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7 Obvious Signs You’re Hanging With the Wrong Friends

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How to keep Negative toxic people out of your life
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It’s pretty much a given that being in the right crowd can make or break your life, as in the amount of happiness you feel, the amount of inspiration you get and the number of achievements you make.

That is why many people advocate the idea of being in a positive environment and being with the right friends. But it can be hard though. Sometimes we don’t want to let go. We keep making up excuses for both ourselves and others. Other times, we’re blind to the fact that we’re in bad company.

Do yourself a favour and just drop the toxic friends. They’re anchors. You’ll be better off without them, plus you can easily make new friends.
 

Here’s 7 telltale signs you’re hanging with the wrong friends

 

1) They make money an issue

They borrow, but never return on time, if at all. They miraculously disappear all the time whenever the bill arrives. They have a job, but somehow try to make you pay for stuff. If money largely contributes to the doubt you feel in your friendships, then it’s honestly pretty clear they aren’t good friends. They’re only looking at you as a wallet. Nothing more, nothing less. Stick with a group who support each other, financially and other ways.

 

2) They never follow up with what they say they’d do for you

In other words, they’re full of crap. Talk is so cheap that they’re willing to continuously spend on empty words to make you happy. It’s taking action and keeping to your word that makes for real character. A real friend will never leave you hanging for nothing. You don’t need a friend who constantly takes you for granted like that. You are worth way more than mere words. It’s cheap talk that actually drags you down (since they normally sound so assuring and comforting.) So don’t think that you even need to validate yourself with such talk.

 

3) They’re always too busy for you

To put it straight, busy is bullsh!t. Everybody is busy today. If you want to make time for something or someone, you’ll make that time. No matter what. If a friend is constantly too busy for you, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship, especially when you’ve put in the effort to make time for them. It’s better to be with friends who’re willing to be in your presence just for the sake of it. That’s real friendship. These are the real guys who will always be there for you.
 

4) They don’t care about your struggles, only what your success can give them

Ever had friends who’re always so quick to say things like, “Wow you made so much money? Haha so I guess drinks are on you!” It may sound harmless enough, but think about it: How much do these friends really care about your journey to success? How much do they care about how much you’ve grown through your struggles and challenges? If they clearly don’t care at all, they’re never going to be there for you when you’re in need of help. A true friend not only would have been there for you, they’d would be proud to see how far you’ve come. Besides, friendship is about knowing each other for who they truly are, not what they are on the surface in terms of status, amount of money one has or how big his or her house is.

live your life picture quote good friends

 

5) They constantly pry on you so they can compare

“How big is your salary?” “How long do you last in bed?” “Oh I bet I scored higher marks in my SATs. What did you score?” As rude as these questions are, the wrong friends have no gripe in asking them. They don’t care if they make you uncomfortable or not. And guess what? They don’t care for the answers either. They just want to compare in hopes of being better than you. And when they feel they aren’t better, they’ll just ask more annoying questions. A real friend wouldn’t intentionally make each other uncomfortable. They don’t compare either. They’re only happy for each other. You shouldn’t have to put up with anything else.
 

6) They indulge and feed on drama

This is when they constantly gossip and backstab each other. The Whatsapp group has open, online fights. Their Facebook statuses are bitchy and always negative. You’ll be surprised how drama can negatively impact your life. It’s tiring, draining and very disillusioning. It makes you question whether they’d turn the drama on you one day or whether they’re already talking behind your back. Real friends are mature. They’ll all grow together and settle things like adults. Your life never needs extra drama, so stay far from them.
 

7) You question the change in your life because of them

If you ever need to start questioning yourself, your lifestyle and your life because of your friends, they’re the wrong friends. True and great friendships will elevate you. They’ll make you so happy and inspired that you’d actually wonder, and even fear how your life would turn out without them. So don’t kid yourself. Don’t lie to yourself. You know how you feel. The questions aren’t even going to solve anything. Drop the anchors. Dump the toxic friends. Move on and find better friends. Your life will be better that way. You’ll gain more success too.
 

Prince EA – Why I Got Rid of Most of My Friends

Alden Tan writes about honest and real stories at his blog. He's both a passionate writer and Bboy. Check out his free book, 12 Things Happy People Don't Give A F@#k About!

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. George

    Dec 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

    So true. In life we need to choose the company we keep very carefully indeed. Thanks for stating the signs to look out for – very helpful!

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Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

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never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

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take a break from technology

A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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Life

3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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time

We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

9 Tips to Increase Your Charisma and Charm

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charisma

Most of us can probably name a person or two who can walk into a room and instantly become the center of attention. Some people seem to have a sort of natural charisma making them successful in social situations.

On the other hand, plenty of people out there lack any sort of natural charisma. They can be the smartest person in the world, but put them in a party and ask them to make friends and they become clueless. While it is possible to go through life without any charisma, not being able to carry on a conversation and not being able to make friends easily can make your life significantly harder. Thankfully, there are ways to make yourself more charismatic and more charming.

Here are 9 proven tips that will help make you more charismatic:

1. Learn proper posture

One simple way to make yourself more charismatic to those around you is to have proper posture. You should sit up straight and make yourself as tall as possible. Do not lean on your elbows or do anything like that. Sit up straight with your hands either at your sides or in front of you.

Believe it or not, having correct posture actually makes you feel more confident, which then makes you feel more willing to engage in conversation. When you are more willing to engage in conversation, you will appear more charismatic and more charming to those around you.

2. Do not underestimate the power of physical contact

Part of being charismatic is knowing when physical contact is needed. Uncharismatic people tend to shun physical contact and often do not know when to do it appropriately.

So, if you want to be more charismatic, then you should master when physical contact is appropriate and when it is not. For example, if a friend is crying or very upset, a hand on the shoulder or a hug (depending on how close of a friend they are) is appropriate.

Sometimes physical contact is even more appropriate than mere words.

3. Learn to recognize nonverbal cues

Very often people will not state how they are feeling. People will tell you they are feeling fine, even when deep down they are not. However, just because they do not say how they feel does not mean they do not give any clues.

You can often tell how a person is feeling about something based on facial expressions or body language. This should tell you what sort of mood they are in and how you should interact with them. We often associate charisma with things like telling good stories or making people laugh, yet a big part of charisma is simply knowing what sorts of things to say (or not to say) to people. Part of the way you figure out what to say to people is by reading their body language.

“I speak two languages, Body and English.” – Mae West

4. Know when to use humor

A big part of being charismatic is knowing how to use humor. Know when to make jokes and what sort of jokes to make. Too often, people constantly throw out jokes on the false assumption that it makes them likable. However, the timing of a joke is just as important as its contents. Making jokes at the wrong time makes you come off as uncharismatic. So, read the mood of others around you before throwing out a joke.

5. Learn to ask questions

We usually do not consider asking questions to be “charismatic,” but asking questions, and specifically the right kind of questions, is a great way to keep a conversation going.

People love to talk about themselves and they love to talk about what they are interested in. Charismatic people know this, which is why a charismatic person will spend as little time talking about themselves as possible.

Plus, by asking questions, you can find common areas of interest, which will allow you to expand your conversation topics.

6. Know how to listen effectively

This point goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Not only should you learn how to ask questions, but you should also learn to how to listen.

We all know that cliché about how women like men who are good listeners, well it is true and it applies to everyone, not just women. Sometimes, people simply want to talk to someone who will actually listen to their problems.

Knowing how to be a good listener will make people like you more since good listeners are so rare.

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”- Ernest Hemingway

7. Memorize as many names as you can

This is a really small, but effective tip for coming across as more charismatic. Remembering a person’s name is a great way of signaling to them that they are important, which makes them feel better. Again, this is a very small tip, but you will be surprised at how much more charismatic you come across if you consistently remember people’s names.

8. Learn to talk with your hands

Believe it or not, using hand gestures while talking does make you come across as more charismatic. Now, we don’t mean that you should be swinging your hands around, but some light hand gestures while telling a story can help make people more engrossed in what you are saying. So, next time you want to really get people interested in what you are saying, try putting down whatever is in your hands and add in some gestures.

9. Cut out filler from your vocabulary

We all occasionally throw in an “umm” or an “uuuh” when talking (especially if we are telling a long story), but you should try cut down on the number of times that you use filler words like the ones we just mentioned. A hallmark of charisma is being able to talk for a long time without using a lot of filler. The best way to go about this is to simply keep track of how often you use filler words and slowly work on improving your speaking skills.

Which one of these tips are you going to start to implement? Let us know by commenting below!

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3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire? (more…)

Janette Getui is a mumpreneur and prosperity coach devoted to showing others how to produce more freedom and opulence in life. She is the co-founder of Bold Beautiful Blissful U and hosts transformational prosperity retreats and masterminds. Known to many as a powerful modern day mystic who has been able to prove through her own journey from the heart of poverty in an African slum to the abundant beach lifestyle that she gets to enjoy in Europe, that overcoming poverty consciousness, limiting beliefs and low self-worth is the fastest way to produce new beginnings and unfold a rich, blissful destiny. Her PH.D in overcoming harsh conditions and mind mastery make connecting with her worthwhile especially if spiritual and financial freedom matters to you. Get her free gift e-book that will enable you to unlock your version of heaven on earth.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. George

    Dec 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

    So true. In life we need to choose the company we keep very carefully indeed. Thanks for stating the signs to look out for – very helpful!

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Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

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never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

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take a break from technology

A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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9 Tips to Increase Your Charisma and Charm

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Most of us can probably name a person or two who can walk into a room and instantly become the center of attention. Some people seem to have a sort of natural charisma making them successful in social situations.

On the other hand, plenty of people out there lack any sort of natural charisma. They can be the smartest person in the world, but put them in a party and ask them to make friends and they become clueless. While it is possible to go through life without any charisma, not being able to carry on a conversation and not being able to make friends easily can make your life significantly harder. Thankfully, there are ways to make yourself more charismatic and more charming.

Here are 9 proven tips that will help make you more charismatic:

1. Learn proper posture

One simple way to make yourself more charismatic to those around you is to have proper posture. You should sit up straight and make yourself as tall as possible. Do not lean on your elbows or do anything like that. Sit up straight with your hands either at your sides or in front of you.

Believe it or not, having correct posture actually makes you feel more confident, which then makes you feel more willing to engage in conversation. When you are more willing to engage in conversation, you will appear more charismatic and more charming to those around you.

2. Do not underestimate the power of physical contact

Part of being charismatic is knowing when physical contact is needed. Uncharismatic people tend to shun physical contact and often do not know when to do it appropriately.

So, if you want to be more charismatic, then you should master when physical contact is appropriate and when it is not. For example, if a friend is crying or very upset, a hand on the shoulder or a hug (depending on how close of a friend they are) is appropriate.

Sometimes physical contact is even more appropriate than mere words.

3. Learn to recognize nonverbal cues

Very often people will not state how they are feeling. People will tell you they are feeling fine, even when deep down they are not. However, just because they do not say how they feel does not mean they do not give any clues.

You can often tell how a person is feeling about something based on facial expressions or body language. This should tell you what sort of mood they are in and how you should interact with them. We often associate charisma with things like telling good stories or making people laugh, yet a big part of charisma is simply knowing what sorts of things to say (or not to say) to people. Part of the way you figure out what to say to people is by reading their body language.

“I speak two languages, Body and English.” – Mae West

4. Know when to use humor

A big part of being charismatic is knowing how to use humor. Know when to make jokes and what sort of jokes to make. Too often, people constantly throw out jokes on the false assumption that it makes them likable. However, the timing of a joke is just as important as its contents. Making jokes at the wrong time makes you come off as uncharismatic. So, read the mood of others around you before throwing out a joke.

5. Learn to ask questions

We usually do not consider asking questions to be “charismatic,” but asking questions, and specifically the right kind of questions, is a great way to keep a conversation going.

People love to talk about themselves and they love to talk about what they are interested in. Charismatic people know this, which is why a charismatic person will spend as little time talking about themselves as possible.

Plus, by asking questions, you can find common areas of interest, which will allow you to expand your conversation topics.

6. Know how to listen effectively

This point goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Not only should you learn how to ask questions, but you should also learn to how to listen.

We all know that cliché about how women like men who are good listeners, well it is true and it applies to everyone, not just women. Sometimes, people simply want to talk to someone who will actually listen to their problems.

Knowing how to be a good listener will make people like you more since good listeners are so rare.

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”- Ernest Hemingway

7. Memorize as many names as you can

This is a really small, but effective tip for coming across as more charismatic. Remembering a person’s name is a great way of signaling to them that they are important, which makes them feel better. Again, this is a very small tip, but you will be surprised at how much more charismatic you come across if you consistently remember people’s names.

8. Learn to talk with your hands

Believe it or not, using hand gestures while talking does make you come across as more charismatic. Now, we don’t mean that you should be swinging your hands around, but some light hand gestures while telling a story can help make people more engrossed in what you are saying. So, next time you want to really get people interested in what you are saying, try putting down whatever is in your hands and add in some gestures.

9. Cut out filler from your vocabulary

We all occasionally throw in an “umm” or an “uuuh” when talking (especially if we are telling a long story), but you should try cut down on the number of times that you use filler words like the ones we just mentioned. A hallmark of charisma is being able to talk for a long time without using a lot of filler. The best way to go about this is to simply keep track of how often you use filler words and slowly work on improving your speaking skills.

Which one of these tips are you going to start to implement? Let us know by commenting below!

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