Saturday, July 16, 2011

New book offers tips on how to “future proof” your career

This is an interesting topic, and worth considering!

New book offers tips on how to “future proof” your career: "

The future, as any science fiction fan can tell you, can be as scary as it can be exciting. The flipside of possibility is uncertainty, and dreams of creative change can pretty quickly turn into nightmares of destruction. Is there anything we can do, when it comes to work, to reduce the anxiety of the future and prepare ourselves to gracefully weather economic and technological change?

If you’re not the type to go in for bunker building, there are alternatives, according to a new book by London Business School professor Lynda Gratton out this week in the U.S. The Shift tackles the broad forces impacting the way we work, including globalization, demography, technology and energy, and offers advice on how to keep your career going in a time of great change.

Gratton took to her blog recently to give American readers a sneak peak (the book is already out in the U.K.) offering ten ways to future proof your career. The lengthy post is worth a read in full, but some of her suggestions are particularly resonant for web workers (or cubicle warriors plotting their escape to the web worker lifestyle), including:

Learn to be virtual. We are entering a period of hyper technological advancements — avatars, holographs and telepresence are all just around the corner. If you are a young ‘digital native’ you are already connected to this – but if you are over 30 the chances are you are already behind on your understanding. Work will become more global and that means that increasingly you will be working with people in a virtual way — it’s crucial that you learn to embrace these developments and don’t let yourself become obsolete through lack of technical savvy.

Be prepared to strike out on your own. There will always be work with big companies — but increasingly the real fun will come from setting up your own company. We are entering the age of the ‘micro-entrepreneur’ whenever decreasing costs of technology will significantly reduce the barriers to getting off the ground, and when talented people across the world will be connected and keen to work with each other.

Build the Big Ideas Crowd. The future is about innovation, and sometime your best, most innovative ideas will come as you talk and work with people who are completely different from you — perhaps they have a different mindset, or come from a different country — or are younger. It is this wide network, the ‘big ideas crowd’ that will be a crucial source of inspiration. Make sure that you don’t limit yourself to working only with those who are just like you.

Become a producer rather than a simple consumer. The old deal at work:  ‘I work, to earn money, to buy stuff, that makes me happy’ is rapidly becoming obsolete. Engaging in meaningful work where you can rapidly learn will become a priority (although fair pay will always be important). So think hard about sharing and great experiences rather than simply building your working life around consuming.

A future of work that stresses location independence, an array of advanced tech tools to keep connected, engagement in meaningful work and creative collaboration? Sounds like it’s right up WebWorkerDaily’s alley.

Do you think Gratton’s prescriptions for the future are solid?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user krupp

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Freedom to Disbelieve [Legenda]

Friday, July 8, 2011

Second Quarter 2011 Video Roundup

Second Quarter 2011 Video Roundup: "

EzineArticles Quarterly Video RoundupEliminating Writing Distractions, Leveraging Your Writing Analytics, A Batch of Quick Tips and More!

Our video studio has been busy in the second quarter producing an assortment of videos to help you get the most out of your article writing efforts.

In case you missed the announcements on the Blog and in the newsletter, here’s a list of the videos we’ve released to help you get caught up, along with a short recap of each video’s message:

  • Article Pieces and Parts:

    1. Resource Box Best Practices – Life is full of give and take. Your article writing efforts are no different. Every article you write must have the perfect combination of give and take.

    2. Driving Traffic in Your Direction With Effective Titles – You may cringe at the site of traffic on your daily commute but there’s no better feeling than seeing a full on traffic jam of new readers and potential customers driving straight towards your articles. Discover how to create article titles that open the highway for more traffic to your articles.

    3. The Perfect Article Summary – It can be easy to overlook the importance of the article summary. But, the truth is that your article summary gives you additional space beyond the article title to hook in potential readers.

    4. A Healthy Diet for Your Article Body – Your article body is very similar to your actual human body in that they both need care and attention to perform at the highest level. Watch this video to discover how you can create a healthy diet for your article body so you have a strong, fit article.

  • Author Tools and Resources:

    1. Leveraging Your Article Writing Analytics – Understanding your article writing analytics is vital to the success of your article writing campaign. Knowing which of your articles are doing well and why, will help you write more laser targeted articles.

    2. How to Avoid Sounding Like a Salesperson – Your articles shouldn’t sound like an infomercial. Your readers want your expert advice, not a sales pitch.

    3. The Value of Diamond Membership – The Diamond level membership is the highest level of free membership at and it’s reserved for the most exemplary authors. Watch this video to discover the benefits of Diamond level membership and why you should strive to reach this elite status.

    4. Article Content vs. Real Life – Exceptional Work – Getting noticed is easier said than done, but the rewards are worth the effort. Watch this video to see what happens when exceptional work is discovered.

    5. A Guide to Uninterrupted Writing – In general, distractions are a part of life. Sometimes they’re good, but normally they’re not. In an effort to increase your productivity and decrease your stress level, EzineArticles offers this: A Guide to Uninterrupted Writing.

  • Social Networking:

    1. Social Media for Article Writers – Best Practices – It’s hard to ignore the power that social media outlets can have on your article writing campaign. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are social media tools that you should be using. Watch this video to discover 6 best practices for incorporating social media into your article writing efforts.

  • 2 Minute Approval Tips:

    1. 2 Minute Approval Tips: Affiliate Link Rules – The twelfth “2 Minute Approval Tip” focuses on using the Resource Box of your article to promote your affiliate links. Watch this video to discover how to properly promote affiliate links.

    2. 2 Minute Approval Tips: Choose Links Wisely – When someone gets engaged in reading one of your articles, you have the unique opportunity to connect them to your website. You know they are interested in your niche, so they are more likely than the average reader to be interested in your niche-specific website. Choose your links wisely!

    3. 2 Minute Approval Tips: Follow EzineArticles HTML Tag Rules – The next “2 Minute Approval Tip” focuses on properly formatting your articles using HTML tags. EzineArticles only allows certain HTML tags to be used in your articles.

  • EzineArticles Quick Tips:

    1. How to Update Your Email Address in Your EzineArticles Account – Keeping your account information up-to-date is the best way for you to stay in tune with what is going on with your account and at EzineArticles, in general. In this video, discover how to update your email address.

    2. Proper Capitalization Rules – Understanding proper capitalization rules is an important part of ensuring your articles are approved. Here are some rules that you should know about proper capitalization.

    3. How to Upload an Author Photo – Uploading an Author Photo is a small task, but it can have a great impact on your article writing efforts. Watch this video to discover just how easy it is.

    4. How to Contact EzineArticles Member Support – The EzineArticles Member Support Team plays a crucial role in the successful operation of Check out this video to discover how to contact them.

    5. How to Reset Your EzineArticles Password – There’s no worse feeling than forgetting something important, especially your EzineArticles password! Watch this video to discover how to get a new account password.

Where to Find Even More Videos:

You’ll find a complete list of all of our EzineArticles videos on our Video Archive. It’s organized to help you find the videos you’re looking for based on skill level. Videos are broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels.

We’ve added 4 new categories to make locating a specific video and browsing specific subjects easier. That makes a total of 12 handy categories:

1. Top 10 Reasons for Article Rejection

2. Social Networking

3. Author Tools and Resources

4. Nuggets of Knowledge

5. Overcoming Writing Obstacles

6. Article Content vs. Real Life

7. Article Distribution

8. 2 Minute Approval Tips

9. Article Ideas

10. Behind the Scenes

11. Article Pieces and Parts

12. EzineArticles Quick Tips

You can also view all of our videos on our Facebook Fan Page (on the “Video” tab), YouTube Channel and our Metacafe Channel.

Don’t Miss Our Next Release!

Be sure to regularly check back on the Blog, where we announce each new video release. And sign up to get email alerts of new Blog posts so you’ll never miss a new video announcement.

Got a suggestion for a video you’d like to see? We’d love to hear it in the comments section below.


New! Pick your favorite inbox style - Official Gmail Blog

New! Pick your favorite inbox style - Official Gmail Blog

Allure of Facebook for Article Writers

Allure of Facebook for Article Writers: "

Developing a Social Media Strategy as an Article Writer

The allure of Facebook is undeniable, especially for people with insights or content to share.

With more than 750 million active users, the social networking site is quickly becoming an attractive option for article writers hoping to build business relationships and generate additional website traffic.

But, launching a social networking account for your brand without having a plan or strategy to implement, as well as a way to evaluate your progress, is a big mistake.

Don’t let a lack of planning or a misunderstanding of what Facebook is all about slap you around or you’ll end up like Delores – confused and misunderstanding the power of the technology. Instead, follow these tips for creating a social networking account to extend the reach of your article writing:

  • Proper Branding – One of the first things you have to decide is how you are going to brand your Facebook page – i.e. are you going to use your name, the name of your company or the name of a specific product? Also, are you only going to use the profile to share professional items or are you going to mix in a combination of personal and professional? You’re better off separating your personal profile, if you have one, and a profile you’re using for promotional purposes.

  • – Looking for a place to start to see how people just like you are using social media and article writing together? Check out for a list of EzineArticles Expert Authors on Facebook. You can filter the page by niche to see how other Expert Authors in your niche are using Facebook to promote their articles. Also, get yourself listed on to help you connect with people even more.

  • Do Your Research – Devote set amounts of time to listen to what other people are doing with Facebook. The set amount of time will help keep you focused until you figure out the most memorable strategies for building your brand as an expert. Then, scale back and focus on those powerful strategies.

  • Making Connections – Make real connections with real people, not bots or spammers. Build your fan base on real people. The bots and spammers don’t add any real value, so focus solely on the real ones.

  • Manage the Proportion of “Salesy” Messages – Treat social media sites as you would a table full of friends. Listen and contribute when you have something valuable to say. Build the relationship first and then ease into your sales message. That is (and always will be) the best way to acquire long-term customers no matter what form of marketing you’re using.

  • Engage Others – Join conversations on social media sites and share the same level of great content you do in your articles. If people have questions and you already have an article written on the topic, connect them to that article. If you don’t have an existing article answering the question, consider writing one and sharing it.

  • Evaluate – Take note of your average article stats before you start using Facebook to promote your articles. Then, as you start implementing your strategy, take another look at those same statistical categories to see what has worked and what needs to be changed.

  • Share New Articles – You can also use Facebook to share your newly published articles when they come out. It’s a great way to promote the new article and showcase your expertise.

Use these tips to develop a strategy to help you get a higher return on your article writing efforts.

Also, if you haven’t already, “LIKE” Chris Knight and EzineArticles on Facebook to get more exclusive tips on how to incorporate social media into your article writing strategy.


Top 10 Social Media Do's and Don'ts - How and How Not to Use Social Media to Job Search

Top 10 Social Media Do's and Don'ts - How and How Not to Use Social Media to Job Search

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Got confusing thoughts on your mind? 7 tips for sorting it out

Got confusing thoughts on your mind? 7 tips for sorting it out: "
Feeling trapped and tangled?
Feeling trapped and tangled?
Everyone, at some point in their lives, is faced with confusing and disturbing thoughts, and many live oppressed by them, having their well-being and health compromised. What can be done about this?

In today's climate we are increasingly exposed to extremes of ideas and views and so many of them are contradictory, confusing and hard to deal with, while leaving many with stress and misery. In life we have to interact with others and technically no two people interpret and think about things the same way.

Which are right? Who is right? What can you do when there are so many different ways of looking at something? Here are some recommendations for you to use to try to deal with and let go of thoughts of this type.

Edit Steps

  1. If you are feeling highly stressed at the time, relax, so you are able to deal with the problem. There isn't much you can do while you are stressed.
    If you are feeling highly stressed at the time, relax, so you are able to deal with the problem. There isn't much you can do while you are stressed.
    Firstly, if the thought is causing you some distress, practice a relaxation method that works for you. This may be meditation, going for a walk, reading a book, listening to some relaxing music, or anything that allows the mind to calm down.
  2. When you feel calmer, study the thought objectively, as though the thought was some remote object. As confusion can be about practical subjects (such as how to fix something), as well as emotional or intellectual subjects (such as philosophy, morality, politics, religion, etc.), you have to work out what you are currently experiencing - the mind doesn't often know when it is confused. Find out what the subject and theme of the thought process is. The subject is the easiest and is the first thing you have to recognize. It might be concerns about a business deal, doubts, or worries about family, friends and other aspects of life that can cause confusion and doubts. However the theme is typically emotional and is usually wanting something to be, or not to be, to come, or go away, etc., and feelings such as anger, despair, etc. It is important to be able to recognize and distinguish both things in regard to exactly what is going on in your thoughts, that way you can take a step back and decide what you can do.
    • An example might be (for students) feeling confused about a complex mathematical problem and then feeling angry, depressed or anxious that you cannot resolve it. The subject is the mathematical problem, the theme is the emotional context - anxiety, etc. The catch here is a new theme can grow to outweigh the subject, such as being worried that you won't finish the assignment, judging yourself negatively such as asking 'why can't I work this out?' or making statements such as 'I can't do this!' which further increase the problems. There are many secondary themes that can get added, such as fear about passing the grade, etc., each part of which should be handled one at a time, as the original confusion is now compounded into something much harder to deal with.
    • The original subject's problem happens first, other themes follow once the subject exists in the mind (you won't worry about an assignment if there is no confusion about how to do the work involved). Once you have resolved the subject, it is much easier to resolve the themes. The following points explore this more in-depth and give recommendations that may work for you to resolve confusion.

  3. Like fish caught on the hook, we too are caught if we take the bait by wanting to think about the issue, or equally wanting the issue to go away.
    Like fish caught on the hook, we too are caught if we take the bait by wanting to think about the issue, or equally wanting the issue to go away.
    Aim to not get personally involved with the theme or subject. For practical subject like confusion on, for example, how to make a meal, it is easier to to do this. For personal issues or topics you have strong feelings about, this is much harder to do, as it's very tempting to get involved. But its like a baited hook, once you've bitten it, you're stuck on it and it's hard to get unhooked. Remember - it's your mind, and you're in control.
  4. Separate yourself from the confusing thoughts. You can do this by mentally distinguishing yourself from that thought and then you can see it is a distinct process, one you can let go of like you put down a heavy sack. By trying to destroy it or forcibly crush the thought, we are giving it all our attention, which consequently adds fuel to the fire.
  5. Some additional things you can do, consider, and use to resolve the confusion are as follows;
    • Like a dense, complicated thicket of thorny blackberry vines, confusing thoughts wrap and entwine with other thoughts and problems. But it is what it is - a spiny thicket.
      Like a dense, complicated thicket of thorny blackberry vines, confusing thoughts wrap and entwine with other thoughts and problems. But it is what it is - a spiny thicket.
      Consider this analogy. That the vast array of confusing thoughts and varying views, concepts and opinions are collectively like a thicket of vines, a dense jungle, a tangle of wool or wire. They simply are what they are - a tangle, thicket or jungle of views and concepts. You can always see a subject from a different angle, so two (or many) opposing views can be equally valid based on personal experiences, preferences and perceptions. Some issues simply are impossible to resolve and get increasingly complicated and more snagged the deeper you go.
      • The trap is to start saying one issue is right or one is wrong, because both issues may be right or both wrong. You can't always tell easily. Confusion often remains because we want to be involved with the issue or want to discuss the issue; for the open mind there is no challenge to see things two ways (namely, playing the devil's advocate) because the issue at hand can be seen from two different angles and given different outcomes. It is often because we want something to be right or wrong and set in stone forever, or want to know right or wrong as an absolute that we create the entire problem of our confusion.

    • It is possible for the jungle of ideas and opinions to eventually swallow you whole, which is what happens the more you allow it to grow, until you are stuck with nowhere to go. Letting go of confusing thoughts and opinions is the same as cutting each vine at its root, until it won't grow back and dominate the scene.
      It is possible for the jungle of ideas and opinions to eventually swallow you whole, which is what happens the more you allow it to grow, until you are stuck with nowhere to go. Letting go of confusing thoughts and opinions is the same as cutting each vine at its root, until it won't grow back and dominate the scene.
      Decide if you can actually find out or resolve the facts from the fiction that your mind maybe involved in. Sometimes confusing thoughts arise over trivial subjects, the answers to which can be found online, in books or from specialists (such as healthcare concerns). For those issues that are simply impossible to find out (such as metaphysical or religious based topics), still look into it to gain an insight into the subject and let go of what has been disproved, or what simply cannot be proved. It may be possible to prove them later in life, or when technology exists that can prove it, but it might simply remain impossible during your lifetime. There is a certain honesty and certainly a strength and dignity in being able accept and let go of what you cannot prove, rather than trying to plug a hole with a theory or wild imaginings, beliefs and fantasy out of fear, anxiety or personal dislikes.
    • You can't always resolve the theme of the problem if it is something that personally worries you. If you're worried about something, this can add to the confusion by adding in a thought of: 'Why can't I fix it? Is there something wrong with me?'. This is another baited hook. Consider that by wanting to resolve it, or make it be something other than it is, that we are adding fuel to the fire.
    • TV and computers supply us with much of the information we pick up, but they are not always consistently accurate. By bearing this in mind, it's easier to remember that the confusing idea might have no basis in fact until you test it.
      TV and computers supply us with much of the information we pick up, but they are not always consistently accurate. By bearing this in mind, it's easier to remember that the confusing idea might have no basis in fact until you test it.
      Consider what a reliable source of information is and where we get most of our information from, then ask yourself is it a good source and why. A source can be media such as TV, internet and newspapers, wiki or common projects like wikipedia & facebook (etc.), friends and relations, official documents and texts, experts and authorities on various subjects, as well as the more questionable realms, such as commonly held wisdom, ideas, traditions and "old wives tales;" these demand careful scrutiny and checking, even if it's repeated many times or commonly held to be true. Sources of knowledge are not always consistently accurate, but often out of personal interest, respect or even laziness we listen to and take hold of ideas which are exceptionally contradictory and make little sense. Do these ideas have any basis in fact or reality? Use that foundation as a guideline to let go of confusing ideas. If they aren't valid, they will only cause you distress and problems.
    • Just like there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a snake to avoid being bitten before and when you let the snake go, look inside to find the right way to handle confusing thoughts so you don't get bitten.
      Just like there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a snake to avoid being bitten before and when you let the snake go, look inside to find the right way to handle confusing thoughts so you don't get bitten.
      Decide if there is any benefit in the contradictory thought topic in regard to your long term well-being. They can be hard questions to ask, but do you really want to be confused and controlled by thoughts that may be just fantasy? Do you really want to get involved with the issue if it means arguing or fighting with someone? If no, then there is nothing to stop you letting go of that thought chain. This isn't easy though, which is why there is strength and dignity in letting go of ideas that are toxic, and it does get easier the more you do it. If you look at it and say 'I'm not interested in that anymore,' there is no real excuse for the mind to keep on holding it, unless you want it to. As mentioned before: Remember - it's your mind, you're in control.
    • Try writing the issue down as this may resolve the subject problem for you.
      Try writing the issue down as this may resolve the subject problem for you.
      Try writing the issue down as this may resolve the subject problem for you. Concentrating attentively and selectively on the issues that really concern you, rather than fretting and being ineffectual in your response, can help you relax and give some space to get a fresh look at the subject. This way issues can be improved by writing down the elements of the confusion and the additional themes as you perceive them. Perhaps a list of pros and cons about an argument, brainstorming or a random list of the things that bother you about the issue - whatever comes to mind can be suitable. In practice, this allows expression of ideas and you to get a better grip of the topic to analyze its value as well as accuracy. If doing this doesn't help, don't despair; simply crumple up and throw away the writing. This gesture works to help build confidence in abandoning stressful, or nonsensical thoughts. Actively letting go and ridding yourself of the thoughts that have no basis in reality physically will feed back into your thought process and habits to recognize useful thoughts and abandon unhelpful ones.

  6. If you can't just let go, change the thought process and introduce a new theme such as tolerance, or kindness to yourself, or a more proactive theme such as resolving to ask someone about the issue.
    If you can't just let go, change the thought process and introduce a new theme such as tolerance, or kindness to yourself, or a more proactive theme such as resolving to ask someone about the issue.
    If you can't just let go, change the thought process and introduce a new theme such as tolerance, or kindness to yourself, or a more proactive theme such as resolving to ask someone about the issue. You can always do something else or keep examining this issue, but look for its benefits and continuously ask yourself 'Is this thought important or useful?' Changing the process is just a distraction so it doesn't fix the problem - the theme will keep coming back until you are finished with it. See your attentiveness to it in a conscious and questioning manner as a positive process in your life, one which will restore serenity.

Edit Tips

  • Like the above analogy of handling a snake, if you do get bitten, the anti-venom is forgiveness, understanding and kindness to yourself, by letting go of being bitten in the same way you would let go of the original problem. Having regret or despair is another snake, another thicket of vines, another baited hook.
    Like the above analogy of handling a snake, if you do get bitten, the anti-venom is forgiveness, understanding and kindness to yourself, by letting go of being bitten in the same way you would let go of the original problem. Having regret or despair is another snake, another thicket of vines, another baited hook.
    Don't be hard on yourself, thoughts are thoughts and they do just happen. They happen because they arise while we aren't being aware of what's going on, both inside our mind and outside of it, such as our surroundings. The problem is that being aware does take some effort and the mind inclines towards being lazy if it has the choice. Practice awareness to be able to know when something is becoming a potential problem; like all things that need effort, it gets easier the more you do it and the less unfamiliar it seems.
  • Talk to someone you trust if you feel you would like help.

Edit Warnings

  • If you have any interest in the theme, it will keep coming back. A theme needs two things: firstly, your active attention of the thought process which attaches you to it, and secondly, your interest in exploring it, which locks you in so be attentively mindful and selective.
  • You can't destroy the processes, they are as they are. There isn't a way to bullet-proof the mind from confusion.
  • Allowing yourself to escape confusion in addiction and distraction will simply magnify the confusion when you least expect it. Brooding and magical thinking won't change anything but accepting facts with realism and finding creative, constructive methods for overcoming the problem facing you will at least allow you to adapt.

Edit Things You'll Need

  • Notebook

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Monday, July 4, 2011

One Step Beyond: Permanent Short Term Memory Loss

One Step Beyond: Permanent Short Term Memory Loss: "Imagine living in a world where Post-it notes are needed for basic things like locking the door at night or turning off the lights. On Discovery Channel's 'One Step Beyond,' meet a woman who suffers from permanent short term memory loss.


Will the world really end in 2012?

Scripture says no one knows the day nor the hour!
Will the world really end in 2012?: "According to the Mayan calendar, the world will end in the very near future -- Dec. 21, 2012, to be exact. How did the Mayans nail down this date, and should we be worried?


Are you too hard on people? Next time you’re about to criticize someone, offer praise instead

Are you too hard on people? Next time you’re about to criticize someone, offer praise instead: "
Is your first reaction to something to criticize? Are you ever ready to pull down other people's tower of cards, to lop the tall poppies? Does criticizing sum up your personality? If you answered yes to these questions, or even to one of them, it's possible that you're heavily invested in making yourself feel better at the expense of others. And that this comes with a big price – loss of friendships, loss of trust from others you interact with, and a wariness from people in your perspective and judgement.

While a little feedback here and there is helpful when you're helping people to learn the ropes in something you are genuinely expert or experienced in, allowing a critique-everything personality to dominate your life can lead to a less fulfilling, less enjoyable, and even a lonelier life. Instead of ostracizing yourself in this manner, consider some ways of gently moving your more critical self into a less critical zone.

Edit Steps

  1. Realize it for the habit it is. Criticizing people is a shortcut way of saying 'I want my perspective of the world to dominate and I really don't want to know or learn about how you see things.' It's often a refuge for hiding hurts, naivety, and a lack of knowledge (and an unwillingness to acknowledge this). A constant need to criticize can also arise from having a sense of superiority over others, whether or not one has the expertise to justify such an attitude. Or, there is argumentative Annie, who sees the need to be negative and to stoke the embers of the 'never good enough' fire because seeing people dissatisfied and confused is a comfort zone for her. Ultimately though, whatever the reason behind a constant tendency to criticize is one simple thing – habit. It's about forming a way of thinking that has become so entrenched that it seems appropriate, even when it's not, and is a fall-back that soon grows to fit many situations beyond the one in which the critical personality initially arose.
    • For example, someone expert at a particular work skill may have begun criticizing lower level staff's work practices out of the knowledge born of experience; however, the temptation to extend this critical self across to other situations, such as family life, friendships, or socializing interactions becomes overwhelming and it soon starts to infiltrate everything. At that point, being a constant criticizer is a curse of a habit and it requires changing.
    • Realize that time is ever changing and that everything moves on. The constant criticizer risks stepping into the unknown when he or she refuses to keep up with the times but bases critical comments on what he or she knew in the past. While what you used to do in the past may have been the one and only method for getting it right then, at least get your facts straight about the present. In many cases, you may just find that the world has moved on and that you're clinging to an old view that no longer persists but your criticism is sourced from that old view. This will merely set you up to look like a fool.

  2. Learn the difference between constructive feedback/criticism and negative or non-constructive criticism. Negative criticism consists of telling another person that something they've done, or even who they are, isn't good enough by some standard and is put across in such a manner as to belittle, silence, distress, or distance someone – or even to put them into disrepute with others. If this criticism is constant and persistent, then it can be incredibly debilitating for the recipient. Constructive feedback or criticism, on the other hand, is criticism aimed at letting another person know that something they've done could be improved upon with issue- or fact-specific examples (not generalizing) and it can also be about informing that person about what they've done well.[1] And praise is a deliberate action to find and celebrate the favorable, the good, and the desirable in what someone has done; it is also possible to cultivate this attitude as a habit, the habit of looking for what is good in others, looking for their strengths, and encouraging them to empower themselves.
    • Sometimes people mistake never-ending negative criticism for being helpful in a 'tough love' kind of way. Certainly, sometimes people do need to hear a very raw truth in order to be redirected from a very unhealthy development path, but harping on about something or doing it without compassion, support, and kindness behind the intent will damage your relationship with the recipient. Focusing on kindness when delivering very tough criticism will help you to avoid coming across as superior and irreproachable.

  3. Be careful to avoid 'boosterism' when creating a praise habit. This is akin to 'forced praise' in which poor performance or behavior is given praise in the hope that mediocrity will be ironed out by a huge boost in self-esteem.[2] If only it were that easy but such praise does a disservice to the recipient because they aren't motivated to improve their performance or to gain mastery over things they find challenging. Praising others is not about replacing accurate, reliable, and truthful feedback with unrealistic and misleading pats on the back for poor performance, attitude, or behavior. The key element to avoid 'boosterism' is to link your praise to good effort and/or good results that are evident and quantifiable.
    • This is not to say that is wrong to tell someone the generalities of what you see as good in them. For example, to tell a person that 'I love how thoughtful, kind, and caring you are. I have seen you help people on so many occasions that I feel as if you're always there when things go wrong for other people' is pointing out generally that you do appreciate these aspects of their personality. On the other hand, to say to someone that 'I think you're a very clever problem solver when you put your mind to it and we'll ignore the previous six months of math test fails' is pretty unrealistic and unhelpful!

  4. Question why you don't like something that another person has said or done. Sometimes the speed with which you respond says much more about yourself than about the other person; the more visceral your reaction, perhaps the more you're reacting to something within, such as jealousy, anger, a sense of despair, or annoyance that you weren't the first to think of it or do it, or that you haven't got the same talent, or that you tried and failed and have a distaste for anyone else who does succeed. Ask yourself:
    • Do I want to criticize this because I'm not a fan of what I want to criticize?
    • Do I want to criticize this because I dislike this person?
    • Do I want to criticize this because I can't see anyone else doing so?
    • Do I want to criticize because if I don't, then there won't be a decent discussion to double and triple check that this is the best way?
    • In each case, your answers will help you to locate the reason behind your criticism. Think of other questions you might ask yourself whenever you feel the urge to criticize.

  5. Do a switch. You've clarified to yourself why you don't like something or someone and why you think criticism is justified. Now think of what you do like about the situation, the outcome, or the person. If you need a reason to dislike something, you must have a reason to like something. Maybe the person didn't do so badly after all and a deep gnawing feeling within is telling you this reality but you're more comfortable not acknowledging this truth. Think about this from the start of the upwelling of a desire to criticize, so you aren't caught off guard and end up feeling as if you have to make up lies about what you like about something. You can still find something to praise amid your negative feelings.
    • If it's a person, look for at least one good thing that you do like/trust/admire (however begrudgingly) in that person. And focus on that.

  6. Don't hate on people. This takes away a whole reason for you to dislike them or their ideas! If you think, 'I'm going to criticize because I hate this person!', stop yourself immediately. Say to yourself: 'No, that's not a good enough reason' and think of a better one. Do this every time and soon it will become your new habit. The greatest realization as you change criticism to praise is that encouraging another person is a way of building trust and respect, and it displays belief in them, even if they're not yet at their point of performing their very best. By encouraging them, you demonstrate that you care for their success and well-being rather than trying to drag them down and alienate them.
  7. Remember that being pleasant in temperament will open more doors than being a grouch. Simple logic makes it clear that people respond more positively to a pleasant approach to them than a negative, criticizing one. The secret behind this is to be concerned about respecting others, avoid negativity, and motivate others to feel more positive about themselves.
    • Before criticizing, think about what you would like to hear. Would you like to hear that someone hated you and that's why they criticized your efforts? Pretend it was you, and if you were that person, think about what you would want to hear.

  8. Find pathways to praise.
    Find pathways to praise.
    Find pathways to praise. Initially, focus on your integrity of thought and action and move from this point. If you're not able to work out what to say, spend some time reading words related to praise, lists of praise phrases, and other people's suggestions about giving praise. The more you read about this approach to thinking, the more it will infiltrate your own thinking and you'll begin to see a change of perspective within yourself, especially when you put it into practice and see people's positive responses. Think of praise as encouragement, motivation, and facilitation, and you'll soon start to feel more comfortable with it.

    Some great praise messages include:
    • 'You did a good job of...'
    • 'You have improved in...'
    • 'You're telling me you can't do it. But I think you can.'
    • 'I'm sure you'll be able to handle it.'
    • 'Keep trying!'
    • 'Don't give up. Sure it looks like a mess but you've always managed to clear the hurdles before and I know you can now too.'
    • 'I think your style/approach is fascinating. It's not one I'm used to but I'm open to learning more.'

  9. Don't stumble over giving constructive feedback or criticism. As discussed earlier, all praise and no feedback can result in mediocrity. If you do have a better grasp of a situation, and have genuine suggestions for helpful improvements that will motivate the other person to achieve their best self, don't hold back. Just be sure to couch your feedback in terms that help, not harm.
    • Give hints. If you're having trouble with praise, think of what you could tell them to help them. Telling them to work on it a little isn't mean-spirited, and they shouldn't take it personally as long as you aren't pointing it out in a rude or uncaring way. For example, if you were reviewing a person's singing ability, you could say, 'A little flat, but not too bad.' or 'You flubbed the lyrics a little, but not too badly.'
    • Think about how you phrase negative messages. Being inclusive can help a great deal, such as 'How do you think we should deal with...?', or 'What is your opinion?', or 'Tell me what you feel about it.'
    • One way of dealing with something pretty negative that has happened is to say: 'I like/believe in you. I just don't like/believe in what you did/said/produced. You are so much better than that.'
    • Be open to being given feedback in turn. If you can dish it out, you can certainly accept a portion back to help you to learn and grow too.

Edit Video

Edit Tips

  • Keep a notebook of your building praise vocabulary. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself prompts and remembering the praise motivators that have worked well for you.
  • If you can't think of something pleasant on the spot, tell a person that you'll 'get back to them when you've had a think'. Only do this when it's something that it would make sense to take some thinking space over, such as producing something creative like a novel or video.
  • Praise people for small things first, and then work up to the big things. This gives you space to grow your own sense of comfort with other people's achievements and to learn that having good, clever people around you is a bonus, not a threat.
  • Be patient! Not everybody may be as talented as you are, so make sure you don't expect someone to be perfect because it's not going to happen. Besides, thinking this way is blinkered – you may be brilliant at drawing or writing but terrible at public speaking or kayaking. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; yet, it is truly strong to 'give things a go' before dismissing them outright as something you can't do but the last thing you want is someone criticizing you for trying!

Edit Warnings

  • Think it over. Make sure you aren't just praising people with lies. Only tell them the truth about what was good! Wouldn't you be upset if they told you how good something was, but it was really a lie? Probably. And people will know you're lying if you're not genuine; the body messages will definitely give you away.
  • People won't want to be around you if you keep criticizing. Face up to it sooner rather than later because bitterness as you age tends to become stronger until it's almost immovable.
  • Only give criticism if necessary If you absolutely have to, and if you can't follow any of these steps to find some good, at least tell them nicely! Don't yell or shout, but say calmly, 'You didn't do well, but there's always room for improvement. Would you like me to help you?' instead of, 'That was terrible! You didn't even try! I bet a two year old could do better than you just did!'

Edit Things You'll Need

  • Notebook for praise prompts

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Not Enough Time? How to Stop The Illusion

Not Enough Time? How to Stop The Illusion: "

Photo by Vadim Pacev

By Anastasiya Goers

It is not enough if you are busy.

The question is, ‘what are you busy about?’

~Henry David Thoreau

Do you find that there is just not enough time to get everything done?

How many times a day do you usually use the word busy? I often catch myself busy working, cleaning dishes, cooking meals, doing laundry, catching up on the email, running errands and so on.

Our modern lifestyle creates time famine that we are forced to live with; there seems to be never enough time for anything. Even if we manage to get most of our tasks and responsibilities done, our personal time and time with our loved ones suffer.

Just the other day I was doing my house chores in the evening. One of my three-year-old daughters came up to me and wanted to play. By habit I told her that “mama was busy” and this is when it hit me.

How can I be too busy for my child? Is it really important whether the laundry is done if my child does not get enough attention from me? Does it really matter how many articles I publish on my blog if I miss precious moments with my little girls?

This situation made me realize that I was suffering from “time and intimacy famine” – the dis-ease where we feel that there is not enough time to do everything, and in the result of trying to “catch up”, we miss out on previous intimate moments with the people who matter the most to us.

We jump from one thing to the next one and completely lose the present moment. Just recently Tina wrote about her experience on the topic in Stop Chasing Start Living and it triggered a few reflective moments in me.

Problem with Staying Busy

I think that staying busy has become one of the social norms in modern world. Many people enter a race of “Who can be the busiest today?” Our kids are busy with all possible after-school activities. We take on social commitments and new tasks just to cram more accomplishments in our day.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we accomplish and how busy we remain, we do not experience happiness or joy because of this. It fills us up with inner emptiness. It drains us and we lose connection with the things that really matter.

How to Overcome the Not Enough Time Illusion

The illusion that there isn’t enough time can be conquered only by living in the present. Thinking about now. Simplifying life.

I have been following a few strategies lately that helped me better control my time and take productive steps toward overcoming the pressure to chase the next moment caused by the ‘Not Enough Time’ illusion. I list them as follows:

1. Treasure Your Time

Time is a valuable resource that we do not have to spend all at once. Let’s imagine that you inherited a huge amount of money. Would you go out and spend every bit of it immediately? Sure, you can do it but a wiser decision would be to spend some, invest some, save some. Our time is much more valuable than money (because once it’s gone you can never earn it back); then why do we constantly waste it?

If you have extra 5 or 10 minutes during the day, just enjoy them. There is no need to water the plants, file your nails or call to schedule an appointment just to become more efficient and productive. These extra few minutes have a wonderful purpose in your life—they are to be savored and enjoyed in silence, in deep thoughts or with your loved ones.

2. Stop Getting Things Done

There is nothing wrong with being productive but it is unhealthy to make productivity the sole purpose of your life. There might be times during the day when you need to be efficient (at work, while running errands, doing housework etc.) but there are also times when you need to relax. Be as diligent about your rest time as you are about your work hours.

3. Leave Your Job at Work

Job takes a big part of our lives and sometimes it is difficult to turn off your work mode. It gets even more difficult if you work from home because technically you are always in your work place.

While I am not a big fan of the term “work life balance” I think that work rest balance definitely deserves your attention. I can talk for hours about why it is important to forget about your work while you are resting, but deep down you do not need any convincing. You are the person who will benefit the most from this change and only you are able to make this decision your personal priority.

4. Simplify Your Commitments

Frequently enough we take on too many responsibilities that completely clutter our day. Distinguish between tasks that are truly important to you (because they are a necessity or because you truly enjoy these activities) and get rid of all the clutter. Do you really have to go to your colleague’s party? Do you really enjoy this TV show that much? You get the idea.

5. Discover Who You Are

A lot of times we stay busy because of fear. We are afraid of down time because we are afraid to discover who we are.

Instead of really getting to know ourselves, discovering our passions, developing our potential we hide behind a busy schedule. Sometimes we stay busy to cover up some painful memories or emotions that we feel we can’t deal with.

This no-conflict strategy is emptying your inner well; it drains your energy and robs you of happy and joyful living. Schedule some time for yourself: meditate, pray, write in a journal or just dive deeply into your thoughts.

6. Simplify Your Information Streams

How many books are you reading right now? Chances are that you are reading a few regular books, following regular updates on a few blogs and reading an eBook or two all at the same time. I am not even mentioning news, TV shows, magazines and newspapers that are a staple in almost every house.

There is too much information available to us right now. This information takes time and energy; in fact it takes over our lives. We can be watching TV, looking through a magazine and trying to play with our kids at the same time. As a result you get a headache from the noise, you get no value from the magazine and you get upset at your kids because they start whining and complaining.

Instead try to read fewer books and follow fewer blogs. Look through the news headlines on the Internet and read only what is relevant to you. Spend your time only on the information that truly benefits you and enriches your life.

7. Gift Yourself A Day

If you are a religious person you can use this time for spiritual matters. If you are not religious you can spend time with your family, read all day, go on a hike, goof off, try new recipes or enjoy any other hobby.

It does not matter what you are doing. Just don’t work. It will be the biggest nourishment for your starving mind and even body.

Parting Words on ‘Not Enough Time’

The illusion that there is not enough time is just that: an illusion. You can overcome this idea and this internal drive towards chasing the next moment under the excuse of “I’m busy” by slowing down.

While you cannot control everything in this world you definitely can control your time and how you spend it. Enjoy it. Treasure it. Spend it on what really matters and be happy.

**If you had all the time in the world, what would you be doing? :)

Consider doing that. What activities can you do (or not do) to feel more relaxed and calm? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section. See you there!

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About the Author

Anastasiya GoersAnastasiya is the author behind the Balance In Me blog – a place for people interested in practical life balance strategies. She is passionate about helping people find their balance in different areas of life: work, family, health, lifestyle, spirituality and others. She also a runs virtual Life Balance Retreats for people interested in making lasting changes in their lives.

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31 Life Lessons in 31 Years

31 Life Lessons in 31 Years: "

life lessons

Photo by Simon Pais & Vero Monaco

By Tina Su

“Waking up this morning, I smile.

Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.

I vow to live fully in each moment …”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Today, I turn 31.

When I was little, I used to think people in their 30s were really old. Now that I’m in my 30s, that perspective has quickly shifted.

Standing where I am today, I still feel like a little kid, except I’m doing my best in playing the part of an adult–trying to fit in with other grown-ups, and subsequently hiding the little kid within.

Having been obsessed with the topic of happiness and personal development over the past seven years (holy crap!), I feel like I’m becoming more and more in touch with the little kid inside–honest, candid, and established in love.

It is in the innocent wonder and the in-this-moment presence of the child where lies the secret to happiness.

Here are 31 life lessons I’ve learned, standing here today as a (slightly wiser) 31-year-old.

31 Life Lessons

1.     It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes and failures are there to teach us. If we learn from them and correct the way on our path, better things will result from it.

2.     We create our own reality. We have the power to break mental patterns that no longer serve us, and we have the power to consciously choose thoughts that empower us. It’s only a matter of breaking old habits and creating new ones.

3.     Finding validation and seeking love from another person through relationships is a self-destructive path. Those types of relationships never last, and when they end, they burn in heartache. You must love and respect yourself first. When you wholeheartedly love who you are, the world will fall in love with you, and the right relationship will fall into place. Until I fully accept, love and respect myself, I will continue to attract those relationships rooted in fear, insecurities and disempowerment.

4.     A few moments of silence each day will broaden your horizon, strengthen your self-awareness, and heighten your inner clarity. With clarity, you can do anything.

5.     You will never be ready for what you want to do. The trick is to just start it anyway, and to develop the discipline to work at it consistently. Taking baby steps in the direction you want to go means that you will eventually get there.

6.     Life is short. Live it the way that will make you happy.

7.     Change creates resistance. We don’t like change and we will always gravitate towards what is familiar because familiarity keeps us feeling safe. But sometimes, change is good for us. In fact, change is inevitable. Change is the only thing that is for certain.  Embrace change.

8.     Don’t be afraid to dream. Dreams create the vision that governs the story of our lives. Our dreams create our future. Dream big. Remember #6, life is short.

9.     Money is a renewable resource. If you lose some money, don’t sweat it. You can always make more. However, if you spend valuable time stressing over money, or lost opportunity, you’ll never get that time back. Time is more valuable than money.

10.  Fear comes from uncertainty of the unknown. It happens to all of us. It is part of the natural mechanisms for our survival. Its job is to keep us safe. You can never suppress fear, nor ignore fear, nor cure fear. The trick is to fully embrace fear by simply acting despite the feeling of fear. When you’ve fully faced fear and experienced it, the fear will subside.

11.  Self-doubt, like fear, seeks everyone. You are no exception. Just do it anyway.

12.  Time is the most important resource in the world. It is the only non-renewable resource in your life. Choose wisely how you spend time, and with whom you spend it.

13.  Less is more. Say less, listen more. Own less things, and you’ll experience more freedom.

14.  The people with whom you spend time matter. They influence you in unconscious ways, both positive and negative. Your income is the average of the three people with whom you spend the most time. Your potential to achieve greatness can be limited by the negative influence of the opinions of the people around you. Similarly, if all your friends were living self-empowered and awesome lives, wouldn’t that rub off on you to live extraordinarily? Choose your friends carefully.

15.  We really don’t need very much (stuff) to be happy.

16.  The most important thing we can do is to love ourselves. By making self-love a priority, everyone and everything we care about will be better because of it. We become better parents, employees, lovers, friends and contributing members of society.

17.  Learn to let go. Surrender to what is happening right now. Fully embrace and experience this moment, regardless of what this moment holds. Like all moments, this moment too shall pass.

18.  People are really kind and helpful if you give them a chance. Be open to receiving without feeling the need to “pay them back.” Let others know what they’ve provided for you, and how much you appreciate their help. Fully receiving what someone else has to offer is a gift in itself.

19.  We are stronger and more resilient than we think we are.

20.  The most damaging influence in our lives is the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. It’s the unexamined limiting beliefs that cause us to sabotage our success, sell ourselves short, and limit our own potential to living extraordinary lives.  If you are not achieving the kinds of results you want in your life, sit down with a journal and examine your beliefs.

21.  Complaining, criticizing and gossiping is a waste of time and saps your energy.

22.  Being a victim is a lot easier than being a leader. Leaders take responsibility and own up to their part in the doing. Leaders take action to change themselves and to overcome setbacks. Victims refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and emotions. Victims would rather sit back passively and give their power away by placing blame on an external trigger. Be the leader of your life. You are the only one capable of the job. Take responsibility of your own emotions. The world needs more leaders.

23.  Forgiving someone is a lot easier than we think. When we forgive, we are setting ourselves free. Forgiveness is not about other people; it’s about letting the pain go in our own minds.

24.  It’s easy to find fault in others–much easier than seeing fault in ourselves. How we view the world is a reflection of how we view ourselves, and this gives us insight to our internal thought patterns. Next time you catch yourself complaining about some fault in others, ask yourself, “What is it about myself, in relation to this topic, that I don’t like?

25.  Naps are good. It’s okay to sleep in, sometimes. We need rest to recharge. Staying up late into the night is bad for our bodies, and we pay the price with our health.

26.  There is always a silent and graceful solution to every problem. When feeling nervous, stressed or anxious, stop everything and take three deep breaths. Or better yet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Try the mantra “I am safe. All is well.”

27.  Master creations in the arts (writing, drawing, music, dance, even software programming) are the result of someone’s love of the process of creation. Masterpieces are never created as a result of someone trying to be brilliant. Get out of your head and get into your heart. Stop overthinking! Just relax, start creating and fall into the flow. Focus on what you are doing without being concerned with what other people will think. Create for the sake of creation. Create out of love of the process, and you just might find that your resulting creation turns out to be a masterpiece.

28.  When you passionately and genuinely believe in something, it will change you. You will embody the energy of your passion, and the world will notice the light that you shine. When you believe in yourself, others will believe in you, too.

29.  Learn to say no. If you don’t want to do something—go to a party, accept an obligation, meet someone—just say “no, thank you.” You don’t owe anyone an excuse or explanation.

30.  Giving unsolicited advice to others—regardless of how much you feel that they need it—is a waste of time and energy. Unless your advice was specifically requested, what you say will not be heard or appreciated. Unsolicited advice is perceived as annoying. Don’t do it.

31.  Slowing down to self-reflect, to contemplate, to sit quietly, to journal, to breathe, or to clear your mind will actually make you more productive than if you worked until you collapsed. Slowing down has more benefits than just a clear mind; one side effect is a happier life.

Bonus Life Lessons

I started with a big list of life lessons, then I started trimming until I was left with 31. The following are additional important life lessons I couldn’t leave on the editing floor:

1.     People will not change no matter how badly you want them to. People will only change if they want to. Instead of trying to change others, change yourself. Change your perception about the person, and allow them to be themselves, without you trying to change them.

2.     We are not alone. No matter how bizarre or embarrassed or pathetic we feel about our own situation, there will be others out there experiencing the same emotions. When you hear yourself say “I am all alone,” it is your mind trying to sell you a lie so you will continue to feel sorry for yourself.

3.     We are the only ones who can solve our own problems. We are the only ones who can change ourselves. We are the only ones who can choose to see the good, to see hope, to pick ourselves up, and to accept help. We must rely upon and trust ourselves.

4.     My body knows what I need. Sometimes, I get sick because my body is trying to get my attention. Its message is usually something like this: relax, recharge, you’re working too much, drink water, exercise and get more sleep. When I get sick, I listen to my body’s messages and I heal.

5.     Watch my language. The words I use to describe my experiences carry with it more power than I can consciously fathom. Saying that “I Can’t” do something has a profound effect on my beliefs about what is possible. It can limit my potential or empower me with possibilities. Choose your words carefully.

6.     Help other people get what they want. You will be rewarded not only financially, but also with the priceless reward of fulfillment.

7.     Trying to be right is a waste of time and energy. I would rather be happy than right.

8.     Drink lots of water.

9.     When you want something and you ask for it, you will more likely get it. Don’t be afraid to ask.

10.  Within each of us lies a vast well of wisdom. It is a source within the depth of our soul which connects to infinite intelligence and the capacity to heal all our wounds. To access this source and to hear its messages, we must slow down, quiet our minds and go within.  Only in the stillness of our being can we recognize the soft ripples of our inner voice and intuition.  Learn to trust it. It is always right.

“The day is ending, our life is one day shorter.

Let us look carefully at what we have done.

Let us practice diligently,

…Putting our whole heart into the path…

Let us live deeply each moment in freedom,

So time does not slip away meaninglessly.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Last night, my husband Jeremy smiled and said, “Let’s dedicate the next year to a year of happiness.” (I’m paraphrasing. What he actually said was really moving, and much longer. This was the gist of it.) He said this because this time last year I had spent the day crying and was barely able to scrape myself off the floor.

We’ve come a long way. I am thankful.

I smiled back and said, “Let’s do that! That’s a great idea.”

Here’s to a year (and a life time) dedicated to happiness–where we shall focus on the good in our lives, cut out gossiping and criticizing others, create healthy habits, work on meaningful projects, dream about future creations, go on dates and spent more quality time as a family.

If I had to choose, the most important life lesson is summarized to this: Life is so short. What’s happened is already in the past. The future is here for us to create. The power is in this moment. In this moment, we have the choice to create painful memories from the past, or we can create a beautiful tomorrow. You have that power.

A beautiful life is closer than we think. It’s already here … if we choose to see it.

After all, Twenty-four brand new hours are before me, what joyful experiences will I choose next?

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Share it on Facebook, RT on twitter, or email it to a friend.

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* What are some life lessons from your own experience? Share them with us in the comment section. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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