Morning rituals for Success

Morning rituals for Success

Follow these morning habits from top business luminaries to stay focused and motivated.

Your morning can dictate the rest of your workday. It's no wonder that so many successful business people follow strict morning routines. What do they do exactly? Ask them how they begin their day, and you will see a consistent pattern. This is not just personal preferences either, as science has backed up most of these behaviors.
Of course, it's not realistic to expect to mimic their ritual every day without fail, but if you want to do your best work and be a more productive person, try to follow these four common morning habits.
1. Wake up early.
Successful people don't sleep in. They wake up early, ready to attack the day. How early? It can range from 4:30 a.m. for Apple CEO Tim Cook to around 5 a.m. for Xerox CEO Ursula Burns to former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley's 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. Early risers have many advantages. They tend to procrastinate less compared with people who stay up late at night, according to a 2008 study published in The Journal of General Psychology.
People who wake up early are also less stressed, because instead of rushing out the door, they take time for themselves and prepare for their day. Not a morning person? Gradually work on waking up early. For instance, wake up 15 minutes earlier for a week and then 20 minutes for the next week, and keep going until you reach your goal wake-up time.
I typically get up, meditate for at least 10 minutes using an app called Headspace, and then give myself time to drink tea, eat breakfast, and catch up on social media. It's the one time of day I can be silent and allow my brain to relax before getting heavy into my day.
2. Get moving.
Top entrepreneurs invest in their health. After all, a healthy body and mind go together. Research is split on whether morning or evening workouts are ideal, yet morning exercise appears to be best for reducing stress by lowering blood pressure, according to a 2011 study by Appalachian State University's Dr. Scott Collier. It also helps you burn more fat throughout the day and lose weight, says a 2015 study done by the University of Tsukuba in Japan. 
Many use their mornings for exercise as a way to jump-start their day. Plus, they don't have to worry about squeezing it in later in their busy day. If you need some help, hire a personal trainer or sign up for an early morning boot camp class. (You are more motivated if you make a commitment.)
It doesn't always have to be high-intensity exercise, either. Go for a walk outside or do 30 minutes of yoga. For me, if I don't do something in the morning, my energy level is lower and my stress level is higher throughout the day. This is like "medicine" for me. I do yoga, run, lift weights, or spin each morning, even if I can only get in 15 minutes.
3. Recharge your motivation.
Successful people understand that motivation doesn't last forever and needs to be constantly recharged. Devote time in the morning to reading, meditating, listening to a favorite podcast, reviewing empowering quotes, or writing in a gratitude journal in which you record at least one thing that you are thankful for. Feeding your mind and soul and reflecting on where you are, and where you want to go, can help keep you focused on your larger goals. I love Instagram for this. I find motivating mantras that remind me to stay positive when I most need it.
4. Eat your frog.
Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." In other words, tackle your day's toughest job early when your mental energy is at its highest. Choose only one "frog" of the day and complete it before your normal workday begins. My energy is highest in the morning, so that is when I tackle my biggest projects, but yours may be later in the day. Identify when your energy levels are at their peak in order to "eat your frog."
Every day, you wake up with a new chance to improve and grow. People who have reached the top of their professions understand that how you begin your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Devoting yourself to a simple morning routine builds success for today and the days after.
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 The article was posted by: Amy Vetter
 Original title: 4 Morning Habits of Successful People

The Illusion Of Free Choice

The Illusion Of Free Choice

Research adds to evidence suggesting 'even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong'
Free will might be an illusion created by our brains, scientists might have proved.
Humans are convinced that they make conscious choices as they live their lives. But instead it may be that the brain just convinces itself that it made a free choice from the available options after the decision is made.
The idea was tested out by tricking subjects into believing that they had made a choice before the consequences of that choice could actually be seen. In the test, people were made to believe that they had taken a decision using free will – even though that was impossible.
The idea that human beings trick themselves into believing in free will was laid out in a paper by psychologists Dan Wegner and Thalia Wheatley nearly 20 years ago. They proposed the feeling of wanting to do something was real, but there may be no connection between the feeling and actually doing it.
The new study builds on that work and says that the brain rewrites history when it makes its choices, changing our memories so that we believe we wanted to do something before it happened.
In one of the studies undertaken by Adam Bear and Paul Bloom, of Yale University, the test subjects were shown five white circles on a computer monitor. They were told to choose one of the circles before one of them lit up red.
The participants were then asked to describe whether they’d picked the correct circle, another one, or if they hadn’t had time to actually pick one.
Statistically, people should have picked the right circle about one out of every five times. But they reported getting it right much more than 20 per cent of the time, going over 30 per cent if the circle turned red very quickly.
The scientists suggest that the findings show that the test subjects’ minds were swapping around the order of events, so that it appeared that they had chosen the right circle – even if they hadn’t actually had time to do so.

The idea of free will may have arisen because it is a useful thing to have, giving people a feeling of control over their lives and allowing for people to be punished for wrongdoing.
But that same feeling can go awry, the scientists wrote in the Scientific American magazine. It may be important for people to feel they are control of their lives, for instance, but distortions in that same process might make people feel that they have control over external processes like the weather.
The scientists cautioned that the illusion of choice might only apply to choices that are made quickly and without too much thought. But it might also be “pervasive and ubiquitous — governing all aspects of our behavior, from our most minute to our most important decisions”.
“Whatever the case may be,” they write, “our studies add to a growing body of work suggesting that even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong.”
The work is published in the journal Psychological Science.
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 The article was posted by: Andrew Griffin
 Original title: Free will could all be an illusion

Never Stop Learning

     Never Stop Learning
One of the best things about life is that we never have to stop learning. There are always new skills to learn and techniques for us to adopt. When you look at the most successful people in the world, they understand this. Warren Buffet spends most of his time reading. The best entrepreneurs in the world don't act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful.
For us to live life to the fullest, we must continually look for ways to improve. Even in our own companies, we should strive to help our organizations in areas that are outside of our comfort zone. Companies from all over the world have recognized this. Billion-dollar examples like Zappos and Facebook invest heavily into their own employees. Realizing the power of teaching, they promote from within and support their staff to learn to skills to bring back to the company.
If you aren't actively looking to learn new things, here are three reasons why you might want to rethink your strategy. Self-growth is key for us to live fulfilling lives and to have a successful career.
1. You will become happier
Learning is tough and can be frustrating. This is especially true when we talk about taking on new sports like crossfit, or pushing our brain to the limits trying to code. But although the task is hard, nothing is greater than reaching your accomplishment. For highly challenging goals like learning to write software, it is such an amazing feeling when your code works bug free. When we play sports, beating our personal records gives a high like none other.
Several studies have shown that the more ambitious goals that we set, the happier we are. And when we decide our own goals, our happiness is not reliant on others. We pick how many hours we practice, and we take ownership over what we achieve. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within.
2. You'll become irreplaceable to your team
The person who can adapt the most wins. This is a piece of advice I learned reading about fighter pilots in the Air Force. It is not about the strength of the plane, but instead it's the ability to react to different situations that makes a fighter jet. The best fighter pilots can adjust to more circumstances than the norm, making them much deadlier.
This same idea can be applied to our value to our organizations. If you can only sell your product, you are limited by your contribution. If you can sell, build and run operations, now you've become irreplaceable.
3. You'll stay humble
When we are looking to learn as much as possible, there's less of a chance that we will come off as arrogant. True charmers don't make themselves look smart, they make others look smart. And when people see that you are trying to learn from them, it makes liking you that much easier.
Every interaction you have is a chance to learn something. One of the recent ways I've learned this is through watching Ted Talks. What I love about these short speeches is that you can learn so much about subjects you thought you'd have no interest in. But by keeping an open mind, you discover patterns in how people present their talks that you can learn from. It just shows you that no matter whom you meet, there is always something valuable to learn from the encounter.
4. You'll become a great coach
The only way to mastery is through teaching. One of the best feelings in the world is teaching others what you've learned. Not only will it affect the person you're teaching, but also they in turn will teach others.
As a leader of your organization, you need to make learning a part of your culture. A way to start this is by teaching others what you've learned over time. You want to become such a great teacher that your company can run itself without you there. When you've achieved that, you've truly accomplished the state of mastery.
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 The article was posted by: AJ Agrawal
 Original title: 4 Reasons You Should Never Stop Learning

What's Wrong With Being Different?

What's Wrong With Being Different?

It’s easy to stay focused on the negative aspects of being different. Thinking of the negatives about your situation is the natural response. However, dwelling on the negative is usually harmful to your mental health and well-being.  Instead, try to see the positives of being different and focus on these things; you’ll notice a drastic difference in your outlook on life.
There are many advantages of being different mentioned by those whom we interviewed with a variety of differences. I asked everyone in the study to list several benefits of being different and I chose the most frequently mentioned elements for each category. I list just a few of the benefits from each category here in this post.
Let’s start with the one closest to my heart: being a short male. If you are tall, you may want to skip this section just like the short people may want to skip the section for tall people. Again, these replies are taken verbatim from interviews with people in each category. 

Advantages of Being a Short Male

  • "Legroom on an airplane or bus is never a problem for me."
  • "I never have to worry about hitting my head on things like chandeliers."
  • "I often look younger (which becomes an especially good thing as I age)."
  •  "People feel less threatened by me."

Advantages of Being a Tall Woman
  • "I have athletic advantages."
  • "I can see over the heads of many other people in a crowd."
  • "I stand out."
  • "I can walk faster because I have longer legs."

Advantages of Being a Different Race/Ethnicity

  • "It’s great to feel unique in a homogenous society."
  • "It’s great to have tan skin."
  • "I can connect with people who speak my language."
  • "I stand out in a crowd."

Advantages of Being Underweight

  • "I can fit into clothes in the kids section and the junior's department, which doubles my selection!"
  • "Weighing less makes it easier to participate in sports and physical activities."
  • "I can fit through narrow spaces."
  • "I can stick my arm down the sink to get stuff out of the garbage disposal."
Advantages of Being Overweight

  • "More to love!"
  • "People view me as being loveable."
  • "People like me to give them tight hugs."
  • "People view me as a protector."

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 The article was posted by: Nathaniel Lambert
 Original title: The Many Advantages of Being Different

Why should I learn a new language?

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Why should I learn a new language?
Learning a new language is an achievement anyone can be proud of and it’s exciting and beneficial at all ages. It offers many practical, intellectual and aspirational benefits. A wave of new research shows the incredible psychological benefits of learning a second language:
1. Learning a Foreign Language Boosts Brain Power
Medical studies have shown the positive effect learning a second language has on the brain. A foreign language is a whole new system with distinct rules, etymology, and meaning, which are just a few of the complexities of a language. Learning a new one puts the brain to work by recognizing this new language structure. As the brain works out meaning and makes full use of this new arsenal to express ideas, it sharpens its reading, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. The fact is, language centers in the brain actually grow in the process of learning a second language.

2. Stave off Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Knowing a second language can postpone the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 4.5 years. This is significantly better than the best Alzheimer’s drugs, which can only delay symptoms by 6-12 months. Brain scans have found a noticeable difference in the brain activity of bilingual seniors. Their brains work much more efficiently, more like those of young adults. Scientists believe these seniors’ brains have more reserve brain power that helps compensate for age-related memory loss.
3. Improved First Language
As we go about our everyday lives, we rarely give a second thought to our own grammatical structure and vocabulary. However, when learning a new language, many people find they have a greater understanding of their first language. Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language: grammar, conjugations, and sentence structure. This makes you more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated. These skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and writer.
4. Boost Your Memory
We know that people who speak more than one language fluently have better memories and are more cognitively creative and mentally flexible than people who are monolingual. The more the brain is used, the better its functions work. Learning a new language structure entails becoming familiar with vocabulary and rules, and applying this memorized information to communication. This strengthens your memory because your brain’s ability to associate information with mnemonics has been boosted, and it is better at retaining information.
5. Improve Understanding of the World
A language is a doorway to a particular culture. Learning a new language enables a person to have a broader understanding of that culture. You will have access to a whole new array of film, music, and literature, and a greater understanding of the history and culture of the nation – and ultimately, a better understanding of the way the world works, including politics and international relations. You will be able to connect through books, TV, and the Internet and converse with a whole country’s worth of people, which broadens your horizons, interests, and views. A whole new world will be open to you.
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 The article was posted by: French Pod 101
 Original title: 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language

How to achieve your dreams

How to achieve your dreams
While “creating your dream life” might sound like a romantic, far-flung notion that can be achieved by only the most special among us, in practice, it actually takes a lot of pragmatism and determination. There’s nothing magical about building your dream lifeeven though some moments along the way might feel like theyre sprinkled in fairy dust. Any one of us can live the life of our dreams, no matter what our circumstances are in the current moment or where we come from. Yes, that means you too. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can accomplish, as long as you ground yourself in these five principles.
1. Shut out the white noise.
Have you ever noticed there’s a human tendency to dictate how things should be done, whether its losing weight, saving for retirement, raising children, or following a career path we’re passionate about? When we’re in the throes of putting ourselves out there in a unique way
whether that uniqueness lies in our process or in our ultimate goalit can be all too easy to fall into the Fear Trap of all of these shoulds and shouldn’ts “they” like to throw aroundIt’s especially scary when “they” are loved ones. Don’t buy into it. Your life is uniquely yours and you only have one shot to craft it in the way that feels right and joyous and fulfilling to you. No one has a better vision for your path or your future than you do, and it doesn’t matter how anyone except for you thinks you should live your life. The white noise simply doesn’t matter. Tune into your gut and listen to that because ultimately your voice is the only voice that matters.
2. Find your tribe.
Have you ever noticed there are certain friends or family members you find yourself wanting to hold back from? Or who leave you feeling deflated when you share news of your latest achievements or goals? Sure, these people might have a place in some area of your life, but they certainly don’t have a place in helping you accomplish your dreams. As you’re creating and chasing down your goals, share only with those people who leave you feeling enthusiastic, buoyed up, and newly inspired. Those friends who leave you with a buzz in your belly and a feeling of almost dizzying possibility? 
They are your tribe.
3. Remove the word impossible from your vocabulary.
You know what happens as soon as you believe something is impossible? It is.Notice the words you use when you’re talking about your future, your capabilities, and what’s possible
both those that you speak aloud to others and those that you speak to yourself through your internal dialogue. Create new habits, replacing can’ts with cans, have tos with get tos, and want tos withwills. This might sound like a small detail, but it’s not. The way we speak acts as a powerful form of reinforcement for what is and is not possible.
4. Put in the work.
There’s nothing magical about making dreams come true. At the end of the day, it requires a lot of good, old-fashioned hard work. Of course, if you’re doing what you’re passionate about and building the best, most exciting version of your life, this work will be the greatest possible investment of your time and effort. And it might not even seem like work
sometimes. The truth of the matter, though, is that at least sometimes it will feel very much like work. You will want to give up; you will wonder why you didn’t choose a less lofty goal. Sure, allow yourself to have those moments … and then keep moving forward.
5. Give your mind time to wander.
Yes, you have to put in the work. Hard work, most likely. But you also have to know when to stop. Our brains need time to let go, to relax, and to meander on creative little tangents. This requires unstructured time and space. I find that I get my best writing done when I’m not writing at all. In fact, it generally happens when I’m driving down the open road in the middle of nowhere without a destination in sight. This is when the words come tumbling out. And so I pick up my iPhone, turn on my Voice Memo app, and let them come as they will. Let yourself be free and just watch what happens. For you, this mental unwinding might happen in the shower, on a walk, or even when you’re playing video games. It doesn’t matter how you get to this point, it just matters that you get there.

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 The article was posted by: Nikki Van Noy
 Original title: How To Build The Life Of Your Dreams

Advantages of online classes

Advantages of online classes 
Online classes have advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few decades and have fast become the preferred method of learning by students all over the world. The popularity of the internet has transcended all barriers of geography, race and culture and constraints of classroom learning. The widespread reach of the internet and web-based technology has made learning a language a very accessible and convenient method for those who prefer online study to classroom learning.
Online learning offers students a well-balanced mix of self-regulated and self-scheduled learning material facilitating the learning. The rise in popularity of online classes is partly because many students are also concurrently working or studying other subjects. The freedom offered by online learning is a welcome respite from the time-critical schedules of today. The internet also offers students the chance to learn anytime and anywhere they choose, solely depending on only their free time as well as their access to the internet.

You can learn at home

Improving your language skills with online modules allows you learn from your own home. When you’re enrolled in a traditional classroom course, it’s hard to justify spending the time and money commuting to schools, especially if you’ve just finished a long day at work. Learning from home means you can take a quick break or grab a snack whenever you need it. Online modules are always there when you’re ready to learn—anytime.
Studying at home also means you’re immersed in a more comfortable environment. Since you can choose where you work, you can avoid uncomfortable lecture hall chairs and tiny desk spaces. Without other students to distract you, you’ll be able to focus more easily on learning.

You can learn at your own pace
The online classes give you full control over your learning experience. Studies have shown that students retain more information when they’re allowed to study at their own pace. In a traditional classroom, teaching only happens how and when the teacher decides. This means there’s no guarantee you’ll receive the support you need to master the course material.
Many people find the classroom environment too stressful because they feel as though they are being constantly evaluated. Group work and oral presentations can also put pressure on students, making it harder for them to succeed in the course. Traditional tests and exams often have very high stakes, especially if the course you’re taking is compulsory for a degree. Learning at your own pace means you can move ahead or backtrack to review the course material whenever you need to. You’ll always have resources within reach to do your best and to customize the learning experience to meet your own needs.

You’ll be more engaged with the material
Online courses take advantage of the latest computer software. This means that modules will often contain games and other interactive components designed to fully engage each student. Many people find it easier to learn when they are actively participating in a lesson rather than passively receiving information in a lecture hall.
Thanks to their reliance on technology Idiomaster provide a more immersive experience than a classroom environment. Online courses frequently offer ways to gauge your learning. Playing interactive games and completing quizzes can boost your confidence, making it easier to tackle more advanced material.

Online classes makes education more convenient for students living in rural areas, those with health concerns or disabilities, and those who frequently travel or move.
It’s not always easy to get to class. You may have to commute long distances, battle with health problems that make it hard to go out, juggle babysitting or daycare schedules, fit classes in around frequent business trips, or any number of things. Online training makes education more convenient.

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