inner guidance system and a equip you with the power of habit. A structure in your life and some routines that help you every day and keep you on the right track is better than a single shot at getting something done.
Start anything with a clear goal and focus on a system to achieve it. Many people have different successful systems that guide how they work and what actions to take at any point in time to achieve the bigger purpose.
If your current system of work doesn’t work or give the desired results you expect, make a change, create a new system and take steps every day to stick to it. By spending a little bit of time figuring out what will work best for you and your habits, you can put yourself in a great position to get out of your head and get things done.
Reserving an hour each day for something you absolutely want to get done can be a great system that can help you achieve your big goal.
Guardian’s Oliver Burkman says, “…focusing on a system means focusing on what you can control (your actions) rather than what you can’t (the endlessly unpredictable external world). Keep working your system and you’ll maximize the chances that success will find you.”
You can start building systems one habit at a time. Focus on incremental progress and consistency to lay the foundation for getting things done. A daily or weekly routine, a consistent application of even small habits, will transform your life more effectively than striving for an overwhelmingly large goal without a consistent routine to achieve it.
A better life starts with a great daily routine
As simple as it sounds, routines are the key to improving your health, productivity, wealth and total well-being. creating a daily routine can make a big difference in your life. How you start and end your day determines everything.
That means, developing a system to guide to guide how you use your time when you awake, when you first start working, when you finish your workday, and even how you use your evenings. How will that change your life?
It will help you get a great start to your day, and finish your day by preparing for the next day. It’ll help you build productive routines, and help you focus on what’s important, not just what’s urgent.
Make time for high-value work
Don’t start your day until you have it planned. — Jim Rohn
Spend the first hour of your work day on high-value tasks.Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Every morning, get one most important thing done immediately. There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the flow. And the easiest way to trigger this feeling is to work on your most important task in the first hour.
Use your mornings for high-value work. Lean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.
Low value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done. Make time for work that matters. In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen says, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after a trivial interruption.
Don’t tackle tasks sporadically throughout the day
To increase your ability to focus, researchers suggest ideas for both boosting our ability to concentrate as well as reducing distraction.
You can improve your ability to focus if you can boost your ability to concentrate. Reducing distractions can change how you work for the better. Everything competing for your attention when you want to single task can waste your precious time.
In 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, Peter Bregman writes, “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.”
Time wasters such as impulsively checking notifications is a major distraction at work. The few minutes you waste on reactive tendencies doesn’t help your work.
Learn to single-task without compromise
Single tasking changes everything. In an age of constant digital interruptions, it is no wonder you’re having trouble ignoring distractions.
If you really have to focus on that task, limit the time you have to spend on any given task. Add dates, and due time to your to-do lists.
Push yourself to deliver within the specified time and move on. Single-tasking is one task at a time, with zero tolerance for distractions.
Try the Pomodoro Technique to improve your chances of success when you embrace single -tasking habit.
Focus on one task for about 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break, and then move on to another task or continue the task.
Read widely, with maximum curiosity Pick up a book every day. Even for just a few pages. Reading puts your brain to work. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to your body.
It gives us freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.
Roberto Bolaño says, “Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.”
Your brain on books is active — growing, changing and making new connections and different patterns, depending on the type of material you’re reading. One of the best ways to gain knowledge is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. As long as you are genuinely interested in what you are studying, don’t stop.Make the most of your time and get the best education you can can offer yourself. People who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world. Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of.
Formal education or not, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education. Lifelong learning will get most of your questions answered. You don’t even have to commit long hours everyday to learning. Whatever time you decide to put in your own education, stick to it. What are the most interesting topics you wish to know more about. The goal here is to find as many sources of ideas and knowledge as possible. Brain Pickings is a good place to start. It’s one of my favorites. And it’s free. Go subscribe and you won’t be disappointed.
Find other blogs, websites or online courses that can broaden your horizon. Read expert opinions about topics of interest on Quora.
It’s a game-changer in the world of question and answer websites. Look for answers to some of your most important questions at places people normally ignore.
Cut back on social distractions
In the age of constant connectivity, distraction is at its peak in life and at work.
Our minds need urgent purification to improve focus, replenish attention, and encourage creativity.
The average adult checks their phone 50 to 300 times each day. And we tap, swipe and click on our devices 2,617 times per day, according to a recent study. We spend more time online than we do asleep. Chris Bailey, author of Hyperfocus, writes, “Our smartphones provide an endless stream of bite-sized, delicious information for our brains to consume. It’s easy to get hooked, even to feel addicted. And most of us would prefer not to feel this way.” I have turned off most of the notifications on my phone.
I choose when I want to check my notifications. I have consciously planned to check social updates at a set time to avoid distractions when I am doing focused work.
Every time you pull out your phone to scan your feeds, your brain is building a habit loop that reinforces itself to encourage the habit.
Notifications prompt task-irrelevant thoughts and disrupt attention performance even if you don’t interact with the device.
The buzzes, beeps, emails, alerts, and notifications never end until you do something about it. An increasing number of psychologists and doctors are concerned about our relationship with smartphones. “It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
According to David Greenfield, a clinical psychiatrist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, smartphones can easily take over your life, because they’re always screaming for attention. Being constantly plugged in affects our sleep patterns, posture and more in our bodies and minds. Our lives are becoming more wired all the time, hence the need to take over and control your relationship with mobile devices before they become the only thing you deeply care about at the expense of your relationships.
If you feel your phone is taking over your life, schedule digital detox on your calendar. Start balancing your digital life with real life.
Do a 30-day challenge
The challenge most of us have is starting and sticking to healthy and productive daily routines.
You can start with a 30-day challenge to develop the perfect routine that works for you.
What do you want to improve.
Write them out on paper, along with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
Start with a few habits you can consistently focus on building.
Report on your progress each day.
Adjust anything that is not working on a case-by-case basis.
Then do an assessment after 30 days to see how your new routine is working for you. If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.
You don’t always have full control over your workday, but you can plan and make the most of your day to help you accomplish your life and work goals.
You can use them to make sure the most important stuff gets done — from working out, to spending time with friends and family, to developing a side business, to reading and engaging in other hobbies.
If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly, my free weekly digest of the best posts about behavior change that affect health, wealth, and productivity. Join over 50,000 people on a mission to build a better life. Courses: Thinking in Models, and Kaizen Habits.
This article first appeared on Medium.
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.
By: Joyce Walsack, Contributor for Bergen Review Media
From opening ahead of schedule to taking the business virtual, these businesses are offering helpful and creative solutions to meet the needs of their customers during COVID-19. Businesses are growing more responsive and creative in the face of COVID-19, identifying their customers’ changing needs and offering solutions. Excellent service is always about responding to customer needs. Here are six businesses finding creative ways to do so, despite the difficult times.
Cleverdale Country Store
Meghan Cesari’s seasonal market near Lake George, New York, wasn’t due to open for the season for another two weeks, but her customers had concerns about venturing into crowded supermarkets. In response, Cesari stocked up and opened Cleverdale Country Store in mid-March. An early opening was not the only adjustment Cesari made. As the store’s fifth season kicks off, no customers are being allowed inside to shop the aisles of unique, locally made goods. All orders are being taken over the phone, for pick-up or delivery. By instituting these changes, Cesari has been able to keep her four employees on the payroll and provide a much-needed service to her community.
In many areas of the country, craft and fabric stores have been forced to close along with other non-essential businesses. This, just when parents have kids at home to entertain and crafters have more stay-at-home time on their hands.
Joann Fabrics is continuing to supply consumers through its curbside pick-up program. Customers who purchase online will not pay a delivery charge if they drive to the store to pick the order up. Once at the curb, customers call the store, give their order number and an associate brings the order to the car.
Blue Dragon Karate
Karate Master Jeffrey Asuncion is on a mission — to help his students gain confidence and lead a healthy lifestyle. When coronavirus shut down his Blue Dragon Karate Academy in Matawan, New Jersey, Asuncion wasn’t about to abandon that mission or give up on his students. Instead, he took his classes digital.
By logging into Zoom from their homes, Master Jeffrey’s students can stay connected to their coach and their classmates. His students have barely missed a beat, as they stay in shape and progress toward their individual goals.
Retailers have been asked to provide an essential service, while keeping both their customers and employees safe.
To keep the building trades moving, material suppliers have remained open for business. Retailers have been asked to provide an essential service, while keeping both their customers and employees safe.
For family-owned 18 Lumber, in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the solution is to keep the glass storefront between employees and customers. Contractors call in orders — oftentimes from the parking lot — and pay over the phone. Paint and hardware items are bagged and placed outside for the customer to retrieve. Lumber and other building materials stored outdoors are loaded by the customers themselves. Any needed assistance locating the correct product is provided by yard employees from a safe distance.
Road Runner Sports
Road Runner Sports is not a gym, but that isn’t stopping the company from helping customers stay in shape. The athletic footwear and apparel retailer is offering online training to a customer base missing its favorite local workout spot.
In addition to free delivery and an online size finder, the company’s website offers videos by Trainer Chad, advice on staying in shape and links to free workout apps.
Honey Brook Organic Farm
When COVID-19 forced the closure of their Pennington, New Jersey farmer’s market, Sherry Dudas and her husband Jim Kinsel knew they had to regroup. Their Honey Brook Organic Farm had fresh produce and specialty food items for sale and their customer’s still needed good nutrition.
In mid-March, Honey Brook stepped up its web presence and began taking home delivery orders for boxes of fresh greens, eggs, meats and organic grocery items. The service is new and growing, with deliveries currently being made weekly to the central portion of the state.
Despite the difficulty of the times, responsive businesses are identifying their customers’ changing needs and offering solutions.
Jeroen raaijenbrink Contributor
The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. Around the world, people get ill and die, schools close, the healthcare system is overloaded, employees lose their jobs, companies face bankruptcy, stock markets collapse and countries have to spend billions on bailouts and medical aid.
For everyone, whether directly hurt or not, Covid-19 is a huge stressor shaking up our psyche, triggering our fears and uncertainties.
No matter how serious and sad all of this is, there are upsides as well. Therefore, along the Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” let’s not forget those and make the best of what the crisis gives us. As the good old SWOT analysis tells us, there are not only threats, but also opportunities. With opportunities I don’t mean that the crisis provides extra business for companies like Zoom and Go to Webinar that enable virtual meetings, or for Amazon, which is planning to hire another 100,000 employees. The latter is probably more a threat than an opportunity for most, especially for the mom & pop stores that go through difficult times already. With opportunities I mean general opportunities that are available for most people affected by the crisis. The current crisis offers at least seven of them:
Opportunity 1: More time
In today’s overheated economy time is often seen as the most valuable and sparse thing we have. Covid-19 shows why: because we have stacked our week with social gatherings and entertainment such as going to the theater, birthdays, cinema, restaurant, bar, sportclub, gym, music, festivals, concerts and what is more. Suddenly, all of that is cancelled or forbidden, giving us significant amounts of extra time. And still, live goes on. This shows us how easy it is to clear our calendars. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the health-care sector and other crucial sectors, but beyond those it applies to a large majority of sectors.
The opportunity is that we can spend this time on other things—or even better, on nothing and enjoy the free time. Looking at the crowded parks, waste collection points, garden centers and DIY stores in the last week, many people seem to have a hard time with the latter. Instead of enjoying the extra free time, they fill it immediately with other activities. To seize this first opportunity though, re-arranging how you spend your time and reserving time for nothingness is key. Not just during the crisis, but also after it. The advice in my previous article on the Covid-19 crisis could help in realizing this.
Opportunity 2: Reflect and reconsider
The fact that the coronavirus disrupts our day-t0-day lives provides an opportunity to reflect on things and to reconsider what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Things we took for granted—like going to the gym—are suddenly not possible anymore. Furthermore, many people have had to change their mode of working and work from home instead of at the office. This means that a lot of our routines are interrupted.
This offers a great opportunity to rethink our habits and routines and make changes. Now that you haven’t been able to go to the restaurant twice a week, commute 2 hours per day, hang out with your friends or go to a party every weekend, you can reflect on whether you really want to continue doing so after the crisis. The virus forces you to make changes to your daily life that you might actually want to keep also after the crisis.
Opportunity 3: Speed and innovation
Many organizations suffer from slow procedures, complex bureaucracies and rigid hierarchies making organizational life less than pleasant. The coronavirus has forced many of them to break through these rigid systems and act instantly. Suddenly procedures can be skipped or accelerated, rules can be side-tracked and decisions can be made more autonomously without formal approval. And suddenly employees are allowed to work from home without direct supervision.
Covid-19 shows that, as soon as there is a strong enough stimulus, things can change. This leads to remarkable innovations. Not being allowed to open their doors, restaurants, for example, are shifting to delivery mode. And schools suddenly do much of the teaching and even some of the testing online. This brings the opportunity to create innovations now that can be maintained after the crisis. And it also can help to keep the current speed and innovation mode afterwards.
Opportunity 4: Better meetings
As referred to in an earlier article, people spend up to 23 hours per week in meetings, half of which are considered a failure or waste of time. The current crisis has forced us to rethink how we deal with meetings. Because in many countries it is not allowed anymore to meet with a group of persons, many meetings are cancelled. And when they still take place they are mostly virtual and shorter.
As such, it provides an excellent opportunity for resolving one of the most disliked parts of organizational life. The technology for this is already present and mature for a couple of years, but the coronavirus triggers a sudden need for it. The real opportunity here is to make systematic changes so that meetings will be more effective, also after the crisis.
Opportunity 5: Reconnect and help
Challenging times offer a great opportunity for social bonding and other ways of connecting to and helping people. Of course, not being able to visit friends or family has increased isolation and feelings of loneliness in some cases. But the feeling of “we’re in this together” has also triggered interesting ways of connecting. Some of those have gone viral—such as Italians singing together from their windows and balconies—but there are many small, local initiatives too to connect and help people who need it.
In the individualized societies many of us live in, this provides opportunities to reconnect and create more social coherence. Not only during the crisis, but also afterwards. This opportunity comes with a big caveat though. Parallel to these nice initiatives we also witness how far people go to protect themselves and their families. People hoard food, medicine, toilet paper and guns without thinking a second of others. However, while it triggers self-serving egocentric behavior too, the Covid-19 crisis does provide us the opportunity to reconnect and show our social side.
Opportunity 6: Cleaner environment
The virus caused a shutdown or dramatical decrease of industrial activities. Factories are closed or operate far below their capacity, road traffic has reduced radically and air traffic collapsed, and the lack of tourism has emptied the streets in overcrowded cities like Venice, Amsterdam and New York. While this may be bad news for most people and especially those working in the affected industries, this is also good news for our planet. Covid-19 causes a significant reduction in green house gasses and other air, water and land polluting outputs. In Venice this has allegedly led to dolphins return after just a couple of weeks (although some argued this to be a hoax).
Whether the particular example is a hoax or not is not so relevant. The fact is that the shutdown and lockdown of large parts of our economy is good for nature—at least on the short term. The opportunity this provides, is to keep parts of this in place also after the crisis to make long-term improvements. Along the line of the previous opportunities, the current crisis provides us an opportunity to reconsider our lives and reorganize it in a way that has less impact on our planet.
Opportunity 7: Modesty and acceptance
The final opportunity that the Covid-19 crisis offers, is a chance to create awareness for the moderate role we play on this planet and accept that things cannot always go as we want them to go. The Covid-19 pandemic is a global crisis chat is unprecedented in modern peace time. We had other pandemics like SARS, but their impact was less substantial. And we had the 1973 oil crisis, but that was a man-made crisis. The coronavirus is not man-made and yet disrupts lives across the planet.
As such, the virus shows us that, no matter how well-planned and organized we are and no matter how much we live in the Anthropocene—the era characterized by significant human impact—we are not in control. One simple virus is disrupting everything. This offers a great opportunity. In almost every aspect of life we want to be in control. Whether it is health, airline safety or our calendars, we live in the illusion that full control is possible. The virus can help us create awareness that this is not the case. It provides an opportunity to take a more modest role and accept that many things are simply beyond our control.
Once again, the Covid-19 crisis has a large dark side. But as these seven opportunities show, it has positive sides as well. Since all seven opportunities require a quite fundamental change in how we approach the world, seizing them can take substantial time. In that sense, and if we keep on looking at the brighter sides of life, the longer the crisis lasts, the larger the opportunities are and the bigger the chances are of actually making changes to our deeply rooted habits and convictions.
By Laura Garnett. Performance strategist and author,
Ready for Spring? The weather will start warming up soon, birds will be chirping, and my bare arms will finally be making an appearance for the first time since October. The change in seasons always seems to bring about a change in moods, as well. And it's no wonder. Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health found evidence of seasonal differences in dopamine -- the chemical messenger involved in motivation, pleasure, and learning. The average dopamine signal for those scanned in the fall and winter was 4.3 percent greater than for those scanned in the spring. Which means that there was less dopamine present in the colder months. One theory is that dopamine increases with more exposure to sunlight.
With the newfound energy and motivation that spring brings, it's a perfect time to dive into some of the great inspirational books that can keep you on track with your success goals. Below are 10 books that are perfect to read this season.
1. Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach
Based on her inspiring, viral 2018 commencement speech to Barnard College's graduates in New York City, New York Times best-selling author, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach shows women how to unleash their power, unite with their pack, and come out victorious together.
2. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you, and that's what Carl Newport shows readers how to do in this book.
3. Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose by Jean Case
Jean Case shares the five Be Fearless principles common to the people and organizations that change the world so you can spark the same kinds of breakthroughs in your life.
4. The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You: Command an Audience and Sell Your Way to Success by Lydia FenetIn
this book, Lydia Fenet shares her 20-year journey from intern to managing director and global head of strategic partnerships at Christie's Auction House and the revolutionary sales approach she crafted. This book will show you how to take your career to the next level, whether it's overcoming your fear of asking for something or bridging a wage gap.
5. The Genius Habit: How One Habit Can Radically Change Your Work and Your Life by Laura Garnett
The Genius Habit shows you how the path to finding long-lasting professional happiness starts with building the habit that makes extraordinary accomplishment all but guaranteed.
6. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
This book shares the faulty assumptions and distortions we encounter every time we show up to work and reveals the few core truths that will help you show just how good you are to those who truly rely on you.
7. Lead From the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
National leader Stacey Abrams has written the guide to harnessing the strengths of being an outsider and succeeding anyway.
8. Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani
In a book inspired by her popular TED talk, New York Times best-selling author Reshma Saujani empowers women to embrace imperfection and bravery.
9. Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt has created a total productivity system that's much more than endless box checking. Proven by more than 25,000 professionals, this system helps overwhelmed leaders achieve what matters most so they can succeed at both work and life.
10. The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo
Whether you're new to the job, a veteran leader, or looking to be promoted, this is the handbook you need to be the kind of manager you wish you had.
If you don’t have trust, you don’t have much…especially when it comes to the relationships with your people. Trust the connective tissue that keeps the beauty deepening. It’s how you find new levels of knowing each other. Of loving each other. Of supporting.
I’m starting to sniff out those but I totally can’t trust you vibes a mile away. Mainly because I want to be around people who teach me how to be better. Who teach me how to be more there…to be more trusting…to be more supportive…to be more of the person you can count on. I won’t be perfect at those things. I’ll screw it up for sure (I have before, and I will again). But being around people who exemplify trust alongside their love – time and tiny time again – shows us how to be more of the same.
Here’s what I’ve noticed. Here’s where I’m trying:
Trust is built in tiny moments. It’s also eroded in small moments, too. But our people are so core to our lives. And our trust is so core to our people.
Darius Foroux for Bergen Review Media
You can achieve almost anything in life…As long as you focus on achieving one thing at a time. It’s a time-tested strategy that’s been shared by many successful people.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan even wrote a whole book about this simple idea. But don’t let the simplicity of this idea fool you. It’s one of the hardest things to implement in your life. Last year, I published an article about focusing on one thing called “The Power Of Compounding.” I’ve received dozens of questions about it like, “I get the idea. But I struggle with putting it into practice.”
That’s because we, human beings, are fickle. Our desires are constantly changing. We pursue new things before we finish our old goals.
We’re dealing with an invisible force that is always trying to confuse us. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, we set multiple goals, and think we can multitask ourselves to achieving them.
There’s a discrepancy between what we know ( to focus on one thing at a time) and what we do (focusing on everything at the same time).
The question is not whether focusing on one thing is a good strategy (just look at the image at the top of this article); it’s HOW can we stick to it? In this article, I share how I apply this strategy to my life. But first, let’s define the “One Thing” strategy.
One thing per AREA of your lifeToo often people assume that you should only focus on one thing in your life, period. But that’s not what this strategy is about. It’s about being smart about what you pursue. Yes, you can achieve a lot of things…But just not at the same time. You can’t build a career, get in shape, compete in marathons, write a book, invest in business, get kids, and travel the world. But you can do all those things in a lifetime.
I stick to one major priority per area of my life. I’ve categorized my life as follows: Career, health, learning, money, and relationships.
That means I never work on more than one major project. I either write a book or create an online course. I also learn only one skill at a time. And I am either saving my money or am looking to invest it (naturally, I’m saving most of the time). For my health, I’m either building strength or endurance. And so forth.
These categories are not based on anything but my own perspective on life. You can categorize your life any way you want. And you don’t need to criticize how others compartmentalize their lives. What matters is that we understand how we categorize our own lives. Otherwise, there’s no structure.
And when there’s no structure. There’s chaos. And when there’s chaos, there’s no one thing: There’s everything. That’s bad.
Manage your desiresThe natural thing to do for most people is to start setting goals or picking one priority they want to focus on. But unless you have trained your mind to focus on one thing, it’s not a smart thing to do.
You must improve your focus muscle first. Otherwise, you set a goal, focus on one thing, and get back to your old behavior within a week.
You want to change your mindset. Go from “I want everything” to “I accept what I have.”
That’s the only way to live this “one thing” idea. In other words, control your desires.
I recommend practicing Mindfulness or Stoicism for that. Both philosophies talk extensively about detaching ourselves from our desires. I think our excessive desire for more is the reason we can’t focus on one thing.
Remove your desires, and you will have true freedom. The Stoic Epictetus said it best in one of his classes (as captured by his student, Arian):
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men’s desires, but by the removal of desire.”
If you manage your desire, you attack the problem at the core. In my experience, you CAN’T live a calm and focused life if you’re always desiring more and new things.
I have an article in which I share Zen Buddhism principles, and I have created a podcast series about Stoic ideas. Look into those if you want to take control of your desires.
All this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire to improve our lives. On the contrary, the whole purpose of life is to move forward. So don’t be afraid to set goals and aim for great things. Just achieve one thing after the other.
Practice single-tasking Now, it’s time to practice. For the next week, only do ONE thing at a time. If you’re a modern human being that is used to technology, that will be very hard. But I guess you like the challenge, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So try this:
Time to set 1 goal per area of your lifeOnly after you have controlled your desires and practiced doing one thing at a time are you ready to apply the “One Thing” strategy to your life.
The reason you want to practice is that life is long. If you take the time to become less distracted by desires, the more reliable you will become. You will become a person who does what they say. You will become a person who achieves what they set out.
And after you start achieving one thing after the other, you will get momentum. Your job is to keep the momentum.
This is how people become happy and wealthy. Both those things add up over time.
Remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. You WILL achieve all your goals. Who cares whether you achieve them now or in the future? What matters is that you are not influenced by desire or outside forces. You are the maker of your own life.
Samantha Reed for Bergen Review Media
Here is a new study of the best and worst cities for living an active lifestyle in 2020. To determine where Americans have the best chance of balancing a healthy diet with ample physical activity, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities across 38 key metrics. The data set ranges from average monthly fitness-club fee to bike score to share of physically inactive adults.
Check out more details on the findings below. You can read the whole study here.
"Just once I’d like to wake up with more time on my hand than hours in the day.”
— Will Salas
In the Science Fiction film, “In Time,” Justin Timberlake portrays a character named Will Salas, who lives in the ghetto.In the movie, there is no “money.” Instead, time is the only currency, and everyone has a digital clock embedded into their arms.
Until the age of 25, your clock doesn’t start ticking. Once you hit your 25th birthday, you have just one year of life that starts ticking down immediately. Everything costs time. For example, in the movie, a cup of coffee doesn’t cost 4 dollars, but rather, 4 minutes. There are small devices, similar to the devices we plug our credit cards into, that add or take away time when scanned on a person’s arm clock. After age 25, you stop physically aging. Whether you’re 28, 49, or 302, you look as you did when your clock started ticking. You live as long as you have time. The people living in the ghetto are living day-to-day, while those in the highest “Time Zone” can conceivably live forever. In the ghetto, people literally are living day-to-day. They get time added to their “clocks” at the end of every shift — enough to get them to the end of the next shift. They rarely have more than 24 hours on their clocks. As a result, they can’t stop thinking about or “checking” their time. They are required to work, every single day, in order to survive.
As soon as your clock runs out, you die. Changing time zones In the movie, Economic Status is portrayed as “Time Zones,” which are not easy to transfer one for another. You have to pay a great deal of time to get from one zone to the next. Here’s the break-down:
To get out of the ghetto and into the lower-middle class Time Zone costs One month’s Time
To get from the lower-middle-class Time Zone into the middle-class costs Two month’s Time
To get from the middle-class Time Zone into the upper-middle-class costs Six month’s Time
To get from the upper-middle-class Time Zone into “New Grenich,” which represents the mega-wealthy (i.e., 1% of 1%) costs One Year‘s Time To cross a Time Zone, you are required to pay a great deal of money. For someone living in the ghetto, the system is not designed to ever have a full month saved-up. Thus, ever getting out the ghetto is practically impossible.
Time slows down in the higher zones. When you’re living day-to-day, time goes very quickly. You have no future to look forward to. You don’t have time to vacation and think. You’re in survival mode.
Hence, time goes very quickly. Will Salas (played by Timberlake) finds his way out of the ghetto and into New Grenich and despite his best acting, is clearly perceived by others as being from somewhere else. “You’re not from here are you, Mr. Salas?” the waitress asks him.
“What gives you that impression?” Will responds. “You do everything too quickly,” she responds back. As you go up in “Time Zones,” life slows down. You’re no longer living day-to-day, perhaps now you’re living month-to-month. You have a little more time to waste on entertainment and, perhaps, if you’re one of the smart ones, you begin investing a little here and a little there into your future. But even still, the cost of living goes up with each Time Zone you’re in. So it’s not exactly easy to save up. You have to keep up with your neighbors, for example. You’re required, socially, to have a car and home that fits the culture. The food costs just a little bit more, and so do your clothes. Life is driven by marketing and social acceptance for most people. Making money is one thing, managing it is entirely different. In New Grenich, it can cost a few month’s of “Time” to stay in a hotel and several weeks to eat a fancy meal. Money, or in this case, “Time,” doesn’t mean the same in different zones. Spending 8 weeks for a meal can, strangely, make complete sense in one situation, where that much “Time” is enough to get you killed in the ghetto. Those 8 weeks could change the entire trajectory of a family living in the ghetto…if they knew what to do with it.
To even get into New Grenich (i.e., among the mega-wealthy) costs One Year of Time. Once you’re in, everything costs a fortune. However, the ability to make money in that Zone is also completely skewed as well. Although the ideas from In Time is science-fiction in nature, they actually have real life application based on Harvard Economics.
Economic mobility in America
A few economists at Harvard began a project known as “The Equality Of Opportunities Project,” several years ago. The research was so revolutionary and important that it has since expanded into something much bigger and more global. The goal of the project, “Is to develop scalable policy solutions that will empower families throughout the United States to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes.” One of the fundamental outcomes they’ve discovered in their research is that location matters, a lot. As it states on the website: Children’s lives are shaped by the neighborhood they grow up in. As part of the research, each county within each state was measured for its “social mobility,” which is a term that explains the chances of someone advancing in economic status within their lifetime.
As they state on the website:
In a series of studies beginning in 2014, we have shown how the neighborhoods in which children grow up shape children’s outcomes in adulthood…
Social mobility varies widely both across cities and across neighborhoods within cities in the U.S. On average, a child from a low-income family raised in San Jose or Salt Lake City has a much greater chance of reaching the top than a low-income child raised in Baltimore or Charlotte. However, the Opportunity Atlas shows that there are neighborhoods within Baltimore and Charlotte that have higher rates of upward mobility than the average neighborhood in San Jose or Salt Lake City.
Put simply, proximity matters. Environment matters. Where you are born matters. Where you choose to stay matters. The reason is very simple; within any given environment or “system,” are a set of options. You can only make choices if you have options. Let me repeat that, you can only make choices if you have options.
This idea became starkly real to me when my wife and I moved from Orem, Utah, a county in the 90th percentile for upward social mobility, to Clemson, South Carolina where I began my PhD research in Organizational Psychology.
Shortly after moving to Clemson, my wife and I became foster parents of three children who were from a county bordering Clemson, Oconee, which happens to be in the 9% percentile of upward social mobility.
Put simply, if you’re born poor in Oconee County, your chances of breaking out of poverty are slim to none if you stay in Oconee County. As economic strategists and analyst, Mark Caine, has said, “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”
It was clear when we got our children that they came from a different world than we did. They didn’t really know how to act in our environment, and we had to learn patience, empathy, and love beyond anything we’d previously been exposed to.
As they say, you can’t develop courage without the lion. You can’t develop empathy and love without being required to give it. Life, then, becomes the ultimate context for growth if you’re willing to put yourself in situations that force you out of your comfort zone.
Our three kids were incredibly limited by their prior environment. They didn’t have many options. They had parents who were generally high on drugs and didn’t have the capacity to provide a good life, let alone healthy food and a ride to school, to their children.
When our kids were placed in our care, their availability of options radically expanded. Because they had more and better options to choose from, they then had a different set of choices. In other words, their ability to exercise their “free-will” was expanded.
Again, you cannot make choices without options. And options are context-dependent, which means every environment or “context” provides different options.
Because no two people have the same context, no two people have the same “free-will.” Instead, we all have what social psychologist, Jeffrey Reber, calls, “Contextual Agency” — which is to say, our ability to make choices is shaped by the context we are in.
For instance, you wouldn’t be able to read these words on your computer or smartphone if you were living 30+ years ago. The technology didn’t exist. You’d be reading on a newspaper or through some other means. If you lived 150 years ago, you wouldn’t be able to fly across the world. That simply wasn’t an option given the situation. Thus, there are many things we take for granted, which are purely based on the situation we find ourselves. According to Dr. Ellen Langer, a prominent Harvard psychologist: “Social psychologists argue that who we are at any one time depends mostly on the context in which we find ourselves.” But then, Langer takes this idea a step further by asking a key question and then providing the solution (emphasis mine):
“But who creates the context? The more mindful we are, the more we can create the contexts we are in. When we create the context, we are more likely to be authentic. Mindfulness lets us see things in a new light and believe in the possibility of change.” It is our greatest responsibility to shape our individual and collective environments to match our values and ambitions. Or, as Dr. Marshall Goldmish said in his book, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts — Becoming the Person You Want to Be, “If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.”
5 stages of tribal culture
There is a brilliant book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright share their expansive research on different cultural groups in America. They break-down “Tribal Culture” into 5 levels, similar to how “In Time” breaks-down Time Zones.
In order to get out of Stage 3 and into Stage 4, you need to start working with other people. As a friend of mine and near billionaire has said, “You go from ‘I do it,’ to ‘We do it,’ to ‘They do it.’”
Most people never get beyond “I do it,” in their work. They never learn to delegate or collaborate. They have their own jobs and they get paid to do them.
Even most entrepreneurs and freelance creative people never get beyond Stage 3 thinking. Very few realize that the skills that get you out of Egypt are not the same skills that get you into the Promised Land (to use a Biblical analogy I learned from Dan Sullivan).
In other words, what got you here won’t get you there.
The thinking that got you here won’t get you there. As Albert Einstein has said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Your thinking fundamentally needs to change as you upgrade environments, or else you won’t stay in those environments for long.
In the important book, The Lessons of History, famed historians Will and Ariel Durrant explain the key lessons they gleaned while studying the history of the world for several decades.
One of those key lessons is that, as a society has an increase in freedoms, they must simultaneously increase their intelligence to match the level of their freedom, or their freedom will eventually be lost.
This is one of the key themes influencing the rise and fall of nations. There is a surge of energy and enthusiasm which generally comes in the form of revolting against an existing system. There are a new law and order created and particular Stage 4 group band together and becomes a Stage 5 Phenom that changes the world.
However, according to the Durrants, when a social group experiences an intense increase of social freedoms — wherein they have an abundance of freedom and choice — their level of intelligence needs to increase to match their level of freedom, or else that freedom will be squandered, which is often the case.
Hence, America has a high potential of collapsing as the world superpower. The Durrants expect that the American fall will occur sometime in the next 200–300 years. However, they may not have accounted for globalization and the internet and exponential technologies.
The important point here is that, in order to thrive in a higher-level environment, your level of intelligence needs to rise to meet the new rules and demands of the higher-level environment. Otherwise, you won’t remain in that environment for long. The skills that got you out of the ghetto are not the skills that will allow you to thrive in New Grenich.
The rugged individualist mindset that got you out of the ghetto won’t get you very far among the super-wealthy, where connections and mutual trust are everything.
It’s been very interesting to observe these social principles within the walls of my own home. When we brought our beautiful children into our home, they had no comprehension of the “rules” they needed to understand to thrive in our middle-class to upper-middle-class environment. They needed to be taught the rules. They’re still learning the rules.
And these rules aren’t meant to stamp out individuality. Rather, they are social and economic rules for not destroying themselves and going back into the ghetto, their principles for thriving and succeeding in society, in work, and with people. In other words, we attempt to teach correct principles and let them govern themselves.
At some point, it will be their choice to live what we taught them, to revert back to their native environment, or to advance beyond what we’ve taught them.
Getting from one “Time Zone” to another isn’t necessarily easy. The movie, In Time, makes that abundantly clear.
The system isn’t set up for people to advance easily.
Social cultures make it even harder. By very nature, human beings are the social product of their environments. We develop bonds and those bonds keep us from wanting to advance ourselves and potentially destroy those bonds.
The hardest leap from one economic status to another is likely from Stage 1 to Stage 2 — getting out of the ghettos and living from day-to-day to lower-middle-class where you’re living month-to-month.
The easiest jump is likely from Stage 2 to Stage 3 — getting out of the victim mindset and developing a sense of responsibility for the outcomes you create in your life. One reason this isn’t that hard of a leap is that you can generally maintain the same peer and social groups, even though a disconnect will develop. You can generally get into Stage 3 by getting educated, reading some books, and having a little bit of personal ambition.
Without question, making any one of these jumps is difficult — even going from lower-middle-class to middle-class.
The fastest way to make a jump is through proximity. You want to get yourself around people who are in higher-level systems and learn from them. You want to understand the laws and principles that generate their success. You need to understand how they operate socially. Because socially, there are fundamentally different rules at each stage for thriving. Again, the skills that got you out of Egypt will keep you stuck in the desert. Dr. David Hawkins explains, “The unconscious will only allow us to have what we believe we deserve. If we have a small view of ourselves, then what we deserve is poverty. And our unconscious will see to it that we have that actuality.”
Every culture has an embedded mindset and belief system. Hence, 95% of all behavior is unconscious and outsourced to the environment.
Your environment is the ultimate feedback loop, demonstrating where you are at the subconscious level. Your environment is a pretty accurate mirror reflecting back to you your subconscious belief system.
How you behave and treat other people is a reflection of your current situation. Different thinking, different behaviors, and relating differently to others will create a fundamentally different situation around you.
You can definitely jump from one Time Zone or Economic Status to another. However, you can never get out of one and stay in another on your own. You always need help from other people and other sources.
The most help is needed in getting people from Stage 1 to Stage 2. Radical interventions, extreme separation from family and friends, and economic help from outside parties is almost always required
Another extremely difficult leap is from Stage 3 thinking and cultures to Stage 4. In order to make this leap, you have to unlearn all of the rules that made you relatively successful in the first place. You have to put off your rugged individuality and begin thinking much, much bigger. You need to realize that individuality can actually be a poison. As Dr. David Hawkins explains in his book, LETTING GO, “It is the illusion of individuality that is the origin of all suffering.”
Instead of seeing yourself as a lone individual, you recognize yourself as a single factor within a larger system. You realize that your possibilities are shaped by context and that self-made is an illusion. Rather than trying to see what you can do alone, you now recognize that you could go 100X further and faster by collaborating with other people.
According to Harvard psychologist, Robert Kegan, only 8% of the population reaches this level of “conscious evolution,” wherein they move from an individual to a part of a collective. But not just any collective. You become a part of collaborative and synergistic groups where highly creative and innovative thinking occurs. This is where “mission” and the desire to do real good happens — where all parties are completely secure in their own ability to survive and take care of their base needs. Abundance, giving, creativity, gratitude, and growth are the focus of these groups.
Always learning and upgrading.
The third most difficult leap is from Stage 4 to Stage 5. This is basically going from the top 3–5% of the population to the top 1%, and more accurately, the 1% of the 1% — Those who are the best in the world at what they do, and are the highest paid.
This is equivalent to going from college to professional athletics. It’s much easier to go from High School (Stage 3) to College (Stage 4), but much much harder going from Stage 4 to Stage 5.
Be → Do → Have
You have to ‘Be’ the right kind of person first, then you must ‘Do’ the right things before you can expect to ‘Have.’” — Zig Ziglar
Making any of these jumps is completely possible.
Perhaps the most fundamental decision any person can ever make is this one:
Do you believe you can choose what you become?
Or do you believe your course is set for you at birth?
Do you “discover” yourself or do you “create” yourself?
You can’t change nature…. or, nature is change….Which side of the coin do you choose?
Whichever perspective you choose, your brain will go about finding any and all information it can to support that bias. As Dan Sullivan has said, “Your eyes can only see and your ears can only hear what your brain is looking for.” Psychologists call this “selective attention.”
What you focus on expands.
You see what you believe is real — and then it becomes real for you in a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Dr. Stephen Covey said, “You see the world, not as it is, but as you’ve been conditioned to see it.”
Making this shift starts by recognizing that for quite a while, you’ve been going through the motions. Your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and even desires are the product of your environment.
Thanks to a global world that makes information abundant, it isn’t hard to become exposed to other ways of life. However, you must realize quickly that most of the information online is complete trash. Which is why Basecamp Founder, Jason Fried, has said, “I’m pretty oblivious to a lot of things intentionally. I don’t want to be influenced that much.”
Once you begin upgrading your mindset and environment, and once your priorities and goals are clear — then you don’t want to be swayed or distracted by most of the low-level information out there.
You must realize that most of the information produced is from Stage 2 and Stage 3 cultures. Therefore, if you consume that level of information, then those mindsets will be embedded into your subconscious thinking.
People in Stage 4 and Stage 5 cultures do not consume the same information as do people in Stage 2 and 3 cultures. For example, I recently spoke at a mastermind done by Bo Eason, who used to be a professional football player and is now a very highly paid public speaker.
Bo’s son, Axel, intends on being the first person to go pro in both football and basketball. Therefore, Bo doesn’t allow Axel to watch the NFL on public television. According to Bo, sports on TV is made for fans and consumers, not the players.
“The pro’s don’t want that crap,” Bo told me.
Pro’s study film, practice, and play the game.
When you’re a real pro, you don’t consume how fans consume. You do the work. You’re too busy creating and learning and growing and living your life.
Are you a fan or a pro?
Are you a consumer or creator?
A key strategy for making any jump is to, “Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled,” meaning, you assume the posture, attitude, and emotions of the people operating at the higher level.
You affirm to yourself who you are and then operate from that affirmation. This may sound like “acting as if,” and it actually is.
But it’s important to realize that we are always “acting” in a role. All of life is acting. In every situation, you are assuming a character. You’re playing a role based on the other people around you. In some situations, your role may be an employee, while in others it may be a parent, or child, or friend.
In all cases, you are acting a part.
You can change your role.
You can change the stage.
You can choose to be different. But it must start in your state of being. Rather than operating subconsciously as the majority of people do, you must make a conscious decision about who you intend to be and where you intend to go. You must then BEHAVE from that decision. When you act from that decision, then you create the outcomes you are seeking. You will become the person you intend to be, rather than the person your circumstances led you to be.
Ready to upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
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You mean well, but those little gestures you’re doing to help the server might make their job harder. Customers come to restaurants for a pleasurable experience—you enter, sit down, peruse the menu, order, dine, make small talk, pay, and leave. All around you, however, a world of busy bees keep drinks filled, cook the food, and make sure every element of your encounter is enjoyable. While you likely know how hard people in restaurants work, you might not realize the small ways you actually make their job harder. Here, we explore things well-meaning patrons do that make servers and restaurant staff work harder, even when you absolutely don’t mean to.
You wait to split the check at the end
Some diners find it gauche to discuss payment before a single bread basket has been served, and we certainly suggest you feel out the level of formality before discussing the bill. However, at your local Thai spot or pizza joint, don’t be afraid to help out the server by letting them know before anyone orders are given how the ticket will be split.
Be nice: Making the arrangement clear helps them—and you—get faster service and prevents possible goofs on the bill. This is an especially good idea if you have somewhere to go after the meal and are crunched for time.
You don’t say anything about a meal you don’t like
If something is wrong—your steak is undercooked, your salad is soggy, your chicken is stringy—speak up. Don’t sit in silence, thinking it’s too much fuss to raise a flag. Your server, the kitchen staff, and the restaurant’s manager shouldn’t learn about your poor experience at their establishment with a semi-anonymous online criticism. They should hear about it right then and there, when it happens, so they can correct it and learn from it.
Be nice: Flag your server, and explain the issue. Give your server and the restaurant a chance to fix whatever is wrong. Don’t sit there and plot your vicious one-star smack down. If it’s still wrong after that, type away, keyboard warrior.
The server is occupied, so you help yourself to the tea pitcher
It’s easy to see your waiter is busy, so what’s the harm in sneaking over to the bar and filling up your cup of tea? Actually, a lot. If the manager spots you, your waiter will likely be reamed out for not getting you what you need. You could also make a mess of the beverages, which makes someone else have to stop their work to clean it up.
Be nice: If you’re getting bad service—the waiter isn’t keeping your glass filled—talk to the manager. Otherwise, just try to flag your server, and perhaps consider asking for another glass if you’re downing a lot of drink that night for some reason.
You stack all the empty dishes
Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness of bussing a table. Waiters and restaurant staff are trained in the best way to gather, clean, and sort dishes. If you stack up all the plates, bowls, and silverware—and then toss napkins on top of the pile—you’re making a bigger mess for your server or the person who has to clear the dishes from your table.
Be nice: Leave the plates in front of you. Don’t push them away either, as that makes them harder to reach. The staff will ask you before removing your plate if you’re finished. Let them do the bussing.
You seat yourself
You walk into your favorite little restaurant (where, yes, they probably know you by name), eager to get dinner so you can get back home to chores. You notice the host is busy with another group, so you just grab a menu and seat yourself.
While you think it’s no big deal, the host has an intricate system for making sure tables are distributed evenly among areas of the restaurant and servers. If you seat yourself (at least anywhere other than the bar), you may throw off their system.
Be nice: Hang out for a minute. The host will see you and make sure you get a seat. If the host disappears to the back of the restaurant, you can flag another member of the staff and ask to be seated.
You try to clean up your own accident
It happens—you get carried away telling a story and knock over a glass of Merlot. Ruby red wine and shards of glass are everywhere. Your first instinct may be to start grabbing the pieces, but the restaurant staff don’t want to compound the issue with a bleeding hand.
Be nice: Alert the staff, and let them clean it up. They have the tools for cleaning up the wine as well as the broken glass. Thank them profusely—leave a bigger tip, too—but don’t put your hand into the shards.
You don’t listen to the specials
Contrary to urban legend, most daily specials in restaurants are not dishes that use up foods before they spoil. Indeed, in a lot of cases, they’re special dishes the chef wanted to cook with seasonal ingredients, or she’s testing them out on a smaller scale before placing them as a full-time item menu.
Be nice: When the server starts rattling off the day’s specials and things not on the menu, listen. You might hear something that strikes your interest and changes your mind about what you plan to order. Also, it’s just plain rude to interrupt.
You’re too chatty
It’s lovely to have a good rapport with your server, especially if you’re a regular at their restaurant, but keep in mind the server is working. That means they need to place orders, pick up food, fill drinks, and more. When you occupy them to chat, especially when the restaurant is busy, you’re preventing them from doing their job. Not only can that get them in trouble, it could affect your own service.
Be nice: Follow their cue. If they stop to chat for a second, you can engage. But don’t flag them down just to chat. Friendliness goes a long way, as does a generous thank you and a good tip.
You order from another server
You’re ready to order, but your server is two tables over with another group of patrons. You flag down a server and ask to order. They likely won’t tell you no (though they should), but confusion could unfold. If you have any special orders, the server that’s responsible for your meal may not know all the intricate details. You may also have errors on the bill if they don’t know what everyone ordered.
Be nice: Instead of asking the server to take your order, ask them to alert your server. This way you get the best service possible and there’s no back-end confusion.
You take items off the full tray to help
As the server approaches your table, you spot your pint of beer on the side. In an effort to “help” him, you reach for the beer. Big mistake! The server has all the items on that tray balanced beautifully, and removing one item unexpectedly could throw it off kilter.
Be nice: Let the server empty the tray at their own pace. If you want to be of assistance, help pass out things to the table as he takes them off the tray.
Andrew ferebee from The Ladders
What is the worst advice being given to Millennials? Here are the 7 pieces of advice that I HATE hearing people give Millennials.
1. Work harder you lazy punk!
Despite popular belief, most Millennials aren’t entitled, lazy, or stupid. In fact, to the contrary, they work way too hard. I know dozens of guys in their mid-20’s who are literally working away the best decade of their life because they want to be a #hustler and achieve financial freedom. While there’s nothing wrong with working hard, you shouldn’t sacrifice your quality of life for a big paycheck. Enjoy your 20’s. Work hard. But LIVE too.
2. Just figure out what you want to no with your life already!
No … You don’t need to figure out what you want to do with your life yet. You have more options than your parents did and exponentially more options than your grandparents could have dreamed of, so they can shove it if they think they have the right to tell you to “Hurry it up and make up your mind already.” Embrace slowness. Try out dozens of different career paths and figure out what you like. Honestly, your 20’s are for throwing crap at the wall and seeing what you like.
It’s not for figuring yourself out anymore.
3. Go to college and get into debt for your “future”College is largely a waste of time.
Unless you have your sights set on a career in finance, medicine, or law, you don’t need a degree and going into $50,000–$100,000 of debt for a Liberal Arts degree is the dumbest thing you can do.
Go find a job working for a company that you like. If you can’t find a job, then go MAKE one. Show up and just start doing stuff, ask if you can help out without getting paid. Eventually, someone will offer you something. Don’t be afraid to eat sh-t for a few years so that you can eat like a king for the rest of your life. College is a waste of time, but education isn’t.
4. Your 30s are your new 20sNo … They’re not.
Even though I don’t think you should have your entire life figured out in your 20s, you need to be building a strong foundation for your future. It’s ok to party a little bit and goof around, but you need to take your time and your life SERIOUSLY. Start going to the gym, read books every day, if you don’t know what you want to do from a career standpoint, actively try out new things and eliminate options you don’t enjoy. DO NOT waste your 20s playing video games and drinking yourself into oblivion. That’s a one-way ticket to a life of regret. Work hard, build good habits, educate yourself massively, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself to actually achieve ‘success’ or ‘find yourself’ yet. If you play your 20s right then you will get those rewards in your early 30s.
5. You guys should just get married already!Let’s see …
The divorce rates are skyrocketing, more people than ever report being unhappy in their marriages, divorce will cost you half of your net worth (if you’re a man), and will probably leave you with trust issues and all sorts of other problems. … But yeah, let’s encourage naive 20-somethings who have never been in a REAL relationship to jump the gun and just get married. That sounds like a GREAT idea. In case you couldn’t hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice, I do NOT encourage Millennials to get married young. I know that everyone is putting pressure on you to get hitched and you think it will be the best idea ever … But just delay gratification and give your brain (and bank account and personality) a chance to mature before you make a life-altering decision like marriage. Ok?
6. The job market is competitive!Sure, the job market is competitive.
For people who want to work for sh-tty corporations and established “Old Money” businesses.
But if you want to get involved with the new rich? It’s easier today than ever before. My Director of Content started working with me when he was 17. He didn’t have a college degree (or even a high school degree). But he was a good writer and he just kept pestering me until I eventually got on the phone with him and he pitched his services for free. He worked for me for free for almost 2 months before I started paying him. Today he makes a healthy salary (in addition to pay from other clients that I’ve sent his way over the year) working for me … And he still doesn’t have a college degree.
The fishing is best where the fewest go. So stop trying to get a job in the competitive markets and instead be willing to eat crap for a few months or years proving yourself at a startup or small business. You’ll quickly become indispensable and earn whatever you want.
7. You can sleep when you’re dead
SHUT UP! Sleep deprivation is literally killing our society and costs the economy more than $400 billion in lost productivity each year. Quit glorifying sleep deprivation and espousing ignorant ideas.
Sleep is freaking important so stop vilifying Millennials for prioritizing sleep. If you aren’t getting 8 hours a night, you are leaving productivity and performance on the table. Ignore your grandparents and get your zzzz’s. You’ll be glad that you did.
Written, Compiled & Edited by
The Bergen Review Media Team